It is freezing in here. Inexplicably, the heat was turned on and then immediately shut off. After lying in the dark for an untold amount of time, I reluctantly rose from the shelter of my vomit-green blankets to empty my bladder. I quickly retreated to my cask and stared at the ceiling from a crack that allowed me to breathe more easily. I pressed the light button on my watch. It read 1:19 a.m., but it was daylight saving time, so it must actually have been 2:19 a.m. I can vaguely hear the garbled conversation between two men. It appeared that one guy was smoking K2, also known as synthetic marijuana, and he wasn’t sharing. Out of boredom, I tuned in.
“Yo, why you actin’ crazy?” one guy asked.
“I don’t think you want none of this, son,” the other guy said, refusing to give him a smoke. “I got the ‘Rona (coronavirus). I’m tryin’ to save you,” he said, laughing in a sinister tone.
“So what? It ain’t gonna affect me. I already had it. I got the antibodies. I’m immune… all the way passssst that!”
“Aight, dog. Here.”
I was stunned at the degree of insanity and sheer recklessness of the conversation.
I thought back to when I used to get high, when I used to sell drugs, when I ran the streets and when I was morally deficient. Still, the dialogue left me speechless. I wondered, would I have done the same? As an addict, would I have knowingly smoked behind someone who had the coronavirus?
Although I no longer indulge, I have accepted that I will always be an addict. As an addict, would I have convinced myself that I was immune? My addiction would have surely rationalized that the man was lying about having the virus and just did not want to share his K-2.
I stayed up most of that night, weighing the many ways that fate brings a person to a place in life where we are able to make such callous decisions.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.