Jamie’s Son Jamie

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I couldn’t resist putting up this picture of my grandson. Jamie’s son was 12 this past July. It’s been hard on him having a father in prison. The hardest part is not really knowing who he is. It wasn’t as if he knew before it happened. They will have to work that out when he gets out.

One of the hardest things for me is knowing he will have to face the racists who feel black people don’t deserve to share the same space they are in. It isn’t a matter of “if” it will happen but “when” and how often it will happen. I write to help people better understand the reality of an unequal society and the higher percentage that get locked up because of it. I devote a large percentage of my day working to make a change. Talking to people, answering their “What do I do now?” questions.

The T-shirt my grandson is wearing is for sale. It helps to cover the cost of providing what Jamie needs to survive. He has no help from his family. I wish I didn’t have to write that.

After Christmas I want to take a trip to The to go to the prison. It’s been almost a year. I hope to take his son with me.

This link – right here – will take you to the page where the t-shirt and tote bag are for sale. Or you can donate any amount of money from $1 up. Anything would be appreciated.

tote bag with Jamie's picture

One more thing. I sent his son a tote bag. He’s hanging out on his wall and using it as a place to keep his father’s letters and cards. Keeping them together is important to me.

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Jamie’s Merchandise

Help raise funds to help Jamie.

Donation

Any donation from $1 up is welcome.

$1.00

Tote Bag

Yellow cotton 14″ x17″

$14.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

T-Shirt adult Sm

$19.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

Adult XX light weight cotton

$21.95

T-Shirt – XL

T-Shirt Adult XL

$19.95

T-Shirt – LG

T-Shirt adult Lg

$19.95

White t- shirt proof

T-shirt – Adult Med

T-Shirt Adult Med

$19.95

 

There is no shipping charge for orders inside the US. For orders outside the US contact me at squick@mynameisjamie.net. Depending on the country you reside in there will be an additional ship charge of what is beyond the included shipping and handling charge already included in the price for US orders.

Jamie’s New T-Shirt & Tote Bag Arrived!

 

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My son Robo, a genuine Fl Keys boat monkey is modeling the new T-Shirt.  Gotta give him credit!

This is a long road I have been on with Jamie since we met at the end of 2005. A month later he was picked up with friends and sentenced for a crime he was there for, but didn’t commit. He never found out what happened to his friends but he knew the one with the gun, who had joked about robbing the club they were going to had been in prison before, so he was guilty by association. He thought he was joking. Jamie learned the importance of paying attention to the friends you keep.

He was a young man who turned 22 at the same time, in January 2006. What he has been through at the hands of the guards, the staff, and also some other inmates is something you don’t want to go through. It was hard reading about it knowing there was nothing I could do to help him – except be there for him.  Family pretty much disappeared. I have struggled to provide him with basic necessities we take for granted. Now he has “only” 4 1/2 years to go before he is released.  Now it is going to take more than an occasional $20 of extra food each month and money to buy hygiene, books and magazines and pay for the lousy medical care he gets. He wants so much to survive and be a father to the son he has never been allowed to touch because a piece of plexi-glass separates them.

How will he live? He doesn’t know how to open up a bank account or sign a lease agreement if someone takes a chance and rents to a convicted x-felon. That can be difficult to find. There is so much he doesn’t know that he will be expected to know. How can an almost 40 year old man not know what he should have learned 20 years before? Getting out of prison after that many years is similar to coming home from war with PTSD and have to assimilate into society.

Jamie has epilepsy and needs medical care to keep his seizures in check. The prison medical unit has denied him his medication many times for days at a time and is often left laying, sometimes on the floor after a seizure, or he wakes to find himself in cuffs and leg shackles ( for the guard’s protection, of course). He sometimes seizes twice and to be shackled could mean breaking bones.

I  have been working to get him help legally and to stop them from changing his records to indicate he was adequately cared for. I am not going to let him be a statistic. I’m sure, if you have a loved one in prison you have also been fearful of the things the prison staff can be authorized to do.

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My youngest granddaughter Moya

This costs money I do not have. Many of you have followed this blog for the four years I’ve been writing it. I have gotten many messages of encouragement to pass on to him. He is a kindhearted person who appreciates every kind word he has received.  It is why I am writing the book “Inside The forbidden Outside” so he will have money and a chance to get started when he gets released.  It will be a hard road. There will be a sequel to this book which will be what happens as he starts the process of being released and starting again.

This is why I decided to do something that could make money to help him.  I am sincerely hoping you will help, too. Jamie wrote to me and said, “Are you sure? I don’t think many people would want a T-shirt with my face on it.” I told him, “You don’t know how many people know who you are, but they are all over the world!”

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Sharing this post will also help. If this works I will branch out to more colors. The success of the book ( when I get done writing and recording the music and videos! ) depends on those of you who care about the great number of people who were railroaded into prison by having plea deals forced on them even if they are innocent. I have to do everything  I can to help him.

Tote Bag

Yellow cotton 14″ x17″

$14.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

Adult XX light weight cotton

$21.95

White t- shirt proof

T-Shirt

T-Shirt adult Sm

$19.95

Free Shipping on domestic orders

Shipping for International orders will have to be caluculated on an individual basis. Contact me at squick@mynameisjamie.net and I will tell you what any extra shipping might be.

I hope to add more colors and styles as well as other items to help raise much needed funds.

I want to thank everyone for reading and sharing posts and chapters along with music and videos I record. It has been quite a journey. Thank you for helping me support Jamie, even if that help is just coming here and reading. The prison system needs to change.  Hopefully with this book and the lecturing I plan on doing afterward will help change a piece of it.

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How You Can Help Me Support Jamie

tote bag with Jamie's picture

I have a preview of what will soon be available for purchase very soon. It will be going out for sale in my next ITFO News. It will also be available for purchase here at the blog as well as the facebook page : jamielifeinprison.

I’m trying to put a stop to the what the prison continually does concerning Jamie’s medical care for epilepsy as well as other medical issues. They withhold his medication for days at a time, which causes a rise in seizures. As I have been rereading all of his letters to me while writing his book I realized it happened more often than I remembered as he wrote about it over the years. This is only one example of the inhumanity he has dealt with. I am going through legal channels giving me medical power of attorney, plus othe paperwork to be filled in Huntsville, Tx at the tdcj. Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

White t- shirt proof

I need to raise money to do this and to try to get him out of adesg while there is still time to get his GED and perhaps other training. Keeping him in adseg means they don’t have to provide any type of education. I am on disability. My money is limited. I’m determined when my book and soundtrack is published I will be able to market it successfully. In the meantime, Paying his yearly medical fee, quarterly food boxes, enough money to buy stamps,  hygiene, and other food items, and send books and magazines stretches my dollars to the breaking point.

These two items are what I am initially selling. A white t- shirt with his silhouette and a tote bag. I hope to add a greater selection of colors. When the book is ready I’ll be adding more items with the book cover on it. I’ll be putting our another post with all the details after I set up a paypal account. You will also have the option of donating to a fund. When he is released he needs to be able to start a life that has been denied him since 10th grade. He has no idea how to take care of day to day living. This is one of the main reasons why a high percentage of inmates return to prison. They get out with a bulls eye on their back unable to live what see call, a “normal” life.

So many of you have been so supportive and encouraging over the years. It always surprised Jamie how many people cared. When I told him about the T-shirt he said he didn’t think there was enough people who would want one. He has no concept of all the messages I get asking how he is.

So think about it. If you can help by purchasing know that it is going to a worthy place. If you haven’t yet – don’t forget to subscribe to ITFO News and keep up with what is happening, not only with Jamie and the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” but other inmates and news as well.

Let me know what you think – and many thanks.

 

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Ghosts in My Head – YouTube Video

 

This is the latest music video I have produced for my upcoming book “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” based on the life of Jamie Cummings and his years in prison. I sincerely hope you like it and subscribe to the channel. these numbers are very important for the success of the book.

So far he has completed more than twelve years out of seventeen, bouncing around to eight different prisons from one end of Texas to the other. He will be nearly 40 when he gets out. Unless I can raise the money to hire a parole attorney he stands little chance of making parole. Inmates are not allowed to be present for parole hearings. Their files are looked and a decision is made – almost always denied. What is in that file?  I intend to find out.

It is a tragic story and not an uncommon one. The prison system attempts to suck the life out of anyone it can get its hands on to increase the wealth of the corporations that run them. They make that profit by denying them the very things they tell the world they provide. They do that with smiling faces on their websites.

Horrible food, withholding medications and treatment for illness that do not have to cause death, but will if they aren’t treated. These are only a few of the inhumane things they do to abuse the people – the human beings – they are in charge of. They keep many, a higher percentage of black to white, in a classification called adseg or G5. When they are kept there it is very difficult to get out get their classification raised for years and even decades. These inmates are denied any form of education, even a GED, knowing when they get they will be unable to support themselves and society will not welcome them. Many in society say they deserve anything that is done to them – but do they? 97% of all arrests never make it to court and are forced to take guilty plea deals whether they are guilty or not by threatening them with added charges.  A 20 year plea deal can easily become a 65 year sentence for someone not guilty of what they are charged with.  But the public assumes they are guilty. They are black aren’t they? Much of society thinks being black is a crime itself, so lock them up.

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Ghosts in My Head is music for the chapter when the conversations he has with the woman in the letters crosses over from reality to fantasy and he is no longer alone in his cell. 

I hope you subscribe to the newsletter below so you won’t miss updates as the book gets closer to completion. Writing a soundtrack to read by is a bit unusual for a book and this music was written for him and the emotional roller coaster ride the last twelve years have been. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

 

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New YouTube Music Video For Jamie’s Book

I recently posted the chapter, poetry and music for the title, “Can Anybody Hear Me?” , one of the chapters in the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” Last night I uploaded the music video. Little by little I work through finishing all the parts.  I can actually see light at the end of the tunnel ( way down at the end and around a corner.)

 

I have posted some chapters over time of the rewrite, but I haven’t given links to be able to read them with any continuity. I’m going to post them so anyone who wants to can read the early part of the book, to hopefully create enough interest to want the finished product when it is completed.  You can subscribe to ITFO News at the and get info on other chapters and music published.  I will depending on readers to help share what they like. 50% of the profits go to Jamie sso when he gets out of prison he will have a cushion to help get his life started and also to help write sequel to this book.

This book will end before he is released. The sequel will about the process of getting, and the difficulties, mentally, emotionally and actually living in a society who has already prejudged him as a person.  Our society is not very welcoming. There is often so little we can do to help the people who have been abused in our prisons.

But the one thing people can is to support the efforts being made to help them be able to stand up when they get out.  If I thought for one minute that he was a threat to society in any way I would not be doing this.

These chapters do not start at the beginning, and don’t entail what happened to put him in Juvenile detention from late 16’s through 21.

Waiting . . . too long

Looking Into The Crystal Ball

How Much More Can I Take?

The Falling Rain

The Smith Unit – Prison #1

Can Anybody Hear Me?  ( The post before this one )

 

 

How Much More Can I Take – ITFO Book Chapter

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How Much More Can I Take

Jamie lost track of time. He tried to mark the days by tearing threads out of his blanket, but he no longer knew what a day was. When did it begin and when did it end? It felt like he had been in the hole for a lot longer than he probably was. There was no way to know the time of day. That was intentional, adding to his disorientation by deliberately keeping him off balance. If the system could break him mentally it was an added bonus for them. People who work in a miserable setting enjoyed causing misery to others.
     The grunge on the tiny window high up on the wall only let greasy light through. It was worse than the times he spent in solitary when he was in juvenile detention, and that was hard to deal with. He didn’t know how to process what they did to him. If adults can’t wrap their head around that kind of deprivation, how could a kid?     

Those memories and the scars it created were carved images in his head he could never forget. This time he felt like there was no hope, like everything good in his life was gone and he was never getting out. He wanted to crawl inside himself. The feeling of despair was complete.
     The only thing that broke up his day was when they brought food. Most of it was the same, and too awful to eat. He didn’t eat. He didn’t know if he was being served breakfast or dinner and doubted it was being given to him at normal eating hours. No one answered his questions or told him what time it was. He gave up asking.
     Jamie laid there. He knew he lost weight and he also knew he stank pretty bad. Showers were out of the question. He wasn’t sure which smelled worse, him or the room itself.
     One day it was over. Just like that. He had no idea they were going to let him out. He heard the lock turn in the door and it opened. They said his time was done. The guard threw clean clothes at him and he was taken to the shower. Afterward he was taken to a dorm similar to the one he was in before, but smaller. A bunk was pointed out. He guessed he wouldn’t be beating up anyone else after this.

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A few months later, a guard came to the cell door and called out his name. His son has been born on July 7th, 2006, at 4:20 A.M. Finally, his son was here and he was okay. He was relieved.
     He knew it was going to be a boy and that his name would be James. Jamie might be in a bad place right now being locked up, but the day he found out his son was born felt like the happiest day he ever had in his entire life. He was beaming.  He was a father! That caused a smile to spread over his entire face. Jamie laughed. He couldn’t help himself. His cheeks hurt from grinning so big.
     Morgan had sent him one of those pictures they take at doctor appointments of the baby when it’s still inside. Jamie knew his son would be beautiful, because Morgan was beautiful. She also sent him a picture with her big tummy. Sometimes he took out the picture and stroked the growing mound with his finger, wishing he could feel the baby move and stretch. It made him realize how much he was missing.
     He might not be able to be the kind of father he wanted to be, but he would do his best. He tried not to think about that. Not today. He was going to be happy on this day.
Little Jamie was planned to be born on July 7th. Morgan and her mom drove to Miami the day before and got a hotel room because they had to be at the hospital early in the morning. After taking her to a room on the labor and delivery floor, one of the nurses gave her a medicine to start the labor. The medicine didn’t work. More than twelve hours later Jamie Jr. showed no sign of being born.
     The hospital where the doctor worked was a four hour drive from Key West. Morgan didn’t want to go into labor and not be able to make it to her doctor. If she had the baby in the Key West hospital she would get the doctor on call. Someone she didn’t know. She had problems with the delivery of her last baby. If there were more problems with this one they would fly her by helicopter to Jackson Memorial Hospital, which wasn’t the right hospital, either.
     Jamie didn’t realize how tense he was about the upcoming birth until it was over and he was able to relax. Not knowing what was happening and being out of the loop was the hardest to deal with.
     A lot of the dudes in his dorm were grinning and quite a few congratulations were going around. Even a couple of the guards congratulated him. That surprised him. He guessed hearing about a new baby allowed them to act human for a change.
     Jamie told everyone. This day would never come again and he wanted to make the most of it. It was the first time in more than seven months he had something, anything, to be happy about. Good things didn’t happen very often when you were locked up. Any reason you had to smile was a big deal, even if that reason belonged to someone else.
     He thought about his family. He missed them. He couldn’t share this with them. He was gone for four years when he was in juvenile detention and he did those years alone. He hadn’t been free for long before this happened. They weren’t there for him then, either. He didn’t feel like he was a part of his family for a long, but he still missed them. He wanted them to miss him, too. He felt like an outsider. Nobody told him nothing about what was going on in their lives.
     He needed his family to help him get hygiene and stamps and other things because he was not able to get any kind of job to make money. They don’t have jobs at jails. Not ones that pay you. All you do is wait, sometimes for years. But maybe when he gets sent off and settled they’ll give him a job.
     Jamie didn’t care what the job was, he didn’t want to be a burden on anyone. Even if it only paid twenty- two cents as hour, like he heard many jobs in prison did, it would still add up to dollars he could spend.

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Some dudes had problems with their baby mamas and couldn’t see their kids. Jamie was glad it wasn’t like that with him and Morgan. She would never keep Jamie Jr. from him. He didn’t have to worry about that.
     Since he was let out of solitary and back in a dorm he was able to make a phone call to Morgan. She told him all about their baby. He stood there, still grinning, listening to all the details. He wasn’t happy, though, hearing how hard it was for her in the delivery room.
     “It wasn’t easy, Jamie.” Morgan told him quietly. “I had to have a c-section at the last minute. The doctor found the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck three times. They didn’t know that until they tried to take him out. That’s why he wouldn’t go down the birth canal. His vitals were dropping. The doctor had never seen a cord wrapped around a neck like that. Without surgery he would have died. He was lucky. We were all lucky”
     Morgan sounded tired. He wished he could’ve been there with her. She must have been scared. Healing from surgery, taking care of a newborn by herself, as well as the other kids, would wear her out. He was glad she was with her mom so she could help her. Now more than ever he realized how much he screwed up by going out that night.
     “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to help you,” he spoke quietly. Jamie’s regrets would become a pain that never healed.
     “More than anything,” he said, “I wish I could be there with you right now. Hold you in my arms with little Jamie between us. I want to protect both of you, and I can’t.” The anguish in his voice made his throat tighten.
     A fifteen minute jail call goes by too fast. There was never enough time to say all you wanted to say. The sadness in his heart after he hung up overshadowed the happiness he felt when he dialed her number.
     Reality hit hard. He didn’t want to think he wouldn’t be able to raise his son. He would miss every first – first laugh, first step, first tooth, first birthday, second birthday and more after that. He would miss it all. And little Jamie would miss having a daddy.

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He found out he was finally being moved. They couldn’t have sent him any farther away from home. Was it on purpose? There were a hundred prisons they could have sent him to. They had to choose one that was clear across the state where no one could visit if they wanted to? East Texas, where he was from, was had hills, pine trees and red dirt. West Texas was flat, a desert.
     There was no way now his family could come and see him. They had the perfect excuse. Making the drive in one day was impossible, especially with kids in the car. It looked like he was on his own for sure.
     Texas was a huge state to travel across. He had never been any farther west than Huntsville. Now he was being to sent to Smith Unit in Lamesa. By car it took about eighteen hours. By prison bus it would probably take four days. They wouldn’t take a direct route. They’d zigzagged to different prisons, picking up inmates and dropping others off. It would be a trip through hell.

It was summer and scorching hot. Even though there was air conditioning on the bus, it wasn’t strong enough to keep it cool from the heat of the sun scorching the metal of the bus. Having so many unwashed bodies inside that stank didn’t help, either.
     Through the entire trip across the state, Jamie wore the same white shirt and baggy elastic waist pants he put on the day they loaded up the men who were being transferred. He wouldn’t be able to take another shower until after he was processed when the bus arrived at the prison. No one cared if the inmates missed a shower, and no one cared how they felt about riding on the uncomfortable metal seats on the bus. Suffering was part of their sentence. They deserved it, right?
     After all the red tape was taken care of and he was assigned to a cell block, he should be able to make a phone call to Morgan and see how she and little Jamie were doing. He didn’t know then it would be weeks before he was allowed to make that call.
     Prison was going to be a lot different than jail. Jamie didn’t know how different, but he was going to do his best to do it right so maybe he could get out early. He also hoped maybe after awhile he could request to be moved closer to his family. If Morgan moved back to Texas he would do that for sure.
     Seated on the bus, the inmates were separated from the guard and driver up front. There was another guard and a dog in the back to keep them in line if needed. The guard had to deal with the stink right along with them.
     Guards and drivers changed a few times when they stopped at prisons along the way, exchanging some prisoners for others. The guards got to walk around and stretch their legs. The prisoners weren’t so lucky.
     The men had to sit silently and wait for the driver of the bus to start the engine again. He wasn’t allowed to let the engine idle if the guards weren’t onboard. They were standing outside having a smoke. The AC wouldn’t go on again until the engine kicked over. Jamie felt sweat drip down the side of his face. It was going to be a long, uncomfortable ride.
     The seats on the bus were hard like a city bus, not a Greyhound bus. There was no padding anywhere. The seats didn’t go back to make it possible to sleep or even relax. They were straight up and only came as high as his shoulder blades. There was no way he was getting comfortable. No way to sleep without dropping his chin to his chest. Because he was a big guy he couldn’t move his arms. either. The bus was made to make sure the men would be miserable.
     It was impossible for Jamie to stretch out his legs, so circulation was cut off at the knee. He couldn’t even cross a leg over his knee to get in a different position, and relieve one foot from hanging straight down. He knew his ankles and feet would swell. The heat made it worse.
     The guards were never amused by complaining. It was pointless, anyway. There was nothing they could do. He knew it was going to get worse the farther west they drove, when it became a drier heat. It sucked all the moisture out of his mouth and throat. He felt dehydrated and craved water. They weren’t given enough water. Less bathroom breaks that way, he guessed. But if anyone asked for water they just might make them wait even longer. Anything to make them feel worse.
     It was impossible to do more than doze off for a few minutes of light sleep. The whirring sound of the tires, as they turned on a road that was hot enough to melt rubber, was enough to lull the men into a stupor. Problem was, if they started falling to one side, the person next to them would give them a shove with their shoulder to tell them to straighten up.
     Jamie was cuffed to the man beside him. “I gotta piss.” The man nudged him. “We gotta get up,” he said almost in a whisper. This wasn’t their first trip to the toilet.
     “Guard, we need to go to the back of the bus,” he said loudly over his shoulder.
     If one man needed to use the john, they both had to go. Peeing was one thing, but it wasn’t much fun if you needed to sit and take a shit. No matter how hard they tried not to, sooner or later they all had to take a turn sitting on the seat.
     The guard came and unlocked them from the bus seat, but not from each other. It was hard for two connected people to do anything that took co-ordination.
     The guard returned to the back of the bus and stood near the door-less restroom. There was no privacy. Jamie and this other prisoner made their way to the back by walking sideways past the seats. When the other inmate stood inside the small closet-sized restroom, Jamie stood outside the doorway, and looked away, with his arm inside attached wrist to wrist down near this dudes privates. He was trying to give him a little privacy. He didn’t want to picture his wrist and hand participating with this stranger relieving himself.
     “Damn, it stinks in here.” Jamie muttered under his breath, trying not to cough as the dude finished up. Since they were all cuffed no one could easily clean up after themselves. There was pee on the floor, and anywhere else it splashed. The toilet seat was kept up out of respect for those who needed to sit, but it was still a mess. Forget washing your hands. How could you? After a couple days the smell was overwhelming. All they did was spray Lysol around the cubicle. Mixing with it was the heavy odor of a port-a-potty type toilet, along with body odor, making it hard to breathe. The men sitting in the back had it the roughest.
     Jamie desperately wanted to wash up. Splash water on his face and neck. Put on deodorant to mask his smell. He wished he had his property. That was supposed to arrive in a later bus, he was told, so no one else had any deodorant, either.

The only good thing about traveling on this bus was being able to see outside. There wasn’t much to look at but he could still see the horizon pass by. He supposed some people liked living in the West Texas desert but it sure looked boring to him.
     It was almost exciting to see a billboard and read the advertisement of some business trying to sell something. Insurance, an attorney office or a number to call if you feel suicidal. But there was also a high point knowing you were outside the walls and you could watch the day go from morning to night.
     Once he got to the Smith Unit he would be on the inside, and the outside became forbidden territory. The free world. A place he wouldn’t be able to live in again for a long time.
     “Hey, you got any family?” Jamie whispered to the dude next to him.
     “Shut up. No talking,” came from somewhere behind him.
     After a minute or so he heard a whisper, “Two girls. Three and five. You?”
     “Baby boy,” he whispered back. He glanced to the right and saw him nod. “Sorry, man.” He knew Jamie would miss the time of his baby being a baby.

     It felt to Jamie as though they were never going to get to the other side of Texas. It felt like an old Twilight Zone TV show where a scene was supposed to be real life, but you found out at the end it wasn’t. You never got to where you were going. The bus kept traveling down the highway. It didn’t get anymore unreal than that.

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Looking Into the Crystal Ball – Chapter

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This is a random chapter in the early part of book, when Jamie was forced to take a plea deal or have more charges added and never get out. No one should ever be put in that position and make a decision against their own best interest with no attorney willing to do the right thing.

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LOOKING INTO THE CRYSTAL BALL

One after another, thoughts kept racing through Jamie’s head. What was going to happen to him? Life would never be the same. His court date was today and he didn’t have a clue what was going on. Didn’t he need an attorney? He couldn’t represent himself. How many years could they give him? He had no idea but he had a feeling this wasn’t going to be a good day.
     A black man like him, born and raised in Texas would get as many years as they could possibly give him. Racism is alive and well and Texas ranked with some of the worst. They would lock him up whether he deserved it or not.
     Depending on your race, the same crime gets different sentencing. Looking around the room at the dozens of three tier bunks lined up across the floor it was easy to see there was more black skin than white. Maybe white men didn’t commit as many crimes in Harris county. That was a laugh.
     Jamie needed someone to talk to. Somebody on his side who would listen and help. He wanted to explain he did not go out that night with his friends so he could rob a club. He wasn’t the one who had a gun in his back pack. He didn’t even know the guy had a gun until he talked about it in the car. It sounded like he was joking. He didn’t think the dude was serious. If only he did something to stop him things would be different right now.
    Morgan wrote him a while back and said she tried to get him a lawyer but it didn’t come through. She sent money to his brother who had a friend who knew an attorney who would take a deposit. Payments could be made on the balance.
     It sounded kinda hokey to him but it was the only thing he had to hope for. Trust him or do nothing. They should have done nothing because the money disappeared. Morgan lost money she could have used herself for the kids.
     He knew his mom didn’t have any money to help him. Morgan sent money she made working at her mom’s store. He knew he was on his own. He would feel better if he could at least see her, but that wasn’t going to happen. She was too far away.
     Jamie’s life was falling apart. He had no control over what was happening. He was never going to see his son be born. He wanted go be a father but he could kiss that goodbye. He wouldn’t be able to hold him or be the kind of dad he never had. He couldn’t break the cycle of being raised without a father.
     Life wasn’t supposed to be fair all the time, but he felt his life had never been fair from the time he was born. He grew up being told to believe in God. Have a blessed day and all that. He had no reason not to believe, but he didn’t think God had done much to bless him. He prayed desperately since this happened but it didn’t do much good. Tears began to well up in his eyes, threatening to spill down his cheeks.
   “Choke it down, Jamie,” he told himself. “Don’t let it show.” If he started to cry he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to stop.
     “If anyone saw you they would think you weak,” he whispered under his breath. They would gang up on him to make him their whipping boy. He wasn’t about to let that happen.
     He was supposed to be in court today, but nobody talked to him about it. He was scared. He could hear his heart beating in his head and it echoed in his ears.
      Jamie leaned against the grate covering the window. He hooked his fingers into the metal and stared outside, watching the day as the seconds and minutes of his life passed by. Everything outside looked normal. He could see people coming and going.
     Clouds were creeping across the blue sky as if today were a normal day like all the rest. It wasn’t normal for him. He wanted so bad to leave the building and walk out into that day and be free. Could he change what was happening? Not likely. It took all his willpower not to scream.
     “Cummings, you have a visitor.”
    Jamie was lost in his thoughts. He didn’t hear what was said. The guard raised his voice. “Cummings, wake up.” He almost yelled when he repeated it.
     Startled, Jamie whirled around to face him. He had a visitor? His first thought was of Morgan. Was she here?
     “Your attorney is here. You have to come with me.”
     “What attorney? Jamie shot back. “I don’t have no attorney.”
     “You do now.”
    Jamie was apprehensive. His mind began to race. Nobody told him someone was coming. Shouldn’t he have been told? How would he have time to help him now? There wasn’t time. He had been in here waiting for months. Why was he only coming to see him at the last minute? He hesitated before he began walking toward the guard.
    “We don’t have all day.” The guard insisted. ” Get a move on it.” Jamie turned around and let the guard cuff his wrists. There was no going anywhere outside this cell without cuffs. There were some men who would try to hurt the guard or anyone else on staff just for the fun of it.
He half stumbled when the guard gave him a small shove to start him walking. Down the hallway past three closed doors, the door to a small windowless room was standing open. When they walked inside, a man in a suit was waiting bedside a metal table bolted to the floor. Jamie didn’t remember seeing him before.
     He was a skinny man with acne scars spread across his cheeks. He glared at Jamie with contempt in his eyes. His thinning hair combed over the top of his bald head was a poor attempt at pretending he had hair. Poor dude. Jamie was sure he the public defender assigned to him. Maybe this was the only lawyer job he could get. He didn’t seem too happy to be here.
     Jamie needed someone who could help him, but this man didn’t seem like he enjoyed his job very much. He swept his arm in a gesture over the table which told Jamie to sit down.
    The man continued to stand and glare at him with his arms crossed over his chest with a ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude. It was a power move to show he was the authority in the room.
    The guard removed his cuffs. Jamie sat and waited for the man to talk. He was uncomfortable but he wasn’t going to let it show. The attorney took his time, letting his gaze slowly wander from his head to his hands as if he expected Jamie to jump up real quick and attack him.
It wasn’t the first time a white man looked at him like that, assuming he would be violent if given the chance. Jamie wasn’t a little man, but that didn’t mean he went around attacking people.
     “You’re in deep trouble, son.” the attorney began his practiced spiel.         “You don’t have many options.” Son? He called him son? Was that his way of sounding superior?”
    How many times had this man repeated the same line, Jamie thought. Before he could continue, Jamie tried to talk. “I want to explain what happened. I didn’t . . .”
      That was all he managed to get out before this man, put both fists on the table, leaned over and looked him dead5th in the eyes.
      “I’m not interested in hearing your story. I don’t care what you did or didn’t do.
       “I need to . . .”
    “You don’t need to do anything. I said . . .” He hesitated for a few seconds, “I’m not interested. Tell your story to someone else. All you need to know is, the District Attorney has a case against you and your only option is to plead guilty.”
    He paused for a moment as he drilled that statement into Jamie’s head. He broke eye contact to take a few papers out of his brief case and lay them on the table.
     “You need to sign these papers admitting to guilt. I’m here on behalf of the DA who is offering you a plea deal of forty years. I advise you to take it.”
     Jamie stared him, stunned. What the hell? He was trying to scare him and it was working, Was he serious? Forty years? No way would he agree to that.
     “They have you dead to5th right, running out of a club after robbing it,” the attorney emphasized, rapping his knuckles on the table several times.
     “The money was found on your friend, in the car you were driving. There is nothing to defend.”
     Jamie stood. He could feel his anger rising. He was being railroaded. One case finished, on to the next sucker who couldn’t afford to pay for an attorney?
     “I’m not going to agree to that. I didn’t do it. I might have been there, but I didn’t have anything to do with what my friend did.” He knew it didn’t matter. Being there made him an accomplice. But he couldn’t go down without a fight. Forty years was beyond anything he thought could happen. “I want to go in front of the judge. No way am I pleasing guilty.”
     “Have it your way.” He put the unsigned papers back in his briefcase and closed it. Picking it up, he walked out.
     Jamie stared after him, speechless. “Now what?” he asked the guard who was leaning against the wall watching this while thing go down.
He shrugged. He didn’t make a move to take him back to the cell so Jamie sat down, waiting to see where this was going. There was no point in trying to talk to the guard. Twenty minutes later the attorney walked back in. 

     “I have another option for you and I advise you to take it,” the attorney instructed impatiently. He began tapping the toe of his shoe on the floor. “There won’t be another one.”
     It was obvious he wanted this signed and done. He didn’t want to waste any more of his day on Jamie.
     “You’re lucky.” He continued. “The DA must have a soft spot for you.”
Sarcasm dripped from his words. Jamie wondered what he did to make him dislike him so bad. He obviously didn’t want to defend him even thought it was his job. How many other people had he already said this to today?
     “Seventeen years,” the attorney paused to let it sink in. “If you don’t take it, and insist on going to court and wasting everyone’s time, they will slap on extra charges. You’ll end up doing fifty to ninety-nine.”
    “What charges?” Jamie demanded. He slammed his hands down o.k. the table. The attorney ignored him. “What about wasting years of my life?” he added.
     “I need time to think about this,” Jamie told him. How could he agree to give up the rest of his youth without a fight? He didn’t plan what his friend did at the club. Why should have to pay for it with so many years of his life? What would that prove?
      There were four of them that went out to the club that night. He had no idea what they were going through. Were they offered the same deal? He needed answers but there was no one who was going to give them to him.

     The dude who had the gun had been to prison before. He had a record so they probably went harder on him. Why did he go out that night? Why? If only he had stayed home.
     “You have five minutes.” the attorney told him. I’ll be back for your answer.”
<<< >>>
How was Jamie supposed to know what to do in five minutes? This was wrong. He didn’t know how to fight it. This man was the only attorney he had and it was obvious, defending him in court was something he had no interest in doing. Why? Isn’t he supposed to defend him? Wasn’t that his job? He guessed not when the DA wanted it to end another way.
     Right and wrong didn’t matter. There was no such thing as justice. Another body to fill a prison bed. The only thing that mattered was locking up as many people as they could. Not just any people – black people. They went after Hispanics and other minorities, too.
     The government wanted to fill the prisons with poor people who couldn’t afford to protect themselves or pay for a real attorney. Racism toward blacks keeps growing. Why? Because they think black people wanted to knock white people off their pedestal of superiority? But most blacks and minorities only wanted to survive and raise their families. They wanted equality. They weren’t going to get it.
     Jamie didn’t understand it? He didn’t know all the history. He did know what he witnessed, though, and he heard the stories people told about why they were in jail.
     There was no way for him to come out on top of this. He was screwed no matter what he did. If he fights he loses.
     Jamie started to stand up but the guard glared at him with a look that said, “Don’t even try.” He sat back down and waited for the attorney to return. His brain was going a hundred miles an hour. How long would seventeen years feel. It was almost as long as his whole life up till now. He was only twenty- one.
     Should he take a chance and go to court? Possibly give up his entire life? He didn’t know what other charges they could add. They could make up anything they wanted.
     He closed his eyes and put his head back. He had no choice. His unborn son had no choice, either. He wouldn’t have a father. He would be giving up ask thought of raising his son. If he did all seventeen years he would be almost out of high school. They wouldn’t know each other.
     Morgan would have to go on and find someone else. It killed him to think about that. The pain ripped him in two. He couldn’t expect her to wait. Maybe he could get out early. Maybe he could get parole.
     So many unanswered questions running through his head at the same time. His five minutes are over. He heard the door handle click when it unlocked. The attorney stepped back into the room.
     “What’s your answer?” Jamie looked down, reached out his hand and signaled with his fingers for the papers.

 

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When you subscribe and share other people have the opportunity to learn about the book being written which will help Jamie start a life when he is released. He needs your support.

Sharing is a great way to do that. If you are new to this blog read his story on the blog beginning with the ones at the top. Early posts found inn the archived will also help you get tho know him. The story begins 19 years ago when the the kids in the family defended their mother from a racist cop who forced his way into their house. Jamie was put in juvenile detention. His story needed telling.

Sonni Quicks Piano Improv – YouTube channel of the music videos being created for “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” New videos released as they are made.

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

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Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the worldS

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Watch and Whirl – Sonni Quick.   This is my other blog. An odd assortment of rants and raves on a variety of subjects and music info, too.

 

Looking Into the Crystal Ball – new music video

 

Yesterday I completed Looking Into the Crystal Ball. It is the second music video I have completed for Inside the Forbidden Outside the book I’m writing  about the life of Jamie Cummings, from childhood through juvenile detention, the school to prison pipeline, to where he is now – the Allred Unit, the largest prison in Texas with over 3,500 inmates. He has five years yet on his sentence. The third video is completed too, but won’t be put up for two weeks. I’m trying to work ahead so I don’t get so behind when I travel.

Jamie still has hope that one day he will be paroled. Finishing this project I started for him is more important than ever.  I have to keep plugging away at it. What began as a book of his letters, because they expressed so much pain of the loss of his life, as well as the truth about our prison system in America. It became a book that required more writing ability than I had at the time. (Writing a book is not the same as writing a blog post, and even that took practice and experience)

After writing the first draft of over 90,000 words, I read through it and realized it wasn’t quite right.  It read like a book of blog posts.  You could read any chapter separately.  The story didn’t connect.  Then I started studying how to write and taking writing classes. I learned to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.  I had to learn how to write dialogue the same way people speak it.  That is not as easy as it seems.  Again more practice. I began the second writing of the book using parts of what I had already written and learned to write between the lines.  I am still learning. I know what a badly written book reads like when it is not edited correctly. I wanted it to be professional.

It is the music that began to tie it all together. That is why emotional movies have music soundtracks. Without it, a movie would not be able to create the same emotion. Music swells the emotions.  It makes you feel. Hearing the music again brings back memories of the movie. All people associate music from their past to memories of that time whenever they hear it. Without music, when a movie is over, it is over.  Why not create music that can be listened to while you read a book? Why not create something that is more than just a book? And for quite a few chapters/music I have also written poetry. It spills out of me like opening a vein. I grab paper and catch it before it disappears.

Most writers would not have the ability to do that. Your mind has to be open in a creative space that spills into everything.  It can’t be put in a box. You also can’t be like that because you want to.  Most people have had their creativity stomped out of them by adults who told them to grow up and get a real job. I may have had a crazy life but it sure beat selling cars for 35 years and then “retire” so I can get old. I refused to be that kind of “normal.”

If you hired someone to write music for you there would be no real connection between what you read and the music you hear. This has turned it into a project that has taken “years” to pull together. I sincerely hope I can finish it by the end of this year. Jamie still has years on his sentence so I have the time to complete it. And then the time to sell it. I am so very happy I am doing this.  (maybe I can get a movie deal out of it! Gotta think big!) You can only accomplish what you see.  Otherwise dreams just float away.

Play the video again. close your eyes and just listen to it.  Do you feel the emotion?  Do you see a story in your mind, even if it is about your life instead?

Many years ago I read a very long, thick novel titled, Michel Michel. The Beatles tune, “Hey Jude” had recently been released.  I played it over and over while I read. It became the soundtrack for the book.  Whenever I hear it I instantly think of that book.  Otherwise, I would have forgotten about it, I’m sure.

I have been creating and writing music for a long time. I don’t have to think about the right notes or figure out what to do.  It’s innate, like the abc’s. But this music was different from anything I had written earlier.  I had to reach far down inside to spontaneously play what I was feeling, not “try” to compose, but instead let my fingers express what I felt.  When I am in the mental place I need to be when I write about Jamie – for Jamie – it is an overwhelming sad place.  When I try to feel what he is going through, I don’t know he does it, although I know he has no choice. When he tells me he is depressed it is a state of mind I think would scare me very much.

At times like this I get angry at the people who have forsaken him – thrown him away – blamed him, for what, I don’t know.  Being young and never taught his life had value? Being a follower instead of a leader and wanting friends and being swayed by the wrong ones? Didn’t many of us go through that when we were young? I did.

Jamie didn’t have the freedom to grow up through his teens and 20’s without having cuffs on his wrists and chains around his ankles. But I didn’t have to pay for my mistakes with 21 years of my life with a family who didn’t care enough to say, “No matter what, Jamie, we love you and we will be there for you no matter what.”

There are criminals and then there are people who grew up without a positive male influence.  Did he deserve to lose a couple decades of his life because of it? No. He was just another black boy who couldn’t afford an attorney. ALL of them go to prison.

That is unrealistic, I guess. Even I don’t have a family who loved me no matter what and were there for me when I needed them the most. But Jamie was there when I needed him and I have been there for him.  Everything happens for a reason.  Jamie gave a reason to play music again after a long illness and I wrote music for him.  We were each other’s reason to survive.

Now the book I am writing also has a sound track, and those sound tracks are getting videos.  I can only do one thing at a time, including writing these blog posts with the necessary social media to promote everything, so when it is done, hopefully people will pay attention. My plans for promotion go far beyond a facebook post.

If you haven’t already, please subscribe below to ITFO News. Not only does it have news necessary to incarceration, it is a way to keep up on how far I am with the book – and you can share it on your own social media! (hint hint)  I don’t have time to publish more than about once a month so I don’t crowd your inbox. I personally hate when a subscription does that. But I am honestly trying to build a mailing list so I can tell people when it goes for sale.

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have personally liked that can be played. You can also play my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Chapter – Waiting . . . Too Long

 

Last Note 2 sm

(Sonni’s note: This is another random chapter in the book I’m writing that is based on Jamie Cumming’s life. Some scenes have been enhanced.  This did happen, but exact conversations and actions are fictionalized for the sake of the story. Chapters are still being rewritten and music recorded. Publishing date not established yet)

WAITING . . . TOO LONG

Twelve years was a long time. It was hard for him to believe he had been here for so many years. A huge chunk of his life was flushed down the toilet. What a waste. He had been waiting . . . too long. Waiting for it to be over. Waiting to see his son. Waiting for someone to look him in the eye and realize he shouldn’t be here. It was a mistake. He wasn’t a danger to society. All he was doing was waiting, locked up in a cell by himself with no one to talk to.
     Jamie had been bused around to quite a few prisons during the years. Some prisons make you work the field tending acres of vegetables. Some raised pigs and other farm animals. They want to utilize the free labor as much as they can. If he went back to the beginning and counted how many prisons he’d been in, this was the eighth one. He had been in Allred Unit for three years now after being shuffled all over the state.
     The first prison he was sent to was in West Texas, a two day drive across the hottest, driest part of the state. Then he was sent to South Texas near Brownsville. He was also in a unit in Huntsville in the middle of the state, and two more north of Houston. Now he was in northern part of the state, near Wichita Falls. There were a couple more prisons scattered somewhere in between.
     The last six years he was close enough to his family for them to visit, just an hour or two away, but only his mom came to see him a couple times. Some dudes in here had no family. Maybe it was better that way. They wouldn’t be disappointed because no one showed up.
     He was trying to let it go. It was hard. He couldn’t change it. He would get depressed thinking about it. His mom wouldn’t help him. She would tell him she would, but she never did. No one in his family cared enough to do a damn thing. It was hard to wrap his head around it, realizing this was the family he grew up with. After all this time. . .
     “Oh, stop it, Jamie,” he said out loud, talking to himself.
     “If they don’t want to see you, they don’t want to see you. You can’t do anything about it,”
     “Be patient,” he said to himself as he opened his locker and went through his books to see if there was something he could distract him.
     “This won’t last forever.” He found a book he had only read twice and settled on his bed to read the rest of the day away. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine a life outside these walls.
     Whenever he tried to put these issues out of his head they crept back up his neck and sneaked into his brain when he wasn’t paying attention.
     He read for a couple hours and fell asleep with the book open on his chest. Even when he slept he couldn’t get away from his thoughts. He woke thinking about Morgan. The thought of her being in his life sometime in the future was long past. But she will always be his son’s mother and he would always love her for that. They were so naive back then. Things don’t work out if you don’t plan for the right things to happen. Relying on luck wasn’t a good plan. Getting pregnant so fast before they knew each other probably wasn’t a good idea. He needed to know he could take care of a family and that meant going to school first so he could get a good job.
     Morgan went on with her life. That was okay. He wanted her to be happy. It made him sad but he couldn’t blame her for that. She ended up angry at him, though, because he wasn’t there to help her. A lot changed in twelve years.

<<<>>>

Jamie had countless hours to think every day. That was almost the only thing he did except sleep, or read. He loved it when Sonni sent new books. Sometimes he got ahold of a newspaper and found out what was happening in the free world. There was a lot of ‘not so good’ stuff going on out there that was affecting a lot of people.
     He heard about other prisons from some of the other dudes down the hall who had been bounced around like he was. They were all bad – corrupt. He knew deep down there was a bigger reason why a lot of them were locked up with long sentences. Destroying the lives of people like him also destroyed their families. That’s what the government wanted to do. He only had to look around to understand that. There was much he had learned since he came here. He wasn’t a young immature boy anymore.
     He wanted to forget what had happened. He preferred to close his eyes and think about a happier time. Maybe he couldn’t change where he was but these people didn’t have control over what he thought about. It saved his sanity more than once.

<<<>>>

A special memory was the first time he saw Morgan. It was a place he often went in his head to get out of here. Back then, in 2005, he had just gotten out of juvenile detention after four years. He had no idea what he was going to do with his life. He guessed his family was glad he was out but after a couple days the novelty of him being home had worn off. Everyone was busy with their own life and their own problems. They didn’t have time to help him with his.
     Since he had been gone for the rest of his teens years and then some, he had no experience living on his own and taking care of himself. He was twenty-one and that legally made him an adult so he should be able to figure it out. He was fixin’ to get a job somewhere, somehow, but he didn’t know what he could do.
     He didn’t have a clue how to get his life together so he started hanging out at an apartment complex known as “Little New York.” It catered to people who didn’t have their shit together. It was so scattered they couldn’t find it if they went looking for it. Low level drug dealers, users and prostitutes – people trying to survive in a day to day struggle, most of them losing. Still, it was someplace to go hang out. His shit wasn’t together, either.
     It was at that apartment complex where he saw Morgan for the first time. He thought that was his turning point and life was finally going to be good. After they got together he felt like he had a purpose. He had a family to take care of. He couldn’t believe how badly he screwed that up. Maybe that was why his family didn’t answer his letters. Maybe they thought he was a loser and didn’t want to bother with him. He wasn’t a loser, though. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time, that was all.
     The time he spent with Morgan was the only time in his life where it felt like he had possibilities for the future. He used to think maybe he’d be lucky when he finished these years in prison and he and Morgan could get back together. He didn’t want to give up. He needed to believe it wasn’t over or he wouldn’t be able to survive this place.           Thinking about her was the only thing that kept him going. Maybe if there were no more cases filed against him he would be able to get out early. He stopped thinking that a long time ago. They weren’t the same people anymore.
     When Jamie closed his eyes he could picture her in his head. He was attracted to her the instant he saw her. She was at the other side of the parking lot that day. He had never seen her before.
     The day was hot and humid. Texas summers re brutal. Leaning against a car, she was in a heated argument with some dude. He looked familiar but he didn’t think they had met. He said something that pissed her off. She looked mad enough to hit him. He could tell she wanted to, but she didn’t. She bowed up to him, though, like she was daring him to hit her. He watched them go back and forth for about five minutes wondering if he should walk over there. Maybe it would stop the argument. He could walk casually by the car like he wasn’t paying any attention to them.
     Jamie wondered where she came from. She didn’t grow up here. He didn’t remember seeing her around town. Did she live here? He started walking toward the car. He was determined to find out who she was before she she had a chance to take off.
     As he walked across the parking lot the man stomped off with his hands shoved in his pockets. He had an angry scowl on his face. Jamie wondered what was up between them because they sure didn’t look like a happy couple. As he closed the distance, she opened the car door and plopped down on the seat.
     “Goddamn asshole,” she said, loud enough for Jamie to hear. Both legs were out the door, one foot on the ground. She lifted her right leg and dangled it over the other knee. She turned and reached over to the radio with her right hand and turned on the music. Country. Her foot started moving with the beat.
     “Hi, you okay?” Jamie said as he walked up to the car door.
He couldn’t think of anything clever to say. Startled, she looked up at him, ready to cut him off from butting into her business. A couple seconds later the pissed off look on her face turned into a smile.
This might be interesting, Jamie thought. That was okay. He didn’t want to look like he wanted anything from her.
     “My boyfriend, or rather, my ex-boyfriend,” she emphasized, “as of right this minute needs to find a way out of town.
     “I’m Jamie,” he offered. “You live here?
     “My name’s Morgan,” she answered back.
     “You live here?” she asked.
     “At these apartments?” He shook his head no.            “Na. I come over here most times to hang with my friends. You?”
     She glanced around in the direction her boyfriend went. It looked like she was waiting for this dude to come back to the car any minute. He didn’t want to lose his chance to find out how he could see her again.
     “We rented an apartment here not long ago but it’s not working out.” She volunteered on her own, letting him know she would soon be available.
     She continued, “Getting a job hasn’t been on his list of things to do and I’m not going to support his ass.” Morgan added under her breath,”I didn’t want him here in the first place.”
     Jamie caught that and smiled a little.
     “Where did you come from?” He wanted to keep her talking. He found out later she used to live in California and met there. She broke up with him and moved to Texas to be near family and he followed her. He just showed up uninvited. She wasn’t happy about it but he had no place to go and had no money. What was she supposed to do? She had enough of his mooching off her, she had to kids to take care of.
     Before she could answer she glanced to the right and saw her boyfriend – ex-boyfriend – walking back to the car. Jamie decided that was his cue to leave. He didn’t want to blow it. He would see her again. He was sure of that.
     “I’ll see ya around.” He turned and started walking back to his friends. Halfway there he glanced over his shoulder to see if she was watching. She was. That put a smile on his face. She sure was pretty.
     It didn’t take long before her boyfriend was out of the picture. He claimed he couldn’t leave town because he didn’t he didn’t have no money, so Morgan bought him a bus ticket just to get rid of him. She went to the bus station to make sure he got on it, and waited until the bus left so she knew he didn’t sneak off. The next bus stop was too far away to walk back.
     Morgan and Jamie were good together. For the first time since he got out of juvy he was happy. His future had possibilities. Morgan had a boy and a girl. It made him feel like they were a family.
They weren’t always careful about having protected sex so it didn’t take long before Morgan was late with her period. She didn’t take a test but she was pretty certain after a few days. She was regular. But now she had a problem. Her mom was coming to visit.
     “How do we tell your mom?” Jamie wanted to know. “Will she be angry?”
     “She’ll kill me,” she told Jamie. “I can’t tell her right now.”
     “Because I’m black?” Jamie asked.
     “No, because I wasn’t careful.” Morgan said.              “She’ll say it’s hard enough raising two kids. What was I thinking? Besides, she doesn’t know about you yet. It would be kinda hard to lay all that on her at once.”
     After a five second pause,”I think she should meet you first.” Morgan added. “We’ll tell her later, after she goes home.”
     Her mom stayed for a week and he had a chance to meet with her twice. Her name was Sonni. She came with her husband from Key West. She helped Morgan rent an apartment because by then she was living at her grandmother’s house. After she left she didn’t know Jamie moved in, too.
     They never got around to telling her about the baby before Jamie got arrested. Morgan didn’t call her mom then, either. She had to figure things out. Could she get through the pregnancy on her own? She wanted to stay near Jamie so she could visit him at the jail. He was still waiting to be charged. There was no telling how long that would take. It could be months.
     Morgan had no car now and no way to get another one. Jamie had been driving it when he was arrested and it was impounded. The fines piled up fast before she could get the money together to pay it. How was she going to get to her doctor appointments, or anywhere else? 
     Her father’s family lived in town. They wouldn’t give her the help she needed. Between the kids and the pregnancy she needed more than they’d be willing to give.
     Now Morgan had no choice, she had to call her mom. She wasn’t just hoping her mom would be okay knowing she was pregnant again, she was hoping she would let her come to Key West and live with her and help her through the pregnancy.
She briefly thought about asking Jamie’s mom to help her but they didn’t know each other very well. She needed someone who could take her to her doctor appointments and help with her other two children. The longer she waited the harder it became.
     Finally, when she was almost five months along she called her mom and told her.
     “Mom, Jamie was arrested and I’m pregnant,” she said in a rush to get it out at once. There was dead silence on the other end of the call. Morgan told her the story about what happened. She didn’t come down on her. What was done was done. Her mom had always been there for her. All she said was, “Do you want to come here?”
     Bus tickets were purchased for her and the kids. Her grandmother helped her pack enough food for a two day bus trip. A very tired and worn out trio got off the bus at the greyhound terminal. Fifteen minutes later she was in the small, separate, two story dollhouse apartment attached to the back of her mother’s house, and the prologue of the story begins.

<<<>>>

Jamie opened his eyes. That part of his life seemed so long ago. Now the baby is twelve years old and he knew so little about him. What started out so happy came crashing down in a few short months. Was that the way his life was going to go, never working out? That caused him such pain.
     Morgan had been a good mom. He knew his son was well cared for. He hoped he would waiting for him to get out. His son was his reason for living – for making it through this.
     Back then Morgan talked about going back to school at Angelina Jr. College in Lufkin. She already had the certification to be a CNA – a certified nursing assistant. He could get his GED and go to college, too. It sounded so perfect.
     He thought they had a good relationship. At least for the few months they knew each other. What they didn’t have was time to get to know each other and have a strong enough bond to last. They did have a son that would tie them together no matter what.
     He didn’t think he would make it this far. Sometimes he wanted to give up. Sonni told him not to. She kept telling him he had value. He wasn’t sure about that, but it made a difference knowing someone cared.
     Jamie had wrestled with depression since he was a kid. It was hard having epilepsy and being different from the other kids. In prison, if you weren’t depressed when you got here you’d be depressed soon after. He was finally over halfway through his sentence. Only someone who had been inside could understand what that was like.
     Everyone was so aware of time in here. Everything was about time. Life was on a schedule that never changed. Everyone’s day evolved around how much time you had until you got out – or how much time you had to live because you were never getting out. Parole could still be possible. He needed to keep that dream alive in his head.
     Jamie had been keeping it alive since he walked in the door. He never got tired of playing these scenes in his head, over and over. He replayed every conversation he could remember, every nuance. He never got tired of reliving the first day he met Morgan. Things might not be good between them now but it want always like that.
     When he was waiting at the jail after he was sentenced he didn’t know what to expect. How long would they keep him? Was prison like jail? He had such anger and frustration. It often got him into trouble. He was tired of always having to pay the price for things he didn’t do. How long would they keep him in this limbo? He didn’t know what to do. His memories were all he had left.

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