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Old 08-17-2019, 09:43 AM
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Firebrand Firebrand is offline
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Default Among Those That Morn Without Words-The Last Days of SISP

“Then did I hear a dog howl thus. And saw it also, with hair bristling, it’s head upwards, trembling in the still midnight, when even dogs believe in ghosts:"
Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

Early December 2016, Dallas Texas……near I-45 & Loop 12
There in the back yard, we'd sit in the cold of the late night together and listen to the traffic some four hundred yards away from I-45 as the semis and passenger cars roamed back and forth from Dallas to Houston. My 3 companions Blackie the German Shepard, Blondie the big Lab and Bully the Bull Mastiff would howl in heart felt unison at the sadness of their miserable condition as I wondered what was to come of mine.

I was near the end of my rope where freedom was concerned and I just didn't know it at the time. What started out at the Walls in Huntsville back one day in October 2009 should have been something that resembled happiness, freedom and a new start. In the end, was anything, but that. I'd spent 2 years & 7 months at places like Hutchins State Jail, Dawson State Jail and the Gurney unit here in Texas only to get out and be faced with two hardships that in the end would send me back, the inability to cope with the Super Intensive Supervision Program and the death of my Mother whom I'd lost while assigned to Hutchins State Jail.

Three months before, I’d injured my lower back on the job at a place I worked at in Carrollton. It was very much a workers compensation scenario, but as I learned from that experience, when you’re on parole, living paycheck to paycheck, desperately trying avoid places like the Dallas Transitional Center or the Ft. Worth Transitional Center due to the possibility of eviction…….well the people I worked for were not cooperative to do with the on the job injury and unfortunately, time is money. I needed money to pay the rent, but as the back injury and fate would have it, I would not regain steady employment or the ability to stand up more than 30 minutes to an hour for almost another 2 years. I should have hired an attorney and went after my employer at that time, but with the SISP stipulation and its complexities, the injury itself and the inability to move about much, I didn’t do a great deal more than sit, wait, worry, stay stoned on Tylenol #3 & Budweiser and enjoy the misery & company of my three k-9 companions.
Blackie, Blondie and Bully were big dogs and along with that they were vicious. Blackie is the only one you could pet or rather Blackie was the only one I could pet. No one else, but their owner dared to approach them. If you let them out of their cages, they’d attack you. Each dog was unique in the way that it would howl, express anger, cry or babble In dog like moments of K-9 insanity.

Blondie being a blond Labrador retriever was the most intelligent of the three. He was the real talker of the bunch and to some degree like Blackie, he allowed me to approach his cage, but about all I could do to make contact with him that was permissible was, if I placed my hand flat against his cage with my palm facing the cage, he bump my hand with nose. He wouldn’t try to bite or attack me. With Blackie I could literally squeeze my arm and shoulder through a gap in cage adjacent to the door and he’d stand up on his hind legs and let me hold him while he whined and cried to me. Blondie was the conscious of the trio. He was the first one of the three you’d see when you entered the back yard and you instantly knew that you were in the presence of something that under the wrong circumstances you wouldn’t walk away from alive if it were in the cards for you meet the reaper because these three guys here….they’d take you to the reaper.

Blackie was the youngest of the three, somewhere between a year and year and half old, he’d often sit back and watch Blondie & Bully to see what his older brothers do through the day. When they howled, he howled. When they growled, he growled, when they were agitated, he became agitate. Of the three, Blackie was the most beautiful. He had a bit of brown to his coat, but the most part he was black all over and an absolutely magnificent German Shepard in appearance. He was just gorgeous….very handsome dog…very. You’d fall in love with him the minute you laid on him. He was something…..and I think about him a great deal, still.

Bully was a bull mastiff of few words. He was the one that no one had to forewarn you not to approach his cage. His eyes, body language and formidable appearance were enough to let you know that he alone could render an intruder or unwelcome guest in a state only described as having your ass completely off the bone. With him as with the other two dogs, when they saw food brought on their account that was a permissible bargain chip for approaching the cage. In time, Blackie allowed me privileges where petting him and holding him was concerned and Blondie would do a high five/nose bump to the palm on occasion. With Bully, none that was about happen. And he just had this way of expressing himself with his gaze and body language…..”Yeah, go ahead and stick your hand inside this cage and watch it disappear. You won’t do that, but once, Bucko!”

The person who owned the trio didn’t live at the residence where we were situated. He rented the back yard of the property from the owner to keep the dogs in individual cages that were big enough for a dog house and a bit of room about the size of a dinner table for each dog to maneuver and that’s it. Their owner would only come by on Wednesdays & Saturdays to check their food & water with the understanding that no one was to feed or approach them at all which to me is unbelievably cruel. They were kept in the most pathetic, miserable and depressing state of existence I’ve ever been exposed to for that long. And that too, was an added burden on me because I knew it was wrong, but I also knew that to complain or contact the SPCA or Humane Society would put me in worse predicament than the one I was in. Still, I’d heat up hotdogs, baloney, salami, left over fried chicken, leftover turkey and feed them. If they needed water, I’d see to that. Someone was tattling on me about that, but in spite of the threats, I never stopped feeding them or being as close to them as I could.

The house I lived in was a boarding/temporary situation with a variety of characters that ranged from meth addicts, heroin addicts, Mental Health SSI recipients of semi-serious mental problems and a land lord from another country south of the Rio Grande that was a rather twisted individual. Prior to the back injury I was doing well where sobriety was concerned, but the codeine I was taking for the back pain I got from Parkland Hospital threw me over the edge on that issue. Ironically, when I moved to the boarding house the main characteristic of the place that was a form of attraction is the “sober living” connotation which proved to be anything, but that. Still…..it’s not the first time and one of the things that I had to look squarely in the face of is the fact that you can’t run from the drug problem in America or the availability of alcohol. Chances are, the dope house is in some part of some city in some state in some neighborhood just off the corner and the liquor store is just up the street ways. If you want it, there it is. If you want something more than that to do with freedom, God and a better life then, the first thing you have to do is accept the fact that the least you have to do in a day’s time is not drink or use. I have to at least be willing to do that each day….stay sober and stay clean. If I don’t do or accomplish anything else in days’ time then, at least I have done that. Amen

By the end of December 2016, I was back in jail and then off to prison for a year and half for reporting a day late to one of the John Wayne half-way houses situated throughout Texas in none other than, Ft Worth, TX. Obviously, I survived that experience or I would not be writing this. Fortunately, I am no longer on the Super Intensive Supervision Program, but of those that morn without words, I know not of them or has become of them and…….yet I wonder.
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