The old prisoner slowly rose from his chair; a lifetime of crime had made him careful. With a slow, shuffling gait he brought his tray back over to the cafeteria line where he placed it on the rack to be washed. As he looked into the window where the prison trustees took the trays and began to clean them, he noticed a new face. A young face. One with innocence etched all over it. He wondered what might have brought him into such a horrible, cruel place.
He normally didn’t mix with other inmates; he didn’t particularly care about their problems or what led to their incarceration. The less he knew, the better, and he almost turned to amble out the door when something stopped him. His humanity, perhaps? Or maybe just his curiosity. Regardless, he looked at the young man with this mix of emotions and something pushed him to ask the kid what he might have done to come to this state in his life.
“What brings you to this place? This is the worst prison in New York.”
“I don’t know, man. A few months ago I was just out for dinner with my girlfriend and the next thing I knew I was hauled away by the police. And here I am, doing 5 to 10 for something everybody does!”
“Damn,” thought the old man, “I’d better steer clear of this one.” He moved away from the youngster warily, not wanting to upset him any further. ““I’ll bet he puts salt on his French fries as well.”