Rites of passage

One of the regulars at the Tunnel Bar, Hal, was something of an expert on the NJ correctional system. He had an amusing story of his graduation from a youthful offender to an inmate. Transported from Hudson County early in the AM, he and a number of others were placed singly in a row of small cells in a corridor. Eventually a door slid open and a prisoner pushed in a metal table on wheels. On it were metal plates, a set of tongs, and a galvanized bucket — shiny and clean, but the same sort that’d you use to put sudsy water in to wash a car. In the pail were whole potatoes that had been deep fried. The guy went from cell to cell, sliding a steel plate between the bars.

“How many you want?”

Some said “one.” A few, “two.” Here and there, “three.” He’d then place potatoes through the bars onto the held plate.

One of the recently convicted when asked answered “six.”

“I can’t give you no six. Most I can give is four. Here you go: one, two, three, four . . . Lookee, I gave you one extra by mistake, but you can’t get no six.”

Reaching the next one, “How many you want?”

“What’s this?”

“Hey listen, I got no time to play games. I got three more floors to do. Whata you mean, ‘what’s this?’ It’s breakfast.”

“Breakfast?! This is too heavy for breakfast.”

“Well I guess you gonna have to go someplace else from now on.”

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established PETCRAFT.com in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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