Haters and hypocrisy

Cherry, Danny W.

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Haters and Hypocrisy by Danny Cherry The terror I felt when I rose and saw that my mail had been placed on my door’s port was so potent that it quickened me from my somnambulistic trance. I was appalled by the fact that Sergeant Prater had done such an unethical thing. I was even more disgusted that our range detail or anyone who went to med line had not the decency to either have woken me or- at the very least- to have thrown my correspondences on my cell’s floor. Out of my naïveté, I had forgotten the envy and resentment which I had experienced and endured from staff and offenders who sought to diminish my accomplishments and demoralize me. I had allowed their feigned asceticism- Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, Hebrew, Israelite, Moorish American- to blind me to everyone’s true nature; they were all hypocrites using religious countletters as social gatherings to bond specific hierarchical castes. As I sat on the ice-cold floor of that freezing dry cell, I hoped that hypothermia would not send my body into shock. I had been violently torn from my sleep, handcuffed and extracted, dragged across the camp in the heart of winter before being strip-searched. The shift was changing to the 6:00am bracket and Sergeant Ernest appeared in front of the dry cell’s door. “Cherry… Somebody trying to get your ass out of the way.” “Excuse me?” “Somebody submitted a health care request in your name at breakfast this morning.” “I don’t even go to breakfast. What did it say?” “I can’t tell you that, but Captain Gilley, Officer Brooks and me know you didn’t write it because your ass is a flame!” The subtext was there- I had my answer. I wasted no time when I was taken before the Internal Affairs investigators. “Before you all begin insulting me regarding that forged document might I suggest custody staff monitoring chow check offender ID badges against health care requests before submission. We wouldn’t want this to become a perpetual occurrence… I assume a threat of a sexual nature directed towards female staff was made. Everyone working and imprisoned here knows that I am gayer than Peter Pan in some ice skates- the only thing I want to do when I see beautiful women is style their hair and dress them in fabulous haute couture.” They all burst into guffaw; I did not. Internal Affairs cleared me immediately and returned me to H-Cellhouse at once. I rose early that morning and found my power was out. It came as no surprise to me, since the smoking of bug spray by prisoners in Pendleton had become an epidemic. My power was connected with cell twelve on range three, and cell twelve on range five. Both cells- which were directly above me- were occupied by insatiable junkies. I had grown accustomed to them blowing the power- so much so that I seldom turned on my television for fear of irreparable damage from power surges generated every time they struck a light from their electrical sockets. That day, however, I was told that my power could not be reset even though those other two offenders had their power restored. I did not hold my breath- I submitted a request that night to the deputy warden through internal mail. Even though I had been submitting law library requests twice per week every week since March, I had not received a pass to go there in well over seven months. I even completed a law library request on the thirtieth of May- the day of my annual review- and gave it to Case Worker Solomon. She assured me that it would be turned in. After several weeks of still not having received a pass, I wrote Warden Zatecky. His office informed me that emails had been sent to both Ms. Lyells and Mr. Larry Fowler in the law library. When I never received a law library pass after that, I wrote Executive Director Michael Osburn and sent him all the documents that I had compiled. One month had passed since I had won the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay competition, yet I still had not received my prize money or recognition. I had written a letter of complaint several weeks earlier to Executive Director Michael Osburn that detailed the glorious deification of athleticism by Pendleton staff, the pizza parties which ensued subsequent to offender victories in such vain activities, and that expounded none of those skill sets could be listed on a resume nor would it avail anything in court. My correspondence also affirmed that education was stagnant in Pendleton and implied that its true agenda was to breed recidivists. I later learned- the hard way- that the law library staff rotated between there and the recreation department which had offered the Dr. King essay competition. I sat on my mat and read Poets and Writers while my tablet charged. It had been five days before my power was restored, and I was determined to be able to make calls once the power was blown again. During my power outage, Officer Holmes scornfully denied me access to the state phone, even though I begged and pleaded with him. I asked many Muslims to use their tablet phones, but they mocked me. I request the same of the Moors, yet they ignored me altogether. I petitioned Chris who was always “speaking in tongues” and falling down on his face crying out, “Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!”- he just called me a “heathen” and went back to gawking at half-naked prisoners getting in and out of showers. I spoke Spanish to Mexican Catholics and Latino Worshipers of the Virgin Guadalupe who all flat out said, “No.” I went to the gays, but they were jealous and petty and they showed their true colors. I was a social pariah because I refused to assimilate, and because I resisted institutional recidivism and rejected fanatical occultism with everything that was in me. I had decided long ago that I would be martyred before I ever yielded. I finished reading, unplugged my fully charged tablet and ate ramen noodles while I watched Jeopardy.

Author: Cherry, Danny W.

Author Location: Indiana

Date: November 7, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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