DAY 098: One day I’m going to take over the world. Right now it’s too cold for it.

November 27, 2008

It’s Thanksgiving morning. Some voices have stirred me from sleep. Those two voices belong to an officer coming through doing his early morning bed checks and a prisoner, Michael Hall (Half Dick). He was asking for a blanket because it’s cold. Winter has begun to creep into Texas. Since all the cell searches began, a lot of us have lost our blankets to retaliation-minded officers who, for no apparent reason, decide to toss the blankets out and trample on them. All blankets are state-issued and made from course wool. I am lucky to have kept mine, however I have had to wash it because it’s been dragged across the floor. Some things one must look past and laugh about.

The officer knocked on my door and asked if I was still here. From under my blanket, I said, “Give me a key to the back door and I won’t be.” He walked off. I am as serious as a heart attack. One day I’m going to take over the world. Right now, it’s too cold for it. Today, all across the state of Texas every prisoner is fed well. Along with the main meal tray, we also get an additional tray with desserts. This dessert tray is called the “cold tray” and the main meal tray is called the “hot tray.” Institutionalized minds! The cold tray is being handed out now. Always before the main meal tray. Cold tray: Strawberry cake, two oatmeal cookies, coleslaw, two mini sweet pickles, four black olives, and also a sack meal (two baloney sandwiches) were handed our as the day’s dinner meal.

So today is Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so much. Are you thankful for a lot? I thank God that I am alive. No Thanksgiving Day will ever be the same for me. In all my life, Thanksgiving has only meant . . . turkey. In fact, most holidays have been just another day of the year for me, but that will no longer be the case. All these years of incarceration have caused me to lightly experience a holiday’s meaning least it overwhelm me. Today I have a lot to be thankful for. Richard and Tina, thank you.

Somebody (Billy Mason) has been placed in the recreation cage and he is letting us all know (by shouting out) what’s coming and going. I heard him say that the cold trays were on the cellblock and now that the hot trays are here. I’m going to stand at the door now 🙂 Hungry. My cold tray and sack meal are saved for later tonight.

Hot tray? It’s gone. Ha Ha. No, it’s not … yet. A slice of turkey, one pork chop, stuffing, black-eyed peas and corn. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Another Thanksgiving tradition: dessert before the cold tray? Dallas Cowboys football. 🙂 Billy has just shouted that the Cowboys’ game will kick off shortly. Billy was once a ranking member of a prison gang, and feared, but now he is old and fat. His hair is mostly gone and he wears dentures. He is a ghost of his former self.

Yesterday I was upgraded a level classification and it’s why I was moved into this cell. I twill be another two or three months before all my privileges are restored. I am still in a management cell and isolated, but I am able to speak with three other men who share ventilation with this cell. One of those men, Pablo Vásquez (Pelón) is a longtime friend. The Cowboys have scored! Information, compliments of Billy. Usually, when a football game is being played, whoever is in the recreation cage will relay the score updates on this cellblock because nobody has a radio here. We follow the games by surprising means. A part of these cellblock faces an opposing cellblock where others are housed who do have radios. They place score updates on their windows for those of us who can see. The s cores go up and down the cellblock. The Cowboys just scored again. 🙂 Halftime score: Dallas 21, Seattle 3. I am being allowed out into the recreation cage. Don’t tell: I am not supposed to go. Se ya!!

I’m back. That was great, to get out and stretch. I spend most of the hour speaking to Billy Joe Wardlow (Bandit). It was 20 years ago to the night that Bandit and I were by each other in solitary confinement when we heard gunshots. On Thanksgiving night. In 1998, several Death Row prisoners attempted to scale the razor wire-topped fences. All surrendered after the first gunshot was fired at them, except Martin Burule. Despite being shot, Martin climbed over both razor wire-topped fences and ran off. He had wrapped his body in cardboard to minimize the razor wire’s effect. However, when he attempted to swim across the river that blocked his way, the cardboard absorbed water and it weighed him down. He drowned that night. I had not seen Bandit in years. These days the average lifespan on Death Row is six or seven years, and while most others are gone, Bandit is still here.


4 Responses to “DAY 098: One day I’m going to take over the world. Right now it’s too cold for it.”

  1. K Says:

    What I’m thankful? For a lot of things, for my family, my little angels – niece and nephew…
    I’m glad you continue to write this blog.

  2. Rodger Says:

    hummm day 92-97 missing?

  3. Françoise Says:

    It seems that this Thanksgiving day has been really a good one for you. You had good meals and did not forget to say your grace after them. So did I. I thanked God because of my wonderful parents who gave me love and particular care, because of the very special sister He choose for me, because of my healthy children and loving companion. I thanked God because I have been happy enough to know you, to appreciate the caring man you are and because He protected you and continues to do it. And for so many other reasons.
    I am so glad that you feel better these days. Thank you too for your letters full of hope, telling us about your feelings and wishes, sharing with us those important time slots of your life. Gracias a la vida… Love

  4. Kiki Says:

    Dear Rogelio
    I am late….. you might say, it won’t matter any longer because you’re no longer on death row and I am so glad and happy over it…. NOW, finally, after such a long, long time, I’ve found this journal again (my computer keeps breaking down and then I loose my tabs and what have you…) and I am happy to read once more (and for not much longer) about you….
    I am sure Isabelle keeps me well informed but still wanted to let you know that we continue to keep you in our hearts and prayers. Nothing is lost and not everything is won!
    THIS report has warmed my heart; it says such a lot about you, your feelings, your thoughts and your development. All of it is quite beautiful!
    I shall miss reading you…. but I fully understand.
    Very happy to know that Thanksgiving will be every day from now on and not just once per year! Thank You for pointing this out …. lest we forget!
    And with Rodger: Where are the days 92-97? Nothing written, having been lazy? 😉
    Much love and all the best

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