THE REALITY OF A PRISON FIGHT & THE PETTY POLTICS OF PRISON LAUNDRY Part 4

North, an inmate was Ms. Perkins assistant. She was a quiet, polite well-mannered woman. She had been Ms. Perkins assistant the whole time that I had been at Danbury. I think that her first name was Tracey but I’m not sure. Everyone called her North. Someone said that she had been at camp a while 5 years maybe. I liked North.

Every month after the 15th a list of people who have to sign half way house papers because they will be released the following month goes up outside the secretary’s office. In January North’s name was on that list. The only thing I discovered about her is that she was from the DC/MD/VA area because the last 3 digits of her prison inmate id was 083 as was Princesses and my friend from Unicor who was also from that area. Everyone was surprised that she was leaving. There were some women who let everyone know how much time they had- “I’ve got 180 days.. I’ve got 60 days… I got 17 days and a wakeup.”

Who would take North’s place? She’d been walking around with Princess. Why was she walking around with Princess? It couldn’t be true. Princess would be taking North’s place. I remember the day North left she gave me her jar of coffee. They didn’t sell jars of coffee on commissary any more. Ms. Perkins didn’t come to work the day North was released. I think that she was truly saddened by North leaving but she had to go.

One of Princess Waleaska’s responsibilities was giving out chemicals to the orderlies who cleaned the bathrooms. Ms. Perkins was away on vacation one evening she reminded them that she was Ms. Perkins’ executive assistant and to check the bathrooms that they cleaned. They didn’t like her or the way that she spoke to them. Ms. Perkins never spoke to them that way neither did North.

One Thursday I went to laundry. Beatrice was very late. She was still eating. We weren’t even going to get lunch. Princess came to the laundry room. Why was she here? What happened to Beatrice? I smiled and was polite and signed up for laundry .Princess gave me my number for laundry. Beatrice quit because an inmate who was pregnant and on a probation violation, cursed her out. I hadn’t spoken to Princess for months and went out of my way to avoid her. Now she’s doing laundry. When I came to get my laundry I was polite and smiled and always said , “Thank you”. My clean laundry was very important to me.

There was a knitting class on Thursdays. I had learned how to crochet when I first came to Danbury. Princess was one of the people that taught me. She had since learned how to knit, She made us miss lunch on Thursdays so she stuff her big behind, would show up late to for laundry sign up smiling and laughing. She also spent part of Thursday nights in knitting class when she was supposed to be doing laundry. She’d help the teacher, Theresa ( which is a very popular name at Danbury. We actually had four Theresa’s at the time that I was there) I always wondered why Princess was there when she was supposed to be doing laundry. She had gotten so used to me being polite to her that she’d ask me if I needed help. I always refused. My laundry was normally done after class so I was ok.

One Thursday I went to laundry and Princess wasn’t there. There was Ann, an older inmate from upstate New York. That evening Princess Waleska came to class and announced, “I was not fired as Ms. Perkins executive assistant. I quit because I wasn’t paid properly.” Well Ms. Perkins was never going to tell anyone what happened.

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