By Jay Kerner
Locked up! And I didn’t do nuthin’, I swear! (But then, everybody in here has the same story.)
Been in semi-confinement for about a week. Careful excursions daily while waiting for final sentencing.
But we’re in full lock-down now.
You can feel the subtle shift inside the walls.
But, bad as it is, it could be worse. It could be a lot worse!
Like, I’ve got a great cellmate!
I know an awful lot of people. (And a lot of awful people.) Some of you are locked up with some pretty sorry sumbitches.
If you’re going down for a life sentence, it’s a true blessing to love your cellmate. A fairly rare thing too, inside or out.
But just cuz you love them, that doesn’t mean they aren’t crazy. (Or that you’re not.)
Not so much in a bad way, (mostly). But incarceration changes people. Best to be wary.
My cellmate’s a walker. Used to do 20 miles a week or so, on the outside. Now, walking the yard is all that’s left. Back and forth, round and round. Eyes on the guard tower. Plotting escape.
Me, I’ll be ok. I’m a reader and there’s a kick-ass library inside. Sure, I’ve read every single book, at one time or another, but if I hadn’t loved them they wouldn’t have stayed in the collection, so I have that going for me.
Television is a good distraction, although a source of constant friction in the common room. It’s not unreasonable for an inmate, frustrated with 3 hours straight of Flea Market Flip, to flip a bit themselves. Just sayin’.
Other than that, there are the small daily squabbles. The shower is always dangerous territory. Payback for petty grievances can be had with the well timed flush of a toilet. And I guess it goes without saying that almost anything can be made into a shiv or a shank. Like this teak handled shower brush from BB&B. Deadly in the wrong hand. Even a shaved down bar of artisanal oatmeal soap can poke an eye out.
The food’s pretty good in here, if I do say so myself. Being on kitchen duty keeps me safe from poisoning. Plus, I’m pretty creative with a fixed inventory. Like, a thousand and one things you can do with Spam and Cheese Whiz.
Finally, it gives me access to the knives. I hope it never comes to that, but knife beats soap every time.
There’s alcohol. Store bought, from outside, as well as some old dusty bottles of home brew, stashed long ago. Secretly saving fruit cups and leftover bread crusts to make hootch in the half-bath toilet, if we get that desperate.
But, I kid.
Really, I got it made. The cellmate and I are cool most all the time. There’s a snoring problem that isn’t going away, and there’s always the shouting out the wrong answers on Jeopardy. But, without resorting to the low humor so many of you clamor for, let me share two words that help take the edge off the confinement: “Conjugal Visits.”
So, here in the Big House, we’re doing the time, but not letting the time do us! Trying to stay busy. (Haven’t told the cellmate yet, but tomorrow we’re doing prison tattoos! Next week, we’re cutting each other’s hair!)
Hope you are all doing well in your own cell block.
If you get this note, pass it down the line. Feel free to add your own tips for doing time.
Screw you, Warden!