Saturday, March 25, 2017

Food Service

Just completed my first week in food service.  Quite an adventure.

They want me to work from 7 AM to 5 PM.  I get there at 9.  Before prison I showed up two hours late and was paid $16 an hour plus expenses.  Two hours late is about the max I can pull off or I'll get thrown in jail.

My first day they pulled a power-washer into the kitchen.  I was instructed to power-wash all the grout lines in the tile floor.  I was told to do this while they were prepping food to serve on trays for lunch.  Overspray from cleaning chemicals, soap and bleach were contaminating food areas.  We were told to power-wash the area around the prep table for the coleslaw.  I shook my head as I watched the overspray go across cooking surfaces.

About noon the food service director came to me and pulled me into his office.  He briefed me on OSHA regulations.  I have to wear boots at all times and wear a hair net around food.  OK.

The chow hall also has a lady who is free-world that oversees how much food is put on each tray.  She makes sure the employees don't steal all the food being prepared to serve.  She has to stand guard because a piece of chicken sells for $2 and they steal all of them they can.  They can be as much as 150 pieces short on chicken night.

The thing I observed is she stands over the serving line and prep area and refuses to wear a hair net.  It would mess up her hair and we can't have that.  So---don't take a job in food service!

My first manner of business was to write up the unsanitary way they clean.  Cleaning on the level they ask us to should be done after regular feeding hours when food is put away in coolers. Not during scheduled feeding.  Florida Department of Health mandates the same rules in D.O.C. as they do in free-world dining.  This kitchen is clearly in violation of clean cooking areas and sanitary work stations.

I've filed a formal grievance against the kitchen on behalf of myself and all other inmates who unknowingly are eating cleaning chemicals on their food.

Next, I wrote up the free-world inspector for not wearing a protective hair net or gloves when handling food.  This is a direct violation of food and health requirements for public food service.  So, while I'm in this kitchen we're going to get things in tip-top-shape.  Or they're going to fire me.

Getting them in compliance will better our dining experience.  Pissing them off will get me fired.  Either way it's a win-win situation.

Instead of giving me a simple job change they will probably lie on me and lock me up in confinement.  Whenever you write grievances in prison this can happen as a result.  That's why you never write up officers.  I never do that. 

I'm writing up food-service and the free-world employees.  They are breaking rules and not being held accountable.  I don't want to work under those conditions.  I eat  that food.  As long as I don't know there is cleaning products in it, then I eat it unknowingly.  However, you put me in there to work and I see it all day, I don't want to eat like that.

It's possible they will just lock me up for some small infraction because I have thrown a rock at the hornets nest.

That's how it works.  Its a 50/50 gamble but I had to do this.


That begins my first week in the kitchen.




















Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Freedom on 2 Wheels

We've all made those credit card purchases.  The ones you don't realize how much you've spent until the bill comes and makes it a reality.  Hits you like a slap in the face.

I ride Harleys.  We sold them when I came to prison, but I have rode them since I was 19 years old.  Before I left my last prison I met a man selling his bike.  I really wanted the bike.  I told you a bit about this before.  He was an inmate like myself.  When you ride motorcycles, there are times you're standing around admiring the bikes.  Everyone takes a turn telling the story behind their scooter.  So I was thinking my bike's story would go something like......"I bought my bike from a dude doing time where I did mine.  He shot his wife for cheating.  He got life--while I got his bike..."

So I made the man an offer and he didn't want to budge on his price.  I didn't have the full amount he asked, so I decided to wait.

I explained to Mom why the bike meant so much to me.  Sure, I could wait until I get home to buy one.  However, I will have been in prison for a decade at my release.  Where I was going, opening a shop, and who I was going to spend my life with.  Well, all of those plans have changed.

My future plans are now an adventure and will take shape once I'm home.  I'm very OK with that, but would love to have a couple things be solid for me once again.

I explained all this to Mom.  A few days later she told me about the lady who cuts her hair.  She's also a biker and had upgraded her bike and still had the other one in the garage.  The story behind my scooter now goes like this.....

Mom knew how much a bike meant to me.  She knows the freedom you feel with the wind in your hair.  A feeling you can only experience on two wheels.  Mom negotiated the deal, covered the difference for me, and now holds a Harley for her eldest son.

Two things for certain....

I get to come home and be a Dad to my daughter.  I get to spend time with her and make up for all the years of her life I missed.  I have years ahead of me to walk beside her and be a role model.  I've stood patiently on the sidelines of her life thus far.  I tell her I'm on the sidelines cheering her on.  I'm the loudest fan she's ever had and ever will.

And I get to ride a motorcycle.  That shit makes me happy.  Nobody can take that away from me. It's mine.

Mom told me on the phone she bought the bike, it was mine.  Late that night I was laying in bed looking at the ceiling.  I'm not certain what prompted it, but at one point I laughed out loud...."I own a fucking motorcycle!!"  It was like the bill finally showed up and I got that slap in the face.  I've requested pictures.  Seems you all have seen my bike even before I have.  It will become even more real then I'm sure.

I'm coming home people.  I've got a Harley to ride as soon as I get there.  Mom brewed home made wine two years ago and I had her put two bottles to the side.  They should be nice and ripe when I get there.  I have a funny list of things-to-do.  It's so close now I can taste the wine and hear the motorcycle rumble.

(Note from the Mom:  He has all the pictures now!)

Friday, March 3, 2017

TRANSFER


I was sound asleep when an officer kicked my bunk and told me to pack my shit, I was transferring.

Barely awake I looked at the clock and saw it read 3:30 AM.  It's a Friday.  Monday is transfer day, so I know something is off.

It's not up to me, I only follow the orders.  And no questions can be asked.

For the past five years I made this prison my home.  I know the officers and what they expect from me.  I have friends.  Men I walk to chow with and eat dinner.  The men who stand up for me when I'm in trouble.  All the things that make you feel safe and comfortable in this messed up reality.  Here's an officer telling me to pack my things---I'm transferring.

I'm unable to make the rounds and tell them goodbye.  I wish I could.  I take a deep breath and remember I came to this place alone, and I'll leave alone.  I stand alone.  I process the fact I'm leaving, put my shit into bags and get ready to leave.

My Jewish brother and neighbor of nearly three years wakes up and makes a cup of coffee.  We give each other a hug and I tell him its been a hell of a ride.  He makes me promise to come visit him once I'm free.  His wife will read this and tell him I spoke of him.  Jen, you tell Mike I'll catch him on the flipside....that's a promise.

I walk out of my dorm and get into a line of others who will also transfer.  There are 40 in all.  We have to turn in all our property that the institution issued us upon arrival.  They don't want us to leave with their shit.  After they go through all our property and take the "extras" we then line up in the sally-port.  The Bluebird is waiting.  Basically a reinforced school bus.  Our feet are shackled and hands restrained.  You sling your property over your shoulder and try not to step too long a stride.  If you do, the chains will cut into your ankles and rub them raw.  Baby steps.

You duck to get into the bus through the emergency entrance at the back.  The front is for the officers and a grate separates us from them. 

In order to make sure you're the right guy, they ask you identifying questions.  My name is called.

"Smith!!"  

"Where were you born?"  Mitchell, Indiana.

"What county sentenced you?"  Orange County. 

"Mother's maiden name?"  Wendel.

"What's your girlfriends name?"  I don't have one.... "Get on the bus asshole."

And so my journey begins.

I sit beside the window and watch the bus pull away from the place I have lived and been visited at.  Another chapter ends, while one more begins.

I'm able to look out my window.  It has reinforced grate welded onto it so visibility is poor.  Still, I can see men in trucks headed to work.  A dealership where a salesman is showing a car.  A bus stop where people wait to be picked up.  A cute lady with long tanned legs slowly passes in the other lane. 

I see freedom.  It's right outside my window.  There isn't a row of fences with barbed wire or guard towers.  It's a small piece of Plexiglas between me and life.

I smile.  I'm glad I'm moving on.  A new place to develop relationships.  A new place to lay my head.  A new life.  My time will fly past as I learn the ins and outs of my new home.

The bus is slowing down.  We exit off the highway and shortly after pull down a long drive.  I see the fences and towers and know I'm nearing my new home.  I get butterflies.  You must walk the cat-walk.  They call out..."fresh fish", "hey cute boy--want to sleep in my bed tonight?"  You learn to walk tall, look ahead and shake it off.  They watch for the one with fear in his eyes.  The one who looks away or hangs his head.  Keep Fuck You written on your face.

As I pass under the gate I read the name.  They just sent me to a psych camp?  As if my life isn't crazy enough with their shipping psych's to my camp....now they put me at a psych prison!

Classification informs me I've just been transferred for "institutional needs".  A "population adjustment".  When you grow comfortable somewhere, you forget to feel.  Sometimes we grow too comfortable with the people in our lives and we forget to respect them....and our life.  If I grew too comfortable here I would miss the lesson.  So close to the end and I want the lesson to be loud and clear.

Don't ever, under any circumstances, come back to THIS place. 

Stay tuned to the next and last chapter of my life behind bars.



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Last Minute Preparations


Just a little over 20 months from now my Mom will pick me up from the curb.  D.O.C. is about to kick me out.  Something I've waited on for a long time.

From day one Mom has planned to come here and get her son.  She's visited plenty and had to leave without me.  Soon, I'll be in the car with her.  On the way out I want to take a leak on their sign.  That will be the first picture of me free.

I intend to continue the blog.  I expect it will be even better since I'll be able to post videos and more pictures.  Perhaps I'll get the chance to meet some of you as well.  It would become a way for me to see more of the country.  Come to your town, drink a beer at your local dive bar and even sing some karaoke.  You can video that and we will post it up.  My schedule is free and I'm game.  But are you?  Keeping the blog is also a way for me to stay accountable.

I have a large bucket list.  Things such as Burning Man in Arizona, Mardi Gras and Fantasy Fest in the Florida Keys.  Then there's the small town stuff.  I'm a sucker for a fair.  Cotton candy and elephant ears.  Carnies who talk shit and rides that could fall apart any second.  Any town I'm in having a fair and I'm there. 

Not long ago I heard a man here had his Harley Davidson for sale.  I scraped together my loose change and Mom said she would loan me a couple hundred.  I made an offer.  I'm a sentimental person and like the story purchasing this bike would make.  Drinking a beer at a bike week everyone stands around and tells their chopper story.  I tattooed my ass off to get the money.  Then purchased the bike from a man who shot his wife for cheating.  He got life, I got his bike.  You can't buy stories like that, except I'm trying to.

Perhaps I'll become part of your story one day.  You pull up your sleeve to show your friends your new tattoo.  Then you go on to tell them you read a prisoner's blog for a handful of years.  Got to know a little about him and when he got released you had him come to your town and give you a tattoo.  Yeah, I like that.

Just like I want my bike and every aspect of my life to be personalized, I may personalize your life as well.  Then again, maybe reading this is enough for you.  Tell me the fair is in your town and I'll head out there and see if I can't win us a stuffed animal.

I used to work to pay the bills.  Plan and save all year for some big vacation once a year.  Stuck in a rut most of the world is in every day.  I'm not doing that anymore.  I'm doing one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

Life's too short to sweat your boss and a job that doesn't give two shits for you.

Now hold on...Don't go quit your job!!  Just make sure you stop sometimes and have a stiff drink.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

When you have kids and responsibilities you need that security.  At least until the kids are grown.

I'm coming home 40 years old with a daughter who will be 21.  I haven't had sex with a real person in over 10 years.  You can bet I'm coming home to experience life to the fullest.  I found a way to work for myself.  Be able to travel with my work and be accountable to myself, my kid and God.

Right now as I write this, Guns & Roses is blasting in my ear buds.

Paradise City is the song and that's what I'm on now.




Please Note:  The Jailbird was moved to another prison two days ago.  This post was written by him prior to knowing he was being moved.  There is a lag in snail mail time!  Stay tuned for another post to come soon describing the experience of a move.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Visit


My Dad came to see me today.  I knew he was coming because my little brother told me on Friday when I called home.  When I woke up I layed out my visitation set of blues.  Every inmate that gets visits has a special set of blues reserved as "viso-blues".  We wear the same outfit every day.  But when you come to see us we want to look our best.  We want to, for that one day, feel like a million bucks.  To remember what it felt like to dress nice for an occasion.  You may not know, but the blues we wear are clean pressed and set aside specifically for that visit.

I sat on my bed and waited until they called my name.  I then dressed and laced up my polished boots.  My boots are only for two things:  Visitation and Kickin ass.  The tips are polished to shine and look good poking out from under my pants.  They also look good arcing through the air in a roundhouse kick directed at someones teeth.

Laced up and feeling fresh I grab my pass from the officer and head to the f ront of the compound to the visiting park.  Once there, I stand in a line to enter.  They call us in 5 at a time.  "Strip down and place all your property on the table directly in front of you," the officer instructs.  You stand there in your bare feet on a cold floor shivering.  You are naked in a room of 5 inmates and 2 guards.  Seven men see you nude.  Well, six.  I see myself naked all the time.

You're directed to open your mouth and stick out your tongue.  Rub your finger along the inside of your gums.  Next you will brush your hair out and show them behind your ears.  The officer will then instruct you to lift your penis.  Then lift your testicles.  "OK, now I want you to turn around." "Bending at the waist reach behind you and spread open your butt cheeks."  While the officer looks into your anus he says, "please cough 3 times."  "I'm sorry, not hard enough."  "Please bend again and cough 3 more times."

If they are satisfied nothing is shoved inside your ass, you are then instructed to go ahead and dress. Once dressed, grab your pass and head into your visit.  I take a deep breath and walk out of my world and into some sort of fucked up pergatory.  The "in between".  I'm not quite in your world and you're not quite in mine.  Still, we will meet here, and for a few hours you will have your loved one back.  I will forget where I live and remember a life back home.

I scan the room to find you.  How much have you changed since I saw you last?  What did you put on to come and see me?  And I look to see if you are healthy.  A man like me wants to know in two years when I come home you'll be alive to see me free.  I need to see loved ones taking care of themselves so I have time with them once I'm home.  I want to see a lady that speeds up my heart and has it going on.  A woman who will compliment me and make me look good in these same old blues I wear every day of my life.  And if that's who came to see me, then I can give you a kiss.  I'll squeeze you tight like I may never see tomorrow.  I'll let my hand slide down and yes, I will feel your butt.  After all, I'm still a man.  About then a guard is approaching to tell me that's my first warning of the day. "Don't do that anymore".  That's fine, because I already did it, and it's worth a month in solitary to feel your butt.  Today it was my Dad.  No, I did not feel his butt.

I do squeeze him like it may be the last time.  One thing I know real well is loss.

We then walk to get into the line for canteen.  They sell food in the visitation canteen that we are unable to purchase at ours.  Besides, when you're here we could be at the food-court in some shopping mall.  It doesn't matter if its my Dad, Mom, brothers, sisters or a woman....you already removed me from my life here.  Standing in line forever like this doesn't matter.  We are talking, laughing and never even notice the line.  At the window finally, we pick some frozen entree and then head to the tower of microwaves.  I also purchased a photo ticket with the ham sandwich and Mellow Yellow.

We will warm the food and return to the table.  Where you will sit on one side and me on the other. I'll pop the top on your soda, then place it on a napkin to catch the condensation.  If you don't mind I'll unwrap your sandwich and put it on a paper plate.  Next to it I'll put the packets of mustard and mayonaisse.  Then pour some chips on the plate and ......lunch is served.  I also asked you what you wanted when we were in line so I could order for you.  This is all I have to show you how much I appreciate you taking to time to come and visit me.  While you're here I will serve you just to show you how special you are to me.

Then...its all over and it just barely began.  I know its coming.  I see the clock nearing the time you must go.  You see me.  You're smiling.  But on the inside I'm already crying.  Because I know soon you will go.  I will watch you finally realize its at the end. I'll make it quick for you.  I'm an escape artist.  "Don't cry, I'll see you again soon" I say.  If I seem cold at the end its because it's tearing me apart at the center.  One last wave as you disappear around the corner.  You're gone.  I won't even notice stripping nude and bending and coughing.  I'm still with you.  During the walk back to my life, this place will begin to tug me back.

Slowly, surely, I'm brought back....because the house always wins.




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Monkey See? Monkey Do!

Keeping up with the Jones'.  That's how you say it out there.

Way back when my sister helped me create the blog we discussed the day it might turn into a non-profit.  Years back we did inmate shout-outs.  Ways to open it to inmates other than myself.  Keeping families connected to their inmate.  It became a pain in the ass.  I was chasing down dudes to get them to write a shout-out because the larger portion of these men don't give a fuck about their family out there.

Prison got me clean and free from drugs.  I thought perhaps I would give back to others like myself. Maybe one day open a clinic or a rehab center.  And then life has come along and I think I'll keep it to me and my family.

In prison I'm know as the Hooligan.  Years back I tattooed it across my chest.  A week later some dude put it across his knuckles.  Then I put my date of birth on my knuckles and a month later a dude 3 bunks down does the same thing.

Lately it seems younger and younger kids are coming to prison.  They even have a mentor program. Like a big brother deal.  These kids find someone they think is cool and they latch onto you.  Most of them are from broken homes and never had a Dad.  So they seek to fill a void.

So they follow me around.  Tattoo my same tattoos on themselves.  Tell people they know me and we're friends.

The rapper T.I. sings a song-You Don't Know Me.  These dudes don't know me.  Is God playing some trick on me?  When they come around and bug me, put my ink on their body and say we're friends it pisses me off.

Now I have dudes who want to work out with me.  I'm a lone wolf.  If you come around  me, I've been jaded to wonder what you want from  me.  Its innocent enough and all they want is to be around a cool dude.   I suppose it's a compliment.

I made one kid.  She doesn't answer my calls half the time and she breaks my heart.  I don't need any more kids.  I really wasn't cut out for that shit.

If the neighbor comes home driving the same family sedan you just bought, you would probably be pissed.  What if their kids keep coming over because you cook better and you're cooler.  I would go over and tell their folks to get cooler because I don't need their kids at my house.

Am I just a dick?  Is God seriously trying to shape me different?  Because right now I don't want to be followed around.  I don't want you all standing around my bunk.  I don't want you stealing my tattoo ideas either.  Go get your own.  A rehab center?  I'm going to worry about staying clean myself.

I'm sorry that so many men make babies with women and then leave them.  The woman raises the kid the best she can but there's no Dad to play that role.  When you catch your first fish you want to brag to your Dad.  You don't want your Mom baiting your hook either.  A Dad should do that.  A Dad should drive you to ball practice and play catch with you.  On that note....

God bless the women who play both roles.  The problem is that some women can't and so there's a void.  Those are the kids coming to prison.

I'm an artist so I have some dude come stop me in the middle of some important shit I'm doing to show me a stick-figure he drew.  I'm thinking it sucks and he should find a different hobby.  Then that other person on the other shoulder speaks and I have to stop and give them some pointers.  Tell them they're off to a nice start and pat them on the back.

Lately that's been a battle.  I endure every day.  I didn't ask God for patience.   I know he would pull some crap like this.  Is it because I'm ready to go home?  I don't know.  I'm not sure what the lesson is here.

Prison has attempted to harden my heart.  I recognize it has, but I can quickly see it and fix it.  Some days I push away people who really love me because I have other ideas.  I don't mean to hurt anyone. Perhaps that's why I'm bombarded by people trying to soften the hard edges prison has painted on my life.

I challenge you to compliment someone today.  If you see someone working really hard at something, even if it looks like shit, tell them they're doing a nice job.  Even adults still need that pat on the back.

Much love to you, seriously...I mean that.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Be Real

Have you ever drug your tired butt to work on a Monday and watched your boss come strolling by whistling a tune?  As you watch him walk by in his exceptional mood you think to yourself...."somebody got laid..."  Unfortunately we have all sat there and listened to a boss pop off about some shit that has you thinking..."must be that time of the month!"

It's the same way here.

One day the guard will allow you to eat a second tray of food and overlook you walking outside the yellow-line.  The next day the same guard is all over your ass because you're two minutes late to call-out.  They get so mad at us that we get a fire-drill at 4 AM on a Saturday morning when its 28 degrees.  Then they make you stand outside in your gym shorts for 20 minutes while they stand around and smoke cigarettes.

Over my time in D.O.C. I have learned to appreciate a convict guard.  That's a guard that come in with the same attitude every day.  And "if" they ever change their ways they will stop and listen to you if you approach them in a respectful manner and point it out to them.

There are other officers that are over the top on every call.  And for that reason there is a chain-of-command.  An officer puts you in cuffs and you know you weren't wrong, you have the right to ask "to see the Captain."  A good Captain will hear your side and then make the ruling.  Either you're headed to confinement or the cuffs are removed.

Personally I like the man who's the same day in and day out.  I try to live the same way.  If it's been working this far, why change it and possibly mess up something.  Just move on.

Even if the officer is a straight dick, just be a dick every day.  Then I can move around you.  Simple as that.  When you learn to do your time in this manner you are a "convict" as opposed to an inmate.  An officer will respect you for that was well.

I have learned to do my time this way.  Now with all the new changes it's turning things around a bit. Still, you make like a chameleon and adapt to the change.  I figure it's a good thing in preparation for life out there.

Weed was an illegal drug when I was growing up.  We were taught it was a drug and not to be used.  Now it's becoming legal and parents are having to teach differently.  Much like alcohol, it shouldn't be abused.  And if you're leaving the house every day and turning around to pick up something you forgot...Yeah, you may need to cut back some.

Our lives are ever changing.  Change is good.  I'm writing once again for Jailbird.  It's keeping me occupied and allowing me to vent.  On top of that I'm making new friends.

Thanks for stopping by.  Tell someone about this.  I get all the comments read to me and reply when someone wants to write.

I'm out in 22 months and I will continue to update the site so everyone can see what I've done with myself.  Before prison I was an addict.  This will become a way to stay accountable for my actions.  I ask you to stick around.  Contact me if you like.

Hopefully your boss got laid over the weekend and your day is beautiful.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SHAWSHANK: The Final Redemption

There's a scene where an inmate manages to lock himself inside an office where he is able to use the security P.A. to broadcast music.  All across the prison men are pausing to stop and listen.  Perhaps one of the "realist" scenes in the movie.

Music knows no boundaries.  There's no fences, no concrete walls...only music that carries throughout.  The universal language that, whether in your native tongue or not, can cause you to stop, drop anything, and move to the music.

When I heard Rihanna sing, Love on the Brain, I stopped and was moved.

So much that I downloaded it onto my MP3.  It's not even that "love is on my brain".  Rather it's the passion and soul she puts into that song.  Perhaps it's the artist in me, but I find it amazing.

When you live in prison you latch onto things that free your mind from the confines of this place. Sleep certainly takes the first prize.  That's the easiest way to do time.

The next in line would be relationships.  I have been blessed with solid people in my corner both in here and out there.  Throughout our lives they come and go.  Some people grace us with their presence for a short time.  Perhaps they are angels God places in our paths to help us through extraordinary circumstances.  Others will walk the entire journey of our lives beside us.  My Mom has done that.

Some days you can argue that's just family and that's what they're supposed to do.  However, plenty of families don't show love and support for their members.  One little thing and the house is divided and nobody talks to old Uncle Tom because he pissed somebody off.

I'm not on that and I'm blessed non of my family is either.

I called home the other day to speak to my Mom and a little voice answers and says, "Hello Uncle Mike"...

It's my sister's daughter.  She doesn't know me other than the pictures of me on the fridge.  Well, and to know that my sisters all tell their children about their Uncle Mike.  So I'm alive and well back home.

I'll get home and the pieces will all fit once again.

I think there's love, loyalty and respect in a great family.

I've been gone and forgotten to some.  And they now take the bottom of my list of acquaintances.  It blesses me to see how my family has stood tall and kept me alive there with them.  And that's what's on my mind today.

I want to tell my family...you are the best team this man could ever have.  My hat's off to each of you.

Some people will never come to this place...and thankfully.  I'm not angry I came here.  Nor am I angry about the time I gave here.  Had I stayed free these past 10 years, life out there wouldn't have taught me the lessons I learned in here.  Joke about the school-of-hard-knocks...but I've been a pupil there all these years.

Touch the stove and you get burned, you'll really think hard and long before you do that again.  The person who is just "told" not to touch is much weaker than the one who was burned.

I am that dude now.  Took the lesson the hard way,  but I fully understand.  If you thought you knew me before prison,  you probably won't now.

I'm blessed my family has taken the journey in stride beside me.  This way we have all grown together.  And you reading this crap?  Well---we're growing together too.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Really!?!

On top of the three meals a day D.O.C. feeds, we have a canteen to purchase personal items to keep in our locker and eat from.  If  your fortunate enough to have loved ones who can donate to your cause.

The canteen sold top rolling tobacco for inmates to smoke until about four years ago.  The cost of treatment for inmates who developed lung cancer was killing "them" along with the inmates.  So tobacco products are no longer offered in the canteen.  This has caused them to become a highly smuggled product.

A pack of cheap cigarettes is purchased and after opened all the filters are torn off.  This down-sizes the product being smuggled.  It's packaged in what is called a bomb..  Tightly compacted and wrapped in cellophane.  Those cigarettes are called Cadillacs.

A pack of 305 Cigarillos cost $2.00 on the street.  Once inside these walls that mark-up is $50.00 per pack.

You don't smoke an entire Cadillac.  Instead it is quartered.  Each piece is sold for $2.00 in what they call a plug.  That plug is broken up and then rolled into a small joint looking smoke.  Since there are no rolling papers sold anymore, the closest alternative is pages from the Bible.

So your cigarette is smuggled as a Cadillac.  Broken into quarter plugs, then rolled up in torn up Bible pages for you to smoke.  You smoke unfiltered tobacco and then inhale all the ink printed on the pages.  Talk about getting your "daily bread".  A friend said they should call them HOLY SMOKES!

And I wonder how that's working to cut back on lung cancer for the Department.

Because a plug is $2.00 it causes most cigarettes to be smoked by two men.  They each donate a dollar.  Once they burn it down to a roach sized piece another man comes along and asks for the short.  That man keeps all the "shorts" until he can roll up his own roach-joint.  By the time he has enough he has small pieces that half a dozen men hove smoked from.  And they wonder why the cold and flu passes around so quickly.

I personally hate to see the Bible torn up and smoked from.  But, I live with a bunch of idiots.  Nasty people who do nasty shit.  Like the guy who, as he takes a piss, plucks out a few pubic hairs and sets them on top of the urinal.  Is that really necessary?  Or the man who picks his nose while he talks on the phone.  Wiping it on the wall next to it.  You have to wear rubber shower shoes while in the shower.  I won't even get into what's on the walls and floors in there.  You have to live in here, but touch as little as possible.

Maybe you've seen those rap videos where everyone has their hand in their pants or is grabbing their crotch.  I live that every day.  I make my phone calls on the phone that the man before me has his hand in his pants, then back on the phone.  Needless to say, I don't shake hands.  Prison makes you a fan of the fist-bump.  I don't know where your hands been so it won't be on  my hand.  What makes a man feel he has to readjust his pecker and spit during the entire conversation?  As if these men have went back to their animal instincts.  Why not just hike your leg on that post over yonder and pee on it?  Why must you have your hand in your pants?

And the officers know all about it as well.  they are constantly telling full-grown men to "Pull up your pants..." And..."get your hands out of your pants."

It's crazy.   I have grown so used to these things I barely even notice them.  Now I'm looking to come home and the transition process has already begun.  I see these things and shake my head, thankful I'll be leaving here.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

CRAZY QUIRKS VS INSTITUTIONALIZED

Sometimes I sit and watch the guys around me.  Prison does crazy things to dudes.  More severe cases are called institutionalized.  Those are men that once released don't stand a chance.  Freedom literally scares them and they will re-offend, just to come back to the life they know here.  A bed every night and three meals a day.

There are others that just develop crazy quirks.  Misfires if you will.  Don't laugh at an institutionalized man because if you do you should be ashamed.  Like poking fun at a mentally challenged person--you're just being an asshole yourself.

Men with weird unexplainable actions are interesting to observe.  Almost as good as a paid safari to watch a lion take down a wildebeest.

I would be a liar if I said this place hasn't affected me too.  My shoes are military precision paired and placed under my bed.  As soon as I wake up, before I even leave, my bed is made military style. Hospital corners and 6-inch cuff.  I slide it over to one side of the bunk so I don't sit on it and mess it up.  I'm not crazy.  That's so I'm inspection ready at any time.  If an officer has to stop and tell me to make my bunk, I'm dead wrong.  This means that instead of walking past, he's now lingering at my pad.  This means next I'm subject to a shake down, which I don't ever need.

I leave things matched and paired and slide to the edge of my bed.  This alerts me to anyone messing with my shit.  You have to do that here.  Maybe someone wants me gone and out their way, so they slide a shank or a cell phone under my mat or bunk.  They tip the cops off and I go in for something that wasn't ever mine.  I shake myself down every day just to make sure no one sets me up for the fall.

I lock my cup and bowl in my locker.  Never leave it out.  Someone could come put some bleach or Ajax in something to make you sick.  A few drops of simple Visine will give you the explosive diarrhea for two days.  These guys play dirty.  This is my life.

The cops play a hard game as well as the inmates.  Cops will lie on you to get you in trouble.  Maybe they know you're up to no good but can't ever catch you.  They put phones, dope and knives on dudes as well.  Then come shake you down.  You really have to stay in your own lane here.

So the silly shit I do and have become anal about is stuff to save my ass, if not my life.  Someone else probably watches me though...shaking down my shit...laid under my bunk like a mechanic doing an oil change and thinks..."what the hell is he on?".  One day I will no doubt drive a woman nuts if I can't shake this place.  I can.  I will.

Back here we just mess with each other.  I'm reading a book right  now.  I wondered why I kept reading this same page every time I opened the freaking thing.  Then realized my Bunkie keeps sticking my bookmark at page 85.  Thanks asshole.  But--these are the things you need to keep you sane.

My Bunkie has been doing time with me for five years.  He was at my last prison too.  He ran over someone with his car while on spring break in Panama City.  He was a college student at Florida State.  He killed the person.  He's doing twenty years.  That's my best friend.

The man who gets all the good books sent in that I read sleeps next to us in another bunkbed.  He likes motorcycles and we're going to ride to Sturgis for a bike week once I'm out.  He leaves six months before me.  He's been in for 18 1/2 years.  He did home invasions and assaulted a policeman. They gave him 25 years.

I've met some good people here.  They were not when they came in, neither was I.  Some just made a bad mistake.  One man comes here and changes to become a good person.  Another comes here and will leave a greater menace than he came.  A friend of mine states to always move forward....I like that.  Never forget where you've been and the journey you took to become who you are.

Before long this will become a fading memory.