Prison Flood

Prison Flood    

    Yesterday this Arab guy was fiddling with the fire sprinkler in his cell and somehow set it off. I don’t know if he broke it, or unscrewed it or what. But it started blasting out rusty water like a fire hose. The pipe running into his cell came directly of of a bright red 6 inch diameter waterline that hung from the ceiling. So it was flowing full blast! This was not like raindrops; it had enough force that it broke the glass out of the window on the other side of his cell.

    When this guy opened his cell door and came stumbling out, the water gushed out like he had just dumped over a garbage can full of water. But then it just kept on gushing, and never slowed down. That’s when we realized that locked in this unit, there was no place for the water to go. Down the way about 40 feet there was a shower. But there was a 4 inch lip that the water would have to rise to before it spilled over and went down the shower drain.  Everyone was sloshing around in ankle deep water trying to stack their stuff up so it wouldn’t get ruined. It looked like a sinking ship. Garbage and bottles and stuff was floating around.

    The cops in here didn’t know how to stop the water. They were running around turning off the valves behind the toilets. As if that would help. Eventually, I traced the dedicated fire sprinkler line back to an isolation valve, and found a cop who would listen, and told him how to stop the water. But when we got to the valve, we found it had a chain and a padlock on it so you COULD NOT turn it off. The cops tried every key they had on that padlock. NO LUCK! None of them worked. 

     So with the water level rising, one of the cops ran off to the central control center of the prison to retrieve a key for the pad lock that could turn off Noah’s flood gates. The cop in the control center told the cop from our unit that that key could only be checked out by the officer in charge plumbing, and he would not be back in until Monday. You can’t make this stuff up!

    Initially I thought that the Bureau of Prisons only hired stupid people. But I have since learned that they actually hire normal people, and turn them stupid by punishing anyone with common sense and initiative. 

     Back in the unit, the water was spreading and would soon be reaching electrical boxes. Rust water conducts better than clean water, and I know for a fact that this old place is not built to code. So there is no telling what would happen when the water got in there. There might not even be any circuit breakers. I didn’t want to wade through the water and risk getting zapped. So I jumped up and grabbed the balcony of the tier above me, and climbed to safety. My friends helped me over the rail, and from our high and dry perch we watched the wet and wild festivities below.

     It took about an hour for them to sort out the rules on keys and get the water shut off. And there were more than a few cops with hurt feelings. For my part, I got a good laugh out of the learned helplessness of the boys in blue, and how bureaucratic paralysis cripples otherwise sound minds. When you work for The Man, he clips your wings so you can never resist him. Which leaves you flatfooted in the rest of life too. My advice: No paycheck is worth getting your wings clipped. Because a flightless bird is no bird at all. What kind of goose has to walk everywhere he goes? 

Schaeffer Cox

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