Revenge of the Pothead Ch. 01bySEVERUSMAX©
This was written by myself on another site under the pen name of "Col.Jack Harrison".
My debt to society, the sons of bitches called it. Did I borrow the pot or somehow damage my neighbors by using it? What a load of horseshit! I got my ass busted by DEA thugs, arrested, charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced to LIFE in a federal prison for "trafficking in narcotics". As if that stuff was for anything but my own personal use. I was just smart enough to stash it up (or dumb enough, in hindsight) so that I wouldn't risk my freedom on each buy.
Look, I enjoy pot. That's just a fact. It was bad enough that the stupid Congress had to outlaw the wonderful weed. Then they had to get REALLY full of it and set mandatory minimum sentences for mere possession of marijuana as part of their "War On Drugs". Don't we have enough enemies without declaring war on narcotics? Terrorism, at least, IS a real threat. DRUGS, on the other hand, include everything from cough syrup to heroin.
Well, I had been in a federal prison for 5 years of my life sentence when the Great Pulse struck. I don't have any use for anarchists and they DID fuck up the country (and the rest of the world) with their EMP strike. However, they inadvertently did me a personal favor. You see, the new governments of the various parts of the former USA didn't always share the absurd views of their predecessor: the often unconstitutional Government of the United States of America.
I had lost my cowardly wife, Megan, to this whole drug bust thing. Even though she used some of my pot for herself, she divorced me to salvage part of our marital assets from "civil forfeiture", another unconstitutional action of Uncle Sam that would make the Founding Fathers spin in their graves. I ended up with nothing, while that greedy bitch saved her share. Where the hell is the justice in that situation?
I heard somewhere that she later got caught driving with half a bottle of gin in her system. Now THAT was some karma! She lost her license, spent a few months in county jail, and had to go to rehab for alcoholism. That's still a far cry from what happened to me. SHE endangered everyone on the same road as herself and got a virtual slap on the wrist. I, on the other hand, smoked some harmless weed and got sent to a federal hell-hole.
I also lost a 5 figure job as a registered nurse, which was the same occupation that my ex-wife practiced. That was how we met. Well, she may have cared about her patients, but she proved completely callous about her own husband. My nursing license was revoked and I had to work in the prison sweatshop, making ball bearings for less than minimum wage. There is no inmates' union, after all.
That was my life for 5 long years. I had adjusted to it, up to a point. I fucked a cellmate who later got paroled. That didn't mean that I got laid frequently. In fact, anyone who tried to rape me got his ass kicked. I was mostly nice, but vicious about that issue. My fellow inmates soon learned to leave me the hell alone.
I otherwise made no trouble and got a reputation as a good, hard-working, and even well-educated prisoner. The guards looked down at me, but they didn't have an excuse to do anything about it. I made a point of not giving them one. They just didn't like my attitude of smoldering resentment toward the system.
I had no chance of parole for the same reason and I knew it. The only hearing I attended, at which there were NO witnesses on my behalf, quickly showed me that the board regarded me as a "willful and unrepentant offender". They said that I had the wrong opinion of my prosecution and that I refused to accept any "responsibility" for my "crime". I told them that it wasn't a crime in my book and that I regarded the system as "unjust". That sealed my fate in their eyes: I would never leave prison alive.
19 August, 2010, U.S. Penitentiary, South Charleston, WV:
"Ralph Henry Walker, wake up!" the guard shouted.
I got, startled at the sound of a "screw" interrupting my Sunday morning sleep. Why the hell were they bugging me? I had behave myself lately, hadn't I?
"Yes, that's me and I'm up! There's no need to sound like my mom," I retorted.
"Come with us to the Warden's office. Something major has happened, not that I have to like it," the corrections officer smirked.
"Then it's good news for me, I take it," I taunted him.
"Shut your smart mouth, prisoner," he ordered me.
I got quiet, not wanting to provoke him too much. If there WAS good news, after all, I didn't want to blow it by mouthing off to the prison staff. I walked into the Warden's office, past the other cells full of ignorant, sleeping convicts.
"Sit down, Mr. Walker. Something big has happened to you," the Warden instructed me. He was a tight-lipped, raspy-voiced, chain-smoking bureaucratic jackass with a plain blue suit: talk about cliché!
"What is it?" I demanded, sensing a chance to probe him.
"You're a free man. It's as simple as that," he told me.
"What, did the parole board change their minds?" I asked him. "Hardly. It wasn't up to them. It was a political decision over my head and theirs. If I had my way, you'd still be sleeping in the bunk bed of your cell," he declared.
"Nice to know how you feel about me, Warden. I'm touched," I reacted sarcastically.
"Shut up and listen. You're not out of here yet. I've been ordered to give you the time and means to prepare for your return to society, not that you belong there. There has been a general amnesty for all citizens who are, let me quote this document, 'wrongfully imprisoned simply for possession and trafficking of the drug marijuana, which has been decriminalized'. A quarter of my inmates are about to be back on the streets. I figured that I would start with you, since you're the most qualified for release of the despicable lot.
"Thank your friends in the Republican Front for that. They decided to give all potheads amnesty for their 'consensual crimes'. Let's just say that the new regime has just created a headache for itself, if you ask me. I don't want the likes of you running loose and influencing my kids, but my superiors in Morgantown think that they know better. They claim that they are more 'enlightened' than the good ol' Feds. I beg to differ, but I don't have a say. I'm the low man on the totem pole of their much vaunted 'Revolution'," the Warden snorted.
"So, I can get dressed and walk out of here? Have they decided where I live, not I'm too worried about that. I'm just glad to be headed out of here," I responded.
"You'll be staying in a hostel for newly released citizens. That's what they call it. I hope that you stay out of trouble. You're a pain in my ass, so half of me is thinking 'good riddance'. Given your views and the Front's, something tells me you'll be on their good side for a while, at least," he commented.
After changing into my old clothes (which were loose around my skin), I got my other possessions and headed straight for the gate. There, I was stopped by one of the guards.
"You need THIS, buddy," he said, handing me a new state ID. It showed my face (from my old, heavier photo) and details about me. It also showed my status: newly released citizen. Another item of interest was the address it listed for me, presumably that of the hostel.
"You also require this card. It's a voucher to 'compensate a newly released citizen for unjust imprisonment'. It's redeemable for $50 provisional in your temporary bank account. The rest is up to you. The State is at war, so it can't afford to 'reimburse' you for all of your 'suffering'. You can stay at the hostel, but you need to find a job ASAP. Life is rough out there, especially for jobless ex-cons," he warned me.
Stunned as I was at being released so abruptly, I was definitely delighted. Luckily, I lived close to the hostel. Apparently, that was the Front's idea, to make the ex-con hostels in easy walking distance of the prison. Basically penniless, I was still free to rebuild my life and, hopefully, my career.
That was another issue. COULD I resume my career? There was nothing said about restoring my nursing license. I even had to get a new drivers' license and vehicle. What would I do in the meantime? Would anyone hire me, with the past 5 years of my life spent in a federal prison? Would I still have the taint of a junkie and criminal?
I didn't have any children with Megan, because she had a hysterectomy 12 years before. That, therefore, was not a concern. I DID want revenge on my ex, though, for the way that she treated me during the trial. That would have to wait a bit, but I WOULD get back at her for it!
I weighed all of this on my way to the hostel, wondering what sort of room I would be assigned. I must have looked like a hitchhiker, with my backpack full of books and other useful items, my blue jeans, and my denim shirt. I even had an old baseball cap on my shaved head. Yes, I had done that in jail, since it intimidated people more and I didn't have any women to attract.
What would be next? Would I move on with my life or stay a pathetic ex-con, struggling hopelessly with my past? I decided firmly to do the former, whatever it took. This Republican Front looked like a good place to start. I wonder if they registered members like an old-fashioned political party? Were they more like the behemoths that governed most one-party states? In any case, Party membership wouldn't hurt my cause. The Front seemed pretty cool, especially considering how much the Warden hated it.