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Updated: Jan 19, 2022

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. 1 Peter 1:14. Unceremoniously at 6 p.m., I miserably arrived at the chapel in the embarrassing company of David. I moved aggressively towards the back of the chapel, to sit all the way in the rear, hopely no one would recognize me. I didn't want to face the relentless ridicule of my peer group for being in the prison chapel which is alleged to be the safe haven for the gatherings of sex offenders and homosexuals. Entering the chapel, I spied the darkest, furthest away, back wall pews to provide me with the modicum of sanctuary I needed for a semblance of comfort to avoid contact with the undesirable, repulsive church going prisoners. Also, sitting in the back provided me with the least amount of opportunity, and plausible deniability, of any perceived or requested participation. David gasped at my choice of seating, shaking his head, excitedly disturbed he whispered, "Bad things happen back here." With little patience, dread washed over me knowing what David's response was going to be, I disingenuously laughed while asking, "Okay, David, where do you want to sit. This is your hour." David wanted to sit in the very front and center, right at the foot of the Christian band. I knew it! Sweating and uncomfortable, I frowned at the clock willing it to move faster as I repeated the mantra, "Never again, never again." The all prisoner band began song service while David sat next to me singing earnestly and waving his arms back and forth above his head. Embarrassed by David's antics, I surreptitiously scooted away from him trying to put some space between us to ignore him, all the while chanting in mind, "Never again, never again." Then, suddenly without preamble, David slid to the floor on his knees while continuing to vigorously wave his arms back and forth above his head, body loosely swaying to the music. Mentally I debated with myself about immediately leaving by standing and bolting for the door. I focused on the clock, this one (1) hour excursion was lasting forever, and appeared to keep getting longer. As the all prisoner Christian band smoothly transitioned into the next worship song, David flopped flat on the floor with his hands above his head and began rolling back and forth on the floor. I was shocked and appalled, humiliated and disgusted. Rhetorically I questioned myself, "What did I get myself into?" I was offensively repulsed, bordering on violent anger, at this weird display of worship. I wanted to kick David while he rolled back and forth on the floor before me. David must have sensed my extreme discomfort and great dissatisfaction of his behavior as he quickly rolled completely out of my view to put more distance between us. Veda, a female Hispanic volunteer who sponsored the Christian prison worship service, replaced David by coming to sit beside me. Without a free-world person to sponsor the church service, it can not operate, unless an alternative person is available, or a prison staff member is present, such as a guard. Veda effusively expressed she sensed I was special and I was destined to do great things. I felt this was a smooth opening line told to all new comers, who came to the worship service, to keep the pews full. It was nice to hear I was special, and I did want to do great things in my life, but being convicted of multiple murders severely negates any opportunity for being special or doing great things. At this particular time I had been in prison for about 30 consecutive years of a life sentence. Due to my length of incarceration, in an all male prison, substantially diminished my ability to meaningfully interact with non-prisoners, especially a strange female in a church service I never previously attend. I clearly and assertively stated that I didn't want to be there, was out of my element, and was leaving in a few minutes, and never coming back. She asked if she could pray over me. With a cavalier attitude I said, "Sure, why not." Veda asked if she could anoint my forehead with oil. Irritated and losing my patience, I responded, "Do whatever you do." She prayed for me and my family. Tears began streaming down my face for no reason, and I couldn't stop myself. It was weird tears, foreign and strange to me. Weeping I'd never experienced. It wasn't a blubbering cry. It was peaceful and cleansing. I felt silly, stupid and completely out of my comfort zone. The lights were dim so I'd be able to exit from the chapel unscathed by peer observation, convicts don't shed tears in prison. We are suppose to be double tough and suck it up. Veda invited me to attend the following week. I tried to graciously to sidestep the invitation by asserting I had prior obligations and would probably never return. I explained to her, I am not a Christian and had no aspirations to be a Christian. Veda adamantly pressed the welcoming invitation by agreeing to make any necessary changes to the worship service to accommodate my conflicting schedule. To avoid a potential negative interaction, I hedged my stalwart position of "never returning" to attend worship service to "maybe, but probably not". I reemphasized under no circumstances did I want to be a Christian, but it was obvious Veda employed a willful blindness to my position and the assessment of my future. Her vision of a spectacular future and great things for me was absolutely ludicrous, I'm a convicted multiple murderer serving a life term. Nothing good comes from that. MICHIKO FOUR will be next with a possibility of MICHIKO FIVE. Humbly in prayer, SCOTT.

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