I Know Why The Caged Bird Stings
By Jeff Baker
I had been in minimum security about two months and it was a big change from being behind the walls. In minimum it was more like a dorm. We had a room furnished like a motel room which we had to share with somebody and the doors were almost never locked. We had to have a pass to leave and we had to be back at a certain time but we could leave, which was a big change. Some of us had jobs on the outside, some of us just went in town to see a movie or eat real food. Plus, we could wear our own clothes, which was a nice change from a “state blue” uniform.
My cellie Pete actually had a girlfriend.
I should explain. The facility just outside of town was made up of two minimum-security dorms, one for guys, one for girls. They both shared the same exercise yard, and while the yard and some of the classes they offered were co-ed, the rest of the facility was not. The no fraternization rule was strictly enforced. I kept to myself; I didn’t even know Pete’s girlfriend’s name. (No, Pete and I didn’t talk that much.)
Anyway, I figured Pete and his girlfriend were meeting up somewhere in town when they were supposedly working and got tattoos on their hands. One was a cage with its door open; the other was a bird flying free. Yeah, real subtle. Especially when you weren’t supposed to get any tattoos while you were in prison. (Yeah, I know, every prison I’d been in looked like a tattoo convention.) The guards would have figured it out except Pete and the girl broke up. Like I said, they weren’t supposed to be together, but they met around the back of one of the buildings when we were all out in the yard. I didn’t see them go but soon everybody heard them arguing and then they heard a crash and a lot of shouting. The guards started running towards the noise and I thought about it too for a second, but I didn’t need the trouble. Besides, I figured I’d find out what happened later.
Which I did.
Apparently, Pete had told her it was over and she proceeded to knock the crap out of him.
I guess she spent some time in the hole and Pete spent a week in the infirmary and then a week in the hole. Me, I had my room to myself for two weeks. Pure bliss.
Or, as close to bliss as one of those places ever gets.
Author’s Note: “The Hole” is prison slang for solitary confinement.