Gang of One: One Man's Incredible Battle to Find His Missing
birds living against the backdrop of barbed wire fencing and all these caged men. ‘What you looking at, cabrone ?’ said the white nutcase, in English this time, again moving uncomfortably close to me.
    ‘That,’ I said, pausing briefly as I shifted the pillows and blankets to my other hand so I could point at the bird house. It appealed to my sense of irony that the birds would hang out here, in this place. Maybe they wanted to see humans caged, because we did it to them so often. This distraction seemed to work, as Spiderman had stopped in his tracks with me and was looking at the bird house like it had just miraculously appeared. Making the most of the opportunity, I strode on quickly and, as I had imagined I might do many times when I thought about this moment, I repeated some of the words from Psalm 23 over and over again in my head:
    ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.’
    And comfort me it did as it carried me across the rest of that Yard into the promised land of Sunset. A few people in the Yard kept calling out to me and asking questions – mainly, to my mounting discomfort, questions about life in Pollock prison – but the shouts started to blend into each other and I didn’t hear them the same way any more. Thankfully, most of the onlookers quickly lost interest and got back to doing, well, seemingly nothing. As I got closer I noticed that I’d picked up an audience at some of the windows, each member of it assessing the new guy, each wondering whether or not I’d crack, survive or end up as someone’s bitch. They were probably already aware that my name was ‘Scotland’ or ‘Escosais’, as I was never known as anything else from that day forward.

6
    SCOTLAND, SOUTH DAKOTA
    S TEPPING INTO SUNSET FELT LIKE STEPPING into a sports arena minutes before kick-off. There were inmates everywhere, queuing for the phone, queuing to use what looked like a little microwave area, and cramming into a tiny room that housed a TV. Everyone seemed to be moving about frantically as if the day was about to end. It felt like there was some air-conditioning, but it was stifling hot and there seemed to be little oxygen in there as I stepped into the chaos. Ahead of me, and right across from the entrance to Sunset, was a small office with two officers sitting, seemingly oblivious to the bedlam outside.
    I knocked on the door. They ignored me. I knocked again, and one of them looked over then ignored me again. I stood for a minute feeling like a dick in my baggy clothing. Then, impatient to get into the relative privacy of a cell, I knocked for a third time and then just opened the door and poked my head in.
    ‘I’m a new prisoner,’ I said, instantly regretting the use of the word ‘prisoner’.
    ‘And?’ said the guard who had glanced over at me earlier. He was mid twenties maybe, fit and trim with the sort of tremendous handlebar moustache rarely seen since the days of the Village People.
    ‘I was told to report to you,’ I offered.
    ‘And now you have,’ said Village People, and turned back to his conversation with the other officer, who still hadn’t even so much as turned around and looked at me. I hesitated.
    ‘Yes?’ Mr Handlebars snapped, sounding put out that I was still there.
    ‘I was wondering where I am supposed to go.’
    ‘What bunk number?’ he asked, sighing.
    ‘Bunk 003U, Range 4,’ I replied smartly, feeling like I might have just passed some prison initiation test. Terminating the discussion, Village People just pointed over my left shoulder and went back to his discussion with the faceless officer. Picking my way carefully through the inmates, I walked out of the office, passing the small TV room – one TV with about thirty-five seats I noted – then a small kitchen in which I counted three microwaves and a large sink. I was surprised I was allowed to walk through all the

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