Holed Up

I’m in the home stretch of my book about the psychology of chefs and restaurants.  Three times a day, Maurizio, one of the guards, slides a tray holding food through the narrow, horizontal slot at the bottom of the locked, steel door to my cell.

I will say this: The food here is good!  This morning I had three slices of Father’s bacon, which is super crispy, and combines just the right amount of sweetness and salt, three slices of toasted rye bread, a tall glass of fresh squeezed orange juice, and a small pot of Vietnamese coffee.

Maurizio, who speaks no English, but communicates instead in a language unfamiliar to me, which sounds like Maltese or perhaps Provencal, definitely has a knack for service!

For the remainder of the day, I am allowed no direct phone communication from the cell, but the warden, whose name is unknown to me, and appears only in a gray suit and a Zorro type eye mask, permits me to return phone calls, answer and send emails, and text messages.  He is a laconic gentleman.  He said: “It’s part of the process.”

Typically, the writing ends around two PM. and then I am transported in a sealed, armored car to The Building That Once Was The Armory.  Scary then, less forbidding now.  Now it is some sort of facility called, ominously, Fitrec, where I am required, along with other inmates, to run three miles and lift weights while listening to DMX and Kanye and The Stones.

It is torture.

Between the activities mentioned, the prison has me escorted for terrifying and mandatory walks by two enormous, black dogs, Bello and Beau, whose eyes betray no fear, and whose postures indicate trouble.  Neither dog goes slack, and their jaws hold rows of shark-like teeth.

Dinners are very good here.  So far, I’ve been served pizza, a bacon cheeseburger (Father’s bacon, Beeler’s cheese, waygu style beef), Sichuan style chicken, and veal parm.  Tonight I’m told it’s a spicy arrabiate with Venetian bignoli.  Except for the pizza, the warden requires that I do all the cooking.

At the end of the day, Maurizo’s evening replacement, Karl, brings me to another cell where a series of movies is shown each night.  So far, Karl has shown me “50/50,” “Incendies,” “Higher Ground,” and “Ides of March.”  None of these movies were particularly good, which may be part of the plan to break me.  I turned off both “Incendies” and “Higher Ground” before they had ended; the former because it was voyeuristic and the latter because it was repetitive and shallow.  “50/50” would have been better had I been 30,000 feet in the air.  “Ides of March” is well written.

The last thing that happens here?  I am put to bed and given a copy of the new Himmler biography.  It is 800+ pages long.  I keep reading it because I can’t wait to find out how it ends.




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