A Whole New World Part 7 Read Count : 19

Category : Blogs

Sub Category : Motivation
Carl woke up the next morning when the cell door slid open at 5 o'clock. For a moment, he felt disoriented. He looked around the cell and noticed how spartan it was with just a bunk bed, two footlockers and an open toilet. In a flash, it all came to him; he was at The Rock and it was his second day there. He quickly got up from his bed, straightened it as best as he could, did a quick wash at the sink and then he waited. When the call boomed, he and his cellmate; a tall, brooding white guy who didn't talk much, along with the other ten inmates in the transit dorm filed out of their respective cells, forming a straight line outside the row of cells. There were no talking, no goofing around, no shit. Everybody was alert and on standby waiting for the next order. When the order was called, they walked quietly in a straight line towards the open area chowhall for breakfast. No one dared to cut the line or break the line for they had already been warned during the processing when they first arrived. This was one of the rules of the do's and don't's they were expected to follow and obey. Break that and they would be hauled into "The Hole", no questions asked. 

In the chowhall, there was already a snake of line at the food counter. While waiting in line, Carl took the opportunity to scan the large area and noticed there wasn't much talking going on among the inmates. All around the chowhall, prison officers were on standby; making sure everything was in order, and ready for any unexpected scenario. The entire scene looked like something he would see in a movie. But this wasn't a movie. This was now his reality. 

When he finally got to the food counter, he picked up a tray. But unlike a buffet in a cafe or restaurant where he can choose what he wants to put on his plate, there he could only hold out his tray while the inmates working the food counter scoop up food to build his tray. For breakfast that morning, the food served was simple - "bowl and roll" was what it was called. It was a combination of a bowl of cereal and a piece of cinammon roll that was almost as thick as his wrist. The coffee served or better known as "mud", was weak and diluted. Not wanting to go hungry, he wolfed his food down. They were not given much time for breakfast as everyone in the general population of the prison compound had to be fed at chow time and everyone was required to be back in their respective cell by 7 o'clock for the first count time for the day. 

During count time, the cell doors were once again locked and inmates were required to stand in front of their bed where the guards with a clipboard in hand would go from cell to cell to do a head count. 

"Shuck, 101250," Carl called out his last name and inmate number when the guards reached his cell. 

The guards would check it on the clipboard, mark it, and then move on to the next cell. Count time can easily take up to two hours each time and if the numbers of count do not tally with the numbers on the clipboard, the entire process of count will be repeated. After count was done, the cell doors were slid open and inmates were free to circulate among themselves throughout the day. 

The system is a society all of its own, made up of a particular type of people. Even in the smallest of things a man would go all out for blood. That was life in prison. 

Carl was shocked when he witnessed an incredible display that happened just after count time. Two senior inmates; Rodney and Shorty-Fats were arguing over a twelve dollar necklace. It was such a small and ridiculous thing to be arguing about but the two of them went hard on each other. It all happened so quick. One minute they were spitting abuse at each other, next minute, Rodney's brain was flapping like a pale gray rag; a result from a whistling swat of a piece of rebar that was duct-taped firmly to Shorty's hand. They had been arguing earlier about the stupid necklace and everyone knew or at least they should know that there was no such thing as raising your voice at somebody unless they were prepared for the results. The prisoners idea of "respect" was nothing like the respect he had learned from his father. In prison, it was totally skewed and governed by a twisted standard that could always be pointed back to getting "my way", which, in his opinion, was very juvenile and "me oriented", but there it was; that was how the game was played in there. What stunned him more than the violent reaction over such trivial things was the utter lack of regard everyone had for Rodney after the attack. Rodney was slumped forward over a table which had led to seizures only moments later and nobody had stepped in to help him. The main thing in everyone's mind was to clear out before the guards could come and start looking for witnesses. What happened after the fight was he and the other inmates had navigated in a large circle around Rodney before dispersing. He could not help looking back over his shoulder at the fallen man during their quick exodus. He later learned that Rodney did not survive the attack. He died not long after. 

Carl faced a new reality that day and learned that there were rules that govern over this mean and difficult society. There were institutional rules and then on the other hand, there were the chain gang codes that regulated everything on an entirely different level. The institutional rules were literal and written in black and white so there was an ability for him to see and get a clear picture of what was expected of him. The code of prisoners however, was not as well defined and neither was it written in any form that would allow him to capture it fully except through trial, error and observation. Some people were raised with violence and have no difficulty fitting in to an environment like that, but for Carl, the worse thing he ever saw in his life was seeing his older sister being beaten up by her husband. To him, that was already bad. But still, it was nothing to prepare or acclimate him to a place like this.

Pulling pranks and misbehaving among your peers in the playground is one thing. You may get away with things like that and your peers may even laugh it off and treat it as nothing but a childish joke. But prison isn't a playground. Hardcore criminals are not his peers. In fact, prison is like a whole other world that Carl was about to learn about. He has seen darkness before but from what he had just witnessed between Rodney and Shorty-Fats, it was clear to him that he was going to be exposed to another side of darkness which he never knew about.


  • Sep 04, 2020

  • Fear comes in all shapes and sizes. It isn't until you come face to face with it that you realize where your heart is really at.

    Sep 05, 2020

  • prison life is brutal

    Sep 06, 2020

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