Friday, December 25, 2020

A Week Before Christmas

Friday, December 18, 2020  6:02 pm

This may be my last dispatch from Protective Custody/lockup before Christmas, so I want to wish my family and friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I’d hoped Libby and I would spend Christmas Day together, visiting at a table with a clear plastic screen separating us, but that doesn’t seem to be possible. No phone calling either. instead of typing this on my tablet and emailing it to Libby to post (my tablet’s battery is down and can’t be charged back here in lockup), I’m using my old-school hieroglyphic handwriting and snail mail, trusting Libby to decipher it. Without her, I’d be lost.

I wanted to bring you up to date on my situation: this morning, they took me out of my one-man cell to talk to prison inspectors Waren and Hoffman. They are investigating the stabbing incident and the officer, T. Redding, who put the “hit” out on me. They are taking it seriously, and want to take their findings to the Volusia County State Attorney’s office for “outside” charges. T. Redding hasn’t been caught with anything illegal and her inmate contact is also locked up. She is still at work in a different dorm.

My biggest issue is the deprivation of my legal work, preventing my being able to finish my court appeal deadlines 12-30. Since the FDOC is the defendant, it doesn’t look good to have their employees deny my access to the courts. They kept everything — gave me only my Bible, shampoo and soap. The property sergeant brought another man (new) a large stack of legal work today, but refused to bring mine.

This “protection” wing is the noisiest, most disrespectful bunch of inmates I’ve ever seen. Wednesday — midnight — at least a dozen fools were screaming at each other down the hallway, arguing and accusing each other about stealing each other’s drugs, bad debts and lies. No sleeping. Louder than the zoo. At other prisons that level of noise would provoke guards’ actions, but not Tomoka.

Something that amused me, wing 3, 19 cells, 37 inmates, they were yelling and insulting each other, another dozen or so idiots, about who was the worst drug addict.

One man on the wing said, “Everybody on this wing is a junkie and does drugs, except for Mr. Norman.”

I laughed. Something everyone can agree on, I’m different.

I am 30 or 40 years older than most of them, and they give me a lot of respect, As usual, I am the final arbiter of their senseless arguments. Lots of misinformation. I have to bite my tongue.

“Ten years ago the Russians landed on Mars and are building a city.”


“Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put chips in the Covid-19 vaccine, and a secret government satellite is tracking everyone.”

No. Steve Jobs died long before the virus appeared.

And on and on and on. (No TVs in “protective” custody).

I’m writing this on Friday. They won’t pick up the snail mail until Sunday night, won’t go out till Monday, so perhaps I will pick this back up tomorrow. Hopefully, Libby will get my letter Wednesday or so, and you’ll get this by Christmas Day. Good night, sleep tight, pray that the fools go to bed early.


Sunday morning: 9:37 am. All quiet on the E-Dorm, Wing 3 Front.

The boys are disappointed. No drugs for sale. Inmates from other dorms, not in lockup, walk by the outside of wing 3, and the ones inside yell at their friends outside: “Send me some soap.” “Call my mom.” “Tell so-and-so to yell at me.”

You can’t help but hear — they yell. Yesterday the big topic on the yard was that it is “DRY” — there are no drugs to be purchased on the whole compound. I can’t help but think that rogue officer T. Redding has had to suspend her smuggling activities — big heat they’re watching her; consequently, the compound supply has taken a hit. At the same time, the “Donald Trump” $1200.00 stimulus checks are hitting, and the dopeheads have money to burn.

The prison inspectors are investigating, but she is still working. They haven’t been able to catch her. A sergeant told me last month, “We know who is doing it, but we can’t catch them. They have places to hide drugs that we can’t search.”

So, it was a quiet Saturday night. I felt pensive — it’s Christmas. Last year I got several Christmas songs on my tablet and listened to carols for weeks, but not this year. A couple of guys recite crude rap verses down the hall. You can hear everything — people talking in a cell down the hall and we have a couple of country boys who try to sing George Jones and others. I wondered how much of “Jingle Bells” I could remember so I took my turn , “Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh, o’er the hills we go, laughing all the way…”

I didn’t realize how quiet it became until I got to “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh…hey!”

First one voice joined in, then another and another. I repeated the Jingle Bells chorus, and more of the wing joined in, laughing like crazy, yelling, but not about drugs.

“Yo, Mr. Norman, you know any more?”

Did I!? Of course. I wondered if anyone knew “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

“O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, o come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem…Come and adore him…” Then the junkies joined in and started clapping. It was fun.

“Silent Night” came next. “Silent night, Holy night, all is calm, all is bright…” It got quiet. I was surprised at how many knew most all the verses.

Later on two men down the hall were talking about the lack of drugs. One commented on how good he felt to be “clean,’ no drugs for a few days. Hooray. It’s too good to last. Too much loose money around. Someone else will pick up the slack, and the air will stink, people will overdose. An evil place.

‘Nuff said.

Please accept our best Christmas wishes for you and yours.

Peace, joy and love,

Charlie and Libby Norman

No comments: