Week 17 2006
April 24, 2006
When I first heard the new "Red Hot Chili Pepper's" song, "Dani California", I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Now I love it! Like a handful of other bands from their era, they continue to-put out great music, I'm really impressed by their longevity........The first time I heard their music was around 1992 when I was living in Cloverleaf, a run-down neighborhood on the east side of Houston. I was hanging out with my then best friend, Justin Lee, at his house when Shannan Becker walked up singing,"Take me to the place I love, take me all the way, I don't ever wanna feel, like I did that day!" We were sitting on his porch watching her tread his lawn in long strides, wearing tight cut-off shorts and a "Guns-n-Roses" T-shirt.
"Who sings that?" Justin asked.
"I don't know." I replied.
"Red Hot Chili Peppers, dummies!" His younger sister Amy exclaimed in a disgusted voice as she burst from the house. "Don't you idiots listen to the radio?"

Shannan climbed the steps onto the porch, sat next to me on the swing and said, "It's called 'Under The Bridge', it's a beautiful song.”

Amy went back inside to get her radio and plugged it into the outside socket. She told us that they've been playing it a hundred times a day and that we'd hear it before nightfall. It was late in the day so we decided to hang out and see if we could catch it. I didn't mind, Shannan was smoking hot and I quite liked her sitting so close to me! :-) It's weird because she wasn't as good looking a year or so before, but she blossomed into one of the most beautiful girls in the neighborhood after puberty. The once pigtailed, four-eyed girl that we used to poke fun at had become the source of our desires and she knew it. A couple of months later she became my girlfriend, but I blew it (long story) a week into the relationship. A few years later I ran into her at her aunt's house (my family had been close to hers for years, that's how I met her) and she was stunningly gorgeous. She could tell I was captivated by her appearance and she teased, "Bet you wish you hadn't screwed things up between us, huh?!" All I could do was smile and nod in agreement. Anyhow, I digress. We finally caught that Chili Pepper's song and I instantly fell in love with it. They rock!

I began reading a novel today, it's called "Brimstone," by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Since I am going to be writing my autobiography over the next few months, I guess I'll only read leisurely (fiction) when I'm not writing. Non-fiction requires too much concentration to read while tackling such a project as my life story. This novel looks like it'll be pretty good, it has received rave reviews.

It looks like I'll be finished polishing up my outline by tomorrow. I've pretty much changed the entire format to accommodate online readers, but without taking away from the essence of my story. If everything goes according to plan I'll begin writing the actual text Wednesday, possibly tomorrow night. I'm excited about this endeavor.

Everything is operating as usual around here. We got our hygiene last night and they told us that we'd continue getting it on Sundays, The guy who told us that Tuesdays would be the regular day for receiving it obviously doesn't have a clue. Laters.

April 25, 2006
Today was a productive one. I woke up around 8am and read about 30 pages of Brimstone, then I resumed working on my outline. By 3:30pm I was completely finished with it and it's safe to say that I am 100% satisfied with it. I'd planned on writing on the Preface tonight, but I went to rec (outside) at 4:10pm and stayed out there until close to 7pm. After I had showered and washed clothes it was past 8pm, so I decided to wait until tomorrow to start on it. We go out first in the morning so I should be back in the house by 9am and I'll have the entire day to work.

They moved one of the Texas 7 over here tonight. They move those guys once a week on average and have been doing it like that since they arrived on the row. I wouldn't want to move every week; having to clean these cells thoroughly every week, not to mention packing and unpacking your property each time you move, would be a bitch. I clean a cell thoroughly (scrub the walls, bunk, floor, locker, desk, and stainless steel) when I first move in and I might do that once every-couple of months afterwards. There’s no real need to clean the locker and walls weekly unless you get them dirty somehow. I do clean the steel, floor, and bunk 3 times a week, as I've mentioned previously. I digress though. They moved Randy of the infamous Texas 7 over here tonight. I'm glad they moved him over here, he and I have developed a nice rapport since he arrived on the row. He's a cool dude, just got caught up in the drama of life, as did most of us. It's just too bad he didn't get moved over here a couple of weeks ago, I'm way too busy right now for any extensive conversations! I'm totally dedicated to my writing, at least 5-8 hours per day, until I am finished with my story. We'll find some time to kick it up though. We'll probably get outside Friday or Saturday. Welp, I'm about to get ready to crash out, I'll holler at ya'll tomorrow.

April 26, 2006
Sleep eluded me last night. I laid down just past 11:30pm, tossed and turned for a couple of hours thinking about my past (in preparation for my autobiography), and slept lightly until past 3am. I tried to force myself back to sleep; but failed miserably, Thoughts of my childhood, misadventures, life in prison, and everything in between flooded my mind and I couldn't quiet them for the life of me, so I got out of bed and tried to work on my story. That didn't work out very well, so I picked up Brimstone and read until shift change. They told me I was heading out to rec first round, as I expected, and I got ready for that. I was out in the dayroom for about an hour when all of a sudden a wave of drowsiness washed over me. I'd climbed the dayroom bars in order to talk to a friend who lives on two row, and I was telling a story about an incident that occurred while I was level 3 last year, when the lethargic feeling swept over me and I almost fell off the bars.
"Damn, dude, are you alright?!" My friend worried.
"I didn't get much sleep last night," I explained. "After breakfast, which I didn't even eat, I couldn't get back to sleep."
"Well tell 'em to take you back to the cell, I don't want you killing yourself in my dayroom I got enough shit in my brain I can't forget as it is!" He joked.

I did a few pull-ups and push-ups to get my blood circulating in hopes of catching a second wind. It wasn't what I aimed for, but I felt slightly reinvigorated and grinded out the rest of my rec walking around the dayroom. They brought the chow cart onto the pod before I left rec and I saw that it was some slop, so I went straight to sleep as soon as I returned to my house. I dreamt that I was high atop a tree with climbing spurs on my feet, safety belt around my waist, several ropes tied to the tree and me, and my brother was below me shouting up instructions to bring the tree down piece by piece. I was shaking a bit, unsure how to proceed, but my brother reassured me, "Stay focused little brother, you're doing just fine. You got your monkey-fist tied properly?"
"Yeah, I got it right." I answered.
"Okay, it's a piece of cake from here, just tie the slip knot I taught you around the branch over these good folk's home and I'll send the saw up to you to make the cut.
"Alright, I think I got it, let's rock-n-roll." I made the correct knots and cuts after I pulled the saw up and I began maneuvering around to another spot to fall another limb when I accidentally cut my safety rope with the saw that I should've clipped to my belt. I fell from the tree and woke up just before I landed on the ground below.

What could the dream mean? I've been focused on the past in order to write my story so the whole scene is reflective of that (we used to run a tree service), but I think there's a deeper meaning. I wasn't the climber in our tree service, my brother was. He was teaching me, and I have climbed several easy trees, but nothing like the one from the dream. So I was out of my element in the dream. Am I out of my element trying to write about my life? Does the monstrous tree represent the huge endeavor I've set out to accomplish? And was my fall a harbinger to what's ahead of me? Am I about to fall flat on my face and make a mockery out of myself and my family? Well, I'm not sure about that, but I am afraid a little. I have to remain focused. This isn't about me or my family really. This is about possibly reaching out and helping someone who might be headed down the wrong path. I think I'm more afraid of botching this and sending out a wrong message to my targeted audience than I am misrepresenting myself or my family. I mustn't lose sight of what's most important.

April 27, 2006
It's a beautiful day outside and in. I went out first round again so I could get outside with a friend and it was nice and cool when we got out there., just like I like it. I'm the kind of guy who'd rather it be cold than hot. You can always add a layer of clothing in here if it gets too chilly, but when it gets really hot in these cells there isn't much you can do to avoid the heat. If I were free and had access to air-conditioners, swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans I'd change my tune. The heat and humidity are inescapable from these cells though. Anyhow, the sky is blue and gray, the sun is out, the birds are at play, and the atmosphere of the pod is nonchalant; this is my kind of day. This morning we were informed that our outgoing mail will be picked up by the second shift officers from now on. Ever since I've been here the mailroom ladies have picked it up between 6:00 - 7:30am. This new change has some of us a little alarmed because the COs now have more access to our outlet to the world and might be tempted to abuse their power. I've lived on units where the officers have picked up our mail the way they are about to here and have experienced problems on a couple of occasions, but not as many as some of these guys think could occur here. You never know though. I have decided to log the names of the officers working the pod on nights that I send out mail. If something happens to one of my letters, I will know who had their hands on it. Let's just hope nothing ever happens to any of my letters, I have absolutely no tolerance for such things. I don't expect to encounter any difficulty.

April 28, 2006
I'm tempted to shift my schedule over to the night shift. There are a lot of distractions during the day: guys in the dayroom release steam by hollering when they talk, the officers walking the runs think slamming the gates and doors gives them special powers, your associates ask you silly questions because they haven't anything better to do, and it all works to draw your attention away from whatever it is you may be doing. From midnight until 6am, shift change, it's usually very quiet, you can get a lot of work done during those hours. The only problem with changing over to the night shift is, well, just what I mentioned above. It's really noisy during the day and it's tough to get any good sleep. Even if you wear earplugs and turn your fan on to drown out the noise you still have to get up to eat lunch and dinner, go to rec (if you so desire), and shower. These are every day things. Some days you might be awakened by commissary, being notified that you have a visit, a medical appointment, or a random cell search. I've been on the night shift many times and it's always hard to get good sleep every day.

So I have a dilemma. Do I switch over to nights and sacrifice my sleep, which is essential to me not being a grouch ;-) , or do I remain on the day shift and just plod along through all the distractions? Both options leave something to be desired, but I guess the latter is the more practical of the two, so I'll probably just grind it out this way.

I missed rec today, just didn't feel like getting out of bed first round. The devil tricked me into drinking some coffee yesterday (I totally fell off the wagon!) and I stayed up past 2am as a result, so there was no way I was going to rec. No, I don't believe in the devil either! That's mythology, nothing more. There's no such a thing as heaven or hell (unless you want to call the earth hell?) in my opinion, and there's no devil. Although it is rather inviting to have someone to blame all of our impulses and negative inclinations on! Yeah, that's right, the devil made me do it, I swear! :-) Oh you religious zealots/fanatics who interpret your myths literally, you best thank your lucky stars that I'm not in a polemical mood tonight! Actually, I haven't been in such a mood in quite some time, I'm learning to do away with childish games. Believe what you want people, don't mind me, I'm just here for the show!

April 29, 2006
I'm back on track. This morning I arose just before 8am and I have been up and active all day, so my schedule is back to the way I want it. After I surfaced from the realm of archetypes, metaphors, and symbols, I read some more of Brimstone (it's getting GOOD!), then I wrote a couple of letters. A little past noon the officer working the pod asked me if I'd like to go outside and I agreed. They told me I wasn't going out until after 2pm, so in the interim I finish a letter that I’d started and read some more of Brimstone.

They put me outside with a friend of mine and we did some pull-ups together, played a few games of basketball, then conversed about psychology, modem physics, metaphysics, and even philosophy. He's a huge fan of Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy. I've read some of his work so I was able to hang with him, especially when he began talking about, "The Genealogy of Morals", which was written in 1887. An illuminating read indeed. Anyhow, I always enjoy speaking with this guy, he's exceedingly bright with a sense of humor, what more can you ask for when it comes to conversation?

I'm not sure if I wrote this down in my journal, but I won't be writing personal letters during the weekdays until I finish my autobiography. I'll reserve personal writing for weekends only. During the week I want to focus entirely on my autobiography, but I'll continue writing journal entries.

After rec I made me something to eat. The food on the last chow tray (tuna surprise; don't even ask about the surprise! ;-) ) wasn't enough to satisfy my hunger, I needed to hook up a real meal: chili without beans, chopped up beef summer sausage, cajun chicken soup, corn chips, chopped up pickles and peppers, and a squirt of squeeze cheese! Now I'm satisfied.

They showered me on second shift and afterwards I started this entry. It's almost 8pm and I think I'll get ready for some comedy. A couple of episodes of, "That 70's Show” are about to come on; it's time to laugh it up with Foreman and all his pals! ;-)

April 30, 2006
Four years ago today a jury of my “peers ”answered three questions in such a way that my district judge was required to sentence me to die. They make it sound like the jury doesn't actually sentence you to die, but they do because if they answer the special issue questions in a certain order, then the judge must impose the sentence of death, no exceptions.

In the punishment phase of a capital murder trial in Texas the jury is presented with the following questions:
#1) Did the defendant knowingly and intentionally commit murder?
#2) Is the defendant a continuing threat to society?(future dangerousness issue) and
#3) Is there any mitigating evidence that would warrant a life sentence rather than a death sentence?
If the jury answers in a "Yes, Yes, No" sequence, then the judge sentences you to die. Any other combination of answers means you get a capital life sentence,

It took my jury almost two days to find me guilty of capital murder.(That's actually quite long here in the lone star state.) When they deliberated over my punishment, it took them about two and a half hours. I recall sitting in the courtroom at a polished, woodgrain table with my lawyers and their assistant, while the jury decided my fate in the next room. My lawyer had his laptop computer with him and he was showing me what the internet was all about because I was locked up when it came out, or when it became popular. What an amazing invention. He let me play a couple of games that he had on his laptop, which was totally cool of him. I got bored with that so I made the people in the audience feel awkward by staring at them! :-) Most of them were TDCJ employees and media so it was kinda funny to me. They were all there to hear the judge sentence me to die anyhow, I figured they should get a good look at my face.

At 3:10pm the bailiff informed the judge that the jury had reached a verdict, so the judge told him to bring them into the courtroom. The stands immediately filled with spectators and the jury was ushered back to their seats.

Everyone in the courtroom was told to rise as the judge read the verdict. I was tempted to just stay seated because I knew the verdict and I wanted to show the judge (who'd been blatantly ruling against me, ignoring the law, throughout the entire trial) that I had absolutely no respect for him, but I stood up next to my lawyers and stoically listened the judge.

"In response to special issue number one, the jury answered “yes”, to question two ”yes”, and to question three, “no”. Thank you for your service members of the jury, you may be excused if you like."

The judge then looked directly at me and formally sentenced me to death by lethal injection. He suspended that sentence until the appeal process runs out. My lawyer patted me on the shoulder and told me it would be okay, that we'd appeal it and fight them, but I just sat back down and waited for the officers to get organized so they could escort me back to my cell. I did tell him that I appreciated all of his hard work on my case and thanked him for some other things that he did for me. Despite the fact that I was convicted and sentenced to die, that dude represented me better than most attorneys could or would. He fought for me, but people really aren't trying to hear it unless you're famous or filthy rich. If the state focuses on someone and thinks they have enough evidence to take it to trial, the jury usually reasons, "Well, all these nice looking representatives from the state can't be wrong, he must've did it." That's how so many people get found guilty. Not based on evidence, but based on a fundament - a fallacy in reasoning.

I'm not at all worried about where I'm at or where I'm headed any longer. I realize that the chances of me seeing age 30 are slim to none. I enter the federal courts in October and the average time a person remains on death row after that is two years. That's if the courts deny him relief. I don't want to spend the rest of my life worried about that, I'd rather relax and try to experience a higher state of consciousness, not to mention live life to the fullest, in the time I have left. Besides, death is inevitable anyways, no sense in fighting it. I'd like to live and gather more experiences on this plane of reality, but I won't miss out on this moment concerning myself with something I have absolutely no control over. Life's too short for that.

To take this discussion to another level, in my opinion death is just a stepping stone. Ontologically speaking, death is at the precipice of transcendence, the assimilation into the WHOLE. Occidentals say at death they are reunited with God, Easterns say they're reunited with the ONE. It's the same thing really, everyone just has a different label for it. The bottom line is that death isn't final like most people fear (despite having religious beliefs I might add), it's just a part of the cosmic cycle. Nothing ever really dies, it just transforms. So for me death isn't a bad thing, just another step towards my becoming. Got that? I hope so! :-) I'm just trying to express to the world that I see death as a transitory thing, not the end, and consequently I'm not afraid of it. When it's my time to go, I will catch up with you all on the next go round! In the interim I'm going to learn my lessons and enjoy life as best as I can.............

One day at a time,
Simple Man

Robert Pruett 999411, Polunsky Unit, 3872 FM 350 S., Livingston, TX, 77351, USA


Please take into consideration that inmates do not have access to the Internet. Any correspondence will be printed out and forwarded to Robert by mail. Please allow at least three weeks for Robert to respond and make sure to include a mail address where responses should be sent.