My second day of working food service was today. A CO woke me at 5 am to line up at the front door with other food service workers where we would be released to go to the dining room a few minutes later. I noticed that my cellie wasn’t in his bunk. He appeared a moment later as I was dressing. I could smell dope on his breath as he passed me. I said in a low voice so as not to be heard by others, “Dude, man, brush your teeth! You reek. Aren’t you concerned that you are going to get busted?” He didn’t say anything, stared blankly at me and went to his bunk.
I got assigned a job serving inmates their food in the dining room. What a trip! Food service is the most dreaded job assignment on the compound, and it is generally required for all inmates to work in food service, at least for a while. There are a lot of inmates required to serve 1400 guys three meals a day. There are two shifts – am and pm. I got assigned the am shift by my counselor, but probably would have preferred the pm shift. The jobs generally include line servers (me), cooks, table clean-up guys, moppers, tray/dish room operators, etc. The cook jobs pay well compared to the measlier wages that are paid to other inmates. But, the cooks also work a full shift. It probably doesn’t take a grand total of an hour out of four for everyone else to do their job.
After all the inmates left breakfast, the food service inmates cleaned the dining room and kitchen, and then sat – for a solid three hours! The CO’s wouldn’t let us leave unless we had a call-out. Some food service CO’s won’t even let the inmates read or play cards while they wait to serve the next meal. I brought a book and read. No one said anything to me about it, except to be discreet.
I saw my co-defendant sitting by himself across the room. Skip was a principal of my former employer, Peerless Real Estate Services, Inc. Skip and his brother owned a small manufacturing company in South Florida but vacationed in North Carolina. They met Tony Porter, a land developer in North Carolina, in Spruce Pine and together started Peerless. Skip quit working with his brother to devote all his time to Peerless’ real estate projects. I had previously met Porter when I was brokering large real estate projects and we became friends. Porter asked me to join Peerless to manage their income portfolio, conduct due diligence on new projects and seek institutional financing on those projects. Others were brought into the company and Peerless commenced operations in January 2004.
Skip had first seen me a few days earlier while we were waiting in a medical line and started talking. He was initially friendly. I was friendly as well and we engaged in small talk. However, he seemed to get agitated whenever we talked subsequently. It was really weird seeing him and talking to him. He had reported to the Low at least a year previously. It had been more than four years since I had last seen him, and I hadn’t had any communication with my other co-defendants since our case broke. I knew that co-defendants were NOT supposed to be in the same facility, and I could not be sure of his intentions. I told Christine about seeing Skip, and I thought that we should let my attorney know. Christine said she would reach out to my attorney and discuss.
We were allowed to go back to our units after lunch and I settled in with a book. This day would be the last time I saw Skip or worked in food service at the Low.
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