Thus Floyd Roscoe "Yuba City" Nelson found himself sharing Cell #4 with a bearded stranger.
(Earletta was spending the night at County Hospital under observation, after many tearful promises to come bail Floyd out the next morning directly after she met Officer Ponch for breakfast at the local Denny's. Women.)
Floyd observed the bearded stranger warily. His cellmate seemed from his dress and manner like a normal enough young man, but he had a look in his eyes like a rabid poodle. Floyd knew better than to get too friendly with fellow inmates, (Having his heart metaphorically crushed like a license plate in a metal press many years ago by a strapping brute named Big Willie back at Folsom...but that's another story entirely.)
Floyd sat on the edge of his gray-striped mattress, stared at the wall, and thunk.
"The name's Brian Poppe," said the young man, suddenly.
"Floyd Roscoe "Yuba City" Nelson," Floyd responded. "Nice to meet you."
Mr. Poppe seemed to be very agitated about something...he was pacing back and forth in the narrow cell muttering loudly to himself. Floyd could make out something like "you just gotta make enough noise, gotta make alot of noise".
"KEEP IT DOWN IN THERE, MR. POPPER," barked the warden, from his desk in the nearby hallway.
"IT'S POPPE! STOP CALLING ME POPPER! IT'S POPPE! WITH AN EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE..."
Floyd was beginning to get a headache.
"I can't make enough noise in here! I gotta make noise! Where's my tin cup, goddammit! Don't you get a tin cup in prison? What kind of half-assed prison is this? What can I make some noise with in this joint?"
Mr. Poppe was standing entirely too close for Floyd's comfort. Floyd also noticed the lingering cloud of alcohol around his cellmate. He's probably a completely normal guy when he's sober, he thought.
"How about that pencil behind your ear?" Floyd suggested.
"What pencil?" Brian yelped. Following in the direction Floyd's finger pointed, Brian was utterly shocked to find he'd been carrying a pencil around on his head for the past twelve hours. Of course, once he got over the initial shock, he proceeded to drag the pencil back and forth across the cell bars, whilst screaming to the unamused warden that yes, he had a pencil, and he was going to use it. The pencil itself probably didn't have quite the sonic effect that, say, a tin cup would have, but Mr. Poppe was in no state to care. Floyd decided to counter with a little noise of his own.
Being in prison always made him want to sing the blues, and although he had no musical ability to speak of he figured, hell, it never stopped Neil Diamond. He signaled to one of his fellow inmates in Cell #3, who promptly reached beneath his mattress and produced a guitar, which was passed right along to Floyd.
Ah, prison life, you never realize how much you missed it until you punch a cop in the head.
Floyd made a vain attempt to tune the guitar, (which, much to the author's chagrin, appeared to be a black American-made Fender Stratocaster with a white pickguard and a small V-shaped dent on the front, just to the right of the pickup selector switch) causing Mr. Poppe to drop his wild, frantic screaming and pencil-dragging and take a seat on his own gray striped mattress. He then thankfully began some much less wild and frantic pencil-gnawing, but at least you could hear Floyd over it. Then Floyd began to sing ...
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