14 Oct 06

Visited by Mum, Dad and Auntie Lily the Slug Killer

Mum, Dad and Auntie Lily arrived in Tucson yesterday for a seventeen-day stay. Barring another hostage situation, I expect to see them today. I'm doubly excited because not only are they here to see me, but also to plead my case with the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency at a hearing on 19th October, which, could result in my freedom as early as February 2007.

4:15am I woke up excited about the visit and I couldn't get back to sleep.

8:15am Full of joy, I trotted to Visitation.

I had been told there was a good chance that Auntie Lily, who I hadn’t seen in fifteen years, might cry upon seeing me. Indeed, she was rubbing her eyes. Moving in closer to give her a hug, I couldn't see any tears. Then, she suddenly said, “The sun shining off your head is blinding me. You look like a Buddha in that bloody orange.”
We all laughed. Mum and Dad radiated a happiness not of this world. After a round of hugs we sat down as far away as we could from the windows to avoid the sun. We chatted incessantly.
The smell of microwaved food wafted by, but the burritos I enjoy the most were all sold out.

Looking at the two inmates waiting to use the restroom, Auntie Lily said, “That one’s waiting for a wee. The other’ll be wanting a number two.”
“How do you know that?” Mum asked.
“Because he’s letting people go ahead of him,” Auntie Lily said.
“They don’t do number twos in here, do they?” Dad said.
“It’s got to be bloody urgent to do a number two in here,” Auntie Lily said.
“I couldn’t come here to visit and do a number two,” Dad said.
“Who is Number Two?” Mum said. “I am not a number. I am a free man.”

Admiring the flowers in the prison garden, Auntie Lily asked if they had a problem with slugs.
"I'll have to ask Xena," I said.
“I vinegarise the slugs,” she said.
“Why do you do that?” I asked.
“They’re slimy and horrible, and they eat my plants.”
“Some people salt them,” Mum said.
"I prefer putting vinegar on them, because if you salt them you get a big glob of gooey slime.”
“That’s horrible,” Mum said. “It’s really cruel. I put trays of beer out at night and in the morning they are full of slugs. I suppose it’s still cruel but at least they die happy."
“Your mum likes to drown them in their favourite beer,” Dad said. “She’s tried them with both Stella and Budweiser.”
“Yes,” Mum said. “They definitely prefer Stella.”

Spotting the prisoner who takes visitation photos, I remembered I had prepaid for five. (They cost $2 each.)

On the wall a sign read:







The photographer took five, one of which I wasn’t ready for, so it had to be retaken.
“He can’t take it again can he?” Auntie Lily asked.
“Of course he can, he’s got a digi,” I said.
“He’s got a digi one,” Auntie Lily said. “Like a digi widgey?”
“No,” I said. “A digital camera.”

After the photos, I bought Mum and Auntie Lily some flowers so rich in pink and magenta they looked as if the colours had been spray-painted on. For vases we used empty water bottles.
At 2.30pm we hugged and parted.

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
09 Oct 06

Two Tonys Excites Yard 1

Wielding a stick, Two Tonys – wearing a baseball cap, smock, pants, and white New Balance – strutted onto Yard 1 and stopped at the basketball court. Inmates surrounded him.
“Two Tonys,” Too Tall said, “whatthafuck are you doin’ here?”
“I’m down here to run this yard, motherfucker.” Two Tonys slapped the stick against his left palm. “Don’t start no shit, and there won’t be no shit.”
“Wassup wiv da stick?”
“My teacher,” Two Tonys said, “Sister Teresa – God rest her soul – used to whack me in the head with a stick like this.”
The crowd laughed.
“And it didn’t knock any sense inta ya did it?” Red said.
“He’s gotta stick 'cause he’s turned kinky in his old age.”
“It looks to me like,” Two Tonys said, “you’ve got some of the kinkiest motherfuckers in captivity down here on Yard 1.”
“Shee-it. Just 'cause you’re a killer and Yard 4’s the killers yard, you think you can come down her and talk shit.”
“So what,” Two Tonys said, “if I’ve killed a few motherfuckers? So what if I’ve left a few bodies along the highway? All o' those punk-ass bitches had it comin’.”
A paint crew from Yard 3 sprawled over the basketball court. Two Tonys disclosed he was the overseer.
“Yard 1,” Two Tonys said, “changes motherfuckers. You guys come down here gangsteronies and killers, and leave outta the sally port with Bibles in your fuckin’ hands. Well, lemmetellyasomethin’: I’d like to come down to minimum and get me a Bible too.”
The crowd roared with laughter.
“I’m happy to see you motherfuckers,” Two Tonys said. “Now who’s gonna fix me up a sandwich, or get me a honey bun or a bagel or some shit?”
Within minutes, a man shaped like a tank, Jim Hogg, rolled up to Two Tonys with some bagels.
“I salute you,” Two Tonys said. “You are my ace cool spoon, my pride and joy, my dawg, a big-headed motherfucker, but still my road dog. Now who’s gonna get me a water bottle that no motherfucker has used, and wipe off the rim real good?”
A paisa produced a drink.
Gracia',” Two Tonys said. “Que onda, paisa? Como estas?”
“Bien bien.”
“How come they’re all paintin’ the basketball court, and you’re walkin’ around with your hands fulla bagels?” The inmate pointed at Two Tonys.
“Put your finger down, motherfucker,” Two Tonys said. “You’re not on the fuckin’ witness stand. And I sure as hell ain’t your crimey [crime partner]. I’m the supervisor of the paint crew, and it’s about time someone brought the boss a cup of coffee.”
“Whattup dawg!” Flaco said.
Two Tonys flashed a gang sign, and said, “I’m comin’ at ya live and unrehearsed, bro. The Mexicans aren’t fuckin’ with ya are they? If they are, I wanna know about it. 'Cause I’m runnin’ shit on Yard 1 today. And if anyone has a problem with that, I’ll peel their fuckin’ caps.”
“Why’re you bustin’ our balls? And why’ve you gotta stick?”
“To bust a motherfucker in the jaw with,” Two Tonys said.
“Do you still beat the fuck outta trash cans and walls?”
“Yeah,” Two Tonys said. “And the trash cans and walls don’t fuck with me no more do they?”
“Why dontcha lick my cock?”
“I’d rather,” Two Tonys said, “put a bullet in your head.”
“If you had your nines right now, who’d be the first on Yard 1 you’d put a bullet in?” Jim Hogg asked.
“There’s motherfuckers here who deserve to die but none of 'em are on my list.”

Later on, I managed to steer Two Tonys away from the crowd.
“How’s Mom and Dad doin’?” Two Tonys asked.
“Great,” I said. “They’re visiting soon. They told me you broke your comments record with Two Tonys on Drugs, with ten comments.”
“Which one was that?”
“The one where you’re driving down the freeway, all high, after whacking someone, and your decision-making ability is all messed up.”
“Yeah. That’s the time I had my .357 ready. If the cops had stopped me, I was gonna shoot it out with the motherfuckers.”
“My mum said a guy who was going down the same path as you, read that blog, and it’s influenced his life. Maybe sharing your experience saved him.”
“I often wonder late at night after whackin’ some flies and layin’ on my bunk lookin’ at the swatted flies on my ceilin’ if I was put on earth to whack motherfuckers or to save someone’s life. I wonder why I’m goin’ through all this sufferin’ and bullshit. Maybe this guy is saved. Maybe he’s gonna have a son or a grandson who discovers the cure for AIDS or West Nile virus. It mighta been my callin’ in life to save that guy.”
“My parents are sending stacks of blogs with comments, I can’t wait to read them.”
You can’t wait. Howdja think I feel?”
“So you got a new celly?”
“Yeah. I’ve known him since he was thirteen. He used to wash my Eldorado. His playmates were my goombahdies’ kids.”
“How’s things with Ogre?”
“He’s stayin’ away from me - for the time being.”
“Are you still walking?”
“Every day. And workin’ out on the station. I walked seventeen laps on Saturday.”
“Yard 1,” came a voice over the speaker system. “Lock down. It’s count time.”
“Take care, little bro,” Two Tonys said.
“And you,” I said. “I’ll see you around.”

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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
Season’s Greetings

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to

All my readers

Thanks for the numerous books, Christmas cards and letters. Thanks for visiting the blog, sending emails, and making comments. Once again I’m touched by your kindness and generosity. A special thanks to my friend Stephanie who has worked hard on myspace.

I must apologise to my regular correspondents, as I am behind in answering mail. Please be patient with me, I will write as soon as I can.

Yours appreciatively
Email Jon as writeinside@hotmail.com or post comments below
Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
06 Oct 06

Psycotherapy With Dr O’Malley (6)Dr. O. pondered my homework: a journal of anxious/abnormal thoughts that documented the roars of F-16s making me antsy, frantic activity in the chow hall making me paranoid, grief over my grandmothers death.

“The grief,” Dr O said, “and guilt over your grandmother is perfectly normal. Her death is reality. But your hypervigilence with the F-16s in the chow hall is something we need to work on.”
“I realise how daft those thoughts are immediately after thinking them, but it all happens so fast.”
“You need to breath normally in those situations to calm the cascade of chemicals. You need to be able to appreciate and evaluate reality. There are habitual criminals who are incapable of being anxious in crowds.”
“Like psychopaths?”
“Yes. You need to desensitise yourself, and regain control. Instead of being hypervigilent, you need to be in a state of mind where you can evaluate things. If the F-16s catch you by surprise, breath. I had the same reaction when someone dropped a bucket by me once. Pay attention to visual clues instead of overinterpretating things.”
“Another thing that got me going was reading about a bomb going off on a plane and the jet oil burning people’s flesh, bits of the plane dismembering people, and them falling to earth. I’ve got a thing about planes.”
“With explosions at altitude you immediately lose consciousness. The shock wave knocks you senseless. It’s surprising how fragile the brain is. Troops in Iraq who survive IED attacks are tore up physically and they suffer heavy physical trauma to the brain. When the IED goes off, the survivors know nothing other than waking up in Walter Reed.”
“I had some head trauma that made me pass out once. I was jumped by four lads who repeatedly kicked me in the head, back in England when I was about twenty. A point came when I could no longer feel the kicks. I went warm, and passed out.”
“Have you suffered any other head trauma?”
“A speaker fell on my head from a third story window in Liverpool.”
“Did it knock you out?”
“No, the wood broke in half.”
“The break probably dissipated the force.”
“I’ve been in around half a dozen car crashes. In one we knocked down a brick wall, bounced, ended up with the car lopsided up a hedgerow. I’ve also had multiple airbags smash me in the face. Could these accidents have affected my personality?”
“You shouldn’t be too concerned about them. You’re not showing any signs of the subtle problems one would expect. We should be more concerned with your anxious thoughts.”
“Do I need to learn to accept anxious thoughts?”
“No. Learn to look at them: yes. Learn to build them up: no. In a dark room, the presence of objects may seem dangerous, but when you turn the light on you see the safety of chairs, lamps, and small shelves. The eight-foot ogre is suddenly a small spider. When you perceive reality, breath and push back the fear response. Comfort yourself as if you are a little kid. Calm your system down. You need to perceive reality because when you hit the streets you’ll need realistic aims of who you are, what you’re doing, and where you’re going. In the prison environment it’s realistic to be mentally prepared for fights, but you don’t have to be hypervigilent. Just be prepared to get out of the way if something’s going down. There’s an atmosphere you can usually pick up on when something is going to happen in here. I’m sure that you can interpret ate that by now.”
“Yeah. You can usually tell if something is about to happen. When there was an all-out race riot at Towers, I eventually got up the stairs, and stayed in my cell.”
“And that was a realistic plan. If you go around panicked all the time, you’ll crash. With all the people on the roads in tonnes of steel going 40 to 60 mph, who are just as big idiot drivers as I am, I drive defensively. Vigilant but not hypervigilant. I assume that the other person is going to do something. I keep my distance from the car in front of me. I check my rear-view mirror. I don’t tailgate. I do whatever I can to minimize the force of impact. That’s my realistic plan. Try to go about realistically.”
“I will.”
“For homework I’d like you to document yourself talking to yourself in relation to how you justify or criticize your past actions. And to compare and contrast what you are thinking and feeling with your present expectations.”
“OK. Thanks.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
04 Oct 06

Too Tall

Too Tall stands out as much as his pet.

The pet. A large grasshopper. Black but with patches of lustrous yellow. Looks like something you'd see on an acid trip that's about to go bad.

Too Tall. Six foot seven. Of Puerto Rican descent. Face resembles Adam Sandler's. Has tattoos of Japanese characters on his neck (vampire in red and courage in black), a skull in a stingy-brim hat on his left shoulder and angels on his back that could do with a touch-up by Raphael.

“How’d you end up in prison?” I asked.
“I got eight-and-a-half years for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon 'cause I stabbed a dude that was a chick that I thought was a dude.”
“How did that happen?”
“I was gamblin’ at pool with the person I thought was a dude. I won money and the dude didn’t wanna pay up. We took it outside, and he pulled out a knife and stabbed me in the arm. So I took the knife and stabbed the dude in the chest, half an inch from the heart. Then I blacked out 'cause my blood-alcohol level was so high. At first the cops thought it was a dude, but when the paramedics lifted his shirt they saw a pair of tits. The cops beat the shit outta me after they’d found out I’d stabbed a woman. My left arm swolled out like a softball. My right knee swoll like a football. The back of my head swoll like a beachball. The victim was a bull dyke who dressed like a guy on the streets, but showed up in court wearin’ makeup and a dress.”
“And you got eight-and-a-half years for stabbing someone who’d stabbed you first?”
“’Cause my public defender didn’t help me for shit. He told me to sign, and I’d get from three-and-a-half to five. I signed and got eight-and-a-half. All he cared about was gettin’ me to sign a plea bargain, and gettin’ his pay check from the government.”
“You musta been drinking a lot?”
“Yeah they brought me back to life twice.”
“What had you drunk?”
“Two gallons of hard liquor: Black Velvet Whisky, Puerto Rican Spice Rum, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo, Bacardi Rum. And twelve large pitchers of Budweiser.”
“That’s a fair amount of alcohol. So when do you get out?”
“In three-and-a-half years.”

Did Too Tall act in self-defence? Did he deserve to be beaten by the cops for stabbing a woman? Did he deserve his sentence?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

02 Oct 06

The Booty Bandit Move that Befell Max in the Kitchen Cooler

“I heard something happened to you in a kitchen cooler,” I said to Max.
“Yeah,” Max said. “Me and Leo were makin’ French toast on the grill and this paisa, Chapo, who can’t speak English, and looks just like Fred Flintstone only with deeper stubble shadow and crazy-ass eyebrows, kept comin’ on to me. When I’d take a pan to the line, he’d lean over the food and put his ass out all seductive like. So I’m side-steppin’ him. I tell Leo, ‘You’ve gotta watch my back, dude. This queer’s tryin’ to come on to me, man. I don’t wanna hafta smash the fool.’ Leo says, ‘Yeah, dude. I’ve got your back, dude.’ A few minutes later, we start puttin’ excess food in the cooler. I go into the cooler. Leo’s watchin’ both grills with a spatula in each hand. I was holdin’ up a six-inch pan of French-toast batter about to slide it on a nine-foot-high rack when I heard the door close behind me. I kinda see movement by the apples, I turn – still holdin’ the pan up high with a corner on the rack – and Chapo – I don’t know how to describe this – is on his knees. All I saw was a stubbly face comin’ right at me, doin’ a little walk like a penguin on his knees. I said, ‘Whattaya doin’, man?’ I started coppin’ pleas, sayin’, ‘I don’t mess around. That ain’t my thing.’ In broken English, Chapo says, ‘You like. I promise.’ I told him no again. The whole time he’s shimmyin’ closer and closer on his knees. My arms are stuck in the air, so I turn 'cause I didn’t wanna expose my backside to him. He’s right there. I back up a step, so my back’s against the wall. That’s when he reached. He didn’t get my dick but he had a firm grip on my left nut. It was horrible 'cause I couldn’t move. He started unbuttonin’ and unzippin’ my pants with his other hand. Tryin’ to stop him, I started wigglin’ my hips like this.”
“You were doin’ the hula-hula?”
“Yeah. I started doin’ the hula-hula. But he gets my pants down and grabs me full on. I start gettin’ freaked out. Do I drop the batter everywhere? Do I kick him and risk injury to my man parts he’s clingin’ on to? He says, ‘Deja ver la vichola,’ [Let me see your schlong]. I tell him, I’m not a caquero – that’s a booty bandit – and I’m not up for another man. He told me again, ‘You like. I promise.’ I say, ‘No! Get away from me, man.’ I’m shocked, then angry, but some part of me was flattered in a small way that another man found me attractive.”
“Was he working your thing?”
“He’s tryin’, but I’m doin’ the hula-hula. He’s gotta good grip, so he’s followin’ me around.”
“Were you shrinking or getting aroused?”
“I’m not gettin’ aroused to the point that I wanna follow through, but I’m gettin’ a semi 'cause it’s bein’ touched. He let it go after much pleadin’. He looked all butthurt - like the finest woman in the world had shut him down. He turns around and leaves. I put the French-toast batter away and walk outta the cooler. Everybody in the kitchen is snickerin’, on the floor laughin’ at me, and sayin’ shit like, ‘Did you have a good time?’ Leo told me later that Chapo had come out of the cooler and wiped his mouth off when everyone was lookin’ at him to make them think he’d just got through blowin’ me.”

Should Max have dropped the French-toast batter?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
Apropos of Arpaio – recent story filed in The Arizona Republic

10 British hooligans being filmed during voluntary stay in Tent City

Can British blokes change their lives for the better by living in Tent City? You’ll have to tune in to the yet-to-be-named documentary to find out.
Tent City opened its doors to 10 men described as British “hooligans” to see if wearing pink underwear and black and white stripes, working on chain gangs and eating 13-cent meals would change their ways.
The men arrived for their voluntary incarceration Nov. 5th and will leave Thursday.
“They know their lives back in Britain are spiraling out of control,” the show’s producer, Mark Rossiter, said in a news release. “But right now British courts and jails are so soft on non-violent criminals that imprisonment there isn’t dissuading them from bad behaviour.”
Two of the volunteers left after two days.
Rossiter got the idea for the documentary after seeing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio interviewed by British media.
The documentary is supposed to air on Bravo next year.
“I’m confident my policies have a deterrent effect on some people,” Arpaio said.

About Tent City

Murder in Tent City



From the East Valley Tribune

Sheriff Joe turns around British hooligans
June 15th, 2007 · posted by daryljames
British television viewers apparently love Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s approach to American justice. According to a news release from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the Bravo Network in Great Britain has reported that its 10-part series on 10 British "hooligans" who spent two weeks in Tent City was the highest-rated show in the network’s history. In March, Bravo brought 10 English men to Tent City and subjected them to Arpaio’s jail policies to see if a tough jail experience might turn their lives around. Bravo said the men had shown behavior that was on the brink of criminal. Jail in Britain is a far "softer" experience, according to the show�s producers. According to the producers, the experience here did have a positive effect on the men who participated. The network is now considering a similar program with female hooligans.

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25 Sept 06


My neighbour two doors down, Infamous – a Chicano with a ponytail who wears a gold gangsta ring – ran a cross-border drug operation.
After reading through his police reports, I asked him some questions about his case.
“How did all the wheeler-dealing come about?”
“My father came from Mexico to Wellton, Arizona to work for my grandfather. He eloped with my mother - that’s how I came about. He had a farm fifty miles from Yuma, and he started bringin’ loads of drugs across from San Luis, Mexico. Slowly, I got involved. My father passed away in ’88 – killed by cops in Winterhaven, California. I went to prison and got out in October 2000. I wasn’t gonna mess around, but I went broke and started dealin’ again. Before I know it I’m havin’ females bring anywhere from ten to fifteen pounds of ice and glass over the border.”
“I read some of the women were keystering it. How much could they hold inside them?”
“Two and a half to three pounds packed in big condoms or cellophane.”
“If glass is super tweak then what’s ice?”
“Pressure-cooked glass.”
“Why did you bring it from Mexico instead of cooking it in Yuma?”
“I am literate in the process of cookin’ dope, but I was on parole. So I’m rollin’, but I end up in jail on smaller charges. I’m in the state pen and I get page-twoed [indicted] for illegal control of an enterprise to bring drugs into the country, and there’s twenty-four witnesses against me. Ten I didn’t even know. The case had been built by US Customs, Homeland Security, the Southwest Border Alliance, the FBI, and Immigration, over four years and I didn’t even know about it. I ended up signin’ for six-and-a-half years with three years intense probation, and here I am waitin’ to get out with two years to go.”
“So you got prosecuted by the same people as me then: the AG’s Organized Crime Division?”
“Yeah, by Terry Goddard and Billie Rosen.”
“So are you gonna party when you get out?”
“I will when I’m off parole. I don’t fuck around in here though. Whattaya gonna do getting’ high in here? Jack off all night or go fuck a man? I’m not doin’ none of the two.”

Did Infamous get lucky receiving only a six-and-a-half year sentence?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
20 Sept 06

Jon gets Honourable Mention in Writer’s Digest Competition - ranked at number 50, almost 19,000 entered

Dear Jon,

One of my most enjoyable tasks as editor of Writer’s Digest is passing along good news to writers. This is one of those fun occasions. It is my pleasure to tell you that your manuscript, Pee Tested, has been awarded Honorable Mention in the Memoirs/Personal Essay category of the 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Enclosed is your Certificate of Achievement to honor your accomplishment.

This year’s contest attracted close to 19,000 entries. Your success in the face of such formidable competition speaks highly of your writing talent, and should be a source of great pride as you continue your writing career.

I congratulate you on your accomplishment, and wish you the best of luck in your future writing.


Kristin D. Godsey
Writer’s Digest

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

T-Bone - V - Ponytail (Part 2)

Part one of this story ended with T-Bone and Ponytail squaring off, a guard aiming a rifle at them, and a sergeant giving them the choice of boxing or going to the hole.

“I tell the sergeant," T-Bone said,"‘I wanna go to the ring.’ Ponytail ain’t sayin’ nothin’. His eyes are red and he’s as angry as a ragin’ bull. Then he says, ‘Wraps, no gloves.’ His people put stones in his wraps, but the cops see 'em and take 'em out. In the ring he tries to bullrush me. I sidestep him, stick my left foot out, grab his left arm, and trip him, holdin’ on to his arm. I hook his arm as he falls, and hit him in the base of his head with my right hand. Turn around and I’ll show you.”
Before I could say, “Go easy,” T-Bone hit me in the head with his massive right hand. “Ouch!” I said.
“Sorry if I hurt you. I’m just showin’ you where I hit him. Ponytail was stunned for a second, and I’ve still got his arm hooked, so I begin whalin’ on his head and neck. He kept turnin’ his head, so I hit him in the side between his liver and kidney. Lemme show you.”
“Do we have to?”
“Lift up your right arm. I’ll hit you softly.”
Trying to be a good sport, I raised my arm and – bam! - my right ribs were socked. “That’s enough demos for one night.”
“Imagine how Ponytail felt? The sensation was unbearable. He let out a big ol' warrrrgggghhhh! Like a wounded bear. He started bangin’ on the mat.”
“Tapping out?”
“Yeah. But I wasn’t finished. I let his arm go, and I jump up and kick him in the side of the neck. He moves his arms to protect himself, so I kick him in the same spot between the kidney and lung. His whole face turned red. People jump in the ring and grab me off him. There’s eighty blacks in the yard of seven hundred and fifty prisoners, and all of 'em are jumpin’ around ecstatic.
Three days later, I’m walkin’ near a blind spot where people handle their business, and there’s four whites includin’ Ponytail in a cubbyhole. One says, ‘Hey, nigger boy, you ain’t gettin’ away with doin’ that to one of us.’ I act like I’m trippin’, and pick up a handful of dirt and throw it in the dude’s face. The rest of 'em stop and look. My friends Red and T see what’s happenin’ and they come over with three black prison-gang members. Eight more woods come as well. One of the leaders says, ‘Chill out. Everyone get against the wall and let these two handle their business.’ I square off with Ponytail. I break down in a crouch and start circlin’ him. He don’t know how to act. I fake a lunge. He kicks me square in the shoulder with prison boots. I step back, shake the pain loose, and smile. He sees I’m injured, and like a dummy rushes me. I throw my right hand like you throw a ball, square in the middle of his face. He stops. His nose is bleedin’. I throw a left hook to his lung. I kick him in the leg. He bangs his head into the wall and – crackkk! - he goes down. Blood’s comin’ outta his mouth, both ears, and he defecates on himself. I kick him in the solar plexus and start stompin’ on his ribs, breakin’ them. I take his arm, and break it by puttin’ it against the wall and kickin’ it. He was out, but that wakes him up.”
“Didn’t you think that you’d done enough damage by now?”
“No. I’m tryin’ to kill him. He’s tryin’ to kill me. I had to do what was necessary 'cause he was gonna come back again and again. Then I try to break his leg against the wall by kickin’ it, but that doesn’t work. I ran into it with my shoulder and it breaks.”
“That’s got to be enough?”
“Hell it is! I put him in a chokehold meanin’ to choke him to death. The cops come around the corner to stop the death hold. They spray me with Mace in my mouth, eyes, and nose, up real close, and I let him go. The Mace brought me back to my senses. The death rage had left. You know, the kill thing that gets in you. They helicoptered Ponytail to hospital in Phoenix, and that was the last anyone ever heard of him. The white dudes in the cubbyhole that tried to beat me up were moved from the yard. I went to the hole for two weeks. When I got out, I had a reputation. People were sayin’, ‘Don’t mess with him. He’ll kill ya.’ But you know how it is in prison, reputations attract gunslingers. The peace didn’t last for long.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
16 Sept 06

Duke Resurfaces

Three times a week, Yard 1 inmates have access to a rec field in the centre of the unit.
Recently, while jogging on the field, I noticed Duke (whose story was posted in the early days of this blog) hollering and waving a piece of paper at me from behind Yard 2’s fence.
“Duke!” I said. “How the bloody hell have you been?”
“Oh, you know,” Duke said. “Same-ol’ same-o.”
“How come you’re not on Yard 1? You must be getting close to the gate.”
“They said I cain’t move to Yard 1 'cause I gotta keepaway down there, and I don’t know who the hell it is.”
“Can’t you find out and get it squashed?”
“Shee-it. They won’t tell me.”
“I can’t imagine who’d request a do-not-house on you. Maybe it’s a mistake.”
“Well, I’ll keep tryin’. You must be getting’ short by now?”
“Yup, I’m scheduled to get released to Immigration in November '07.”
“Izzat right? That’s when I get out.”
“Look! Look!” Duke waved a piece of paper.
“What’s that?”
“It’s a copy of what you wrote about me on your blog.”
Duke was interrupted by a female voice over the loudspeakers: “The inmate trying to pass a picture through the fence needs to step away from the fence and return to his cell.”
“Whassamatter with her?” Duke said. “I ain’t tryna pass shee-it.”
“Step away from the fence!”
“I’d better go,” Duke said.
“Take care, Duke.”
“See ya around.”
“See ya.”

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or post them below Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

Attempted Question Time with Xena

Writers in prison are subject to interruption at any time. Some days, I remain undisturbed for hours. On others, progress seems impossible. Even trying to hold an interview, like this one with Xena, has it's hazards.

“Xena, Jack in Illinois asked how he can become a member of COX.
“To become a member of the Cult of Xena you’ve -”
My door swung open and Frankie, topless and sweaty, charged into the cell. “Englandman, let me make love to ya one time. I promise not to tell anyone.”
“You’re out of your mind,” I said. “Getting boofooed is not my idea of fun.”
Smiling like a fiend, he grabbed my neck.
“I’m trying to write something for Xena. Xena, I’ll keep writing if you’ll put Frankie in check.”
Xena’s long limbs leaped at Frankie. Frankie released my neck. Xena pinched Frankie's chest, then retreated.
“Xena!” Frankie shrieked. Frankie reached for my neck, but found himself tangled up in Xena's limbs. “Are you trying to manhandle me?” Frankie panted. Frankie was holding his own until Xena yanked his pants and boxers down. He fled as frantically as he had arrived. He hurried along the run, displaying his bare behind as he struggled to pull his pants up.
“Where were we?” Xena asked.
“Jack in Illinois wants to know about COX membership.”
“Well, first you’ve gotta be out, or if you’re not out you’ve gotta want out, and if you don’t want out, don’t worry about bein’ out, 'cause nobody has to know.”
“So you have to be in or out?”
“That’s all inclusive. It’s good to know that COX is a politically-correct organisation.”
“Then, you hafta like wearin’ pink tutus and spandex.”
“I hate spandex,” Blackheart said as he entered the room, holding a Palo Verde borer beetle.

An aside on Blackheart. This Lakota Indian is almost seven-foot tall. He has a female penpal in England. When there is a lull in their correspondence he takes it out on the nearest British person to him: me. On such occasions, instead of receiving his usual greeting (a punch in the chest, before being picked up, squeezed and dropped), I’m likely to be picked up, carried off somewhere, and tossed against a door or a wall. On one occasion, he was carrying me, and a female guard yelled, “Put Jon down right now!” He claims the more he beats you up the more he likes you.

“Why don’t you like spandex?” I asked Blackheart.
“It doesn’t show me in my best light.”
“You should insert some packaging,” Xena said. “Try a sausage. That way you can get it warm and eat it later on.”
“Stop tryin’ to kick me away with your legs, dude,” Blackheart said to the beetle and departed.
“What else should Jack in Illinois know about COX?”
“Girls are boys and boys are girls,” Xena said.
“That reminds me of a Killers' song.”
“Which one?”
“Where he says something like: somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend.”
“Don’t you know?” Xena said.
“Don’t I know what?”
“That the Killers are members of COX, stupid.”
“I should have known. Duh!”
Looking like a disturbed character from a horror movie, Slingblade appeared at the door. He didn't enter or say a word. He just stood there. His eyes raking my room for signs of food.
“What do you need, Slingblade?” I asked.
“Got any peanut butter?” Slingblade's nostrils dilated in anticipation.
“Sorry, I’m all out, but here’s some crackers.”
He snatched the crackers, grunted, and moved along the balcony. The inmates on the balcony quickly got out of his way.
“This is all happening because of Jack in Illinois,” Xena said.
“Back to Jack in Illinois and COX,” I said.
“When COX members pray, they pray to lord and mistress Xena, which in the word of the Navajo is Na’ da’ hay. Sacred COX rituals include having strangers pee on you, and performing certain sexual favours for strangers in nightclubs - ”
"Rec time is over. Lock down."
"We'll have to try this again, Xena."
"Yeah, rectum is over. We must lock down."

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
13 Sept 06


Max – a baby-faced Chukchansi Indian – lives on the same run as me.
“Where are the Chukchansi Indians from?” I asked.
“Yosemite National Park is our ancestral land,” Max said.
“How many Chukchansi are there?”
“There are 783 left. There used to be thousands, but they got killed off durin’ the Gold Rush, and pushed off tribal lands. We were robbed of our identity and thrown into an anthropological term known as Yokuts.”
“Do you get casino money?”
“I get a little somethin’-somethin’. You should see the size of the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino.”
“So how’d you end up in prison?”
“I got nine years for kidnappin’. It was a carjackin’ and I took the guy in the car with me. I was only sixteen at the time. I’d just finished Carson High in California.”
“Did you have a weapon or any priors?”
“How old are you?”
“So you’ve never had an adult life on the streets?”
“What do your tats mean?”
“On my chest is a medicine wheel. On my left arm is the Chukchansi tribal seal: a basket, and the word Hil-le which is a greetin’. I had to earn this tat, AIM, which stands for American Indian Movement.”
“That’s an impressive tat on your back. How did you earn it?”
“I took off a piece of scalp with a huntin' knife.”
“It’s not like I peeled it down to the cranium. That earned me respect on the streets of California.”
“You must be getting short?”
“I’ve got six months left. Did I tell you I have a tat on my cock?”
“No. What is it?”
“It’s kinda funny, dude. It’s a dicky bird.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
10 Sept 06

Morning Sounds

It’s hard not to wake up at 6am on Yard 1. At 6am the guard in the control room presses a button and the teeth in our doors grind.

Next up are the noises of inmates coming alive: sneezing, coughing, noses blowing, urine splashing, behinds flatulating and defecating, toilets flushing, water running, and razors against sinks ra-ta-ta-tapping.

One of my neighbours, Black Nine, a massive African American, usually wakes up chanting, “I’m sooo very gay”, or singing a song that begins with, “Jack-jack-jack me orrf!

By 6:10am, the first swear word of the day – usually motherfucker – makes itself heard from the circles of smokers forming outside.

Listening to the radio offers no reprieve: Call 1-800-Progressive. Progressive Direct Insurance Company….Krispy Kreme Donuts….Do you suffer from heavy or long-lasting or frequent menstrual cycles? Call 886-800-9060….When you’re a hardcore biker like me, it’s nice to know that Geico….This week on ABC it’s Extreme Makeover….XM Satellite Radio….Do you have what it takes to be a successful rapper?….Zero percent interest for sixty months. Jim Click Dodge in the Auto Mall….Zycam Cold Remedy Swabs….There is a massive shortage of helicopter pilots….M&M Reece’s Pieces….Arizona womens’ basketball is taking off….Circuit City, HD radio….Vegetable oil has an extremely high lubricity factor….How do you not have a celebrity shredding service?

Before breakfast is served, the guards in the control room start to make announcements over the speaker system: “Yard 1, last call for chow….Visitation porters turn out for work….Baker 13, report to the bubble in compliance, you’re going to disciplinary….Education, turn out.” Some announcements have been made by a woman with the gruffest cartoon voice I’ve ever heard. I laugh every time I hear her. She should be in Hollywood doing wicked-witch voiceovers.

Sometimes my other neighbour, Spider (an inmate with long hair who introduced himself as a "dope fiend"), charges into my cell and yells,
“Come on you bloody bloke, the chow hall’s open!”

Depending on whoever is ready first, I either get Weird Al or Weird Al gets me, and we head for our potatoes and porridge and begin the day's banter.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
07 Sept 06

Repo’s Return

Seeing Repo standing in line for chow with Yard 3, I asked, “What happened? How long did you last on the outs?”
“Fifty-seven days,” Repo said, swelling with the proudness of an inmate whose prior attempts at freedom hadn't lasted nowhere near as long.
“I was doin’ it, makin’ legit money, repoin’ cars and shit. I even got married to a bad-ass ol’ lady. We were livin’ in a house in Glendale.”
“But you copped a new charge?”
“Yeah. Prohibited possesser. Some jackass stole my ol’ lady’s car, and I repoed it back, but I was pulled over and there was a gun under the seat.”
“That sucks. How much time did they give you?”
“Seven-and-a-half years.”
“You signed for seven-and-a-half for that?”
“I had no choice. Thay said if I didn’t sign and took it to trial, I’d lose and they’d stack all my charges, so I’d get twenty-somethin’ years.”
“Yep. That’s how they get you. Sorry to hear that, man.”
“I ain’t sweatin’ it.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood


The Prison Machiavelli

Two Tonys relates quotes of Machiavelli to prison life

And, above all things, abstain from taking people’s property….

“In the joint you should abstain from takin’ people’s property, 'cause, firstly, you can get hurt, and secondly, it’s not the right thing to do. Readers may be saying', ‘But Two Tonys done robbed, done stole, done conned, and now he’s sayin’ takin’ someone’s Snickers and two bars of soap is wrong,’ so lemmetellyasomethin’: there ain’t nothin’ worse than a jailhouse thief. Also, extortion of property by gang members ain’t right. It’s hard enough in here with the boot of the man, society, on our necks, to then hafta experience man’s inhumanity to fellow man from yer brothers in chains - shit like protection rackets, quid pro quos, I’m gonna give you two boxes of cigarettes a week to handle my problems. Here the strong prey on the weak and the smart take from the strong.”

…it is much more safe to be feared than to be loved….

“Here, bein’ feared can hurt you or can help you. If you’re too feared motherfuckers might wanna take yer out. I whacked a motherfucker outta fear. He scared me, so I had to get there first. There’s a happy medium. Love in prison is a word thrown around a lot, love and respect, wah-wah-wah. If you get right down to it there ain't too many motherfuckers who love yer in these fuckin’ shithouses. You’re pretty much on your own. Respect is a more common emotion – and a form of fear. I respect the Rock outta fear. I’m not gonna pull his moustache and poke him in the eye if I see him in a bar. That’s respect.”

Politics has no relation to morals.

“Prison politics have changed since my first time down in 1980. There was a code. If you were a good person of your race they wouldn’t beat you down and take your shit, they’d show you the ropes, the dos and don’ts. If some ese or black dudes run up on your store bag and say, ‘Whatchu got in there. I’m hungry. Gimme some,' and you’ve got no allies, you’re in big trouble; so, you need six or seven white guys to roll over to prevent a situation. The white guys aren’t supposed to exploit you later on but they do. Politics changed when DOC STG’d [classified as a Security Threat Group] the gang leaders, and sent 'em to SMU. The cons used to run prison. DOC runs it now. The days of the old wise-crackin’ con talkin’ outta the side of his neck are gone.”

…a man who wants to act virtuously in every way necessarily comes to grief among so many who are not virtuous.

“That’s so fuckin’ true. When somethin’ bad's goin’ down, you feel it, it’s in the air, you know it’s about to happen. I seen a guy one time they were gettin’ ready to kill. I knew him, and somethin’ told me to warn him but I didn’t do it. They killed him. The virtuous thing to do woulda got my ass killed. You can’t be too virtuous in here. If I see a guy comin’ outta a cell with some jabroni’s TV that I don’t give a fuck about, I’m not gonna get involved. If it’s a partner’s TV, yeah, fuck, let’s get it back. In society you see your neighbours house gettin’ robbed and you call the cops. In here that’s a no-no.”

For men are so simple… that the deceiver will never lack dupes.

“No question about it. There’s a lotta dupes in prison - some smart people too. Turned loose on society, there’s some motherfuckers in here that’ll run big game.”

Hatred is acquired as much by good works as by bad ones.

“Churchgoers are not privy to a lotta things goin’ on. You can’t be too good in here. When you start feedin’ hungry motherfuckers, it’s seen as weakness, and yer gonna have a line at yer door every night.”

How perilous it is to free a people who prefer slavery.

“You’ve gotta lotta institutionalised prisoners. State-raised from the cradle to foster homes to juvenile hall to county jails to prison. These guys hit the gates, get out, and can’t cope with it. They’re freer in here than with the bunch of worker ants I see on my television at 5:30 in the mornin’, on the freeways, bumper to bumper, bunched up line after line, all headin’ downtown. Here we don’t decide what we eat, wear, or what doctor we see. If this is all you’ve known yer entire life how are you expected to get out there and get a job, buy clothes, get to work, pay bills? It’s a drain on a motherfucker who’s not ready for it. You’ve gotta be a well-oiled machine. The tiniest infraction – a speedin’ ticket – and the whole machine is kaput. Suddenly you’re down $175, so you’ve gotta boost some canned ham from the meat department at Safeway so you can eat. When I wave goodbye to motherfuckers like Repo at the gate, I know they’re comin’ back. Slavery is a state of mind and prisoners are mentally conditioned to be in prison.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
03 Sept 06


“Do you wanna blow some money?” I was asked in the library by Certified, a squat youngster with a face like Al Capone's.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“I wanna show you my new tats.” Certified dropped his pants and boxers. Above his urethal opening, etched on purple skin, was a dollar sign with blood coming from it. Originating at the base of his glans penis, Harley Davison-style flames flickered down the shaft. Jiggling his penis magnified the visual effect.
“Did it hurt?” I asked.
“Hell, yeah!”
“How bad?”
“It felt like someone puttin’ a cigarette out on my dick.”
“Why do they call you Certified?”
“’Cause they say I ain’t mentally stable.”
“How many mental disorders do you have?”
“I’m bipolar, and diagnosed as severely mentally ill.”
“What meds are you on?”
“Lithium, Prozac, and Tegratol. Check this tat out” Certified removed his T-shirt and revealed a tattoo the size of a license plate at the top of his back that read: CERTIFIED.
“Where’s your next tat going to be?”
“I’m thinkin’ of more tats to get on my dick.”
“Does it take long to do a dollar sign?”
“About fifteen minutes. Why dontcha get one?”
“I’m sensitive down there. It would hurt too much."
“I wanna have sex with midgets,” Certified said, “’cause then my little penis would look big in their small hands.”
“You should try and hook up with Bridget the Midget when you get out then.”

What should Certified's next design be?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
02 Sept 06

Legitimizing Prison Tattoo Shops

I've met many prisoners who contracted diseases from getting tattoos - most with hepatitis C, one with AIDS, and some with staph infections - so I was pleased to read an article by Gary Hunter in Prison Legal News (August 06) about six Canadian prisons, including Manitoba’s Rockwood Institution, that have set up prison tattoo shops as a measure to prevent diseases. Prisoner skin artists are paid $6.90 per day, and prisoner customers pay $5 per tattoo.

The adoption of such a program in the US would prevent some prisoners from contracting diseases and reduce healthcare costs in the long run.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

01 Sept 06


I was moved to a cell on the upper tier.
Blood free. Less mosquitoes. Much better.
The cell had one occupant, Too Tall, who moved in with Midnight, so now I have no cellmate.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

August 31 06

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
Thank Yous

Numerous people have helped me in various ways, so some thank yous are in order.
I would like to thank everyone who wrote a letter of support for my commutation of sentence hearing.
My birthday would have been just another day without the cards and letters that cheered me up no end. Thank you to those who went out of their way to put a smile on my face.
Because of the generosity of people sending books, I’ve been able to read over 200 this year, and have donated hundreds to the prison library to be enjoyed by others. Due to your kindness, I’ve discovered Don DeLillo, and enjoyed David Sedaris, Woody Allen, Martin Amis, and Amos Oz.
Good lookin’ out!
August 29 06

A Reluctant Stool Inspector

“How did it go at Medical?” I asked Midnight.
“Apparently,” Midnight said, “I’ve got three stomach ulcers, and the biopsy shows cancer in my upper intestine. The nurse said I need to quit smokin’. And the doctor wants me to look at my stool, at my bowel movements. If they’re real dark, then there’s blood in it and he wants a sample. I’m supposed to pick my shit outta the commode and bring it up there to Medical.”
“You’d better do what they say if you’ve got cancer. That’s serious.”
“Nope. I drop one, flush one. I ain’t lookin’ at my shit. To be honest, I don’t wanna know if I’m bleedin’ outta my rectum. I’ve got enough problems.”
“But you could die. It’s in your best interest to do as they say.”
“I’m not gonna put shit in my hand, put it in a bag, and bring it up to them.”
“You should at least look and see if there’s blood in it.”
“I don’t wanna know if there’s blood in it!”
“Cancer’s serious business. You need to determine the extent of it in your body.”
“I ain’t ever looked at my shit. Maybe tomorrow I will. Knowing my luck, I’ll see that it’s full of dark blood, and I’ll hafta siphon it out for 'em.”
“Won’t they let you do it at Medical? Then giving a sample would be easier.”
“No. I’ve gotta do it up here. I told 'em I go in the mornin’s, and they said to just put the stool in a plastic bag and take it on up to Medical.”
“They expect you to carry a bag of it all the way across the unit to Medical?”
“Yeah. Do you know how embarrassing it would be to bring a bag of shit up to the control booth and say to the guard, ‘I gotta get this bag of shit up to Medical right away.’ They’re likely to put me on report: at 0800 hours inmate E. brought a bag of shit to us.”
“I don't doubt it. I almost got put on report for telling a guard that my scrotum was bleeding.”
“And they’ll charge me three dollars for takin’ the bag of shit to 'em. They’re quacked, fuckin’ quacked.”
“But still, with your health at stake, you’ve got no choice.”
“OK. I’ve gotta deal for you: tomorrow, I’ll take a peak and if there’s blood in there, if you want, you can fish some out and take it down to them.”
“If I’d just been diagnosed with cancer, I’d be fishing it out in a heartbeat.”

Midnight didn't inspect his stool. He's more concerned about them telling him to stop smoking than the cancer diagnosis. Does anyone have medical advice for Midnight?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
August 28, 2006


Gaunt and long-haired, Midnight looks like Chris Robinson from the The Black Crowes.

“In ’93,” Midnight began, “a semi hit my Old Cutlass 442 and broke my back. I was paralysed from the waist down so they did a laminectomy. They took out part of a disc and moved the sciatic nerve a little bit, so it was not being pinched by the L4 and L5 vertebrae. In ’95 I had a fusion: they put in two stainless steel screws and removed the disc. In ’97 they removed the two screws and put a plate in there and drilled four screws into it. In 2003, at Joe Arpaio’s Durango, I was smashed for standing up for an old timer and my L4 and L5 vertebrae were cracked.”
“I heard Durango was a gladiator school?”
“I thought I was gonna be killed. They broke my eye socket and cheekbone and fractured my skull. Four ribs were cracked. They had to screw a plate and pins in to hold my eyeball in its socket. Here, feel here.”
I felt the metal at the top of Midnight’s left cheek and said, “Anything else wrong with you?”
“I’ve got no gall bladder, appendix or tonsils,” Midnight said in a proud way.
“Anything else?”
“Just emphysema.”
“Do you mind if I ask what you’re in prison for?”
“Theft of means. I stole a truck to finance my $250-a-day crack addiction and $100-a-day meth habit.”
“Did you do drugs for most of your life?”
“No, before the accident with the semi, I was straight. I was a heavy-machine operator drivin’ backholes, graders and bobcats, makin’ $23 an hour. Me, my old lady and son had money in the bank. We didn’t want for nothin’. Then I couldn’t work. I didn’t feel like a man no more. I took an overdose of Demerol and Valium on my first suicide attempt. I became addicted to painkillers: Valiums, Somas, Vicodin 750s, Demerols and morphine. When the doctor cut me off because he didn’t want me to kill myself on his drugs, I started self-medicatin’ with street drugs and I lost everything - my family, home, vehicle, my freedom, every damn thing. I’ve been in and out of prison five times as I have no one to help me. Last time, I got outta prison with the $50 gate money, I was picked up by Mesa Police who reinstated a fine for a shoplifting case and released me with no money, wearing blue dungarees and sandals. I had to shoplift some shoes from Wal-Mart. I ended up sleeping next to railway tracks, eattin’ outta a dumpster by Papa John’s Pizzas.”
“You got robbed by Mesa Police! How long were you out for?”
“A coupla months.”
“It’s tragic that a car crash changed your fate so dramatically.”

Later on, Midnight talked about witnessing his father’s suicide. I read his Office of the Public Defender Presentence Report. Here are some excerpts.

E’s father committed suicide just four days before E’s 18th birthday. E’s father put a 12 gauge shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger…it blew most of his face and top of his head off. E was reaching for his father’s arm to stop him when he witnessed this horrible tragedy. He was never the same after that.

In 2004, after consuming a large amount of crack cocaine, E tried to commit suicide. He wanted to die like his father did. He took a 9mm gun and pulled the trigger but the gun jammed. He was prescribed several medications but did not have the money to get his prescription filled therefore he didn’t get the necessary medication to help stabilize his condition.

E’s mother passed away in 2001. She was involved in a serious automobile accident and haemorrhaged to death.

Is Midnight a throwaway person?

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

August 27 2006

Question Time

Tania in Norfolk asked for my favourite comedies.

The Young Ones is my favourite. Others include Black Adder, Spitting Image, Absolutley Fabulous, Monty Python’s flying Circus, and Southpark.

Tania also asked if I had read Friedrich Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil.

It’s one of the few books I’ve read twice. I find Nietzsche’s voice irresistable. It’s readable unlike Kant. I enjoy Nietzsche’s pyshological insights, criticisms of society, and foresight. I get excited reading Nietzsche.

Quotes from Beyond Good and Evil that I like include: “The discipline of suffering, of great suffering..has produced all the elevations of humanity hitherto.”
“Profound suffering makes noble; it seperates.”

Tedsie in Leicester asked for some long-term investment advice, something to put away for his kids.

Small monthly investments in investment trusts will average your cost as the stock market swings. When the market crashes you can invest lump sums at cheap prices. I’d gear your investments to those capitalizing on Eastern growth - especially India and China. Other investment trust themes that should do well include nanotech and biotech. Stem- cell research has massive potential. For investors looking to speculate in individual stocks, you should research those companies developing hepatitis C drugs (based on the epidemic in prisons that has been swept under the carpet and should spill into society). Companies treating diabetes and companies offering security against identity fraud should do well.
August 26

Good Lookin’ Out!

Thanks for sending books. I am pleased to report that with your help I read 113 books in the first half of 2006, smashing my reading goal. We’re filling up shelves in the prison library. These books will be enjoyed by prisoners long after I’m gone.

I send thank-you letters to everyone who sends books unless the books come without receipts. I would like to thank those of you who have recently sent books inclduing Ed in bayside, Helen in Suffolk, Emily in Kirlkand, John in London and Alan in Australia.
The funniest books I’ve read in the past six months are Mark Leyners Et tu, Babe and J Robert Lennon’s Eight Pieces for the Left Hand. In the past year I’ve become a modern-fiction junkie. At the end of 2005 I was reading 30% fiction. Now I’m reading almost 60% fiction.

Thanks readers!
Greeted By a Vicodin Junkie

"Vicodin," Weird Al began, "has turned me into the rough equivalent of a drug-addled Scottish barfly known to frequent Jekyll & Hyde's in Edinburgh, incapable of completeing one-syllable words, incapable of cognizent conversation after gulping Vicodin down at a rate of twelve a day for the past seven days.
"I have, however, come up with a better system than the federal government for measuring hurricanes. By looking at the speeds of Floridians doing wind-induced cartwheels down the streets of Miami, I can detect categories and wind forces accurate to ten decimal places on the Beaufort scale.
"As the drug half-life of Vicodin reduces toxicity levels in my body, I'll become correspondingly more intelligent and hence worthy of cult members. Indeed, now they've arrested polygamist leader Warren Jeffs on the FBI's most wanted list, there's a power vacuum out there and I'm acccepting applications. Potential cult members need to submit their annual salaries and vacation homes in the south of France, Switzerland and the Gold Coast. A short essay must be submitted listing my intelligence, good looks, wisdom and above all modesty. Current estimations of the size of my projected cult range from zero to one. The one being me. I am the one, the godhead, universal consciousness, Krishna, Ram Dass and all that."
"Indeed," I said.
"By the way, how are you and your celly getting along?"
"He's a smoker. But you know how it is. Even with the best-matched celly in the world, nothing beats your own cell."
"Yes, even if Mother Teresa were my celly, I'd gut punch her after three months. But there's an especially dark cloud hanging over your blood-splattered cell. The scene of a violent encounter between two men whom, depsite repeated attempts, failed to kill one another. It's a karmic part of your black aura. As is being assigned a cellmate who smokes like an 1800s woodburing train, transmitting his cancerous tumours to your body while you sleep by his simple exhalations.
Now that you've finally made it to Yard 1, I'll immediately set about working up anti-British sentiment with the local population, into a frenzy of further bloodletting. There'll soon be British blood all over your cell."
"It actually seems mellower here. Perhaps because I don't know too many people."
"Your life won't be mellow for very long."
"You look like you've gained ten to twenty pounds, Al."
"Yes, I've turned into a wallowing pig who wakes up with popcorn in his asscrack. I've been eating food in amounts that make Slingblade look like a caloristic piker."
"I've certainly missed your sense of humour."
August 24


The bottom of the window at the back of the cell opens at the level of the ground. Lots of bugs, especially ants, spill in. When I'm writing, the ants crawl on my paperwork. I have to stop what I'm doing in order to flick them out of the window. It's hard to detect all of what the inmates call "piss ants" because they are so small.

The mosquitoes get more aggresive at night. It's so hot that I only wear shorts in the cell, giving the mosquitoes a large area to strike. I sleep wrapped in a sheet and I often wake up with bite marks on my head and neck. Some of them steal our blood and fly straight into the fan. They leave bloodstains on the wall from which their corpses dangle.

Last night a dragonfly whizzed in, and zigzagged all over the place. I was trying to read, but it kept ramming my face. Eventually, it descended to the bottom bunk and buzzed in Midnight's ear. He stood up, grabbed a shower sandal, and beat it to death.

August 19 06

Minimised (Part 2)

The blood splattered on the floor, ceiling, walls, bunks, windows, toilet, sink, door, table, shelves, and corkboard in my new cell would likely cause a practitioner of feng shui some concern.

"There was a fight," Piggie said.
"The cops half-assed cleaned the blood. Dude's cheek got bitten off. It ripped his face wide open. The other dude was talented with his fists, elbows and head buttin'."
"It looks like the guy who lost all this blood must have needed a transfusion afterwards," I said.
"I'm a porter. I'll getcha some cleaning supplies," Piggie said.

At least it's a single cell, I thought. I can clean the blood up. But there's no mattress, lightbulb, trashcan or chair. How's a writer supposed to function with no chair? I'd better go and get permission to get my mattress from Yard 4.

Thirty minutes later I returned with my mattress and discovered my new cellmate, Midnight, throwing up blood in the toilet.
"Shouldn't you be at hospital," I said. "That's a lot of blood."
"I just spent four days at the hospital," Midnight said. "Morphine IVs. A CAT scan. A GI tube down my throat. A cancer biopsy. They said there's a cancerous lump closin' one of my intestines. After I drink fluid it all comes up bright red like this."
"That's rough. Did they give you anything for it?"
"I'm on Vicodin, Elavil, Omeprazole, Acetaminophen, and stomach-nausea pills." Midnight faced me. He displayed a chin covered in blood.
A wood entered the cell and said,"Jon, can I speak to you outside?"
"Yeah, sure," I said, and exited."What's the matter?"
"Look, your new celly just got beat up. I've been asked to tell you not to get involved."
"Beat up?"
"Yeah, he owes money. Stay out of it, OK? He might have to move off this yard."
"If he owes money, I'd rather not be involved."
I went back inside and said,"Someone here beat you up?"
"Yeah, I've had two fights today. One on Yard 2 before I left and another one just now."
"In this cell?"
"Yeah, some dude just came inside, asked me for the time, and sucker-punched me."
"That's a lot of drama. Will there be more problems like that coming to this cell?"
"I think it's squashed now."

What have I got into? I thought. They say Yard 1 is mellow yet a guy just got his cheek bitten off and my celly got beat up as soon as he arrived. All this blood is a bad sign. And no chair. A writer with no chair. Calm down. Would Marcus Aurelius be phased by some blood? Try not to be affected by what is happening externally. This is good stuff to write about. Whatever will happen next?

"I gotta tellya upfront, celly," Midnight said.
"What's that," I said.
"'Cause of my medical problems, I hafta pee through the night. Wouldja rather I flush the toilet and make noise or just leave my pee in the can?"
"The flushing will wake me up," I said. "Let's leave it in the can."

Midnight and I spent hours cleaning up the blood. We still find spots of it here and there.

Coming soon: How an accident led to Midnight losing his family, home and job as a heavy-machine operator. And the cocaine, crack and meth addicitions that led to his imprisonment.
20 August 06

The Death of Aunty Ann

Those of you familiar with the mechanics of this blog may be aware that it began with my Aunty Ann smuggling my notes out of the Madison Street jail, typing them up, and emailing them to my parents in England.

Sadly, on the 17th of August, Aunty Ann died of cancer at the age of 61. Her passing caused such heartache that I’ve only recently felt able to write about it.

Aunty Ann and her sister, Sue, helped me get established in Phoenix when I arrived in 1991. Both of them acted as surrogate parents over the years. When I was held on remand in the jail, Aunty Ann's visits were a great source of support. I am distressed that I will never see her again.

Aunty Ann, Dad disclosed that during your last days, your stamina of spirit and acceptance of suffering outshone the sorrow of your illness. Your example spoke volumes. May you rest in peace, and may your spirit live on in your children.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

It is Jon's birthday on 28th October, if anyone would like to send him a card.
His current address can be found on the post ‘Minimized’ below.
18 August 06


Living in prison is like being in a video game that can scroll to a different level at any time. When such moves occur, whatever routine you established is disrupted. You worked hard to be accepted where you were at. You built rapport. You developed friendships. You learned who it was safe or dangerous to be around. Then suddenly everything changes.

“Dog 11, roll your shit up. You’re goin’ to minimum.”

It’s finally happening, I thought. I'm moving to Yard 1. It seems unreal. I’m trembling. Take deep breaths. It’s the end of an era. The era of Two Tonys, Xena, and Slingblade. How are my friends going to take it? Will I be able to blog them still? Will I get a single cell at Yard 1? Get a grip. Everything will be fine.

I wrote ten sides of paper on the farewells. Here are some exerpts:

“Say hi to Weird Al for me,” Shane said.

“I love you, brother,” T-Bone said, and bear-hugged me.

Xena’s lengthy hug spoke louder than his words.

“I love you, man,” Two Tonys said. “Outta all the motherfuckers I’ve ever met, you’ve changed my way of thinkin’ the most.”
“But ultimately you’ve changed your way of thinking.” I said and hugged him.
“You need to take some fuckin’ credit. And stop bein’ so fuckin’ humble.”
“Alright, I’m glad I helped you.”
“That’s more fuckin’ like it.”

“I had a feeling something was going to happen today,” Jack said. “Who am I going to have deep conversations with now?”

“Let’s make love,” Frankie said, “real quick in my cell, Englandman.”
“I’ll dee-cide who I make love to, and it’s going to be with a woman,” I said.
“I’ve dee-cided we need to French kiss before you leave.”
“I’ll dee-cide who I French kiss and who I don't French kiss.”

George sang "Rule Britannia", as I walked across the yard on a handshake marathon.

“The bloody pond-skippers leavin’ us,” Slope said. “For a son of a Brit and a Limey youz one helluvanalright dude. Take care dawwgie. I think you’re gonna do well.”

“007’s finally leavin’ us!” BHF yelled.
“It’s alright,” Ogre said. “Hey England, I sent word to Yard 1 that you’re putting stories on the Internet about who’s doin’ drugs and you’re usin’ real names. They’re gonna beat your ass down as soon as you get there.”
“Nice try Ogre. Nobody believes rumours coming from you. Good luck to you,” I said and put my middle finger on display to him as soon as I stepped out of the gate.

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below
Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

Mail sent to Jon's previous address will get forwarded to him. He is still in Santa Rita, it is the Yard and the cell that have changed, see below:

Santa Rita Unit
Shaun Attwood ADC#187160, 1-B-10
PO BOX 24406
Tucson, 85734,

17 August 06

Do I have a Haemorrhoid (Part 5)

“It seems,” Shane said, “Your ass was jealous of your balls and started self-injuring. How did you discover the lump?”
“While I was wiping.”
“Hmmm. Through layers of toilet paper you felt it?” Shane asked.
“Yeah. It’s on the outside. Also I felt it during a shower. And I’ve been feeling it ever since.”
“Why do you keep feelin’ it?” Xena asked.
“I have to clean myself don’t I?”
“When I was wiping my ass,” Shane said, “I was thinking there’s no way that you could feel a lump like that.”
“I told you, it’s on the outside!”
“Does it hurt?”
“Has there been any blood in your stool?” Xena asked.
“No. It doesn’t even itch. But if my arse falls out I’ll be sure to let you guys know.”
“It seems ,” Xena said, “that it has debilitated you mentally. Anythin’ in your anus that debilitates you mentally needs to be checked out 'cause the stress over somethin’ that may be nothin’ at all can be ten times worse than than the problem.”
“It’s stressful and embarrassing. My pulse shot up when I went to see Odd Job about it.”
“It needs to be seen by a medical eye regardless of the cost of embarrassment,” Xena said.
“Let’s see the cream they gave you.” Shane said.
Pondering the ointment, they took a sinister interest in the intrarectal applicator.
Xena, holding brandishing the applicator, said, “I can give you somethin’ much better than this that’ll shoot up your ass much further.”
“I stopped using the cream.”
“Why?” Shane asked.
“Some strange side effects, including a weird tingling sensation.”
“That’s because,” Xena said, “you have a virginal prostrate. It’s supposed to tingle when you enjoy it. You didn’t realise you were enjoyin’ it 'cause you’re straight.”
“When you wipe, how long do you keep your finger in?” Shane asked.
“In! My finger doesn’t go in! I should have known better than to tell you guys.”
“You hafta,” Xena said, “apply the cream internally. Do you want me to show you how to do it?”
“I’m not using the bloody cream any more!”
“I can,” Xena said, “help you douche with haemorrhoidal cream usin’ a soda bottle with a straw on the end. If you assume the position, I’ll flush you out with a geyser of water. I’d advise you to hold some water in for a bit.”
“Coffee-enema style?” I asked.
“Yes. But I think we’ll use Cola-Cola,” Xena said. “I tried it the other night.”
“Look. I’ve got one little lump. It’s no big deal.”
“So you say,” Xena said.
“What’re you trying to say, that these things travel in packs?”
“Just like wild wolves,” Xena said. “We really need to look in your ass for the internal ones.”
“Before they start hanging out like a bunch of grapes,” Shane said.
“Are you sure there’s been no blood in your stool?” Xena asked.
“Or on the paper after the wipe?”
“No blood.”

George entered the room, quickly caught on to the topic of discussion, and said, “It’s most likely a cyst. A tiny blister on his backside. If you guys hold him down, I’ll pop it.”
“That’s not happening.” I said.
“He’s even scared of the applicator he’s supposed to insert,"George said. "He’s frightened he may get excited.”
“It’s only an inch and a half. Here let me stick it in for you,” Xena said, approaching me with it. “It won’t hurt.”
George jumped in between me and Xena, offered his rear end to Xena, and yelled, “Do it to me - at a fast rate.”
Xena picked up a Manila envelope and used a corner of it to prick George's behind.
George straightened up and said, “Bad bitch!”
They wrestled until George ran out of steam.
“Look what you started,” Shane said to me.
“Slut!” Xena said, pointing the interectal applicator at George.
“I’ve seen cornholes you only dream about. Now what, motherfucker?” Xena said.
“Now, now,” I said. “I thought we were doing a think tank here on my anal lump.”
“My advice, Jon,” Xena said, “is to sit on your bunk, spread your legs like you’re doing’ some yoga position, and grab your tight-ass cheeks and pull them apart. Then you need to move your little balls outta the way – ”
“Hey now!” I said. With all due respect to my balls, they’re not that little in this heat.”
“Well,” Xena said, “they’re not big enough to fall over your anus.”
“Good point,” I said.
“Spread your ass cheeks,” Xena said, “in front of a mirror so you can see your little asshole to find out what’s going on in there.”
“Use your blue eyes to see your brown eye,” Shane said.
“Excellent advice, my deeply-concerned friends,” I said. "I’ll be sure not to do any of these things. I’ll wait and see what the doctor says.”

Addendum: The lump went away so I cancelled my medical appointment. I suspect it was just a blood blister.

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood

The Killer at the Optometrists

16 August 06

The Killer at the Optometrists

Two Tonys was recently transported to see an eye doctor. I asked him how it went.
“Have you ever been transported into Tucson from here?” Two Tonys asked.
“No,” I said.
“Lemmetellya about the transportation guards: they’re real negative motherfuckers. They’re probably told, ‘If you slip and fall, don’t think a prisoner won’t grab your gun and kill you.’ They’re trained to keep their distance and remain aloof. To give us what we’ve got comin’: chains, transportation, and a cup of fuckin’ water if there’s a fountain around. They’re not gonna talk about who won the ball game or where the nearest pizzeria is. They’re real shitheads.
Anyhow, I get to the doctor’s office, and there musta been twenty fuckin’ people to see him, and I’m at the bottom of the list 'cause I’m a state prisoner. I look around, and I got no one to talk to.”
“How did the other patients react to you?”
“They wouldn’t make eye contact with me. I’ve got belly chains on, ankle chains on, sittin’ between two guards packin’ Glock pistols, and they didn’t wanna look at me. So I’m lookin’ at them, studyin’ them. There musta been six old couples, and I’m figurin’ out in my brain – 'cause I’ve got nothin’ better to do. I’m gonna be stuck there for a couple of hours starin’ at them – and here’s what I see: a couple across from me about my age, probably married for forty fuckin’ years.
I see the guy in his grey knee-length shorts, his cotton shirt, his argyle socks, and his Nike-swoosh shoes. You know, presentable. A typical retired suburbanite who probably got a gold watch when he quit workin’ for the phone company or the insurance company or some other shit, where they gave him cake and donuts at the office cubicle party, and told him what a swell guy he’d been for the past twenty-five years. Runnin’ from cubicle to cubicle, sayin’ how much they were gonna miss him, till his ass hit the door.
And the guy’s just sittin’ there, lookin’ at the wall. Not sayin’ anythin’ to the old prune-faced lady sittin’ next to him, who he’s gotta be nice to, and will probably miss like hell when she dies. And she’s just sittin’ there lookin’ at the wall as well, and I said to myself, You know what? He’s doin’ time. You think this motherfucker ain’t doin’ time? He’s gonna see the doctor, and she’s gonna give him moral support after they squirt that shit in his eye – after they squirted me, I couldn’t see shit on the way home. I had to feel my way to the fuckin chow hall – and then he’s gonna go home to his nice middle-income house, with a pool in the backyard, and the grandkids, who probably live in Cincinnati, are gonna come over and visit him once a year, at Xmas. And his ol’ lady knows just how he likes his coffee in the mornin’. And they might or might not still be fuckin’ - forty years, come on now! How much can you fuck the same person for forty years? It’s gotta get old. Put me with J-Lo or Salma Hayek or Terry Hatcher of Desperate Housewives and I’m gonna get fuckin’ tired of it eventually.
Here’s the crux of my thoughts: the old guy ain’t no happier than I am. I could see it in his face. I’m goin’ back to the joint, but I’m gonna clown with the youngsters and talk a lotta shit. I’ll do a little walkin’ and exercise. I’ll enjoy my shows: American Idol, Survivor, and I watch a lotta PBS. So what if I have to get up four or five times to piss durin’ the night due to my enlarged prostrate, the old guy ain’t having as good a time as I am. He might have me on the food - he might be eatin’ Waldorf salads, and lamb cutlets with apple sauce or mint jelly, compared with my burrito mix and two tortillas. He’s got me there. But I’m goin’ the store tomorrow. I’ll get me some Milky Ways, Nutty Cones, and a couple of Sprites. I’m gonna plug up my arteries real good, but I deserve a good time every now and then. I can tell ya this much: the old guy may be eatin’better, but he ain’t laughin’ harder. He ain’t got the sense of adventure I’m havin’ 'cause anythin’ can kick off in the joint at any time, and it often does. I ain’t got it that bad. The old guy’s gotta pay the bill for his life, whereas the State’s pickin’ up my tab. That’s called PMA: a positive mental attitude, brother. Happiness is just a state of mind.”
“I agree,” I said. “It seems you’ve become an existential philosopher. But what I’m still wondering is: what were you doing at the eye doctors?”
“They squirted some shit in my eye and looked at my cataracts, to determine if he’s gonna hafta cut 'em out or not. This growin’ old business ain’t for wimps. But you know what? A lotta guys don’t make it. I’m sure you’ve heard of Achilles, the Greek warrior, a hero of the Trojan War, who got whacked by Paris who hit him in the heel with a poison arrow?”
“Yeah, Achilles killed Hector in the Iliad.”
“Well, when Achilles was in hell – Hades – Odysseus asked him in so many words: is it better to die like a hero, young, in battle, or to grow old on yer fuckin’ farm feedin’ yer goats? Achilles reply was: I’ll take the goat feedin’ or even be a slave any fuckin’ time.”

"Do not speak soothingly to me of death, glorious Odysseus. I should choose to serve as the hireling of another, rather than to be lord over the dead that have perished."
—Achilles' soul to Odysseus. Homer, Odyssey 11.488

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
15 August 06

Do I have a Haemorrhoid? (Part 4)

I ceased using the ointment, and hid it so that Frankie wouldn't find it.

"George," I said, “I’ve got a health problem you may be able to advise me on, but I don’t need it sharing with the rest of the yard.”
“And what would that be?”
“I have a small lump on my anus. I saw the nurse. They haven’t looked at it. I was given cream and I’ve been scheduled for a full exam next month.”
“Is it itching or bleeding?”
“I’ve got some good advice for you.”
“What’s that?”
“Don’t tell Frankie.”
“I’ve only told you.”
“It’s probably a cyst. What we need to do is pop it and see what comes out. I’ll do it if you like. I’m used to seeing backsides. I used to pack them with cotton when I was a funeral director.”
“Mine is a little more alive than that, and what good would popping it be?”
“It’s similar to how you deal with a zit, except you normally lance a cyst.”
“I think I’ll give the popping a miss, otherwise I’ll end up at Medical witha bleeding behind."
“As pale as you are, I don’t think you have that much blood in you. And you certainly wouldn’t be the first in here to go to medical with a bleeding rectum. Mooga was up there with a bleeding ass all of the time.”
“Have a look at the cream, tell me what you think.” I took the ointment from its hiding place.
George examined the tube and fondled the intrarectal applicator.“How beautiful!”
“That thing isn’t going up my arse.”
“Why not? Bigger stuff comes out. What are you afraid of? You’re such a prude hiding this in your Kleenex box.”
“I’m trying to get some serious advice out of you, George. What if I’ve got cancer or something?”
“Well, usually cancer polyps are on the underside of the colon.”
“That’s reassuring.”
“That’s when they do a colonoscopy, and you can’t eat for a few days before it.”
“So what’s this rectal exam I’m scheduled for?”
“He’ll do a visual of it. If it looks serious, a hospital appointment will follow. That’s when the tubes, cameras, and lights come out. If he sees a suspected polyp, he’ll probably snip a piece off for a biopsy.”
“I doubt if it’s rectal cancer.”
“It’s always good to get it checked. Detected early enough, it is easily treated and got rid of. Look at Katie Couric. Her husband died of rectal cancer, so she had a colonoscopy live on The Today Show. It can be a very serious matter but highly treatable if caught early enough, but so many people are scared of someone looking in such a private place.”
“Thanks for the advice. I thought you were just going to rip me about it like you did with my scrotum situation.”
“I only made fun of the scrotum 'cause it was external and I had visions of one-ball Jon. Until we find out whether it’s serious or not, it’s nothing to joke about. If it turns out to be a haemorrhoid, the gloves are off, and I’ll make fun of your asshole. In the meantime, if you need help with the applicator, I’ll be only too happy to give you a helping hand.”

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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood