The night began as the countless others have: a dusky evening filled with nothing except anticipated monotony. Then the door to my cage flew open. Several corrections officers rushed in and, seconds later, had removed me from my concrete and steel home. The ensuing search and formal interrogation took far longer. They had their idea about something; I had mine. Words were twisted, theories invented and allegations cast.
How often I had been down this particular road already. But this shakedown turned out to be far different than any I’d experienced before. Every other time this had happened, everything taken away from me could be replaced. Whatever the administration considered contraband was taken away, thrown away, or used against me…but it would all come into my possession again. Nothing they could steal meant a thing. They could have their way. I would always have mine.
But then…. Several years of precious notes, the journaling and musings and scribblings I jot down so that I can post on Zap Tales, were inadvertently destroyed. Any other item in my possession could disappear without raising my blood pressure a single point. But those notes were not simple slivers of paper. They were reference points about emotions I can no longer afford to possess.
Even those who allegedly have nothing left to lose actually do.
And this is after a chain of loses that spanned my life. Most of my so-called comrades had written me off before the click of the cuffs stopped echoing. Hidden animosities tumbled out of the shadows, and rumors of impending doom soared overhead like vultures after meat. I often witness the very worst mankind has to offer, yet I am still somehow amazed at the most hardened souls who root for the next man’s ruination.