As you might imagine, I was quite shaken by the events described in my last posting. The close call of almost having to actually fight with the worst criminal I had encountered yet, and the great personal injury I had only just escaped at the hands of this unbridled maniac/attorney, had left me in a state of panic with no small degree of traumatic shock. I performed like a robot on auto-pilot as the guards made me clean up the cell, my hands shaking as I wiped up the mess. I was ill-prepared for what was in store for me next.
When my cell was blood-free enough to meet with the guard’s satisfaction, he snapped his fingers at me and jerked his head indicating I was to go with him. I was taken from the unit and marched wordlessly to the main administrative building. Looks like I had an appointment with the Warden.
|Going to see "The Man"|
I am brought into his office and made to stand before a large heavy desk, behind which I see only the back of a tall leather chair. He’s invisible to me, in his magnanimous swivel chair, looking out his picture window at the barren fields stretching off into the frozen prairie outside. I hear him sigh, and then slowly, gracefully, the black leather seat revolves around to reveal the great man to me.
He’s smaller than I’d expect, old and bald headed, with a walrus style mustache making him resemble a tiny Wilford Brimley, or maybe the little man from Monopoly? Only his eyes; they are sad. Very sad. Wasted vacant, can’t-never-come-back-from-the-edge-sad eyes, two rheumy piss-holes in the snow that have gazed on one too many a criminal in his care. This cat looks miserable. It actually cheers me up a little; here I was thinking I was in for the “3rd degree” and now I’m checking to see if I have a Kleenex I can offer to the old sap.
|...that's not oat bran...|
As I’m staring at him, and starting to grin nervously, he begins to cough. All phlegmy and runny at the eyes again, and I see that his “sad” gaze is rather some sort of thyroid condition and he isn’t sad at all. In fact he seems devoid of any type of human emotion altogether. His solipsistic gaze merely casts itself through me. It’s like he’s preoccupied with how wretched he feels and I’m just something he has to attend to. He sneezes and snot flies across the room and onto my arm. Disgusting, to be sure, but now he is starting to look angry too. He keeps making these sickening noises, clearing his sinuses and sounding like a barnyard animal. Even the guards are a little put off. It takes the little man forever to adjust his diseased pipes enough so that he can address me, but finally, he gets to the point. He actually wants to apologize to me for what I had been through. He assures me that any type of personal injury suffered and/or witnessed by any inmate is of grave concern to him and his staff. He wants to make sure that I understand that the prison’s administration department will do anything they can for me to help me with my rehabilitation, and that there are many services and programs available to a common criminal such as myself, and that they are willing to help me with any sort of constructive, therapeutic, non-speaking –to-the-media, type activities I might feel would help me put my legal problems behind me, and get my life back on track.
That really endeared me to the old man…until he puked, that is. Not puke actually, but about a pint of snot and spit as he flew into a wheezing coughing fit. One of the guards went up to help him, and he waved him away angrily. Warden caught his breath and leaned toward me, he still couldn’t talk, but made hand gestures that said “tell me what we can do for you?”
I was ready this time, pretty sure I had the upper hand, and I could more-or-less demand what I needed. I stepped a little closer, and spilled it;
”University sir, I think that I should attend University. I hear you have a PhD program here where I can attain my Doctorate, and I am in urgent need of a law degree. Seeing as I have no attorney, I need to attend one of your colleges here in lock-up, and become a lawyer, so that I can prove once and for all that I am not a criminal.”
I was pretty bold, but I had an eye on the meaner of the two guards the whole time I spoke, just to be on the safe side. If I made the slightest move that they deemed “out of line” I would suffer great personal injury at their hands, later, back in the cell-block. Still, I think I threw down a pretty good case.
The warden didn’t even look like he had heard me. There was a cloud of germs flying around his head so thick as to be discernible to the naked eye and it distorted the view of his face and his reactions. I could just make out that he was fixated on some specific point on the surface of his desk, jamming a handkerchief up his nose and groaning. He did kind of acknowledge me. I was presented a binding "non-disclosure" contract for me to sign, and after greedily collecting the signed documents, he seemed to cheer up slightly, shook his head at the guards and waved us away weakly. I guess that was his way of saying OK to my request for schooling because I was whisked back to my cell and told I was to be transferred to Unit J at 4:30am tomorrow morning and admitted immediately into the prison’s own university PhD program.
|"Mum's the word"|
At last, it looked like I was one step closer to earning a degree and officially becoming an attorney. It was the only the slightest promise of the faintest degree of hope, but that was enough for me to sleep like a baby, as dreams of colleges and doctorate diplomas danced in my head, for tomorrow, finally, I would be back in school!
|School Days, School Days, Precious Golden Rule Days|
|The Promise of Higher Education|
|So close I can taste it!|