Tag Archives: prison

I’ll burn every bridge that I cross

Don’t burn your bridges? Fuck that, I want to burn every bridge that I cross. I want to go to work and storm out of there in a big huff, a huge, “You know what I really think?” type of berserker rage, my finger pointing every which way, “That’s what I really think!” I’m causing a huge scene, I’m flailing my arms around, plates of food dropping on the floor, the manager goes to call security, “somebody get the cops, he’s out of control.”


I’ll swing around to the dining room, I’ll take a bite out of some guy’s hamburger, sure, they’ll eventually drag me out of there, whatever man, you’ve got to sedate me? Whatever, bring it on, chain me up and throw me in front of that judge, “Listen son, you’re obviously very disturbed, so the state’s going to go ahead and offer you a choice: hard time in prison, or a treatment facility a couple hours north of the city …”

And I’ll cut him off, I’ll burn that bridge to the ground even before I cross it, I’ll be like, “Hey asshole, don’t call me son, OK? You’re not my dad. And what, you think I’m interested in your plea bargain? Get the hell out of here. You’re a joke. This system’s a joke.” And they’ll have to wheel me out of there, I’ll be screaming the whole time, little specks of foam flying out of the corners of my mouth.

After the sentencing I’ll be in prison orientation, maybe some public advocate will try to appeal to my more reasonable side. But I don’t have a more reasonable side, so he’ll be wasting his breath telling me all about how, “You might be able to shave a couple of years off of your term if you show a little good behavior.”

Good behavior? This guy won’t have any idea who he’s dealing with. I’ll play nice, for a while anyway, I’ll tell him every time he revisits my case or comes to check up on me, I’ll be like, “I’m being really well-behaved. Just ask any of the guards or the warden. I’m like the model of a well-behaved prisoner.”

And he might be skeptical at first, because honestly, it’ll be hard to hide my smile, that sinister grin just waiting for him to offer me the slightest inkling of trust. It’ll take a little bit, but I’ll wait, a couple of weeks, how often do those guys visit the inmates, once a month? More than that?

Finally he’ll feel like he might be getting through to me, I’ll contact his office and tell the  secretary that I need to see the advocate. He’ll show up to the meeting room and I’ll ask him, “Hey man, did you get my letter?” And he’ll say, “Letter? I don’t think so. When did you send me a letter?” And I’ll look down and say, “Oh … I guess I forgot to …” and then I’ll slam my foot down on top of his foot, like as hard as I can, and I’ll scream out, “Stamp it!”

A classic prank, but taken to the extreme, because listen buddy, I am where I am because of me, not because of some stupid guy in a suit claiming to be on my side. You know who’s on my side? Me. You know who else? Nobody. And he’ll be screaming in pain, hopefully I’ll have at least knocked a couple of toenails off.

I’ll have the maximum sentence, no time off for good behavior, it’ll be the absolute worst behavior that you can imagine. They’ll tell me to shut up and I’ll keep talking. They’ll scream out, “Lights out!” at the end of the night and every single time, I’ll scream out, “Lights on!” in reply. For meal time at the cafeteria, I’ll always cut the line, I don’t care how big all of the other inmates are, I’ll cut, every single time, I’ll go right to the first person in line and say, “Hey man, you mind if I back cut?” and I’ll just do it, I won’t even wait for a response.

Eventually they’ll have to let me out, I mean, it’s not like I’ll have killed someone or anything. And even though at my parole hearing I’ll get a lot of warnings about staying away from my old job, about not trying to make contact with my old boss, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Day one, buy a nice suit. Day two, go back to the restaurant and ask for my old boss.

“Hey boss,” I’ll still call him boss, even though I won’t have worked for him in years, it’ll be like an added layer of discomfort, just like that crazy grin I won’t really be trying that hard to suppress, “I just wanted to say … I’m really sorry.” And I’ll extend my hand, knowing that he’ll take it, if only to get me out of there.

And right as he goes for that handshake, I’ll pull back, really dramatically, I’ll do a really obnoxious laugh, “Ha! Sorry you’re such an idiot!” and maybe I’ll consider going on another rampage, but no, I’ll just laugh and walk out of there. And if my parole officer calls? Fuck that guy, he thinks he’s doing me a favor, telling me he’s on my side? He’s not on my side. I’m on my side. That’s it. If you’re thinking about helping me out, help yourself out, and stay out of my way.

I can’t help you out, I’m sorry

Look, if you ever get sent to jail, I’m sorry, but I’m never coming to visit. No way. Do you know what kind of a process that would be? It’s like going through airport security times ten. And then you’re supposed to give your driver’s license in for a visitor’s pass? Call me uncooperative, but what exactly is the point of that? To me, it looks like a reason for them to keep you locked in. I can just see it now, I’m visiting you, whatever, you’re happy to see me, but it’s really bittersweet, because you’re in jail, they won’t even let us shake hands or high five or anything. And of course I’ll be leaving and you won’t. But what if one of your new jail friends spots my visitor’s pass? Or what if it falls off? Prison guards are the worst. Well, that’s not really fair to say. I’ve never actually met any of them. Plus, they’re dealing with a population that outnumbers them by a large margin. They’re living one stone’s throw from a prison riot. I guess I’d be on edge too.

So my pass falls off and I’m like, “No, I’m just visiting, I swear!” Yeah right. I’m sure the prison guard is going to be super cooperative. What if I get accidentally sent in with the general population? I wouldn’t last a day. Well, I would, but not under these circumstances. There’s just too much that could go wrong, so, yeah, I’m not going to visit. I’ll write. That would be pretty cool, to have a prison pen pal. But only if it’s somebody I know. I’m not just going to start soliciting prisoner pen pals, because, eventually they’ll get out, considering they’re not in for life, and then what? They’ll start hitting me up? Wanting to hang out? But I’d totally write to you. And I’d pick you up after you get released, again, assuming you’re not in for too long, and if I’m still in the area when you get out.

Also, and I hope we never have to walk down this road either, but if you ever get sick and you have to go to the hospital, listen, I wish you the best of luck, the speediest of recoveries, but I’m not coming to visit you there either. Prison or hospitals. Or is it nor hospitals? At what point do you start using nor over or? This isn’t really important I guess.

What I’m saying is, you know how I am about all of that hand sanitizing stuff they want you to use, right? I don’t buy it. I don’t like the idea of my personal micro-biome being messed up like that. And then what, I wipe my hands clean, five, six times, there’s no germs left on my skin, and then I run into some nurse who’s covered in antibiotic resistant superbugs? Not going to happen to me. Not if I can help it, anyway. I mean, if I have to go to the hospital, I have to go, no way of getting around that one. But just to visit? Sorry. But if you need a ride home, I mean, I don’t have a car, but I could see about borrowing my parents’. We’ll see. But you look pretty healthy.

You’re a big reader, right? Cool, that’s really good for you. And you should. Reading’s great. Definitely. But here’s the thing, again, I’m not even sure this really applies to us, or to me, but I’m not the guy you want to ask to do you a favor and return some library books. I’m just putting it out there, that you should probably ask somebody else. Not probably, definitely. It’s too much responsibility. Well, the responsibility is minimal, what I meant to say is that there’s too much that could go wrong.

Like what kind of a person wants to be a librarian? No, no, it’ll make sense. Because, think about it, they like being around books, all the time books, nose stuck in a book. Do you think they’re really paying attention to work? No, they’re paying attention to their books, they can’t get enough reading. Like you with your books, but every waking second. And so I come in with a whole stack of your borrowed books, and I’m like, “Hello? Can I put these right here?” And the librarian’s like, “Yeah, sure, right there, whatever,” without even looking up from her book. She forgets to restack them, you start getting collection notices from the library, you ask me if I’m sure that I remembered to return them, I say yes, the librarian says no, who are you going to believe? You say me, you say that now, but there’ll always be that little bit of doubt, like maybe I just can’t admit to a mistake, like I’m hiding them in my apartment, too afraid to come out with it already. That wouldn’t go away, inside of you I mean, it would linger, it would fester. You’re too good of a friend. I wouldn’t want us to ever be at odds over something so stupid. But I’d definitely give you a ride, or I’d help you find somebody else to return those books for you, not a friend, somebody not too close, like a work associate. You just name it. I got you man.

Going to jail

I always wonder how I would get along in a maximum-security prison. We have one of the highest prison populations in the world, and it’s growing. Assuming this rate of growth continues, it’s not totally unreasonable to think that I’ll eventually wind up in the slammer at some point in my life. And I’m not planning any violent crimes or anything, it’s just that, you never know how things are going to play out.

Like maybe one day I’ll be walking down some street. Across the way there might be three guys having what appears to be a friendly conversation. But just out of my earshot, they’ll be having a really serious, really sinister discussion. Two of those guys could be in the mafia, and the third guy might be one of most corrupt cops on the force. They could be talking about a jam they’re in, how thanks to some mob stooge the Feds are on to something.

The cops says that what they need is a patsy, someone who they can pin all the blame on, diverting attention away from the real crooks. But who would they frame? “Anybody,” the cop would say, “Literally, any nobody walking down the street. Like that guy. That guy right there. Yeah, he’s perfect. Wait here.”

And then that cop, he’ll be undercover so I won’t immediately recognize him as an officer, he’ll come up to be and say something like, “Hey wait a second buddy.” I’ll turn around, not suspecting what’s about to go down. “Yes?” And the cop will look me in the eye, take a big bag of cocaine out of his pocket, hold it up in front of him, drop it on the ground, bend down to pick it up, look me back in the eye and say, “All right pal, freeze, you’re under arrest.” Oh yeah, and he’ll push the bag into my hand before I have a chance to react, just to get my fingerprints on it.

While I’m awaiting trial, all of those mob guys will make up a bunch of nonsense, a whole fake back story, about how I’m in the mob, about how I was the head of all of these drug deals and gun smuggling and arms deals with Colombian narco-traffickers. And something about a bunch of stolen cars. And something else about racketeering. They’ll throw the book at me. They’ll write up another book because the original book won’t have enough dirt, and they’ll throw that one at me too.

The judge won’t even want to look at me. He’ll be like, “I’ve never been so disgusted with a human being as I am with you. You don’t deserve a trial because there doesn’t exist anybody low enough to consider you a peer. I don’t care if it’s unconstitutional. I’m sending you away for life. Bailiff, get this piece of garbage out of my sight.”

And I’ll struggle, I’ll beg for some further consideration, but the mob would have spent so much money and time and resources really fabricating such an intricate story. Nobody would believe me, not even my family, not even my wife. I’ll lose everything. All in exchange for a bright orange jumpsuit and a pair of government-issued laceless shoes.

Sure that’s kind of an unlikely scenario, but it’s a specific one, and it’s one that I just came up with right this second. I could think of hundreds of other random potential storylines all sharing the outcome of me be locked up for life. Maybe I’ll be lured into a pyramid scheme, and when it all comes crashing down, the guy running it will have it made to look like I was the brains behind the operation. Maybe there’s somebody out there who looks just like me, exactly like me, but he’s crazy, like really crazy, and he’s a cannibal, and just before the cops get to him, he commits suicide, but a bunch of wild animals eat the body, and so the police never find out what happened to him. Thinking he’s still alive, they keep the case open, and it eventually leads back to me, back to being wrongfully accused, back to jail.

My point is, I think that if I had to go to jail, I’d probably do OK. I’m really good at getting along with all different sorts of people, and while the other prisoners might be skeptical of me at first, I’m confident that I could win them over with my offbeat charm, magnetic personality, and award winning smile. Maybe during arts and crafts hour I’d lead everybody in making homemade replicas of some of America’s favorite board games, and then I’d organize a massive prison-wide board game night. And they’d become so wildly popular, everybody having so much fun, that in-prison violence and rape would drop dramatically, almost to zero. No, definitely to zero. The whole place would turn around.

And then the warden would be doing a tour of the facilities, and he’d say to himself, “My God, this prison has never looked better, and all thanks to what, a couple of board games? Just imagine what we could do if we gave them board games, real board games, not just those rudimentary homemade copies. Let’s do it. Somebody go out and buy me three hundred Scrabbles. And get a couple of Monopolies while you’re at it.”

And eventually that judge that sentenced me to life would hear about my impact on the prison. He probably wouldn’t hear about it directly, but one day his wife will be watching the Lifetime channel and there’ll be a made for TV movie about me inspiring the whole cell block to get along. And the judge will be so moved that he’ll reverse the sentence. I’ll be a free man.

But I’ll choose to stay. Why leave such a close knit community? I’ll have made some real friends behind bars. And the judge will look at the warden all confused, shaking his head, “Well if he wants to stay, I guess there’s nothing we can do.”

And everything will be going great, until one day I’ll get a package. It’ll be a cake. I’ll be so excited I’ll dig right in. The other prisoners will try to stop me, which I’ll think unusual, because jealousy and fighting will have been eliminated completely. But they won’t be jealous, they’ll be warning me, because every prisoner knows that all cakes sent to inmate have little saws baked inside, to use for escape plans. But I won’t have known, and I’ll have been so hungry I wouldn’t have noticed it going down.

And after I die all of the guards and staff and the warden will expect the prison to descend back into chaos without my soothing effect on the population. But everything will be OK. They’ll remember, the board games, the game nights, it’s going to stick, it’s going to be a permanent solution. And so, yeah, I don’t think it would be so bad if I got sent to prison. I mean, I wouldn’t want to go to jail, but just in case I ever found myself locked up, I think I would do fine.