Shoes, Letter and Boss Man

Awhile back (2-15-17) I told yall about this pair of sneakers (tennis shoes) that this fella gave me… long story. Anyway, like I told yall back then I wanted those shoes because they were, are, the most comfortable shoe I’ve seen since coming to prison.

Well, the good thing about those shoes is, they are definitely comfortable, the bad thing about them is that the mesh comprising a large part of the top is fragile and tears, easily. When the pair I now have was given to me, they had already begun to come apart and since then, have come completely apart. But, one of the guys here sews and so I took a piece of the canvas I paint on and gave it to him to use as patches; believe it or not, he did a pretty good job and they are completely serviceable; ugly! but serviceable.

When a new pair of shoes goes on sale at the prison store some of these guys buy them even if they don’t need them, its a status symbol to have new shoes; I aint one of those guys. Another thing these guys are into is – they want something exclusive, a one of a kind radio, headphones, watch, pair of sweats etc., but the most coveted item is an exclusive pair of shoes. If you come here from another prison with a pair of shoes that no one here has – the big money guys will pay double or triple for them. Some of the guys, who have money, will buy the new shoes when they hit the store and then sit on them until they sell out, then when they are no longer available they put them up for sale, and in that way double their money, childish right! I suppose, but, when you have money and are very limited in what you can buy, I guess it makes some sense.

The reason I bring this up is that the shoes I mentioned earlier, because of their poor durability, are almost non-existent on the yard now, and the ones you do see, are ragged. So one of the fellas came up to me a couple of days back and asked me how I liked my now ragged pair. I of course told him that I loved them – he smiled and informed me that he had a new pair stashed away – and, for the right price – well, you get the message.

Now as I told you, my shoes have been patched, and they are butt ugly, but they are functional and I could probably get another year of seven day a week eighteen hour a day use out of them… You can see my conundrum, right, they are not very durable, but, they are comfortable… There’s also the fact that I doubt very seriously if I will see another pair of shoes as comfortable as these. What did I do?… I went ahead and bit the bullet and paid way too much for them; so, I’ll be eating beans and rice out of the Chow Hall for the next month or two, lol.

I wear a size 10 shoe, but this is prison and since I deal primarily in used shoes I have learned to wear anything from a 9 to an 11. The shoes I spoke about in my 2-15-17 blog entry, the ones that were given to me, are size 11. I have been wearing them every day this past year, and I was blessed to have had them… but, they are a size too big. As fortune would have it, the new ones I paid out the nose for are… wait for it… size 10!!! Woo hoo! Man, they are so comfortable, perfect even, the only problem is, my arch’s had gotten used to the other, too big, shoe. Yeah, crazy right! I guess the reason that people should wear the proper sized shoe is not because of the toe, but because of the placement of the arch support. Point is, the new ones are hurting my arch’s.

Its funny. In my past life, the one where I was not a prisoner, I never even thought about the little things in life, hell, I just went to the store and bought shoes. Then I came to prison and now I’m wearing used shoes – and I can’t remember the last time I had a pair that were my exact size. No, you don’t understand – when we get new shoes in the store they usually don’t have all of the sizes, and if they do, the popular sizes sell out real quick – and, on top of that, the shoes we have access to, I suspect, are defective and can’t be sold to the public – well that and we get the one’s that are knocked off by Customs coming in from China – fake Nikes and stuff like that…No, I don’t know that for a fact, but its one of the Conspiracy Theories floating around in here, and I love a Conspiracy Theory; besides, what else would the Feds do with ten thousand pairs of fake Nikes? throw them away? Nah, they’d sell ’em to the Plantation … okay, I’m sounding a little bitter here, for that I apologize. I mean, its what I’d do id I were them, so I have to assume they would too.

For the record, my feet are confused, ain’t sure what I’m gonna do about that. Guess I’m gonna have to wear one or the other, sure can’t mix and match.


We had a guy here, he’s gone now. Since he’s been gone I’ve received three letters from him; got one yesterday.

This guy whom l’ll leave in-cognito was a good hearted person; I saw his heart and loved that part of him. When we would get together we’d talk about our children, he has a daughter he literally idolizes, guess I can relate to that – but we also talked about spiritual things, too.

After he’d been here about two years I abruptly stopped talking to him – he did something, very miniscule, but it was a bad habit that he had to break. I had lots of choices, but I knew that his heart was good, and I knew he loved his kid, and I knew that he was searching for God outside of religion, as am I. So, being that I could see that he needed a little lesson I simply cut him off from our conversations and ignored him altogether, it was a hard thing for me, too.

During the year we didn’t talk I watched him from afar and I could tell that he was affected by my actions – in a good way. I observed that he became contemplative and even more serious about his walk with our Mother Earth and her creatures. Inside I was very happy to see his growth, it says a lot about a person when they can take criticism. Like I said, he left, but took the time to send me a nice letter letting me know that he was okay and telling me that he understood why I had treated him as I did – in this his last letter he thanked me for helping him on his path, and some other nice words as well… I never wanted to not associate with him, I was only trying to teach him something I didn’t think he could learn any other way. He got it. He holds no grudge against me. He thanked me for helping him… maybe there is hope in the world after all. I miss him!

Boss Man’s Abduction

I have been avoiding telling you this, but, the Prison Administration here at Three Rivers rounded up the cats and hauled them off. Boss Man, my cat, our inmate cat, is gone. I guess we, the unforgiven, don’t deserve anything that might love us or that we can love back. I ask you this. Where do you think they took the cats that they trapped and hauled off? Think about it. Then ask yourself; What kind of a person could do such a thing? And I’m supposed to think they’re the “Good Guys.” Where the hell is PITA when you need ’em!

There’s more to the Boss Man story that I haven’t told you, not because I didn’t want to, but because I’m very aware that my blog entries are being monitored, so some things had to be kept secret. Here’s the whole story.

There were a bunch of wild cats around the prison yard, and I mean wild, we couldn’t get within twenty feet of them. Anyway, a couple of years back one of those wild cats had babies in a drain pipe in the Recreation Yard. So everyday the guys, the prisoners, the felons, the reprobates, the outcasts, the low-lifes,.. the guys like me.. would go out to that drain pipe and put food at the entrance for the mamma and her babies, well, one, and only one of those babies grew brave enough to come out to eat while we were there … It took weeks to coax him out.

Once we coaxed the little varmint out we began to play with him, and pet him, and he became a very important part of our life. This one cat grew up and obviously become a spoiled brat; we named him Boss Man.

After that more babies were born in that same drain pipe. Again we fed them and did all we could to win their trust, but to no avail, they were wild, but we fed them anyway. During this time more kittens came and we found a couple more that became, semi-tame. In other words they’d come out to eat, but when we tried to pet them they’d skitter off back into the drain pipe. But we still cared for them and eventually we won the trust of a few more.

I guess the other cats saw Boss Man getting the royal treatment and over time we ended up with about a half dozen friendly cats whose trust we had won. Well, nature took its course and Boss Man and one of the females named “Hoppo” had kittens, this recently, this after they had started trapping and hauling off our cats. We knew that it was only a matter of time before they took our little family, then a good thing happened… some of the guards stepped up and adopted the babies first, then Boss Man and finally Hoppo…thereby sparing them from being exterminated.

Now I didn’t tell you this before because I didn’t want to draw attention to the fact that we had other cats that we were caring for, to include kittens. But I didn’t think it was fair for me to condemn some of the guards without also praising those who stepped in and prevented some of them from sure genocide. I sincerely recognize their common decency.

As for Boss Man, well, he was wrapped in a towel by those he trusted, put into a box ( he fought like hell too, busted out the first time,) then had that box taped shut and was abducted from the only home he’s ever known, taken to a strange house with strange people, then taken to the Veterinarian where they cut his testicles off … damn, and I thought I was havin’ a bad month! Anyway, I hear he’s fine and loved and cared for, probably even better off … but I miss him; it sure is lonely without him sprawled out in front of the metal detector as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

I really hated to have to give you that bad news; hurt my heart to do so. But, I am thankful that we have a picture together and grateful that he has a new home … God is good, right!

Until next time, Peace be with you, Mark

Three Rivers, 5-18-18