A smooth ride

I woke up on February 25th, 2019, thinking I was going to have a tele hearing from the unit, in this civil litigation case I have going on regarding the excessive use of force that happened on December 29th, 2012. (see civil action at Raby v. Tolly et. al.,  civil action number 9:B-13-CU-00120.

So the hearing wasn’t supposed to be until 10.00 am, and I would be taken to One Building where they would then have the hearing so that I actually never had to leave the unit.  So it was to my surprise when two guards showed up at my door telling me to come on, the van is here to take you to Court.  I explain to them, there must be some mistake, because the ORDER said that I was to have the hearing here from the unit via television conference.  Well, they told me the Federal Court called and told them to come get me, so who am I to argue with a Federal Judge?  Although I did leave my cell thinking this is just a ploy to get me out of my cell so they could search it and rip it all to hell.  I really wasn’t believing them at all.  So I was again surprised when three transport officers showed up and handed me some street clothes to get dressed in, with me again telling them, I think there is some mistake. I read the ORDER and it was very clear; it was from the Federal District Judge, Ron Clark, clearly stating that l would remain here on the unit and we would have the hearing via television conference, which would take place in One Building, due to the security risk of transporting a death row inmate all the way to Court just for a hearing.  But they assured me they would not be here picking me up if the ORDER didn’t come from the Federal Judge, and one of the guards on transport said, when a Federal Judge tells us what to do, we do it without question.  So now I realize things had changed.

I go through the whole strip search as I am leaving my cell, and not three minutes Iater have to do the dance all over again.  So getting naked in a blink of an eye is nothing to me, I am a bit of an expert at it.  I then get dressed in the street clothing they provided for me, taken to the “Big Boss” chair, which is a chair that is a metal detector.  I sit in it, then slide forward, slide backward, and once more forward, stand up and then go round to the back of it where there is a little round table top where I have to place my chin and then, slowly tilt my head to the left and right until my ear is flat against it, checking to see if I may have anything hidden in my body you know, like shoved up my ass (hey, people have been known to hide things up their asses; it is called “keister stashing”.  I haven’t done it, but then again I have never had anything I ever felt the need to protect that bad.  Would I?  Golly, I don’t, know…   I don’t want to test it, so I remain contraband-free, or have the kind of contraband that I don’t mind being found as I have no sweat flushing while the guard is telling me, ”Hey stop, don’t flush that toilet!”  My hearing is bad so I don’t hear them telling me not to flush. Anyway, after all that I am then chained from waist to foot, hands cuffed in front of me, and then a chain is run through the black bow they place over the cuffs and that is attached to the leg irons around my ankles.  So I ain’t running nowhere.  But if given a chance, and they told me or didn’t tell me, “run”, I would run, hop, skip my ass off as fast as I could on my way to freedom.  But one isn’t running very far in all those chains.  I am then told to stand still and a photo is taken of me, just in case I do happen to escape. and after that I am loaded in the van and locked in the back of the escort van which has a cage in the back of it.  After that is locked they slam the back doors and lock them and away we go out to the back-gate driving on the road inside the prison compound which is about as bumpy as can be. You would think with all the free prison labor they have here at this unit they would put a few convicts to work filling those pot holes.  But I reckon that makes too much sense.

Once we arrive at-the back gate we are let in and the guards get out, fill out the needed paper work, and the guard at the back gate opens the rear van door and asks me my number, just my number; I realized I am a number long ago. My number tells them everything they need to know about me.  He slams the door after confirming it is me. Then we drive through the back gate where the transport team get their weapons from the guard tower.  They step up and get back in the van. The type of weapons they carry on their person are: 38 special revolver and/or a .357 Magnum revolver or a .357 Sig semi automatic pistol, and a 12-gauge shot gun with extra clips and ammunition.   I didn’t notice if they were carrying any kind of pepper spray … but I doubt it; what the hell do they need pepper spray for when they have lethal weapons?  And I am sure, if given a choice between choosing to spray me or blow a hole in me, they would rather blow a few holes in me.  So after they are strapped up they load back in the van and away we go.

Now the first. thing I noticed right away about this ride was the van was much different.  For one there were no wide windows for me to look out of and take in things along the highway, so that was a real bummer.  I was looking forward to looking at nature. and the rear windows were so filthy that I could hardly see out of them so it wasn’t even really worth the effort to look out of them.  I tried looking out the windshield but there was too much wire screen and it made it hard to look out of.  I would literally have gone cross-eyed when I did, so I resolved myself to think about the hearing; I didn’t know what to expect.  And another thing I noticed was the driver was a much better driver than the last one I had who gave me one hell of a rough ride the last time. So I was thankful for that until we went at least 50 miles per hour over some railroad track and I flew up off that metal seat about 5 inches and came back down hard! That snapped me out of whatever thought I was thinking of since I almost fell off the seat.

And this time instead of taking me to Beamount Tx, I went to Lufkin Tx.  As we drove into the back of the Federal Courthouse parking lot, the driver parked where one of the Federal marshals directed him to.  The transport team then got out and started taking off all their firearms because they are not allowed to carry them in the Federal Courthouse.  And the whole time they are doing this, they have the side door open lighting up a few smokes and, man oh man, let me tell you the smell of that smoke that made its way back to me made me sick to my stomach. I can literally still smell that crap after almost 24 hours.  I can smell something else too but I will explain that in a little while.  After they smoke their smokes, me telling them to close the damn door that shit stinks, the Federal Marshall comes up and asks them “Are they ready?”  They then let me-out of the back of the van after unlocking my cage, and we follow the Marshall across the parking lot and down some very steep steps that lead into the booking area for Federal prisoners, and man, it was clean, this place was damn near hospital clean.  They placed me in a holding cell and it too was clean, but had the strangest toilet I had ever seen, meaning it was a normal stainless steel toilet like all the rest l have ever used and seen, but the buttons were in a different spot.  The flush button was on the right side of the toilet while the hot and cold water were on the left side of the toilet. But that wasn’t  the strangest thing at all about it: the strangest thing was where the mirror was located and it was placed along the smooth end of the front of the toilet, right there by the toilet bowl.  Meaning if- one wanted to look at themselves in the mirror, one would have to squat down, and put your face damn near in the toilet!  And it was in fact a mirror.  I stuck my hand down there and I could see my hand reflection damn near picture perfect, even if a little blurry. But I will say, it was by far the cleanest holding cell I had ever been placed in.  And everything inside it was stainless steel .  Well they left me shackled the whole time, even when I was taken out up to the court room.  This court room wasn’t like the-other, for starters it was damn near twice as big, and freezing cold in there; I was so cold I was shaking!  I know next time to take my long-sleeve thermal shirt.  I can’t stand being cold.

Well I got to talk to my civil Attorney, Clay Thomas.  Well I am not too thrilled with him, but I will be seeing him on Friday so we will be having a very long talk. I don’t want to get into too much detail but I’m not happy with him, and may end up firing him at the start of the trial, and give it a go my damn self. But time will tell and we’ll see.

As for my return trip, after court I got to have a short legal visit with my Attorney, not much of one, and after that I was loaded back in the van and while the guards stood around getting strapped down with their weapons, standing around smoking those nasty smokes, flooding the back of the van where I am locked in, having to smell that crap.  They get down, get in and away we go, on another long smooth ride, until we came to that fucking railroad track doing about 60mph and I once again go flying up in the air, this time kinda sorta landing on my nuts, which hurt more than a little bit – I landed on my right one too, so I wasn’t happy about that.

We finally arrive at the unit.  As we are waiting for the back gate to call up over the radio, there is a female guard asking the driver, “What’s his name?”  He tells her “Raby 109”.  She gets on her hand-held radio and said, “Ragby is back.”  He told her, “It’s Raby”.  She calls me RaGby again.  So this goes on for a good minute and a half where she’s telling him, “Oh yeah, I know who he is”.  He is telling her, “Well, his name is R-A-B-Y, not R-A-G B-Y”  I hear her say, “Oh shit, and gets back on the radio and tells whoever she is speaking to, “It’s RABY, he’s back”. …. so, as the transport team is called to the back gate and we drive off, the guards in the van start talking about how stupid she is, and when they take me out of the van ask me if I know her.  I hadn’t a clue who the hell she was. But I would be willing to bet she has never in her entire life met anyone by the name of Ragby.  I would be willing to bet that is a new word to her that she never even heard of before in her life.  But she is telling them in great detail that she personally knows who this Ragby cat is.  I had a good laugh at that.

But, there isn’t a damn thing funny about what happened next.  I am taken out of the back of the van, met by one of the guards who works here to escort me along with the transport team into 12 Building, to where they walk me down I2 Building main hallway and this transport officer, Joy, said, “Man I smell shit,” as we were walking past the kitchen.   I thought he is commenting on the food, but there were no kitchen workers in the kitchen and the doors were closed, meaning there wasn’t even any food in there.  Me? I cannot smell anything, I still have my nostrils full of cigarette smoke, so they escort me to the end of the hallway, down the hall to the very last ‘legal booth’.  I still ain’t smelling anything, but now another of the transport team said, “Damn, who shit on themselves?” They open the legal booth, tell me to step in, so I do and Sgt Joy from transport steps in with me and before he can say anything, I tell him, “Man, what the fuck is that smell?  That shit stinks!!” He said, “That’s what I have been saying as we walked down the hall.”  Now the other guards are talking about it, asking the guard who works here what the hell happened.  I look behind Sgt. Joy and then I see it.  Right there in the corner is a sock full of shit.  And let me tell you as soon as I realized where that smell was coming from, I tell Sgt Joy, “Man, look at that”.  He looks behind him and said, “Goddamn, that’s fucked up”.  I then tell the 12 Building officer, “Man, put me on the other side where I ain’t gotta see or smell that mess.”  Sgt Joy starts to pull me out, thinking that’s a good idea.  Well the 12 Building jackass tells them, “He is just going to be in there a minute; we’ll get him right out”. So I ain’t trying to rock the boat.  I let them lock me in that shitty stinking room.  I strip out, holding my breath waiting to get my T-shirt back so I can breathe through it.  And I tell the 12 Building pig, “Man, get someone to get me NOW!”  He said, “Okay I’ll be right back.”  ‘Right back’ turned into a fucking hour later.  That was done with intent.  Sorry asshole. So now all these pigs are walking by me smiling and laughing and I am getting pissed off.  I am standing there with my shirt wrapped around my face, breathing through it, but it has little effect, so I take my socks off.  And would you believe?  I would rather smell my own foot odor than have to smell that nasty crap?  So after close to an hour, here comes Warden Perez.  I think, “Okay”, I hit it him about this and tell him I have been trapped in this box for close to an hour, heads will roll, he will get on his handheld radio and demand someone come get me the fuck out of there.  So I call him to the door, he knows, I can see it in his face, he knows, it’s in his eye, I tell him, “Man, there is shit in here”.  I point, to it, he looks, he CAN smell it, everyone can, and this clown asks me, “Did you do that?” and walks away, doesn’t get on the radio, doesn’t yell for anyone to get me out, just walks off.  I sit in there about 15-20 more minutes, when this fairly new 12 Building Lt (Lieutenant) comes by.  I call him AGAIN, and the convicts (SSI’s clean up crew) tell him, “The warden just passed by and he called to him”.  So I don’t know if it was out of fear that the Lt, made the Sgt come get me or if he was really appalled I was in there for so long.  But within the next 5 minutes I am being pulled out.  I was fixing to wait for warden Perez to pass by and rip in to his coward ass, calling him all kinds of dirty sorry mother fucker, bitch, asshole I could think of and start kicking on the door demanding they take me out, I was ready to get a case, but lucky for me, and it is very lucky, because I know once I would had went off on that warden l would had ended up on level two, and I don’t want to go to level two, if I refuse to go to level two, I go right to level three.  So I would had fucked off my visit with my very dear and special friend Annemarie from the Netherlands, who is coming to see me in April and then my little homegirl Mikayla who is coming to see me in May from Canada so I would have not only hurt myself , and likely gotten hurt-, but I would had let them down but, I held my cool, I think they would had understood.  I am very lucky I didn’t have to find out.  So now after I am taken out, my nose is full of this rotten – and I mean old, rotten shit smell that could only have become such a strong smell from having sat in there like that for a day or more.  I had this fucking smell in my nose, in my hair, in my clothing, everywhere.  I smell like rotten shit.  And every now and then I get a faint whiff of that nasty cigarette smell, but even after washing everything and showering, I can still smell that shit smell.  I have still that coco butter lotion shoved up my nose right now.  That was some low-down and dirty shit they did to me yesterday.

And then get this, the same jackass who locked me in that booth, later in the day, is working the pod, helping out by doing showers.  I stop him and respectfully (even though I want to tell his sorry ass off), “Man, you know I was stuck in that shitty booth for an hour; how about throwing me in the shower, because that smell is all over my body and clothes?”        (I had already spoken to the next man in line up to shower and he was very understanding and said, ”Man if they will put you in, I have no problem with you going before me”.  I told him “Thank you”.  So I explain all this to the guard, he tells me that I am going in order. Then I told him, “But the man doesn’t mind, he knows I stink.  He tells me then, “Oh, they have you down as VR.”….VR means “verbally refusing”, meaning they have to actually HEAR. you tell them, “No, I ain’t going to rec”, or “No, I ain’t going to shower”.  I tell this clown, “Look, you fucking-damn well know I was gone all day today in Court, so how the hell did I do anything?”  He looks at me and said, “Yeah, I know”… making eye contact with me, so that right there told me everything he did was done with intent.  And it is in retaliation for the suit I have going on right now.  I’m suing some of his “boys”.

So to make a long story short, I accepted it.  I have to think of Annemarie and Mikayla; I mean I personally couldn’t care less about going to level two to make my point.  But, I kept my cool.  So I get naked, and take a bird bath, washed everything again because I could still smell it in my shirt.  I went to sleep pissed off and with hate in me.  I work so hard not to feel hate for anyone these days.  I try and be forgiving. I want to be a better man.  Granted there are some … okay, there are MANY whom I strongly dislike, but I don’t hate anyone, but last night, laying in bed tossing and turning I-felt hate.  But I am better now., I woke up, talked my way into an early shower; there is the cool Iittle chick working today, so I told her, and she told me, “You will be the first one to shower”.  Some guards are good-hearted people; then you have some who, for no reason at all, want to involve themselves in something that happened long before they even worked here, or anywhere in TDCJ, like the asshole who locked me in that cage for an hour and refused my shower.  Granted, he didn’t VR me, at least I don’t think he did, but he knew I hadn’t showered, he knew I-wasn’t here to VR.  He could had put me in the shower.  The way I deal with his kind these days … l just don’t say anything to them at all, unless it is a TDJC-related question, inquiring about my TDCJ number, rec , or shower, if I am eating or going to visit, etc. Usually I have a kind and decent word to say to them.  I am polite. but, him, I will just ignore.  What is so cold-blooded to his actions towards me, he and I have always gotten along, respectful and polite to one another, no bad vibes at all, yet he felt the need to show me “who’s the boss”.

So there ya have it. A smooth ride with a shitty end!  But in the end I will live, the smell will go away, and I can always put more coco butter lotion my friend bought me in a care package up my nose.  I like the smell of coco butter.  So thank you my friend.