Like A Badger

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 40 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

This story started a couple years ago when my adopted sister, Leontien, told me about the stimulus money the IRS was giving out. I asked my dear cousin, Sings Many Songs about the forms and addresses and all, so she sent them to me. This was during the pandemic and the lockdown, but before the pneumonia that almost killed me. Anyway, I get the forms, fill them out and sent them in. So does my cellmate, Jason. A couple months go by, we finally get to the point where these nice people were letting us Unicor workers go to work, but everyone else was still under lockdown protocols.

Ten or so weeks go by. Jason gets his $1200 and $600 checks; 11 weeks, others around get theirs. Then 12, 13, 14, 15 weeks nothing for me. I’m thinking, Oh heck no! Not me, you ain’t gonna give it to everyone else but me. So I get a Letter of Incarceration from my unit manager, and made 30 copies of it cuz I’m thinking, man, this is the IRS, I’m gonna have to send more than one letter.  

Now, a letter of incarceration is an official declaration that I am who I say I am, verified by a Federal Bureau of Prisons employee. It has a picture of me, my mug shot, my birth date and social security number. It states that I have been in the custody and control of the Department of Justice since 1986. It gives the names and phone numbers for my unit managers so the IRS can call if there are any questions or concerns regarding my inquiry letter or my identity.

So I sent the first letter to Kansas City, then the following week I sent one to North Carolina. Now I’m thinking, “OK. I’m cool, they will look into my claim that I didn’t receive the $1200 or the $600 and rush my checks. I wait and I wait—a month, 2 months, then I end up in the hospital with the great cancer/T.B./not a darn thing wrong with me scare of 2021. Finally I get out of the quarantine unit back here at the prison and life starts returning to normal but I’m still unhappy about getting nothing from this omnipotent, put-the-fear-of-god-into-people IRS. After all, I’m in the right.

Then one morning I wake up and get on the computer and what do ya know, all of a sudden out of nowhere I get the third check in the series of “free” money from the government. $1400.00 appears on my account. yyyyyiiiipppppeeee!!!!!!! Some money to go home on and I’m sure as heck gonna need it. I’ve spent all these years paying my dues to society and working for the government’s slave labor for profit manufacturing empire with no benefits for my future whatsoever. When I leave here I won’t have a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of.

So, a few more weeks go by and I get to thinking, wait just a minute, I’m a red blooded American, ok, so I did once have an indictment that read: the united states of America vs. Steven Maisenbacher, but that doesn’t mean they can just give everyone else the $1200.00 and $600.00 and not pony up for me too. Then I remember, hey I’ve still got those letters if incarceration and plenty of time and plenty of stamps, so I’m going after mine!

See, I’m as tenacious as a badger when I’m after something or think I’ve been wronged or taken advantage of, so…over to the mail room I go envelope and letter in hand and a plan. I explained to the mail room officer that I’m gonna write to these people till they answer me, or I’ll go to their office in person or to somebody who can help and give them a third of the total I feel I am owed by the IRS, $1800.00.  

I mentioned to some of my outside friends that I am going over there to the mail room every Wednesday morning with one of these letters, and I did just that 19 weeks in a row! On week 20 I get a letter from some supervisor of complaints and payment discrepancies and I send back the little form he sent me. Then I wait and another 13 weeks go by. Now I’m really ticked off, and determined I’d be going to the IRS in person when I get home and I’m gonna get my money.

Then the other night, I get a letter from the IRS with the beautiful words, “Dear taxpayer, we at the IRS are aware of your situation and are currently processing your payment, expect your check for the full amount in 4-6 weeks.”

Oh man! I’m laughing like a madman. The next morning I took the letter to the mailroom and showed it to the mail room officer. He said he had never seen anyone as determined or persistent as me. In fact he couldn’t believe it, so I said well here’s the letter, and showed him the proof. Then I told him when the check comes, just please post it to my account.

So there it is, I believe I’m gonna get up and come out here one of these mornings and do what I always do, check my account to see if anyone sent me anything and to make sure I still have what I’m supposed to have and there will be a nice little lump of extra money on the account to take me home. I’m gonna need it, make no mistake about it, and the funny thing is the 6-week mark falls in the 2nd week of August, 2 weeks before I get out. But hey… I won’t be mad if they go ahead and send it a little early; my birthday comes around again on July 20 and what a great present that would be!

One thing is sure, I’m not the kind to just sit back and not go after what I think I have coming. That’s me, I get on something and I’m like a badger. I don’t give up, I don’t give in, and I’m certainly not afraid of any government agency. After all, I’ve lived thru the worst they can dish out, now I’m prepared to deal with the best. Let that be a lesson to ya’all, don’t fear government bureaucrats; after all they are YOUR EMPLOYEES! They are there to serve you, not the other way around…but sometimes ya gotta keep telling them, 23 times if needed.

UPDATE: So yesterday was July 20 my birthday. As usual I got on my account and lo and behold what did I find? There it was $1800 + $68.63 interest! What a birthday present! With that and the other payment I had saved and some nice gifts from family and friends, I now have a nice little chunk of money to help me get started in just a few weeks! Persistence pays and I am one happy badger!

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder well into my eighties. I have lived an ordinary life doing all the ordinary things expected of women of my generation. But through it all, 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. A registered nurse by profession, I have long had a strong interest in writing and genealogy with a special interest in Southeastern Creek Indian history and culture. In my golden years, just when I was thinking “retirement,” some unexpected things happened that led me down a totally unfamiliar path. I’ve since learned it took a lifetime of experiences to prepare me for the challenges to come. My journey – indeed my calling – led me to a remarkable man, a Mvskoke & Ani-yun-wiya known as Ghost Dancer, hidden away for decades behind bars in state and federal prisons. Communicating daily by e-mail for the next nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost Dancer discussing many common interests with candor and respect. Most remarkable to me was Ghost’s absolute dedication to his spiritual leadership role within the Native population. With loving kindness at all times, Ghost shared many of his teachings, including lessons from within the sacred sweat lodge. A full index to Ghost's shared teachings can be found at GHOST DANCER'S SACRED PATH. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his personal life story in small bits, like pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now with his health a shambles, Ghost Dancer is at last free and has begun putting those pieces together; he wants the world to know the whole truth of his amazing personal journey in the chapters of his book in progress, ALL FOR THE RIGHT TO PRAY. As his friend and editor on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT, I can say this is indeed a story so big that even after these many years, I continue to be astonished as Ghost reveals new details of his solitary walk on the Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving, gifted child, he felt a strong bond with his cultural heritage in a world where family loyalty was a sacred trust and Native roots were kept secret. As a result the callow youth endured many heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. As a young teen, Ghost heeded the call to learn from the great Native spiritual leaders gathered at Wounded Knee. The influence of the elders and spiritual leaders on his young mind was profound but the political conflicts of the moment ultimately cast this loyal young boy as a target of a system determined to destroy him by any means. For the next 40 years in and out of prison, Ghost would struggle to remain true to his calling both as a teacher and an activist fighting for the religious rights of Native Americans. (Note: Currently Ghost is focused on things he must do to regain his health and has put writing the final chapters about the the wrongful convictions that put him in federal prison for the past 28 years on hold. He still has dreams for the future so he will be back!) Ghost Dancer would later introduce me to Walks On The Grass, one of his spiritual brothers and another federal prisoner. Walks’ story on JOURNEYS OF THE SPIRIT is totally compelling, though very different. In LONG ROAD HOME, Walks has shared his decades-long spiritual journey from deep addiction to wholeness. He follows up with ALONG THE WAY and finally, LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE as he prepares emotionally and mentally to transition to life outside after 37 years of incarceration.

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