Monday, April 25, 2011
"I'm Afraid of that Beaver!"
In my last couple of months at Morgantown I was bunked in what is called an "overflow" room, a former TV/Card room converted to bunk space. Nine guys shared the room and for the most part things were harmonious. A new bunkee, GS, a former gang banger from the Bronx. GS was a scary looking dude: he almost looked like a 19th century pirate. GS is all threatening muscle belied by a funny sort of charm and consideration for others. We hit it off: old white dude, street-smart NY kid.
As you folks in the NE will recall Saturday and Sunday, April 9 and 10 were unseasonably warm. Most inmates spent the weekend outside hanging at NoName creek, walking the compound, playing softball and participating in outdoor rec. Sunday, April 10th Carlson inmates were actually kicked out of our unit for a periodic "shakedown" and for some 3 1/2 hours no one was permitted in the unit as COs combed the bunks, lockers, and common areas looking for cigarettes, cell phones, and the like. As the afternoon wore on many of us assembled at the foot of the path leading up to Carlson with an eye to the unit front doors. It was in the 80s and some of us had had enough sun and were anxious to get back in the unit. GS sidled up beside me, pointing halfway up the path to where a Groundhog was sitting upright gnawing on an apple someone had discarded beside.
"[BL], I'm afraid of the beaver."
"GS, what beaver?"
"GS, that's not a beaver. . . that's a Groundhog. You know, like Puxatawny Phil?"
"I'm scared of it, [BL]"
When it was time to go back to Carlson GS hovered to my left as the Groundhog nibbled the apple. I protected him When we safely arrived back at Carlson's front doors, GS gestured to the assembled Mallards.
Thank God, the wild turkeys and bulls hadn't chosen that moment to make themselves known or my pal GS might have been in the waiting area of the J-complex waiting to see Dr. Roff the psychologist.