Inmate’s Earwax Removal – Part II

The Revenge


Sergeant Auraris, the notorious one-eyed prison guard, was hated by all, and had many enemies. In earlier life he had served in the army, and the title Sergeant, was a legacy of his past life. They call him: Shambel Auraris for short. He was an NCO, who had risen to the level of Shambel-Basha, which is equivalent to Sergeant. In the prison structure, however, he is just another guard with no better authority than say, a Corporal. He was tall, almost six and half feet, and had a sloppy, large, undifferentiated, heavy type build.

Aurairs had taken part in various military engagements in the Gambela and the Ugaden, and had sustained some damage in one eye. The damage didn’t heal, but kept getting consistently worse until the right eye became totally blind. The doctor removed his eyeball to prevent the spread of infection, and now there is just an empty socket, where the eye once was. Artificial eyeballs were way beyond what a common county prison guard can afford. The top and bottom eyelids of the hollowed socket had joined tightly shut. And Sergeant Auraris, had become the ugly and hated jailer, and the butt of many unkind jokes like: "The walking Devil with one oil lamp lit and the other burned off."


The jokes didn’t end there. High school and college students, unfortunate enough to be sent to the prison, would call him: "The Cyclops of prison wards!" "The one eyed crow!" "The one eyed monster!" "The one eyed hyena!" etc. And rightly so, because Sergeant Auraris was a bitter man, who lived in anger of losing an eye and for being turned into a guard of prisons, instead of whatever high hopes he might have had in the military. In prison, however, he seemed to have found a perfect niche for his new life. His notoriety in cruelty originated in the administration of those lightening sharp and crisp slaps on unfortunate prisoners during "The Earwax Removal Treatment."

Auraris knew of all the insults behind his back and administering the slaps were one way he would vent his anger. He seemed to love and enjoy administering those slaps with all the anger, bitterness, and frustration of his entire life seemingly concentrated into his hands, transmitted into a single expression through his fingers, and smeared on the canvass of the victims’ ears. If Auraris had been given an early opportunity of exposure into the arts, and was trained in water or oil painting or some other similar medium, no doubt, he would surely have become a famous artist: a Picasso, a Matisse, a Gaugin, or a Van Gogh. Unfortunately for him and his victims, however, that was not in the cards.


Those merciless slaps were not all that Auraris was known and hated for. When relatives of prisoners bring in food, they inspect it to prevent the smuggling in of knives, forks, and similar potential weapons. Very often, many savory dishes have to pass ‘inspection’ at the hands of non other than our infamous guard, Sergeant Auraris. He would stick in a long wooden spike into the dishes to check, and when he catches a piece of lamb or chicken, which he often does, he would pull it out, and away it goes, fast disappearing down his insatiable gullet. Some even say that he could gobble up and swallow a whole leg of lamb or an entire breast of chicken, bones and all, without much of any chewing, and that his appetite knew no limits. If true, would it be far fetched to call him a hyena?

Since prisoners were totally under the mercy of prison guards and officials, there was no way to complain about such abuses to higher authority. Furthermore, many officials act in cahoots with guards in many of these activities, so who can one complain to? If they ever find out any prisoner had complained, they would simply turn back his family when they bring in food, and would not allow anything ever to be admitted to the prisoner, - not even for family visits. That meant they slowly starve the prisoner of food and love, and put him on the strict diet of prison breadcrumbs. Very soon, one was reduced to begging from other prisoners whose families bring in food. So, no one ever complained. The prisoners’ only weapon was to call Sergeant Aurais and his ilk’s with those derogatory names like: hyenas, wolves, jackals... and similar other names, behind their backs, of course. They even had a common prison song/poem, which went something like this:

That evil guard… so, and so, ...the hippopotamus

Oh Lord, how he gapes his ugly hole of a mouth!

My dinner disappeared down his bottomless gullet,

Would to God, that it turn into a crowbar or a mallet...

These abuses, bad as they were, were not all that a prisoner could be subjected to at the hands of guards and prison officials. When they assign prisoners on all types of small and big chores to be performed, (as this was only an average county prison, and not a maximum security prisons for murders and other hardened criminals!) they would give the easy chores to those they liked, and the hard ones to those they didn’t. Cleaning toilets and bathrooms was one chore nobody liked. Cleaning the glass on the windows was another job supposed to be hard work. The easiest chore was walking around the prison compound, picking up leaves, pieces of paper, cigarette butts, and such trash.

Hailu, Adane, and Belihu were three inmates that had suffered quite a bit of harassments and indignities at the hands of Shambel Auraris. They had also undergone the infamous ‘Earwax Removal Treatment’ and had secretly vowed to revenge themselves on Auraris anyway they could. The first opportunity came the day Hailu was assigned to clean the officers’ toilets. While doing his duty, he saw the room where prison guards changed into uniforms and left their clothes behind, hanging on racks. He knew which ones belonged to Shambel Auraris, and wanted to inflict some serious damages on them. But he also knew that he would be among the first suspects, and he needed the crime to be one that could not be easily or quickly noticed. If he ripped them or set them on fire, they would be noticed right away, and an inquiry would be set afoot. He wanted to inflict some subtle damage on the clothes, one that would not be detected for several days, hours, or at least, until Sergeant Auraris had left for the day. He started thinking…

Hailu opened one of the toilet widows and quietly signaled Adane, who was picking trash outside in the prison compound. When Adane came closer, he told him of a plan he had, and told him to stage a fight with Behailu in the prison compound. Soon, there was a noisy commotion of Adane and Belihu fighting in the compound, and a line of officials and guards filed out of the offices to stop the fight and restore order. That was exactly what Hailu was hoping and waiting for. He picked a bottle of toilet acid bleach in one hand, a small wad of raw feces in a toilet tissue in the other, and quickly sneaked out and walked across to the room where guards and prison officials hanged their clothes. He rummaged through Shambel Aurais’ stuff. He found a box of cigarettes and put it in his pocket. He searched through the pants pockets and found a handkerchief. It was clean and nicely folded. He unfolded it, dropped the piece of feces in it, folded it back nicely and put it right back in the pocket. He then dipped a piece of cloth in the acid, sprinkled large doses of it all over Auraris’s jacket and pants, and as quickly sneaked back to the toilets to resume his cleaning duty. Even if anyone had seen Hailu with a piece of tissue in one hand and a bottle of acid bleach in the other, who would suspect anything out of place? They would simply think that he was in the room to do some cleaning chore. As it turned out, no one saw anything. It all happened so quickly. He was in and out in no time.

There were a total of twelve prisoners assigned to clean the toilets that day. Six were on the same wing of the office as Hailu, and the other six were on the opposite wing. It was not very likely that anyone could point a finger at Hailu as a suspect. When Shambel Auraris changed into his clothes and headed home that evening, the acid had long dried and there was no sign or odor of it in his clothes. But the damage was done. As he waited for the bus home, he wanted to smoke a cigarette, but noticed the pack he had bought that very morning was missing. He thought he must have dropped it somewhere. He did not find the present in his handkerchief until much letter that evening. As it happened, he found it while relaxing and drinking beer with some ladies in a bar. He had grabbed his handkerchief unaware of what was there, and had wiped his forehead with it before he sensed some evil smelling stuff wafting from it. By the time he found out, it was already too late. Half of it was smeared on his face and the other half on his fingers. What else was there to do but run to the bathroom, wash! wash! wash! and hope for the best. Suffice it to say that his face and fingers stank for the rest of the evening.

That same evening, Hailu and his two friends sneaked into the prisoners’ toilet and smoked the cigarettes stolen from their enemy. They were enjoying themselves, even as Auraris was fuming with anger and disgust as he washed and wiped his face in a toilet washroom on the other side of town. These culprits were very happy to have scored one strike at Shambel Auraris. How much happier would they have been if they had known that this single strike had three punches, and that they also had embarrassed him at his most cozy and relaxed moment with the ladies of the night, in a bar? The third punch was on the way in about a week or two, when Auraris’ jacket and pants would mysteriously develop large holes everywhere, and in no time at all, the material fall to pieces. As the three friends puffed on the cigarettes, they savored the sweetness of revenge, and agreed that Adane and Belihu would be the next in line to accomplish an exploit as daring, as courageous, and as damaging to Auraris, as this first act had turned out to be.

Next came Adane’s turn. He had been planning and waiting for an opportunity for quite some time. He slipped, fell on the stairs, and hurt an ankle one day, - deliberately? Who knows? Nevertheless, he needed to visit the First-aid room and was given permission to do so. The dresser in the clinic put a bandage on him and sent him back to his cell. As he was walking down the corridor, it was the perfect time to sneak into the lunchroom of the guards. When he entered in it was easy to find Auraris’s lunch box. He opened it and smeared the food with a powdery paste, a preparation that he had kept in his pocket for just this occasion. He mixed the paste with the food very thoroughly, so one could not detect anything. Then as quietly and quickly, he sneaked out of the room and returned to his cell. No one saw or suspected anything.

As Shambel Auraris ate his lunch that day, he never suspected anything. He only thought that it tasted a bit on the salty side, but did not think much of it. Perhaps, as had happened many times before, his wife got carried away and put in a little too much salt. About an hour and a half later, however, Adane and his friends watched through a hole and the tiny cracks in their cells as Auraris ran back and forth, visiting the bathroom repeatedly. He was suffering from a severe attack of diarrhea and vomiting. After about an hour, the stomachache got so bad that the office staff had to call an ambulance to take him away. He was sick for four days and didn’t show up for work, and his absence was quite a welcomed relief for prisoners in the wards. The best part of this second strike was that he did not even know what had hit him. The three friends rejoiced and sang, "halleluiah!"

Next was Belihu’s turn to do something damaging to Auraris. He wanted to outperform the previous two, and told them that he was planning not just to strike Auraris, but to put him out of commission for good, so that he can never come back and get at him. This was not going to be easy. It took quite a lot of planning and preparation. One would need a weapon for this kind of strike to be successful. And not just any weapon, but a good and reliable weapon. But where was Belihu going to obtain such a weapon? Furthermore, everything that passes the prison gates was carefully inspected, even the dishes of food families and relatives bring in. It was not going to be easy. But Belihu was going to do it.

First of all, the weapon needed to be something small and easy to conceal. It had to be one that can be made by hand, with readily available materials, and quickly disposed of after use. For a very long time, Belihu went around thinking and searching for something, anything… he could use to attack Shamebl Auraris with and damage him to such an extent and degree that it would be permanent. One day, while cleaning the prison offices, Belihu picked a paper clip from the floor. He had started to straighten one end and pick his teeth with it when a flash of idea came into his mind. What could be smaller than a paper clip? But, what damage could a paper clip do? He straightened the paper clip all the way and it was more than six inches long. He bent it back and put it in his pocket.

Now, everyday in the late afternoons and evenings, prison guards would take slow and leisurely walks through the corridors, inspecting every cell, making sure everything was quiet, and that everything was in order. If they hear any suspicious noise, or some undue commotion in any cell, there are peepholes through which guards would quietly sneak on, and spy into the cell to find out the troublemaker, or troublemakers. This was going to be the most vulnerable place and moment to strike at Shambel Auraris.

The weapon of choice, a six-inch long paper clip, straightened, sharpened, and polished by a long process of scratching against the granite rock wall of the prison cell. It became sharp as a needle. The opportunity of revenge arrived and the plan was in place. Through the cracks in the door, the three friends could see Shambel Auraris slowly shuffling down the hallway. The plan was for Hailu to make a slapping noise by taking off one of his shoes and striking the cell walls with it, in order to attract the attention of Shambel Auraris, while Adane stood directly facing the peephole, and for Belihu to hide on one side of the peephole, weapon in hand and ready to strike.

As Sergeant Auraris came closer, he heard some repeated flapping noise coming from the cell. He had always suspected this was a cell of some of the troublemakers. What kind of noise was that? Was someone digging or something? He must find out what was going on. As he looked through the peephole, he saw about four to five feet away, a prisoner standing directly in front of him. The flapping noise continued, but he could not see where it was coming from, or who was making it. He got closer and saw the prisoner give some kind of signal like a wink. That was the last he remembered. He let out a loud scream, jerked his head backwards, took one step back and collapsed on the hard floor of the corridor. He was covering his eye with one hand and writhing in agony.

Other guards came running and picked Shamble Auraris up. His face was all covered in blood. They took him to the clinic, but there was not much they could do for him there. The sharp paperclip had penetrated through the pupil and iris, deep into the retina and destroyed his one and only good eye. He went to the hospital where all manners and types of treatments were performed on him, but the eye was damaged beyond any hope of repair. Sergeant Auraris became blind. He had lost his sight for good, and would never return to the prison wards. Three strikes, and he was out!


An investigative inquiry was conducted to find out who had done such a dastardly act. It was quickly learned that our three culprits were behind it. Belihu was immediately taken and thrown into solitary detention for thirty days. That was how long it took them before they were able to complete their investigations and take the three culprits down to the county court to face the county prosecutor and the three judges. The judges extended Belihu’s prison sentence by another year, reducible to six months with good behavior. Adane and Hailu received six months each, reducible to three, with good behavior, for aiding and abetting, and for being accessories in Belihu’s crime. After a few months, however, all three friends were happily back in the same cell, counting the days and looking forward, waiting for the day when they would all be released.

G. E. Gorfu (December 2002)


The views reflected in the above story are solely of the author and are not necessarily shared by Meskot. You may contact G.E. Gorfu  for comments at .