Shake Down

The day started with the lights abruptly turned on at 5:40 AM by a Corrections Officer whom I did not specifically recognize; but I have to admit, most of them look eerily similar. Remember The Matrix? We were ordered to get dressed quickly and to leave the housing unit immediately, taking nothing with us. Those of us who wanted breakfast could go into the Chow Hall, where I was amazed to see 2% milk in gallon jugs instead of small plastic bags. I poured a cold glass and tasted milk for the first time in 10 months. Wow!

We then went outside and waited...and waited. By 8:00 AM, there were approximately 20 COs at the camp, all standing around looking as confused as the inmates. The warden arrived, followed so closely behind by the assistant warden that they cast only one very odd looking shadow as they moved about the camp, a shadowy figure like George Lucas would have created.

By 8:15 AM, there were more COs than I could count, and I felt like a Russian athlete awaiting a blood and urine analysis by the International Olympic Committee. It was the feeling that this morning was not going to go well for some of us. As it had the makings of a slow process, I went for a walk on the track for 45 minutes. By then it was getting hot. So after talking to a few friends who had no new information, I found some shade, sat down, and tried to meditate; but my mind continued to race. I had important letters and 10 un-posted blogs in my locker. Certainly they wouldn't mysteriously disappear. Finally I began to just focus on my breathing, and all that misplaced fear slowly went away.

Finally by 9:30 AM, we were allowed back in the building. As everyone was rushing back to survey the damage, I checked emails. First things first, and I had one from a friend, which I answered. By then the rush was over, and I was able to inspect the damage. My bed, which had always been OCD perfect, looked like hurricane Katrina has passed through, twice. Some of the items that had been in my locker were now hiding under the covers. I had created a shelf in the open right side of my locker that had served me well as a pantry. It was gone, as was the lid to my mug and some hot cocoa mix that I had put into an empty plastic coffee container--all apparently "contraband". Everything was a mess, but easily rearranged in 30 minutes. Not too bad. My mug lid even showed up that afternoon, 20 feet away under someone's bunk. I wonder if I should wash it?

I guess it was a thorough shake down, as the trash cans were even searched. I wonder who got that job? I'll never know if they were looking for something in particular or if it was just routine, but a truck load of contraband items was allegedly hauled off. One of the COs told me that they got "some good stuff". I doubt it, but I'm sure it was reported to the BoP Regional Office as "hugely successful", just like everything else here.

My real question is how soon all the inmates who cook nightly in the bathrooms will have their heating devices resupplied. My estimate is 36 hours. In the end, the entire event was amusing, as apparently it now takes almost nothing to entertain me. Sure it was an inconvenience, but those who are bothered by this type of inconvenience should definitely JUST SAY NO to anything remotely related to coming to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp or any federal prison...I'm just saying.