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Listening to the Rants of a Mad Inmate

We found ourselves in another cell block – this time, one in the infamous prison of Alcatraz. After a few minutes of creatively putting together items in our cell, we knew how we had to break out. It’s funny how often the guards will leave the keys within reach of a crudely fashioned extension pole. After breaking out of our cell, we made our way to the warden’s office to identify a way to escape the prison island. We learned that there was a boat waiting for us at the docks – a way to the mainland.

A thorough search of the warden’s office led us to the discovery that we would need to visit death row, specifically the control room of the electric chair. According to the plans we found, the only way to successfully escape the prison would be to short-circuit the electric chair, which would plunge the island into darkness while releasing all of the electronic locks on the exit doors.  

We made it to death row and found that only one prisoner was awaiting his execution. When he saw us, he began talking to us. We greeted him, but we were on a mission, so we ignored his seemingly insane rants as we searched about the area to figure out how to gain access to the control booth and short-circuit the chair. We’d been through this before – some sort of distraction attempting us to throw us off our mission.

We continued searching the area and ignoring the inmate until we got stuck. We could not figure out how to open up a lunch box, which we assumed had the electronic pass to grant us access to the control booth. It was then that we figured out that perhaps the rants of our mad inmate weren’t so insane after all. We stopped what we were doing and gave our full attention to the inmate. After some initial small talk and apologies for ignoring him, we were able to understand better what he was trying to say. It took a few questions to understand his perspective more and, ultimately, he gave us the code to the lunch box in his own way.

We escaped the prison island that day, but not without the help of the mad inmate. So often in life, we write someone off because we don’t understand their perspective or how they communicate. But if we were to take the time to get to know those around us, how they think, and how to best communicate with them – we just might fight a treasure trove – whether it is how to escape a prison island or merely to get a different perspective on things. Besides, we really shouldn’t ignore our fellow human beings, reducing them to just a distraction in our minds.

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