Non-Fiction

slushpileThe description of my literary nonfiction treatment of prison: Any Day Now (Travels Through the Criminal Justice System). 

A lawyer sucked into a Kafkaesque financial debacle is arrested, convicted, shuffled off to ten prisons in five states over four and a half years until he sues for release and is evicted from prison by emergency court order.

Ten prisons, five states, 30 cells, 8 weeks in the hole, 7 dorms, 853 miles, 1,682 days. ‘Lawyer guy’, ‘Bird’, ‘Ro-dog’, ‘Hate Monger’, ‘Red’, ‘Professor’, a half-dozen more nicknames. Six fights (5-0-1), a dozen or so confrontations, ten thousand jump-shots, and hundreds of unsolicited clients – inmate and staff alike.

That lawyer, of course, is me. I went from running a somewhat successful solo practice, baseball coach, rugby/soccer player, husband, father of three, to just another broke guy, busted, and forced to fend for himself in the ‘backstairs justice system’. That’s the system for those who can’t post bail; wait for court hearings chained in courthouse basements; marinate in pre-trial detention under lockdown conditions; endure fourteen hour court trips packed in like cattle for thirty second hearings; are forced to calculate the archaic mathematics of plea deals; end up serving time in high, medium, and low security prisons while missing out on the camps.

I survived because I have an innate ability to shoot a basketball (that explains the ‘Bird’ nickname, Larry forgive me), played 16 years of First Division Rugby and was pretty inured to violence, and I was a lawyer who was willing to listen at least a little.

Any Day Now, however, isn’t so much a memoir as a travelogue of my journeys through virtually every level of the judicial system, the people and cultures I encountered, the stories shared – some forcefully – by those I encountered alone the way.

So, it’s a little bit of my story and a lot of the Pacing Kurdwpid-Photo-20141020133403.jpg, gangs, The Underwear Bandit, mindless bureaucracy, Booblehead, sex, What if Bo Where One of Us, culture, Santa and the Count, the Sentient Zombie Space Pig, power, crime, The George Castanza Paradox, food, religion, education, ‘The World’s Most Interesting Felon,’ solitary, The ‘Blow” Guy, much more.

Along the way, it can’t help but be the story of the criminal justice system, from every angle, every perspective.

Any Day Now is not just about prisons or inmates; psychotic guards or smug bureaucrats; politicians or bad laws; myopic prosecutors or burned-out defenders; justice or incomprehensible court decisions; fairness or abuse of power; crime, punishment, or – most certainly – rehabilitation.

It’s not a ‘how to survive in prison’ manual; ‘hey, look at all these colorful/terrifying characters’ study; ‘fish out of water’ tale; ‘I went to prison and found God/Allah/Christ/Buddha/Odin/Capitalism’ tome of redemption; tirade against the prison industrial complex; or a hundred other things.
It is about my journey into, through, and out of ‘the system,’ my almost Pyrrhic court victory, people – good, bad, ugly, insane, amoral, pious, violent, helpful, asinine, stupid, brilliant, predatory, power mad, cowering, accepting, vengeful – and the startlingly corrupt system that’s remarkably all over the news right now.
Any Day Now draws parallels between prison and society and current events while it indicts the ‘system’ without preachiness. Funny, sad, visceral, visual, disturbing, infuriating, and, maybe, subtlety redemptive.

2 thoughts on “Non-Fiction

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