Randy Halprin

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December 2015

Randys Journals

Journal 12/08/2015
Tuesday morning and I'm sitting in my cell trying to figure out what I want to write about.
It has been so difficult to write anything of substance. My brain feels cloudy. I guess it could be a minor depression, I don't know...
Well, yeah, a little bit and I know why.
But it is one of those things I can't really do anything about or even solve the "issue" I know it will pass...eventually. I'm just too neurotic to let it move away on its own. I have that problem.
Holding onto thoughts way past their shel life. Some people can process it and be done with it, but my brain doesn't work like that. I'm not a person who really holds grudges. I don't have "enemies" and I try not to hate anyone.
When I get angry about something someone has done I try to look at the subject matter from their perspective.
I tend to psychoanalyze the person, consider their background, their life decisions and figure out why they do the things they do. Just as I do with myself when I do something dumb. I mean, I can count a million times when I say to myself "Geeze, Randy why did you just do that ?" But it becomes increasingly more difficult to not hold a grudge when a person pokes and prods, makes baseless accusations and in general puts your heart and soul through the ringer over a period of years. You try to ignore it, because in time they will vanish again. You forget and get in this peaceful lull and then BAM ! They pop right back up and throw more craziness at you. I'm tired of getting pulled into crazyland. Stop forcing me on the damn train with you ! I once cared for this person, no matter how badly things fell apart. No matter how greatly it hurt. I refused to think bad things of them. But then as the truth of who they really were was revealed and the stupid accusations and the toying with my heart like a freaking cat plays with a ball of yarn. And then...they go and attack my brother who is dealing with his own problems and mental health issues and a brother who is on death row - you attack him and hurt him...Enough is enough !
GO AWAY ! LEAVE ME ALONE ! I'm done.
You no longer exist to me. Bye-Bye. Please...don't make me hate you.
Anyways, I had to get that off of my chest. On a lighter note, hey, this is my journal, my thoughts and my way of dealing with deluge of crap...
So, if you've been keeping up with this journal you know I'm totally stoked about the new Star Wars movie.
And in light of that I thought I would share a very embarassing Star Wars story that happened when I was about 6 years old and the very first Halloween that I can remember.
So came Halloween. Can you guess who I wanted to be ? None other than Luke Mother lovin' Skywalker...In the 80's they had these cheap plastic costumes. You could buy them straight off the rack and they contained a really awful mask with an elastic band and usually some kind of plastic clothing. My dad goes out and buys the costume.
I get the package, tear it open and something about the mask doesn't quite look right. It was so cheaply painted that yes, it could be Luke or...it could be princess Leah...the costume itself was the mask and this plastic camouflage poncho to recreate the battle gear that they wore on the moon of Endor. My dad was adamant that it was Luke.
I still wasn't sure...My kindergarten class was having a Halloween party and we could wear our costumes if we wanted and so, going on the assurances of my dad I wore the costume. I show up, mask on, totally feeling the Force and one of the kids says "Why are you dressed up like Princess Leah ?" "I'm not ! I'm Luke Skywalker !"
Other kids chimes in and said "You dressed like a girl ! You are princess Leah !" I was embarrassed and wanted to hide. Sigh...I can look back at it with a certain humor.
The recreation schedule is still out of whack...I'm kind of tired of getting all worked up about it.
I went outside yesterday morning and even though it was cold, still managed to play some basketball winning 16-4. We don't have recreation today but tomorrow we will be (if I don't get moved tonight) back outside.
The one thing that I kind of like about this new schedule is that we do get to go to recreation on Sundays again.
For years that day was "off" for the whole building but now we can get out of our cells. I've been taking full advantage of it just to get out and jog. A lot of guys don't bother going because it is a football day and they don't want to miss the game. I don't want to be stuck in a cell.
All else is so-so. I'm trying to find a groove and things to write about. It isn't that I have writers block...my brain is just a bit foggy. I've gotta shake the fog off. I'm stepping off of the choo-choo train into crazyland.
Peace.

Journal 12/09/2015
I woke up this morning with a creative burst and a lot of energy...I actually have a theory on that and it is kind of gross, but what the heck, right ? In the interest of full disclosure and all...haha. If you don't like poop stories then feel free to skip these next paragraphs !
So, it has been known by doctors for a while now that there is a connection between the stomach and the brain. Doctors and scientists have yet to mine all of the secrets of this, but they do know that certain bacterias and what you eat can affect mood, sleep, energy, etc...You hear about how health fanatics and Hollywood stars swear by juice cleanses and the like...Well, I'm here to tell you that shit is true !
Ever since Thanksgiving and all of the hot pockets I've made, I've been feeling sluggish and bloated. I've been blaming it on a number of things, but I've had zero energy to do much of anything. Today I dragged myself to recreation and forced myself to work out even though I really didn't want to. I thought that maybe an endorphin rush is what I needed. Well, after that I felt just as sluggish. I hard sweaty work out made me feel no better...I got to thinking and wondering why I was feeling so heavy. Then, I thought of a solution...There's a certain lactose syrup that medical gives to guys with regularity problems and it comes in a big brown bottle. The syrup itself is an amber color and very thick. Its taste so sickly sweet that it will make you gag. It ain't nothing nice. I've had it before and me and a friend had taken to call it "Lacto Blast" because what it does to you...Imagine (or not !) your anus as a fire hydrant...it is that vicious. I knew this is what I needed. Well, not a fire hydrant ass but a good cleanse.
I called out in the day room "Does anyone have any lactulose ?" (Its professional name) A guy said he did and so he fished my water bottle to his cell and poured me off about half a bottle worth. I took it back to my cell and waited until the afternoon just to be safe. You do not want to get a surprise attorney visit or visit when you've taken this stuff because you can't stop it once it does its magic. About a year ago I had a near catastrophe on a Saturday evening when one of my closest friends decided to surprise me with a Saturday night visit. Before the guard has told me, I was seconds before drinking this stuff. I would've had no choice but to refuse the visit because it would've lead to a disaster of unnatural proportions !
At about four yesterday afternoon I drank it down and waited...It takes about an hour to kick in and boy when it did...Blast off ! I had no idea that the human body could hold that much...well, shit. But you know what ? In the interest of science I felt amazing after and this evening I literally jumped and hit the ground running.
Okay...safe to read again !
Remember how I talked about some of the changes the new administration is making like keeping our cell in "compliance" etc...? Well, today is another new arbitrary rule...Ever since I've been here we've had no real means of throwing out our trash. No trash bags, no trash cans, etc...At one time they had stationed a large barrel on each section but the clean up crew, while hauling away the trash, never cleaned the barrel which lead to a huge ant infestation. The barrels were discontinued. Usually, what we do is throw out the garbage when the clean up crew shows up. There's a large enough gap at the side of the door to push out any necessary trash. The clean up crew picks it up and problem solved. It has been like this for YEARS ! Not anymore. This morning an officer came around saying that if we threw our trash out the side of the door we would get a disciplinary case. When another guy asked the guard "How are we supposed to throw away our trash ?" the guard had no answer for this. It is very hard not to get frustrated or even angry at some of the stupid shit they do. Like for example another new "policy" they've started to do: when we leave the cell we are always stripped searched. That has been the case since the beginning of my time here. Typically, they hand your clothes back to you and you get dressed if you're going to a visit or wherever. if you're going to rec they hand you back your underwear and your shoes and you walk to recreation like that. Well, now the officers don't hand your shoes back to you. They place them outside of the door on the filthy walk way and you step out backwards, I should add, and "slip" into your shoes. You can't use your hands because you're handcuffed which inevitably leads to a balance control problem and like a toddler with poor motor skills you just kind of wobble around trying to get your shoes on while an officer holds your arm and looks at you stupidly. Fun !
I've heard some rumblings from a few guys back here who used to go to F-pod (the discipline pod) for all manners of assaults and use of forces, but over the years have chilled out a bit, that they are getting to the point to start rip and roar again. They're fed up and while I don't condone violence in any shape form or fashion, I can totally understand their frustration. As it stands right now with the way the new administration is implementing these new policies in the name of "security", guys are fed up. The guards don't want to work here because now their safety is at risk and are quitting EN MASSE, we aren't guaranteed recreation or even showers on a regular basis. It's freaking retarded.
I've been locked up half of my natural life and I've been through so many different changes in TDCJ and transitions. You would think a person gets used to the way they run this place, but you don't ! I'm not the smartest guy in the world but I think that if I was running a business or prison I would try to put into place people who knew what worked and didn't work in terms of keeping a smooth running operation. And if I was an administrator in Huntsville or even a committee member for criminal justice in Austin, and noticed that I couldn't keep people working or holding a position the logical thing to do would review the system as a whole and the policies that are implemented. Livingston, Texas has almost no industry, no businesses. The people who live in Livingston have very few job options, working at Polunsky being one of them. And even in this piss poor county, when people would rather shovel horse shit and work at McDonalds than in a prison, you should realize that maybe -just maybe- you have a problem with the institution as a whole. But what do I know ?
Peace.

Journal 12/14/2015
Yesterday was a tough day for me...It marked the 15 years since I literally threw my life away by escaping. Two times in December are always the hardest: the 13th and the 24th. I think back and wonder what the hell I was thinking, who I was and why I felt so desparate. It is just hard.
So, I go to rec, to mope about as everyone else is listening to football. I wanted to get out of my cell because I felt closed in and it was bound to be quiet due to the fact that everyone was listening to football. I go out and I'm minding my own business when someone from a cell asks if I don't mind passing some food for him to another guy. I said "Sure, no problem" and went to help him out, did the "civic duty" and then went about my business, walking around in circles. Well, I guess the officer in the control room watched me and informed the floor officers and they came over to the bars at the dayroom and told me I had to go back to my cell early. I said "Why?" "Because you were passing stuff". I was angry and said "Why am I being singled out ?" but I went back to my cell. It was something so stupid. I really don't get it. I mean, I could've gotten a disciplinary for something like that. I didn't thank God but geeze...
This morning I woke up feeling a bit better but was dreading the long day ahead of me due to the way that they are running recreation (rumor has it that in January things might go back to the normal routine) because it would've late in the afternoon. Fortunately, the outside rec yards were empty and it is a beautiful day. The sun is out, it wasn't cold at all. It felt lovely. I jogged and did my work out and enjoyed the fresh air.
I ran across this poem the other day. I really liked it because it depicts exactly how I feel. I don't know the name of it but it is by Elizabeth Spires.
If my heart were scoured,
If my soul were remade
into a new and shining garnment,
Then would I have to die ?
Lord, if perfection is death,
Let me stay here
A little while longer
Spotted and stained.
Peace.

Journal 12/21/2015
As I write this it is a warm and muggy Monday morning and I'm fighting off a head cold.
I've been fortunate to have just that as there are some guys back here that have a full blown flu virus.
It started on Saturday and now I just have a leaky faucet of a nose...
So here's an update on the recreation schedule. I'm sure some people know it already but in case they don't...A/C/E pods alternate with B/D/F pods every other day. So, there will be some weeks that one side of the building get five days of recreation while the other only receives four days of recreation. And vice versa.
So, on a day like today on A pod we're not having any recreation at all. Just showers.
I don't know...some guys here like how it is going and some don't.
I don't like it because I can only jog every other day now.
There are rumors going around that in January the administration is going to try "group recreation".
But we've been hearing these rumors for years. Just like T.V. rumors. They come and go.
The thing about recreation is that this building is not set up for it. It is an "Administrative Segregation" building, meaning that it is designed to isolate inmates. The day rooms aren't really capable of holding anymore than a couple of prisoners at a time. I can't imagine them trying to squeeze more than that in there.
Plus, I just don't think the big wigs in Huntsville would go for it, either.
I don't want to burst the bubble of the guys who really hope and want it but I've been doing this for way too long and I really don't think it would happen.
Oh well, one can hope I suppose...
Peace.

Journal 12/28/2015
Oooookay...Let's try to get back into the groove of things. I've been so out of whack of late. I told myself yesterday that I had to pull myself out of this funk, do something productive. I'm going to try, but dammit if I haven't been so frustrated of late, on so many fronts with so many issues. A big part of it is that I'm sick and tired of this place.
It has pushed me far beyond my patience and we are constantly getting screwed over. Take my exchange with an officer this morning because ONCE AGAIN we were screwed out of recreation
(we didn't get it yesterday because they're "short staffed").
A refresher course first. Our "new schedule" goes something like this: A/C/E pods go on an alternate day of B/D/F pods. So, that mean today, or this week rather, we should've gone (I'm currently on A pod) Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was so emotionally exhausted over the weekend from the holidays, reflection and general grief that yesterday I told myself "Okay, here's the program, dude...you're going to bed early and Monday morning you're going to reboot. It is a new week, new day going into a new year. No more pussyfooting around".
I went to bed at 9 p.m. My goal was to wake up at 5:30 a.m. when they are setting up the rec. schedule and do some yoga, meditate/pray and begin anew. I ended up sleeping in until 6 a.m. and heard someone in the shower.
My neighbor was awake and so I asked him why they weren't doing recreation. He didn't know.
I wasn't going to let it get in the way of trying to start "anew" so I began my little yoga routine and after that my workout.
A few minutes later an officer came back and I asked what the deal on recreation was. "We fucked up".
"What do you mean you messed up ? Today is A pods day of recreation. It shouldn't be hard to correct" I said.
"Yeah, but we already started doing half of the pods on showers".
"So...stop doing showers and do recreation".
"Well, rank told us to keep doing what we are doing".
"So we're not getting rec ?" I said.
"Probably not".
"What is probably ? I don't get probably. You mean no. Why is it so hard to just say no ?"
Blink. Blink. Blink.
I continued, "You know, I find it interesting that when we - the inmates - fuck up we're held accountable.
If I do something I shouldn't have done I don't get away with a 'that's my bad, dude'. I get sent to discipline.
But when you mess up, there's no accountability whatsoever. I just think it is a very interesting dichotomy we've got going on around here".
The officer walked off and I went back to my workout, refusing to let it bring me down. But it is frustrating.
I know there are people out there who don't care about whether or not we get rec. or any privileges for that matter. There are people who think we should just sit in an empty cell until we all die. I wouldn't agree that it is a valid opinion, but hey, whatever inhumane soul you have, I'm not going to knock you for it. But the truth of the matter is that things like recreation keep people passive to a certain extent. It keep people from losing their minds.
I would think it makes much more sense safety-wise to have certain privileges than to create a hostile environment where guys go ape shit against the staff, or they've got to deal with a bunch of mentally ill people.
But what do I know.
I'm not going to let it dictate the rest of my day. I have to push it out of my mind. Vent here and be done with it.
I really am trying to get back into a feeling of positivity and focus. I'm tired of feeling like this.
It is like being smothered by a thick wool blanket.
Our Christmas meal was good, brisket and chicken. I wouldn't say it was as much food as Thanksgiving Day but it wasn't paltry by any definition. I'm not Christian but I was grateful for the food. I ended up going to recreation late that evening and talking with a few guys and I gave away all of my comics to a guy who loves them, but has no support. I thought it would be a nice thing to do and we're getting close to a lockdown so they had to go somewhere. It was kind of funny seeing the guards look when, after they put handcuffs on me, I grab this HUGE bundled up bag of comics. They were cool about it. I said "Look, it's Christmas Day and this guy has nothing to read. Let me take them to him". No problem whatsoever. I was happy about that.
The weather has been absolutely crazy. Yesterday morning the temperature was close to 80 degrees.
It had been like that for days, just warm and sticky. Then, a huge storm hit us (along with half of Texas it seemed. Close to my hometown they were hit with tornadoes) and it was suddenly cold again.
I don't even think it is 45 F right now.
Rumors have death row going on lockdown soon so I'm trying to prepare for that. They've posted a document saying they are going to be very strict with how much personal property we can keep. The way that they typically do a lockdown is give us a red bread crate. All of our personal property has to fit within the red crate.
Well, except things like our electronics and legal work. Now, for the past few years if things spill over the edge of the red crate they would give us a pass on it, but they're saying those days are over. I should be fine, but you never know. I'm steadily whittling things down. I am by no means a pack rat. I cannot stand clutter and due the fact that I get moved around every couple of weeks, necessity dictates that I keep things light.
That being said, it is kind of amazing how a person can accumulate crap in a short period of time.
One last thing, as part of getting out of my funk, I'm going to refocus on some of my writing for my memoir and while I plan on adding a particular version of my vignette "tumultuous" I thought I would share a version of it that I wrote a long time ago. I think it will give some insight of many of my bad choices in life and things that went wrong.
Peace.

*Warning! This contains foul language and sexual situations*
TUMULTUOUS
(by Randy E. Halprin)
A memoir
I’ve written about a few things in my journal about the summer of 1996. (Not to be con-fused with the equally crazy summer of 1995). I’d been in and out of homeless shelters and my drug usage was increasing. At one point in the summer it seemed I was doing acid every couple of days.
I left Kentucky to hopefully start over. I thought, Hey, I’d show up on my parents front porch and sincerely ask them for help. I’d get a job; pay them rent if I had to, I just truly wanted to get better. Mentally, I could feel myself on the edge of some great abyss. Barely in reality, I had become a pathological liar, I was a thief and an addict. I was no longer the cute, clean cut Randy- I had an edge now. I was becoming angry/bitter at the "hand that life had dealt me" - And I was very conscious of this "thing"- growing inside of me.
When my parents rejected my plea I landed in the Arlington Night Shelter. I made another conscious effort to try to better myself. "Fine," I thought. "If I’ve got to do this on my own I will. I will prove to my family; my father that I can do this- and be success-ful."
I began to search for a job and I had stopped drugs cold turkey- it was hard, because I was in an environment where drugs ran rampant. But I did. A fog seemed to lift. And then I began to have a stretch of good luck.
Because I was only 18, I was the "kid" at the shelter. I bonded with everyone awesome-ly. Some of the folks in the shelter had just fallen on bad luck. It was a tragedy that their kids had to suffer, also. I began to play with everyone’s children. When parents would leave the shelter to work, I would watch over them, never taking money for my services. It was something I did with a pure joy of heart.
One black lady who was staying at the shelter would call me her "son". She worked at Six Flags over Texas, an amusement park in Arlington, and would bring me back all sorts of stuff from there. All sorts of foods; giant pretzels, a little bit of everything.
I had trouble finding a job, because no one wanted to hire a homeless person (nice socie-ty we have right?) and so I took to selling my plasma for cash at a plasma center and doing some temporary labor here and there. I had no form of transit so I had to walk everywhere I went, but I was doing okay. I was determined to impress my family.
One afternoon, the black lady who called me "Son" told me she could get me into Six Flags for free. She thought I could use a break so I said, "Sure I’d love to go." A few days later she got me in and I spent the day walking around riding rides, etc. She told me to be at some snack place around five in the afternoon and she’d hook me up with a meal. I showed up and boy did she! I can still remember this gigantic plate of bean and cheese nachos covered in guacamole, diced tomatoes and onions. I was so full!
When I finished we agreed to meet back up right when the park was closing so I could go back to the shelter with her. I returned to walking around the park, walking off some of the food. There is an area in Six Flags in between rides full of little booths and games and as I was walking by a photo booth I noticed a blond girl looking quite bored, head resting on her hands at the counter. I stopped, thinking, "man she looks familiar." I turned around to walk by the booth again, "Mindi?" I asked. "Randy!" she said. "Holy shit!" I replied. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
I’ve known Mindi my whole life, practically. I met her when my parentsfirst adopted me. Her family and my father were founding members of our Synagogue in Arlingtons small Jewish congregation. I grew up with her, went to Hebrew school and Sunday school. Dated her and kissed her in the seventh grade. Had a few of the same classes as her in our first year of junior high. However, once I went to school in Kentucky we drifted apart. I was lucky to see her once a year. It’d been about a year and a half since I last talked to her.
"Oh…I’m here with a friend who works here. She got me in for free." I said.
"Are you back at home? Where are you staying, I heard about some troubles."
"Uhhh…I’m kind of in the Arlington Nighter Shelter." I said ashamed.
"What?"
"It’s a long story."
"Well, you can’t go there tonight. Come back home with me- I’ll call my parents and let them know."
"Spend the night?" I asked.
"Yeah."
We made plans to meet up at the amusement parks closing and I took off to tell the black lady (forgive me for constantly calling her that- I can no longer remember her name). I told her and thanked her for getting me in. "Don’t you go getting in no trouble. I ain’t afraid to put a whuppin’ on yo’ ass." she joked.
That night I did spend the night with her. We caught up on everything (well, most every-thing; I left most of what had happened over the past year out of the mix) I did mention my drug abuse, but told her I’d been off of it since I left Kentucky. She went on to tell me about all the crazy rumors that had circled around about me: I’d supposedly tried to kill myself, I’d gotten my girlfriend pregnant and on and on.
Over the next few days I hung out with Mindi. I met up with her parents. God bless them, truly some of the kindest (us Jews use the term ‘mensch’) I’ve ever known. They were truly concerned about me- and while I’d not fully given up my manipulative ways I could never even think about trying to manipulate them. They offered me money and I turned it down. I guess I wasn’t totally lost- yet.
Things were good and looking up for me. I’d somehow managed to suppress this thing that was eating me from within. Until one night back at the shelter I decided to contact my parents talk to them, seek their help one more time. The conversation started off well enough. I gave my parents an update and talked to my mom.
"Well, that’s good Randy…your father and I want to make you aware of something though" she said. I thought, okay she’s going to give me a lecture etc. But never ex-pected the bomb shell she was about to drop on me.
"Yeah?" I replied.
"We’ve decided to remove you from our will."
"Huh?" What did she say?
"We’ve taken you from the will. You’ve lied to us, stolen from us-"
"But Mom, I’m trying to do better! I’m asking for help!" I cried.
Now let me explain something here. I could care less about being on the receiving end of their will. As an 18 year old that was and had been the furthest thing from my mind. Who in their right mind thinks about what they’re going to get from a family members death? At eighteen you still believe your parents are going to live forever.
Those words were like a knife in the very depths of my soul. A hot searing blade cutting my heart into two. It meant that they were so finished with me that they had removed me from their own will. I might as well have not even existed. I stood with the phone pressed against my ear, hands beginning to tremble, tears pouring from my eyes… "But Mom…" I said holding back a shaking voice.
"Get better Randy"
"I’m trying. I can’t do it on my own"
"You’ve got no choice" she said.
I hung up the phone, walked into the restroom and into a bathroom stall, closed the door, sat on a toilet and cried. At that moment, my resolve to get off of drugs, better myself had been shattered. I became a broken man at that point.
I blew my nose, walked out of the stall to the sinks, splashed myself with cold water and stared at myself in the mirror. I felt so lost.
I began drugs again.
I met up with Mindi a few more times. We went out to see a movie and I remember going out to a restaurant one late night with a bunch of her friends. But she was prepar-ing to get ready to go to college at Texas A & M and had a boyfriend so it became increa-singly harder to see her. I was never high when I would go out with her.
During this time I met three people at the shelter one was a couple; Todd and Ramie and the other was a 20 year old single mom named Charity, with her child Jarred. We all met
up through the plasma center- Todd and Ramie having a car. I would give them 5 dollars out of my plasma money and they’d drive me around wherever I needed to go. Me, Todd and Ramie bonded pretty tight during this time. Plus, Todd knew a lot of good connec-tions for drugs.
I didn’t much care for Charity, but I was in love with her child. Charity took advantage of this and she’d always dump him off on me to go out and drink or disappear to only God knows where. I’m a person who at heart does like to help people out; it’s a trait embed-ded within me, but coming along with that is the problem of never being able to say "no" to people. And so, I was the go to guy to dump children onto.
At first I didn’t mind at all. It made me feel good, redeemable. I’ve always loved children. I have an uncanny ability with them- in fact, one of the few compliments my father ever paid to me was, "Randy- you’ll be a good dad one day" but then, Jarred began to have these crying fits. I’d try everything I could to calm him down and nothing would work- and Charity increasingly dumped him off on me. When I watched children I didn’t want to be high, so now she was cutting into my getting high time.
I look back in hindsight and notice some of the first signs I was beginning to "lose it". I tend to bottle up my anger, frustrations, pains, etc. until it reaches a blowing point; and when I blow- I blow.
When you don’t have a job during your stay at the shelter, during the day they have a place set up you can hang out at. A lot of times businesses will drive by looking for someone interested in doing temporary labor. If it was something I felt I could do, I’d go out and do it. I helped set up a Burlington Coat Factory; painting, putting together cloth-ing racks, etc. Another time I helped a carpeting company tear out damaged carpet in an office building after rain had ruined it.
One morning one of the case workers from the shelter showed up. A pretty brown haired lady. I’d never seen her before, as my case worker was a male.
"I need 3 people who can drive to help out with the municipal services of Arlington and drive some garden trucks around. You’ll basically be towing around lawn mowers etc." She said explaining the job detail.
Two men immediately jumped up ready for work. The lady looked at me and said, "What’s your name?"
"Randy Halprin" she looked at her clip board and found my name.
"How about you- you wanna earn 10 dollars an hour?"
"I can’t. I don’t have my license"
"So you don’t want to work?" she asked making a note on her board.
"I can’t." I replied.
The day was long and boring and at evening I went back into the shelter. At about 7 p.m. my case worker called me into his office. "How you doing Randy?" he asked looking at my face. "I’m cool" I said.
"Hmmm…still having a hard time finding a job?"
"Yeah. Nobody wants to hire a homeless dude"
"Well, you had a chance to work today. How come you didn’t?"
"I don’t have a drivers license"
"Ms. So and so says you refused."
"What?"
"Well, according to these notes she asked if you wanted to work and you said ‘no, I’m going to stay here and that you used an aggressive tone towards her."
"That’s bullshit. I specifically told her I couldn’t do the job ‘cause I don’t have a license. She’s fucking lying."
"Calm down, calm down" he said.
"No. Fuck that shit. Here look- look at my goddamn wallet, I don’t have a fucking li-cense!" I pulled my wallet out and threw it on the desk.
"Okay, Randy chill out. Maybe she just misunderstood." I was so mad I felt like punching a wall. I got up and walked out of the office.
The next day wasn’t much better. I was in a sour mood. At the end of each day, if you don’t go out to work, you have to clean up, do some chores, and so I cleaned the re-stroom. AS I was leaving one of the older black men who ran the little waiting place said, "Don’t come back tomorrow."
"Huh? Why?" I asked confused.
"You didn’t clean up."
"Yes I did", I protested.
"Well, what did you clean?" he asked.
"The bathroom."
"Well I did see you"
"That’s bullshit. I cleaned it. I know what I did."
"Listen, you young punk" he said more aggressively. "I don’t give a rats ass what you say you did. I didn’t see you and I run things around here."
My heart was pounding, the anger rushing through my veins.
"Fuck you! Suck my mother fucking dick!" I yelled.
"You’re banned from this place and I’ll make sure this goes in your file, too."
"You think I give a fuck about my goddamn file? Fuck you and this whole goddamn shel-ter. Just fuck you!" I screamed. "I’ll beat your black ass. You think I give a fuck? What? You gonna chase me off with a knife like you did someone else? Suck my did."
"I’m calling the police. You better leave now."
"How you gonna call the police? I’m on public fucking property."
My fists were balled and another second, I might’ve punched him. I felt something grab my arms from behind and pull me away. I tried to break lose, but the hold was too tight. "Calm down Randy. Chill the hell out or the cops will come". Slowly, I began to gain some composure by the time I had my senses back we were across the street in a church parking lot.
"Chill, dawg. Chill" This cool black guy had said.
"I’m cool. I’m cool. Let go of me, man"
I shrugged his hands off. "Damn Randy, you looked like one possessed white boy."
"I ain’t no boy."
"Okay, okay. Chill brother. You cool? All cool?"
"Yeah. He just…he tried to lie on me. It’s bullshit."
"Say, dawg, he’ll let you back in tomorrow. You’ll just have to apologize. He ain’t that bad really. It’s just a misunderstanding. C’mon, lets go smoke a joint."
I’d never erupted like that before. I tried to figure out where it came from. That was def-initely not me. The ‘thing’ had taken another bite of my soul.
It’s ironic looking back, because I am once again in touch with my friend Ramie from the shelter. She told me that somehow during this time I had kept her from losing her mind. I wrote back and replied, "It’s odd ‘cause I felt like I was losing my mind during that time" and I was.
Shortly after that incident Todd’s, who was a gulf war veteran, VA check came through and they were finally able to move out of the shelter and into an apartment in Ft. Worth. Todd and Ramie invited me to stay with them. I jumped on the first chance to move in with them and to get the hell out of the shelter.
I tried repeatedly to get a hold of Mindi to let her know I was leaving the shelter, but never got a hold of her. I wouldn’t speak to her or her family again until 2002.
Now in Ft. Worth I was having a blast. Todd and Ramie had two kids, one six and one three. Their youngest, Kyle was my little partner- I was reminded recently by Ramie how Kyle and I would look for babes around the apartment complex. I could get acid easily and I was care free. I tried to bury the past year and a half in a drug induced haze. But my little pleasure island wouldn’t last much longer.
One night we received a phone call from Charity saying the shelter asked her to leave with Jarred because he had the chicken pox. She had nowhere to go. Feeling bad for Jarred more than Charity, Ramie invited her to stay with us until he was cleared up.
Once again, Charity would drop Jarred off on me to do her mothering job and once again I couldn’t say no. As much as I liked Jarred, he was becoming unbearable with his crying. Nothing; no amount of tender love and care would work. It was chipping away at any sanity I had remaining. I was down to threads- and I knew it.
One night, I decided to get shit faced drunk. I think at that time, it had been the most drunk I’d ever been. Todd and Ramie had gone to sleep and Charity was still watching T.V. on the couch. I stumbled from the kitchen to the bathroom, then back into the living
room and onto the couch. I lifted my feet up and plopped them right onto Charity, my toes slightly resting on her breasts.
I don’t know- can’t remember if I initiated anything with her. It’s possible, but I had no physical attraction to her whatsoever. I’ve been drunk and have had woman hit on me before and had never wanted to have sex with someone who I was not attracted to- re-gardless of how much alcohol. Details are fuzzy here, but I believe I passed out. I came back to with her on top of me- both of us naked as she was riding me. I didn’t quite comprehend what was going on- it felt good, but it could’ve been a dream for all I knew. I had no protection on and was close to coming when I ‘snapped to’ and pushed her off of me. I don’t know why, but I got up, stumbled to the bathroom and began to wash my penis- hoping it was all a dream.
I woke up the next morning, my boxer shorts were on and I could vaguely remember something happening. I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face- when I noticed a huge hickey on my neck. "Oh no…" I moaned.
Ramie was in the kitchen cooking some breakfast and so I went into Todds room. "Dude…" I said. He noticed the hickey on my neck and said, "Damn, she left her mark didn’t she?"
"Did I really? My god not her dude, she’s freaking fugly."
"Oh yeah! You sure as hell did! I was getting up to get some water when I saw the two of you. She was fucking the dog shit out of you"
"Oh God…" I moaned. I instantly got mad. I don’t know why, but I felt violated. I don’t want to say raped ‘cause I was drunk, so in fairness- I could have wanted it, but still I didn’t like it. Not at all.
I ignored Charity for the next few days. When she’d try to talk to me I’d be a total ass "is someone saying something to me? I don’t hear ugly people. I’m sorry" I completely de-graded her. I’d never acted like this towards woman before in my life, but my language was becoming abusive.
I never liked to baby-sit high. I never did it. Well, one night as I was doing LSD Charity wanted Todd to take her out drinking. Ramie, not trusting Todd or Charity said she would be going with them. A little argument broke out, but Ramie won. That would leave the kids with me. I protested, but Charity and Todd were insistent on leaving. I was tripping pretty hard- but not to the point where I couldn’t function.
They left and I was along with two chilled out kids watching t.v. and a crying child, sick with chicken pox- his mother abandoning him to go party. I tried everything I could to calm Jarred down, but nothing seemed to work. I was growing frustrated- it seemed the more I tried the harder he cried. "C’mon kid. Work with me here. I’m trying. I really am." I’d say. More cries. I took him to a bedroom and tried putting him to sleep. He only kicked and screamed. I remember this sort of suffocating feeling come over me. My head was spinning. I just grew angrier and angrier. Now my mind raced with thoughts of eve-rything that had happened over the past year; losing Theresa, betting kicked out of school, becoming homeless, losing my family and being abandoned. Spinning, spinning around.
I snapped.
I can’t fully understand what happened or what I did. I don’t know if my consciousness has purposely blocked that out or what, but I know I did hurt Jarred. The one thing I swore to myself growing up: to never hurt a child, having been an abused child myself, and I did. My world imploded around me.
The next few days things seemed fine, but then Jarred started to limp. I was horrified. I realized I’d caused harm. I hoped upon hopes it had all been in my head. Some sick ad-verse of the acid but it was reality.
He was taken to the hospital and I eventually became arrested and sentenced to thirty years in prison.
To this day I don’t know why I couldn’t control myself to prevent that. I don’t know why I did what I did. Became a monster in that moment. In my whole entire life I’ve always been a non-aggressive person. Sure, I’ve gotten in a few fights but that was more or less standing my ground over people perceiving I’m weak because of my passiveness. I do know, that no matter what- the one thing I’ll never be able to do is forgive myself of it. Maybe God will, maybe people, but not myself.
I believe it was September 5, 1996 when I was arrested and placed in jail. I tried calling my family time and time again, but my calls were not accepted. Finally, during the Thanksgiving holiday, my father accepted the call. The last time I would ever talk to my parents again. "The only reason I’m accepting this call is to tell you never to call again." My father said. "But dad." I stated. He cut me off. "You embarrassed this family’s name. You’re a disgrace. No Halprin has ever done something as horrible as you." He said. I was completely shocked- too shocked to even cry. I couldn’t figure out why I was receiv-ing such a harsh comment. True, what I did was awful; and there is no justification, but I believed I hadn’t hurt Jarred that bad. They were acting as if I’d murdered him. Even more confusing was they had never spoken of my biological parents in such a harsh way- and Wesley and I were subjected to countless cases of abuse. All I ever heard about them was "They were young, troubled addicts" and now, my own father, whom I loved unconditionally was speaking to me as if I was Ted Bundy.
I briefly talked to my mom, and she seemed a little softer. Maybe conflicted. I honestly believe to this day, this was intimately my dads decision and no my moms.
Dad got back on. I had one more thing to say. "I love you, dad. Whether you choose to believe that or not, I truly do." "Goodbye, Randy" was all he said in return. I went back to my cell and cried.
The next few years I tried to reach out to them numerous times. Was I angry? Sure. I felt abandoned. Heck, I was abandoned. I sent letters asking for forgiveness, holiday cards, anything. I finally gave up around 2000. Despair soon grabbed a hold of me and I escaped.
All of those years, I couldn’t figure out why I received such a harsh reaction. Though dur-ing my capital murder trial I learned why. I’ll never forget that moment as the prosecu-tors detailed and embellished numerous injuries- preexisting injuries that happened; be-fore I had ever known Charity and Jarred. Not only that, but they were trying to attribute a previous medically documented ruptured eardrum to me, fever blisters and I figure if they could’ve some how blamed me for the chicken pox they would’ve done that also. And so, I sat there stunned. I thought, "my God! Now I know why my parents reacted the way they did." I wanted to scream out, "It’s crap! It’s not true!" But every jurors eye looked at me with disgust. I felt like a shamed dog. You know, the dog that gets pu-nished for a broken vase that it didn’t break at all. All I could do was drop my head in a stare at the table.
I tried to get my attorneys to bring up the fact that none of these embellishments, these straight up falsifications were ever in my original indictment, but they didn’t Fair enough, they did their best to show through previous x-rays and medical charts that I couldn’t have, but the damage was done. I’m sure all the jurors could see sitting in my seat was some creature, not human, out of this world. Ultimately, I believe that this is what got me the death sentence. Never mind the law of parties and the police officers death. I’m being killed, I honestly believe, for something long ago.
I want to back track and jump back into 1996. The irony in all of this is I could’ve and should’ve been on probation. I was eighteen years old and it was my first felony. My court appointed attorney was a very unethical man. He had been a vice cop for the Ft. Worth police, but under sketchy circumstances left and became a defense lawyer.
He was appointed by the courts to be my attorney and we went through everything "Oh yeah," he said. "I could easily get you probation" he learned that I came from a well to do family and you could literally see the dollar signs in his eyes. He contacted my family but the refused to offer any help. (On a side note here; I really didn’t care about legal support, but instead I wanted moral support- whereas my attorney only cared about fi-nancial support). After a few futile attempts my lawyer straight up said "Well, without money I can’t do a whole lot for you…" He sold me out.
Let me be very clear here- I don’t think I should’ve not been punished, but I do believe that I wasn’t lost. To lock up a teenager, for what is essentially half of his life seems, even now, extreme. I pleaded for counseling, drug addiction rehab; anything. Instead I was give a 30 year sentence. Without any moral support, without any real direct sense. A spoiled, self centered kid expected to survive amongst the ‘ills of society’. I did survive, but look where I am now. I can’t help but feel, at times, that this could’ve all been avoided.
Sure, the root of the blame is my fault, but society and justice system is seriously troubled and flawed.
These days it breaks my heart to see all of the 17/18 year old kids who are locked up without ever given a chance or the means to be a successful member of society. We don’t look at social back grounds, psychological or genetics. It’s not as simple as knowing right from wrong. It never has been- and hopefully one day we’ll wake up and realize that.
I was recently reading an article on California prisons. Did you know that they changed their corrections department name and now include the word rehabilitation in it’s title? I commend them on that, because I think true justice allows for the chance for one to be rehabilitated. Not just locked up and held. Our system is a system based upon vengeance and punishment. Justice is not vengeance. There is a distinction between the two.
If there’s a moral to me, telling of this it’s most surely about the importance of a suppor-tive loving family. If you are a mother or father you have to listen to the needs of your child. If they wrong you, as much as it hurts I think you should only embrace them more. Just because they mess up, or lie or steal doesn’t mean they are lost. Listen to them, don’t turn your back on them. You can have tough love or you can have compassionate tough love. Let them know that when they truly want to do better themselves and get help tell them you have an open door policy to offer them that help. It doesn’t excuse their actions but it doesn’t condemn them as a lost child without hope. Trust me. It’ll make all the difference in the world.

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