Miami Herald Article on Gary B. Waid

Miami Herald
Tuesday, August 17, 1999

Steve Bousquet
Capital Bureau Chief

TALLAHASSEE - A convicted marijuana smuggler serving time in Florida was moved over the weekend from a low-security work camp to a high-security lockup amid accusations that he used the prison's computer to write letters to The Herald and other newspapers.

In those letters, inmate Gary Brooks Waid, 49, joined the chorus of prisoners accusing guards of brutality. And in the tense atmosphere following the fatal beating of Death Row prisoner Frank Valdes, Waid's charges are being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and his temporary transfer has drawn intense scrutiny.

Late Monday, Waid was back at the work camp with other white-collar criminals, away from the killers and rapists down the road at Florida State Prison - the place where Valdez died a month ago after a confrontation with guards. Waid's brief journey speaks volumes about the climate in the Florida prison system since Valdes died.

Shortly after Waid was moved last Friday, his lawyer was demanding explanations, and a friend, Kay "Grandma" Lee of Key West, was sending urgent e-mail messages to Florida newspapers and to inmates-rights groups around the country, pleading with them to take up Waid's cause.

Prison officials took pains Monday to describe Waid's three-day transfer to the closest prison as a necessary move while they look into charges of misuse of state property - a computer in the work camp law library.

"He is not a security risk at the moment. We're moving him back to O Unit," said Florida State Prison Warden James Crosby, using prison jargon for the work camp. "We wanted him separated from any access to the computer until we could have someone go through the computer and check it. We have everything he had on the computer. We had to remove him over the weekend until we could get an expert to look at it."

Letter not typical

Prisoners' letters to the outside often are written in painstakingly precise handwriting, a reflection of the amount of time inmates have.

Not Waid's.

His three-page letter to The Herald on July 28 is neatly typewritten and articulately phrased, with key words italicized for emphasis. Describing himself as an apprentice law clerk, Waid said that since Valdes' death, "more and more inmates are coming to me to help them with their affidavits."

"They don't like a prisoner who's able to articulate himself," said Waid's lawyer, Donald Cohn of Miami. "He's one of the people they don't like because he's exercising the rights he has. This was, in effect, a form of punishment that was given to Gary because he's not the kind of inmate you normally get."

Waid, formerly of Merritt Island on Florida's Space Coast, was convicted four years ago of conspiring to smuggle two tons of marijuana on a fishing trawler from Jamaica to Florida over several years. He got a nine-year sentence in a federal prison and wasn't supposed to be in state custody in the first place.

He was one of about 30 minimum-security federal prisoners swapped last November for 30 violent state offenders, many of them murderers who came to the United States during the 1980 Mariel Boatlift. The prisoner swap had been advocated by state officials.

Miami Herald Article

Record Defended

His lawyer says Waid had an unblemished record while in federal custody and that he'd probably be in a halfway house by now if he hadn't been transferred to Florida State Prison's work camp last November.

"We're now in the process of doing whatever we can to get him out of there and get him back into federal custody," Cohn said. "He was in the worst place they could have put him."

Corrections spokesman, C.J. Drake said some e-mails on Waid's behalf came from people involved in efforts to legalize marijuana use. But, he said, Waid's transfer back to the camp was not a result of any complaints made by Waid's supporters on the outside.

"There's a heightened sense of awareness by prison management when it comes to conducting internal investigations," Drake said. "The Valdes incident has created an environment in which prisoners feel they have a forum to rehash allegations against the prison system."

Waid's Internet home page, set up by his friend, Kay Lee, is entitled "A Smuggler's Tales From Jails." On it, Waid describes Florida's prisons as "factories of hate and violence."

A biography written by his brother says Waid was a promising musician - a onetime professional trombonist with the Florida Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra who got into shrimping and from there "became enticed into the marijuana trade."

Saturday, June 19, 2010


(COULD be fiction)

"Hi Guys,  Here's a thing I did way back at FSP.  Found it the other day cleaning.  It's sick humor.  Take care, Gary"  

PS:  "Kay, please thank people for their letters, etc....It is way cool to get mail, but I can't answer everyone, as I only have a little time at night." a Tavern in Starke one Quiet Afternoon.
   "Hey, Harry.  Long time, no see."  
    "Oh. Yeah. Hi Bill.  Gimme a cold one."   
    "Things okay at home, good buddy?  You look a little blue."   
    "Aw, hell, Bill.  I ain't doin' so good.  Got suspended at the job, an' the wife's pissed.  Had to knock her around...."   
    "Yeah.  Heard there's been some trouble at the prison."   
    "Goddammit, Bill.  Would'a been okay if it weren't for them suicides."   
    "Tough luck.  How 'bout a shot 'a likker."  

    "Sure.  We had a guy eat his toilet last week.  Another tied himself up in a sheet and beat himself to death with a shower shoe."   
    "No shit?"  
    "Would I lie?  Tried to stop the toilet guy.  But when we used all the proscribed methods, over and over, his nuts accidentally swelled up like beach balls."   
    "Go figure."   
    "And last month there were those other ones.  The guy who refused to breathe?  Turned blue and died.  And the drowning guy? found him in the toilet.  And the dude who cut his own heart out with his toothbrush."  

    "Must'a been depressed."   
    "No respect for the law."  


The Next Week, Same Bar in Starke.
    "Hi, Harry.  Been awhile.  Beer?"  
    "You bet, Bill.  Set 'er up."   
    "I guess you're feelin' better this week.  What's happening at the prison?"  

    "Aw Goddamn, I'm feelin' great, Bill.  Got back to work.  Wife's bruises are healin...." 
    "So what's your secret?"   
    "I'm on this new squad at FSP.  Called Inmate Suicide Prevention Response Team.  Been training for almost a day."    
    "No stuff?"   
    "Yeah, buddy.  Already been at work.  Just today prevented an inmate suicide.  Found this guy almost ready to do it."   
    "Wow.  Ain't that the shi..."   
    "Stopped him in time, though.  Looked like the guy wasn't doin' nothin', you know, writing a letter to his mom or something.  But we could tell; saw the warning signs."   
    "What'd you do?"  

    "Applied the proper corrective measures.  We beat his ass."   
    "Beat his ass?"  
    "Beat his ass."   
    "Shut up, Bill an' gimmee a shot'a jack . . . Or I'll stop your suicide, too."
by Gary Brooks Waid


Follow-up on the Saga of Sergeant Barry Neil "Bullethead" Johnson
You are going to have to get past your phobias about 'bad words' and taboo topics to get the hard-hitting punch of this story.  The DOC and other 'law enforcement' agencies are making it possible for child molesting guards to stay on the street.  The next child they hurt could be your own. Are you willing to go this far to protect criminals in uniform? Kay Lee
Dear Reader(s),
Hello, folks.  I was going to write this report months ago, but I kept putting it off.  Something interesting had happened here at River Junction Work Camp, but I needed more information and the local rumor mill had failed me.  For weeks, no matter how much I prodded and pried, I never got to the unvarnished, absolute core of facts that would astonish my readership and garner outrage.  I wish now I'd been more dogged, less put off, but if wishing were fishing, I'd be Captain Ahab.  And anyway, the gooey, titillating muck is more fun to write about and, ultimately, too good to resist.  So I sat down the other day and looked over my notes and decided it was time to stir the soup, see if something cohesive and important emerged.

Besides, now that I've been denied work release because of my actions in court, and denied federal halfway house because of where I am, why should I cover for these knobs?  Everything you are about to read is of course entirely fictitious and the furthest thing from actual truth imaginable for sure.  We're going to talk about certain sexual exploits today, so stake your children out in the back yard, don't allow any ex-presidents to use your phone, and never trust people who have to say, "I do solemnly swear" when they go to work.

The main characters in my story here happen to resemble a bunch of our African American brothers and sisters who are pals of mine.  If you've read my other stuff you know I take no special pains to avoid the colors of the prison spectrum;  I make fun of all shades.  But if you're offended in some way, pretend my characters are Eskimos or Polacks, what the hell.

My name is Gary Waid and I've been in prison seven years, meeting all sorts of bad guys and exposing myself to all sorts of ideas and information.  I hang out in a different tree than you do, and am therefore privy to different sorts of earthshaking thoughts.  Important questions abound behind bars, and reverberate and ricochet and re-emerge in disguise, and then spread their oedipal thighs and give birth to twins or maybe triplets or sextuplets that sound suspiciously like the grossly overworked originals.  Even so, many questions inside are recognizable to the great herd outside.  For instance, the most important question in my universe and yours is:

Where da pussy?

Huh!  See?  I'm right, aren't I?  Big question - in here, out there - doesn't matter, still big.  Of course some of you have to switch gender images and reconfigure.  But ain't no denying what's facts!  And in prison no one cares that there isn't an answer, or that asking the question is an exercise at best (especially here, with 350 ancients who refuse to constantly beetle their brows in hormonal angst over our arid condition).  Not a day goes by that every man around me doesn't scratch his bald, liver-spotted head and rhetorically seek nirvana in the contemplation of women and the manifestations thereof.  Call it an art project if you want.  Or a hobby.  Guy next door, been down twenty years, is checking the pictures in People magazine, trying to find out where da pussy.  

His back, chest, legs, belly, arms, and even his ass are covered in imperfect totems and pictographic paeans to the great pussy in the sky that he hasn't actually seen since Jimmy Carter confessed to lusting in his heart - SO WHAT?  It's still a viable question.

Where da pussy?

Yet when it comes to the particulars and the artwork and artistry and artsy-fartsyism that I just finished lecturing you about in case you hadn't noticed, isn't it peculiar what life imitates, and how someone visually shows up to do all the parts in the movie?  It is, isn't it?  

So in March 15th of this year, in the Gadsden County Times Police Blotter (News of Record, Gadsden Co., Florida Sheriff's Office), one of River Junction's own was exposed as a POSSIBLE PUSSY PREDATOR!  Barry Neil Johnson, Sergeant Barry Neil Johnson, late of the Florida Department of Corrections, was arrested for allegedly having unconsensual sex with someone's teenage daughter.  At the time of his arrest, Sergeant Johnson was a near-middle-age, sixteen-year DOC veteran who, as an added bonus, had eighteen years service in the National Guard.

Sergeant Johnson was also a swine.  Everyone called him Bullethead.  And he never-never-not-once was able to control his baser urges, even here on the compound.  So the title of this unfocused epic tale has got to be: 
In which I seek a motive for Bullethead's last ride, and I give funny reasons to explain why we convicts should care or notice, which ultimately returns me to the aforementioned most important question in the universe, forcing me to modify that question somewhat.
You may wish to complain now and rail on about the author's qualifications to tell this story.  After all, it's been years since I've, you know, done it.  It's been years since I've done anything.  I haven't even danced or winked or flirted with a woman, and I'm single now because months and months ago my former girl got tired of waiting for me and decided to get a life.  But in my defense, I am entirely aware of biology;  I remember certain things; and I've never stopped asking, where da pussy.

Without further ado then, we should delve into some lengthy, laborious background, beginning with these two truths:
1)    River Junction Geezer Camp, my current home, is populated with the most docile, well-behaved convicts I've ever seen, and -
2)    Most of the officers here are grateful for that and enjoy the serenity.  Only a few wish to wake up the neighborhood with polemical theatrics.
But it's embarrassing.  Especially for a writer who's trying to document the gritty underbelly of life behind bars.  Here at good ol' RJWC nobody does much of anything sneaky.  I've been on the compound a year and seen only a couple punches thrown, a situation unheard of in any normal Florida prison.  I've also never smelled marijuana on the yard, an impossibility anywhere else I've been that's allowed me access to a yard.  Try and find a gallon or so of buck around here and you'll be looking for a long time.  A terrible crime in this place can be something as silly as walking your cookie out of the chow hall at lunch:
"Hey inmate!  What's that in your hand?"
"Uh. . .Well, sir - "
"Is that your cookie?"
"I was just gonna eat it under the pavilion, you know, and - "
"Turn around an' cuff up, asshole, you're goin' to the hole!"
A worse crime is smuggling something through the gate when your outside work squad comes in in the afternoon, but so few guys do it, the officers at the gate have a cow every time they spot a lump in your blues.  Other crimes are when you smoke somewhere you're not supposed to or stand somewhere or sit somewhere else, and the idiocy has been getting more and more ridiculous as time goes by. All the memos the front office people write have slowly but surely evolved into ludicrous lampoons of prison intractability.  Every day they open a new blister-pak of shit:
All those sitting improperly must stand.  All those standing without explicit approval must sit.  All those standing in line to sit must have a pass and must first NOT smoke, preparatory to gaining that seat in order to smoke, but only within the designated time allotment and only in the approved seating or standing "areas," and only when the moon is smiling down.  At all other times consult your handbook (in theory) or see Santa Clause.  Hopefully this clarification will clarify the previous clarification.  Violators will be forced to eat this memo.
A friend of mine just went to the box for feeding the pigeons.  No shit.  Other screw-ups include forgetting to return your library book on time, mixing up the dress code requirements (we've had three lectures and at least three memos during the past month advising us on different, changeable aspects of the bare chest/T-shirt enigma at certain times and in certain areas in and around the dorms), or you can get in trouble just - you know - having that look.  Don't ever have that look!  It'll get you every time.  Paul Haggerty had that look 

DRESSING THE PIG), and see where it got him?  Biker Bill Wagoner also had that look and he got a DR for wearing suspicious socks.  They took a bunch of his gain time because his socks, you know, had that look: 
1st con:  "Psst!  Was there dope in Wagner's socks?"
2nd con:  "Get real!  Would you do dope from out of Biker Bill's socks?"
Then there's count time, which in most joints is a visit to the rain forest, with exotic bird calls and aborigine drums, whistling bats and raining missiles.  But at RJWC, it's the public library on Sunday.  Old farts sitting quietly on their bunks, wondering who they are and how did they get there and what did they eat for supper.  The fact is there's not enough rule breaking around here, even though the higher-ups have tried mightily to clamp down on everything they can think of that some slimy convict might try.  There was even a memo not long ago warning us of disciplinary action should we try to appear comfortable in the TV room.  The memo said:  There will be no pillows or blankets used as cushions in the TV room...

I don't actually sit in the TV room much.  I have a bad back and the benches are made of expanded steel plate with angle iron backs, welded together like the superstructure of an offshore oil platform.  They were designed long ago by Marie Antoinette, I think, so the rabble could sit and eat cake during the beheadings.  If jury seats were like our TV benches, there'd be a glut of people on death row.  But because each steel bench is heavier than a Vatican pew, I can't possibly get mad and kill my septuagenarian bunkie by lifting one of them and dropping it on his arthritic hip or something.  I'd have to run get a chair from under a card table next door.  The iron maiden benches are the dumbest thing I've ever seen in a joint like this (and hell on ancient hemorrhoid scars), but dumb or not there is no possible allowance or slack allowed because of our aged population.  And even with the rule now against attempted comfort, nobody complains.  Nobody's willing to fall on his own sword.

The upshot of all this is there's a serious problem at RJWC.  A serious serious problem that is taking its toll.  The problem is boredom.  Not inmate boredom, officer boredom.  Your average, choleric, pain-in-the-ass hack can't deal with the stress here.  Our officers are slowly dissolving into the firmament.  They're lost in a sea of ennui.  And being bored to tears affects the dumb ones in myriad ways unbecoming.  You've heard me complain how bored inmates can imitate zoo monkeys with respect to playing with themselves (see A PLAGUE OF PRIAPISMS UNLOOSED), but bored officers sometimes play with each other, which is the sad, awful reason I've come to you today with such a tacky tale of love's fickle imposture.

The following paragraph is a compilation of known facts and rumors, and is a synopsis of the exciting events beginning last March.

Bullethead Johnson was temporarily fired as a result of his arrest.  He also lost his position with the National Guard, and according to two separate sources, is now busy singing for the feds in an ongoing investigation that concerns stolen weapons at the armory.  As for the sex charge, no court will ever hear it.
This is the *fourth DOC officer I've heard about who will have escaped prosecution on sex offenses.  In fact, the DOC will almost certainly offer him his job back, if he wants it.  

Bullethead hasn't escaped completely, though.  In addition to the embarrassing bust in the front seat of his car in which he was allegedly giving oral sex instruction to a gagging and choking local teenager (who's mother was extremely upset), he got himself in a little dust up with the husband of his then love interest on the compound here, a female guard, and had been seeing yet another woman, also a guard, also married, who'd been eventually found out because when she hobbled to work on crutches the week after Bullethead's arrest, she never made it past the front gate and had to take sick leave.  The word I got was that her husband had been extremely upset.  And Chattahoochee, Florida is not a place where upset husbands join focus groups or go to T'ai Chi classes to channel their anger.  They knock heads is what they do, so the lady was sporting one of those inflatable, wrap-around casts on her leg.  

My Bunkie's daughter is in the National Guard, and she said that during that week, Bullethead had somehow become the target of one of the husbands or the other or both, and had involved himself in a shooting down at the armory in which the cops, as examiners of the bullet hole in the Bulletmobile, searched a little further and found a quantity of illegal steroids under the seat, which ultimately alerted the feds, involving them in the ballad of Bullethead and presaging the aforementioned federal rat-out to save the Bulletass from a drug charge.  If he's offered his job back, he probably won't take it.  Every guard in the DOC will know that big bad Bullethead snitched out his pals at the armory.

But before all this pookie hit the fan, Bullethead thought he was bulletproof.  A star.  With his shiny black dome and his teddy bear ears, his steroidal brow and his pipe-rigged neck, he was way too slick and way too arrogant to think there could ever be a problem with an alleged child-fuck or a couple of angry husbands or an upset mother or the local sheriff or the personnel at the National Guard Armory.  And he was way too self-absorbed to realize that much of his dirty dancing here on the compound was being recorded and made sport of by 350 or so convicts, themselves in constant search of the answer to the ultimate question (as I explained), but of course not as fortuitously placed as ol' Bully.  He was smug and stupid and most everybody including many on the staff disliked him immensely because he couldn't keep his tiny brain to himself.  Sergeant Barry Neil Bullethead Johnson was, until recently, the guy who most perfectly exemplified much of what's wrong with many DOC prison guards.

The playboy-badass thing really stuck in the RJWC collective inmate craw, too.  For some reason a few of the younger women working the dorms here had thought Bullethead was sexy because he was the resident bully who made sport of the inmates.  That the ignorant ladies seemed to be down with that is a phenomenon I've seen over and over in Florida's prisons  - angry, undereducated, overweight black (or white) females eager to participate in the dressing down of men.  Are these ladies so mistreated in their own communities that they've developed a gender-based animosity?  An animosity that has spread throughout North Florida and actually has symptoms?

During the smoky-cold evenings of winter just passed, while the entire prison population tried valiantly to drift along on autopilot, Bullethead Johnson would spend his shifts on the attack, entertaining himself by jumping in inmate faces, creating problems where none existed, and recruiting confederates from his female officer admirers, a process which included instructing them in how to screw up the inmates' evenings by the injudicious administering of the boo game.  He never considered inmates people, either, so he'd yak on without restraint, in third-person possessive, unconcerned that we were listening.  Several of us were there one night in the dorm as he showed off for his bevy in the wicker, flipping through the inmate handbook, showing the women hilarious ways to do inmates. 

They were all laughing... ...or tittering.  A display of mutual admiration a cappella for da Bullethead.
B.H.:  "So ladies, when dey wash dey dicks inna shower, you could claim dey jackin' off!"
Ladies:  "Eeeeuuuu, tee-hee-hee..."
But Bullethead had no imagination, which was what alienated him from everyone but those few ladies who's main jobs - waddling up and down the rows of bunks at count time, finger-counting the old coots while atomizing the air with their cloying perfumes - was so boring that they found themselves trying to ape their idol, trying to match the galvanic geometry of Bullethead's warp and woof so to speak, thinking that it was somehow the thing to do.  

One of them - we'll call her Bitzy - became so good at the locker-box shakedown, in-your-face, what's-dat-you-say?, is-you-doin'-drugs?, how-come-you-gots-dat-look?, I-is-writin'-you-up!, that the front office moved her out of the dorms altogether except as an emergency replacement.

Sometimes Bullethead was a liar. Sometimes he was a sneak. But mostly he was a blowhard who too often believed his own bullshit.  And when he wasn't dealing one-on-one with somebody, he'd be wasting our time giving speeches.  Almost every day the speeches.  God, we got tired of the speeches.  I close my eyes and remember this greasy-headed moron standing before the multitude, in the chow hall or in the dorms, railing like Mussolini on the balcony, gesticulating wildly and shouting his sophomoric, soporific, wholly ironic sermons about how to act, what was wrong with us, why we were such losers; lunatic diatribes that belied the facts because there was no evidence he even knew how civilized people should act, having gone off the board long ago with his throbbing exploits alfresco.  Yet every night or two there he'd be, standing in the center of a bunch of inmates while the other officers rolled their eyes, looked at the ceiling, tapped their toes etc, and he'd raise his arms, slap his chest, threaten, climb on a bunk sometimes, and lecture the geezers, none of whom having any idea what was so upsetting:  

"And if you men don't... yadda yadda...!  When I see your crap, and...! Growl...! ...curse! ...roar...! etc..!"
1st convict (whispering):  "What he sayin' today?"
2nd convict:  "Don't know!"
3rd convict:  "Boy, he sho nuf mad 'bout sumpin!"
1st convict:  "Shhh!  Look 'a lil Bitzy over there.  She gettin' all squinty-eyed.  They be makin' love tonight, I bet."
Bullethead:  "...and goddammit I wanna see respect... ...screech... ...bombast ...bullshit forever till lights out..."
Yeah, it's true.  His powerful displays gave poor, dumb, mean-as-a-snake Bitzy heat rashes like nobody we'd ever seen before.  Bullethead was her ideal, personifying the passions of Mandingo, the romance of Chaka Zulu, and the intellectual intensity of the professional wrestling circuit.  If I may borrow imperfectly from O'Henry, Bitzy's chubby form hiding under her uniform was, "a storage battery of impetuous wants and needs."

My own theory was that besides the sex angle and the quest to answer that most important question in the universe, Bullethead felt the need to have a bunch of people listen to him and pretend he wasn't a boorish windbag.  Prisoners are the perfect captive audience.  When I was at NFRC, aka Lake Butler, the West-unit dorms were staffed with several semi-literate preachers who shouted invective for whole afternoons only to hear themselves over the white noise in their brains.

I once had to sit for two hours while a brown-suited ape displayed his pseudo-Christian hubris, regaling a bus load of us with unanswerable motivational claptrap about sin and salvation.  When this happens, I want to stand and reciprocate but of course you can't.  If you do you're beheaded or something, so you're forced to sit and watch your First Amendment rights go down the toilet.
Remember, a self-satisfied proselytizer who spouts biblical aphorisms one minute, may be part of a crew that later chains men up, takes them into the  "laundry room" and works them over for sport.  Thanks but no thanks.  Please don't think me anti-Christian, I'm not.  But before a counterfeit apostle claims the right to steer me, a Roman soldier in uniform no less, he should clear the deck with respect to his own actions, then take the time to meet me.  Morally, most of those guys don't belong in my (and your) time zone.  The greatest sin, it seems, of those wielding power, is the sin of pride.  And people in uniform sometimes entertain a delusional self-image that too often justifies outlandish acts.  I wonder how Jews or Muslims feel about such bullying tactics.  I wonder why it's allowed.  I wonder, does God bleed at Lake Butler?

Convicts here at RJWC have told me that Bullethead is well known throughout the panhandle prison network, and has been an eager participant in unauthorized corporal punishment squads.  I saw no evidence of that; any guard who might want to play rough with the oldsters is quickly cut off at the knees.  In fact, I saw Bullethead back down a time or two when he knew he wasn't fooling someone.  And he wouldn't invoke Jesus, either.  What he would do is pick out tiny bits of illogic and then belabor the supposed infractions into mountains of nonsense.  And the only ones interested or impressed were the youngish, thickish queens of the moo like Bitzy.  So by and by a relationship developed.  too bad that Bitzy and Bullethead worked in a zoo, though, and too bad the animals were so curious. 

Everywhere Bitz and BH would go, someone was sure to see it.  Half the guys on the compound had a story about the pair getting squeezy and googoo-eyed when they thought no one was looking, whispering sweet daddy-wuvs-yous, yes he does, sneaking a sub rosa sentence or two, even carrying on physically during that crucial last half-hour of their shift.  Or after their shift.
Inmates Fred T. and Frank X found them actually making out in the darkened TV room:
Bullethead (sotto voce):  "Oh, Bitzy, oh-oh-oh, Bitzy-Bitzy-Bitzy..."
Bitzy (soprano, come-fuck-me assibilation):  "Oh-oh-oh, Bully-Bully-Bully..."
Fred (whispering):  "Look, they're kissing!"
Frank:  "And hugging!"
Bitzy & Bullethead: "Kiss-kiss-kiss, hug-hug-hug..."  and so on.
For awhile here at RJWC we had a diversion - Bogey and Bacall in blackface - and Bullethead seemed proud of his prowess.  But the organization he'd worked for for all those years, the Florida DOC, constantly sliding along on a diet of facile evasions and glib lies, had taught him that nothing he ever did was answerable-to or serious, even something as potentially volatile as sex.  

So, soon problems arose with the other young ladies - Bimbohead, Bonerhead, Beaverhead, Bunnyhead, and Booboo.  Some of them were only amused, some a bit put out, but at least one was actually jealous, having been the previous catch of the day. I've already mentioned her.  You remember - the leg cast, the crutches, the irate husband?  Evidently a meeting occurred, then a barroom confrontation and a car chase, which foretold the events of March past.  Anyway, such a fine stew of moronic infidelities brightened everyone's evenings for sure, and we didn't have to break our backs on those iron TV benches to be entertained, and if the prison ladies would have been the only Bullethead prey, we convicts would have continued to be just amused.
Imagine cartoon elephants in pink tutus, gamboling in the forest for their lion king.

Or hippos with pretty pink bows between their ears, batting their eyes for the main gorilla.

How about ladies in grass skirts pounding roots into mush in front of the hut somewhere in the South Seas.  Their massive dugs sway in rhythm as they cluck at one another, arguing about who gets to do big King Kaneihokihead (which means "coconut of iron") after supper.
But then there was the item in the paper with the teenaged girl, and suddenly his foolishness wasn't so funny anymore.

A lot of the men here are fathers.  Bullethead needs to know that.  At the time of his alleged crime, he was a man of almost 40 years.  What was he doing with that kid?

The consensus here is that any alleged oral sex being allegedly performed on RJWC's man Johnson by a young impressionable girl, then allegedly discovered by a sheriff's officer, who arrested the alleged moron and called the girl's mom, surely raises some questions, especially if the moron is a guy who rants and raves about behavior as he does his job, then goes out the gate, possibly shoots up steroids, and prowls the streets looking for the young stuff - Maybe the most important questions in the universe for him should be:

Where de legal pussy?

I'll tell you where it ain't.  It ain't in Bullethead's car anymore, that's for sure.  His former crew of DOC goils have been conspicuously silent in his defense.  And Bitzy and her sisters have lately cooled it with the in-your-face bullshit.  But it's discouraging that ol' Bully will never have to actually pay for whatever it's decided he's done.  He'll get another job and eat or shoot steroids if he wants, and fool with underage girls, and nothing will have really changed.  And I'll still be doing my time for marijuana.

I keep hoping Bullethead has learned something from all this, though.  Was there a day last month or the month before when Bullethead, bereft of his badge, wept for his misplaced pride, wept in regret, wept in pity over the nothing he'd accomplished this past sixteen years?  I know I've spent way too much time examining my own past.  But Bullethead doesn't have my advantages.  He's in the world.  Chances are he's performing predictably, gloating at his good fortune.

Once, when I worked in the law library at New River East, I agreed to type a motion for a man from Miami who'd been convicted of a sex offense.  He stood at the table talking to me about his case.  He explained that the sex act with his daughter was consensual.  "She wanted it," he said.  I gave him his papers back and told him I was too busy, find another typist.  

If Bullethead is guilty, let's hope he's repentant.  Let's hope he's not as stupid as this other man was.  Let's hope.

Gary Waid


Disclaimer:  Author must here assert unequivocally his right to remain detached from the goings-on in this piece.  Further, the author can't possibly know any of the histories of the participants nor be familiar with any, undoubtedly horrific crimes that may have been attributed in the past to inmates and guards here mentioned.  The author is just as wide-eyed as you are and wishes you to know that.  But to tell a story about childish doings in the Florida Department of Corrections, the author has temporarily sunk to a despairing level of...something...

...and, well, the atmosphere I found myself in at both New River "C."I. West then East serves to indicate how far I'd fallen since the Federal Bureau of Prisons took a shit on my head. 

The following piece was written last spring, but for reasons that will become apparent, I was reluctant to mail if off.  I only have 16 teeth left;  I wanted to keep them.  

I've changed a few names here, but not the hero's name.  And I rewrote everything in past tense.

Explanatory Notes:  The word 'nigger' is used a lot in prison.  I don't know why, exactly.  It's a vocal ideogram that's become fashionable inside, and the root word of a lexicon as common as cornflakes.  Color is not the determining factor, either (although it's one of them), when deciding to call someone "my nigga."  I am obliged to report here that I, a fifty-year-old white guy, have been "my nigga" plenty of times.  It's sometimes a term of bonding, sometimes used derisively, and almost always demeaning, although not in the way you might expect.  "Hey, my nigga!" means something like:  "Hi, asshole.  You're a nigger just like I'm a nigger, so don't get uppity!"  The term is not easy to get used to and, I'm told, infuriates members of the black middle class, who have spent so many years teaching Americans not to use the word.
I am a federal prisoner being held by the state of Florida now, by the way.  And in the feds there was a more diverse population.  F.C.I. Texarkana, my former federal home, was 70% Central American, so the term "nigger" was not as ubiquitous.  But in the Florida D.O.C., and especially when I was an inmate of "the triangle" (F.S.P. Work Camp and New River "C."I. in Starke/Raiford), everyone around me was a nigger, except of course the black guards.  They were African Americans, which fact is the drawstring for my story here, a story about Florida "Crackers" and "Niggas" on 'a 'pound'."  It's also about an African American hack with an enigmatic mind the scope of which did not in the least boggle me, and a Thor-like body which did.  
I call this tale:


( which an inmate gets Dead Serious.)

When I lived in the feds I rarely saw a fight.  Didn't happen, or if it did it was likely to be serious, with lacerations and makeshift weapons and all the rest:  Screaming, blood, broken bones, a stretcher, a condolence call to the family, a request for the right to cremate.

But at New River East in Raiford, Florida, there were fights every day.  Fights all the time.  Fights like undercard bouts.  Get-down-and-boogie fights where nothing in particular was happening, then suddenly two guys would flair up and Bim, Bam, Boom, it was ON!  And in the year I lived there, there was only one death.  Imagine that.

When I was housed in D-dorm we averaged one or two fights a week for all of November, December, January, February and March.  No one seemed to sustain much damage, it was forgotten in an hour or so, and I never saw anyone go to the hole for duking it out with another inmate.  The guards sat in their locked offices and looked through the glass.  They made polite wagers among themselves.  They left the combatants alone.  A guard would throw you in the hole for serious offenses like having too many t-shirts in your laundry bag or hiding pictures of naked ladies in your locker, but for fighting he wouldn't do a thing.

The last little tussle I witnessed was between a noisy, rude, piece-a-shit-who-thought-he-was-running-something named Rooster, and an up-and-coming welterweight named Coleman.  It was no contest.  In three quick rounds Coleman had Rooster slumped on his locker spitting and slobbering and vowing to get even.  He never did.  Coleman would have beat him up again.  Coleman was tough.  He'd learned his moves in the army, where he was involved with martial arts.  He once tried to explain them to me, but I couldn't follow much of what he said, so I won't go into that here.  I don't know how to spell the words anyway, and I wouldn't have a clue where to put all the apostrophes.  K'ing P'hu or T'ai Qu'an D'o, or wha't e'v'e'r'...Anyway, nobody was seriously hurt.  Rooster learned some manners, and in a day or two everything was forgotten.

But within a system like the Florida D.O.C. a man can get a reputation that follows him.  He can become so well know as a badass that he metamorphoses into a target sometimes, and sometimes even a target for the guards - the ones who want to prove something or who enjoy beating on inmates.

So it was no surprise, then, that right there at New River East there was just such a convict - sort of a throwback - who'd been christened and occasionally had to deal with it.  His name was Michael Becraft, the Michael Becraft, and one Tuesday he was forced to go toe-to-toe with the baddest hack on 'a 'pound, the famous Sergeant Dead Serious.

"Noooo..." you might say, "not Dead Serious!"

And I would say, "Don't get smarty-pants! This is not so funny!"

It's not so funny because at New River East, Sgt. Dead Serious was the main Catch dog, which is the term in the Florida D.O.C. for the guard who does the dirty work.
Catch dog.

It's not talked about, of course, but every one of these compounds might have a Catch dog.

At New River, Sgt. Dead Serious was one of a trio or so of psychopaths who were called upon when a con needed to be taught a lesson, or when the con's family was being troublesome, or when an in-house fuckup was in danger of being exposed.  

Catch dogs grow into the profession.  They begin to make their own decisions regarding corporal punishment.  They have fun.  Most Catch dogs enjoy chaining a man up, taking him into a little room, knocking him around, making him do things naked or in funny costumes and humiliating him for entertainment purposes.  At New River East there was even a scandal a few years back when the phalanx of Catch dog-like guards working in lockdown were making inmates crawl around on their hands and knees in their underwear.  The inmates had to bark like dogs or something.

But Dead Serious wasn't a jokester.  He'd earned his nickname, all joking aside, by being seriously serious in a sort of weight-forward-on-the-balls-of-the-feet, ready for action, deadly serious way.  Think of a Rottweiler straining against his leash.  Overt physicality was his thing, and swinging his powerful arms, popping a fist into a palm, snapping and manipulating his obsessively flexing fingers, calling everyone "chief," and squashing the occasional inmate like a bug was what he lived for.  He was the industry's pride and joy, the Catch dog of Catch dogs, an evolutionary regression and more, because he was a black man who was so insecure or so dumb that the Florida Crackers on the staff were able to manipulate him.  All the inmates called him the house nigger, a term I'd heard before on another compound that described a similar animal in the D.O.C. zoo.

And by the way, he was only a few feet tall, extremely short, which may be why he had such an attitude.  He was short, but he was five feet wide and built like a backhoe.  He must have eaten lots of vitamins and big slabs of liver.  Tuna fish by the ton.  Reports of his steroid use were all over the compound, as well as unverified tales of his feats in the weight room.  The rumor was that along with his deadly serious use of growth enhancers and his weight lifting regimen, he also taught martial arts at some unnamed studio.  Whether any of the stories were true or not didn't matter.  Sgt. Dead Serious bristled with menace and would be the last man on earth I'd want to pal around with.

Note:  Inmates and guards had both told me that Dead Serious was into steroid cycles.  I have no idea if that was true, but throughout the triangle and especially across the street at Florida State Prison, there was (and is) a big problem with uncontrolled roid rage among guards.  My neighbor in G-dorm, an 18 year veteran convict of the area, told me tales of skinny young uniforms (sons or grandsons of guards) just beginning their rites of passage as newly employed officers, fearfully walking the corridors all stick-insect insecure, then bulking up overnight on steroids, bragging about it, losing their cool a few times over tiny things (testosteronic overload), eventually becoming mountains of angry muscle with no brain to accompany all that power.  I myself have had RHOID rage a time or two, but rhoids and roids are two different things.

Anyway, if I chose not to kick the bobo with Dead Serious, you can well understand why.  Inmate Michael Becraft, predictably enough, thought the same way.  At no time had he ever considered making ol' D.S. his buddy.  He was not  friendly with the staff, and he did not give a hoot whether anyone on the staff liked it or not.  He would take your K'ung F'u, tie it in a k'not, and sho've it up your a'ss.  He wasn't trying to prove anything, he said, he just wanted to be left alone.

And Michael Becraft wasn't the monstrous, bulging, weight-pile type of guy you're imagining right now, either.  His unremarkable angles and lumps added up to a rather unimpressive 5'11" and 200 pounds.  He looked more like a mechanic than a maniac unless he took his shirt off and exposed his prison tats.  But he'd been down long enough to enjoy a certain encumbancy - this wasn't his first dance - and he would have rather fought than be dandled by just any Tom, Dick, or Dead Serious with a mind to knock the smile off his face.

So on the first morning of Spring, 2000, when three of New River East's finest stood together on the sidewalk in front of the inmate clinic and waylaid Mr. Becraft as he passed by on his way to work, Mr. Becraft was annoyed.
"What's up, fuckboy?" said big fat Sergeant Godwank, who blocked Becraft's way and smiled.
"Waid, you should'a seen it," Becraft told me later.  "They got in my face and wanted to know about me bein' a bad mutha' fukka over at F.S.P.  Right in my face.  Then Dead Serious walks up an' joins 'em and they all just stare at me with those stupid, country-fried grins."

Michael said a lot more, but you get the picture.  It was like a day at the petting zoo, except he was the animal.  It was also just for show.  Most prison guards are not driven to discovery.  They don't wish to know the origins of the universe or how fish fornicate or why a three-legged table doesn't wobble.  If they were ever the slightest bit inspired, they wouldn't have become prison guards.  Never-the-less, a spark of primate curiosity feeds the frontal lobe now and again, and Becraft's reputation must have worked its way through the cheese.  The need to know was puddling at the group's feet.  It was time for a boo.  Godwank and the others were positively oily with loathing, like bullies in the school yard.  And Godwank must have thought at the time: "...hmm, maybe we can convince our boy Dead Serious to beat this asshole up."

"I said, what's up fuckboy?" he repeated, breathing all over Michael, casting his shadow, looming like the Goodyear Blimp on point.

"You a badass, inmate, or one a them F.S.P. fuckboys?" sneered Sgt. Pyle, thumbs in his belt loops, flecks of Redman staining his teeth.

"Big, bad, Becraft," remarked Captain Pissgums from the back of the group.  His face was shiny with pimples.  He was tall and soft and easily entertained.

Dead Serious, as was his way, was silent.  His silence wasn't a calm silence, though.  Never.  His silence was noisy with passion - A silent, hormonal rage.  He popped a fist into a palm, his neck swelled out like a rooster's, he snapped his fingers angrily, "Rouf!" he almost barked.

So Becraft looked at the officers and said: "Whaddafuck, shitpile 'a cocksuckers, looks like to me.  Crackers, niggers, fuck you, your wife, your goddamn dog..." and so on.  He smiled good naturedly and kept on walking, detouring around the group.
Sgt. Godwank turned to Dead Serious.  "You gonna let that inmate call you a nigger?"

One minute later a barely contained Sgt. Dead Serious, eyes blood red with drug-induced hypertension, escorted Becraft down the sidewalk, turned him right and then right again, and shoved him into the "Captain's Office," which term was a laughable misnomer designating a privately ingressed room right next to the inmate canteen, that was in fact Dead Serious's playpen, sometimes even an arena, where he could get a little privacy with his inmates.  The big (but short), dumb sergeant entered directly behind his intended victim, slammed the door, turned, and without any warning drew back and punched the intended victim in the side of the head with his big, hammy, angry fist.

So Michael Becraft, as he said he would do, beat the finger-snapping, fist-popping Hell out of the big (but short), dumb sergeant.  He positively took it to the surprised, ducking and bobbing and constantly bucking up, muscle-bound moron, who, as he was getting repeatedly pounded by one then another and yet another perfectly timed blow, an olio of knuckles as it were, kept shouting things like, "Wait!" and "Stop a minute!" and "mmmf, ugh! and so on...

You see, fight fans, Dead Serious had been so convinced of his own superiority, he'd neglected to chain Becraft up.  Let us all bow our heads.

When the door finally opened and the three other white officers walked in, their grins were quickly replaced by confusion.  They'd been outside the door listening, and what they'd heard was the opposite of what they now saw.

Inmate Becraft was smiling, leaning against the wall.  "What up, dogs?" he said, sucking his teeth contemptuously...

...while Dead Serious was holding his knees, panting, not so casually ensconced behind a desk.

Note:  This kind of moment is not as rare as you might expect in prison.  Guards are often made fools of.  Some of them even consider it part of the game - win some, lose some, just having fun.  And because this episode went down only two weeks or so after an investigation had been initiated in response to D.O.C. thuggery with another New River inmate (see Kay Lee's report on the Riley, Moody, Godwin debacle), our little D.O.C. platoon standing around in the Arena couldn't all jump on the smirking Michael Becraft.  Besides, as I said, he wasn't chained up. Someone might get hurt.

Dead Serious, once he caught his breath, was mortified.  He could already feel his face starting to swell.  He could already feel his cheeks pushing up to meet his eyes.  He could already imagine the jokes out on the yard once the inmates saw his fat lip.  He'd had to endure similar ignominies in the past over on the West side, and the warden had barred him permanently from the lockdown wings because of his pugilistic failures and his overt brutality.  He knew that he could always win the fights if he used the handcuffs, but sometimes he just forgot.

"That wasn't fair," he whined.  "I wasn't expecting it."  Soon he began pouting.  He ran a delicate hand over his sore nose.  The word "Chief" did not escape his lips, and suddenly he forgot to snap his fingers, crack his knuckles, or punch a palm with his until recently serf-satisfied fist.  "That wasn't fair," he said again, but the other men in the room weren't listening.

They were interrogating Becraft.  They wanted to know where he'd learned to fight.  They wanted to know if he was a racist.  They made him take his shirt off so they could examine his tattoos for evidence of white-supremacist leanings or Armageddon mantras, or maybe the date of the white uprising (there's a BIG problem in some of these Florida prisons involving the guards and the K.K.K.  Maybe they were hoping for a brother).  And when Becraft told them that he used to be a racist back when he was young, but he'd given that up years ago, they asked him what he thought of Sgt. Dead Serious.

"I think he's a stupid nigger," said Becraft, and smiled.

Note:  You know, when I tell these stories I always get a certain amount of feedback, and there's always someone out there who says: "Surely you're exaggerating!"

But no, I'm not.  When Becraft told me this story, he wanted it printed up soon.  He wanted his name spelled correctly so the guards would know.  I'm relating what I heard, and this stuff is as closely reported as is possible given my skewed, out-of-plumb mind and a certain gift for irony.  And what's more, in this case it gets even sillier because Dead Serious was insulted again and wanted to fight again, only this time he'd be really really prepared, and nobody can call him a stupid nigger and get away with it except maybe his mom.

The three white officers filed out the door and slammed it and locked it.  Sgt. Dead Serious, with a powerful leap across the desk, tackled Michael Becraft...

...and got the shit beat out of himself again for his trouble.  Battered and bruised, he had to try and make a deal with the indefatigable inmate with the wicked left hook.

"You're not gonna tell anyone about this, are you?" the Sgt. suggested.

"Nah.  Well, maybe one guy," said Becraft.

"Come on..." Dead Serious's voice cracked.
"Just one," said Becraft.

"Hey, let's let this end it!" A hopeful, swollen smile.

"Your nose is running," said Becraft.



Michael Becraft was transferred the following week, but it was after  he told me the story of why Dead Serious had to take a day off, and why, when next we saw him, the number one Catch dog of New River C.I. East had lumps all over his face.

Me and my new pal Michael Becraft walked around and around the track, right in front of Dead Serious, laughing and laughing, and I thought then that I'd write the story and put a big closing page about little boy guards and the nature of racism and unprofessional conduct and brutality and all the rest.  But now, as I think back, I realize I don't need all that.  The story speaks for itself.  

The sad thing is that this story is not remarkable, it's commonplace.  People know about the excesses, the arenas.  And people will live with any horror if they see it every day.  Arenas, gas chambers, killing fields, they all happen because somebody lets them happen.  Racism is like that.

Gary Waid
River Junction Work Camp


(Or how I "blew rec")

Bo-ricker (Bo-rik-ka): Untrue or disingenuous statement, belief or practice. Something that is bo-ricker is said to be poorly thought out, untrue, or maliciously intended. Syn: bullshit.

Boo Game: See below.

Blow Rec: Lose your edge. Become sloppy. Get old. Opposite of "Got Game."
Ta-daa. I'm baack...!
If it's not one thing it's another, though. Sometimes I just want to shout or break something. Good thing Kay's on my mailing list. Especially now, because I've recently reached a giant milestone. It's official now, I'm fifty actual years old or more. And I'm not dead yet. Not even close, although some things don't work so well and I'm beginning to look like Yoda.

Actually I had a little party on the night of my birthday. I was sitting on my bunk thinking things through, preparing to get up and go use one of the remarkably impersonal, assembly-line prison toilets - kind of a celebratory 50th anniversary bowel movement - when the dorm was invaded and overwhelmed by a crack squad of D.O.C. troops all shouting and gesticulating like Patton storming the beaches at Auzio. I and the rest of the inmates were ordered to catch our racks and make ready for a shakedown. A lot of grumbling and rumbling ensued, and we were given a five-minute window of opportunity so we could toss all our illegal things in the aisles under an amnesty umbrella, which, truth be told, didn't produce much wrongful hidden booty. 

And I myself had nothing to reveal anyway; I sat squirming, distressed, thinking good grief, I hope these people hurry. (When you're 50, you should avoid any monkey business involving regularity.)

But shakedowns are not unusual. They're a fact of life here in prison. In the Florida D.O.C., or in other systems across the land, inmates have to endure periodic rousts at the hands of trained professionals who systematically go through all your personal items and confiscate whatever's dangerous or not allowed. 

In the feds it's done with a minimum of fuss, often while the inmates are at work, and the invasive bruising is kept to a minimum. The Florida D.O.C. enjoys a bit more latitude, applying a measure of carnival and some cartoonish zeal to the job in hopes, I suppose, of shaking loose a nefarious plot or two.

The word contraband must conjure up images of shanks or drugs or hacksaw blades or tickets to Brazil for some of you, I know. But the actual stuff can be something as silly as a rubber band or an apple. Here at New River "Correctional" Institution up in Raiford, any tiny thing seems to be criminally inspired. It may be that, because the D.O.C. has recently had to endure a spate of publicity about guards selling drugs to inmates, the administration has directed their employees to be extra vigilant and extra menacing. Or maybe they watch too much TV. 

I don't know, but the D.O.C. is currently in the process of removing all sorts of previously available items from the inmate canteen, too. Items as innocuous as tuna fish and shaving creme*, and simple things like a multi-vitamin or a retractable pen can get you in serious trouble. In this new age of Secretary Michael Moore's Lock 'em down mentality, the inmates are blamed and punishment is meted out for new things every day.

*They claim that cans can be repositories of drugs.

If you want to know, it makes me mad. The longer I hang with these people the guiltier I become of something and the more punishment I'm to endure. 

Although I'm not a state inmate, and although it's in the rules about my federal rights, somehow the federal B.O.P. has decided that I deserve this lousy treatment. Irrespective of my record and no matter that there are 100,000 other federal inmates enjoying the right to avoid rickets and gum disease in federal institutions that serve recognizable food items and meat products that don't float, I and 29 other non-violent feds like me must floss our teeth with thread from our underwear after chowing down on state powders and potions supposedly infused with the minimum amount of micro-nutrients like vitamin-C. 

If I go to every meal and spoon up everything on my tray, I will reportedly survive. But need I remind you (again), I'm 50 years old. I get such terrible gas from just breakfast, I avoid it at all cost. I currently survive on salted peanuts and Buddy Bars from the approved "snack" section of the canteen list, a list that has no fruit, nothing with fiber, no vitamins, and no discernible health fixation to worry about. You folks out there have Ronald McDonald, I have Little Debbie.

So anyway, a shakedown here at New River is an organized sport. And for some of the more moronic orangutans in uniform, it's a wonderful opportunity to get in an inmate's face, accuse him of something, shout imprecations, rattle the poor guy with threats, throw his property around, and generally turn him into a quivering pile of jelly in front of 70 witnesses. The event is called The Boo Game, and on December 23rd '99, my birthday, I was chosen to play.


The officer who had the honors is a member of the goon squad here at N.R.C.I. He's a brutal cur who's name I can't repeat here, although his surname rhymes with Doody as in Howdy. But his reputation is as decorated with scalps as any D.O.C. guard, and if he were a bug he'd be a dung beetle, constantly rolling other people's droppings into big balls, then packing them away to dine on later. I think I'll call him Officer X in honor of the wing at F.S.P. he'd be most capable of managing.

Officer X scared the doody out of me. I don't know why, exactly, but I never do well in the face of shouting and confusion. I become tongue-tied (which is one of their objectives), but I also have this sense of outrage that boils up in the face of stupidity. And this guy was enjoying himself too much, as if it was his job to punish me. 

If I could write something accusatory in a venue he might see, it would have to be a feature for Monster Truck or Backdoor Mama Magazine, but nothing much gets printed in those kinds of periodicals except pictures. And there's no evidence that Officer X can actually read because what he does is against the written rules and only performed as entertainment.

Oh yeah. Make no mistake, the boo game is against published D.O.C. regulations [D.O.C. Chapt 33-4.002 (9)(27)]. There are specific statutes that supposedly prohibit standing an innocent inmate up, screaming at him, forcing answers to unanswerable
questions, scattering his legal materials like so much garbage, and pursuing a confrontation for no reason with an endless, ongoing, never-ending, minute-by-minute, longer than long, excruciating-in-this-instance-because-I-had-to-take-a-crap-and-I-was-trying-not-to-explode-on-Officer-X-who-wouldn't-leave-me-alone, barrage of unintelligible drivel that he learned from watching The Dirty Dozen and Cool Hand Luke on late night TV.

And also, you know, why me? A few months ago at F.S.P. Work Camp, a truly bizarre ignoramus named Zook (later implicated in inmate beatings) pulled me out of the dorm at midnight one night because I'd written something, and booed me up under the stars. It was a move that is, of course, way against the rules, but necessary in case I wanted to say something smart and he had to slap me around. 

His sidekick, Lt. Anderson (also implicated) was there, along with a Sgt. Nimnon, and the trio's purpose was to terrorize me. We were out alone, on the grass, me and them in the dark, and Zook was shouting, threatening, letting me know in no uncertain terms what power is all about. I eventually reminded him of my federal status, which probably saved me from a beating.

Months later now, a lot of D.O.C. sludge has floated to the surface...the pond scum is in trouble. Because of the murder of Valdes, the goons have been told to lay off. I was surely safe from any public slapping or beating, even though there was no reason to think Officer X knew I was a fed at first. All he can do in front of witnesses now is scream, accuse, entrap, plant contraband, and issue bogus discipline reports (See my previous writing) that put you in the hole for more thorough treatment away from prying eyes. There are guys in the hole that have been locked down for years, garnering more and more solitary for things like "disrespecting an officer" during the constant boo game that is life in a Florida D.O.C. box. And because Officer X is reported to be a catchdog**, he is a permanent fixture in the confinement wing, having been transferred here from N.F.R.C. because of his management skills.

**A catchdog is a corporal punishment specialist in the D.O.C. 

But even though he didn't touch me, Officer X sure stuck it to me, I'll tell ya. It took a half hour for six guards to shake down the entire dorm (70 inmates), and during most of that time Officer X did only me. I was standing for most of it, face to face, and I was nervous as hell, but also, as I said, I had to GO, and I kept thinking man, let's do this, while we're young, and I was jiggling and pinching let's go let's go, but he wouldn't end it.  He just kept asking me all these dumb questions:

("Is this here white stuff COCAINE here in these little packets?"  
"Uh, no, it's..."  
"Uh, SIR. NO SIR!"  
"It's Sweet and Low, SIR, like, um, fake sugar..."

He went on and on:
"Are you a liar, inmate?"
"No, Sir."
"So you're NOT a liar! You never lied!"
"Uh, well, I suppose..."
"So you ARE a liar!"
"HEY! WHICH IS IT? YOU JUST SAID SO, INMATE! Or are you calling ME a liar?"

...and so on...trying to make me stumble or whatever, and screaming and waving his arms around like a crazy man, panting like a dog and squinting myopically because our noses were usually three inches apart (although mine was higher and less chubby).  When it was finally over and I was doubling over with cramps, he smirked at my remains and told me I'd soon be in the hole where I belonged.

Good, I thought. Maybe I'll get to use a toilet. Later, after I did get to use a toilet, several inmates tried to explain what had just happened  (I'm considered sort of a federal rube in here, unsophisticated and too gullible by far).

"You're talking about a bag 'a puss, here, Mr. Waid," said one guy.  "He ain't a cop and he ain't a genius. He's at the bottom of the food chain in the real world, but here he gets his cookies by the boo.  When you told him you're a fed he laid off, so that's something."

"He scared me," I said.

"He runs that 'are you man enough' shuck. Like he asks if you think you can take him, man to man, and all that."

"They do that at F.S.P."

"Don't give it another thought, Mr. Waid. You just got booed up by a born and bred, Starke Raiford goon. They don't believe in crop rotation around here, either, so his mother is probably also his wife's big sister. He wears a sheet on weekends, you know. Burns crosses and shoots things."

I wanted to know should I file a complaint.

"No! They'll gang up on you. I'm surprised he didn't tell you right out. Must 'a been put off because you're federal. Usually they tell you keep your pen in your pocket. You'll probably be left alone now, unless you go to the hole for something. 
Just chill out. He's got friends.  They'll do you, Mr. Waid.  I know you think you blew rec, but really, it ain't worth it.  Just let it all go away."

So that's what I've been doing this past month.  Still, I resent the introduction to Officer X.  And as you all know by now, I'm learning more than I want to learn about Florida D.O.C. techniques. I'm stuck out on an ice floe here, without any protection except my lawyer, my friends, and this web page.  I had thought that by this time I'd have been in my minimum-security federal camp or a low, going to my
D.A.P.***  class, preparing to rejoin the world. Instead, I'm learning about the bottom crawlers and trying to cover my flank.

***Drug & Alcohol Prevention

And I blew rec, too. Bummer.


Did I describe this guy to you? No? Well Hell, then, let me tell you what he looks like so you'll recognize him at the dog fights. Officer X is a white guy of medium height, who's recommended P.S.I. he must've long ago ignored to become a florid faced, razor burned pumpkin. He has that pressurized look of recumbent, pork-chop-and-donuts ill health that a doctor might associate with budding heart disease or non-specific cardiac neurosis. He has painfully short hair and eyes like peas in pudding, and his pudgy little hands move through the air, invading my space, firing off this way and that as he tells me what he thinks of me.

I picture him at home in the double wide, at the table eating greasy meat and smearing the oils on his cheeks, sticking his fat fingers in his mouth past teeth like wide-apart nickels. He's talking, and half-chewed food is spilling from his mouth. He
gestures across the table with his fists, spitting and farting and forcing the conversation as his bruised, desiccated wife and terrified children cower by the stove.

Really, you guys, all goons are alike. They're Secret Police. And although there may be some differences in degree between the D.O.C. secret police and, say, the Tonton Macoute of Papa Doc or the KGB of the old Soviet Union, the idea is basically the same. They're dumb, instinctual, and cruel - the ultimate terror weapon. Remember those two female inmate "Suicides" last year? When they were found dead, one lying naked on the floor of her cell, investigations should have peeled apart the boo game. Those ladies were most probably victims of prolonged, agonizing bouts. Boo up...after boo up...after boo up. With no regard for mental condition.

Oddly, I've been told the boo is a necessary evil in prisons. But that's nonsense. I've done 4 ½ years in the feds. The only people who were authorized to play the boo game at F.C.I. Texarkana or F.C.I. Tallahassee were Internal Security investigators, and only when there was evidence of illegal or improper behavior (fights, gambling,
etc...), investigations into certain unhealthy practices (gangs, weird sex), or threats to security. So those in the D.O.C. who claim that the boo game is necessary are overstating their needs and admitting misconduct. Public excoriating only causes anger and more problems. Officer Doody, er, I mean X, was clearly out of line.

A pall of greasy black smoke hangs in the air over the camp. I see Officer X standing in the mud in his spattered Nazi jackboots, smiling evilly, overseeing a ragged phalanx of starving death camp inmates as they stumble down the ramp from the cattle car. "Schwein!" he shrieks, and orders his men into the sea of wretched humanity. Clubs rain down and he laughs, his tiny ears pink in the cold like baby mice. The air is thick with the stink of death.

I love this guy. I wish him ringworm.

He stands at the pulpit in his dirty white linen suit, screaming country catechisms, stinking of Early Times as sweat pours over his face and down his back. The tent pulses with life. The citizens of Starke and Raiford are mesmerized, ululating in raptures of agony as waves of power and glory wash over them. Officer X's fly is open, his suspenders stretched and pinging like banjo strings. He raises his fat arms and a hundred yahoos cry out and roll in the aisles and offer up their daughters to be washed in the blood of his pulsing lamb...

Maybe Officer X was pissed at me because I wasn't a plump young black boy. Maybe we'll see him later in life banging around the stadium urinals offering candy and rides in his van.

I see Officer X in some futuristic scene. It's the end of civilization and he's astride a big black horse, riding through the ruins with a bunch of other thugs. The animals are exhausted, lathered, panting. Their hooves are clattering on the bricken pavement. The goons are hunting. They're chasing down the remnants of America - men in white-collar rags or women of independent mien. Officer X is running them down and shooting them. BLAM! BLAM! Blowing their brains out for sport. Exterminating writers and thinkers and marijuana advocates and other scum, shooting them down like wild indians because that's the way life is, the way it should be, praise the lord.

Am I being clear enough here?

Because I can really see this guy, you know, but the thing is I can make him come alive so that you can see him, too. And anything I make him do on this page, he does. I have power here. I am powerful.

What if I wrote this: "Oh please, Officer Doody, stop looking at my crotch."

See? So Officer X can beat my ass: You can beat my ass, Sir, and give me a bunch of illegal, uncalled for bo-ricker grief Mr. Officer X-D.O.C.-bully-boy-Howdy-Doody-bag-o-slime. 

You can make up charges and roust me and make me do whatever you want me to do, up to and including barring me from the bathroom. But I will explain you to everyone if you do. Your own children might someday understand that you're a cretin and a fraud. I want to be left alone, Sir, so poo on your boo. With a pen and a stamp I GOT GAME, and you're the one who blew rec.
P.O.W.D. Gary Brooks Waid -
*Prisoner of the Drug War

...and oh yeah. The irony here. There's always some irony. The irony this time is that this clod, Officer X, might very well be a serial assault and battery perp, who spends his days contemplating gross misconduct and illegal activities that include violence - but I'm the guy in jail. What's up with that?


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