Watchin’ My Stories: “Billy’s Prison Diary – Voices”
Dear Dr Graves
I dont like writing. I know you said I should write down when something important happens and I reckon this is important but I dont think Im so good at words. I been spending a lot of time in the library thogh and I guess thats good for me. I know I spell better and I been reading my legal papers and them books you give me but Id rather just talk if its all the same to you. Anyway heres what happened.
Yesterday after I was doing my yard the voices come by. The Devil hes the one who does most of the talking usually but this time the Angel showed up first. This was in my cell you understand cause I was done with yard. Normally I go to the weight room after yard but them negros was using them all up. (I almost called them that other word but I know you dont want me saying that) Anyway so I was in my cell and Bobby Ray Murphy was on a work detail so he werent there. Thats when that Angel come by.
“Hey Billy how come you was in the tank last week” he asks?
“I got into a fight with one of them spics.” (I know you dont like me calling them that Dr Graves but Im just reporting my actions the way they happened)
“How come you wanna do that Billy” he says?
“I dont wanna do it but they was provoking me” I says.
“They gonna do that Billy. They gonna always provoke you. You gotta learn to be a better man.”
“How come? Who Im gonna impress, the Aryan Nation fellas? They liked it when I beat on that spic.”
“I dont know why you gotta associate with them fellas?” he says “because theyre badmen. You dont wanna come outta here a badman.”
“I aint never getting outta here” I says and its true.
“Thats a self fufilled prophetcy” he says. “Anyway you a big man now and you ortnt let them boys get to you. You stronger than they is and picking on one of them aint done. It aint right to pick on someone smaller.”
“He know it too. He know he smaller, and so he thinks I aint gonna hit him. He done learned.”
“Thats shameful Billy” he says “I know you was provoked but you ortnt sink to their level”.
“They sure aint gonna rise to mine” I says.
Anyway the angel told me I gotta be a bigger man and how I aint never gonna fufill my potential if I keep getting into it with them Latinos and how Im gonna improve myself if Im in the tank all the time? And I hate to say but the Angel is right. I feel bad about what I done to that boy and hell I dont even know why I run around with them Aryan Nation fellas. They dont got nothin to say except against somebody and Dr Graves I thought I was dumb but them boys is just hopeless. But they are the only people who are like me in this place and sometimes I hate to be alone. Anyways I try to listen to the Angel because hes a lot like you really he only trying to help me. But the way he talk sometimes I just dont wanna listen. And then that Devil shows up.
“Hey Billy”? He says. “You done a good job on that beaner.”
“You shouldnt oughtta call him that, hes a human being like anybody else” I say and like I said it was the truth right then cause I feel bad about what I done to that boy.
“Who teach you that Billy”? He asks. “It sound like that fagit Dr Graves talkin not Billy Lynn”. And Im sorry but thats what he called you. It werent me it was the Devil I dont think that about you and even if I did you taught me about that kind of language. I surely appreciate all you taught me but Im just reporting what happend like you told me to.
“Shut up you Devil” I said “I had about enough of you. You dont ever tell me nothing worth knowing.”
“I taught you how to survive in here is all” he says. “I taught you to be a man and to not feel sorry for yourself like a little God damn baby like when you come here. I taught you to be strong so them niggers dont beat you no more and I taught you what to do and what to say so you dont get fucked in your ass by them badmen no more, thats all I done. Not like that Angel and that Dr Graves who got you readin books and actin like the people what sent you here.”
I didnt listen to him no more after that. I just went down to the shop and took a second shift so the machines would drownd out the sound of them two arguing back and forth. I wished sometimes I could strangle both of them and I know that sounds crazy but I guess it dont sound no more crazy than hearing them voices in the first place. So there you go Dr Graves thats whats been happening. You tell me is it important?