warden pt.1

Alien stone farms

I was working as a guard for 25 years….started down in Texas…just south of Kennedy in Karnes County…the John Connelly Unit…I was so good they offered me the position or vice warden over at the Georgia State prison…I loved driving through southern Georgia, on account of it’s bursting beautiful groves of peach farms and lovely pines that dangled old man’s beard moss from every branch like a creepy Christmas tree…and at that time my wife had just passed from breathing, to feeding the earth in a box…and I felt like falling in love again…with the Georgian landscape…I remember when the warden joined my wife to help fertilize the green grass in a big fenced off park that must have looked like some kind of stone farm to aliens…I always thought the land was for the living…I’d rather they push me out to sea…let the fish eat steak for once…

The gorilla in charge of forgotten men

Maximillian Ritter was the warden’s name…he was a great gorilla of a man…with hair that shot up and down his body, thick and dark…some would joke that his skin has never felt the touch of his suit shirt or pants…his torso must have had a treasure chest inside it, for it jotted out very imposing and, much like a gorilla, was the main feature you could see from afar…he was a very moral man, and forbid any sinful playing within a prisoner…when a new pack of inmates would arrive, after the guards walked them around like pork chops and applesauce, the warden would come down from his office and give them his commandments…”you’re here to pay in full for your crimes, to beg of the lord your forgiveness, and to serve your common neighbor with what little respect and dignity your poor souls have left within you…and if any of you turn to the devil…if you get lost in this house of wickedness and redemption you may call upon the chaplain, you may call upon the virgin Mary herself…but never will you call upon your neighbor, for he is filth…as are you all from this day until your last”…and to “call on your neighbor” of course he was talking of homosexual thoughts of lust, or acting there upon…he had a great vengeance for such fruity things…I watched him catch 2 men in the shower room…after calling on the guards, he had the two men beat with Billy clubs and sentenced them to 2 months in solitaire…he made the guards cuff the men together, one man behind the other, with shackles on each hand…it looked like they were lined up for lunch…bound together and bloody, they were marched through the main unit floor…it was a vast hall lined with 2 floors of cells running parallel alongside it…they were paraded for every hooting, raving mad inmate to see…the warden behind the guards, who were behind the men pushing their nude dripping bodies forward…the gorilla spoke abroad “these two men gave unto the devil’s temptation…I will not speak of their actions, for you vile creatures would get off on such a thing, but I will promise you all this…give in to the devil’s hands and you will march to your own shameful solitary hell”…as I’ve been told, there wasn’t any deviations of that kind for quite a while after…as I’ve been told too, the devil wasn’t just in those prisoners but inside warden Ritter as well…I’ve never seen such a devil inside that big treasure-chested gorilla, but I’ve been told about a time…a time shortly before he stopped breathing and became fertilizer, the devil took him over…and I was told that he found one of those fancy prisoners doing fancy things to one another…I heard he took them up into his office at a late hour of the night and forced them at gun point to castrate one another…and sent them to the infirmary…and after the infirmary to solitaire…and I was told that they bashed their own heads against the walls until they stopped breathing…

History and it’s bastard children

Dr. Martin Luther king was transferred from Dekalb County jail in Decatur, to Georgia State in 1960…I wasn’t here yet…I would arrive just 2 years after…imagine such a man in such a place…he would go on to do great things for man…man never really did great things for man…about 20 or so years ago this prison , in splendid and beautiful Georgia, would pay any volunteer up to 20-25 dollars to “flip the switch” on a inmate in the chair…imagine that…you could create life and destroy it with no consequences…unless of course you’re a man of faith…but after hearing such a thing, I don’t really attribute man with faith…after all, there would be a line of volunteers wrapping around the death row building…they would drench the inmates with salt water to help the electricity scorch their bodies in haste…that chair is still here…although, like the volunteers, it’s just a heirloom for morbid curiosity…if you look back in time, you can see a mirror…but everything is quite askew…the reflection is yours, but there’s nothing behind it…almost transparent and ghost like…this prison was very transparent…the soul of these cinder blocks and wire and bars and steel and marble and aluminum…all used up…like an old pair of jeans…they just cover it enough to get the work over and done with…and before I retired, I found what little heartbeat this castle of Hades thumped about…

The man with the quiet eyes

I didn’t operate like Maximillian…I wasn’t outright or righteous…I was not a believer in a god, or religion…I didn’t believe that one way for one person is the only way for all peoples…you can’t treat life like a zoo in a blender…so my approach was estranged as to running an entire building that’s purpose was to keep wasted souls from harming those that are smart enough to get away with it outside…I did not believe in forced castration…I was a quiet warden…they called me the “quiet eye”…I did most of my talking through my eyes…I knew these men were here because they did not care about feelings beyond the immediate…these men did not look onwards to a future or afterlife…these men, in my opinion, were true men…they lived life , as they knew it, like it was the only one they were sure to live…I can agree with that…after all, the only proof in life after life is the green grass of the cemetery grounds…the men under my watch were good and abiding…the guards ,for the most part, were fair and gentle, yet heavy handed and decisive when they had to be so…all in all, my entire career as warden was neither groundbreaking nor half hazard…I was fair, there were no riots, minimal homicides, minimal suicides, average violence and sexual misconduct…the true men new that behind my quiet eyes, I had no faith of future or foolish dreamy landscapes within the clouds above…respect and understanding can bash into a head just as fiercely as a Billy club…I had simple rules, and was a simple man…I remember shouting my self introduction effortlessly in front of all the true men my first day as the boss…”you are all here…it is not my concern how it is you’ve become who you’ve become…it is not my concern what you have done to prove you will be what you will always be…it is only my concern how you will be it…and if you must fear anything in this prison, do not fear god…do not fear the guards…do not fear your neighbors…and do not fear me…fear yourself…you are the one you have to question…and right now you have eternity ,as you know it, to find your answer”….this was very true, in prison or strolling down the street with your lover and a pocket full of gold…free or not, you have to answer yourself, at the end of your road…and if what you did with life wasn’t enough, then you waited too long to ask…

friends and enemies

As one spends a better half of his life in one place, they would accumulate friends…and enemies…I had a fair handful in both…most of the prisoners were my friends…most of my employees were my enemies…I did not intend to share a hopelessness that these men had…I never knew how close I was to being a permanent fixture in that place…I was but few morals away from being a exhibit alongside the dusty electric chair…but I stayed along my path…I questioned myself every morning…I liked my answers…to be more in step with prisoners while expected to run a staff that very well is not, was a tricky maneuver…I had a lax routine…I would wake up, in my quarters just a room off of my office, shower and shave…I would have my secretary hang my suit on the bathroom door knob along with any notes to start the day…she would pin them to my jacket sleeve…I would read them while dressing…”a fire was started in cell 34-A near the mess hall corridor, grave shift unit manager still investigating. Man from Georgia Tribune called about interview with you and ex convict who was released last month claiming you helped him find Jesus and turn life around. Raw foods delivery inc reported 2 missing tire irons from freight after last delivery as driver’s inventory revealed so.”…such a briefing was more potent than black coffee…I would then address my morning notes, and take care of whatever business they entailed, then leave the office and start downstairs from cell 1 to 1000, and greet every inmate personally…I would only say hello to the inmates that were human enough to say hello first…and when finished with my morning conversing with all the prisoners, I would gather the morning staff inside my office, and wish them one more day on this beautiful planet in this beautiful Georgian countryside…

 

 

 

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