M-Prisoned

I have recently been corresponding with a Mensan residing in a Texas prison. I am helping him publish a newsletter which I will eventually post on my website. The next issue concerns treatment of inmates. I invite anyone interested in learning about the “Prison Industrial Complex” to simply do a Google-search on those key words, you will be amazed.

The following is a satirical piece that will appear in M-Prisoned.

OTIS
by Sean Winthrop

Otis Roosevelt Solomon Tucker Jr. was screwed. He was hideously scarred as the result of being repeatedly scalded with boiling water as an infant by his prostitute mother for the offense of crying. He had lost all of his fingers as the result of a gangrene infection from his untreated burns. He was profoundly retarded as the result of fetal alcohol syndrome and severe malnutrition during his infancy, which was, as it happens, the reason he had been crying in the first place. Oh, and he was a black man born in Mississippi, which was the result of his ancestors being kidnapped from a small village in West Africa in 1643.

The universe had determined that Otis Roosevelt Solomon Tucker Jr. would be born into a cold and pitiless world with absolutely no tools with which to cope. In other words, he was screwed. His cruel kismet culminated with his arrest for the strangulation of a beloved elderly nun with her own rosary.

Despite the fact that Otis had an IQ of 63 and was therefore incapable of aiding in his own defense, and despite the fact that his absence of digits rendered him physically incapable of gripping the holy garrote and therefore incapable of committing the crime of which he was accused, and despite the fact that his confession was obviously coerced, and there were no witnesses or physical evidence linking him to the crime, Otis was screwed.

Because the Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity enjoyed a long and cherished place in the this community, and because Sister Agnes was particularly revered for her years of selfless dedication to the sick and dying, and because Otis was too hideous for most of the jurors to look at, much less assign human qualities, it took his peers less than 30 minutes to conclude that he was guilty as hell, which is to say, screwed again. Besides, it was Friday afternoon, and Saturday was the opening day of possum hunting season, observed as an official holiday in the Magnolia state.

The Judge pronounced, “Pursuant to the laws of the State of Mississippi, the defendant will be confined to the Mississippi State Penitentiary. There, his sentence shall be implemented by causing to pass through the body of the defendant a current of electricity of sufficient intensity to cause death, and the application and continuance of such current through the body of said defendant shall continue until he is dead, dead, dead! Does the defendant understand?”

Otis was still trying to figure out what pursuant meant when his incompetent, tobacco-spitting, court appointed lawyer nudged him rudely, which Otis took to understand that he should do something.

Otis nodded.

* * * * *

Still savoring the memory of the best pecan pie he had ever tasted, Otis was led to the execution chamber. A fat white man was babbling something about the valley of the shadow of death. Otis thought that must be somewhere down around Tupelo, but he wasn’t sure.

The oak chair sat on rubber matting and was bolted to the concrete floor. Guards fastened leather straps around Otis’ lap, chest, and biceps. Next, they laced a leg piece around his ankle, to which they attached a damp sponge and an electrode. Another wet sponge was placed between Otis’ shaven scalp and the electrode of the headpiece. Finally, a leather mask was cinched over his face to spare witnesses the indignity of watching his ghastly expressions.

The warden was using big words like Otis had heard at the courthouse. He didn’t understand most of what he heard until he was asked, “Otis Roosevelt Solomon Tucker Jr., do you have a statement before your sentence is carried out?”

It wasn’t until that moment Otis fully understood he was about to die at the hands of “a buncha white folks” he didn’t even know.

After a thoughtful pause, he couched his last declaration in the form of a question, childlike and benign— “Y’all s’pose they got pee-con pie over yonder?”

The most common nuisance encountered when electrocuting human beings is their tendency to complicate what should be a simple procedure. This often involves their failure to expire in the prescribed manner, necessitating a repeat of the process. This thoughtless behavior on the part of the condemned is exacerbated by the fact that burning flesh smells really awful.

The warden gave the signal, and operators set the circuit breaker, and activated the control panel, initiating a pre-programmed cycle. Some of the witnesses gasped when Otis began flopping violently as 2,300 volts passed through his brain for the first eight seconds. This was followed by 1,000 volts for a period of 22 seconds, which merely caused Otis to twitch. For the last eight seconds, Otis again received 2,300 volts, at which time his leather mask detached, revealing his tortured grimace and bulging eyes through a cloud of acrid smoke.

Thankfully, as the cycle ended and the smoke cleared, Otis’ chin sagged to his chest. The warden motioned and the attending physician entered the chamber. When the doctor started shaking his head, then waving frantically, the warden was afraid the electrocution had been botched, again. When Otis’ eyes opened, his head snapped back, and he began shrieking, the warden was certain.

When the second ghoulish cycle finally concluded, two prison attendants disengaged the manual circuit on the back of “Ol’ Sparky.” As one of the guards unfastened the leather belt around Otis’ chest he observed, “Guess you could call this tater twice baked.”

As it happens, the innocent soul of Otis Roosevelt Solomon Tucker Jr. escaped the prison of his earthly vessel at the precise moment Televangelist, Jerry Roberts expelled his last barbecue-scented breath.

Legend has it that as the two disparate souls ascended to heaven, St. Peter and an attending angel awaited their arrival. When the later inquired as to their identities, St. Peter returned, “I don’t know who the fat guy is, but that’s Otis Roosevelt Solomon Tucker Jr.!”

Amen.

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