K is for Kite

Kites are associated with the early Spring. Colorful, ariborne reminders that winter is over and another round of beautiful, warm weather laced with fluffy clouds, gentle breezes and blooming flowers is just over the horizon.  But wait!  That might not be the case if you are talking about Kites Behind Bars.

Behind Bars, it’s always March or November.  Storms are always brewing on the horizon, gloomy gray walls and the booming noise created by slamming doors made of metal against concrete block walls, accurately imitates the late winter/early spring atmospheric conditions.  Sometimes a leaking roof or a broken water pipe might even emulate the rain within the buildings regardless of the weather outside.  You can bet that somewhere a false gale generated by the hot breath of the rumor mill is affording ample opportunity for flying prison kites.

Prison kites are notes, usually thrown, tossed, kicked or swept from one offender to another.  Sometimes they might actually have strings attached (literally and physically) when offenders on the second tier lowers the kite to the window or walkway below.  These notes cover a wide range of topics, but like almost everything else Behind Bars, flying kites is a disciplinary infraction.

Prison staff members are charged with the responsibility of intercepting these kites and reporting who wrote them, who read them, who the “Postman” was and who the intended receiver might be.  These things might include a seemingly innocuous message such as “See you in the Commissary line, Homes.  I gots something for you.”  However, this could be interpreted to mean a variety of things.  The originator and the recipient must be considered in respect to the content before a clear interpretation emerges.

For example, let’s say Offender Irksome is trying to let Offender Bounty know that he will meet him in the Commissary line and pay off a debt by giving him a pastry or a soda or a stamp.  Cool, you might think, debts should be paid off, right? Right!  Except that such an action Behind Bars is considered trafficking and trading and is illegal and punishable under the rules and regulations.  Offender Bounty might be black-mailing, co-ercing or threatening Offender Irksome and the ‘something’ might be payola for protection.  Another, even more seriously illegal action.

Or this same message might mean that Irksome is going to meet Bounty in the commissary line to settle a different type of debt.  Irksome might be threatening to give Bounty a beating.  More trouble, right?  Or it might simply mean Irksome has a Bible verse book that he wants to give Bounty to help with his spiritual revival in order to help with his personal salvation.  At any rate, the kite itself is against the rules and the message is always suspect, usually not good news and definitely worth paying attention to if you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a fight, a riot or a stabbing.

4 thoughts on “K is for Kite

  1. crazidebi says:

    i worked there for a long time and hadn’t thought about some of this stuff…. very interesting!!!

    thanks for sharing!

  2. Joyful Writer says:

    I love flying kites! But this is the first time I’ve heard of flying kites… a very nice read indeed, for someone who’s crazy about kites.

  3. brendancarroll says:

    Flying kites was one of my favorite childhood memories of my Grandpa. He loved to build things and he was always making kites for me out of different things. One time he made me a kite out of one of my grandma’s plastic drapes (very fashionable at the time) and painted a dragon on it. I liked it… Grandma… not so much.

  4. Patty Craig says:

    Yes in summer it was go to the swimo, stop off for water ice and then to the hobby shop for some kite kits you put together. The whole neighborhood sky would be alive with colorful kites.

    Kites and fishing put me in mind of the boys playing knocker tricks on the neighbors, where they would tie a fish bob to line and hook it to a door and go across the street and hide in the hedges, you can guess the rest.

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