Lost in Post – Penguin’s Scars

The following blog has just arrived although Jon sent it in October. It refers to Penguin (See blog 25/09) who was Jon’s cellmate at Florence. .

Penguin has been miserable ever since his birthday. He’s written to his mum several times, but he hasn’t received a reply. Every night, with hope in his eyes, Penguin looks at the mail officer.
“Is that all the mail there is?” he constantly asks.
“What I’ve handed out is all I’ve got. I tell you this every night!”
Penguin is hoping for a belated birthday card from his mum.

The guards and inmates have been teasing Penguin about the pentagram tattoo on his forehead. Penguin got the pentagram at the behest of a tattoo artist in Sunnyslope.
Penguin asked the tattoo artist to place the pentagram on his chest. The price agreed upon was $120. The man offered to do the tattoo for free if he could put it on any part of Penguins body. Penguin agreed and the forehead was designated. Penguin insists he is not a Satanist and that the tattoo is his family’s ancestral symbol. He claims that he is a Nazarene descended from the Hebrew line of the Israelites. The inmates laugh at this.

When Penguin was topless I noticed a large, thick scar stretching from his upper abdomen down to his public mound. I also noticed another scar that goes around the side of his belly. I asked Penguin how he had come to get such scars on his torso. Another tragic tale emerged.

In 1990, when Penguin was eighteen, he was roaming around Sunnyslope with his friend Jimmy, who was in possession of a 16-inch knife that belonged to Penguin. A car went by slowly, and Penguin, thinking that he recognised the occupants, waved at them and urged them to stop. Penguin approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and realised that he had made a mistake. Penguin promptly apologised but the driver punched him in the face. Penguin retreated but one of the passengers in the vehicle jumped out and accosted Jimmy, who pulled out the blade. The passenger pulled a handgun. Jimmy dropped the knife and bolted. Penguin was running away at a slower pace when the passenger tackled him and stabbed him in the stomach. Before fleeing, the passenger started to slice the knife through Penguin’s flesh in what almost resulted in a disembowelment.

It took Penguin a few minutes before he realised he had been stabbed. He was looking for Jimmy when he noticed blood soaking his clothing. It took Penguin 30 minutes to walk half a block to reach a pay phone. He was losing consciousness when the paramedics arrived.
The doctor, fearing that Penguin’s internal organs had been damaged, decided to cut Penguin open to examine his entrails. They cut a large incision down his torso and during a
twelve-and-a-half-hour operation the doctors examined Penguin’s intestine inch by inch. They informed his family that 90% of the victims of such stab wounds die.

The damage to Penguin’s internal organs was not life threatening, but Penguin entered a coma and remained in it for two-and-a-half weeks. Penguin claimed that he saw a bright light when he was comatose and that he heard God’s voice saying:Do not fear my precious child, for I am with you.” Penguin survived but ever since the incident he has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux disease.

Penguin wrote a poem this week:

Misery Is Living (by Penguin)

Misery is living for me right now,
And God won’t let me go.
I am trapped in my loneliness and pain.
To woe my soul and to know,
Is all I have to look forward to?
And still I cry for death’s cold grip
To end my pain of endless loneliness,
And lonely nights of my weeping soul

19th October 04


Anonymous said...

What a sad tale, do you ever hear from Penguin or your other previous cellmates?
Paula UK

Anonymous said...

Jon, Haven't been on your website for a while, and didn't realise there is so much enriching reading. It is going to take a while to absorb it all. I just want to pass on my best wishes to you and your inmates. You are all
in my prayers.
Terry Bates and family