Ghosts In My Head – ITFO Chapter

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A few months ago I posted the music and music video for this chapter. I’m posting it again so you can hear the music with the story.

Only part of the chapter is here. Subscribe to ITFO News below to receive the entire chapter. In the notes section where it asks if you have anyone inside, simply write the word ‘chapter’ and I’ll send it ahead of the next newspaper publication.


 

GHOSTS IN MY HEAD

 

Jamie sat there, mouth open, immediately speechless. What the heck, was he asleep? Was he dreaming? Or maybe someone put mushrooms in his food and he was hallucinating? His food did taste a little funny.
     Scooting back on the mattress until he was sitting flat against the wall, he stared intently at the woman in front of him. He was afraid to say anything for fear it would make her disappear and he didn’t want that to happen. Why she was in his cell? How did she get here? People didn’t go around appearing in someone’s cell out of the blue, did they?
     Was being locked up in this place finally getting to him? He heard some men lost it and went crazy. Sometimes he could hear them screaming all night to be let out. No one ever went into their cell. At least he didn’t think they did.
     Honestly, he was a little scared. He didn’t believed in ghosts, but was this a ghost? That would mean she was dead, right? He didn’t want that. What else could he call it – her, or whatever she was? A spirit maybe?
     He had the cell to himself. He got locked up by himself a couple months ago. It was exactly what he didn’t want, but there was no way around it. If the guards wanted you locked up they made it happen. So there was nobody else in his cell he could ask if they saw her, too. This was weird and he didn’t know what to think.
     They stared at each other for a few seconds waiting for the other to speak. This couldn’t be happening, could it? No one, especially a woman, could get in here unnoticed. She would have to be let in by a guard.
     How many people would they have to go by who could see them? It didn’t make sense. Someone else would have seen her and that meant he should be hearing other dudes going nuts about it.
     Jamie knew he couldn’t be seeing what he was seeing. It wasn’t possible. Did he mentally go off the deep end, straight into crazy? If other dudes saw her and knew there was a woman in here she wouldn’t be safe. They’d riot to get at her. But no one was making a sound or yelling anything at all. It was quiet so he could safely think no one knew.
     If he didn’t know better, he’d swear it was Sonni sitting beside him – smiling at him no less. But she lived in Pennsylvania and he was in Texas. She moved there last year from Key West. How did she get here? Had she ever been inside a prison? He didn’t think so.
     He shook his head and rubbed his eyes trying to make the vision go away. It didn’t work. He hadn’t seen her face to face in a long time, almost six years. It was before he was arrested when she came to Texas to see Morgan and the kids. It was her, though. He was sure of it.
     She had been real good to him. She wrote letters when no one else would and she helped him get things he needed. Most of all she encouraged him and made him feel he could make it through these years. Sometimes just knowing she was out there made him try harder to do the right thing. After all, she was a grandmother to his son. As weird as this was he was really glad to see her.
     “How did you get in here?” he asked at last. “Is it really you, I mean, no tricks or anything?”
     “I’m not sure about tricks,” she laughed. “I don’t know how I got here, but yeah, I think it’s really me.”

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Picking Up Broken Pieces – chapter/vid Inside The Forbidden Outside

 

Picking Up broken Pieces

“My summer is all about sweating. Endless sweating. It’s 103° today and there is no AC,” Jamie began writing in a letter to Sonni.
     “It doesn’t matter if I’m playing Chess, Scrabble or watching TV,” he wrote. “I sweat. I’ll sweat off a few pounds by the end of the summer. lol.”
     “I wish I were home so I could enjoy the summer with the kids.” That thought made Jamie stop writing and follow his imagination.

Putting his pen down, he stared into the universe inside his head where the kids were playing and he was there enjoying it with them. Throwing a ball to his son, he imagined he clapped when the child picked himself up and came running willy nilly into daddy’s arms. Jamie picked him up and swung him around in the air, both of them laughing. Reality came crashing down.
     Missing this time was one of life’s cruelest jokes. His son will never be a young child again. He won’t ever experience the good times of childhood, between father and son, when they could be together.

There will be no memories of him in his son’s mind when he thinks of his growing up years. His father was never there to celebrate a birthday. No! It was everything. His father wasn’t there taking part in any aspect of his life at any time. He wouldn’t know if he loved his father or not. There was no part of him in his life.
     He remembered his happiness when he learned he was going to be a father. Another of life’s painful jokes was knowing he didn’t have the job skills to support them. You can’t feed a family with love alone. He had been out of juvenile detention for less than a year. He didn’t know what to do to get his life going. He had no one to teach him the direction he needed to go to make the right choices.
     He spent his time hanging out with friends who also had no idea what to do with their lives. He always thought he would have found a way to make it work but he didn’t have a chance. Life took over and set his fate in motion. It was no longer in his control. All of his choices were now made for him.

He could always find a way into his own little world to escape for awhile. Thinking with his eyes closed slowly put a smile on his face. Did the kids think about him sometimes, too, or were they forgetting all about him by now? It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t ever forget about them.
     “I dream about walking open-arm to Morgan and the kids and gathering them into a big hug,” he wrote after he picked up his pen again. “But they will all be grown up by then, and I won’t be able to pick up my son and swing him around.” Would his son even accept him after all this time? Would he be angry?
     Jamie knew how it felt having an absent father. There was always a hole inside. He couldn’t even fill it with a face because he didn’t know what he looked like. How do you love someone who isn’t there? How can his son love him?
     There was a man who recently wrote to him and said he was his father. How was he supposed to take that? He wasn’t entirely sure that this was his father. His mama never talked about him, so where did he come from? Where was he?
     “I think my father just got home from a place like this. Never once in my life did he write to see how I was. No explanation. What was I supposed to think?” He continued writing.
     “He wrote to my mom, I was told, but he never asked about me. Now he’s home and it’s the same way I guess. I did finally get one letter from him asking me to give him a second chance to be a dad.” This next thought was hard for Jamie.
     “So I told him okay and asked for one thing from him. Give the love to his grandson that he didn’t give to me. I never heard from him again. Why did he even ask?”
     Jamie stopped and thought about that for awhile before he continued writing. Why would his father not want to know him?  How could he not want to know he was okay? He began writing again, “I understand what you said in your letter about prisoners not writing and how it ends up hurting their children. Please don’t put me in that category. I would give anything to be a father to my son. Sometimes my head is in a bad place. It is hard because I know how it feels. Jamie is too young to know if I write. But that doesn’t mean that me not being there isn’t hurting him. He needs to now he has a father and he is loved. It pains me deeply. I would do anything if I could fix this, but I can’t”
     Pretending to be with his family gave him a fleeting moment of happiness, followed by feeling the pain of his heart ripping in two. Sometimes it crippled him.
     “No one I love wants nothing to do with me. Out of sight, out of mind,” he wrote unhappily as he went back and forth between love for his family and feeling rejected by them. He couldn’t think of what he did to cause them to be that way. Was it his fault?  If it was he didn’t know what to do to fix that, either. And he sure couldn’t fix it from in  here.”
     “I really needed somebody to talk to about it,” He wrote. “I can’t keep it straight in my head.”  Being able to pour out his feelings on paper helped him make sense of it.
     Every day Jamie sat and stared at the wall, thinking about his sentence and felt like giving up in every way, but he couldn’t. His son was important and that thought is what kept him glued together.
     “I’m sorry, mom. I have to go.” His brain felt pulled in every direction. “My head really hurts pretty bad right now. ” He put his pen down and rested his forehead in his cupped palms, elbows on the steel desk. He gently rubbed his temples with his thumbs, pretending they belonged to someone who cared about how hard this was and knew how much pain he was in. He wanted comfort; someone who would make it all go away, even for a little while.
     “I love you, mom. I know you care. Thank you for your love and understanding. Everyone needs someone to talk to now and then. God bless you. God bless you.”

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Jamie broke down and wrote to his family again because he needed a little help. He needed a fan. It would help dry the sweat that soaked his body.  The effort of breathing made him sweat.  

     It wasn’t unusual for at least a few men men to die in here each year because of the heat, especially the older ones who were sick with something. Even he, as young as he was, passed out a few times from heat stroke when his body overheated. He doubted they would do anything about it. Paying someone’s family off if they tried to sue the prison was cheaper than putting AC into an old prison. Oh well, they probably think, someone died. Who cares. There is  more where they came from. A lot of the inmates didn’t have any family who cared if they died.

     He didn’t have money in his account to buy stamps so he was considered to be indigent. He could send letters and they would be mailed, but the mail room would keep track of that money. When money was put on his books they would take it back. He owed them for ten stamps already.
     Jamie asked if someone could please send him $22 to buy a fan but he didn’t get a letter back. Maybe they would have the time to write to him next week. He had a lot of reasons in his head why a letter didn’t come. Most of all he didn’t want to believe it wouldn’t come.
     He had no choice. He asked Sonni and she sent the money to be deposited into his account. Maybe it was pride. When he asked her he apologized up and down. What else could he do? He didn’t want her to think he was using her.
     Worrying most about his mom he still wanted to know if she was okay. She didn’t have to send no money if it was hard for her. He loved his mom and just wanted to hear from her. Maybe she was busy and didn’t have time. That was the justification he used.

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It would soon be little Jamie’s third birthday. He sent a letter inside a birthday card asking to please tell him happy birthday for him but he hadn’t heard back. Three years old already. Birthdays were hard for him. It drove home even harder how much he was missing. How many would pass by before would share one with him. 

     Jamie did what did every day. He sat on his bunk and stared at the wall, praying to make it through the day so could cross it off and begin the next one.

     Sonni waited for these letters from Jamie to know he was doing okay. She couldn’t do anything to help him besides be there for him and answer his letters. Encourage him and let him know he wasn’t forgotten.  Prisons scared her. She was afraid to call if he needed her to, but she did. It was out of her comfort zone. When she called the warden or medical unit she afraid of saying  wrong thing. She was just beginning to learn what the prison system was about and it wasn’t what most people thought.
     Jamie poured everything he was feeling into his letters. She had no previous understanding about life in prison except what was shown in movies and TV shows. She didn’t know anyone who did time in prison when she starting writing to him.  Going through these hard times with him was the first time she understood the devastating toll it took on the lives of those inside. Some were very dangerous people, but she knew many of them were badly treated by people far worse than the ones who were locked up. She was not going to the same thing others had and stop writing. She would not let him suffer with no way to release it.

Maybe this was the reason that brought them together. Everything happens for a reason. That is the law off cause and effect.

 

 

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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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Twitter 

Facebook  Jamie Life in Prison

SonniQuick   Main music website – subscribe to mailing list

Watch and Whirlmy other blog – diverse in subject matter

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 )