Another boring day of work at the prison warehouse. A delivery of palm leaves arrived at the warehouse today for the Christians who were getting ready to celebrate Palm Sunday. The blueboyz chose a Fairfield Prep graduate inmate named Tom Turey to be responsible for the palm leaves. Guys in prison will steal anything, even palm leaves meant for Palm Sunday. So the blueboyz had to appoint an inmate to be in charge of guarding the leaves. The blueboyz weren’t going to waste their time guarding palm leaves for the benefit of lowly inmates.
Tom is a 60 something year old lapsed Irish Catholic. He hasn’t been inside a church since his days at Fairfield Prep, a Jesuit high school located in Fairfield, Connecticut, my hometown, and Tom’s hometown. I went to Fairfield University, which has Fairfield Prep on the campus. Other than that me and Tom didn’t have much in common. He was sentenced to four and a half years for embezzling $3.4 million dollars from a company in which he served as controller. His embezzlement spanned seven years. The government said that the scope and regularity of his embezzlement was “astonishing.” What is more astonishing is that this company didn’t conduct regular audits that would have detected the theft early on. Tom’s crime was not complicated. It would have been easy to detect. He had company checks issued to a company called “McMillion, Inc.” Tom controlled McMillion Inc. Would you let your company write checks to a company called McMillion, Inc?
Tom is a gambling addict. He gambled on the stock market every day. He was a day trader. He probably blew all the money on stock trades. At his sentencing he tried to argue that the amount of losses to the victim company should be reduced because the victim company claimed a tax deduction for part of the stolen monies. The victim company thus benefited financially from his crime. Talk about chutzpah! Even for an Irishman. His Catholic judge didn’t buy it and sent him away for almost five years. Tom wasn’t happy about guarding the palm leaves. He said let one of the Jews guard the stupid leaves. His favorite show on television was “The Goldbergs.” He was always asking me to watch this show with him. He said it was a comedy about a Jewish family in the 1980s. I told him that I already lived this “comedy” and for me it was a very dark comedy. One of the Jewish inmates ended up unloading the palm leaves off the truck. He stored them in the walk in fridge. Tom was nowhere to be found. He was always getting into trouble but never got sent to the SHU (solitary confinement). I guess he had the luck of the Irish. It was rare to see an Irish guy locked up. Many Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, and Italians locked up. Not many Irish. My theory is that since most of the cops and prosecutors are Irish they cut their fellow landsmen a break. So when a new Irishman gets locked up in Otisville I give him a hard time. You must be the dumbest and unluckiest Irishman on the planet.
It is now Palm Sunday in the prison. An African priest arrived to preach to the Catholics. The priest is from Africa so he is married. Or at least he plays the field. He has a heavy French – African accent. He is also a blueboy. He drives a fancy sports car with tinted windows and a picture of Jesus on his license plate. He was all decked out in a bright red robe that went down to his ankles, with a giant yellow cross running from head to toe. He is a cross between Sammy Davis Jr. and Dr. Dre. The Italians are not impressed with this guy. An African preacher leading Catholic services for Italians, Irishmen, and a few Polish and Greek doctors. Only in Otisville.
The Italians sometimes boycotted religious services. They don’t like it when this priest tells them to mend their ways. Too much “mussar” or rebuke as the Jews would say. The Jews always complain that the inmate rabbi Pinter gives them too much rebuke. The Italians are always complaining that the Jews get too much special food for their religious services, while the Italians starve during their religious services. It is true that the Jews get special meals for weekly Sabbath religious services. The Christians only get a special meal on Christmas and Easter. But it is only the Italians who complain about the Jews getting all the food. You don’t hear the Irish or Polish guys complaining about the Jews eating too much. And its not like the Italians are not able to pilfer free kosher meals from the Jews. The Jews are always feeding the Italians. When it comes to food, whether you are on the inside or on the outside, things are the same. Italians and Jews like to eat, and they don’t like to be rebuked.
It is now Good Friday in Otisville. Not a Federal holiday here. All the bluboyz have to work. The Christian inmates were exempted from work. The blueboyz had mercy on them. Plus the blueboyz don’t want to have to control a bunch of angry Christian inmates. I asked the Christian inmates what this holiday is all about. A Spanish drug dealer said that Good Friday was the day the Jews killed Jesus. He has a tatoo of Jesus on his arm. I was surprised and said I didn’t believe it. He told me to check the Bible. The Greek drug dealer said that the Jews killed Jesus next Friday, not this Friday, and the Greek Orthodox celebrate Good Friday the following week. I told them that I had nothing to do with murdering anyone, I was only here for mortgage fraud. The guys said they wouldn’t rat me out as long as I gave them some special kosher meals that we get for Passover.
The Catholic inmates got a special meal for Easter. It was not easy to get the prison to grant them special religious meals. It was mainly the relentless work of the Italian inmates who complained that they should get a good meal for Easter, just as the Jews get good meals for their religious holidays. The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
But the Italians kept hitting a brick wall when they tried to get the African prison priest to put pressure on the blueboyz to get special holiday food. The African priest didn’t seem to care that the Italians were not getting enough food. This only enraged the Italians even more. Eventually they got an extra meal. But most of them boycotted the meal. The Italians arranged their own holiday meal, by purchasing extra food on the commissary and making their own special meal. But many guys went to the prison sponsored meal, took the food and left. But at the meal the African priest continued to disgrace the Italians, or “DISGRAS” them as the Italians like to say.
There is an inmate who is half Italian and half Jewish. His name is Moskowitz. His father is a Jew and his mother is Italian. He was raised Catholic. His father has nothing much to do with the Jewish religion and goes to a Roman Catholic Church with his family. The African priest let Moscowitz Junior into the meal but banned Moscowitz Senior from the meal. Senior wasn’t Catholic enough. If this priest tried to force these rules on the inmates next door in the medium doing 20 years to life, the inmates would nail this guy to the cross.
It is easy for the blueboyz to push around inmates in the camp. Most guys are doing about two years, more or less. Nobody wants to get in trouble, especially if they are looking to get out in a year or two. Inmates with short sentences climb the walls, counting the days til their release. They are not going to add extra days by doing something stupid. But its not easy to keep your cool in a prison, regardless of whether you are in high security or low, either way your freedom is taken from you and you are locked up like an animal with the same guys night and day.