Sunday, October 07, 2012

Back inside

I approach the intercom box hopeful that the voice on the other side will be that of a semi-normal human being and not another human-demon hybrid campaigning for Ass Hole Of The Century honours.

"Yes. Can I help you?"

So far so good! "I'd like to visit an inmate please?"

"Name of the inmate?"

"Hendricks. First name Speedy."

"One moment."

Finally the big door clicks. I wonder, for too long, if this is some mechanical language that I'm supposed to respond to. Finally I reach for the door but it's clickness expires as I do so. Denied.

"Come on in," says the intercom lady and the door clicks again.

Inside the mantrap, my pocket accessories are emptied onto a tray below a window where Intercom Lady peers through at them.

I walk through the gun detector and it goes off. But they don't pre-emptively shoot me to ribbons, thank god. They confirm with me that I'm wearing a metal belt buckle and then click me through the inner door.

The visiting hours are very narrow and specific for different inmate "groups" and are available online. I had thought that it was nice of me to look up the specifics online rather than just call and make an operator tell me all the relevant details. But the Demon-Human was not impressed with me and barked, "A NAME would be helpful!" before I could finish getting the question out of my mouth. And then when I tried to clarify the 2-visit-per-week-per-inmate rule he barked at me again. "You just come down here and take your chances!"

"Oh...kay... Bye now." Sorry for ruining your day, Buster.

I'm still thinking of sending a resume to the Scooterville Detention Centre outlining my guard experience at the Community Corrections Centre and then outlining what a complete bitch I'm prepared to be, since I assume that's what they desire in an employee.

Beyond the mantrap I'm still separated from Intercom Lady by glass but there's a slot for me to submit my ID. They log who I am and my relation to their guest. "Acquaintance," I said.

She gives me directions which prove very difficult to follow because there are more doors along the way than she let on and none of them are marked with the signs which she thinks exist - and perhaps once did exist back when she was new and alert and not dulled by Prison Malaise Syndrome.

[Editor's Note: He made that up. PMS stands for something else entirely.]

There are two more controlled-access points; big barred gates, before I find my way into the correct visiting room and to station number three which lacks any label whatsoever. I calculate its position thanks to labels 5 and 6 surviving nearby.

It's just like on TV. Speedy finally approaches dressed in his finest safety-orange overalls, takes a seat on the other side of the thick glass and we each pick up a phone handset. Speedy is all smiles. He wasn't sure he'd ever see me again. He never expected any visitors. Mom and sis live on the other side of the city and he had told them not to trouble themselves with the journey for a twenty-minute-limit visit. (Ribbitt.)

Speedy looks good. He's been taking his meds and getting sleep and besides that, twiddling his thumbs. He's taking the opportunity to try to quit smoking since he has no choice anyway. It's entirely banned in Canadian prisons.

He wants to talk about the events that led up to his arrest and removal from Corrections Heaven, events that include marijuana and the busting of a window. He feels he got the shaft; that he had earned the privelege of a single breakdown. He'd caused not an ounce of trouble before. We'll overlook that time when he was ardently claiming his family had all been taken by aliens and replaced by clones. He had to go away for a little while...

But I repeatedly steer him away from his complaints. We're on the clock. I manage to learn that he will be shipped back to Kingston within a week but that his warrant will still expire next month and he will then bus it back to Scooterville a free man. Free for the first time since he was a teenager. He promises that my phone number and email are safe in his contingency bag stored at his sister's house and that he will call me as soon as he's in town. He won't promise me that he will continue to get his monthly injection but I take what I can get.

Our time then expires. It takes almost forever to get back out through all the gates and click-doors where the air is fresh and crisp and life goes on.


Michael's Medley said...

Hey, what's new?

I remember that you said you wanted to talk to me about my book or something. When's the next time I can see you after school at PE?

Have a great day!
Michael Lounsbury

Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Hey Michael. I'm at PE Weds 17th, Tues 23rd and Wed 31st. November TBD! Any chance we'll get to talk?