Rant to Rock


I just finished reading a strange but fascinating novel by Chuck Palahniuk called Rant. Give it a go if you haven’t yet. But prepare yourself …especially if you have a weak stomach. I         am now reading Be Cool by Elmore Leonard. By comparison, I read the Crichton novel Airframe, 431 pages, in one day. It has taken me the same amount of time to struggle through 150 pages of nothing but dialogue by Leonard. I think it’s because all my brain does is imagine two people talking. Don’t get me wrong. It’s great dialogue, and a damn good movie, but the book….well. I’ll finish it because I’m in prison. Tim Dorsey and Dean Koontz remain my favorite authors followed by Michael Crichton.

Tension is rising within the gangs. I have no idea what any of them are called, but two of the rival black gangs are feuding. I was about two feet away from a near fight between what I later found out were the prison leaders of their respective gangs. I would have been badly injured just being close to a large fight. The COs do not care who is involved. We lost all of our rights at sentencing. There are always plenty of staff available and they come out of nowhere. Tackle people, mace, and otherwise render senses useless.

I made it past the stare down and about halfway up the four flights of stairs to my galley when I heard elevated voices and the dee-doo-dee-doo-dee-doo noise that their communications devices make when a fight breaks out. I also later learned that it was just a little pushing and shoving. But the COs don’t care. They came and took the two gang leaders to the hole. That will have little effect on the overall atmosphere. If there’s going to be a gang fight, it’s already planned.

Of course anything that takes the COs’ focus off of whatever they do inevitably means even more time stuck in our cells. We’re already five minutes late for going out to the courtyard, where I play volleyball. With no sign—oops, here we go. Write later.

  1. We got to go outside. Next subject: “How to send money to an inmate”

No matter where you are, who you are, or who you are sending money to in the Minnesota prison system, you will do it incorrectly. At least on the first try. I’m here to help. And I would like you all to try using my instructions.

No matter where in MN your prisoner lives, all money needs to be mailed to Moose Lake. If you send anything else to Moose Lake like a letter or a letter in the same envelope as the money, it will be denied and sent back to you. The address is PO Box 1000, Moose Lake, MN 55767.

Do not send cash or a personal check. It will be denied and sent back to you. Only send cashiers checks or money orders. The USPS sells money orders up to $500 for about $1.50. And you’re at the post office. Perfect place to mail it out. The money order should be filled out with the abbreviation code of the prison; mine would be: MCF-SCL and made payable to the prisoner with his name followed by Offender ID number. If anything is wrong at all and there is no return address the money is kept as part of the cost of confinement, and the prisoner may not be notified. Place the properly-filled-out money order or cashiers check and Nothing Else in the envelope and do your best to get it to Moose Lake by Thursdays. We only get to use our money once a week. But we appreciate any amount, any day.

My day was just made. I was coming back from getting my medication, and paused by my neighbor’s door. He noticed, and I said, “Sorry, I haven’t seen TV in so long, I just wanted to take it in.” He laughed. Then he said, “You don’t have anything?” I shook my head. And he gave me a radio! Complete with ear buds (no speakers allowed for any electronics here).

The first song on once I find 103.7 The Loon is something new and terrible by Robert Plant. Then a pause, then the Immigrant Song. Rock n’ roll, baby! I’m happy now. Music…oooh love hurts…

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