The screams started: ‘Open season on anything in grey!’ I can still hear the spray canisters releasing gas 17 cells down the run. The screaming kid inside the cell was handcuffed and shivering in a corner. Booming thunder shoots through the skies as more screams from various directions continued. I slipped on the medical Covid-19 mask I received from the infirmary.  The orange mist burned as soon as it oozed into my cell.

‘Stay strong kid! Give them hell! Breath!’

More guards ran up the stairs to 3 row in gas masks and no camera. More gas is sprayed. More shouts from angry inmates followed. ‘Stop spraying him, he’s only a fucking kid!’ These men sounded so powerful away from the burning smoke. ‘Breath kid! Breath slowly, you’ll go home, you’ll be okay! Breath slow.’

I looked outside through the dreary windows. God was sending down his tears, even the wrong makes God cry.

I watched as they packed what I thought was one inmate, it turned out to be two. The cell was covered with pepper spray. Out of nowhere someone shouted: ‘It’s rats on 3 row!’ I eased my mask off, residue eased into my nostrils and I recovered my nose. Eight hours to go before the medical chain redelivers me back on Tell-it-Ellis and off Estelle’s transit/medium/closed custody.

Derrick L. Griffin, 2-11-2021