By Tommy Guns
When we got to the other room, I was ordered to sit on a chair, and another prisoner came in and took a pair of clippers and cut my hair and mustache off. I already kept my hair pretty close trimmed in the standard high and tight, but the brig haircut was even shorter, more like being back in boot camp, fresh off the bus, and getting your first Corps haircut. The loss of my well-trimmed and groomed mustache was a real pity. I had cultivated it and trimmed it with great care over the years, and it was one of my better features. Oh well, I supposed it was yet another part of the price I had to pay for whatever it was I had done to get myself locked up. At this point, I was more interested in what I was being charged with. It must have been pretty serious, given the high level of security they were using with me.
After the haircut, I was photographed, both full face and left and right profile, and then fingerprinted. This part of it was rather interesting, since they were taking no chances with me, and did not release more than one wrist at a time from the cuffs, and even then one of my guards had hold of my upper arm, while the other had his foot on the chain between my ankles. After a couple of sets of prints were taken, I was again fully shackled and led back to the holding cell I was first held in. They took my cuffs and shackles off once I was locked in the cell, and ordered to take the gown and slippers off and pass them through. I complied, and was given a set of utilities to put on, and a pair of flip-flops to wear with them.
It was a little awkward putting on the utilities, because there was almost no room to maneuver in the cell. It was a standard issue green blouse and trousers, but there was a large red ‘P’ on each leg of the trousers, and a large red ‘P’ on both the left chest and the back of the blouse. The utility cover was not the standard issue green. Rather it was died a bright red, and was just a bit too large for me. I must have been a rather comical figure, but I had no time to contemplate what I looked like, because as soon as the cover was in place, I was once again ordered to back out of the cell and kneel on the floor. The belt and cuffs were locked in place, along with the leg irons, and I was lifted to my feet and marched out of the office. As I was ordered to turn right, I came up to a wide red line painted across the deck in front of a locked gate. There was a set of painted red footprints just in front of the red line, set at a perfect 45-degree angle, just like I remembered from boot camp. I was ordered to halt, step on to the footprints, and request permission to cross the red line. I was confused and did not immediately comply. This earned me a sharp punch in the side, along with instructions from one of my guards. “When you approach a red line anywhere in this brig, you are to stop, come to attention, feet planted inside the red footprints, and request permission from the turnkey to cross the line. I remembered that anything I wanted to do here had to be with the permission of some guard or another. I barked out, “Sir, prisoner number 65, cell number 48, cellblock number 4, requests permission to speak to the cellblock turnkey Sir!” The Marine on the other side barked back, “Speak prisoner!” “Sir, prisoner number 65, cell number 48, cellblock number 4, requests permission to cross the red line Sir!” The Marine unlocked the barred gate and barked, “Enter!”
I went through the hatchway, accompanied by my two guards, and we headed down the passageway, back toward the cellblock from which I had come from earlier that day. Before we got there, there were two more sets of red lines I had to cross, and the earlier scenario was repeated. Finally arriving back at my cell, there was yet another red line directly in front of the door to the cell. I repeated the by now well-rehearsed lines, and one of my guards unlocked the door and I was unceremoniously pushed inside, followed by my guards.
I was ordered down on my knees, and they removed my leg irons, but left the belt and handcuffs in place. They left me in that position and exited the cell, locking the solid door behind them. The small viewing hatch near the top of the door was opened, and one of my guards instructed me to remain kneeling until given permission to get up. I asked, “Sir, prisoner number 65, cell number 48, cellblock number 4, requests permission to speak to the cellblock turnkey Sir!” He replied, “What is it that you don’t understand prisoner?” “Sir, prisoner number 65, cell number 48, cellblock number 4, requests to know when the prisoner will be released from restraints Sir!” “When we get through processing you prisoner.” With that, the hatch was slammed shut and I could hear them walking down the passageway away from my cell.
To be continued …