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BUBBA RETURNS! Yours-mine-and-our fave columnist is back and telling how he GOT back!

Brian Ellis...aka Bubba Minkus, free to roam about the countryside now

Posted by on Friday, July 19th, 2019 @ 11:06 am.

We here at Disclosure are THRILLED to announce the return of our columnist Brian "Bubba" Ellis, native of southeastern Illinois/southwestern Indiana, to the online pages!

Ellis has been penning columns from the pen - the Federal Bureau of Prisons - for us for a number of years (the most recent column heading is "Minkus Ink," as Ellis has had the nickname "Bubba Minkus" for a long time, but it was originally featured at the e-Edition as "Prose & Cons")) this after a ridiculous conviction in 2004 that started locally but was upped to the federal level by our onerous (and thankfully-former) Edwards County state's attorney Brian Shinkle.

Now, he's out; he has been for several months, but this will be the first column he's created since his prison departure, and he explains some of that here. Enjoy!


Brian Ellis

October 18th 2018; United States Penitentiary (USP), Leavenworth, Kansas. National inmate census count…4:00 pm. All quarter-million federal inmates are to be standing unless chained to a hospital bed somewhere. Or in the morgue.

After two corrections officers passed cell #122 in C-cellhouse assuring that yours truly was indeed still present and physically able to stand, I took a seat on the side of my luxurious amnesia foam mattress to listen to FOX News as had been my routine since before I turned gray (several years).

Almost immediately, the two officers returned with a case manager and a couple of other suits that I was sure I had not seen prior to that day and popped my door open…a very rare event during the national standing count…and informed me that I had 5 minutes to pack my property and report to center hall and “get the hell off of the property.”

This, folks, is not the way one is discharged from federal prison…after office hours too? What manner of skullduggery are these varmints up to, thought I! So, as it was 8 years early from my scheduled release date I had to ask the ingenious question of, “what?” at which point the case manager replied, "Your new release date is 2013…five years ago but this is your lucky day, the Bureau of Prisons is flying you home instead of putting you on a bus.”

Oh, well, that makes up for everything then! So, as I surveyed 15 years of accumulated items that seemed I couldn’t live without I tossed all but what would fit in an army duffel bag and began my exodus from the “historical USP Leavenworth.”

I probably wouldn’t miss the rodent urine- and feces-laden chow served with gusto daily. That tidbit is info shared from a doctor at the facility…not inmate-dot-com as the rumor mill is so lovingly referred to.

No more foul-mouthed government-issued thugs spewing hatred every minute of every day for sport and as a boost to their egos. But let us not dwell on the semi-literate horde of good ole boys that is 95 percent of the correctional officer staff at the lovely Leavenworth USP. I am convinced there is a special place in hell for them. I’ll be holding the keys when they arrive.

Back to the exodus; I made the mandated 5 minutes to center hall with my duffel bag. There I was issued a debit card with less than a dollar on it and $65 cash for cab fare that was to get me from Evansville Dress Regional airport to my final destination.

I was met at center hall by a pug-faced little troll from whichever office handles the paying of the gate money to discharging inmates. This woman had the audacity to attempt to chastise me for being so slow and causing her to “stay past her quitting time!”

Holy…! As I stared down at this 4-foot-nothing-inch specimen of human female who sported the beginning of a respectable handlebar mustache, I wondered if she truly had an inkling of the concept of “running late.” Did she mean late like her 30 or so minutes past her appointment for her parvo shots or running late like the 5 years a man lies waiting for the court system to correct an error? Obviously, her dilemma far outweighed mine.

After that particular romance ended at center hall, it was an escort out of the front door to a shuttle van and off to the Kansas City Airport. It should be pointed out that the shuttle vans are driven by inmates who are housed outside of the wall at the federal prison camp. Usually they are just about 2 degrees south of being correction officers themselves.

Dumped at the K.C. airport clad in my spiffy 1970s era wardrobe in which the bureau of prisons dressed me for the trip back into the world, my adventure began in earnest. The ticket counter was uneventful, unless you consider having to trim my personal belongings in the duffel by at least half to meet size requirements to go on the plane without having to take out a bank loan to pay for an oversize bag. Add to that the fact that I walked off and left my ticket/boarding pass on the counter when I moseyed off to find my plane.

Cut to the hike back from the ticket counter to retrieve said abandoned items it was time to experience firsthand another breed of government issue ‘public servant.’ Dressed like Pee Wee Herman’s less fortunate brother with only a federal inmate identification card, the young TSA agent promptly went into full Barney Fife high speed shimmy mode and became fairly dangerous by all appearances and actions. Scared me and I’m fearless!

Pulled out of line and put on full display for all my fellow passengers to suspiciously glare at, I was subjected to 1.7 million hostile questions that had zero to do with getting this jet safely from point A to point B. My but he was having some big fun for true, as my Cajun friends would say.

Thanks to a much older, calmer, and experienced TSA Agent I was eventually allowed to board the damn plane. Will miracles never cease?

Now enter O’Hare International Airport Chicago, Illinois and the first actual culture shock deluxe to slam a new reality home to my overly-incarcerated arse.

Know that the last time I had ventured through this particular airport was 1970-something during my stint in the Army. It was chaotic bordering on full scale riotous to say the least. This time…not so much.

In the 300 or so yards that I trekked to get myself where I needed to be the grand total of TWO human conversations did I hear. That is, actual face to face human interactions. It was, to me at least, a scene out of The Twilight Zone.

Everyone other than the parties engaged in the aforementioned two conversations were staring down at their phones texting, reading, Facebooking, launching rockets, and whatever else they do on these new gadgets everyone over the age of 3 has attached to their hands these days. The bar? Full of patrons…silent. Other than the occasional PA system announcement the place was quiet. One of the biggest airports in the world…crickets. Simply amazing.

Off we go into the wild blue yonder aimed south for Evansville, Indiana, arriving there at approximately 11:30 that night…and the joint was closed. Little did I know that during my hiatus pay phones had become all but extinct. Absolutely none to be found at Dress Regional Airport.

No phones, no personnel present, and eventually no other passengers that I had arrived with. I was a tad distraught, and totally alone. Then out of nowhere that I could point to came an old man in a yellow raincoat and big floppy yellow hat to match…looking ever so much like the fisherman on the box of fish squares I loved so much as a kid. He asked if I was needing a phone and when I answered in the affirmative, he walked over to a desk and punched a couple buttons and voila…I was talking to my younger sister and she was headed my way on high, bless her soul.

As for the mystery man…no sign of him inside or out. I looked for him to thank him once again…it still baffles me to this day. Sister being strong in her faith argued that he was an angel…couldn’t have been anything else. Of course, as big brothers will do, I gave her several alternatives to what or who he might have been. She staunchly refused all of them…and when her face started getting red, I knew I had better relent…he was an angel, sis. Card-carrying bona fide halo-having angel sent to get me on my last leg home.

Glad to be out would be the understatement of the century…but you would not believe how many times I have been asked that question, “Hey Bubba, glad to be out?” No knucklehead…I was just getting comfy; can you give me a ride back…is what one feels like saying at times but a quick smile and a nod usually suffices. I had never even seen a camera phone when I was uh…detained. Had to learn how to operate the fuel pumps at gas stations, soda fountains at fast food joints, and did you know you can get movies out of big red vending machines! I swan. Everything seems to be moving along faster now…I got in some manner of SUV recently and the thing was having a conversation with the driver!

This list of things that are new to me is too long for this venue. But I will make this observation: It is like I actually time traveled. I see men with buns in their hair and truthfully that’s when the redneckery surfaces just a tad and I have to razz them at least a little. The first gentleman I encountered with the bun I named top knot. I said, "Your top knot looks pretty spiffy their feller.” Give him credit; he was a polite young man who calmly educated me by telling me they were commonly referred to as buns or man buns. All I know is I had some chickens in Arkansas with the same damn hairdo and they were called top knots!

Well folks its 6:30 am and I have a road hungry Harley Davidson Road King Classic sitting in the driveway calling my name. It’s been a long time coming… I’m going to go get some wind therapy before it gets 100 degrees in the shade. So long for now and God bless.

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