Locked Up on the Fourth of July

Locked Up on the Fourth of July

According to Wikepedia, Independence Day is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 declaring that the thirteen American colonies regard themselves as a new nation and no longer part of the British Empire.  Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.”

In jail Independence Day is commemorated with special meals and extra food.  Everything in prison revolves around meals.  You don’t get many choices in food, so if there is anything different guys make a big deal about it.  Everyone is waiting for the next meal.  It is like living in a nursing home.  Independence Day will be one of the one of the few days in the year that you get to eat watermelon.  The watermelons are cut up in the kitchen.  The blueboyz watch the kitchen worker inmates cut up the watermelon.  An extra slice of watermelon could fetch a dollar in the prison.  The blueboyz know this and want to avoid inmate fights over the watermelon.

Two new guys arrived at the camp just before the Fourth of July, a guy named Jack and a guy named Maximus, or “Max” as guys are calling him.  Max is very quiet.  He doesn’t talk to anyone.  He reads high school text books in the library by himself.  He also reads books on how to speak Russian.  Guys think his wife is Russian.  Either way, guys think Max is very aloof and a snob.  Plus some guys are saying that Max is a rat.  How dare Max think he is better criminal than the rest of the white collar wiseguys in here!  A rat no less!

Jack, on the other hand, is just the opposite of Max.  Jack wasn’t here more than two hours before he picked a fight with everyone in the camp.  He went over to the medium prison next door for his dental appointment and told the sadistic bluboyz over there that he didn’t need a dental exam, his teeth were just fine.  Jack used his middle finger as a pointer to show the guards his teeth.  The bluboyz didn’t find it funny that Jack was flipping them the bird and threatened to throw him in the SHU, ie., solitary confinement.

When Jack first arrived he noticed that certain inmates got better food than the other inmates.  He didn’t understand why some inmates got better food than others.  He started to complain to the inmates who run the kosher kitchen, like Lubavitcher strongman inmate Jacobowitz.  Jack told Jacobowitz that he was related to the infamous Lubavitcher Sholom Rubashkin, former owner of the largest kosher meat company in America, who is doing 27  long years next door in the medium.  Jack’s connections to Sholom Rubashkin didn’t help with the shortage of food Jack was facing. Jack is one of many in the Rubashkin family who have been indicted over the years, including Moshe Rubashkin, Aaron Rubashkin, Heshy Rubashkin, Milton Balkany, Yaacov Weiss.

There wasn’t one inmate in the camp who didn’t get in a fight with Jack.  Even me.  But there was one inmate who had a secret crush on Jack.  Jack always bragged that he was a ladies man and the girls all thought he looked like a movie star.  Brad Pitt?  Tom Cruise?  But Jack was always fighting with his girlfriend on the pay phone.  The entire camp could hear him screaming and then slamming down the receiver.  Jack told me that someone was leaving him chocolate on his bunk at night.  I said, hmmm, chocolate,  what kind of chocolate?  Jack said someone was leaving him Hershy’s kisses.  I was like, whoaaa!  Now this is bloggable material.  I promise you Jack, if this blog ever makes money, I will send you royalties.

In Otisville prison we didn’t have any picnics, concerts, fireworks, carnivals, fairs, family reunions, political speeches or ceremonies.  Most guys watched television or played basketball, tennis, or softball.  Some guys worked out in the very hot weight room, no air conditioning.  I heard fireworks at night coming from the little towns that border the prison.  It sounded like gun shootings.  There is a shooting range on the prison complex for the blueboyz, so we hear guns all the time during the day.  Now I get to hear guns day and night.

The only fireworks going on in prison are the emotional outbursts of unstable human beings caged up like animals.   New inmate Max had a breakdown in the visitors room while he was visiting his wife.  His head was down and in her arms.  You are not supposed to touch a female visitor in this way, against the rules.  The blueboyz let it slide, they could see that Max was losing it.  Some blueboyz have a soul.  The inmates were all talking about it. Max was in her arms for hours, in tears.  Not sure what he was upset about, he doesn’t talk to anyone, so nobody knew.  Every inmate has at least one “friend” whom they confide with.  He had no friends we could talk to in order to see what was going on.  I wrote about Max in my blog in the computer room. Some inmate looked over my shoulder and saw what I was writing and got upset.  One inmate went around the camp saying that I was mocking a guy who was having an emotional breakdown.  I was shocked. Since when do inmates care about the feelings of other inmates?  I said, first of all, what are you doing reading my emails, and second, I have a heart, I wasn’t mocking him, even if I was to admit that I blogged about him.

But most guys were focused on a new inmate named “Profit.”  He was a tall, light skinned African American.  He transferred from another prison, so he didn’t have that shell shocked look when he first arrived, like you get with most white collar guys.  He claimed to be locked up for mortgage fraud, but you couldn’t believe a word he said.  Guys thought he was a rat.  They watched him in the computer room and saw that he was logging onto an unusual screen that inmates have never seen before.  Another inmate got drug tested and thrown in the SHU after he befriended Profit.  This inmate was also Black. The Black inmates in the camp stick together, so he may have confided in Profit that he was using drugs, and Profit ratted him out.

Eventually guys started to take action to get Profit thrown out of the camp.  Some guys thought that Profit had a recording device on his walkman, so they cut his speaker wires.  Profit has no job at the camp.  None of the bluboyz would hire him, because they thought Profit would rat them out to the blueboyz who investigate other blueboyz.  The blueboyz have internal affairs for the blueboyz in the prison.  So Profit would hang around the camp all day trying to talk to guys.  But nobody will talk to him.  Inmates stole Profits clothes when he put them in the washing machine.  Profit resorted to doing his laundry in the shower, and hanging up his clothing next to his bed to dry.  Nobody will share a cubicle with Profit, so he is staying in the dorms, the communal room.  Other guys wrote on the bathroom walls, “PROFIT IS A RAT”.  After a few months Profit was taken away by the blueboyz and thrown in the SHU.  The blueboyz told us that he was placed in the SHU for his own protection, he complained that he felt threatened.  This is a man who is over six feet tall and is no weakling.


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