Every morning, as the sun begins to climb over the walls of USP Leavenworth, illuminating the desolate and despairing prison yard, an army of cats stand guard. Not all necessarily united either, for there is a lot of territorial claims and in-fighting between them. However, they are all loyal to their leader: the Killer China Man.
A man who speaks very little English and lives a secluded life at Leavenworth. Rumor ahs it that he not only killed his entire family with a machete, but attempted to feed their diced up bodies to his cats before the authorities foiled his plan and put him under arrest. Well, as you can imagine, the Killer China Man was quite ecstatic to arrive at Leavenworth and discover the large population of cats that have been living their for nearly a century.
With that said, it goes without saying that these are not your ordinary house or farm cats. They are straight killers. There is a reason that birds are afraid to land on the prison grounds. Adapting to the harsh and cruel environment they have been brought up in since birth, they have fully assimilated into the prison culture. So it is wise advise not to mess with them.
Everyone seems to love these cats, even though the pungent smell of their urine dominates the nasal cavities of every being in the area. Look, you can’t even go outside without having the smell contaminate you. Forcing you to wash your clothes right way, just to escape the nasal torture. But that’s what you get when you have generations of cats, totaling in the tens of thousands over a century, urinating on every square inch of the prison.
Nonetheless, like I was saying, everyone still loves these cats. So much so, that back in the day, when the administration threatened to take all of the cats, the inmates threatened to kill one guard for every cat they removed. Moreover, they are so adored, that they all have names. From Buck-Meow, Tiger and Shank, to Simbah and Thor. Better yet, they all have their own little houses. All made of wood, with their own little garage and perched just three feet off the ground.
Like I mentioned earlier, these cats are extremely territorial and guard their houses with their life. Rarely leaving the area, unless they move in a group. It is so peculiar to watch. I mean, that is why this blog is entitled Booker Paradox, for my world is such. Now, although the inmates adore the cats, the cats do not adore most of the inmates. They do their best to stay out of the way and mind their own. Doing whatever cats do. The only person they get close to and trust, is the Killer China Man.
Every morning, right before the yard opens, the guards let him out to feed the cats. Sometimes he will bring out donated tuna and mackerel, but most of the time it is just regular cat food that the guards have purchased. Something I have witness for the first time when I was forced to go to medical after I got some rat shit in my eye (true story that I will tell another time), and as I was walking out of the medical building, I saw him approach one of the cat houses.
And there they were. Waiting patiently for their master, their leader to come out. As he filled up one of the bowls, at one of the houses, he perched down on the ground, and let the cats rub up against him and continued to pet them affectionately. Just seven more houses to go, I thought. This is a routine he repeats every night after dinner, so considering it caught my attention, I decided to look out for him in the evening.
Like clockwork, the Killer China Man came out and made his rounds. Feeding each and every cat, as well as proving them with some affection. All of which made me really curious. How can this man be so affectionate towards these cats, yet he decided to kill his entire family? Maybe this is a philosophical question just too far above my head. But I wanted to know! I am an extremely curious individual, and sometimes my curiosity will lead me astray.
Therefore, I decided that I had to befriend him. I mean, this man had to have some sort of compassion to come out here every single day and feed these cats. Does he regret killing his family? Maybe it would be a bad idea to approach him, bit I thought screw it, the man is almost sixty years old, I could probably take him on in a fight. But he is Chinese … I wonder if he knows karate?
He sure has aged really well. Look, I know those were absurd thoughts, but they were real. This is prison. You cannot under estimate anyone! After seeing a midget beat up a grown man (don’t forget to read that post), and a small 120lb dude knockout a giant, I feel like anything can happen. I already do a good job of staying vigilant and staying on top of the chaos, so I feel confident.
After a day of walking the track, I caught a glimpse of the Killer China Man walking with a tennis racket on his shoulder. How perfect, I thought. I love tennis, and that would be my opportunity to get to know this guy and break the ice. I say it that way, for you can’t just go up to people and ask them why they are here. That is almost a direct challenge, depending on the circumstances.
It would be different if he were my race, or from my state, but considering he didn’t fit the latter I had to slowly work the answer to my curiosities out of him. At the time, he was approaching one of the cat houses that was directly behind me. So I figured I would catch him right in between the track and the cat house, and challenge him to a game of tennis. For prison tennis is always interesting. Just as I started to approach him, we locked eyes. I clenched my fist, getting ready to give him a fist bump and he tenses up. I raise my arm, and ….
Say on the lookout next for “Part 2: China Man, Cat Army And A Tennis Game.” You won’t want to miss out. So if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to join our Facebook group by clicking the Facebook icon at the top left hand side of the page, so you can get updates every time we release a new post. If you would like to ask for something from me directly, feel free to write me a letter at:
Brett Booker, (26772-047), C-Unit
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1000
Sandstone, MN 55072
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