10 Mar 08

Greetings from the Abyss by Jack (Part 2)

Before leaving Tucson prison, I asked Jack, a 49-year-old lifer, if he would be willing to write for Jon’s Jail Journal on a regular basis, so we can keep abreast of developments there. Jack agreed and here is his second blog.

Recently we have experienced an outbreak of debilitating illness that has left us all weak and aching after the whole unit was locked down for a week while we were quarantined. Whether we were afflicted with the plague, stage three halitosis, or the flu is still a mystery.

The rocket scientist in charge of this asylum tried to pass it off as a case of mishandled and undercooked food. Interesting concept except for a few minor flaws. To begin with, as a vegetarian my food is prepared separately from the food fed to the general population and I was just as sick as everyone else. Secondly, the food we prepare is also distributed to another unit and they didn’t get sick.

My personal belief is that we contracted a nasty strain of the flu and the Department of Corrections didn’t want to report to the CDC that they had 400 confirmed cases of it. Now you might ask how I could make such a diagnosis without any formal medical training. Well you see, during the illness and one of my less lucid moments, I remember asking my tour guide, Charon, where we were going on our boat ride. He pointed to the far shore of the Styx and said, “The land of pestilence.” That’s it folks, all the confirmation I needed to solidify my diagnosis of the flu. Why, given a few more of these fever-induced hallucinations I might discover a cure for terminal toe fungus. Then again, maybe I wasn’t hallucinating, maybe I actually took a boat ride with Charon, wouldn’t that be a hoot?

Here are some excerpts from Jack’s latest letter to me:


I received your letter. It was great to read you are moving beyond the initial shock of your release and beginning to enjoy your new found freedom. I was also pleased to see that you are writing on a steady basis again. I wish I could make the same claim, but unfortunately I can not. As usual I’ve got a small blizzard of ideas vying for attention, but none of them can seem to find their way out. I liken my mind to that of a compost pit, relatively good ideas go in and get stirred about, but after a while they all settle to the bottom and rot.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the responses to the first blog I penned. Although I’m not sure if it was the actual piece or my letter that people responded to, it’s nice to know that my writing received a favorable review. Maybe they find my acerbic humor interesting. I’ll leave it to you to chop out the dross and excess.

I must apologize for this letter being so short but I’m still recovering from the plague, or flu, or whatever it was that knocked me on my butt. I hope you are well and that everything is continuing to move forward in a positive manner for you. Take care of yourself my friend,



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Copyright © 2007-2008 Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

I like Jack's metaphor about his mind being a compost pit

Chris Phoenix said...

I like the metaphor... but the fact that he could come up with it and express it so well shows that it isn't true.


Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

It's a weird thing about prison life and why Shaun was unusual in this-the kind of lethargy that sets in from daily doses of doing not much and having really nothing to look forward to takes away motivation and desire. My son just wrote after all good amount of time not writing, and mentioned the trouble a pile of mail caused him when an unexpected cell search was conducted. The thing that struck me was not the search, but the fact that he has nothing really constructive to do but write, and doesn't much, even though that is one activity that reaps such return.

Anonymous said...

Jack seems like an intelligent bloke. The blog may be a good creative interest to keep him active. He shouldn't worry if it doesn't work to his advantage, but at least have a go if he gets the right 'vibes' so to speak.