Prison Pete

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
It has been a busy two week period with me 'lending' my fellow inmates various items.

The usual fee for lending something to an inmate is that he will pay you back two items on the next commissary. I do not do that, asking only that they replace what they borrow. There is never a shortage of entrepreneurs willing to run a store, and although it is against the rules, that like a lot of the goings on behind the fences does not stop them.

This week in addition to sharing eight rice and bean meals with a fellow inmate who has fewer resources than I, I have loaned out the following:

One 9x12 envelope. I actually lent this to an inmate who is one of my neighbors, and he promptly handed it over to another inmate. This other inmate was one of the inmates that I had a disagreement with during the summer about who has the right of way out in the recreation yard.

I guess I was able to practice some of that biblical 'love your enemies' philosophy, admittedly not with prior knowledge, and not that this person is actually an enemy at this time.

Two sheets of carbon paper. While the inmate seeking the carbon paper did offer to pay me for it, I declined. This obviously was not a loan but a gift. It is safer to not 'sell' things to other inmates because that is an offense that you can be written up for and there are plenty of inmates who take pleasure in ratting out another inmate.

I do not want to get into a position where I be viewed as the seller of things. I prefer to use selected opportunities to show that one can give without asking for anything in return. This particular inmate use to talk trash about me to other inmates. He has not done so lately. I do not expect him to be able to put the 'gift' of the carbon paper and the thought that he should not be so quick to talk trash together, but hope does spring eternal.

One inmate has borrowed two pounds of spaghetti and one can of octopus. Another three cans of soda. Two other inmates, one borrowed a can of octopus and the other a can of tomato sauce.

Then there is one last inmate that borrowed ten 37ยข stamps from me.

Most of these items were lent out in the past few days. The bi-weekly commissary will occur this coming Tuesday so most inmates are running low on food. I am glad I do not drink coffee, because that is certainly number one on the begging list. As long as what is being asked for is something that I can get by without and the inmate has paid back all previous loans I am willing to lend again.

Just another one of the ways I work on maintaining my individuality.
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