Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were both committing. Author of the classic "Shit Slinger" series.
I must extend an apology to everyone for the length of time it’s taken since the last post. I was called away on company business – ha! My day job here is that of secretary at our onsite construction school. Our warden strolled in one day and informed us that we had exactly three weeks to construct a float for the big Veteran’s Day parade in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. A float huge enough to hold ten people. From scratch.
What’s more, this couldn’t be just some token slap-together junk wagon, no, they expected quality.
Ulp! No pressure, eh? Not to mention that our collective parade-float-building experience was precisely zilch. Well, time to learn, yes?
A local credit union sponsored the raw materials: great 12 foot (4m) blocks of Styrofoam and assorted carving tools. Being a fine art painter by trade, I figured sculpture would be easy. Just channel your inner Greek marble mason and away you go!
I was wrong. So very, very wrong. Ten hours later, I was stood in a small mountain of Styrofoam particles. The stuff gets everywhere – it’s horrible! My masterpiece WWII soldier resembled…a crippled chicken. It was madness! The more I carved, the worse it got. The other fellows were having great success, so I finally had to acknowledge the inevitable, inescapable, irremediable conclusion: I suck at this.
Thankfully there were plenty of things to paint. Leaving that godforsaken uncooperative Styrofoam to more capable hands, I unpacked the lovely little paint gun they sent us. I caressed its stainless-steel curves as if it were a naked woman. I really love to paint! Before long, I was engaged in the fine ballet of air hose and spray gun, clothes splattered, hands dripping primer, at one with the universe and never happier.
We were cleared to work 14-hour shifts until the deadline. The instant coffee and hand-rolled cigarettes and sugary pastries came out, and we put the convict machinery into top gear.
Seventeen of us put in 196 hours each, for a total of some 3,300 man-hours. The float was spectacular. The Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections himself rode on it, and remarked to news cameras that it was a work of art.
I had to agree.
And so did the judges, as we won best in category.
The warden brought the trophy down, so we could all take a group photo with it. I for one felt privileged that time and circumstances had allowed me to participate in such an excellent tribute.
Now we’re converting it into a Christmas float by adding a Styrofoam Santa and 4000 colored lights to be used in the 2010 Fiesta of Lights Electric Light Parade.
And so that’s why there haven’t been many posts from me recently. But never fear, good readers, our float orgy is nearly complete and I have many more tales of Magnum and other demented misfits to share in 2011.
Happy holidays to all!
Previous Xmas Posts:
2009 in Germany
2008 Xmas Holidays in a Women’s Prison
2007 in England shortly after my release
My release December 2007 part 1
My release December 2007 part 2
2006 Xmas with Two Tonys
2006 Xmas Day Blog
2005 Xmas visits from my parents
A Christmas Eve poem from an anonymous inmate
Merry Xmas Everyone! Thanks for supporting Jon's Jail Journal and our friends inside!