CS# 05943451

March 24th, 2007


I suppose I have an established routine when it comes to my smoking. I mean aside from the obligatory timing of it. You know, after meals and such. This routine is that I go to my room, don my coat and then proceed for the great outdoors. Once finished my butt, I return to my room and shed my outer layer of red. Coat goes on. Smoke gets smoked. Coat comes off. A routine I’d like to think is not so out of the ordinary and certainly one not so conspicuous. But alas, in this place it is. 

Friday night at present and the range is engrossed in a movie. For a change, I’ve decided to watch along. Feeling the urge for a smoke, I get up to engage in my routine and I can’t help but sense Jerry’s eyeing me as I do. Emerging from my room, coat on, I sift through the guys seated willy-nilly just outside my door. As I pass Jerry he makes effort to small talk. “How’s it going?” I respond, “not bad,” without breaking stride. Immediately, he gets up and heads to his bed space at the opposite end of our range. I don’t know. It just struck me as odd timing, so I stopped to confirm my suspicions and picked up the movie I had just put down. I stood in my coat with one eye on the flick and the other down the hall to see if Jerry would re-emerge. A minute later, he returns to the dining hall/movie room wearing his coat. Rather than sitting himself back in his seat, he saunters over to me asking, “Do you have a smoke I could bum?” I couldn’t believe it! Bad enough that it is only Friday, five full days before the next canteen. Bad still, that he looks past my growing disdain. Even worse that I sense his constantly sizing me up. But to top it all off, he most presumptuously goes and grabs his coat and puts it on BEFORE even asking me IF I’ll give him a smoke! The gall of this guy leaves me flabbergasted! I’m accustomed to variations on this theme but they only occur Tuesday and Wednesday. Friday is completely lame. And what the hell do I do, but give him a fucking cigarette?! If I can’t learn to say ‘NO,’ he sure as hell won’t learn to stop grinding me. This much became apparent with this latest episode. I did put off a most obvious look of dismay before capitulating and, while outside, I did my best to freeze him out as he lamely went on about the weather. Despite my cooling mood towards Jerry, I worry that I’ve stumbled upon another routine of sorts. He went to fetch his coat upon spying me undertake my routine for christ sakes. And I noticed it as plain as the bars that remind me of where I am. Good God! 

Tomorrow’s Saturday and a new day begins. Full of nic-fitting. Just as one spends less money when they have some over when they do not, so too is the rhythm of the nicotine craving. When you have tobacco, you’re more at ease. You partake more methodically. When you don’t have tobacco, you’re ill at ease and you crave it incessantly. Hence this whole dimension I perceive to Jerry’s come on. It is truly irksome. The question will be, ‘Can he take the hint? Develop some pride? Conjure up some willpower or find someone else to lean on?’ One thing is for sure. I can’t, nor do I want to, support someone’s habit for five full days. I may as well quit myself at that rate. Either that or learn to say ‘NO!’ My problem with standing my ground with such a simple word, coupled with his now unabashed abuse of my kindness, is that eventually I will back him off in no uncertain terms. That, I fear could cause problems that I never asked for, by simply trying to facilitate someone’s need. It will be very interesting to see how this progresses… or digresses.

Just stepped out for a late night butt, given how cigarettes are clearly on my brain. ‘Routine,’ after all. I’ve been writing away all evening and realized it’s now 1:20 am!  Adorned in my red overcoat neath the dull amber hue of the lone light in the courtyard, I found myself reflecting on this whole ‘jail’ thing. There’s little doubt most everything about this place sucks but, after having endured over two months of incarceration, I can say from experience that the routine that revolves around smoking; craving it, its scarcity, the grinding that lurks around every corner, is the biggest strain of all. If everybody could take care of themselves in this respect, life here would border on tolerable. Ah, but I guess that is what makes jail, jail! 


My momma told me there’d be days like this.