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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Additional Excerpt from "The Rough Edges of the Cross"




The dedication I wrote for this first book:
Dedicated to all of the youths living on the outskirts of humanity’s horizon of normalcy; those whose daily lives are only the surrealistic nightmares of their middle and upper class counterparts.



Synopsis:

A criminal conviction and a judge's sentence place a teen into the heart of prison life.
Can God hear this teen's voice, the voice of a criminal? Does God even care about the troubles and suffering this youth faces behind the razor wire? Will the Bible contain anything within it to help this teen face his life in confinement?
Discover how this youth presses onward in a world where concrete walls and criminal enemies stand firmly in opposition against him. Watch him gradually learn the art of walking in the Light while living in the darkness of imprisonment as he searches for the answers to those questions no one wishes to hear or dares to ask.


Excerpt:

   After morning chow Renie reported to Gate-3 for his work assignment. Once a quick clothed body search was conducted he was instructed to enter the small hallway sally port in front of him and disrobe. “Place your clothes into locker number twelve, we’ll secure it for you later, then proceed to the end of the hall where it widens into a small room.”
   Inmate Stone did as instructed. Once in the room he found himself in the company of nine other inmates where they were searched again; ears, hair, under their tongue, bottom of feet and between toes, including the ritualistic bending over and coughing routine.
   Once cleared, the inmates exited this room and entered another sally port. Bright red jumpsuits lined the walls with ‘Y-MAX Inmate Construction’ stenciled across the back in bright bold fluorescent white letters. The inmates were given their standard instructional safety talk and preceded onward. Renie, however, was escorted personally by an officer to join other inmates already working on the infirmary project. Inmate work crews reported to work in fifteen minute intervals between eight and ten each morning. This made the flow of workers and searches more manageable for prison staff. They departed work in the same manner.
   “Cornell!” yelled the C/O, “come here, please.”
   A rather large burly inmate with muscles larger than beer kegs approached. “What,” he said in his deep as the ocean voice, “a newbie?”
   “Yep, fresh off the wagon,” replied the C/O. “You train him and I’ll bring you fellas in some smokes one day, maybe.”
   The huge inmate with piercing eyes knew the C/O was joking, but replied, “Sure boss man, anything for a cancer stick.”
   As the officer turned and walked away, Renie did not know if his heart was sinking, bobbing on waves, or just plain dead with fear. He said, “Hi, I’m Renie--”
   Before he could finish his sentence, Inmate Cornell Purdue stretched out his hand and shook the hand of Inmate Stone firmly, so firmly that Renie’s hand hurt for a while.
   “As you heard, I’m Cornell, Cornell Purdue. I be trainin’ you as to what we do out here. We never play around none, either. Playin’ gets folks hurt and hurt folks who get hurt ‘cause of someone playin’, well, you can figure that one out on your own.”
   Renie knew what this monster of a youth meant. “Ok, man, got it.”
   “I been at Y-MAX since the day it opened. I transferred in from another youth facility. Now I’m twenty years old and been livin’ in prisons since I was sixteen, for murder. I’m just bein’ straight with ya from the start. Me and some fellas from my neighborhood decided we’d kill this hippie drug dealer, take his cash, sell his drugs, and kick it for a spell, ya know what I’m sayin’?”
   “Oh, yeah,” Renie answered, though he could not relate to the coldness of the crime himself. “Sounded like a plan. What went wrong?”
   “That hippie was an undercover cop, need I say more. If it wasn’t for the fact I was sixteen, I’d be getting’ juiced about now. Paroled out the back gate and into a smaller more permanent cell, underground.”
   Renie remained silent.
   “Anyway,” continued Inmate Purdue, “We can pump out here all we want during breaks.”
   Renie was not sure what kind of pumping Cornell meant, but hoped it was not what he feared.
   “We use them big concrete blocks over there for dumbbells,” he pointed, “we take turns runin’ sets ‘til we get pumped up hard as rocks. We got a routine for every day here, one muscle group each day. We rest both Saturday and Sunday back at our houses.”
   “Sounds like a great routine. The C/Os don’t mind?”
   Purdue stretched his long arms, replying, “So long as we don’t cause no troubles they are cool with it. And you, you lucked out.”
   “How’s that?”
   “On Fridays we get to work out to music sometimes. The old C/O over there,” he motioned to where an elderly man with a long white beard stood, “he brings in a small boombox so we can be listnin’ to some tunes during our workout.” The muscular inmate looked Renie in the eye, continuing, “But not during our work.”
   “Cool!”
   “No sissy pretty boy or powder puff girlie music; only songs that gets the blood pumpin’ and keeps us psyched up.”
   “I could use some muscle.”
   “That’s for sure, kid. Wait ‘til you hear this hippie Christian guy’s songs. He’s dead now, but he was a pioneer back in his day. He says it like it is, no sugar-lined stiff-suit-n-tie words in his songs.”
   Renie remembered a church friend having old albums of a rocker like this and even a picture of him wearing a stars and stripes outfit with his long flowing blonde hair swirling in the wind. A true renegade, he thought. Not many honest real people like that left in religious circles these days.
   “We can’t be standin’ ‘round thinkin’ all day, kid, over here, we gotta work.”
   The rest of the day, between workouts, found Cornell introducing Renie to welding, metal cutting, sand blasting, wire tying rebar, mixing cement and sweeping up. Renie felt as though he’s been beaten up by a gorilla, but pretty good at the same time.
   “ZZ,” Cornell said to the C/O escorting the workers to the sally port, “See ya next week.”
   Officer Zack Zelany replied, “Yep, boys.” He stroked his long beard and walked back toward the construction site.
   After passing through the final sally port and back inside the confines of the razor wired fences and concrete walls, Cornell said, “See ya Monday, kid.”
   “Sounds good. Hope I don’t die from pain before that,” moaned Renie.
   “You won’t, just remember to stretch.”
   As Renie turned at the end of the hall to go toward his unit, Cornell said, “I forgot somthin’, tonight is Friday and we got this new meetin’ startin’ up, it’s called Cyrene. I read me a pamphlet on it and it is some Christian peoples that started comin’ into youth prisons to talk, but I hear it ain’t the dead stuffy kind of talk. It starts at seven, same time as movies start in the assembly hall. It’s one or the other, or a night at the house.”
   “I’ll think about it.”
   “See ya there, kid,” Cornell smiled, then turned away and walked off.


The paperback version is available at the following outlets…

Kindle eBook version: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008VMQWH4
-You can look inside the Kindle version and read a bit if you like-




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