" THE COMBINATION "
By : Guy Zappulla
In my last Zap Tale, I conveyed how over the course of a decade of doing the prison thing I grew to despise the morning count bell. Most convicts simply look at it as an alarm clock, others just sleep through it not that I know how they could. But when they do the C.O. will take great pleasure in rapping his nightstick across there bars.
I guess over the course of my illustrious career as a convict I have become complacent with most of the other parts of prison. Yet the one thing I found far worse than that fucking bell is
institutional shake downs. For those of you that don't know what that is. Usually after one faction of inmates decides to try and kill off another for whatever reason. Right after the dust settles and the and the shell casings are picked up from the yard, they lock down the entire prison.
Sometimes you know there coming the night before, other times you get to wake up to a surprise. By that I mean after that cock sucking bell goes off, normally 20 minutes later the breakfast list is taken. It's been the same routine forever, although I really can't say forever, but I can attest to listening to it approximately 5,840 times. When a convict does'nt see that list he pretty much knows there's some kind of an issue. The rolling metal cart with styrafoam trays stacked high confirms it's going to be breakfast in bed as it's called.
Makes no difference to me as for the most part I really don't eat much jail food to begin with. I guess I can thank my comfortable adult honey boo-boo wife for that one :]. But now you know between that breakfast and the next few days 40-50 C.O.'s are going to storm the block like it's some kind of surprise. Sorry Mr. twenty year old C.O. but two days ago right after I was handed a breakfast tray, someone wearing blue with just as much gray in their beard as me whispered " If it's shiny or sharp dump it ".
I appreciate the heads up but I really don't do the "Sharp" thing anymore. But mind you the most you can spend on anything besides a typewriter is $50 which is scrutinized far more then you can imagine. If it's $50.01 you're not getting it and if you somehow managed to get anything that even remotely looks expensive on a shakedown it's getting taken and getting taken fast. Then to add insult to injury most times you're not getting a receipt either, so you're getting robbed without a gun. It's kind of like a crooked C.O's version of an Easter Egg hunt. Now full of piss and vinegar here they come, but if i'm lucky I'll get an old timer , at least then I can pretty much know how he is going to play this out. There only looking for drugs and weapons and if you act like a man you & your cell will be treated accordingly.
The day's of who can make the biggest mess are long over for them, and you won't have Tuna fish stuck to your ceiling after they leave. Yes Tuna stuck to the ceiling, as some of the more sadistic C.O's have a habit of opening any food item you have looking for "Contraband". Of course it just happens to wind up dumped right over the photo album of your Wife and across all of your neatly folded whites. I already know this search is going to be a Dozy. as there are 44 cells on a tier and there's two or three C.O's in front of each cell. Then there's a loose gang of them just roaming about waiting for the one idiot who is going to act up. It sounds kind of stupid to act like an asshole in front of 100 plus C.O's, but I have to admit in my younger days I was'nt exactly the sharpest knife in the draw but after getting gassed, stomped out, of course being cuffed and clubbed far worse than a baby seal, my old bone just can't do it anymore. The two
C.O's that are going to destroy my cell line up in front of my gate, I already know this is'nt going to work out well as (1) They were staring in every cell on the tier so I already knew this shit still fascinated them. (2) It looked like I had a pair of state greens that were older than the one standing nervously in back of the other. (3) The both of them made a comment about the look on my face.
The gate buzz's open and I strip down, when the younger one asks if I have sweat pants and slippers ? The slippers are so you can't get a good grip if you decide to act up, the sweats are to hide what your Mother gave you. I hand him both as he tells me to put my slippers on and come out of my cell. Uhhh-excuse me you forgot the part where I put my sweats on. That only gets me a nervous step out of the cell. " And were officially off "!! I come out and put my hands up on the wall as the officer runs a metal detector across my face, then up the crack of my ass, or more commonly referred to as "the safe". Everyone's mother told them never to put anything sharper then your elbow in your ear, but she never said anything about this. So most convicts still hide razors and other contraband in their mouths, and other "places". Don't ask as it's a whole other story.
I turn to watch the havoc in my cell, as the younger of the two is already putting a nice shoe print on my sweats which are already thrown on his new combat boots. The older one is going through my clothes putting them back in a halfway decent fashion, when the younger one takes my sheets and blankets off my well made bed, throw them on the floor and says something I never heard in almost two decades of doing the whole prison thing. " The mattress is too thick "! I clench my teeth for that one as my brand spanking new 2 inch thick mattress goes out the cell door almost knocking his partner onto my bed. My locker gets flipped next, of course while it was still full and every loose piece of paper I had gets flung like a 5 year old would do in the middle of some kind of shit fit.
I had to keep my composure when he flung my typewriter as I know if I uttered a single word he would have realized it was precious to me and probably would have dropped it again. I have to admit though the clunk it made was truly disturbing. I was secretly hoping he would continue with his tantrum as maybe next he would hold his breath till he turned blue, then I could secretly run in my cell, pull his pants down and slap a handful of Mayo between his cheeks. I'm not a fag but for the rest of his life he would probably wonder if I was which was good enough for me.
Ok - Ok. So they finish up, and I have a 5 foot high pile of assorted shit right where my new mattress used to be. Now I have to start putting things back where they belong.
I already saw my masking tape fly out the door so I guess I won't be taping my extention cords to the wall. I know my extra pillow is gone, yes the one I put between my knee's so I don't feel alone, so I guess a nap is out of the question. But I still had all my teeth, my tattoo's and moreso my dignity as instead of doing this like in my younger days, I came away pretty un-scathed. I will never let them see me sweat anything nor would they get an ounce of emotion from me. Plus I still have my precious typewriter AND my aging clock radio intact.
To be honest, I really did have an odd look on my face, right till the moment they left, but did I also mention while they made a total mess of my cage they somehow missed my $800 watch.
I guess the metal detector was'nt working !.