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Awww, Bananas
by Robert McCandless

Featured Article

   It was fruit season. Being fortunate enough to know the right people had landed me at the Walls Unit of TDC with a cush job in the media center illustrating trade manuals in an air-conditioned office with carpet and free coffee. The unit itself was the prize place shown to all the politicians and media. So, when asked by one of the former if we liked it here, the answer was always "Hell yes..." at which point the interview was cut short by officials before you could say "compared to that hell hole I was in before I got here." 

   In an effort to insure we had the best, Mr. Estelle, the prison director, had organized the unit so we could have privileges that included ordering free world cereal, fruit, pizza, hamburgers, and other stuff. 

   Well, it was fruit season and I had money. Having fought weight all my life it was obvious what I would choose...Bananas... a case. Of course, I would trade and share some but... locked in a cell with a case of bananas??? Heaven could be closer, but not much. 

   I worked downstairs, under the chapel, in the rec yard along with the parole offices which had brought me in frequent contact with the officers that worked there. Mr. James was a psychology student and had involved me and some of my friends in starting a Transactional Analysis class. Mr. Benny Levon Elmore caught flak from my rocker friend and office mate, Wayne, by asking him, continuously, if he knew Elton John, due to his first two names (Benny and the Jets and Levon Likes His Money). They were friendly sorts and were always good for a laugh.

   The two bananas I had taken to work lay there as I sat drinking my first cup of company coffee, talking with my practical joke accomplice, Wayne. Mr. James skipped the hallway and walked through our office in order to say his morning "Hello" to us and the free world staff. Mr. Elmore took the windowed hallway five minutes later, tipping his head to us in an acknowledgement.

   The huge bananas continued to lay there and for a rare moment, adventure overtook my desire to eat as I lifted them, noticing just how much they were shaped like old pirate pistols. Picking them up from the desk, I stepped down off my drafting stool and started toward the door saying, " I have dastardly deed to do." Wayne, knowing I was up to something, went as far as the door and peeked out the windows across the hall as I headed toward the parole office door with a banana in each hand. 

   In the hall stood four inmates along the wall, awaiting their parole interview. I could see inside the window lined offices that there were two more sitting before the officers answering questions. 

   I carefully turned the knob and kicked the door open with my foot rolling into the room, cowboy style, coming to an upright position pointing the bananas at Mr. James and Mr. Elmore. "Awright jou guyz. First one makes a move, gets it between the eyes." Before I could say another word, I felt something stuck to the back of my neck. "On the floor, NOW!...and drop the bananas."

   I dropped to my knees and turned to see Wayne, who, not to miss a trick, had followed me and was now saving the lives of the parole officer. He too had brought a banana to work. I quickly put both hands, with bananas, in the air so as not to bruise them. The poor guys being interviewed for parole sat shocked and perplexed as to what had happened and the ones in the hallway had craned their necks to see the fiasco unraveling in the room. Mr. James looked at me smiling and shook his head. Mr. Elmore sat wondering what was going on. 

   "They are not loaded." I said. "Don't make a difference, it's first degree with a deadly banana. You could get two to ten on it," Mr. James said. 

   Wayne led me out of the room and back to our office at banana point. We all had a good laugh.


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