As if decades of continuous solitary confinement on Florida's death row wasn't enough, a few days ago we all got blindsided with the news that the whole Florida prison system was being put on a high security "lock down" from Wednesday August 16 through Sunday August 20...but they didn't lift it that Sunday so it really dragged through until the afternoon of Monday, August 21 - apparently the powers that be decided to just keep everyone across the state locked down after the eclipse passed by around 3:00 that afternoon. Could it be that maybe, just maybe, they thought that an eclipse might had brought the beast out in the prisoners?
Myself, while this whole lock down thing kind of sucked in most ways - they cancelled all social visits for the whole weekend so I didn't get a visit I was hoping for. And all yard times were cancelled too. That's the disadvantages. Fortunately, they did allow us to phone our "people" if we were expecting a visit so I was able to call my sister to let her know they couldn't come.
When I got the call through, by coincidence she had other members of the family at her house - I quickly accused them of throwing a keg party and not inviting me. And I'm pretty sure I smelled some BBQ through the phone, technology today is awesome! But what mattered most is that by coincidence one of my older brothers was at my sister's, and so for the fist time in almost 40 years I was able to talk to him and that was cool. It was only for a few minutes, but just being able to say hello made the whole lock down thing worth it for me.
And I missed the freaking eclipse. Maybe for most that's not such a big thing but considering it's been going on 40 years since I've been outside at night as a free man, it would have been truly awesome to watch it. That's alright - I read that there will be another eclipse on April 8, 2024 stretching from Texas up trought the Ohio valley and I noticed that one will pass over central Indiana, and when it does, I want to be on the banks of Lake Monroe in that part of Indiana wishing upon that first star I might see that I don't have to live the rest of my life alone. Yeah, that's the stuff that dreams are made of. But even dreams die, if not nurtured.
One thing that was great about this lock down was that at least for a few days they fed us food we could eat. That kind of makes sense, as it's really all about pacifying us. It's no secret that one of the biggest complaints all Florida prisoners have is that the food we are fed is so bad. In fact, if they fed this crap to a dog they would get thrown in prison for animal cruelty - yes it's that bad!
And it's not by coincidence. The reason what they feed us is of such poor quality is because the prison system is legally required to feed us 3 meals a day and they don't make any money from that. They buy the cheapest crap they can find and then cook it in such a way it can hardly be consumed. Then the 100.000 plus Florida prisoners are forced to purchase food from the prison "canteen" (store) of which the prison system gets a healthy cut of the profits, making tens of millions every year!
But I got to admit that at least for those few days that they had us all on security lock down, I was actually impressed by the quality of the food they served. One thing we do know for certain is that they can cook good meals if they wanted to!
They really caught us by surprise - last Friday evening we expected them to serve us what they call "turkey sausage" with "oven baked potatoes" (they make it sound so good on paper!). But instead, they brought us a dinner of real roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, canned baby peas and a couple of soft (even fresh!) dinner rolls. It was unlike any meal I've seen in the too many years I've been here and was both prepared and served to restaurant quality standards - and it was freaking good!
The next morning we expected the Saturday morning ritual of so-called "coffee cake" with cold and tasteless mush they call oatmeal. But instead, they brought us breakfast burritos - seriously. two small tortilla shells with scrambled eggs, 2 sausage patties and a generous portion of shredded cheese, with a side serving of edible potatoes. And as if that wasn't enough, they threw in a large glazed donut! It was so good that I almost didn't want to eat it - I just wanted to look at it and smell it for a while.
Yeah, some of us though they might be tricking us! But we knew it wouldn't last, and enjoyed it while we could - then talked about how good it was for hours! By the time lunch cam around we were mentally preparing ourselves for disappointment...
But we were on a roll! They brought us a real bacon cheeseburger, with lettuce and pickle, and oven baked tater tots on the side, with a big piece of chocolate cake with thick frosting! Half the guys here would have sold their soul for a bacon cheeseburger - and they just came around and gave it to us.
But then the next day it was back to the regular menu for both breakfast and lunch and we just knew the good times were over. Oh, but how sweet it was while it lasted! Oops - not so quick! When dinner came around much to our astonishment it was a rice/vegetable with meat mixture and two burritos (tortilla) shells. while it was a bit dry for my taste, I quickly broke out a pack of the hot chili and jalapeno cheese spread I bought off the canteen and added that to the mixture, generously spreading the spread across the tortilla shells and yeah, it was good!
But now several days have passed and the lock down is over and we are back to regular meals as if nothing has changed. i guess the puppet masters feel that they've pacified us enough for now and after 5 days of lock down, things resume their normal routine.
Now my biggest concern is that this Thursday (August 24) Florida plans to kill Mark Asay - the first execution since they killed Oscar Bolin on January 7, 2016 when I was on death watch only feet away. Hopefully Mark (we call him "Cat Fish") will get a stay of execution. But if he doesn't then there's a good chance my execution date will also be rescheduled and I will be moved back down to "cell one" on death watch and count down the days yet again to my own date with death.