By Tony Casson
The following morning (April 7), I got up and went out to get my laundry issued. I returned my elastic-waist pants and canvas shoes; I was issued 3 khaki shirts, 3 khaki pants, 3 pairs of tan boxers, 3 pairs of white socks, and a very uncomfortable pair of steel-toe work boots—oh yes, and a lovely adjustable nylon belt with a plastic clasp. The pants were sans zipper, buttons only, and made right here in Oakdale, but we’ll get to that later.
I returned to the unit and looked for the counselor. He wasn’t in, but my temporary cellie was (I really hate that word, but everyone seems to frown on “roommate”).
“You’d better go ahead and give me those reading glasses back, because I don’t want any problems with those guys,” he said.
I actually laughed and said, “Sure—want the book too?”
He gregariously said, “Nah, you can go ahead and keep the book.”
I could tell he was warming up to me already…
Lunch was approaching, but I still wasn’t prepared for the dining hall, so I skipped the meal and went to commissary.
Fortunately, Kathy (sister) and Larry (brother in-law) put some money in my account, so I could sock in a pretty good supply of Ramen soups, chili, crackers, peanut butter, and oatmeal in case I had to barricade myself in my cell…
The counselor came into his office on the unit early afternoon and I went to see him. Now, I use the term “counselor” lightly, and only because that’s who he said he was and that’s what the sign said outside the door, but the only counseling I had received so far was his advice to lie about my charge, which I didn’t perceive as being beneficial to anyone.
At any rate, I went into his office and he invited me to sit and talk about how things were going. I said, “Well, this welcome wagon came to visit last night and suggested that I move to rooom #208 to be with my own kind.”
He looked closely at me and said, “Are you OK with that?” I assured him that whatever worked for everyone was fine by me, so he went on his computer and made the change where upon I packed up my gear–mattress and all–and headed for the the second floor.
I got settled into my new home and chatted with Stan, my new cellie. Stan had come here from Marion FCC, a medium-security facility. He’s been ‘down’ (incarcerated) for 5 years and has 17 more to go. Stan is 60 years old.
Sobering, when I think about it in terms of my sentence of 57 months, which computed to 48 or 49 with good time. A long time, yes, but 22 YEARS??
We’ll go into the various specifics of the people I’ve met later. For now, I’ll finish up with my second day in Allen 1.
At some point later that afternoon, I was downstairs looking at the bulletin boards. It’s important to do this as “call-outs” are posted each afternoon for the next day and you must check to see if you are on it. Different departments will “call you out” for an eye exam, or to the dentist, etc.
At any rate, I was down there kind of in a daze and a younger guy whom I had seen a couple of times approached me and introduced himself. He said, “Hi, my name is Aaron and I just want you to know that not everyone here is like ‘those guys’, and there are people who will be happy to help you out if you have any questions or problems.”
It’s difficult to describe the sudden sense of relief that I felt, but in that instant, I knew things would be OK.
Aaron took me to another cell and introduced me to Michael, Pete, and John. They proceeded to educate me as to who “those guys” were. They are called “Dirty White Boys”–not kidding; this is a name they actually chose for themselves. Apparently they claim to be independents, not a gang, just a group of independent, freethinking guys who call themselves “Dirty White Boys”…or D.W.B’s.
I, on the other hand, am not a drug dealer or a bank robber and, thus, cannot be a D.W.B., apparently they would prefer it if I, and others like me didn’t even share their air.
Me and mine are S.O’s, or “sex offenders”, and we actually do have our own section of the dining area.
Actually, there is a white area, black area, Latino area, and a small Asian area, and then there is the S.O. area.
And that is all I have to say about that–for now, anyway.
Now will someone please pass the chocolates?
I have an idea for whoever is reading this: drop me a note. Let me know what you think, what you want to read–good, bad, indifferent. If I know you, write and send a picture. If I DON’T know you, write and send a picture!
You’d be amazed at what hearing your name at mail call can do for your day.