Monday, September 21, 2009

The Sleeping Giant

Paul is a giant. He is seven feet tall. He doesn't look like the jolly green giant or any camera-loving athlete. He looks like a major force. He has a lot of dark hair that is well groomed after the barbers come in but not for long after. His eyes are dark but his heavily hooded eyelids make it difficult to see them. His beard is heavy and even when he shaves, it doesn't take long before his face begins to look dark again. He stands very straight and looks very large. I have had a few brief conversations with him so I know that him to be articulate and polite. He doesn't speak often and most of the other residents avoid him. The C.O.s keep a respectful distance.

One morning the captain called me because he said that Paul had gone crazy. He said that Paul was running around the dorm screaming. The captain said that he was going to have the men suited to take him down. When officers suit up, they are wear helmets, flack jackets. and body plastic shields. They carry large wood batons and are able to use them freely. They are fondly called the ninja turtles.

I went to the dorm because I didn't want to see anyone get hurt. When I got there, I saw a dorm of 49 men crushed to one side of the room and a very large man running around, screaming words I couldn't understand. He seemed to be ignoring everyone. I went into the dorm and stood by the officers. Paul stopped running and stood panting beside the entrance to the bathroom. In a few moments, I walked over to him. I took his hand and led him to his bed. "Sit down," I said. "No one is going to hurt you." I realized that Paul was sleep running and had no idea what he had done. I said, "Paul, wake up. No one will hurt you." I spoke to him very softly and he started to wake up. He looked confused for a minute but as he woke up more completely, he said, "I do walk in my sleep. I have done since I was a little kid. I am sorry if I bothered anyone." With that , he turned over on his stomach and went to sleep. This time he stayed in his bed and the dorm went back to normal.

When he woke up, he came to me, bowed deeply, and kissed my hand to thank me,

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