Dream of: 12 July 1996 "Evil System"

I was a prisoner, being transported in a small vehicle, perhaps a Volkswagen van. Four or five other prisoners, as well as a couple policemen acting as guards, were also in the vehicle. Noticing that one of the prisoners was an attractive girl (only about 20 years old), I talked to her for a while and found her to be quite pleasant.

We were being transported to a prison. But before we reached our final destination, we first had to make a stop at another prison, a prison which wasn't the one to which I was being taken. We were all unloaded from the vehicle and as we walked into the prison, I knew immediately I didn't like the looks of the place. I said something about how I hoped I didn't get left behind here.

We had all entered what appeared to be a giant auditorium or cafeteria. There must have been a thousand prisoners sitting at long cafeteria-like tables all around the room, and it was quite clear that the prisoners in this prison had to sit at tables all day long. The place was noisy and looked awful; I couldn't wait to leave.

My little group walked all the way around the room, and then back to the exit. When we reached the exit, I was last in line, and the others in the group went out ahead of me. Just as I was about to follow the others out, something stopped me. Only when I felt myself being pulled back, and I was able to look around, did I see what it was. A guard, sitting behind me to my right, had a long stick – around six feet long – in his hand. On the end of the stick was what looked like a carving of a hand, a hand curved around in a cup. The guard had stretched out the stick so that the hand was placed right over my mouth, in just about the same position as if I were to take my own right hand and clasp it over my mouth. By placing the hand over my mouth, and pulling firmly with the stick, the guard had been able not only to stop my movement toward the exit, but to also begin pulling me back to him. And what was the worst, with this contraption over my mouth, I was unable to speak and holler out to the others in my group who were leaving. I now saw that my worst fear was coming to life – I was being left behind in this sordid prison, where I didn't belong.

Once the guard had pulled me back next to him, he made me stand here and wait. And as I looked at him more closely, I realized he looked like someone I knew. He was probably in his early twenties, and seemed particularly straight-laced. I thought about how misguided he must be to be a guard in this place. He reminded me of someone I had known who had gone to the same junior high school as me back in the mid 1960s. By now I had realized that if I tried, I could talk out of the left side of my mouth, and I thought about asking the guard if he had gone to Grant Junior High School. But I decided it would probably be better not to say anything right now.

The piece over my mouth was extremely uncomfortable – maddening in a way. It seemed flexible, perhaps made of black leather, like a mask. It also now seemed that instead of to a stick, the mask was connected to a rope or chain which the guard was holding. I wondered what everyone here in the prison would think if I were to suddenly begin screaming like a mad man. But I knew I wasn't about to do that since I didn't think it would help. I could only wait and hope my guards came back for me.

Meanwhile I looked around, and out of the left side of my mask, I asked the guard if I could sit down. He first allowed me to squat down. Then some people rose from a table in front of us, and the guard allowed me to pull up a pale yellow chair which looked as if it were made for a two-year old, it was so small. I sat down on the tiny chair and began looking around the room.

Several other guards were sitting right next to us. I also saw behind us, and to our left, rows of women sitting in metal fold-up chairs. Although the women were also prisoners, they weren't sitting at tables like the other prisoners. I was surprised by how flawlessly beautiful several of the women were. They were probably in their early twenties and simply ravishing. I wondered if I were kept in this prison whether it would be possible for me to meet them. I doubted it. From the side of my mouth I said something to the guard about the women, and he agreed with me that they were beautiful. However he seemed non-committal. But another guard quipped something suggestive about the women, and from what he said, I inferred that he might be having a relationship with one of the women.

I asked my guard if it was possible to read books in the prison. I saw some magazines here on a rack, but my guard was unsure whether books were allowed. I thought if I ended up staying here I would get tired of magazines and would want to read some books. But I knew it would be difficult to read anything here with so much noise. And the prospect of my staying here grew ever more frightening.

I wondered where the prisoners stayed at night. Again I asked my guard and he explained that the prisoners had cells in which they slept. But he also elaborated about the cells, saying that most of them had holes in the walls from where prisoners had tried to dig tunnels to escape. In my mind's eye I could see the cells – white walls with a big irregular black hole in the side of one of the walls. The guard said that prisoners could travel through the tunnels from cell to cell in the night. It sounded frightening to me. I began imagining that if I were in one of the cells I might be attacked or even raped by prisoners marauding from cell to cell.

I continued to wistfully look at the entrance, hoping that one of my original guards would return to look for me. I thought that I was being held back because I had needed some kind of badge or something like that when I had tried to leave. I knew it was all a big mistake. But I thought I still might get caught up in the system and never be able to leave.

As I waited, my guard mentioned that Michael Irvin (football player for the Dallas Cowboys) had been here the day before, and that Irvin had refused to admit that he was evil. The guard made the statement in such a way as to leave no doubt that he thought that Irvin was evil. I myself knew that Irvin was presently on trial for possession of drugs. And I knew I didn't think that Irvin was evil. In fact, I thought that the system was evil for putting people in jail for drug offenses.

I recalled a story I had recently heard about a Mexican drug lord who had been released from prison after having served only five years. In my mind I contrasted this treatment with the way the drug lord would have been handled in the United States, how the drug lord would have received a much more severe sentence. I thought the drug laws of the United States were barbaric. It seemed to me that Mexico, which didn't have a jury system, was more lenient in the punishment of drug offenders. Perhaps the reason was because the sentences were handed out by judges instead of juries composed of little old conservative ladies. I thought about how unjust the American juries were for putting people in prison for the rest of their lives for drug offenses.

O.J. Simpson also crossed my mind, and I thought about how he had managed to escape conviction. I wondered what he had done after he had been released. Had he immediately found some beautiful women and made love to them? Had they been white women or black women? I thought he would have no trouble finding black women since so many blacks had wanted him to be acquitted. But a white woman was another thing.

Suddenly I heard someone call out the name, "Leroy Steven." I saw someone I recognized coming through the front door. He was one of my original guards! He was thin (about 30 years old) and casually dressed. He walked right over to the guard who was watching me and spoke to him. The guard immediately released the mask from my face. Having the thing off was such a great relief. Although I was now dressed in a gray prison uniform – different from the clothes I had originally worn in – I walked with my original guard toward the door. My guard was extremely friendly. He explained how he had been working all this time to get me released. He had told the others in my group that he wouldn't leave without me. I was extremely grateful and felt beholden to him.

I could hardly believe it when we were allowed to walk right through the front door to the outside. Nevertheless some of the guards still seemed concerned about my leaving, and one guard – a black man – even accompanied us outside and spoke a few words with me. He said his son was one of the prisoners in my little group. I commented to him about how ironic it was that he was a guard and his own son was a prisoner.

I knew I was still going to a prison and I mentioned something about that to my guard. He replied that the prison where I was going was a country club compared to the prison I had just walked out of, and I began to imagine the prison where I was headed as being rather plush.

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