Friday, November 8, 2013

The Story of the Six-Man cell-Elkins....(Part 7)

Later that afternoon, walking back from the chow hall with Chunks, I decided to try my hand at diplomacy and remedy Elkins frustration before they had the chance to get fired over the edge. When I told Chunks that Elkins was having a hard time dealing with everyone shooting barbs at him and purposely chatting loud into the night , he just laughed. When I told him that his homeboy, Jamie, and the other two that had just come from the USP's wouldn't get two chances if Elkins actually snapped and they beat him up, he just laughed. When I said that Elkins had told me that morning that he was on the edge of calling some people out and getting it over with, he didn't laugh. He only said that everyone would be really happy to hear about that. He said " Thank you". Then he laughed and veered into the unit's common area to sit down beside Shane-O and began the animated retelling of everything I had just said. I wondered if maybe I should have talked to one of the others. I wondered why the hell I imagined I might be a diplomat in any situation. A last glance at the two of them assured me that I should not have told Chunk's anything. Shane-O's face was perfectly angelic and he nodded while looking straight at me. I knew that his amusement was not in the words he heard. His light, generous smile and twinkling eyes forecast a long night of laughter and joking at Elkins expense. I shook my head sadly an went into the cell.

How the White Knight on the Black Horse was born no one ever told me. And how on earth a guy went from buying a few little yellow plastic parrots for his son, to buying a warehouse full of little yellow plastic parrots I never found out, but these things indeed did happen- at least that night they did. An hour after lockdown, and fifteen minutes after we turned out the lights( hours earlier than on any previous night) the cell was eerily silent and I knew immediately that these guys had something terrible and violent planned for Elkins. I pictured the four of them tying him up and torturing him with razor blades and burning wicks. At the very least one of them would taunt hum until he lipped off-then the beating would commence. Instead, just as Elkins made his comfortable turn toward the wall and his breathing settled into a heavy rhythm that leads into the blessed chambers of sleep, Beau's voice filled the silence.

"Whose wants to hear about the White Knight on a Black Horse?"

Shane-O: "OOOhhh...I do, I do, I do!"
Jamie: " Me too! Sounds kinda freaky."
Chunks: "Let's Hear it!"
Me: You know damn good and well that there wasn't a peep coming from me-not yet anyway.

Elkins turned over and heaved a laboring, angry breath at being awakened. His frustration and anger were almost palpable in the moments of silence that stretched out to embrace the beginning of Beau's jokes.

"Okay," Beau started, and I swear that I could hear the big smile on his face in these opening words: "This joke kind of stretches out in parts but hang on for the punch line- Shakespeare wrote this shit back in the day and you know how sleepy that motherfu**er was- everything good in time... Back in the days of knights-errant and sweet Dulcineas and rotten hookers with no teeth, there was a knight that went by the name of "The White Knight on a Black Horse". Obviously he rode a horse that happened to be black.

Regardless of the trouble I caused, no one was hurt . Apparently I was worried for nothing because Elkins didn't blow a gasket like he said he would, and everyone but me seemed to know this long before I did. When the guards came by for midnight count and Beau was just wrapping up the White Knight on the Black Horse, I had given up holding my laughter in. My stomach hurt even though I was so tired that my eyeballs felt like sand dunes, the sheer length and inanity of this joke kept me interested in what the hell this poor knight might be up to next. We were all in and out of sleep, hypnotized by the sing song voice and repeating rhythm in the adventure when the punch line came. I found myself laughing with everyone- and not so much at the punch line as at the heaving sigh given by Elkins.

After we had stopped the laughter (Elkins even threw in a side comment about how stupid the joke was) and there was silence, once again, I felt sleep crush in on me and my final conscious thoughts were that this night hadn't turned out too badly-no fights and it seemed like everyone was going to find a way to compromise their egos....

No comments:

Post a Comment