Down Ocqueoc Road

Jarvis, Darrell



TR ,2\/WED \/37'»); j;;ZJ‘:7 DOWN OCQUEOC ROAD -/ When visiting America, Charles Dickens was heard to say: "There's only two things that I wish to see, the Niagara Falls and Eastern State Penitentiary." Like many others, this celebrated author was spellbound by that unforgiving fortress of silence. I recall the line Jack Nicholson spoke in the movie, "A Few Good Men." Nicholson cornered his adversary' and ‘barked, you can't handle the truth..!" Poised as the architect of natural observation and swirling in life's uncertainties, what follows is 23 tarnished maze of misery, malice, and. things best left unsaidd So I ask as ‘we hesitate in these cross-hairs of illusion, "Can you handle the ‘real deal‘, or will you shrink from the silver bullet of truth...?" Cringing inthe fever of a han_gman's stench as adjustments are made to the noose, this artillery resonates around two people. One was a meek outsider in his young and unstable world. He was not a member of the "cool crowd," and was not one of the popular kids in school. He had few friends, minimal family support, and hopes-N-dreams like all teenagers his age. The other figure was an old judge, owl wise, dignified and honest, or at least that's the translation he wmuld tell. With the eyes of stalking schizophrenia, the nmnster cu? Germany, Adolf Hitler, once confessed, "Tell a lie enough times and somebody will believe it..." My most frightening thought is the probability of dying in here. This cesspool has nothing good in its veins. It has no measure of rehabilitation, and no concern for those souls lost in its menacing wake. With Socrates holding the roster at the gateway to Hades and Icarus calling my name, the aroma of fire and brimstone I electrified the air. As the police car turned into the parking lot, I had no concept of risk or penalty, no rhyme or reason to the evil in this tomb of which I now entered. Shuffling down the corridor of iflma world's largest walled prison, II read 21 sign hanging over the first set of electric. doors. "Through. these gates ‘walk the finest officers 2H1 the system," declared this scribble of painted words. _ Leaning on the Devil's pitchfork, these administrators ignored the facts of prison life, and failed to mention that the bulk of illegal drugs being sold on the Big Yard were smuggled inside by employees. Plus there's the flow cxf street knives, bottled liquor, and green money creeping through the front gates the same way. Divorced of all pretense, still deeper in this passion strolls women employees who masquerade as "working girls." Harnessed by a foiling enchantment, these "soiled doves" sell their pleasures for a price. I once asked a friend who was a notorious drug-dealer how much these favors cost..? He smiled and replied, "The ladies-of-the-night were fifty—dollars, and I paid a hundred-dollars for each load of drugs an officer delivered to me. Burrowing through this dirt is a factor of the universe that money owns the town. Oh yeah, I was amused at how cheaply these "wanderers" were corrupted. Stirring a gumbo of delight with a sharp twinge of invasion, there was that rape case where predator guards preyed upon female prisoners for as long as several years. In fashion of denial, after a barrage of dynamics the State agreed to some multi-million-dollar settlements. Like a phoenix rising from sin on a frosty, three-dog night, this discovery harkens those words spoken by a Detroit news reporter who smuggly remarked, "If you want to see the scum of the earth stand in front of the state prison at shift-change." Wearing a costume of loose character with moldy horrors being exhumed, it shouhd be nhted that these seamy officials are a minority of the work force inside that compound. Most of the employees are respectable people who work inside a prison rather than a factory, or some other blue-collar job. In this flourishing society we must have a network of police and prisons to ensure the safety of its God~fearing citizens. For to not have such a system, we would be living in a wild-west world where the fastest gun rules the town. I was a humble and naive teenager when I entered the quagmire of state prison. I had never been in trouble as a juvenile, and had never been inside a jail. I was the youngest of five people involved in a "counterfeit check" ring. The police retrieved most of the stolen money. Then, like the winged-stallion Pegasus taking flight in fable, somewhere in this muddy’ reserve that bundle of cash disappeared. The money was in the possession of the county sheriff as this clammy moment unfolded and, to my knowledge, there was no investigation ever held. Engineered. with a slippery hand, someone in that police department knows what happened to that evidence."Not me, not me," said the cockroach to the flea, "Not me..!" This is an atomic measuring rod of motive, mockery and scorn. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," declared William Shakespeare in a momentary flicker of insight. Was ii: the fnror cxf John ]D. Rockefeller, cu: perhaps the charming Donald Trump who disclosed the problem as he quipped, "If you want 11) see a person's fallacy in character, put some money i11 the equation." Plunging CMNH1 the staircase rxf moral strife, isn't this mixture the flawed recipe of man since the dawn of time until now..! I Since those days, I suffered a revolting grief as the chapters of my life exploded. Straddling the razor-wire of this diverse culture, living in these prisons made me old and philosophical. I envision the things that I missed during these years in a cell. Still haunting me as old memories often do, I cannot retract or change any of it. While being interviewed by Geraldo Rivera, the gruff spoken journalist, Jimmy Breslin, once proclaimed, "I know where crime starts, it all starts in the family..." Most criminals come from bad families and broken homes, and quite frankly, so did I. In my formative years there was no father, a scathing and pathetic mother, no money, and no goodness in our lives. I have now slammed 45 calendars in these cold—blooded snake pits. Since my senior year in school, I have been free for only a brief vacation, and that was while still a youngster. I have no future, no achievements, and no meaningful substance to my credit. Prison. life is :ruthless, and it's a rugged, raw—dog survival each day. The imagery‘ of "gangster" has been. distorted 11) such. an extreme that, like Mickey Mouse, it has become a colossal joke. Accepting their station in life, and courting the vehemence of a prison cell or shallow grave, most of these pupils are not the genuine article. What they lack in courage is warranted in group bravado with role playing fantasies and a virulent character of constitution, for a pack of wolves is a pack of cowards, anywhere in the world..! In their alarming cycle of exploit and blunder, many prisoners prove to be extensions of Judas who resign their souls to an existence of complacency, concealing themselves in a guise of grandiose as they swagger through their cartoon trilogy of plastic-people, wanna-be gangsters, and legends in their institutionalized minds. Blazing a stroke of abundance, the United States holds the largest incarcerated population per capita in the industrialized world. Once these repositories are built they will remain full, no matter what the cost to humanity. In tainted bluster, this modern system, with its cookie-cutter prisons, has become a "business empire" which. is not always operating in the best interest of the public, and is lacking in its catastrophic contribution to mankind. I've studied prison much as a scientist would examine a humanoid. race found on another planet. The picture is inherently dysfunctional, and one's blind faith in justice seems sadly misplaced. What the experts garner is fringe learning ripped from perfumed books and other academic systems. However, what I've perceived in this school-of-hard—knocks came courtesy of a tyrannical prison facility. Energized in this cocktail of intoxication, let it be said under umbrella of witness as we drew upon a comprehensive quote, for in here there are no goldfish, and every bandit in this tank is a shark. Some are prone to be more destitute than others, and some are definitely more dangerous, but they all spawn from depravity, spoil and deceit. Stumbling through these years, I morphed into an apparition who knew no bounds to my feral and disquieting madness.. Digesting the documentaries, books and files, I became a self-styled "crime connoisseur," and with envy absorbed the writings of literary lions such as Tolstoy and Dumas, Mailer and Capote, along ‘with. a library's list txf acclaimed Inasters ‘who reached the pinnacle of their craft in recording history, molding great novels, and recounting fabulous tales of true life.. In any event, one should only speak on matters for which one knows best. Being judged a reject and branded a killer, I find firm ground as I attack the myths of crime and justice, prison and punishment, freedom and death, even. mayhent and. murderous rage. Wielding swords of gladiator times causing iron—hearts to falter, in some twisted manner prison seems like 21 school, a gutter-university’ breeding greed and gangsters, mice and Inen, junkies and junkyard dogs. It grapples the grim measure of life, whens one must face the depth of treachery and the villainous nature of man. IX surreal death-lock. of doom, the essence of prison was well-defined by the outlaw, George "Machine-Gun" Kelly. "Prison," said iKelly, "takes away all that lnakes life H real... This vile and desolate colony which knows no mercy, no remorse, no compromise, and little hope to anyone trapped within its smothering grip. Prison, in rancid terms, is Satan's sin- castle here on Earth..! Ignoring all rules of engagement, in brutal confrontations tear-gas was sprayed in my face, both my food and water were withheld for days as I lay in a sweltering slammer—cell with a notice attached to the outside door instructing all officers to not open this door for any reason, per orders of the deputy warden. Unruffled, I pledged retaliation as I squirted urine from a lotion bottle and hurled bowls of feces on any official foolish enough to step within. my throwing reach. Combat zone, combat ready, this battle raged for about six months until the Director of the State Department of Corrections issued a "Special Handling Order" against me. Soon J: was transferred 11) the IMichigan. Intensive Program Center, an innovative "behavior modification program." Still bouncing off silent walls of defeat, it was further ordered that I not be allowed to participate in the program since I'd gone through this procedure "two times" in recent years. Snagged by a mind—bending resignation, to the dreaded segregation-unit I went for another dismal stay. Having a few similar facilities in the nation, I was told this special program, known as "MIPC", and located in Marquette, Michigan, on the picturesque shore of Lake Superior, was designed by the titan of the trade, B.F. Skinner, a highly regarded behavioralist from Minnesota. It is said that during World War II, he developed a weapon using pigeon birds housed in the nose- cone of a bomb to guide this flying missile into enemy war ships. At any rate, the climate inside this facility was not degrading in any way. It presented a domain which was influenced with a trickle down process of privileges, demonstrating both comfort and compensation to the prisoners enrolled. Spearheading this program was the chief psychologist, Dr. Richard Walter, whose motto was "firm but fair." Years later, he would be one of three founding fathers of the "Vidocq Society", which is a professional crime—solving club based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This group is a treasure-trove of unsung warriors, brilliant forensic experts and bloodhound detectives drawn from the ranks of FBI profilers, psychologists, scientists, hardened homicide cops, pathologists and well-seasoned prosecutors. These street-wise sleuths specialize in the harvest of unsolved murders. Members are selected by invitation only through a committee vote. This Society is named for Eugene Francois Vidocq who ironically, had once been. a criminal himself, but later became a renowned French detective. According to a story aired on "Court TV," Dr. Walter, with the fortitude of a charging locomotive, has solved more cold case homicides than any other member in his journey of resounding providence. While doing time zit this facility, Dr. ‘Walter and j[ had several discussions about crime and tmison as I[ absorbed his wisdom, knowledge, and intellectual wealth. On two occasions, Dr. I co I Walter urged me to talk with the FBI Behavioral Science Unit from Quantico, Virginia. I signed the consent form but was transferred out of the prison before the interview could take place. Then the second time they were not able tod make the slated trip to Michigan. Soon thereafter I was sent to a downstate facility and never heard from them again. This unit of the FBI are the people who tried to get Hannibal the Cannibal. to help identify" the deranged psycho-killer, Buffalo Bill, in the mesmerizing movie, "Silence of the Lambs." A tenacious team of agents, today better known as "profilers", was established after the 1972 death of J. Edgar Hoover, who refused to allow its inception into the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The two pioneers of this elite squad, John Douglas and Robert Ressler, have in recent years both retired from the Bureau, but Ressler, who originally coined the term, "serial killer", went on to become a wizardly member of the Vidocq Society. I recall in. my conversations with. Dr. Walter a story I related to him. This fiasco happened in 1976, the bicentennial year. I was living in an apartment building owned by a reputed mobster named Louie Linteau. The address was next to the Airport Limousine Service on Paddock and ‘University' Drive in Pontiac, Michigan, a business also owned by this nefarious character. Be that what it will, Louie "The Pope" Linteau who, along with that mysterious telephone call, secured his claim to fame when the white—hot finger of the FBI pointed in his direction and dubbed Linteau "the missing link" in the Hoffa case. James Riddle Hoffa, whose nickname was ‘"Little Hammer", vanished from outside a restaurant in Oakland County, slightly north of Detroit, in 1975. Never to be seen again, this case, including that private telephone call between Jimmy Hoffa and Louie Linteau, which had not been monitored by law enforcement, set the tone for one of history's most baffling crime mysteries. Bolstering this classic tale, a few years later Linteau was found dead in the living quarters of the Airport Limo Service. Louie's wife had left him for a new man. Fraught with emotion, still pending were charges levied against Linteau for hiring a thug to assault his wife's new lover. This intimidating "bully", it was soon discovered, turned out to be a police officer. In September of 1976, our fervid band of outlaws crossed paths with Linteau in such a manner that he stepped very close to being shot dead. The last time I seen Dr. Walter was several years ago in yet a different prison. He recognized my name on the ride-in list and stopped at my cell to say hello. He'd recently enjoyed a tour-of- splendor around the entire world, and recounted to me the many countries through which he travelled. Before leaving, he inquired did I still do my "running routine" which began during my stay at the Intensive Program Center in .Marquette. "Yes," I replied! Through the years I conditioned myself into an accomplished runner who, in Imr most prolific season, powered 18-mile runs every day, some 125-miles-per-week which, I must stress, required a strict level of discipline, especially under prison conditions where a high—nutrition food supply was not available to me. Even those hurdles seem minor when compared to later -10; challenges where I endured an emaciating thirty-five days with no food. I have been chained to a bed with 5-point restraints and have worn both bellychains and legirons for 25 days-N-nights in a cold seclusion room inside a psychiatric-unit. Rubbing elbows with an immense fixation, I hanged myself in artful manipulations on six occasions. Only five of these incidents are documented, since one time while swinging from the door on the night-shift, the officer was negligent and just kept walking down the hallway. Letting the cards fall iJ1 a pondering proximity, this stuff is dwarfed by the most devastating period in my struggles. With my stomach churning like a bag of worms, this became a test between myself and an unyielding psychiatrist when I hanged from an air vent and was placed in a suicide garment known as a "Bam-Bam" suit. Cuddling a shade of faith, fear and fire in one's gut, I rejected all food rations for the next nineteen days and refused to drink water for the last nine days of this famishing debacle. My physical welfare was on the brink of irreversible dehydration with my mouth and throat badly parched and swollen. Languishing in this gallery of insurrection, I have sustained the rigors and plunders of prison life, and know its great sufferings quite well... In a flurry of activities, another prisoner had his throat slashed, the prison's hearing officer was assaulted, and a prison counselor was twice stabbed with a knife that I clutched in a hand so eager to kill. Then the judge's gavel rang, affirming its voice of damnation as the tenth-life-sentence fell upon me. Still showing contempt for authority, I was further levied “one -11- additional year" after trying to over—power two armed transportation officers with a gun carved frmn a bar of soap. Snared in this strangle-hold of decision, in a later episode I received a 50-75 year sentence for hijacking a big—rig and ramming the l8~wheeler through some heavy perimeter fences in a roiling escape attempt of dire consequence. Exploring ijuz culmination. of H57 haggard. self" and feeling tremors of a derailed mind, I tumbled down darkness devoid of human interaction. Then, in a miracle of resistance, I found the propulsion which returned my soul to sanity. Shouldering a relentless attitude, my embittered soul has logged an aggregate of fifteen years in various segregation- units. We prisoners commonly call this extreme custody, "The Hole," since one remains locked in a cell at all times with no free—movement mobility whatsoever. Its realm seems almost a grey fog, a void of disturbing privacy, perhaps only a melting mirage as I desperately seek refuge from a life whose smoldering affects feel both somber and severe. On the human scale, registering a dimeis worth of atonement and a pocket full of hostilities, the prisoners locked long—term in these conditions can easily flirt with disaster, since the cloud of suicide and the fear of psychosis are always in the fog- lights of this pulsating conflict with claustrophobia and other demented things. This is grueling for those men whose spirits are now broken as they lay chained to a concrete slab with restraints controlling their every move, while still others drink their own urine and eat their own feces in this vegetated. metaphor of pardon and sordid surrender. Looming in this volatile arena, two prisoners known to this writer actually severed their own penis and threw it away like a piece of unwanted meat. One of these guys used a razor blade, while the other employed the heavy lid of a steel footlocker as he smashed its rough-cutting edge down on himself. "Severe sensory deprivation," someone once said, is the tranquillizing venom. which. will reduce one to 21 grinding ritual of non—eXistence. There's a 1973 murder case of a prison guard at that old dungeon in Marquette, and the killer is still in the hole to this day. In a caustic pot of deception, these prisons are functioning as soot—blackened. "hate factories" that will hemorrhage one's mind away from decency and bleed one's heart of all Hmrciful acts. Prison, most days, is Hell—on-Earth and everything worse this side of a tombstone and grave as it radiates a truth so raw ’yet so realistic, and full of life's trials and tribulations and lies. Be that as it may, prison does deserve one high mark. It captures the sense of time. It affords one the opportunity to study the past, and to glean a vivid insight through one's illuminated scope of discovery. I grew up in this damaging world, and in early adulthood never scrutinized its rudimentary law, let alone reflecting if such fundamental basics might apply to my own shadowy life. In leaps-N-bounds, I evolved from forgery to the furtive league of robberies, kidnappings and murders. One dog- day afternoon, a partner and myself went so far as to play a game of tic-tac—toe in. a pool of dead. man's blood. Weighing the verdict of an executed plot, on another day we made a man dig a grave with his bare hands before shooting him and burying his nl body’ in ' remote gravel pit. Like bloodnthirsty hounds from Hades, we were roving marauders in fastwstride as death’s ugly eye gave direction. My first conviction stemmed from cashing bad checks. I had "NO JUVENILE RECORD,” but still was banished ix: the world of state prison. They had the option, and could have sentenced me nder the WHolmes Youthful Trainee _Act," which. was :3 program conceived for troubled adolescents. Or they could have offered a pivotal judgment and sent me to the Army for a few years. Most I\ likely this would have directed me down a different road in lire, especially since I was a germinating l7~year~old and could still be salvaged from the elements of crime. Now here I rest in my darkest hour, both a hated and hateful person. Since high school Ii have tasted freedmn a total of seven months" In this autopsy" of 51 punctured heart and 21 homemade knife, I wonder what happened to that farm boy who worked for everything he had. in his youth. I'd like to talk with that youngster and tell him not to come in here, tell him how a life in prison will turn him weary and desperate and vile. Yes, I'd like to talk with that teenager and tell him so many things, but I can’t talk with him because he's gone, and what's left is a tcn:tureél soul cxf docmn While still a bungling teen, I entered a perilous journey and made some choices which, as II now reflect, seemed to fall in place like a line of dominoes he1l~bent on destruction. -14- I cannot stroke a brush like Picasso, or romance the common word like Hemingway, Homer and Poe. Emitting no hocus—pocus or magical wand in this sparkling flare of redemption, I here pen a thesis reflecting my journal of a dim and ill-fated voyage. A gritty lesson learned on the jagged edge of triumph is that "one must be careful what one does in life, for none of it can be undone...!" My deepest regrets are that I[ did. not become an "achiever," I was not there to help my cousins when they needed a real friend in their fragile and formative years. And finally, as a prodigy of disintegrating character, that I launched crimes against non-criminal and innocent human beings. The word "Penitentiary" is :3 term from the Roman Catholic Church which relates to "PENANCE," and with all these decades now behind me and gone, the gravity of my actions comes to a full and frightful awakening. Secreted in the smoke on the final Day of Judgment, and hoping Lucifer doesn't know I'm there, let this be a cautionary tale to those who wager extinction, for no nmtter how low we sink in life, there's still a right and wrong. Crouched in the ashes of a skeleton's retrospect, I feel akin to the Devil's shadow as I simmer in this cremation and scribe my ominous deeds. Swimming hard against the rapids of the River Styx as I'm swept towards the high-tide of oblivion, my blood runs cold like the watery bay on one's way to Alcatraz. -FINIS- Darrell Jarvis #13494é -15..

Author: Jarvis, Darrell

Author Location: Michigan

Date: 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 15 pages

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