Elzie Hooks, Jr.






As a meditationist, my works on loneliness and the imagination highlight the power of feeling alone and the sorrow of what should have been.


This is my recollection of schooling a young man on how to do time in prison. He had to learn to do time or it would do him. The names may not be true to protect the convicted.

The cell door opened, a quick glance at the clock showed roughly 1:00 AM.

Officer: Hooks, this is your new cellie.

– A young man of about 5 feet, 135lbs with uncombed curly hair and a ruddy face walked in the cell carrying bedding and a laundry bag full of clothing and personal things.

Elzie: What’s your name and where are you coming from?

Youngster: Aaron, K- Unit

– He’ d turned 18 years of age on the juvenile unit and now had to moved to the main yard.

Elzie: Turn the light on. Set your stuff in the corner and make your bed, we’ll talk in the morning. Are you one of those crazy youngsters?

Aaron: Hell no!

Elzie: How much time do you have?

Aaron: 30 years at 85%; it’s a guilty plea.

Elzie: You have more than 25 years to do and it can be done the easy way or the hard way. If these rules are followed, you will avoid most of the madness in this place.

  1. Don’t barrow what can’t be paid back.
  2. Don’t gamble what can’t be covered.
  3. What you see was not seen.
  4. What you hear was not heard.
  5. What you learn about others you don’t know.
  6. Don’t comprise the cell with contraband.

Elzie: Do you have family who will send you money?

Aaron: Yes

Elzie: Take your initial monies and buy everything you’ll need: T.V., Radio, Fan, Hot Pot, Ice Chest, Sweatsuit, Athletic shoes and shorts and a watch. Are you gay?

Aaron: No

Elzie: Buzzards are going to approach you offering their help. They are wolves in sheep clothing and will steal your manhood faster than lighting strikes. You entrap yourself by accepting their offerings. Then they’ll use finesse, debt, intimidation and physical force to turn you out.

– The young man easily made friends because of a winsome personality. He earned a GED and got a good job at The Oklahoman Corrections Industries.

Aaron: Hooks, I showed the guys my girl’s picture and they said that she is gone. What do you think?

Elzie: Those dudes are talking about their ex’s, some females stay down with their guy. We call them riders and you may have one.

– They were right she was probably gone and he would discover it in the most unfortunate way. But for now, he was not ready for the truth. Then COVID 19 invaded the prison and we went on full lock down.

Aaron: How are we going to take showers on lock down?

Elzie: You’ll see later.

– Later that evening I stretched tied boot strings together, at shoulder length, across the cell enclosing the bathroom area. A towel was put on the floor and a bath was taken.

Elzie: Okay youngster – you’re up. Put a towel on the floor and stand on it. Take everything off except your undergarment. Wash your upper body, the middle section- in side the boxers- and legs. Take your time and wash off the soap, the towel will catch the water. You keep on boxers to prevent being charged with exposing your self should an officer look in the cell window.

He received COVID money from the government and went bananas, the power to buy anything on the yard was now his.The cell door opened around 1:00 AM, an officer slowly walked in.

Officer: Aaron, don’t move. – I looked up and saw three officers; this was no routine visit. Aaron was taken to the shower to be searched and a struggle ensued. He tried to destroy what they came for and was taken to lock up. They charged him with Assault on Correctional Officer and Possession of a electronic devise. The youngster had been contacting his girlfriend via social media and that day she alerted the officials that he had a cell phone. They came to the cell knowing what was there. Yes, baby was officially gone and what a way for him to find out.