Mack gritted his teeth behind a well-practiced poker face, walking away from the prison’s package
room. He was carrying two thirds of the food package that had arrived for him, the balance denied by one creative reason or another by the security staff. The paradox being that it was usually more expensive to mail the disallowed items out than they had cost. This equation and the fact that the C.O.s “destroy” disallowed food items by stuffing them in their mouths, explained why the average weight of package room cops is north of 300 pounds.
Back in his cell, Mack glanced at the disposition slip: “6 bags cookies, denied due to chocolate liqueur…” He crumpled up the paper, shaking his head. Chocolate liqueur, as even the cops know, has nothing to do with alcohol. It was just an industry term for liquid chocolate. But anything is a good excuse when free food is the reward. On top of the denied food items, they also routinely skim off the top of many items that are not allowed especially high cost products like coffee. Package room staff never have to buy coffee or snacks!
Fifteen years of this, and all the hypocrisy of C.O.s holding cons accountable for every little thing while either not following or breaking every rule themselves, was tough. Mack had reached a tipping point when one can’t just take it anymore and has to respond. Paper battles had been tried grievances, etc., for years and years. Nothing, it appears, can stop the greedy pigs from stealing from prisoners. Even when many have so little to begin with.
Mack dashed off a letter to his sole remaining true ally in the real world. This man was free today, instead of doing life without parole with Mack, due to much standing up and keeping his mouth shut.
In the last fifteen years, he’d kept in contact to a minimum, and had never contacted his road dog, “K-Five,” for anything but there comes a time, and he knows his boy would deliver without question or error.
Days later and 700 miles away, K-Five nodded grimly to himself and set about his task, his mission really. The tech info was so convenient to find on the internet. Ricin, an odorless, tasteless, yet deadly poison was made from easily processed and obtainable castor beans. The oil is pressed out via a jury-rigged hydraulic jack and discarded. The off-white ricin powder mixed with corn syrup and injected into each and every chocolate cookie in the batch of 12 bags. Each bag carefully resealed with a handy seal-n-meal unit. These, plus assorted other food goods placed in a box, addressed to the prison, and sent on its way.
Mack shrugged his shoulders casually as the cop explained why he couldn’t have any of the bags of cookies due to the “chocolate liqueur” on the ingredients list.
“No biggy,” he said, and shuffled off with the other goods waiting until he was around the corner before allowing himself a tight grin.
The C.O.s working in the package room wolfed down four of the twelve packs, one for “Orca,” who had just hit 520 pounds, and was “cutting back” a little. The other 3 bags were eaten by the remaining five C.O.s the balance places in the general fund cabinet, where other C.O.s came by throughout the day a
nd took what they wanted. The only rule was that they had to empty it out before second shift started or the watch commander would come by and actually take the items to be destroyed in the prison incinerator. Oddly, there was rarely ever any items left for him to carry out this duty.
Ricin is a slow acting killer, with 2-3 days before any symptoms appear but by then there’s little to be done to save the victim. By the end of seven days, 13 C.O.s were dead. The fourteenth was the sole survivor of those who had snacked on the tainted cookies.
As expected, there was an intensive investigation. While it was determined that the poison was from common origin in the package room, what exact product or from whose package it came from was impossible to determine. It was finally concluded that this was a tragedy brought about by an attempt to murder an unknown prisoner, because nobody would have a motive to murder 13 C.O.s.
After that, the C.O.s stopped eating any food from incoming packages and in fact took to wearing latex gloves and surgical masks while screening food packages for contraband. The bags being carried back to the cell blocks became heavier and Mack couldn’t help but smile every time he bit into a chocolate chip cookie.