More of the same it seems. Eat, work, eat, back to work, eat, basketball, work out, volunteer work or Bible study, sleep, repeat. Other than Arthur’s radio which he plays nightly, I do seem to sleep better than at the max. He tells me to turn it off if it bothers me when he’s sleeping. So I do. Then I wake in the morning it is back on with some talk or discussion going on. Quite annoying I must say.

I’ve tried ear plugs made of Kleenex which do help some, but real ones would be better but, of course, they are not allowed. So I muddle through and hope I can get a nap after lunch, before we have to return to work. Or before supper. We do not have far to go to the mess hall, and it’s all indoors. We just go down two flights of stairs around some corners and hallways and there we are. To get to the yard is a similar route but more twists, turns and hallways.

When I use my evening to work out, I go to the outside yard, the only place where there are basketball courts. With the summer league winding down, I cannot access the courts during game nights. So I work out with weights which are also outside, mostly covered by an overhang of a building. It was there I met this one guy who was doing katas. They are sort of shadow boxing for martial arts guys, practicing moves both offensively and defensively.

Because I had studied karate on the outside when I first was a high school English teacher out of college and knew several katas and moves myself, I asked him what type he was practicing. There are numerous types, all having some typical signature combination, move or style to set it apart. He told me and we began chatting. He told me we were not supposed practice any style as the facilities viewed it as dangerous. It obviously was as he had beat up four or five cops on the outside to get his free trip to this correctional facility. Authorities were called to domestic dispute when the fight ensued. It ended with him being taken down with two stun guns.

It happened that I began seeing him on other occasions and we always talked easily with each other. I finally shared my crime and desire to get to a facility which had the program. He did not seem to be affected when I told him, maybe because he was quite sure of himself and confident. He gave me some pointers on staying safe and also encouraged me to write letters to aide my transfer. It was always good to see him in the yard or around the facility.

Work also seemed to continue, more of the same just changing names and numbers of the guys bringing the grievances. Officer abuse, lost packages or inmate complaints over and over. The outcomes were also similar. Findings in favor of the facility, officer or the institution. One particular case grew quite contentious during the hearing, with the sergeant even standing to talk very sternly to the inmate who was getting quite aggravated and loud. I had attempted to keep control of the session, my job, but to no avail. Sitting at opposite ends of the table to the inmate, his focus and comments were primarily directed at me. I reminded him I had no vote in the outcome and that we would let him know the results by mail in three or four days.

After the hearings that day, the sergeant approached me and asked me if I wanted to have an escort back to the dorm. I guess he understood the threats the inmate had made better than I had, and since the decision had gone against him, the officer was concerned for my safety. I was very appreciative but declined his offer, feeling it would draw more attention to me. They couldn’t give me 24/7 coverage unless I went into PC (protective custody), so I felt it was better to find my way on my own. He then gave me some tips to ensure I was aware of my surroundings and the people I was with, and cautioned me to be on the lookout for him or guys in groups approaching me.

I returned to the dorm that day for lunch thinking and watching extra carefully, wondering if I had made the right decision. I did not want to get paranoid, so I mentioned it to Arthur. He agreed I had made the correct decision but cautioned me to be careful, maybe even walking with guys when I could on my outings. Just another thing to give me pause, make me work out another change and remember I was inside corrections.

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