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Covid Prison Blues

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I can just hear this candid conversation occurring someday. 

“Grandpa, were you ever in a penitentiary like San Quentin or Leavenworth?” 

“No, little Billy, but I did do hard time in ’20 and ’21, in a far worse slammer called COVID-19. It was worse than any gulag, Chinese prison camp or even Alcatraz. Maybe you’ve heard about the Bird Man of Alcatraz, well I was known as the Bug Man of COVID-19.” 

“Why were you called the Bug Man of COVID-19, Grandpa?” 

“Because I got so lonely and depressed looking through bars rather than going to them, I made a friend out of a black widow who visited my cell daily. I even taught it to do some tricks.” 

“Did you have a cellmate?” 

“Yeah, your grandmother.” 

“So, I guess you could say you were a member of a crime family?” 

“I guess you could say so.” 

“What were you in for? Robbery, rape or murder perhaps?” 

“No, none of those, but I got a stiffer sentence than if I’d have been an axe murderer. Somehow, I got involved in international espionage and a worldwide syndicate, which was spreading a deadly Chinese virus. One day, a cop saw me walking into the drugstore wearing a mask and figured I was going to rob the place. He tried to shoot me, but missed and busted the Advil display instead. When I went to trial, the judge threw the book at me. He too missed and hit my defense attorney. But, he deserved it.” 

“Did you get sent to one of those country club prisons, Grandpa, where the guards go to lunch with the prisoners at a nice restaurant every day?” 

“Nah, all the restaurants were closed. And it wasn’t like I had a summer cell in the Hamptons. Keep in mind, my cell mate was your grandma. She was so upset at being confined with me that I had to sleep with one eye open and had to learn how to fight. She put me in the hospital and it was like solitary confinement ‘cause no one could visit me. The only good thing about being in solitary was I didn’t have to worry about bending over to pick up a bar of soap in the shower.” 

“Didn’t they give you an hour or two each day to go out into the yard for some exercise?” 

“Yeah they did, but it tuned out that my neighbors were some crazy people. There were undesirable characters like One Thumb Frank, Ice, Humpy and the Seagull – all of them cold-blooded thugs. It was the Seagull who stepped on my pet spider on purpose and killed it. So, I made a shiv out of a plastic dinner utensil. But, when I stabbed the Seagull, my shiv broke and he put me back in the infirmary.” 

“Is it true Gramps, you can get anything in prison; contraband like drugs and booze?” 

“Oh sure. Prisoners were distilling the alcohol out of handi-wipes and hand sanitizer, but it didn’t help me ‘cause I didn’t drink. I didn’t smoke either, so I traded my cigarettes for extra rations. The only good thing about being imprisoned was the good home-cooked food in COVID-19. That’s why they called it COVID-19. That’s how many pounds I gained per year while I was in the joint – 19.” 

“Did anyone ever try to slip you a file in a birthday cake or did you ever try to break out of COVID-19?” 

“Yeah, I dug a tunnel, but somehow got disoriented and when I busted out I came up in the warden’s office. For this, he cut off my free cable TV and took the government stimulus checks all the prisoners got. The warden was on the take. He was the biggest crook in the place.” 

“Did you get time off for good behavior, Grandpa?” 

“No, but when all the prisons got overcrowded and they started releasing mass murderers, I slipped through the cracks. But, the world had changed completely by the time I got out. I swore upon my release I was running so far away from COVID-19 it would take a hundred bucks in stamps just to send me a postcard.” 

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