29 May 08

Tales of Me Leaving Me Behind (by Otis)

Born into and raised by the Outlaw Biker Gang, Otis is an ex car thief, forger, and crystal-meth addict. The tattoo around his neck reads: SORRY NO GOOD RUTHLESS MOTHERFUCKER. Toward the tail end of my incarceration, we became good friends and I wrote several short stories based on his most disturbing prison experiences.
Here's his first story for Jon's Jail Journal.

After passing out all of the store I owed, I felt good, so I laid on my bunk and started reading Joel Osten’s new book, Become a Better You. This guy in our dorm who I don’t like and doesn’t like me – we have an agreement: keep each others names out of each others mouths – was visiting the guy in the bed next to me when I heard my name come out of his mouth.
I listened to the rest of his conversation, and with book in hand sat up and said, “I told you to keep my name out of your mouth.”
He looked at me and said, “Fuck you, Otis. If you don’t like it we can handle it in the bathroom, you piece of shit.”

So I got up, jumped over the locker, and commenced throwing rights and lefts rapidly to his face. I caught him off guard because he thought I wouldn’t fight there.
The officer was doing head count in the next pod.
After the punches, he tried to hit me and I caught his arm and pulled his momentum and weight to the floor hard, and kicked him in the face twice. The whole pod was speechless. The guy who lives in the cubicle next to me wanted the dude out of his cubicle to clean up the blood before the officer entered to do the count.

The dude ran to his bed, grabbed a towel, and wiped the blood off his face while covering his face. The officer entered. The blood had wiped off fast but his face was red enough for the officer to tell a fight had just happened. But the officer didn’t see it. He left and the dude, because of his embarrassment decided it was not over and came to settle the score. So he walked to the bathroom – I thought to wash his still bleeding face – but no, he got a broom handle, broke it over his knee, and walked toward me.

I grabbed my lock, closed it around my laundry bag and waited till he got up on me.
“This is gonna turn out bad for you,” I said, but he wouldn’t listen.
He jabbed me with the pointy end of the broom handle right above my heart. But I was moving backwards, so it only broke the skin, but I still bled a lot. I swung the lock over my head and hit him under the chin, then behind his ear and lastly in the mouth. He now had open cuts and missing teeth to deal with. I had blood on my shirt where he had stabbed me in the chest.

Everyone was looking at me due to the shock of what had just happened.
“Son of a bitch, we just watched Return to the Thunderdome,” someone said.
I took my shirt off, and said, “Anyone else care to step in the ring for round two?”
No takers.
“Damn, Otis, what are you thinking? You’re going home real soon. Dude’s gonna tell on you,” my neighbor said.
“No he ain’t,” I said and went to the shower, jerked open the curtain and scared the dude as he was rinsing the blood off him.
“Dead issue, right?” I said, holding out my hand for him to shake.
“Dead issue, Otis,” he said.
He wouldn’t shake my hand, so I slapped him in the face open handed, and said, “Who’s a bitch now?”
Everybody heard and started laughing.

I walked back to my bed, changed my shirt, combed my hair, took a seizure pill, rolled a smoke, lit it and laid on my bed reading my book again.
My neighbor was looking at me still with a weird face. I showed him the title of the book.
“Become a Better You,” he said, and we laughed.

It was still quiet when the dude got out of the shower bleeding and missing teeth. His face looked like Elephant Man’s.
So I screamed, “He’s got a knife!”
And everyone started laughing including the dude.

I had gained back all the respect I had lost for not fighting back five times prior to this event because I have a severe brain injury that can kill me any time and the doctor told me my next fight would be my last.
But on the inside of my brain, a small seizure was taking place, just like the doctor said would happen.
I had an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation, which is normal behavior according to Viktor E. Frankl, a psychiatrist Shaun recommended I read.
I say at 43 years old, it takes two weeks to heal, win or lose.
And so far at least no one has ratted us out.

Excerpts from a letter Otis recently wrote:


Thanks for the pics of Amy Winehouse. I need her like she needs another fix.

I’m enrolled in a prisoner reentry program here and the lady in charge of the Tucson area has spoken to me on the services and responses available when I soon get out. They are looking for and working to create successful people. And I fill the qualification. I want to make it legally, prosperously and with great success. I do have a meaning and purpose in life. From what I was, I can feel what I’m transforming into. Yes, I still have some rough edges to smooth out, and the me I’m leaving behind does get his foot into the door of where I’m going, but not as much as he used to. Within is the battle of all battles. As you’ll read in Tales of Me Leaving Me Behind.

I see a psychologist. But I’m going to stop. She is always looking at her watch, and maybe it’s just me, but I think I freak her out with my pacing back and forth while I talk. I think better on my feet.

Question: Can a person try too hard to change into a better different person? I put so much effort into becoming different/better than before and sometimes it stresses me out more than not doing shit. Viktor Frankl caused me to see something I kind of thought was true, but didn’t realise it until I saw it with my own eyes. “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.” So true. Prison is an abnormal situation. He also said, “There are things which must cause you to lose your reason or you have none to lose.” Man, do I know that feeling as you’ll see in the blog story.

Since I had brain surgery, I was told no more fighting ever, and I gave my word that I wouldn’t to someone. Well, that person found out about my eye-patch fight, the five stitches in my lip, and the other fights were I was hit and did not fight back or throw one punch, kick or even try to block. He told me he was proud of my restraint even though I lost. Then he said, I don’t have to keep my word any longer, avoid fighting at all cost, but if someone lays hands on me, show them what I’m capable of. What was frustrating was I couldn’t enjoy the victory ’cause I was hiding the fact I was having a seizure. If it was raining women, I’d get hit by a dick.

Could you look up some job possibilities for me? I’d like to get familiar with these companies.
OMI INC.com (Water and Wastewater) Tucson area
Find Water Jobs.com (Tucson area)
(Type) AZ., Wastewater Jobs (Tucson – Pima County) (Pinal County)
City of Tucson Human Resources Dept (Water, Wastewater, Collections, anything)

I hope I don’t ask for too much, but hell most of this stuff I would like to know before I get out. It seems I have a big enough wall to climb as it is.
And anything I can do for you in here and when I get out I will.

Thank you so much and I enjoy hearing from you. I don’t look forward to much in here but I do look forward to receiveing news from you a lot.

Your friend,

Son of a Biker,


ps) I kind of want to know if your readers have any comments or opinions on what sort of person I am. I am curious what freeworld people might think about me, good or bad.

As this is Otis’s first story for Jon's Jail Journal, your comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated and shall be forwarded to him. Your job advice is also welcome.

email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below

Copyright © 2007-2008 Shaun P. Attwood


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

I liked the Frankl quote. My son is in prison, and I know I went through huge changes since that happened-our whole family has. Normal can mean a lot of things, but I think it has most to do with adjusting to whatever situation you are in without becoming mastered by it. What I have experienced first hand-the reality of the court system, rehab, prison and what goes on there, is now a regular part of my life... learning how to live with it, and beyond that, learning how to have compassion and not become bitter while working to change the system, or at least the people affected by it if I can is my goal. I know I take for granted a great deal that those untouched by such things (and there are fewer and fewer these days) would question or be shocked by. I think your attitude is great. Survival is a daily reality. I just got a design tattooed on my arm that includes my son's number-I guess that might appear extreme, but something I felt I needed to do. Welcome to the blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi Otis, you write well! Like the humour particularly. Don't know much about your situation but hope that seizure wasn't too bad. Can totally understand you fighting back after not having been able to (cause of promising not to). Even though the amount of violence shown would probably scare the shit out of me - I'm slowly learning circumstances alter cases and as my bf would say sometimes you gotta stop someone before they get you..

Best wishes for your relase and on becoming a better you :D

Unknown said...

Otis, glad to hear you are being released soon, how long were you down? Also, i'm slightly confused about your medical condition, was it fighting that caused it and why are you prohibited from any more fights? As far as what kind of person you are, your apparent awareness of your own character says a lot about who you are.

Anonymous said...

Try for a job in the mining industry.

Anonymous said...

it's hard to say what kind of a person Otis is based on a story about him having a fight and a letter. I guess we'll find out more in time.

Anonymous said...

Otis, great first post! DOn't trip homie. I did 5 here in San Diego, and I managed to land a job working with the government (through a contractor that is). I was on a level 2 yard and finished on Level 1, so since my crimes were not white collared (gang bullshit only) I managed to pass background. Just be completely forthcoming and don't hide your past and you will find a job in no time.

Thanks for sharing your story and we look forward to reading more. Take care. -Jose in San Diego

Anonymous said...

Pretty hardcore story man. It sucks you have to take people on like that to maintain your rep and not get messed with. Personally, I think having to deal with people violently like that would be the hardest thing to adjust to in prison life. Then again, if violence was something you are raised with, it might seem the natural way of things. If you want to know what the freeworld people think, honestly, I think they would be pretty afriad. Most people don't deal with each other on a day to day basis by knocking their teeth out. I'm not trying to judge you on this, I understand prison is its own world with its own rules, but that is a pretty insane situation none the less. Hopefully when you get released, you'll be able to live without needing to prove yourself violently.

sparrow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Is it me, or does it seem like Shaun brought some sort of human level to our prison system, and he taught a few of his friends in the joint a certain level of tolerance that I imagine was missing before he arrived ???

Anonymous said...

Otis, you da man!

Noelle said...

Response to Anon: Yes you are totally correct in thinking of what Shaun has done for these people and I am sure there is even more that we don't see or hear from that he has helped in one way or another. Heck, I have never been in prison and he has taught me much! LOL! This blog speaks volumes for his character, strength and compassion of which I admire greatly. It is so incredible for me to meet the people who are here breaking the molds and showing themselves. It's amazing!! I don't care what they have done in the past so much, it is the present and the future that holds the key and with such positive people like Shaun to guide, aide or provide examples it seems the future holds promise for anyone who wishes to reach out. Thanks Shaun! :)

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if you read this, it is the crazy sister of your crazy ex. I miss your paintings.

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