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The Summer Games

The Summer Games

The Oregon rain pauses for the summer, allowing the glorious sun about three beautiful months of uninterrupted breathing room. The inmates come together during this lull in our regularly-scheduled drenchings to partake in what have become known as “The Summer Games”: part celebration of the giant ball of fire we lose the other nine months of the year, part grandiose display of the manly strength a hundred thousand pushups have granted us in its absence.

Inmates organize tournaments for all of the usual suspects – basketball, handball, baseball – but of all the contests that make up the Summer Games, the most eagerly anticipated are “The Sprints”. The Sprints are unique in that they are the only 1-on-1 contests that almost everyone on the compound shows up to watch. Usual protocol for the initiation of a sprint goes a little something like this:

A) One man calls another man out, usually of the same general build and speed.

B) The other man accepts the challenge, or

C) Gets called “pussy meat” while having various objects thrown at his head at unexpected intervals for the duration of the games.

Challenge acceptance rates have never fallen below 99.9%.

At our 31st Annual Summer Games, a 370 lb. Guamanian called “Cheeks” challenged a 390 lb. Redneck called “Rambo” and forever changed the Sheridan Federal prison landscape… literally.

Cheeks’ challenge was accepted. The inmates gathered on either side of a makeshift lane about 80 yards long. We saw the perimeter guards patrolling the barbed-wire fence use their high-powered optics to bear witness to unfolding history.

The two titans aligned their toes with a starting line scratched into the ground at one end of a scorched field. Inmates unraveled and stretched a roll of toilet paper as the finish line across the other. Last-minute wagers passed under the crowd’s held breath as an inmate, centered between the two, raised his arms and yelled, “Ready!”

..and then…


Cheeks, the favorite, timed his release from the gates perfectly and gained an early lead on Rambo, who seemed stunned by the actual gravity of his situation. But Rambo quickly made up lost ground and sent softball-sized divots of earth hurtling through the air in his wake. The two were (triple) neck and neck by the half-way mark, converging into a single blur that can only be described as Seven Hundred and Sixty Pounds of PURE-FUCKING-SPEED.

There’s something poetic about that much mass moving in unison. Like the gigantic chunks of dough that do their graceful dance in the air of a genuine pizzeria.

Cheeks found his stride and began pulling away, a small smile cracking across his face. But then, as if he discovered an extra leg hidden within his… leg, Rambo put on a 20 yard display of athletic prowess the likes of which the stunned crowd had never seen. In the end, Rambo would claim victory; Winner by a Gut.

Rambo’s glory was the talk of the compound for at least a week, while Cheeks, to this day, can be found wandering the yard, looking for his lost Mojo.

One legend born, one titan crushed… all in a single moment of The Summer Games.

Be Good to each other,

- D

Aside from being my mental lifeline to the outside, this blog is an effort to help provide my beautiful son, Orion, with a little support while I am away. Any profit generated by the Ads on this blog get split between him and a charity that builds wheelchair accessible playgrounds for disabled children.

Aside from that, my spirit pretty much survives on sincere correspondence from the outside world. Letters sent by anyone are more valuable to me than clean socks. Write me, and I'll write you back.

Dante Orpilla #49007-112

feel free to use my art, but please
consider a small donation
towards my situation.


On June 16th, 2010, I was sentenced to serve 28 months in a Federal Penitentiary, for possessing with intent to distribute a Class A narcotic. This blog is a visual representation of that experience. Please enjoy responsibly.


For the better part of my life I have operated under the beautiful assumption that mans greatest gift is his ability to create. And so I do. My name is Dante. I am an artist, a musician, a writer and, above all, a very proud father.

Please note that messages are sent in writing to Blackmarket Arts and due to his situation he will not be able to respond. If you would like to begin a correspondence, please write to him.

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