Nov 11





Having gone to a couple of NA meetings, I realized that they were kind of bogus. Most of the inmates were attending this class because they had to, or they would not be eligible for parole. There did seem to be some that took it seriously, but those inmates were in the minority. Most of the conversations that went on didn’t pertain to drug rehabilitation.

The most frequent topics always centered on racism in the DB. It always seemed to be just a big meeting for people to get things off their chest. The only help I was getting from attending, was the preparation for attending NA when I was released. The other benefit, was that I was able to hang out with a couple of the guys from Ft. Polk. Since we were either in different wings or custody levels, we could only meet in these meetings or during rec call. I was also able to meet a couple of other guys that seemed pretty decent.

Every once in a while I would have some side effects from the drugs. Sometimes I would have a total nervous system shut down. Kind of like a tremor that would cause me to blank out for a second and drop whatever I was holding. At times words would get tangled in my mouth and I would stutter. Other times, there were the LSD flashbacks. For anywhere between five to twenty minutes, I would feel like I had taken a hit of acid. Everything I looked at would have a pink and green hued shadow or aura. Sounds that were in front of me would feel like they were behind me instead. It was very strange, but only seemed to happen when I was exerting myself like running up the steps.

Sometimes, I would use the phones to call collect to some of my friends on the outside. Dee and Sid were gracious enough to make three way calls to Germany for me so I could talk to my parents. It was expensive and so I didn’t do it too often. It was nice to communicate with them. Mostly we just talked about the conditions I was living in and I reassured them that I was doing fine. I also got word that Eddie was still at VPSO in Louisiana. Being in that place was one of the worst experiences of my life. Was feeling sorry for him, but glad I was not there.

In 3 Wing, a tall blond muscular inmate came up to me and introduced himself as Bill Weeks. He said that he wanted to talk to me about a few things and that I should meet him on 4 Tier. He told me which cell was his and we headed that way. Weeks was from Los Angeles, but came to the DB via Ft. Campbell, KY. He was serving maybe a ten or twelve year sentence for arson. He was well known in the DB because he was one of the body builders. These guys tended to be pretty well respected for obvious reasons. The other reason he was so well known is because he was one of the few inmates in the DB history to ever attempt escape.

The previous year, Weeks had climbed to the top of the tiers in 4 Wing and entered the ventilation system, where he gained access to the roof of the Castle. From there he crossed over to the roof of 7 Wing and went down the ventilation system into the catwalks. Once down to the lowest level, he forced his way into the 7 Base ventilation tunnel where he attempted to to dig through the wall of the tunnel with a homemade drill. While crossing the roof, a guard spotted him and reported it. The entire DB went into lockdown and headcount. Weeks was found and his stay at the Castle was extended.

Once I got up to 4 Tier, he said he had some questions for me. First he wanted to know if it was true that I was a snitch. I told him about Specialist Bell overdosing in Panama, Tessler freaking out because he had been doing drugs with him and decided to turn in Bell and Vann. This had pissed me off and so I felt like it was my duty to bust him. To my surprise, Weeks thought that was admirable. Honor among thieves so to speak. He never brought up any of the other testifying and so neither did I.

Now that that was out of the way, he said he overheard me talking to another inmate about the kind of music I listened to. As in all walks of life, musical tastes can be a great equalizer or divider. He was also into the same bands as I was and was interested in talking to me about some of the concerts I had been to. We compared stories about Depeche Mode, the Cure, New Order and other similar bands. We seemed to be hitting it off.

The last thing he wanted to tell me was that, some of the other guys in the wing were calling me “Fembieman” because I was so skinny. Weeks also knew that I was going to be working in the mess hall. He proposed that if I hooked him up with extra food whenever possible, he would show me how to bulk up by working out. Sounded like a good trade to me, so I accepted. It was getting close to the guards time to make their rounds on the tiers and so he said I should go. I didn’t want to get written up for “loitering on the tier” and so I made my way up to my cell.

The first time I worked out with Weeks, he pushed me a little too hard. The next day, my arms swelled up like sausages to the point where I couldn’t even bend them. It would be a couple of days before I would attempt that again. He thought it was funny, I did not. If I injured myself and was not able to perform my duties out of negligence, I could get written up for damage to Government property. This was a real thing.

After completing the Day School requirements and taking a sanitation course, I finally started my job at the dining facility. Detail 44 inmates for 3 Wing and 4 Wing shared a kitchen and so as a team, we shared in the responsibility of serving about five hundred inmates. 3 Wing had it’s own dining area and 4 Wing had a mirror image on the other side of the wall. They were conjoined by a door leading into the kitchen.

New guys didn’t cook. New guys did pots and pans. So, I was stuck doing that for two meals a day. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t my favorite. I could move to a different task when another new inmate was assigned to the dining facility. Until then, I wouldn’t be hooking anyone up with extra food.

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  • Steven Tessler

    What an experience… I know it’s no where near this but after reading this post I felt the same way when I was on the ship. Favors for favors ruled the way we did some things.

    When I got to the ship I was told to like a certain rate, corpsmen, personnelmen, ect… That way when I needed something if I knew someone it would get done quicker.

    Loving your writing!! Feeling like I’m there with you.

    I know you might not agree, but I want to Thank you for your service to our country!! That comes from my heart!! You touched lives and made a difference. You’re making a difference in my life and I thank you!!

    • David Mike

      Steve, and thank you for your honorable service. I am glad you feel I’ve made a difference in your life. I am glad we were able to connect. I would like to give all the glory to God. It is only through him that I have been able to do this. Thank you for always reading.

  • Favors work on the inside and out, they are just disguised better on the outside. Like the fact that you have acknowledged the upcoming book. Too much heart and soul is in these words not to bound them for posterity.

    • David Mike

      I appreciate your constant support. Thank you for sticking with me through this process.

  • Sally Stanbery Clegg

    I am ready to read on. I am really proud of the accomplishments you have made after having a fall in life. This time may have not been the best part of your life, but you are allowing the bad to create good.

    • David Mike

      God is using my mess for His message! Thank you so much for your investment in my story. I appreciate you.

  • This post seems a little bit more hopeful than some of the others, you know? Because you are finally connected to a few people again and you are finally starting your work detail. I would imagine that these kinds of things at least made the time you were doing them pass a little more quickly than the rest of the day.

    So, did Weeks take back his offer because you weren’t able to hook him up with extra food or did he just wait it out?

    Oh, and that damage for government property? How crazy that sounds to a civilian. Whole different set of rules.

    • David Mike

      There were periods when it seemed like time was moving a little faster than others. Working and interacting with people helped. Mostly I felt like time had literally stopped and was never going to start again. It helped not to count down the time. Just sort of exist apathetically. Weeks worked out with me regardless. To this day I don’t know why he took an interest in helping me out. He protected me once but was involved in two major crazy events later. More to come. The military is a different animal.

  • Pots and pans! Nooooo! Hurts just to hear you say those words. I always wondered if Air Force people ever got pots and pans… Maybe they just hired people for that. The bargaining aspect is interesting. Skills for calories. A pretty good trade for a body builder trying to get bigger. Also, not a bad guy to have on your side!

    • David Mike

      One of my brothers only spent one week in AF basic training. High School JROTC was enough to push him through.

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