The . Last . Straw

Light In the Distance…

OUT DATE- 215 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Morning of January 26, 2022 Phone Call to Sings:

As reported to friends and family: Things are in chaos at Talladega and the stress has Walks at the end of his rope. Walks described wearing all his clothes and two blankets being able to see his breath when it was 21 degrees outside. They have been on lockdown now for several days due to multiple factors.

There have been fights breaking out all over the compound simply because non-working inmates have had absolutely NOTHING to do for months on end and they’re all agitated, intent on getting their drugs however they can!

Both wings of Walks’ particular building houses UNICOR workers. The wing Walks lives in has been without heat for more than a month and for the past few days they have had no hot water.

So he has been locked in his freezing cold cell most of the time. As always, his cold meals are slid through the door and his insulin is consistently late, so he has been running 300 + sugars. Yesterday, while workers on the other side were away, his unit was allowed to go tier by tier over to the other side for showers.

Now they have been advised that no new hot water heater will be available until March sometime and the part they need to fix the foreign-made HVAC unit is not available, so they don’t know when they will have heat. It’s understandable that the staff is scrambling to figure out what to do but come hell or high water they WILL expect the UNICOR workers to go to work.

If they stay in their unheated cells, they will be required to miss work 2-3 days per week to take showers in the other unit. Another option according to the inmate “grapevine” is to move everyone out and spread them out in the other units. Walks does not see this as an option since the guards may or may not lock his cell while he’s at work and he knows full well the other inmates will be pilfering his belongs to get whatever they can to buy drugs.

What really burns him is these bad actors are all getting “good time” through the first step act, but he is being barred because the crime he committed decades ago involved a gun. It doesn’t matter that he has been drug free, working and acting responsibly for all these years. I don’t know what he will opt to do. I’d hate to see him quit his job and move to another unit where he’d have to live amid the chaos. Maybe that phone call allowed him to “blow off” some of his frustrations. We’ll see. . .   Sings

Afternoon Follow-Up Email:

Shuman comes in from work and tells me there is work piled up to the ceiling and they said for me to come to work to do it. Ha. Bet I don’t. They have all those Grade 1 Q.A.’s, let them figure it out.  I’m not gonna go slave and then not get a shower…

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Well, today I did it. I made the push to being a free person and for standing up for my rights and for letting the world know that no matter how you treat me, at the end of the day, I am a man and there are things that no man should tolerate, without due recompense of course.

I walked into my job, filled out the resignation paper, gathered my things, and shook the hand of a guy who occasionally did his job, but now will have my work to do as well. I got my little Q.A. stamp, walked up to the supervisor, handed him the stamp, then the paper, and said, “I’m done, have a nice day,” and I walked out.

Coming back to the block I felt a yoke of stress lifted from me, knowing I wouldn’t be doing the job that just a year ago they had 3 people doing, and all three of them making $30.00 more per month than I was being paid to do the work of all three of them for the past year.



Wherever they move me, I will have to adjust to such things as hot water in the shower and cell, heat in the cell, and people other than the ones I am currently being forced to see 24 hours a day. I work with ‘em, live around ‘em and wake up around the same 140 people every day. It’s insane in that we all want and need to do the same things at the same times. We are all pretty much governed by the same schedule, so it makes everything a long line – for the microwave, the shower, this computer, the telephone. I may need to watch my cell closer, but all these things just might not be needed by all the men in the block at the same time. Imagine that!

Well there that is. . . I will write more as this weird trip unfolds…

                     BAD DAY – GO AWAY

I lie awake tossing and turning, every ticking of the clock seems to piss me off,
I’ve got this strange burning, don’t know where I went, what I did, only know I did it with you.

I’m having a really bad day, so go away, go away,
I’m having a really bad day, so go away, just go away.

My life is so tragic, I hate my job, I lost my wife, I wrecked my car, and got a black eye.
You say it’s all my fault, everything I say or do is always wrong and not good enough for you.

Chorus – Lead – Chorus

You think you’re so perfect, every single hair in place, the perfect smile and stupid face,
So why not say what you think, I’m so tired of this ignorant stuff, enough to make a man drink.

I looked in the mirror, who is that staring back at me, how the hell could this be,
So I wrote down this song, I blinked my eyes and turned around, 30 years is up and gone.

I’m having a really bad day, so go away, go away,
I’m having a really bad day, so go away, just go away.

Bad Day – Go Away lyrics © Steven Maisenbacher, "Walks On The Grass" January 2018 FCI Petersburg

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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