New from Gary Brooks Waid,
(A federal, first time, non-violent, marijuana offender doing hard time in a Florida state prison)
Hi Kay and Pals. As I said, this may not be so suitable for the web. On the other hand, people probably expect me to be a bit irreverent. And it's not about River Junction, it's about the whole meatball.
This may be the silliest story I've ever written. And the most disgusting. I mean it. This thing will offend everyone, even those nice people in Western Europe who send me cards and think I'm off my rocker. I may soon get hate mail from people whose children are exposed to this drivel, too, so CAVEAT EMPTOR! Babies should not be allowed near the actual text, and pets are to be kept in the basement, especially if you've got one of those little yappy dogs that humps things.
The only possible social value herein will be argued in an historical context many years after I'm dead. Whomever wishes to stop reading now, let me assure you, you're doing the right thing.
Why would anybody wish to write about something so yukky? And call it:
A Plague of Priapisms Unloosed
(The Shameful Truth About Self Abuse in Florida's Prisons)
"...nature hath adapted the eyes of the Lilliputians to all objects proper for their view..." - Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Alright, let's begin by stating the obvious. For a young man newly pubic, a young man who's just hitting his hormonal downbeat as it were, there is no way to get sexual relief in a prison setting except by initiating contact with a "punk", or by doing the dirty deed to himself. The man is alone now, with no assist from his hometown sweetheart, and now he's forced to mount his all-alone efforts behind a shower curtain, or seated on a lonesome commode, or maybe under his blanket at night. So he damns the distractions, biology being the victor in every case, and firmly grips his own rein to gallop over the no doubt photographic imaginings in his head. He strains for sacred visions, hues and cambers in the mists, odors and rubbings and oily seas, volcanic eruptings, smoky whorls, secret looks, bits of sweaty clefts in celluloid garishness or underwater murk. It's all there. He describes his perfect personal demi-monde while ignoring the prisoner in the neighboring bunk, a guy who's probably busy with his own concerns and couldn't care less what's going on elsewhere.
Each cell, then, on any given night, is a theatre of absurd proportions..
...except in Florida's prisons.
In the state of Florida most prisons are open dorms. Extremely open dorms - open showers, toilets en' flagrante, inmates knee to knee, uniformed guards examining every move and febrile bit of night time frission (please excuse the big words. It's my way of masking my embarrassment). The fact is, there is an utter lack of privacy. Nowhere on any compound, except in CM (Close Management) or on Death Row, is there a spot that can't be viewed from at least three sides. All the world's a stage in Florida, and any galvanic eruptions are absolutely and irrevocably "for the record".
And no Florida DOC training manual explains to a young, ignorant female guard* that watching a man in the shower or on the toilet, in an attempt to catch him doing something or touching himself inappropriately, is rude. Besides, trying to stop masturbation by ambush is stupid and about as effective as, say, the war on drugs. In fact officers peeking and prying, as I have recently learned, only creates prisoners who enjoy being peeked at.
Yes it does.
*This piece is most definitely male chauvinistic. Please forgive me my narrow view with respect to the subject matter.
This is very uncomfortable for me. I have trouble with the whole notion of privacy in prison. Not to have any is wrong and creates some sort of definable pathology that someone somewhere has probably studied. I mean, if the object is to make animals of men (and women), then surely the DOC has succeeded, and they've used safety as an excuse not to put a little door on a toilet stall. Human nature is a complicated thing. A man can get used to almost any discomfort. So the younger prisoners of Florida have turned the whole thing around and made a game of it all. A team sport if you will. Nothing in my experience has been as off-putting as coming upon a squad of love-starved gunners
** running amok, whooping with delight, competing sometimes, squinching their eyes and pounding away for all the world to see as some chubby DOC ladyguard passes before them in the act of doing her job.
** Public masturbation in prison is called "gunning" or "gunning her down."
So now it has become my duty to report that sometimes a chubby DOC ladyguard learns to like the attention.
What the hell, maybe you'd like to read a...
- LOVE STORY -
(...in which adjectives are o'er-sprinkled like rich, red, ripe raspberries.)
Please dim the lights.
Not so very long ago there lived in the countryside near Raiford, Florida, a young girl of unsurpassed beauty, who's gift of love lay sadly dormant and who's heart sat on the shelf. Her name was Jolene Godwin, and in the summers of those years, during many an evening's breathless indention, she used to sit on her parents' porch and gaze out at the swamp, jabbering on the telephone as she ate fistfuls of buttered popcorn and drank glass after tall, iced glass of sugared tea. She was, in those days, at a stage of fresh bloom that poets and performers rhapsodize about. Her body glowed with promise, and her budding ovulations spent themselves in warm, sanguine waves which saturated the air around her, filling the trees with her vulvar essence and blanketing the local atmosphere with pollinations so robust as to be practically magnetic. Her neighborhood, as could be expected, was crowded with constantly sniffing, turgidly boisterous boys annoying her.
They were big husky fellows, too, who played football and fished for bass and dipped snuff like their daddies did. And like their daddies, they occasionally fought amongst themselves for the right to attempt to lay hands of Jolene's nubile young body. Their hormonal thrashings were positively hound-like. "Arooooo..." In fact, throughout high school both fathers and sons harangued Jolene, promising rich things and truck rides, bribing her with cakes and cole slaw and chickens fried, begging, pleading, weeping, carrying on like idiots.
All those theatrics never did work, though. Not one stinky Raiford boy was successful. Ever. No amount of cajolery could loosen the resolve that Jolene Godwin bore like a plank across her privates.
Let's listen to a brief episode in the front yard:
"Well shucks, I never," Jolene breathes, in her sultry southern soprano. "Y'all go on, y'heah? Ahm savin' mah little self (tee-hee) for a verra han-some prince, who one day'll come down heah an' save me. I reckon ah'll be rescued, y'all, from a fate worse than death!"
She flips her little hands and purses her ruby lips, and sends the gang packing once again, all but the most determined of them, a boy named Billy Don Whitehead of the Starke/Raiford Whiteheads. He's a huge, rubbery lad that lumbers when he walks and growls when he speaks, and he isn't used to being thwarted. He says:
"Goddamn, Hellfire, shit, spit! I luv you, Jolene, goddammit! Yore tiddies is all I goddamn*** think about!"
***In trying my best to reproduce the local dialect, I've realized that the term "goddamn" is used an awful lot around Starke and Raiford.
But Jolene will have none of it. "Go away!" she shouts over the roar of chrome tailpipes and the twang of top-40 country on Whitehead's radio. "Git y'alls big ass offin mah daddy's lawn, Billy Don, an' don't come back a'lookin'!" She glances down at her perfect paps swelling under her fuzzy sweater. She vows they'll never be touched by any teenaged Raiford clod.
Sadly, though, time passed and Jolene was never claimed. Not by a prince nor anyone remotely similar. She sat on the porch and ate her popcorn, drinking her sugared tea, and no one from the wide wealthy world showed up to collect her.
So she got fat. By the time her parents put her out the door, her pork-loin butt was as big and active as a basket of puppies, and her tits careened like bombs into the twilight zone of Oscar Meyer meatiness. When she walked she looked like two sea cows doing the lambada.
Goddamn life, she thought. She couldn't get a job anywhere normal, so she was forced to try at the prison. She was forced to go to work for the Florida Department of Corrections. She was forced to become a prison guard. For the next two years she sat in a sunless, glass-walled office, in a prison dormitory, scowling into a horrifying future, constantly on display in front of 140 sex-starved prisoners. Her former admirer Billy Don had died unexpectedly in a horrible accident involving a cow, a stump, and an enraged bull, and so now the only hints of love's wretched twists and turns were seen in the rictile strainings on inmates' faces as they gunned her down either in plain sight, or from the other side of the office door at night, or sometimes out on the yard. Instead of southern belle beauty and delicate charms, Jolene was now blessed with only one prize with which to attend a suitor. She owned what her felonious charges insisted was a "fat pussy".
Author's Note: A "fat pussy" can be distinguished from the other types, I'm told, by carefully eyeing the curves and lumps of the subject's uniform then calculating size and shape obsessively in your mind as you gun and gun and gun. Make no mistake, large women are unbelievably erotic and actually preferred by many men in prison. The term "thick" is used, and comments about "thickness" run the gamut within any given prison population, usually weighing heavily towards the good.
Your average DOC male officer may be any size or shape, recognizable in the same way a great ape is recognizable, especially when they speak. The DOC ladies, however, seem to be extremely type-conforming with regard to genome and phylum, and also with respect to cultural identity within the herd. Morphologically, your typical DOC guardette is a steatopygic, carrying around enormous surpluses of fat in their buttocks and breasts. They must be breeders, too, because the uncanny resemblance to the original Neolythic "Venus," (that bulging queen mother of fertility found first among the fossils of "Piltdown" Man on the Asian Steppes) is more than mere coincidence.
So Jolene wept hot tears at her fate, and hunkered down to a life of night-shift, potato chip pacifying and weekend, correctional officer humping. So many potato chips did she consume and so many correctional officers did she hump, that inevitably her life became boring.
And her weight crept ever upwards, too, so that soon her breasts filled large buckets and her thighs snicked and snacked together loudly as she made her nightly rounds. Eventually her great jowls and porcine elbows frightened the male correctional officers away and she was bereft of even that small, small diversion. "Oh, what'll ah goddamn do," she lamented. "Ain't there no one in the whole world to luv me for who ah am inside?"
But of course there were. Hundreds of them. The fun and gun squads of jitterbugs**** and other randy inmates of New River CI West. And it didn't take Jolene long to get with the program.
****A jitterbug or "jit" is an inmate who's young, usually younger than 21. The term has nothing to do with race. You're thinking of the word "jiggaboo".
One day she was reassigned to the day shift, prison library, to be isolated in the little glass-walled officer's station that was more like a booth than anything else. And she was told to watch the inmates during the long, hot, sticky, sultry, lubricous, onanistic afternoons. (phew)
She was the only officer there. Alone, so to speak.
Except for the inmates.
Nothing to do but watch the inmates.
So all by herself she watched them. For hours. Young, weight-trained black men, bulging and rippling under their blues, or sullen suntanned white boys, feral and flexible and fine. She watched. Ivory powerhouses. Chocolate Gods, lumpy and glistening and tensile, standing between the rows of books. Layers of meat. Engorged crotches. Butts like baseballs. Yards of Negro salamis and...
"Oh mah GAWD!" she finally gasped. "Look'a those....."
Okay, okay, okay - TIME OUT! I can't go on with this. This is too much even for me. And to tell the truth, what seems to be epidemic in Florida's prisons is not Jolene's fault. Not long ago a man who played with himself in front of others was considered a jerkoff. One of the things that distinguished man from the beasts was our sense of modesty and a wholesome ration of shame, wasn't it?
So what's going on?
I just finished reading a novel called "Tyger Tyger", by Richard Hoyt. It was a suspense/detective thing about endangered species, and at one point the main character said this:
"As I got older I slowly began to lose my enthusiasm for zoos. I like animals, and it's true what the critics say, zoos really are prisons. Some of them are perfectly abominable. Animals get neurotic when they're penned up like that, and you see monkeys so bored with nothing to do that they masturbate all day. I got so I just hated the idea of sending an animal someplace where I knew it would be stuck behind glass or bars with absolutely no privacy."
Mr. Hoyt has hit the nail on the head. Or at least part of the head. Or maybe he's bent the nail over some or broke it off or at least swung the goddamn hammer!
Anybody who's involved with the mental health profession will tell you that a bit of aloneness is necessary for the health and well being of the organism. And speaking as one of the affected organisms, I can tell you that even though I'm no longer as young and robust as I once was, I still cherish a bit of privacy from time to time, the bit of privacy I was allowed in federal prison but not with the state of Florida.
Consider: At Lake Butler Reception Center, while I was still in shock over my forced conscription into the ranks of state inmates, a conscription that violated state law (FS 944.091), violated federal law (§3621(5)(e)), but was perfectly okay with Janet Reno and Lawton Chiles, prison guards watched me on the toilet as I wiped my ass. They looked on later as I washed my dick. I stood nude in front of a huge glass wall and under a six-million candle power bank of neon lights, and I showered. Behind the glass wall was the TV room attended by 30 seated inmates and two fat ladyguards (ex-welfare mothers in uniform) eying me, no doubt disappointed. I should have peed on the glass.
From that day till this, I have been on display with the other state inmates, some of whom have learned to perform for their keepers just like the monkeys in the aforementioned excerpt. If in later years I hear of or read in the newspapers a story about a wave of exhibitionists in Florida, I'll know that those sicko men were trained by the FL DOC, because believe me, Florida has way more than its share of jerk offs in jail.
During my first week at FSP Work Camp the guards took a man out of the dorm late one night and (it was reported) beat him up. He was sent to the hole across the street at the main unit.
"Why?" I asked my neighbor, Jim.
"He was gunnin' in the laundry room," Jim said. I later learned that the man had been playing with himself as he sat behind the little dutch door, talking with the hackette. She leaned over the threshold and caught him. She called her boss. I didn't imagine at the time that the inmate would be hoping for another response.
At New River West you never went into the bathroom area without first running a recon patrol to clear the gunners. They'd sometimes be lined up at the sinks. Sometimes they'd race. It was so bad there, that at my job washing dishes on day I had to leave the room for a while because an inmate decided he couldn't restrain himself and began whacking off into the slop cans. INTO THE SLOP CANS! He was hammering away, peeking through the try slot in the wall where a great big DOC heifer was chaperoning breakfast in the dining hall.
"Unnnnnnh," he moaned, visualizing the lady naked.
"Gimme a fucking break!" I shouted over the noisy dish machines. I walked out back and sat on an overturned bucket for a while. When I returned the guy said:
"What up, man? You ain't down with that?"
"Gimme a fucking break!" I said again. My vocabulary had dried up. I hoped the guy had washed his hands. I hoped the cooks working elsewhere in the kitchen weren't similarly spicing the cookie batter.
I hope you're getting the picture, here, because now, aside from the real sexual stuff that abounds in prison, stuff like big hairy men kissing each other, I was forced to duck, bob, and weave from an entirely different crew of gamesters. Or sometimes it was amusing. Out on the yard I once watched an inmate drop his pants and masturbate to the girl in the guard tower. There he was at the foot of the castle keep, in the bright sunshine of a fall day, looking up into the unreachable heights where his imaginary lover was doing her eight hours eating Hostess Twinkies and painting her toenails. The inmate was actually whistling, trying to get her attention.
"What's up with that?" you ask.
At New River East I was removed from my job in the law library for being too blunt with my pen. I was put on a squad of weed-eating, ditch-clearing, potato-picking jitterbugs. My new boss, Ms. Crumley, was very pretty, although some inmates thought she wasn't nearly "thick" enough. My first week at work she escorted six of us between the perimeter fences as we killed the weeds with scuffle hoes. She stood there watching us, while inside the wire a grown man sat on the softball bleachers not twenty feet away and gunned her down. I could hardly contain my thoughts. I whispered to my new buddy, inmate King:
"You see that?"
"Shut up, Waid - keep scufflin."
"The guy needs to take up finger painting."
"Shut up. Crumley's gonna see."
And so on.
But this kind of thing was an everyday occurrence. There were mowing squads actually running around together, running between the garden sheds or behind piles of mowers and machinery, wands in hands, eyes on some officer lady's behind, running with a sort of Chaplinesque, hoe-down motion, knees high and apart, running and gunning and racing away. Ms. Crumley actually caught one of her squad beating off in the back seat of the work van once, beating off to an image of the back of her head as she drove.
Ms. Crumley wasn't with that, of course. She drove straight to the gate and rang for reinforcements. The guy went to the hole for a month or so.
So you see that there's a problem here. But if this thing is such a big problem, why did Florida remove the incentives to be good? What happened to the carrot-and-stick approach?
How do you mean?
Well, how 'bout haircuts: "Okay men, if you don't pound your pud in public, we're gonna let you grow your dreads."
Or why did Florida take away all the other options? Almost every prison system in America has hobbycrafts, art, leather shop, music lab etc..., not to mention shower curtains. The DOC actually took my good Sony Walkman and made me replace it with shit. Remember, this thing is learned behavior. It's a team sport. It entails vocalizing and great escapes and bragging. You could say that jerking off in Florida's prisons is not done for biological purposes anymore. It's a public display. It's choreographed, like some antiphonal call-and-respond in a perverse playhouse.
At one of the prisons in the panhandle there was, for a time, the T-shirt gang. They'd run up to an officer's station with their dicks in their hands, t-shirts over their heads to prevent any recognition but with little eyeholes cut out of the material so they could see. Pump, pump, squirt, squirt, I don't need to finish with this story, you figure it out.
Thank goodness I'm at River Junction with the geezers, now, if only to give my head a rest. A bunch of gunners here would take all day. They'd have heart attacks. They'd need Ibuprofin for arthritic elbows.
But I just want to say that young prisoners in Florida should be no different than young prisoners anywhere. And although I've been around when some really rotten, nasty stuff was done regularly elsewhere, I personally was never forced to attend performances until I came to Florida. Everywhere else you could avoid the yoke of involuntary participation. Fist fucking al fresco was a rarity. I wonder if this thing can ever be put back in the bottle, now, because so many youngsters are in jail and there's no diversins, no privacy, snoopy guards teaching men that nothing is private, so many females in dorms, super long sentences, no privacy, no privacy, no privacy...
So I bet you perverts want to know what happened with Jolene, don't you? Yes. I bet you do. All the slimy stuff. so:
- During the Saturday afternoon of my first weekend at New River West CI in Raiford, Florida, I walked into the library to get a book. There, in front of me, were eight men seated in chairs with their penises in their hands. Inside the officer's station, behind the glass, I saw a huge uniformed girl dancing to the music of her portable radio. Her hips were thrusting this way and that. The men were watching her and grinning, flogging their flounders like nobody's business, while she was gazing at Venus and Mars (tee hee). I walked out.
The other day I was thumbing though my trusty old dog-eared copy of Friedrich Nietzche's Greatest Hits, and ran across his extremely famous old saw about hanging out with crazy people or felons or idiots. It goes: "...And if you gaze for too long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Pretty heavy, huh? And true. But actually, I don't have an old dog-eared copy of Nietzche's philosophies. Nobody does. Nobody can even spell Friedrich Nietzche except people with ears like dogs. I read the quote somewhere, though, and it struck me that desirous looks and longings can sometimes metamorphose into peeking and prying and public indecency and an abyss that a tiny bit of common sense in the beginning might have helped to avoid.
Feelthy Peectures are not allowed in Florida's prisons. Stupid, huh?
So there you have it. Great minds think alike. Me and Fred. I'm in jail, of course, but I'm cool. Fred's Beyond Good and Evil; he's dead.
Thus spake I.
Gary Brooks Waid
Host Project, Kay Lee's Original Journey for Justice
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