Synopsis of Hero Apomixis by C.A. Seller
Hero Apomixis is a work of stream of consciousness written over 22 months while the author was incarcerated in Attica Correctional Facility in 2000/01. A story of tortuous experience at the hands of a broken social services system, bad parenting, and the Prison Industrial Complex, Hero begins to lose his mind as evidenced by fantacide and dreamories only interrupted by prison feedings. Hero is either a victim or a sociopath. The book challenges us to ask, “What would you do?”
“If you like Dante, if you like Bosch, if you like Burroughs, you’ll dig the brutally dark brilliance of C.A. Seller’s HERO APOMIXIS. A rare stroke of ever darkening courage. Welcome to hell.” Ron Whitehead
The lights in Hero’s cell were still off when he was cracked
out for P.M. meds. Downstairs some cute homo with a hairdo
like Betty Ruble and a beard like Fred Flintstone smiled
at him while they were waiting in line. Hero ignored his
big liquid saucer eyes and ridiculous bangs, thinking the
eyes really were girl’s eyes but he was too much with that
five o’clock shadow. They were nothing but trouble in jail,
homos. There were stories of some of them running around
letting guys fuck them in the ass raw-dog even though they
knew they were HIV positive. He’d heard it referred to as
“Blessin’ A Nigga’.”
Back upstairs the steady told Hero that the other cop
had turned off the juice because he’d heard loud Rap music
“down there.” He told Hero that it would go back on.
If one cop turned off your power no other cop would turn
it back on without the first cop’s ok. It was done this
way out of respect for one another which they appeared to
have a large overabundance of because they didn’t seem to
have any for the inmates. Hero was guilty for being accused
and now that he knew why the electricity had been turned
off. He was the Herb. That’s how it worked. The inmate was
always wrong. Always and without question. Always under
threat of physical harm. No real reason. None whatsoever.
That’s just how it was, how it had been, and how it was
going to stay. Guilty Guilty Guilty. Stonewalled.
That afternoon Hero received legal mail from the DOCS
chief medical officer in Albany. He’d sent him a Freedom
of Information Law(FOIL) request for the NYSDOCS Hepatitis C treatment protocol after the medical department at Attica
had ignored the 3 FOILs he’d written them. Some clown in
Albany told him to write to Attica. Hero wrote the guy back
and told him, simply, that he knew that Attica had the fucking
protocol and that if they’d answered him the first time …
and to cut the bullshit and answer. Hero had
been asking for the protocol for over 6 months; it allegedly
detailed the DOCS therapy guidelines for Hep-C: labs, biopsies
and interferon/ribaviron chemotherapy (which costs the state
$10,000 an inmate in need). All the Grievance responses kept referring to this protocol in their denials.
Hero wrote to the NIH for their protocol. Once he saw it
he would compare it against DOCS and take them to court
for negligence, arbitrary and capricious. That’s what the
law books said: to make a case for medical negligence the
plaintiff had to prove that the defendant(s) had not provided
adequate medical attention, failing to act even though they
had knowledge that a danger to the plaintiff’s health existed.
Hero figured his suit might see the light of day long after
he was free – and probably near dead – but he had to at
least try. Every single request that he had made, from the
liver biopsy to a non-animal high protein diet would
each be a separate issue; each its own battle that would
begin with a visit to sick call and not end until after
10 very long and time consuming steps – to some courtroom
– and that wasn’t counting the appeals. Hero couldn’t go
out without having done anything. Just getting beat without
ever having an opportunity to confront the people who had
placed no value on his life would not do. They were cowards
and liars of the worst kind and did it all while hiding
behind the flag with their bully-bitch-ass moves that were
the trademark of politicking cowards. Closet fascists. No
balls at all. Pussies who wasted so many lives for nothing.
Inadequate and fearful. Hostile and poor with a need to
blame and punish, to hide. They treated even their own badly,
these modern taskmasters. They were slave traders who had never had any real vested interest in their own property; a new
and greater system of slavery 10 X’s removed from net worth,
infected by welfare rolls and roused with the sale of a
nightmare dream that was sold to consumers for survival
within their perceived freedoms to ultimately do even less
than choke them to death on over-priced lies purchased with
black market food stamps: The barely voting moron-constituents
of those who always opposed a raise in the minimum wage on the basis that it really wasn’t good for the poor to have more.
Q plugged Hero’s extension cord into his own after running
it between their cells and Hero connected his radio and lamp
but thought that it would be too awkward to cook, especially
if the cop saw it and shut Q’s power off, too. Hero always
cooked the “gravy” as Q liked to call it, but it was really
a sauce. Rigatoni, sauce from a can, mushrooms from another
can, pepperoni in plastic and onion from a weird red
plastic net bag that was extremely strong: That was the
gravy. This afternoon it was a couple of tuna fish samichs for
lunch and he passed on dinner giving Sham his feed-up tray
instead. Outside the sun might have gone down but Hero couldn’t
tell for the spotty gray and white cloud cover over the sky that was still dimly back lit.
“My head hurts,” he said, and thought he felt a quiver
in his liver. Tired and icky for the shower they should
have let him have that morning; twice a week for pop-dog
and 3 times for keep-lock. All his life Hero had soiled
his underwear with urine because no matter how much he shook
his dick it always released some more as soon as he put
it back inside his pants – especially when he went to go
sit down. The only time it didn’t happen was when he was
high on dope. No doctor he’d asked had ever had an answer,
He thought doctors were funny. (Funny “strange” – not funny
“ha, ha.”) When he was a boy they had operated on him twice
for the same un-descended testicle and instead of removing
it because it was atrophic the surgeons had left it inside
of him for no good reason that he could ever figure out
except so that maybe they could perform a third operation
on him to install a prosthetic nut they’d sell him. That
never took place though and a few years later he was advised
that he should have the testicle checked regularly for lumps
as when they are atrophic they exhibit high rates of cancer.
One in ninety to be exact. Whenever he’d arrived in a new
jail the doctor would give him the usual examination
and then they always stopped at his nuts to feel his right
testicle for lumps so that in one year alone five different
doctors had their squeezing latex glove covered fingers
all over his scrotum. He began to get suspicious. When the
sixth one tried Hero blew a gasket, “Since you read that
I have an atrophic right testicle I’d imagine that you
also read that I’ve already seen five doctors this year
all of who felt my nuts – so you can just forget it –
ok? Just leave my fucking nuts alone – I check’em daily
– trust me – they’re fine!”
“But I was just trrying to help you!” a Haitian refugee
with a Mexican medical degree whined back at him.
“Help yourself, Doc,” Hero replied, “get your hands off
of my motherfucking nuts before I catch a flashback and
crack you one across the jibs!”
The cell felt like it had moved or really the bed and
at sick call the nurse told him he’d be seeing the physicians
assistant. He didn’t trust her. Hero read the word “motive??”
upside-down where she’d written it in his ambulatory health
record. No matter what he told anyone in this system
it was mind snapping because they
all did it: the C.O.s, the Sergeants, the brass all the
way up the line to the governor and back down to the
counselors, the nurses, the doctors and they all treated
him like he was nothing more than a lying, troublesome,
14 year old trying to get out of going to school – or an
idiot – and sometimes both.
At the dentist, Hero was having all his cavities checked
and x-rayed when the hygienist stopped early.
“What about this one?” Hero said pointing to one of his
two most upper front teeth.
“Ch, that’s just the enamel at the top of the tooth,”
she answered him.
“If there’s a black hole and no enamel isn’t that a
cavity, you asshole?”
Instead he’d saved it for the dentist who, it seemed, was
only half as dumb as the hygienist.
“It’s all in your head,” they’d told Mike. Eighteen months
later he died from a headache that turned out to be brain cancer. And to just think, Hero reflected, that some states were actually charging their inmates for aspirin. That must’ve been some fucking headache alright.
Separations of dark and light, the shadow’s objects they
kept ending. The very light orange of Hero’s clip on lamp
plugged into his extension cord running from Q’s cell. The
edges of these objects: a yellow plastic coffee cup, a
container of skin cream, a wax paper state bread bag and
even his earplugs; all of them had begun to push a shine
of reflected light where his eyes collided with it. Tired,
sick, and unusually worried about his lights being off,
this was added attention Hero did not want and certainly
did not need. If they went on tonight it would be just before
shift change. The parting shot.
The bedspread that they called a blanket hadn’t been washed
in over 6 months. Hero slept in his state-greens and a hoody
that cost him $27. He’d bought it from a mail order
catalog company that specialized in gouging prisoners. He
put on his “wooly” hat. Hero was sad. It was all such a
losing battle tonight. His throat was scratchy and his eyes
would not hold their focus, shifting quickly with a form
of colored shape that obstructed his view for the split
seconds. He thought he might be getting a cold. Jail colds
were a very strange and distinct phenomenon in that once
one got started – it seemed like everybody caught at
least a little bit of it and, although you’d get better,
chances were that before the thing had run its course
you would catch it again. Some colds were rumored to have
never left the penal system having come over with European prisoners. These were the colds that were still being transferred all over the state with guys on the draft. There had been a large number of flu patients at Groovyland the previous year. That and some kind of weird stomach virus. Feeling shittier, Hero washed
up for another early bed.
“What’s up, Hero?” Marcos had asked him as they passed
each other on the hill that night.
“You’re always sick,” Marcos said with what sounded like
a foul taste hidden deep down inside the back of his mouth
Hero remembered that no one liked sick people. They don’t
look good. They didn’t function well. They were the opposite
of healthy. Healthy was good. Sick was bad. They were often
treated as though they were incapable and dependent. They
were sick. Healthy people feared sick ones.
“That’s right, Marcos, I’m sick. I’m sick and I’m probably
dying really, really slowly and you asked me how I was so
I told you. Ok? I’m sick – is that alright with you, Marcos?
Is it? Because I can’t do anything about it, sorry. I would
if I could but I can’t. I sleep on my left side ’cause
my sick swollen liver irritates the fucking shit out of
me otherwise. In fact, I can feel it right now. You savvy,
compadre? That’s how it is. I went through 3 rolls of toilet paper last week. That’s how it is. See you later if I can still walk, pal.”
And Hero got away from them taking more hate with him
than he’d brought.
“What’s the matter with him?” Marcos asked Joe.
“I don’t know,” lied Joe with his usual twinge of convict’s
sarcasm which had been 22 years in the making, “he don’t
look sick,” was just as well because Hero didn’t trust either one
of them as far as he could throw them. Jailhouse dope fiends
– the absolutely worst kind there was.
The world was not a television commercial and we weren’t
always going to be able to solve all our problems in the
laboratory. That’s why religion still sold: if people couldn’t
be happy – here – then they’d be happy – there – where Big
Daddy makes it all better and even that version was entirely
speculative, infected with exploitation, subjugation, doubt,
and brainwashing that was influenced by this – here – and
the circumstances of life’s misery. Forgotten the magic
of freedom, a dirty emptiness without promise; remove these
threads and treat us to sweet salvation, oh Lord n’ Failures,
oh pain pimp so fashionably high in the sky waiting for
us when we die. If we can imagine it then it is at least
possible, isn’t it? In the great scope of known human experience
who will explore love? Who denies themselves and would
aspire enlightened to wisdom like that of The Psalms? And
could you say you were an atheist someplace like the Vatican?
Or Jerusalem? Or Mecca? Or on the banks of the Ganges? Or
under the Bo tree? Everyone around you – and all that had
been made with human hands in honor of God – would you not
be swept up in belief by eyes so trusting, so full of faith
and knowing? And would the car bombs convince you or convert
you? The suicide bomber’s bus explosions, children’s limbs
and blood and crying inside horizontal showers of
broken glass on streets that only a moment ago were God’s;
would you believe that we have designed Him to explain,
and carry, all of our woes until He we would meet when we
leave? Then will you have tired eyes and aching backs rewarded
by an idea that sits hollow, unapproachable and diabolic? Murder mime superstition changes in what you see when you go looking for those who look like you and find that you are mistaken.
They said the lights would go back on at 10 P.M., but they
didn’t. They’d said that someone was playing rap music too
loudly. Hero thought logically: Jughead and Mike were at
the commissary and he had been listening to his headphones.
It reminded him of what Ed Meese had said in response to
allegations of suspects’ rights being violated when he was
the U.S. Attorney General under Ronald Reagan:
“They wouldn’t be suspects if they hadn’t done something
Of course Meese was later indicted and “invited” to resign.
Like most of Reagan’s crew he was one of the preppy marshmallow liars in Izod shirts with too white teeth and bad
dye jobs up top. Reagan Savings and Loan. The people checked
their chavol in – and the cheating, Keating, carpet baggers
checked it out. Then it was Poppie’s Pawn shop after that.
A whispy white feather in The White House, government
“Oh, the little brown ones?”
And then later it was, “I love those kids, dammit!” And
what had been an otherwise innocent statement, even for
that liar, became the nails and hammer which were used to
crucify the man who owned the cross.
After all, he was guilty. That was rich. Hero down there
at the absolute very bottom forgiving Poppie all the way
up there at the very top or right next to it anyway or
maybe even above it. A Thousand points of Light but not
one of them reached into Hero’s cell. And, as an afterthought,
he guessed that maybe Poppie hadn’t forgiven him as readily
as he’d forgiven Poppie.
At chow time Hero realized that Mike had moved to C-block
while he’d been napping and some Puerto Rican dude was
now in 35 cell with no lights.
“Now that’s really fucked up,” said Hero. The cop who
had done this was, in his opinion, a real pussy. A real
bully-bitch. So abusive and so, so wrong. So very, very
wrong. He did the math in his head and didn’t think there
was anything wrong with this mystery pig that a bullet in
the back of his head wouldn’t cure.
“That Goldie Hawn is a devil, man,” said General.
“Look at her, “ Shahmeek offered, obviously referring to
“No, I mean in the movie.”
“If that’s jus” her real self comin ‘out,” Shahmeek shot back.
Hero saw how he could kill them, too. They were nothing
but a couple of petty racists. Is that how it starts he
asked himself? Was he any better than any of them, the cop
included, now that he’d been infected by them? Pressurized
compassion bottled empty full cartridges sprayed with WD-40
for guaranteed smooth operation. The lights went on and
Jughead’s precious cable, too. It was five of eleven. Hero
unhooked his cord and lamp and went bed.
“Headache – infirm – I want to sleep,” he said to the
toilet as he pissed.
osable income because increased spending would only
“Why, you dirty motherfuckers!” Hero growled pushing his
jaw out and wrinkling his brow in the near dark of his cell.
“Motherfuckers and bloody tears.”