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Excerpt No. 1
from "An About Face."

Finally, I was awarded parole and transferred to another facility away from the intoxicating population of the Ramsey unit, Clear and the wiles of Lieutenant RideOut.

The dorm type facility where I lived was an inmate living area that housed outgoing offenders who had achieved good conduct records and had been granted early release.

My living quarters was a single, open type confinement resembling an office cubicle. I rebelled against the assigned housing at first because I didnít want to be alone, but after some real soul searching my conscience became quiet. I knew that I would be in trouble if I continued chasing my sexual desires for wasted moments of pleasure. So I stayed the course for three and a half years, having minimal sex with men, though I was often tempted not to do so.

With that temptation, I observed many men in my dorm area crawling around on the floor like rats to have sex in the middle of the night without getting caught at another manís bunk.

I really wanted to engage with this dude whoíd been staring at me during showers, but I denied myself of the pleasure and stayed the course by focusing on my artwork instead.

Before long, I was transferred to a six months therapeutic community program operated by T.D.C.J.I.D (Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institution Division) in Beaumont, Texas.

It was there that I learned to embrace my past behavior - my ugly side if you will - and confront it like Iíd never done before. I had to deny my flesh for once and for all and eradicate the sting of sexual desire until it had subsided to a point that I could control it.

I was celibate for over a one-year period. And let the truth be told. I struggled like hell to deny my sexual urges for the athletic thug- type dude, or for any physically attractive man for that matter. I needed to grow up and out of my self-inflicted defunct, and fast. Why? Because my life depended on it.

By the time I hit the streets of Houston, Texas, I was 44-years-old and still fit and celibate. I lived with my mother for a while and worked at a doctorís office before moving out of her house.

The doctor that I worked for, believed in giving ex-offenders a second chance at employment. I was grateful for that and his involvement with The Next Step program for ex-offenders.

But as my needs grew, I advanced to a much bigger role of responsibility in both my life and employment. I put my skills into practice and was hired to work for an internet design firm in downtown Houston that was also involved in Next Step program.

So buckle your literary seat belts and hold on for the ride of your life as you journey into a world full of mission and mystery, traveled only by the select few in the world who are longing for answers, assurance and purpose.

March 2005:

As usual, I arrived at Cyber-Works twenty minutes early. I sat down at my workstation enjoying a hot cup of Cafť Mocha from a downtown Starbucks located in one of the many underground shopping tunnels. When I sipped the hot java, I began to reminiscence about the day that I stepped off the steel steps of a stuffy and crowded Greyhound bus into downtown Houston. That was a little more than ten months ago, after my release from a Texas prison. Even though I was forty-plus, some say I didnít look a day over thirty. Prison life can do that to some people. Preserve them if they seek peace and not violence. I learned to shun the latter.

Spending over six years in that joint was a nearly unbearable lesson for me. I had to learn how to practice patience and tolerance toward those who were unlovable and unforgiving.

That same learning experience, which I call my ‘tools for survival’, has been put under the test of ignorance by an unforgiving society who has been blinded by their own unrealistic expectations of others. This is not a point of view, but a fact.

Being labeled an ex-offender or even an ex-convict is enough to make the reformed and mentally strong, second guess themselves. I must admit, I almost fell into that pit of criticism. Thatís when I realized that hurting people hurt other people, and there are a lot of hurting folk out here in the so-called free world. I refuse to live like that anymore. Pointing fingers, being prideful and desiring to hurt others, especially DL men.

There was a time in my life that I had almost despised DL men for introducing me into the life of same-gender loving. Back then, I showed no mercy toward those in that culture. I wanted to hurt them because I didnít want to admit that I was like them. I had no peace or rest in my soul, not even a hint of remorse covered me when I used and exploited them for my sexual pleasures.

Itís a new era for me now. Miguel Morris is indeed a changed man.

As I sat to my workstation replacing the mother-board of a Human Resource Managerís computer tower, I was mindful of how fortunate I was to be back in the land of the living. Itís ironic and still difficult for me to believe. In such a short time, Iíve excelled to the point of obtaining a good paying gig with a profitable and competitive firm.

So letís throw the notion out of the window that says “itís hard out here for an ex-con.” Thatís a lie from hell. Not only do I have a good job, but transportation and housing too. Did I mention a pre-owned sports sedan and an upscale apartment home in the Smithlands, near the Med Center neighborhood adjacent to Downtown?

The apartment was difficult to obtain at first due to my past criminal offense, but when I served the management with that phat check and six months paid in full, they sang a different tune. I knew that if it wasnít for that large down payment, Iíd be singing the jailhouse blues. No pun intended. Still, I know youíre probably wondering. Where did I get all that money in such a short time to pay for those luxuries? Itís called being proactive and holding onto your spoil, even if it was ill-gotten. Iím not bragging, but for those who are not familiar with me and my past, let me enlighten you a bit.

My big mistake and criminal element was bank robbery. Iíve never given any glamour to what I did. Not one iota of glory. My past behavior had only produced shame for me, not to mention for my family and friends. Even those who were not in my loop were affected by my past sick behavior.

Despite the fact, life wouldnít be complete without a little added drama—which some call trails. And mine were just about to begin.

My temptation wasnít the need to acquire drugs, alcohol or even material possessions. For me, the carnal desires came in the form of flesh and blood.

My presence at Cyber-Works Corp. seemed to be in jeopardy, and my position was being questioned by a few particulars within the company.

First of all, Cyber-Works Corp. is a local and exclusively profitable internet design firm that performs a variety of computer graphics work for medium to large national firms. Animation advertising, website design, software development and architectural visualizations are the companyís specialties.

I joined the company over five months ago, after my release from prison. I obtained it through the Next Step program, an organization tailored to assist ex-offenders find jobs that match their skill level with willing companies like Cyber-Works, who believe in giving second chances to those whoíd fallen short a time are two.

Cyber-Works is a deep pocketed company that invests in building prisons in Texas. So in my opinion, they are responsible for hiring the ex-offenders they employee in prison for twenty-five cents an hour when they are released. Iíd enhanced my electrical skills while in prison through the Windham Program and studied the computer repair curriculum that had readied me for a position like this.

My good friend, Felicia Henry, warned me about people like these co-workers of mine. She put it jokingly and said. ďIt could be raining men and I would be the one who would catch the punk.Ē Her statement was offensive at first, but I understood where she was coming from. Sometimes the very thing we try to avoid is the best thing kicking. For experience purposes only—of course.

Nonetheless, Carlton Fields is one of those self-centered, cocky experiences Iíd rather leave in my past. Heís a Business Development Manager here at Cyber-Works. I met him years ago prior to my incarceration. He was just a rep here at that time.

We met at a party in Mid-town, and even then he thought his crap didnít stink. He was just out for his own ‘thang’. Youíre probably familiar with this type of person. Heís the light skinned brother, standing six feet in stature, with the light eyes, wavy hair, and a body that will stop traffic.

Yeah, I went there and exposed his fresh squeezed, orange juice drinking ass. Still, thereís more to come concerning Carlton, I donít want to spoil the fun.

Letís get to his protťgť, Eva Taylor, who seems to despise the ground I walk on. At least the ground around her office space. She tries to play me with that cool demeanor of hers, but I can see the coldness in those black eyes of hers that wonít let her true feelings for me be mistaken.

Sheís an overly opinionated perfectionist whoís a Senior Sales Rep. Baby girl has no man, bad credit and no life considering she is all up in mined. Sheís the type of sister who will get loud with a man and do that neck-dance thing, getting all in a brotherís face then expecting him to accept that behavior.

Eva claims that she doesnít react to men, men react to her. Bull! Sheís all up in Carltonís mix and she is definitely a slave to his commands. Not to mention that she is seriously dedicated to this mysterious boss of hers, which concerns me most about her.

One thing Iíve learned about people like Eva, who strive for perfection—is that they are dangerous and desperate. They will lie, cheat, double-cross and even harm another just for validity sake.

Perhaps I brought this drama upon myself by taking interest in Evaís best friend Jasmine Higgins. Yeah, Iím seriously considering pursuing a relationship with a female. Men are running me batty as hell. Itís time for a different prospective. Still, I fear that margin of failure many DL men experience when they decide to get out of same-gender loving relationships.

It has never been about conversion for me, but reevaluation of self.

Jasmine doesnít know about my past or my incarceration experience, yet I have every intention of sharing that with her as I get to know her better in our relationship. Why? Because I wonít live a lie anymore. Besides, I got the big-eye out for her.

Sheís my flava and she has these Christian values I admire and cherish. She reminds me of my Ex, Latisha; whose Christian values were nil, Asian eyes luring and dogmatic attitude, harsh.

Still, Jasmine has that model look going on too, not exactly a Tyra Banks or Iman, but close. Sheís also a Computer Tech like me, whoís been with the company for a short while as well. Just two months longer than I have. We celebrated her first year just last week by taking her out to lunch at a downtown sidewalk cafť. - Yeah, Carlton and Eva were there too, watching my every move as if I was some sort of predator, or something like that.

Thereís so much she doesnít know about me yet—my past, future and my present. But soon she will, and thereís nothing Eva or Carlton can do to stop my progress. I will put my best foot forward.

Regardless of the consequences I might face, I have to move forward in this possible pursuit to rediscover a nature that Iíd neglected for so many decades.

 
 

© 2005 All Rights Reserved - M. W. Moore