25 Feb 09
From Warrior (Letter 5)
Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce. He writes some of the best prison-fight stories on the Internet.
Hey bud, how are you? First, let me apologize for the delay. It’s been a crazy month. I was ill for a minute with a nasty cold, then had to move to a new building, went through three bunkies, now here I am again. Whewww….
So allow me to start from the holidays. Obviously I’d rather spend time elsewhere, but they weren’t too bad,
Christmas I woke up to a hot Arizona day. You wouldn’t even imagine it to be winter given that it was so warm. We always seem to be locked down come the holidays. The prison is always “short staffed” because so many officers call in sick. Unfortunately we had no rec, but were able to make phone calls. Everyone was on the phone on that day. Some guys had visits too. The dinner was a piece of turkey, stuffing, peach cobbler with whipped cream, vegetables and a roll. All in all it was a quiet day.
New Years was a different story. As I’ve mentioned emotions run high around the holidays. Well, for some reason on the day we were all scheduled to receive our commissary items, commissary staff wouldn’t make it down. New Year’s was on a Thursday and commissary people don’t work on Friday. So rumour had it that we all weren’t going to get commissary until the following week on Monday.
Now one thing other than mail that a man locked up looks forward to throughout the week is commissary. Given that the yard was dry with no drugs either just added to the reason for everyone to rally together.
So as dinner happened, everyone refused to lock down. You should have seen it, every officer was in our building with mace in hand. Captains, sergeants, and lieutenants all came to try and deescalate the situation, but no one was having it. We demanded to talk to the warden and only the warden. It was intense. I thought I was about to eat a face full of chemicals and end up in the hole.
He came down, and claimed he didn’t have the authority to override the commissary people because they are a contracted company. He did it anyway because he was about to have a riot occur over store. A security issue trumps everything. So we eventually received our store and Homeland Security went down a couple of colors.
We all ended the year wired on coffee and chocolate, and banged our cell doors like mad as the clock struck 12:00. What a way to end ’08!
The holidays had me swamped. A bunch of birthdays kept me bust sketching portraits of loved ones. I’ll sketch you a picture or portrait one of these days.
I took your advice and picked up a subscription to Writer’s Digest. I really enjoy it. I’m going to try and enter some stories in their competitions and see where it goes.
I wish you and your loved ones all the best. Hope the day and week has been good to you. Keep it positive always. Remember what Buddha said, “A man may conquer a thousand men, in a thousand different battles, yet he who conquers himself is the greatest victor.”
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Shaun P. Attwood