The US Department of Justice “incident report” is what got Larry Noodles his nickname. Officer Grogan found “contraband” pasta in Larry Noodles’ cube. The report states in the handwriting of Officer Grogan: “Inmate Dressler stated the pasta was his not his cellmate and he took it from the warehouse.” Larry Noodles confessed to his crime. Larry Noodles took a lot of heat from his fellow inmates after he confessed. The inmates thought that on the outside Larry Noodles must have been the worst attorney in the world, advising clients to sign confessions.
The report indicated that Larry Noodles violated Code 305, “Possession of anything not authorized.” A bag of cooked spiral pasta was not authorized to be in the possession of an inmate. Almost as bad as drug possession. The typed part of the report reads: “On November 23, 2014 at approximately 10:58 am, I, Senior Officer Specialist S. Grogan, conducted an area search of cube 17 in the camp. Cube 17 is assigned to inmates Cruz, Romeo, 16160-067, and Dressler, Lawrence 21502-014. In the area search of cube 17 I found a bag of spiraled pasta in a net bag that was hanging on a hook in cube 17. This spiral pasta is not sold through the commissary and is part of the food service supply. Inmate Dressler admitted that the spiral pasta was his and that he took it from the warehouse.” No longer am I known as Lawrence Dressler, Attorney Dressler or Lawrence S. Dressler, Esq. In prison I am known as “Inmate Dressler” “Larry Noodles” or just plain “Noodles”.
I received a punishment for my crime of taking the pasta. I was “sanctioned with loss of quarters” and “60 days loss of visiting suspended for 90 days.” I was forced to move out of my private cube and move into the “dorms” ie., the building with the large open room with Gas Leak Romano and Big Pete and all the new guys that came into the camp. For some reason Big Pete and Romano were allowed to stay in the dorms and not have to move to the other building. This wasn’t so bad. The worst part of it was I had to carry all my belongings to the other building with inmates laughing at me and mocking me.
My cube mate, Inmate Romeo Cruz, was very upset that I was leaving the cube. Romeo was also from Connecticut. He was a short, older man, with a high pitched voice. He was a front man for a minority business that got lucrative government contracts that was operated by guys behind the scenes who were not minorities. Romeo said they had a contract to build a bridge for $100 million. Romeo was Filipeno and had a very thick accent. He looked like one of those fake Buddist monks that you see in Times Square. He would be the last guy in the world who you would think the government would award a $150 million contract to build a bridge. When he got angry he used to say “Mother-Pucker” a lot. He had a hard time with the letters “R” and “F.”
Romeo stormed into the head blueboyz office and demanded that I be allowed to stay in my cube with him. He didn’t want the blueboyz to put some crazy new guy in his cube to replace me. The Head Blueboy in Charge told him to forget it. I think another mortgage fraud attorney ended up replacing me in his cube.
My additional punishment was 60 days of no visits, which was suspended for 90 days. This meant that I would be able to have visitors unless I got in trouble within the next 90 days, in which case my visits would be suspended for 60 days. I survived this probationary period and eventually got moved back into the main building in a semi private cubicle again.
The officer who busted me, a blueboy by the name of Grogan, was a tough guy. When he first came into the camp he was busting everyone. Guys were terrified of him. He went into cubicles and would take out “unauthorized Items” and then display the items in his office near the window as a warning to other inmates who dared to mess with him. Usually he would break apart the item before he displayed it on his window. Guys used to put scrap wood together in order to make a shelf next to their bunk, in order to rest a book or earplugs, or some other personal item. Grogan would rip it down and smash it into pieces. Unauthorized items. Just like the spiral pasta.
My bunkie Romeo was very handy with making bookshelves for your cube. He worked in the tool shop so he had access to scrap wood and construction material. Eventually Blueboy Grogan mellowed out. Why drive yourself crazy with a blueboy job. Not much room for advancement. Besides, who would want to be a warden anyway? Too many headaches. You have to watch the inmates and the other blueboyz. You might as well do your time and go home.
There is a saying among inmates, “Do your time, don’t let the time do you.” Which means, do your jail time on your own terms, don’t be a prisoner to time. Take control of your life in jail, don’t be a slave to it, you are the master of your own little world. Guys who are a slave to time pace around all day, complaining about everything, they can’t adjust, they frequently got into fights.
I ran into Grogan six months later when he drove a bunch of Jewish guys to the ritual bath, ie., the mikveh, before a Jewish holiday. We were in a small prison van and he heard guys calling me “Noodles.” He asked me how I got my nickname. I was shocked that he would ask such a question. I told him that it was because of him that I got my nickname. He vaguely remembered the incident, while it is forever etched in my memory.