Artwork by Sharon Adarlo

In prison there are three types of contraband: minor, major and dangerous. Unfortunately there was another type of contraband that I hadn’t been aware of — a type of contraband that landed me in 30 days of segregation.

It was my birthday and I wanted to enjoy it with alcohol, illegal narcotics and food. My best friend, 4-10, who actually weighed more than 300 pounds, offered to make me a cake.

“What kind of cake do you want?” he asked.

Intoxicated and disoriented, I said the first thing that came to mind. “I want an Oreo ice cream cake,” I said matter of factly.

4-10 didn’t respond instantly, he just sized me up and cracked a smile. “You want a what?” he finally said.

I gathered my bearings and told him what I wanted. “I want an Oreo ice cream cake.”

4-10 gave me his signature smile before responding, “Not a problem, my dude,” he said. “In the meantime, sober up,” he told me before waddling off to his cell.

I spent the next two hours listening to music by Coldplay, One Republic and Usher. Right when Usher’s “Confessions” was about to come on, 4-10 arrived at my door with a pan-size cake in his hands. He placed the cake on my desk and mouthed “Happy birthday” to me.

When I took the first bite, all I could say was, “Damn.”

That cake literally had ice cream and Oreos in it. At first I thought I was tripping off the alcohol, but then I got a brain freeze, which confirmed that I wasn’t tripping.

Then I heard that corrections officers were spotted in the building. I got rid of the alcohol and other pharmaceutical party stuff. I sprayed the cell down to cover the scent of illegal activity and hoped for the best.

As luck would have it, four officers stopped by my cell. Actually it was two officers, but I was under the influence so it looked like four officers.

They removed me from my cell, and scanned it from top to bottom. I thought I was in the clear until I heard the officer ask, “What’s this?”

“It’s cake!” I said annoyed.

“What kind?”

“Oreo ice cream,” I said, not knowing that I told on myself.

“That’s what I figured,” he spitted. “Now cuff up!”

“Cuff up for what?” I said, confused.

“Food contraband. Last time I checked, they didn’t serve ice cream or Oreos at the commissary.”

I put my hands behind my back and went to segregation for 30 days.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Tony Triplett

Tony Triplett is a writer incarcerated in Illinois. He is a 2022 graduate of the Northwestern Prison Education Program.