True Story©... Prison Outreach

 


     I’ll be honest, life has been difficult and assuredly less fun since having to abandon the Moe Phillips name…
Imagine YEARS of using a contrived identity with which to complete the tasks of various entertaining endeavors, legality bedamned, and just having to throw them all out the window because of a detective with a funny name.

     As we recall, I previously had set about the task of rehabilitating the Moe Phillips name by using him as a vigilante to exact justice for those who could not extract it in legal manners.  The issue, apparently, is that vigilante justice is still a crime in itself.

[Phlip note: then how the fuck is Batman not arrested?  I THOUGHT THIS WAS AMERICA, PEOPLE!!!]

     Short on options to allow me to continue to use the Moe Phillips name and all the street cred I have earned it through the last few years without Detective Woodpenis up my ass – no pun intended – I’mma have to smarten up for a while.
Planning for long vacation and needing to conserve some time for doctor’s visits; I arrived here to the fourth quarter of the year with A LOT of time off of work that I would have otherwise spent exercising here at the house or similarly doing very little, I decided to seek out means to occupy some of that time in a productive manner in service of “fixing” Moe Phillips even though this plan has been in action for months.

     But first thing’s first…  I had to make “Moe Phillips” into a real, or at least real-presenting, person.
I hung around outside a college bar and waited for someone who was CLEARLY not 21 to flash an ID to get themselves inside, and approached.

Me: “Yo…”

Kid: “Do I know you?”

Me: “No, and you don’t particularly need to either.”

Kid: “Huh?”

Me: “Where’d you get the ID?”

Kid: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Me: “You know PRECISELY what I am talking about.  I am willing to bet there is a high school parking pass on your car.”

Kid: “But--…”

Me: “Volume, it does YOU more favors to keep this quiet than I have any need for.”

Kid: “… fuck.”

Me: “So now you will hear me out.”

Kid: “I guess…”

Me: “Link me to your ID connect, we don’t arouse any attention in this place, I leave and you enjoy your drinks…  Matterfact, next one on me.”

Kid: “Fine”

     Apparently one of his classmates in the dorm has everything needed to make a real-looking ID, generally enough to pass the muster of a perfunctory glance of a doorman at a club or bar.  That is all I would need to make my next move.

     Once I had secured the ID, I sought on the interwebs to find locations that did prison outreach.  What I found was basically an organization that establishes relationships with imprisoned individuals who were either out of town and therefore away from or otherwise estranged from their families.  Usually the estrangement was due to a family distancing themselves from a locked-away individual in a fucked up ends of disowning.  When they established enough of a relationship with a single facility and could arrange it, they arranged group sessions with inmates who could earn them on good behavior.
Rather than walking into the front door of a prison and hoping for a meeting and thereby having to face a possible background check to find that Moe Phillips doesn’t exist, I let the organization’s cred get me into the building another way.  THEY would come fully vetted and trusted, but would also have fewer tools to smoke out just who this Moe guy is.

     … now for the "time off" thing…
I had embedded myself with a church group and had been corresponding with a couple of inmates, just kinda shooting the shit and offering a couple bucks here and there on books and whatnot.  The group felt I had done enough over the time to be invited on their next trip to visit one of the facilities.
They took us to a medium custody facility, meaning we would be around people who may have nonviolent drug charges up to thefts and assaults and the likes but no murderers.

     We went over on a Friday. I took the day off and met the group at the church, twelve of us went over in a van.  When we arrived, they looked over our identifications and patted us down for contraband, but nothing more intrusive than the dogs wandering around.  We were ushered down a long hall through a series of doors to an open room with twenty two chairs in a circle with one in the middle.  Twelve for us, ten for the inmates., the middle one was for the pastor who had organized the program  There were stations in each corner and next to the door for the prison guards to be ready for any “just in case” scenarios.

     We waited off to the side while the gentlemen we visited came into the room.  Smiles and handshakes, a lot of familial exchanges of finally putting faces with names.  Everyone made it to their seats and each person was asked to introduce themselves to the rest of the visitors.  It was a big-ass “getting to know you” until the church leader guy seated in the middle started to ask the inmates if they had anything to offer as to what got them on the inside.

     One young man, had to be no older than 21, raised his hand and then stood up…

“Man, all I ever knew was gang life…  My big brother and cousins, nig--…  sorry, people, from the neighborhood?  It was everywhere, you were either assumed to be gang or you was like a book nerd or athlete, and I can’t run or jump for shit.”

He and everyone kind of chuckled.  He continued…

“So one day, I am 17 years old, right?  One of my BEST friends gets popped basically just for walking alone on the wrong street in the wrong colors.  Sad, but that’s what happens sometimes.
Well we at the service and the church is, like, PACKED.  Family is in there, people I never seen before, people from the set and folks I ASSUME was family.
There was a dude standing up behind the service, right where everybody could see, flinging his hands all over the place.  His shirt and tie was the wrong colors for the person whose funeral it is was at.”

Oh fuck…  I know where this is going.  He continued…

“Me and this dude grew up together.  I ain’t know that like five people in his family was deaf and needed a sign language interpreter!”

Me: *snicker*

Preacher: “God bless you, brotha”

Me: “Thanks”

He wasn’t done…

“… on top of that, I ain’t have a fuckin’ clue what sign language really was until I got here.  So here I am, sitting in the funeral of one of my closest homies and it look to me like this man is throwing signs on us like he teasing my dead friend IN HIS OWN FUNERAL!  I lost it, I jumped up out my seat and just started beating on dude right there in the church.  It was almost like I had, like a kind of superhuman power and nobody could pull me off of him.
He pressed charges and by the time the DA added in my gang involvement, I been in here for almost four years now, I hope I can be home by 2025.”

Me: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”

Preacher: “Sir!”

Me (gasping): “Y’all HEAR this shit?  You playin’ right?”

Preacher: “We are better than this.”

Me: “Nah, but list--…”

Preacher: “Get him the fu--…  get him outta here!”

[Phlip note: Marian always told me I could make a preacher cuss]

     I was ushered from my seat, back up that series of long-ass hallways before they gave me a bottle of water and told me that I would have to wait in the van for the meet-and-greet to conclude.
Lucky for me, we had left our phones in the van so the hour-and-a-half was not completely unbearable.

     When the group finally got back to the van, the preacher asked me to sit up front with him.  I was told that in no uncertain terms was Mr. Moe Phillips to be allowed anywhere near his program again, and that word would be spread to others in the area that they should do the same.

So here I am…  Grand-ass plans to clear my--…  err, Moe’s name and I somehow keep managing to fuckin’ burn it down at every juncture…
Fuck.

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