Friday, May 22, 2020

An unexpected honor

Darius wants me on his Zombie Team! He has enlisted me in the group of those who will help him battle the undead after the Apocalypse. Considering that Darius is a lifer at the Western Illinois Correctional Center and has his pick of younger, tougher and meaner combatants, I take this as a compliment.


How did this overweight old lady make a convict's Zombie Team? Barbicide. It's the blue disinfectant developed specifically for salon/barber shop equipment. I became familiar with it back in the 1980s, when I was a writer for a haircare company. This spring, as Lysol and Clorox began disappearing from store shelves, and salons still closed, I thought, "Hmmm ... I bet Barbicide is available." I scored a 16 fl. oz. bottle and, considering I mix just 2 oz. in a 32 oz. spray bottle, this will last me a good long time.

I shared this little detail of my everyday life with Darius and it delighted him. He praised my "intellectual and resourceful move." He reiterated that he worries about me during the pandemic ("How are you is more meaningful now than ever") and says he's interested in hearing how I cope with it.

I'm glad, because my pen pal is hard to write to. I don't want to make my life sound too positive, because his life sucks. He is indoors all day most days, spending up to 16 hours a day in the 11.5 x 8 ft. cell he shares with another man. The food is terrible. He has no privacy whatsoever. 

I am willing to accept that he deserves this. He killed two people. But Christ said, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." And so I'll write him every month. He seems to feel a connection to me now, and helping alleviate another human being's loneliness is, almost literally, the least I can do.

 

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