The Desperation of Incarceration

Paul Newman from Film Cool Hand Luke~ June 15, 1967

Captain: What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men, you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week — which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it.

October at the supermarket is another routine that brings to our home good cooking, comfort, and kitty treats.

Like most Tuesdays I hit my local Ralph’s for round sushi bowls, a slice of cheesecake and did I mention the kitty treats.

Something was off this morning. As I grabbed my old sturdy cotton Trader Joe’s bags, I saw a guy standing at the curve before the entrance to the market. He was not moving and standing there like a Praying Mantis on a rosemary branch.

I was near him now. Looking around I saw no cars crossing. I walked quietly past him.

As I grabbed my shopping cart, I looked up to see he was still there. Slightly bent to the right but focused forward.

I thought to myself,

“Maybe he thinks he is invisible or maybe he is waiting for someone?”

He was all alone by himself.

I then went into the market. As I walked down a few grocery lanes he slowly passed me by. He walked slowly without a cart. One time he stood in front of me. Still standing with a slight bend to the right side. I said,

“Go ahead.”

He replied while looking down with the sweetest young voice,

“No please you go ahead.”

He had a t-shirt on with shorts and sported tattoos. I walked by him and as I passed a strange familiar desperate darkness was visible to me as I walked through it. I wanted to cry. I know that desperate feeling.

I walked forward and turned down the lane towards the front of the market. Then I saw some black boots and gazed upwards to see a guard standing about 6 feet 5 inches tall in front of me.

He was standing there transfixed on the lane ahead of me. His gun in holster.

I heard the movement of his leather belt and shoes as he walked. In slow motion. Moving as the other strange man moved.

I then realized he was following this man through the store as music danced from the PA and people walked around unaware.

It was as if I was watching two animals in nature. One the predator and one the victim.

I felt a wave of possible assault that I had avoided.

 At the deli I thought to myself,

“Something does not feel right?”

Before this I did notice a strange orange bus van in front of the market to my sideways glance before entering the market.

After ordering some food. The darkness lifted and both men were gone. As I went outside the orange bus van was gone as well.

I was witness to something dark and frightening as well as desperate. As what could have happened but did not. A desperation of incarceration.

Maybe an unsuccessful escape? A prison guard targeting a bird like a cat would. I felt deep grief for this young man. As I drove safely home, I thought upon how the young man bent to the right side.

His quietness and subtle sweet voice touched me. I was stuck with grief again. I reflected on the film Cool Hand Luke.

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