20 Feb 09
Question Time With Brandon the Occult Killer
Dubbed the Occult Killer by the media, Brandon is serving 6 to 12 years in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Brandon’s crime: he killed his best friend in a drunk-driving accident.
Big Jason wrote: what kind stuff do they let you guys do there? any sports or music rooms or anything? internet access? you guys allowed nudie mags and tobacco? seems like each year they want to take more and more away from prisoners so that the only entertainment or relief will come in the form of other prisoners.
To Big Jason,
A lot has changed in the almost 3 years I’ve been in this prison. The music room, smut mags, and horseshoe pit are gone. Somerset has its own movie channel for those who subscribe to cable, but R-rated film was banned. I call it the “Somerset Piracy Initiative” because they illegally copy DVDs to VHS for the staff and show them to us on the side. Pretty sly, you hypocrites, you. Internet consists of family sending e-mail to the prison and us receiving a printout for a fee. We have tobacco product of all sorts, which Gov. Rendell is trying to stomp out under the guise of a health bill called the “Clean Indoor Air Act.” It bans smoking in all public, enclosed places. Personally, I think it’s the business proprietor’s choice to ban smoking. Just to spite that dumbass law, I’m going to smoke in my Dad’s dental lab when I get home. Ehhh, I might blow the place up, though. It’s a chance I’ll have to take, FOR FREEEEEEDOM! Lol
Anyway, guards don’t enforce it on the block, a much appreciated courtesy because the cell is my house and I’m going to smoke in it. I knew something was up when they stopped selling ashtrays in late 2007 without explanation. That dickhead move forced me to rebuild my shattered tray with nothing but patience and scotch tape.
Sports and other contests are the few things left mostly untouched. The horseshoe pit was replaced with “quoits”, a highfalutin and extraordinarily wimpy rubber ring toss game. Go ahead and say it, the proper response to having such limp-wristedness inflicted upon you is “that’s gay.” Appropriately enough, it attracts swarms of booty bandits. At first, I didn’t care for the horseshoes. Enjoyment of it, for me, requires the formula: July 4th + alcohol + time spent waiting for fireworks. The outcome is horseshoes > fun. ‘Greater than, or equal to fun,’ that’s a strong statement, but true. Give it a try, use the formula. Naturally, when ‘Shoe’ competition came up, I refused for lack of the formula’s magic ingredient (coulda made hooch, there wasn’t time). Then I thought, “Don’t often get the chance to throw big chunks of steel around in jail, maybe I should.” It was good stuff, chucking metal U’s and bouncing them off the inner perimeter fence was also greater than or equal to fun. Glad I did it. Where was I?
There’s also basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, and I think, softball. That might be on the way out, because one inmate tooled off on another with the aluminum bat. Other contests include weight lifting, art, chess, karaoke, and the so-called “Run-a thon.”
What’s the “Run-a-thon”, you ask? Well, prepare your mind-palate to indulge the delicious confectionary brain treats, for I shall bake sweet, picturesque detail!...Too much?
Once a year, a cabal of elite inmates known as “S.O.A.R.” incurs by hostile takeover the entire east yard (if you’re wondering what ‘S.O.A.R.’ stands for, so am I. Besides, you have no right to ask, because I AM ZE AUTHOR, YOU AH ZE READER! I OUT-RANK YOU!. Tables are set out for a great bounty of victuals and wassail in the form of Krispy Kremes, fruit, and Kool-Aid, whatever the contents of the grocery truck that wrecked on the highway are. The handball court becomes a photo station with its monolithic concrete wall as a backdrop. The weight pit, an entertainment center with the Activity Dept.’s XM-Radio and massively loud, thumping stage speaker set-up can be felt blocks away.
The entire event lasts morning, noon, and night, and once you leave you may not return. With the constant migraine-inducing, bass-drowned rap music and general frowning upon of sitting at a marathon, staying long enough to get your money’s worth of grub proves to be as much an endurance test as actually running.
The 1st Prize is something like $20 and/or a free pass to a S.O.A.R. banquet. The sure winner was an aptly nicknamed associate of ours on C-block, “Mad Runner” Julian. Too sure, apparently, because SOAR and Activity Dept. goons barred his participation at every turn. I don’t know if he ever made it in. Unfortunate, but that’s favoritism for you.
P.S. Maricopa, AZ, huh? As in “Tent City”? I’ve seen it on TV, doesn’t get much rougher, though I understand there are few violent outbreaks. Honestly, I can’t disagree with the ways many prisons are run. We’re in jail, we should be used to the idea of “punishment.” I don’t care how ‘sweet’ a prison is, I hate it, and the second I fold my hands behind my head in relaxation and say “I can deal with this, “ I may as well stop breathing. You know? Being “ok” with failure is not a life I care to live. When society chooses to deal with its own, then we may not need jails or have the place to complain about them anymore. Like most things, they are fundamentally flawed, but necessary. Besides, they can always go back to the 19th century “Penitentiary” with “penitence” being the key word. They lock you in a dungeon until they feel you’ve adequately begged God for forgiveness. Generally more effective in reducing sanity than recidivism, ha!
Click here to read Brandon’s previous blog.
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Shaun P. Attwood