Sunday, September 8, 2013

It's been all football...

...all the time here at BOWG lately, hasn't it? But it's not by design; I just write whatever's on my mind and I'll admit that, in the past few weeks, it's been high school football. (Part of the problem is that the only thing in the news right now is Syria, which I think is one of the biggest non-stories in recent years. More on that later, I suppose.)

So here's the next excerpt from My Road Home, the prison memoir of one of my closest childhood friends, for those of you who care about more than just high school sports.

Tuesday July 17

When I arrived here last week I wound up sitting next to a 55-year-old white guy who seemed approachable. I was scared of course, my new surroundings and all, and just wanted to have someone I could talk to, cling to I guess you could call it. His name is Don, an ageless hippie sort, long grayish hair with a laid back attitude. He didn't seem to mind my coming into his space a little and engaging him in conversation. Don gave me a brief rundown on his story. He had been living a successful, comfortable life in Arizona for the past 8 years or so. He told me he was a chef at a high-end restaurant out there, a part-owner, had quite a reputation as a mildly famous chef, and was married to a beautiful woman 20 years younger. Also, a few of his recipes have been featured in Bon Appetit magazine. Life was good he mused. So I was thinking to myself, what the hell had happened to Don to end up here, back in a New York state prison.

With all this spare time we had sitting and waiting in the holding cell, Don was willing to share. Apparently about 10 years ago Don had sold a "dime bag" of heroin (now I have no idea how much drugs that is, but I assume a decent amount) to an undercover cop. Well he got busted and was sentenced to 2 years in prison. After 15 months served he gets out on a work release program, and is sent to a facility in the Bronx where he must report each night to sleep. After numerous times of being shaken down and extorted in & out of the facility, (apparently a real crappy area of the Bronx) Don said the hell with this and took off. An immediate violation! He heads out West and begins this new life I just mentioned. His wife never knew of his past, Don never thought he would get caught, never thought the past would come back to haunt him. And it didn't, until just a few short months ago.

Don and his wife were driving back home after a lovely night out for dinner. He had had a drink or two, and didn't realize he was now speeding. Sure enough a cop pulls him over. The cop runs a routine check, and bingo, eight years later, there was still a warrant back in NY for Don's arrest. His wife is going hysterical, all this a shock to her, she knows nothing of it. Don is taken out of the car in cuffs and eventually extradited back to New York. And here he is, sitting next to me. Oh man life, ya never know.

The beat goes on here, same old loneliness and depression. I have found out that tomorrow I will finally get some free/rec time (1 hour) and be able to head to the library. You're only allowed 1 book at a time, but to me it'll feel like I'm browsing through the world's largest Barnes & Noble store. I'm so excited. The past 6 days I have had no paper to write on; I keep having to tear pages out of my Bible so I can continue this story.

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