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FDC Miami, Gun Club Road, 2007, Nicknames, Labels
OK, this is absolutely my favorite handle laid on me, the association I’m proudest of.
February 2007 I’m sent from FDC Miami to Gun Club Road. Back in South8C, Gun Club, Bob Heartsong pushed some Sudoku puzzles on me. Gun Club’s commissary sold pencils (often defective) and (actually serviceable) cap erasers. FDC Miami did not sell pencils, though pencil stubs could be found here and there. FDC Miami did not permit cap erasers. Contraband.
I pause to illustrate the FedBoP concept of “contraband”: the commissary sells plastic drink cups of double plastic, so there’s a thermal layer. The FedBoP permits photographs of family to enter by mail. You may possess the cup, you may posses the photograph.
The cup is designed to hold a photograph as well as to maintain temperature. But, if you put your photograph of your grandson in the cup made for the purpose, it becomes contraband: it will be seized by any guard doing their duty, and you may be transferred to the SHU: Special Housing Unit: euphemism for Solitary: only the solitary cells now have double to triple bunks, with guys sleeping on the floor as well, and two hundred federal victims get squeezed into jails made for one hundred felons.
I had looked forward to being back at Gun Club Road so I could have the luxury of doing a Sudoku puzzle with a full length pencil and a cap eraser. But I was put in the fed dorm where no commissary orders were ever delivered to me (though they deducted the money from my account each time as spent). Still: I found a cap eraser! I determined to try to sneak it out of Gun Club and into FDC Miami!
On entering any of these jails you’re stripped naked. You’re closely inspected: naked: body orifices, hair … You are not allowed to carry anything. Though all the jails make a big fuss about allowing you “legal papers.” (Mine were confiscated and never returned, but theoretically I was “allowed” them.)
By the time I left Gun Club to return to Miami I had a few new “legal papers.” My cap eraser would have hidden better had I still had all my legal papers, but I decided to try.
One thing I’d learned in the army: no matter how they’re torturing you, the new torture they’re threatening you with is probably no worse than the standard torture they’re already applying to you. Thus: their threats are often empty. In basic training I got myself punished the morning we were to crawl through the winter mud under live machine gun fire. My punishment was to tend the fire in the non-com’s warm up hut. I read magazines and kept warm all morning. Some punishment. Another time I was being punished I merely waited till the sergeant guarding me got bored. He went to the PX to drink coffee for the rest of the morning. I followed, and a discrete distance away, deliberately ignored by him, I too drank coffee for the rest of the morning: snug and warm, while the rest of the company was being drilled to a nub. So: what was the prison going to do to me if it found my cap eraser among my legal papers? Put me in jail?
Before I was stripped and inspected, my legal papers were, as usual, taken away from me, put aside to be handed to the marshals. The marshals would carry them for me. In theory the marshals would hand my legal papers to the FDC and the FDC in theory would give them back to me, once inside the FDC. It’s not foolproof as I already knew: Gun Club had never returned my earlier legal papers to me and the marshals knew nothing about it. No one was responsible. (Till Judgment Day.)
Finally we arrive at Miami. Again we’re stripped. We have to bend over and spread. We have to lift our balls so they can see into crevices from more than one angle. We’re given new underwear, new jumpers: new to us that is.
Reprocessing into Miami for some reason took all day and all night. I’d been flushed out of the fed dorm at 3 AM. We were back in Miami’s court house bowels by 10:30 AM. We’d been given a cold sandwich for breakfast around 6 AM. 4 PM in Miami we still had had no lunch. No one seemed worried about our dinner either (though eventually we did get some. By 11 PM we’re still wondering when we’re going to be back “home” upstairs.
Sometime in the evening I saw my “property” bag delivered. I could see my Thomas Harris novel, and my Sudoku books inside: and food. I had Snickers bars from the commissary in my bag: I could have eaten at least the candy bar. I also noticed our legal papers stacked on the counter. When I was taken out of the holding cell so the PA could see whether or not they’d killed me yet, not allowing me my medicine once again, I asked a guard if I could reach into my property bag. That particular guard shrugged and walked on. I got my Sudoku book out, a Snickers bar, and a pencil. When the guard passed by again I asked if I could put my legal papers with my property. I got another shrug. Another guard on another occasion, maybe that same guard on another occasion, would have given me a firm No, maybe a firm Yes. This guard shrugged yet again.
Ah, my legal papers in my hand, I felt for my cap eraser. No. They’d silently confiscated it. Oh, well, I tried. Would they put me in the SHU? Time would tell. They’ve got you, they can put you anywhere they want, whenever they want. Rules say differently? They Are the rules. The rules are whatever they do.
By midnight I was given my property bag back into my own hand, to have with me in the holding cell. I hid toward the back and again examined my legal papers. Sure enough, there was my cap eraser! I’d smuggled it in! I put it right onto my pencil and commenced to do a Sudoku, entering my codes for possibilities, and erasing wrong possibilities once I’d made more deductions.
(2014 04 29 Now you can try Sudoku for free, at Yahoo/games.)
At 1 AM we were bundled upstairs to a temporary dorm, still not allowed back to our last nest here: 7W for me. The guard sees me put away my pencil with the cap eraser. I see other guard come to take a peek at me. I hear rumors buzzing about that I have a cap eraser!
The guard are shaking their heads in bafflement. How did he do that? I’m getting sidelong glances from the other transferees. How did he do that?
By midmorning of the next day I was back in FDC Miami 7W. Thank goodness: a new cell, away from my former cellie. That latter even returns some of the items I’d left with him as too bulky to pack as “property.” He’d consumed most, but returned some: not bad, I’d expected no better, I’d feared maybe getting back none. (This is a guy who when asked if he’d really sold all that coke, really shot at all those cops, said, “I don’t know.”)
For the rest of my stay at Miami I would hear snatches of the story of my cap eraser as I walked about the day room. One RastaMan who had been in the holding cell with me came up to me directly, his sepia dreadlocks like Medusa’s snakes:
“You look like you don’t know what’s going on; but you know, man. You smart. You brilliant. In fact, you Hannibal Lecter! A genius, man.”
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