Monday, November 07, 2005


[The other Uncle Wally Story]

As I’ve stated elsewhere, a correctional officer’s shift, on most days and on most posts, is thankfully, completely uneventful. Hours of boredom are matched only by the seemingly endless tedium of routine tasks done at the same time, in the same place, and in the same way every day. Inmates and staff both grow accustomed to the routine, becoming “institutionalized.” That is why Morgan Freeman’s character in The Shawshank Redemption, when released on parole, couldn’t even pee without asking permission. Of course there are not many stories worth telling about the boring days on boring posts. Just as the ninety percent or more of inmates who mostly follow the rules, doing their time the best they can under trying circumstances don’t make good characters.

As you can tell if you’ve read any of my other stories, the segregation unit is seldom one of those boring posts. That is especially true to the officer assigned to work what is affectionately known as the “nut walk.” A list of the “eccentricities” of inmates who have been housed on the “nut walk” would be to long to mention, but here are some highlights: an inmate who jammed a ball-point pen down his penis, another who cut his scrotum open with a razor blade and took his testicles out and played with them, many who finger-paint on the wall with shit, and one rather industrious fellow who made a complete chess set out of turds and toilet paper.

I was working the “nut walk” one night on midnight shift. It was one of those rarely encountered, uneventful nights. Evidently, the “patients” had wreaked enough havoc on the previous shifts to warrant a much needed rest. Never look a gift horse in the mouth I always say. I was reflecting on my good fortune when Sgt. Landers walked up to me. “Call the other walk officers. We’re going to do some training.” Sgt. Landers is one of those people who never get excited about anything. He talks in a slow drawl that leads some to believe he’s not too bright. That is not the case at all. Sgt. Landers is one of the few people I would want to be standing next to when the defecation hits the electric oscillator. On this particular day however, I would come to wish he had had the day off.

I called my fellow seg unit officers and we all congregated in front of the “nut walk.” Sgt. Landers began by pulling his canister of mace out of its holster. Seg unit officers at that time were allowed to carry mace and this required a periodic review of our mace training. Sgt. Landers began, “When it becomes necessary to use the mace, you aim for the convict’s chest, not his face. You spray in two-second bursts, with five seconds rest in between bursts, until the convict’s behavior is modified.” He spouted the party line while demonstrating with exaggerated motions the proper way to mace someone. “I think we need an example,” Landers said.

He instructed the cage officer, who controls the doors, to open the “nut walk” gate. He walked up to cell one, which just happened to be occupied by Uncle Wally. (See previous post for more information on this colorful character.) The cells in the seg unit have solid steel fronts with only a small window for viewing into the cell and a locked tray slot through which the inmate receives his food. All that meanness has to rest sometime and as Landers peered through the window, Uncle Wally was sound asleep. Sgt. Landers turned to us and reviewed, “Two second bursts with five seconds in between bursts.” Then he took the lock from Uncle Wally’s tray slot, opened the slot, and began beating on the door with the lock and hollering “Wally! Wally! Get up!”

From inside the cell, we heard Uncle Wally’s tirade begin. “What the f#$%? You son of %&%&. Get the %$&* away from my %^&*%$* door!” Uncle Wally then leaned his head sideways and stuck his face right in the tray slot opening. Sgt. Landers let him have it right between the eyes from about six inches away. Uncle Wally fell away from the door and started coughing as the mace began to work. In between coughs the cussing started in earnest. The whole walk woke up and joined in.

For the remainder of my shift the door rattling, yelling and screaming never quit. As Sgt. Landers left the walk, he just smiled contentedly and said, “That sounds more like it.” Then he turned to the assembled officers standing with their mouths agape and said, “You’re training for tonight is complete. You may return to your walks.” So much for a quiet night.


Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Good old Uncle Wally makes for good reading.

2:16 AM  
Blogger WordWhiz said...

This story has a familiar ring for some reason! Landers ounds like a drill sargeant.

6:33 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

Landers sounds like a masochist extrordinaire.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

LOL, yes I am experiencing deja-vu too! Good story my friend.

6:08 PM  
Blogger deputyswife said...

When you are least expecting it, expect it. That is what I would be telling Sgt. Landers...

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Monique said...

I too feel like I've read something like this before, somewhere... :)

Keep the classics coming!

11:53 PM  
Blogger Bright-Eyes said...

Landers sounds a little bit like a p*&ck. hmm.
That is deep.
But yet, I want more....!
Did a guy really cut his own testicles out? What happend to him?

and the chess set! yikes!

11:57 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Sounds like a fun place to work!!!

2:24 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

These posts never cease to amaze me. Makes me wonder what prison life is like in a third world country.

11:31 AM  
Blogger Gavriel said...

I hope somebody saved that chess set. It could probably fetch a small fortune on the modern art auction circuit.

3:08 AM  
Blogger Just Help Me said...

just tell me why a guy would shove a pen in his penis or cut his balls off and play with them. and the shit chess game - that is gross. but i still kept reading. lol gotta love the uncle wally story. lol

4:39 PM  

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