The story is about a prisoner and what makes him as he is.
A Short Story by Hasan Shabbaz
The burning red ridges of the Rocky Mountain peaks were
somewhat overbearing for James Saxone. He leaned against a
large rock with blood trickling down his elbow. He licked
his clotted wound on the elbow. He swore from time to time.
Then slumping onto the ground, he thought of where he would
be spending his time. The summer heat was stifling, so he
pulled out a water bottle and with trembling hands he threw
water onto his face and drank some water.
Within seconds the sirens screamed and groups of armed
policemen swarmed the rocks and boulders of the ridge where
he was lying. One by one they scrambled down and before he
knew it, he had biting steel handcuffs on his wrists. They
dragged him by the hair and neck and forced him into their
‘So what are you planning?; he spoke to the police.
‘Maximum security, Perhaps’
James stayed silent.
* * * * *
Want some cool water? One of the cops offered.
“’I’m okay thanks.’
‘Take it maan,’
‘I don’t deserve it. Been arrested.’
‘Hell man. You is in prison. Don’t you know?’
‘What? Well I expected it anyway.’ James shrugged as he
‘You is stronger than I thought. Don’t be too strong, maan.
I hate to think what they do to ya the stronger ya are.’ The
West Indian cop looked amused in giving this advice to the
detainee. He left the glass of water next to James in case
the offer of cool water would be accepted.
James felt strange. He was in prison and he was not feeling
paranoid or rebellious. It was darkening outside and the
full moon was getting brighter and brighter. He lay back
on the rock hard bed of the prison cell and dreamed of
better days in Dallas. He felt himself sinking into an
abyss as he slept the night.
* * * * *
He woke up the next morning to find a mark on his arm he had
not seen before. It turned out to be an injection he had
received earlier in the day. He stood up with a start. He
then looked into a cell mirror and his eyes looked strange.
There was no obvious color but they looked pale.
James clutched the iron handle of the prison, and with a
swing of his hand he banged a heavy metal against the cell
borders. He repeated this until the guard Axle came
running at him. As soon as they had eye contact, there was
pin drop silence in the prison.
Then he let loose a volley of loud abuse. He accompanied
this abuse with throwing all types of objects. Just then
James heard the bells of the phone.
* * * *
Suddenly a gang of prison guards stormed the cell and
dragged James and pinned him to the ground. He yelled for
forgiveness but they shouted back at him to calm down, and
before he knew it, he felt his trousers opening, and a
Stinging pain afflicting him under his belt.
He tried to catch his breath, but Axle the main guard, hit
him repeatedly in the back until he screamed for mercy.
Again, they shouted at him to calm down andkept on hitting
him until he fainted. They made sure his therapy included
multiple bruising. His battered and injected body was
dumped back in the cell. They slammed the cell door shut
with a huge explosive sound and left him unconscious for
assessment the next day.
He woke in the night to the sound of the radio playing heavy
metal music. He wanted so much to write to his girlfriend
but the sound of steel guitars numbed his mind into a
cabbage state. He slept then, with visions of demons and
screaming animals in his mind. He writhed in agony until
he woke up the next morning to a ray of sunlight on his
face. It was a bizarre sunlight. He could almost see the
image of the Virgin Mary but he was too weak to recognize
it clearly. Unconsciously, he reached out for a cup Of holy
water, but was disappointed. Then he managed to get up
after reciting Some religious verses. He felt the pain of
the bruises yet he was able to perform Daily chores as
usual. He even worked in the labor camp without much fuss.
Some of the other convicts were impressed but most became
suspicious and cynical.
* * * *
Cannon sat in fixed to her chair that gave her comfort from
all the miseries of life, Such as getting married, but above
all being industrious. Her steel grey eyes Were more
effective than her huge bulky shoulders. Her red complexion
was too Good, in her opinion, to be included as a redneck,
It was said that some children died in her care while she
was a matron in a home.
She had never understood why. She made sure she shouted
ferociously enough at the children when they disobeyed the
rules. She always had enough Paperwork to keep her from
worrying about the health of the children.
Her role as security guard suited her iron character.
James came back from the labor camp to find that Cannon was
eating a donut and had a huge bag of more. She sat
transfixed to the chair and went on eating donuts even when
all the Convicts were in their cells. Her white shirt was
no longer white but stained With sugar and coffee. She did
not move a inch when James begged for water.
She did not move when he asked to see Ax le either. When
James asked her What the assessment would entail, she was
stiff lipped. When he asked her if There was a phone call
she was still stiff lipped.
James abandoned all efforts to communicate with Cannon so he
picked up a pen And began to compose a letter to his
girlfriend. He wrote a lengthiest letter he Had ever
He waited for permission for parole. He wrote more letters
to her ready for the Parole.
* * * * *
James kept up a routine of prayer and industriousness, and
Parole came sooner than he thought. His first ever parole
Officer was Corrina Vasquez. She had not introduced herself
But rather assumed that he would be told his
Soon he was allowed to roam at will as long as he returned
To the prison cell. On Sunday, Corrina appeared and took him
To see his home in Denver.
The dusty road on which Corrina drove her charge objected to
Her aggressive driving. Every few minutes a pothole rattled
the whole land rover to remind the seated occupants of the
Grave uncertainty of the trip to Denver and back.
‘You have friends there in your city.?’ she enquired with a
Tolerant attitude rather than a sympathetic one.
‘How long you lived there?’
‘Thirty years.’ he replied with an air of much pride.
‘Have you somewhere to stay?’
‘yes. I suppose I could call it that.’
‘Don’t you like your house?’
‘I don’t care much for it.’ He almost swore but checked
Himself at the last minute.
‘You will have to live there when you get released.’ she
Then she pounded the accelerator and drove at a speed that
Only the police could achieve without getting prosecuted.
She took him to his house and made sure he settled down into
Chair. He must have dozed off, for when he woke up she was
Gone. There was a release form she signed in his absence on
His coffee table.
* * * * *
James Saxone obtained full citizenship a few weeks after his
Release. He studied religion and went on to become a
Reverend. There was one quote he used from a Dr Kildare
Soap. ‘I have seen God and talked to God.’ No one
understood him or even liked him for saying that.
Copyright by Hasan Abdulla 12/2005