In order to get into the prison, you first have to go through the Gatehouse, where you must show your state employee I.D. to a correctional officer. If you are bringing any bags or items into the facility, you have to set them down on the counter and the C.O. looks through them and asks you if you are carrying any cell phones, electronics, or other contraband.
Today when I got to work, I walked into the Gatehouse with a woman who was carrying a large bakery box. She and I set down our lunch bags to be inspected. She also placed her bakery box on the counter next to her bag.
The C.O. looked through our bags and then turned to her. “Ma’am,” he said, “could you open the box?”
The woman was a warm, agreeable person who looked exactly like someone who would be bringing baked goods for her co-workers on a Friday morning. She carefully loosened the lid of the box and lifted it slowly to reveal a round, chocolate-frosted cake. “Happy Birthday” was piped across the top of the cake in red icing. It looked yummy. I suddenly wanted a slice of that cake.
You could tell the C.O. thought the same thing. And the way he played it off was pretty funny. He said, deadpan, “I’m going to need to cut it open.” Like there could be a file baked in that cake.
The woman patted her pockets and said, “Oh, darn! I don’t have anything to cut it with.”
“That’s okay,” he said. “I’ll just put my finger in it.”
Then they both laughed, and she put the lid back on the cake.
It was a pleasant way to start a Friday morning going in to work at a prison.