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The Devil's Playground

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In prison you find people who have done unthinkable acts to other human beings. Some of them have the right to be there, and some are wrongfully accused. Psychological warfare happens every day between each person in a jumpsuit and every guard. Every prison is like a pyramid, like a community. A prison community naturally tries to mimic the outside as best as it can, with the drugs and the colliding gangs.

Everyday they wake up, between three and six in the morning, depending on if they work or not. In the morning they are released and kitchen workers take their post as the rest of the herd follows them to the food. After they eat they are released to the yard, hands in cuffs, canvas shoes slapping on the slick, polished concrete below. All in a line close enough to touch each other with their noses. All are filed out to the yard so they won’t be prisoner to their own mental cell. Outside they find ways to outsmart their own higher power and to kill their competitors.

After hours on end battling their own demons they file back in for their second meal, hoping it is their last. Canvas shoes slapping on the concrete, feeling the breath of another man dribbling on their neck, they try and shovel the food down over their dry, numb senses. They soon go back outside to be to themselves while the UV rays nip at their skin.

For them it is finally time for the last meal of the day and go back to their cell. They dryly eat the meal and feel it down their course, rough throats. They soon go back to their cells in the organized fashion that the guards force on them. Inside the cell they plan for the days, even years, ahead. To be prepared for any prison quarrel that comes their way, and any other way to make money selling anything. This is the time when the artists make their birthday cards and when the drug dealers separate their baggies and hide them in the seams of their mattress.

Each day they convince themselves they don’t belong in the conditions they are in right now. They left their homes and the comfort of their families to live there. There freedom slowly depletes as they give in to the higher power and the restrictions continually drop on them. Every day they see the same four walls, the same concrete as the ground they walk on. The metal framed bed stays in the same corner, with the same sheets. Only bearable for months at most, some are punished for life. The same scenery every day kills a man’s imagination. Once his imagination is gone it starts to reveal the darker side of desperation to change the scenery of their daily lives. The guards start to find crude arsenals of shanks made of sharpened toothbrushes and the real intention of how the prisoner wants to change the scenery starts to surface. Often there are bloody conflicts with unsanitary blades and the raw intention to take someone else’s life. In the back of their mind they secretly wish they could die too so they won’t be so lonesome.
They sit on their bed staring at the wall a few feet from the tip of their nose struggling to remember what their family member’s faces look like. Their memories of family portraits start to fade and they also start to forget what their loved ones sound like. For now they are phantoms of whatever is left of their imagination and they remember them as people who used to love them no matter how many cards laced with drugs they get dryly stating “I Love You”.





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