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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

                                                                     SPREAD

In prison the term is called Spreading or just plain Spread. It involves numerous items purchased at the commissary (store). Items that are key to a good spread consists of the ever delicious Ramen Noodles, a staple for every inmates diet. The prison world revolves around the sounds of soups being smashed against the floor. All heads turn when the process begins because it signals a Spread has began. Other ingredients are pouches, meaning chili's with or without beans, tuna, roast beef, jack mack (yuk) etc and anything you may have "bought" from the kitchen. Cheese and Frito's are added of course and peppers if you desire. The call is made for those to heat up the hot pots. We wait on in and out's to get the hot water and converge in the day room. For those that are not sure what an in and out is i'll explain. "Supposedly" ever hour on the hour a cop/guard/screw comes in the pod and shouts in and out. The inmate then goes to his cell and awaits the other guard/cop/screw in the picket to open the cell doors. A picket is like a tower inside the section that controls the 3 pods doors and all the cells within the pods. So you have about 5 minutes in your cell until the guard/cop/screw comes back for the out. If you go in on an out you may get a case for that. Did I confuse you now? Now at times the "5" minutes turns into a little longer and at times they even forget to come back for the out because they were "busy". In that case a funnel of sorts is made of paper the the inmate in the cell pours the hot water through the grid in his door in the bowl, also meaning he will not eat until he gets out of the cell. If all goes as planned and it usually does, (ya right) the happy eaters (inmates) prepare the rest of the spread in other bowls while the noodles are soaking in hot water. Then the diner is divided and and the meal begins. There are those we shared with that could not contribute to the Spread, either because of no money or on restriction. In most cases they would clean the bowls. In a lot of cases we cleaned our own anyway, but I think it gave them a sense that they helped. Inside we helped each other, a lot of guys didn't make store or as much as others. I would always but as many nutzo's as allowed and pass them around the day room upon returning. Selfishly it made me feel good and I know they enjoyed the treat. We tried to take care of each other inside, we shared pictures and stories of loved one and children. We talked of our crime and the big game tonight. We hated on the Cowboys (haha). We shared books and even played games. Guys inside could be very resourceful and make from scratch a game board. It passed the time and for a brief moment we escaped reality and fell into a fantasy world of D&D. Guys would jump up with there imaginary swords to announced they slashed the bad guy, or Dragon be gone with a spell. For the most part the day room was the heart of the pod, it breathed and gave life to each and every one of us. Our cells were our little worlds were we could escape and confront our fears and demons, but the day room was a hub of activity, busy little bee's we were. Showers were taken and food was ate, coffee was drank as if it were life's elixir for surviving. "Hey can I get a shot on the next in and out" I kind of miss being asked that. I miss spreading with my buddies, I miss the clanking of steel doors and the jingling of keys. I miss the shouts of "Count Time." I miss the intolerable heat of summer, and the arctic temperature of winter. I miss seeing my brothers under the TV with hands cupped to their ears to get a better listen to The Young and Restless. I miss the gambling tickets and the collecting of "good" money vs "bad" money. Oh yes even the slamming of domino's would be a treat right now. I thought today's post would be a little different from those I have been posting in the past. I wanted you all to get a feel of life behind bars and what your loved ones see and do on a daily basis. You all are on all their minds all the time, it's just at times we need to escape that and play the game. Hope this helps some out there.......

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