I Bet Prison Food Does Suck

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I stared at the text message a little bit longer, before quickly throwing my eyes back on the road. Generally, I keep my phone off when I'm in the car as my driving skills are already bad enough without the extra distraction. Still, for whatever reason, it was on and sitting in the car door. The text was one of the most shocking and surprising I had received in the last while. This was because I had heard rumors that the sender was either living in Redding, in prison, or dead.

"Huh," I muttered not so much surprised, but rather bemused and slightly annoyed. While you would think that a return to the living, or prison, or Redding would effect a more intense reaction generally I never cared for this person to begin with. Instead this felt like what it would feel to realize a mouse stole the cheese from a trap and escaped unharmed.

"What is it? Who's it from?" asked BF.

"Someone I hadn't heard from in a long time and, honestly, would rather not hear from at all," I said.

"Then why is the person in your phone?"

"Oh, I keep everyone in my phone. Even people I don't like. That way I know which calls to ignore or answer. Plus, I usually nickname people who are acquaintances in my address book - that way when and if they call I don't have to play twenty questions or pretend I remember who they are." Of course, if someone is dead I would normally take them out of my phone but since the fate of my texter was only dead via one third a rumor I, thankfully, kept the number and knew not to engage it.

"So who is it?"

"His name is L, a drug dealer friend of my Ex. I assumed L was dead, in prison, or in Redding. Though, given, those options are kind of the same thing." I replied matter of factly. "At least I can scratch dead and prison off the list. As to why this person is trying to get a hold of me I have no idea, nor do I care."

Never being one to really text and drive I deleted the text with a few rapid taps of my finger and tossed the phone back into the pocket of the car door.

A few minutes later my phone beeped at me again. My face scrunched up with puzzlement. I quickly glanced at the screen.

It read, "I've been reading your blog. It's good. Just got out of jail. Food there sux."

Wow... really?

I guess the rumor had been 1/3 true. It wasn't all that surprising.

L had been a major source of crystal meth hookups in Sacramento for years. Apparently, he was the guy who moved the drug directly from the source. He would distribute it to other dealers and take a large amount of profit since he was the central hub. To call his operation lucrative would be like calling the moon just a rock in the sky. He told me once he was making about $20,000 a month, and judging from his lifestyle this wasn't an exaggeration. A brand new Nissan Z and multiple pairs of Armani glasses with the shoes to match gave credit to his claim.

I came to know L through his friendship with my Ex - a friendship that was based partly out of similar music interests and amateur dabbling in the art of DJ'ing techno music (I know, I know...), and partly out of an emotional additiction to smoking crystal on the weekends. (The major contributing factor to the breakup with the Ex.) This meant that I begrudgingly made the acquaintnce of many pieces of the Nor Cal Tina Machine, L being one of the key cogs that kept it moving.

After the break-up I cut off nearly all contact with the Ex, and, so, did I as well with any of his friends. The only reason L's number was in my phone was due to the fact that my Ex had given it to him during a time his phone had been stolen from some tweaker.

So, L was in my phone. I never kept in touch with him. After all, he wasn't my friend. Honestly, I found him to be shady, dirty, and skeazy. Like a character out of Hunter S. Thompson novel he was a person of primal Id - pure impulse with an incongruous lucky streak that seemed to imbue him with great success at what he did. For someone who lived a life often characterized by poor decisions and frazzled psyches I had to give it to him that he knew how to run a business. More importantly, he knew how to manipulate and control his hazy, often disjointed, customer base and worker flow. Still, any luck at all in this black market, let alone skill to function in it, seemed fragile; it was a sand castle you knew was would collapse once the water came in, washing it away in one grand, ugly crash.

Eventually the wave came. From what I understand the cops busted in and razed the place taking away a sizable amount of product before carting him off to a expedited trial and prison. It seemed odd to be out so soon, but then again I didn't care to know the details.

Without a second thought I deleted the text.

L was never really a part of my life. I did my best to make sure of that and I prefer it this way. I appreciate his reading the blog and letting me know. I hope it's given him something to do or some sort of solace. However, I have a feeling that the compliment was probably an empty volley in order to engage me for, I don't know, information... whatever. It doesn't really matter.

"Hey," I look over to BF, "we have some ears of corn that need to be used and we have those green beans. Serve them with some fried eggs and salsa verde? It'll use up some of the chilies and tomatillos growing in the garden. That work for dinner tonight?"

"Yeah, sounds good," smiled BF.

Yeah, I bet prison food does suck.


  1. Hey now! I live in Redding. So by default, not everything here is bad!

    Of course, I'm leaving soon...

  2. Agreed, great post (and it shows how far you've moved on, and how much better you've made your life now). And it takes a lot of guts to put it up where you know that someone will be reading it. Good job, Garrett.

  3. Tisk tisk. Way to piss off Reddingites. Not everything up there is bad. It's pretty dang beautiful, the local food movement is really taking hold up there, and there are some nice folks and things to do if you know where to look.

    As a disclaimer, I did live there for a good part of my youth and my parents are still in the area.

  4. inoakpark: I tease. I've never been to Redding, and ma simply poking fun at the far North of CA. ;)

  5. I can't abide by drug dealers. Your dinner sounds good, though.

    p.s. - no figs yet. Few more weeks, I think.

  6. side note, based on your yummy-sounding dinner: my group garden project is bursting at the seams with tomatillos and none of us know when to harvest them or what to do with them. Sounds like you may be able to advise - if so, please do!!!

  7. This is interesting. I have similar situation with my ex that was a druggie as well. Although, he was more into pot than anything else. But anyways, that was over a long time ago. It did feel strange when his friend started popping back into your life out of nowhere after ~8 years. It was never "just to say hi." Please proceed with caution. Great blog, by the way.

  8. Sweetie, he just got out of prison AND HE READS YOUR BLOG. Do you really want to go around saying all this about him? Self preservation, Garrett, self preservation.

  9. Helen: I talked to L and it's not like I posted his name up or that his name even starts with an L. No worries, but I appreciate the concern. ;)

  10. You can write..that is for sure. Excellent post indeed.

  11. Um...Redding is not really beautiful. In fact, coming back from Portland or Lake Shasta..I dread hitting Redding. Hot, desolate, lots of highway patrol!


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