This afternoon I pay my first visit to the library. When I say ‘library’, I mean three cells whose connecting walls have been knocked down and approximately two thousand books placed inside. The preponderance of the reading material – detective stories and Westerns. The three cons who run the library are overtly homosexual, and all three are in for drugs. One of them, Jerry, seems to know who I am, and is extremely helpful while I look for books that have not been masturbated into. He tells me that most books are ‘damaged’ through masturbation, although there is nothing in their content to induce such reactions. ‘I guess people in here just hate books,’ is the way Jerry explains the phenomenon. My reaction is to say that it’s better than burning them, but not by much. I take out a long, out-of-print book on the history of the world, and thank Jerry for the tips he gave me. Upon returning to my cell and being locked up, I am informed that tomorrow I’m being moved to C-wing, to a cell of my own as befits the orderly of the gym. I am beside myself with anticipation and happiness, as the Loon’s night-time habits are becoming intolerable.
Taki, Nothing to Declare (52)