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Him Baby by Mark Anthony Given


Oh listen you men, I don't mean no harm
If you wanna do good, you better stay off old Parchman Farm
We got to work in the mornin', just at dawn of day
Just at the settin' of the sun, that's when the work is done
Bukka White, "Parchman Farm Blues"

"Parchman's Farm," the Mississippi State Prison at the foot of the Mississippi Delta and the "Home of the Blues," just down the road, maintains the inner recess of every Southern Man's mind when in a fit of anger reaches for that rifle to settle his disputes.  It has Inspired hit songs, housed white protesters and "Freedom Riders," in the sixties. Cinema death row scenes and still had "Tunk Houses," when I was at Camp Eight the final months before my release in the early 1980's for a drug store burglary I have written about several times here on Real Life Heist, i.e., "The Real Drugstore Cowboy," and "Parchman's Farm." Tunk houses were little shacks behind the hundred man dormitory that some inmates spent all week preparing for their conjugal visits.  The black and white striped uniforms and the hazy long days in the delta where you can see for miles of perfectly flat land and miles and miles of cotton in every direction.  Some of the prison dogs had a Gold capped tooth for every prisoner they caught, and on lonely muggy nights surrounded by desperate men reeking of bad Karma and itchy green Army blankets, you might get a whiff of the stinky green Mississippi River just a few miles away.   
THERE ARE a couple flaming homosexuals in every joint I have ever been in.  Some of them even look like ugly women.  Him Baby wasn't none of these and looked and acted just like a young "Little Richard," on acid and he wanted something I had, really bad...  He was probably nineteen but could have been thirty, immaculately dressed in prison clothes aged to perfection and a light brown short bouffant hairdo like James Brown.

               And did everything in a feminine hyper speed.  Every time I have seen him/her he was either coming from somewhere or going somewhere and only in an alternate world of a notorious Southern prison would I have encountered such a peculiar fellow. When he suddenly showed up at my daily workout session one Sunday afternoon behind the huge metal and cement building, in an awkward corner with shade in the afternoon was a homemade bench press with a metal bar stuck in two #10 restaurant cans of cement, which was quite effective after twenty or thirty reps. He came right up to me while I was pumping away, and say,

"I need to talk to you..." 

Ominously.    He went and leaned up against the cool cement wall as a moment of respite from the oppressive heat and humidity of delta that looked a lot like the bottom of a seabed except the rows of cotton for as far as you could see.  
HIGH TECHNOLOGY at the Mississippi Department of Corrections massive prison farm in the early 1980's in locating its thousands of charges consisted of me and another prisoner and one of the funniest guys I ever met.  Inmate Locator was right next to the Women's Prison behind the Security Building, built of cheap concrete and lots of corrugated steel.  One room probably 20 x 12 against the back wall was the biggest ROLODEX you ever saw
             Two men facing the back wall sitting at a desk, two phones and a six foot long Rolodex, two black phones and one red, one a hotline from the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, a couple of hours away, and from 8:00 am to 5:00 five days a week we answered calls all day;

"Inmate Locator, this is Mark, how can I help you?"
"Hi, this is Joe Neckbone at, e.g., Hines County Probation and Parole and I'm looking for, "Billy Neckbone..."

Hillbilly police departments, clerks of courts, jail staff, someone wanted to know where someone was.  They knew they were in custody somewhere, just didn't know where.  That's where I come in.  On each of these Rolodex cards was necessary information:
Inmate:  Sally Legbone, DOC# 09762639
Jackson County 09/27/77
Assault 1st Deadly Weapon
Camp 22 Bunk 223

And a Mug Shot

To be continued.
12:08 PM 5/20/2016


COPYRIGHT 2016 by Mark Anthony Given
All Rights Reserved 28 USC 1746 
 Public Law: Pub. L. 94-553 (Oct. 19, 1976)
U.S. Statutes at Large: 90 Stat. 2541
11:40 AM 5/18/2016

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