12 Nov 06

Psychotherapy with Dr O’Malley (7)

In a Polo shirt, Dr O looked more like a stockbroker than a psychotherapist. He had two new books: The Human Mind Explained and The Executive Brain. His Scientific American magazine was headlined: "Do stem cells cause cancer?"
Dr O examined my homework: what I was thinking when I was high on drugs at raves, and how I presently think about these actions.

At a rave: I’m having the time of my life. So is everyone else. I’ve got my security guys over here. I’ve got my female friends over there. My inner-circle are behaving as bizarre as can be. There are thousands of people dancing to electronic beats because I put an event together. I’m getting hugged and thanked all night long. I’m about to host an after party at the Scottsdale Hilton that’s going to see drug-consumption extremes. My wife is bisexual and we may get together with some of our girlfriends. I’m rushing on drugs. I’m high on Ecstasy. My skin feels warm and sensitive. I can’t stop smiling. I’m feeling the cap of GHB, the bump of Special K, and a half of a Xanny bar. Life is wonderful. The music and my heartbeat are moving in sync. Gooseflesh is rippling across my body. Just breathing, tasting air, makes me feel so alive. I’m doing it and I never want it to end.

Now: At the rate I partied I’m lucky to be alive. We did a ridiculous amount of drugs. That lifestyle equals trouble and incarceration. It was an immature chapter of my life. Outside of being a party person, there are other things to enjoy in life such as creativity. I intend to buckle down when I’m released, and to use my skill and knowledge so that I’m known for things other than partying. It’s as if incarceration was meant to happen to give me an education. To accomplish what needs to be accomplished, I can’t mess up my decision-making processes, otherwise I will not succeed. Love of life overrides my former idiocy.

“It seems,” Dr O said, “you’ve compared and contrasted your present thoughts with your past actions. You’ve realised if you go back to partying it’s not going to do you any good. You’ll also have to look more closely at the decisions you made that led you to the substance-abuse lifestyle.”
“Drugs enabled me to socialise. I figured I could do them to have fun when I felt like it – most weekends – and I told myself I wasn’t addicted because I could stop, and seemed to function normally before I chose to do them again. Was I in denial?”
“Yes. You were addicted otherwise you wouldn’t be here.”
“I thought addiction was like a heroin addict who’s got to get his fix every day or else he feels ill.”
“Addiction is when doing drugs interferes with your ability to function. You have a limited – a narrow view. Acknowledging your addiction exists is difficult for you. You must look at it in terms of how you would introduce yourself at an AA meeting: ‘I’m Jon. I’m a drug addict. I’ve been clean and sober for so many years.' Have you heard of the book The Yoga of Discipline?”
“Have you read any Pantanjali?”
“Yes. I’ve read Pantanjali’s aphorisms. There was a commentary about them in the Siddha Yoga lesson I did last night. It mentioned stilling the thought waves or the tendencies of the mind. I can learn that stuff for the rest of my life, but it doesn’t seem to stop the waves of thoughts swamping my mind when I get in certain emotional states.”
“Such as?”
“An example would be a recent visit I had with a female I like. I was so happy I couldn’t get to sleep for several hours. I couldn’t push the thoughts away. Maybe that’s an example of my manicness?”
“Actually, it’s normal. When you’re deprived of female contact you’re going to have a tremendous physiological response. It feels good. It’s a great thing. Yadda-yadda. In the emotional context, neurotransmitters are being released. It can feel quite intrusive.”
“I was on a natural high. I couldn’t stop thinking about the visit.”
“And it’s not necessary to get rid of those thoughts. You just need to be aware. To be able to observe them run from fantasy to fantasy. What the prisoner deprived of female contact experiences is similar to how teenagers react. How you reacted in your earlier lifestyle led you to being in here. You’ve got to learn how to analyse data in every situation. If you don’t factor in your previous mistakes you’ll repeat those mistakes. How did you analyse stocks?”
“I’d apply statistical formulas, moving-averages of price, volume, that kind of stuff. I’d review thousands of charts, read annual reports (especially the notes), look at various financial ratios, and come up with a short list of stocks I felt had a high probability of success.”
“When you were running the math, how did you feel?”
“I had tunnel vision. Nothing else existed. That worked well. I got rich, but I self-destructed.”
“Did you read about Warren Buffet giving all that money to Bill Gates?”
“Why do you think Buffet has done so well?”
“He’s a natural. He must have a genetic predisposition for finance. He had an excellent mentor, Benjamin Graham. He must be a master of forensic accountancy - but more importantly, he must be a master of his own psychology.”
“Are you familiar with where he lives, Omaha, Nebraska?”
“A little bit. It’s folksy.”
“There are corn fields. Its rural, agricultural, a small-town environment. Buffet eats at the same places and he’s approachable. He hasn’t succumbed to the trappings of power. He said it’s easy to make money but hard to give it away responsibly.”
“For me, it was easy to make money, but then I’d go nuts.”
“That’s why you have to look at the reasons, understand the road map, watch for the danger signals, blinking lights, cabarets, dancing girls, whatever.”
“So was my happiness with the visit a danger signal?”
“Most guys think with their little head. Do you have a penchant for that?”
“I did in the past. But the visit wasn’t about that. We were intellectual equals. I was engrossed in conversation with her, electrified by her personality. It was reassuring to feel that good sober around such a kick-arse woman.”
“Then in situations like that you just need to be aware of your chattering little monkey mind. In relationships in general you need to apply the analytical discipline you apply to stock selection. Here’s what I’m seeing: with Siddha Yoga, you’re doing well with your spiritual side; with stocks, your pragmatic side seems fine; it’s the emotional side that you’re having problems with.”
“I do have a deficit in that area. My sister wants to put her seal of approval on future girlfriends. In the past, I’ve chosen the wrong partners, and my depressions and drug-taking came about during the break ups. I never realised I should step back and analyse potential partners with the discipline I analyse stocks. That’s an important point you’ve made. The comparison makes sense.”
“When it comes to relationships, you’ve got your ratios all wrong.
For homework, I’d like you to write down your awareness of who you were, who you are, and who you’re going to be. And after that we’ll start getting into personality stuff.”
“OK. Thanks.”

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
Flashback to Yard 4
Two Tonys on Love
“In a letter from my sis,” I told Two Tonys, “she says I fall in love too easily, and that I need to stay single for at least a year when I get out, and to date various women. What’s your take on love?”
“I’m goin’ on 66 years old, and as a sailor I had relationships all over the world. The old cliché, ‘a sailor has a girl in every port ain’t bullshit. The only thing that cliché left out was that the girls want gratuities on the way out the door – or sometimes before you go through the door. But that ain’t love. Love is an entirely different animal. I can’t compare love with me runnin’ around in my late teens, early twenties, full of testosterone, with my pecker hangin’ out, tryin’ to bang everythin’ in sight. If you wanna talk about love, I think I’ve been in love, but if I was, wouldn’t I still be in love?
“No. Love is something you go in and out of.”
“Who says?”
“I’m speaking from experience,” I said.
“Were you ever in love?”
“I thought I was.”
“Therein lies the problem. You thought you was. You’re not in love now are you?”
“No,” I said.
“I’m sayin’ when you feel true love, you never fall out of it. It overcomes sickness, desertion, death, and separation. You don’t quit lovin’ her just 'cause she left you.”
“But, it fades away.”
“Now we’re goin’ into the realm of time, which heals all wounds or so the poets say. But does it?”
“In my case it did.”
“And mine too. But when you were in love and the separation came, I bet nothin’ felt worse.”
“I’ve been shot, stabbed, had my ass beat numerous times, my parents have died, my siblings have died, and I’ve never felt any sense of complete aloneness or excruciatin’ mental pain as when someone I loved left me. Love is strictly a remedy for loneliness.”
“I disagree. I think it’s about sharing the joy of life with another person.”
“Why?” Two Tonys asked.
“Because it feels so good to get to know and care about a person, and to share the adventure of life.”
“But you can’t do that alone. You do it 'cause you’re lonely. You don’t wanna look at the Grand Canyon by yourself. You don’t wanna go to Niagara Falls and ride the Maid of the Mist by yourself.”
“Or the London Eye.”
“Exactly. So you fall in love, and you hafta pay a price. It’s not free. It’s expensive – in terms of emotions. Your mom and dad are in love, right?”
“Sooner or later one is gonna hafta pay one helluva price when the other moves on. I’m talkin’ about death. I saw my ol’ man pay the price. It was pitiful. We’ve come to the age old question: is it better to have loved and lost or not to have loved at all?”
“It’s better to love, to take chances, and to experience life to the fullest, including the ups and downs. My sis is concerned that I’ll fall in love right away with the wrong person. She wants me to take my time to find the right woman.”
“That’s your sis. She’s lookin’ out for you. That’s her job. She’s gonna evaluate every chick you date 'cause she’s a woman and they don’t think like us.”
“I think women are smarter than men in love. I’ll have to pay more attention to my sis in the future.”
“She don’t want you to get hurt. She wants you to pay attention to her stamp of approval. But she’s not the one who has to live with 'em. She’s not gonna be rollin’ over in the mornin’s lookin’ at 'em.”
“She’s concerned because in the past I attracted materialistic women – like myself. I got my just deserts.”
“Were you doin’ drugs with 'em?”
“Some of them.”
“You need to stay away from that. But what does your sis expect you to do? Go to St. Paul’s and find some cathedral-goin’ chick? Get on the computer and fill out some Internet datin’ application? Mr. Matchmaker, I like my coffee with two lumps of sugar. I like to wear argyle socks. I like soccer games. I only pick my nose when nobody’s home. Are you gonna rely on some teenage whizz-kid entrepreneur sendin’ you an email sayin’ he’s found you some chick who likes soccer and argyle socks? Of course not. I don’t think you can fall in love like that. I think you become in love. In the movies, a guy sees a broad across a table and they fall in love. You meet a chick at a lonely point in your life and you become in love. Before you were arrested were you ever on your own?”
“No. I’ve been in back-to-back relationships since I was a teenager.”
“Then you don’t know what bein’ lonely means. I was a fugitive on the run in Waikiki and Maui, livin’ in a beautiful house on the slopes of Mount Halakala – an extinct volcano – by myself. I mean, whatthafuck, I was lonely. Even in here, it’s nice to have a friend. To be alone is a brutal thing.
Right now I’m content layin’ on this bunk. I see how love affects prisoners. I saw a gangster one time, in the Walls who would stand on a mound for hours on end, for six or seven Saturday visitation days in a row, lookin’ for his old lady’s yellow Caddy to show up at the prison parkin’ lot. And you know what? She never turned up. She gutted him while he was in the joint and he never regrouped. He was always a shell of a man after that.”
“So what kind of a woman do you think I should look for?”
“She’s gotta be a carin’ and gentle person. She’s gotta care for you. Maybe a bit of an intellectual, or at least a reader. But lemme give ya one piece of important advice: if she don’t care for ya don’t be afraid to getthafuck on down the ramp.”

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
8 Nov 06

The Booty Bandit Move that Befell Max in the Kitchen Warehouse

“So what happened in the kitchen warehouse?” I asked Max.
“I was unloadin' a truck with a homosexual named Ronald.”
“What’s he look like?”
“He’s a white guy with long thinnin' hair. He wears those paedophile 2000s, the big wide state-issue prescription glasses. He’s about thirty-seven-years old. He’s got a couple of kids and stuff. There was a little sexual banter goin’ on. He’d say, ‘When are you gonna hit it, Max?’ and, ‘Just let me see it, Max.’ I started puttin’ things away in the warehouse: syrup, paper cups, and oranges. And Ronald says, ‘Come on, Max, let’s go in the room right now. I’m oiled up and ready.’ I’m thinkin’ he’s bullshittin’ 'cause he usually comes on so strong. All in all he’s a cool dude other than he’s playin’ on the other team. I’m walkin’ behind him with a box, and he stops and bends over real quick, so I run into his butt. That’s how the homos work - they always try their hardest to get a straight guy, to turn somebody out. After a few trips, we had to put burgers away in the freezer. There’s a long hall that connects the cooler and the freezer, and you can go in the back door of any of them. In the hallway there’s napkins, paper cups, trays, and all nonperishables. I picked up somethin’ and walked down the hallway. He’s behind me and says, ‘Lemme see it.’ I say, ‘Yeah. Right. Whatever.’ Then, forcefully, with his hands, he pushes me up between some shelves. I’ve still got somethin’ in my hands.”
“Like when Chapo pulled your pants down and grabbed you?”
“Yeah. All weird shit goes down in the kitchen like this. So Ronald pulled my pants down, but he went a little bit further.”
“Ronald was a professional?”
“Yeah. Thing is, after being locked up for so long, and after being through so many situations, I let him do it for about ten seconds.”
“Wow! What went through your mind?”
“I’m thinkin’, OK. It feels good. If only I could get through the fact he’s a man. I looked down at his thinning scalp. I’m starting to get into it. There he is with those glasses on, his head’s bobbin’.”
“Were you getting put off because he was a man?”
“It was a mood killer, I’ll tell you that. Now I’m thinkin’ this ain’t such a bright idea. So I tell him, ‘No. Hey. Hey. Somebody’s comin’.’ He gets up. I rearrange myself. I feel aroused and guilty, dude. I go out and smoke. I’m disgusted with myself 'cause after all my experiences I’ve finally broke down and let a man do that to me. Why couldn’t I have picked one of the more good lookin’ ones, feminine ones, like a cheeto. Know what I mean? He sits right next to me and says, ‘D’yuh wanna hit me in the ass when we go back in?’ I say, ‘No. I’m cool.’ He says, ‘Well come on. Let’s go. I’ll finish you off.’ Ronald goes inside, and I tell a cop I’m feelin’ sick and he lets me go back to my cell. I felt like such a whore 'cause of what I let happen, and I just took off, and he had to unload the whole truck by himself.”

Max said he still feels guilt over what happened with Ronald. Should he feel that way or was he right to give it a try?

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
04 Nov 06

Question Time

Jamie of Lower Watts House, Oxon asked the following four questions:

I’d be interested to hear your personal views on the need for men to create a space equivalent to the one occupied by feminism.

What would be the reason for such a space? If we lived in a society of women descriminating against men then perhaps I’d be a masculinist. If such a society sounds abhorrent, then imagine how women who were treated as men’s chattel felt. The history of gender relations is a dark sky of man’s inhumanity to women, barely punctuated by a few stars – such as Sappho, Elizabeth 1, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Sojourner Truth. If Annie Proulx, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Monro had been born before Jane Austen, we probably never would have heard of them or their literature.
It’s thanks to the women’s movement that sexual inequality has been reduced – although it is still prevalent. With men having the upper hand, I see little need for masculinism.
Although I support women’s rights, I am against the extremities of some feminists. It seems counterproductive to the movement when a feminist such as Andrea Dworkin says, ‘All men are rapists, and that’s all they are.’
Would the world be such a bad place if women had more power than men? Would the world be such a bad place if women threw us men down and paddled and spanked us on a regular basis? Women - especially yoginis – seem to have the caring and nurturing qualities that would make the world a safer place. Let’s forget Nietzsche’s Ubermenschen – bring on the Superwomen.

Do you consider yourself as entirely straight?

Prison seems to quickly clear up sexual ambiguities. There are people here who consider themselves straight, yet are fellated by shemales. No matter how feminine their faces, I am unattracted to fellators who possess penises. Although I can see why women are attracted to the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Keanu Reeves, I would not like to have sex with any of them. Some of the best massages I’ve had were done by men, during which, I never felt any sexual arousal. I consider myself straighter than a John Holmes hard-on.

Assuming you’ve still retained your anal virginity, how do you feel about gender in terms of comradeship with those inmates you’ve got closest to?

My friendships are based on personal chemistry. Gangsters, homies, transsexuals, booty bandits, madmen and murderers: I have friends in every category. I accept all shades of gender. I do not base friendships on how masculine or feminine a person is.
I like to write about human extremes, whether gender extremes (as in Xena’s case) or otherwise. But taking Xena’s femininity out of the equation, I would still hold him in high esteem because he is such a caring and colourful character.
Your assumption about my anal virginity is correct. Despite all of the moves made by Frankie and George, I expect to return to England still a virgin.

Are you able to receive CD’s?

No. The ADOC does not allow CDs. I can receive cassette tapes provided they are shipped directly to me from tape vendors, and the plastic must be clear (most are).

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
29 Oct 06

The Royo Romance

Click here for the previous Royo Girl post.

Here are some excerpts from a letter written by Royo Girl after the two summer visits:

I could not have been more ecstatic to receive your letter. Reading the first one filled me with joy. I was, however, disappointed to read the second one attempting to undermine the first….

In my second letter, I had called into question my earlier outpouring of emotion.

Before I had even received your letter, I had written and mailed my own. If you had had the opportunity to read mine before yours, you would not be embarrassed about what you wrote. In fact, my letter is intensely more embarrassing. But I was very honest about what I was thinking and feeling. I hope I did not go overboard.
At the visit, I had felt so at ease with you that the surroundings were only minutely noticed. I was completely surprised about the way I felt. I have not been in prison nor deprived of attention from the opposite sex and I still felt that way. It leads me to wonder if you would feel the same under different circumstances.
I put your flowers in water as soon as I got home. They are still sitting next to my bed. I even took some pics of them so they will never be forgotten.

Take care of yourself,

Royo Girl

ps I was wearing
Guess Perfume
pps This was sprayed with Hugo Boss Women

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

27 Oct 2006

Grasshoppers Visit the Visitors

At the visitation ramada, giant grasshoppers had invaded the walls, windows, tables and fences. They remained stationary and quiet, minding their own business.
Officer Garcia, who works the visitation area, grabbed a grasshopper, displayed it to Mum and Auntie Lily, and said, “It’s tryin’ to kick me with its legs. Look at the spikes on them.”
Auntie Lily backed away, her eyes narrowing with disgust.

In the garden, on a wall built by inmates, was a sign: Every Crime Has A Victim. (The proceeds from flower sales go to victims of crime.) Behind the sign, Xena was gathering carnations, gladioli, marigolds, roses, sunflowers, tiger lilies, and zinnias, for Mum and Auntie Lily. Makeshift vases were created by cutting plastic bottles, and the bottle tops were used to hold the bouquets.
When Officer Rossini opened the gate to take the flowers from Xena, Mum started singing "Pictures of Lily" and Xena started dancing.

“I’ll dee-cide!” Frankie yelled, waving a disciplinary ticket. “Look, they gave me a major ticket for disrespectin’ staff.”
We laughed, and Mum shouted, “We’ll dee-cide,” before Frankie disappeared.

Auntie Lily waved at Weird Al (on his way to medical) with whom she had exchanged letters. “He’s handsome isn’t he? I’ve told him he can come over to England.”
“That was a very moving letter he wrote to you,” Dad said.
“I told our Sue that I’ve got an American boyfriend. They’re calling him Big Al. He’ll have to come to England to see my outdoor toilet.”

“Where am I going to live when I get out?” I asked.
“Remember when you used to do weight-training in the garage for hours?” Dad said.
“Yeah. Then I'd come out and cook myself loads of beans on toast.”
“Well, it’s not a garage anymore.”
“The garage is now an extra bedroom, with it’s own toilet and shower facilities, TV, DVD player, telephone, all mod cons. It’s decorated in a Japanese style,” Mum said.
“Auntie Lily’s going to make you an orange outfit to wear, so that you’ll feel right at home.” Dad said. “We don’t want you to get psychologically unbalanced. We’ll keep you locked in for most of the day with some rec time, and feed you through the cat flap. Your visitors will be vetted. Special visits will have to be approved, and there will be a three-month application period. We’ll give you Internet access as we’re fed up of typing all these bloody blogs. We’ll hold hearings to see if you can come out of the garage. Disciplinary tickets may be handed out for inappropriate behaviour.”
“Perfect!” I said.

I won’t see my parents again until late '07 or early '08. That’s when I am expected to be released to Immigration and then sent back to the UK. Not much longer now.

Addendum: Jon has recently answered some of your questions at Myspace, which is now an additional forum for you to send questions to him and his blog characters.

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
24 Oct 2006

Family Visits (Part 4)

“Is bling big in England?” I asked.
“Our Jenny always wears bling,” Auntie Lily said. “She likes her bling.”
“Bling’s an American word isn’t it?” I asked.
“I think it came from America,” Mum said. “from the rappers and their thick gold chains.”
“Them rappers look daft don’t they,” Auntie Lily said. “They look like they’ve got jewellery shops around their necks. They’ll end up with humped backs.”
“I thought bling was Cockney,” Dad said.” Bling-bling-bling sounds bloody cockney to me.”
“It’s usually gold though, isn't it?” Mum asked.
“It started with Mister T.,” Auntie Lily said. “Bling is what glitters, like stones not the gold."
“One of my teachers used to say, ‘All that glitters is not gold,'" Mum said. “I never knew what she meant.”
“Ali G is a bit of a blingster,” Dad said. “It’s anything that’s flashy or vulgar.”
“Our Jenny’s got this diamond ring,” Auntie Lily said, “and our Sue said, ‘How’s that for bling?’ so it’s the stones that make it bling. And our Joe showed me his square ring, just diamonds, and he said, ‘How’s that for bling?’”
"OK, it's stones in gold, not just gold," Mum said.
"It's stones in anything," Auntie Lily said. "It has to shine to bling."
“Is rap big in England?” I asked.
“I like Eminem,” Mum said. “I’ve seen his film 8 Mile. It’s really good.”
“I don’t know who Eminem is,” Aunty Lily said. “When I hear Eminem, I think of toffees that melt in your mouth not in your hands.”
“Eminem’s Stan was great , wasn’t it? Dad said. "I like the one that has a sample of Dido.”
“Dido!" Aunty Lily said. “That sounds like a sex thing.”
“That’s a dildo,” Mum said. “Not a Dido.
“Don’t you know,” Dad asked Auntie Lily, “the difference between a dildo and a Dido?”
“Dido’s a pop singer,” Mum said laughing, “and a dildo is a sex aid.”
“Oh!” said Auntie Lily. “You learn something every day.”
“A dildo is what Jack Nicholson had in The Departed, the film we saw the other night."
“I missed Jack Nicholson with the dildo because I had to use the loo,” Mum said.
“What did you go to the loo for?” Auntie Lily asked.
“What do you usually go to the loo in the cinema for?” Mum said. “A number one, not a number two.”
“We’re getting off the subject,” I said. “I was asking if rap is big in England.”
“I don’t know what rap music is,” Auntie Lily said.
“It’s just like poetry to music, and they sort of talk it rather than sing it, to a beat,” Mum said.
“What do you listen to?” I asked Auntie Lily.
“Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald,” Auntie Lily said. “Give me some nice easy listening. Some Frank Sinatra. I love him singing New York, New York.”
“So Eminem’s the only rapper you know of?” I asked.
“There’s one,” Dad said, “called Snoop Dogg something. He’s probably American. Eminem: he’s still popular but old hat now.”
“What about Tupac?” I asked.
“He died in Las Vegas,” Dad said. “He got shot.”
“They have to get shot to be famous,” Mum said.
“Crazy, the lot of 'em,” Auntie Lily said.
“Tupac,” Dad said, “agreed to be shot beforehand to become famous.”
"Completely off their heads," Auntie Lily said.
“What about 50 Cent?” I asked.
“I’ve heard of him,” Dad said. “There’s an English group called The Streets. The singer is brilliant. But I don’t think you’d call it rap really. English rap maybe.”

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
22 Oct 06

Family Visits (3)

In the visitation room, the faces of Mum, Dad, and Auntie Lily looked wounded. They did not know I had been faxed the outcome of the hearing the day before it was held.
“It didn’t go well did it?” I asked.
“How do you know?” Mum asked.
“I got a fax through CO3 Rose just after you left saying that I had been unsuccessful in my application.”
They stared at me. Perplexed.
“You’ve got to be joking,” Mum said.
“This is ridiculous, the whole thing’s a farce,” Dad said.
“If they knew the result,” Auntie Lily said, “how could they put us through all that for nothing?”
“How can they treat people like that?”
“We’ve been treated like bloody morons,” Dad said.
“It’s unbelievable,” Auntie Lily said. “But you could sense it. They didn’t have to think when the vote was called for. There was no discussion. It was cut-and-dried.”
“What was the hearing like?” I asked.
“I thought the sentencing was bad,” Dad said, “but this has to have been one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. It soon became pretty obvious that the decision was already made, before we could make our beggings and pleadings.”
“I was crying the whole time,” Auntie Lily said, “The atmosphere felt awful, as soon as I walked into the room.”
“What made it worse,” Mum said, “is that we were quite optimistic at first. We were told that it would be informal and relaxed, just sat around a table. But it certainly wasn’t like that at all. The Board were on a raised platform looking down on us, like judges. I felt there was something wrong. It wasn’t a sympathetic atmosphere. They were antagonistic. One of the first things the chairman said was, ‘We know you love your son but we are here to address the harshness and suitability of the sentence. Anything else you say will be disregarded, and I will stop you if you repeat yourself, or if any one of you repeats the same thing as a previous speaker.’ That made me feel intimidated. I was on edge right away. The tone of his voice made it sound like he was reading us the Riot Act.”
“It was as if we were on trial.” Dad said.
“I felt panicky, and my mind was racing,” Mum said, spilling coffee over her blouse.
“Your mum spilt that 'cause she’s reliving it,” Auntie Lily said.
“Are you alright, Mum?” I asked.
“Yes. But I cried when I spoke up to the Board. I couldn’t think straight. Lorraine [Dad’s cousin] was crying, David [Lorraine’s son] was upset as well.”
“Alan [Simpson, Jon’s attorney] did a great job answering the questions raised by the Board,” Dad said. “But it didn’t seem to matter. There wasn’t a lot of eye contact from any of them. It was a very strange business. It was as if an iron curtain had been slammed down on us.”

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
18 Oct 06

How I Received the Hearing Result Before the Hearing

“I’ve got a fax for you,” CO3 Rose said, “from the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency.”
“What’s it say?” I asked.
“That the result of your hearing was that you were not approved.”
“That doesn’t make sense. The hearing is tomorrow.”
“Your hearing is tomorrow?” CO3 Rose frowned.
“Yeah. My parents have flown in from England to attend it.”
“Are you sure it’s tomorrow?”
“Absolutely sure.”
“That’s strange.”
“How does that work? Could they have made a decision before the hearing?”
“I don’t know. I’m just the messenger.”

The fax read: It was the decision of this board at your hearing on: 10/02/06 to take the following action: not passed to phase 2 commutation.

That night, thoughts about the hearing result kept me awake. How can I have the result of the hearing before the hearing? How could an earlier hearing than the actual hearing have been held when there is only supposed to be one hearing? Was there a secret hearing that I wasn’t supposed to know about? If so, who attends these hearings and what decisions are made pertaining to later hearings? Does every hearing have a prehearing hearing or do prehearing hearings only occur in certain cases? Am I the first to be accidentally faxed the result of a prehearing hearing? Would the orchestrators of the prehearing hearing deny the existence of such a hearing if confronted with the evidence of the fax? Are my family about to attend a hearing whose outcome was predetermined at a prehearing hearing? Am I Joseph K.?

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood
18 Oct 06

Family heads to Phoenix for the Hearing

When the visit ended I hugged Mum, and she said she would do her best at the clemency hearing tomorrow.
“Don’t worry," Dad said, "once they see us they’ll let you out.”
“More likely double your sentence,” Mum said.
“I've written a character reference, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to speak up for you,” Auntie Lily said. “I’ll probably be crying too much.”
“Do what you can,” I said. “You’ll be there for me, that’s all that matters.”

I do not attend the clemency hearing. I’ve applied for a small reduction off my sentence on the grounds that I’m a first-time, non-dangerous offender with a good track record, extensive accomplishments while in prison, positive goals for my release, and strong family support.

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood

17 Oct 06

Family Visits (2)

“Why’s he kissing that post?” Auntie Lily asked.
“It’s where the smokers light up. No lighters allowed,” I said.
“He’s got both arms around the post,” Auntie Lily said. “Does he think it’s a woman?”
“Maybe it’s the only time he gets to hug something,” Dad said.
“You need to tell him,” Auntie Lily said, “he won’t get ewt [anything] out of a piece of concrete.”
“I suppose you could call it post shagging?” Dad said.
“It could be said,” I said, “that when smokers need a light, they have to shag a post.”
“At least the post can’t get away,” Mum said.
“I wonder what sex the post is?” Auntie Lily said.
“It’s probably a shemale,” Mum said.
“Fancy having it off with a post,” Auntie Lily said.

A transsexual delivered two trays of chow to the visitation porters.
“There’s Mochalicious,” I said.
“He or she or whatever you call him,” Dad said, “looks bloody funny in the headgear and the plastic gloves.”
“Chow servers have to wear them for hygiene purposes,” I said.
“She looks like a surgeon,” Auntie Lily said.
“Maybe Mochalicious is getting set to do a prostrate or rectal exam,” Dad said.
Mochalicious put the trays down, spun on his heel, swayed his hips, and waved at us.
“Good grief!” Dad said. “Did you see that?”

Sitting under the ramada, looking through the fence, we watched Xena at work tending the garden.
“Do you think we could see Xena’s wasp tattoo?” Auntie Lily said.
“No,” I said. “She’ll get into trouble if she shows you that. And they might end our visits.”
“What a shame,” Auntie Lily said. “I’d have loved to have seen the wasp.”
“According to the rumours, it’s big enough to frighten horses,” Mum said.
“Biggus Dickus?” Dad said.
“Definitely not a digi widgey,” I said.

Some Yard 4 inmates going to the Health Unit, including Frankie, walked by.
“Englandman!” Frankie shouted through the fence.
“What have you been suggesting to my son?” Mum asked.
“He left me,” Frankie said and pouted.
"Oh! Do you miss him?" Mum said. “You’ll have to ask my permission for this gay marriage thing.”
“Mum! I’ll dee-cide who I marry and who I won’t marry, and it won’t be no bloody man.”
“He’s got it all wrong,” Frankie said. “I’ll dee-cide. I’m the man in this relationship. Did you get my message, Englandman?”
“Yeah, and I was thinking of Shakira, not you.”

In the distance, a long line of inmates were walking across the rec field back to Yard 1, carrying laundry bags full of commissary over their shoulders.
“They look like orange Santas,” Dad said. "What are they doing?"
“They’re coming back from the store with this week’s purchases.”
“It’s an amazing sight,” Mum said.
“The yard will come alive when they get back,” I said. “People will be running around to each others cells with store items, paying off debts, pooling food and having cookouts, making tamales, enchiladas, and burritos. And the guards will be trying to stop people from taking store to other cells to pay off debts.”
“Is that the highlight of the week getting store then?” Auntie Lily asked.
“It probably is,” I said. “That and mail call.”

Back inside, I asked Auntie Lily what she would have done if she had seen Xena’s wasp.
“I’d have a good look,” Auntie Lily said. “And then I’d tell her to put it away because me dad always used to say, 'If you see a flasher you should feel sorry for him, and go and cover it up.'”

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

Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood
15 Oct 06

Marriage Talk

“Did you have a good visit yesterday,“ Weird Al asked.
“Yes, very good,” I said.
“Did you ask Auntie Lily to marry me so I can obtain British Citizenship?”
“I certainly did. She said yes, as long as you’re rich, and she’s handsomely rewarded.”
“I’ll make sure she’s handsomely rewarded.”
“Mum said that Auntie Lily would probably be crying when I first saw her at visitation, but instead she was shielding her eyes from the sun reflecting off my head. She called me a bloody orange Buddha.”
“I’m starting to like the sound of this Auntie Lily. Does she have a hairy back?”
“I can’t confirm it, but I suspect she doesn’t. She does have silver hair like you though.”
“Is her hair as dignified as mine”
“Yes, every bit as dignified.”
“Oh. I have a message for you from Yard 4.” Weird Al grinned. “Frankie asked me to tell you that at 6:05 pm you are to touch yourself and think of him and he will do likewise.”
“How sick. What’s he mean, he’ll do likewise? Is he going to touch himself and think of himself?”
“I’d rather not think about what you guys have got going on. Anyway he said to tell you that you’ll be receiving a letter from him, and not to think just because you’re on Yard 1 that the gay marriage is off. Perhaps Auntie Lily and me, and you and Frankie can get hitched at a double wedding.

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

Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood