Living in the lap of Luxury
“Damn, I have dark circles under my eyes.” Jamie said under his breath as he stood at the stainless steel sink, trying to look at himself from side to side in the stainless steel mirror. He ran his tongue over the tooth that chipped when he fell off his bunk one night when he was having another seizure. Damn seizures. Never knew when they were going to hit. The only thing he knew for sure was knowing he was going to have another one. Had them all his life, from the minute he was born. He was born having a seizure. When he was twelve he had laser surgery on his brain to try to stop some of the bleeding. It helped but it didn’t stop them. Stress didn’t help. Neither did heat. But most times they hit him out of the blue. Sometimes he was lucky and knew one was coming so he could prepare himself.
He ran his hand over his face and felt the stubble of beard growing in. He must look pretty sorry. “I’d scare anyone if they came to visit.” He said to his reflection, laughing, knowing there wasn’t much chance of that happening. If he didn’t talk to himself sometimes, he’d have no one to talk to. But sometimes he’d get a good conversation going with some of the other dudes. They could call back and forth to each other.
Sometimes it got downright noisy in here. It was hard to really see himself. They don’t let you have a real mirror with glass in it because they wouldn’t want you breaking it and slitting your wrists. Lots of dudes in here would do it if they had a chance. Some get real creative when they’ve had enough and they try to kill themselves, usually by hanging or cutting themselves so they’d bleed out. Some come pretty close. Some of them are really nuts. It’s not their fault. This place makes you nuts if you don’t know how to handle it. He knows how that feels. People who are already crazy are brought in here, too, because they don’t know what else to do with them. That really seals their fate. When they go off and do something to hurt themselves they just pile more time on them until there is no way they’re ever going to get out. Sometimes the guards torture them and they die. But so what, another inmate dies. They don’t care. There’s another one right behind him to take his place.
The prison knows how to cover things up really good. They hide things. They’ll make it sound like it was an accident or say they died from natural causes like a heart attack or something. Just like the guy they put in the shower and pelted him with water so hot it peeled his skin off. It took him an hour to die. They said he died of a heart attack. Maybe he had one, but that wasn’t why he died. They murdered him. Another inmate had to clean up all the skin that peeled off.
We hear about it all in here. Word gets around. People talk. But the staff and the officers aren’t stupid. They just let them get away with it. They don’t want anything to bring a bad name on the prison, so they look the other way. Sometimes a guard will get suspended or sent someplace else, but they never have any charges brought against them. Just like the police. What’s the difference between the guards and the inmates? Not much. They should be locked up right beside them.
Forget about a cell clean up or shower for the dudes who lost it mentally. No one’s going in their cell and physically drag ’em to the showers and then help them wash up. Not a chance. They stink real bad. They never change their clothes. Why would they? They smear their shit on the walls and play in it. Cover themselves in it. You can smell it. They even chuck it at the guards if they get close enough to the cell. They wash their shit out from under the door by flooding their cells.
They don’t have enough wits left in them anymore to even know if they had on clean clothes, and that’s bad because even as dirty as the daily clothes are, and the guards have to bring to them every day, they’re still cleaner than what they got on already. He’s afraid to wear them because he heard about dudes getting crabs and lice from them so he tries to wash up his own clothes as best he can in his sink . . . .