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“…eggs and sausage and a side of toast,
Coffee and a roll and hash browns over-easy,
Chili in a bowl with burgers and fries,
What kind of pie?….”

Tom Waits
Eggs and Sausage

I dunno. Have you ever given any thought to the last meals given to inmates? I always feel that there is something telling there. Some kinda peek into their psyche before they check out for the last time. It’s been this thing where it is always declared what the person’s last meal was in the report of his or her execution. The final “gimme”, as it were…know what I mean?

I didn’t mean to think about it tonight. I was actually making dinner for myself when I suddenly realized that what I was making was the last meal of Dick Hickcock and Perry Smith. I didn’t know it until I was fully engulfed into the process of making the meal that THAT’s what it was. Dig?

I bought a new deep fryer last week….news as that is….and I set about to make some fried shrimp, french fries, garlic toast and steak. I knew I had a pound of strawberries in the fridge with some Reddi-whip. Now, sans the steak, it was their exact last meal. It occurred to me when I thought, “where have I heard this before?” From the Truman Capote novel, “In Cold Blood”. It was in the final chapter, of course.

I couldn’t help but be taken by the solemness of it all. Not to be confused by reverence,…not at all,…but the sheer sobering fact that I was eating the same thing they did the night before they died. That’s kinda screwed up, ain’t it?

I looked at the food and tried to determine their thought process before they ate it. The panic that this would be their last meal on earth. The desperation of it all. The fact that the state wasn’t merciful and didn’t just surprise them by showing up at their cell one night and saying, “It’s time to go”…and then walking them out behind the shed and putting their lights out with a single bullet with no set date or inkling that they were gonna do it. They gave them the last meal so they would KNOW that it’s their last meal. There is something tortuous in that….know what I mean?

I would much rather be sleeping in my cell and have an execution squad come un-announced and put my lights out. Like they did in Nazi Germany.

The basis for the last meal goes way back to the 1700’s. They felt that the meaning of the last meal was two-fold. You show an act of mercy while simultaneously warding off hauntings. That’s the genesis of the last meal.

Texas, however, did away with it when some ne’er-do-well decided to order up a bunch of shit and not eat it. He spoiled it for everyone. They get the inmate menu now. Texas also executes inmates every ten minutes compared to the rest of the country. They should just adopt a double cheeseburger rule. A double cheeseburger with bacon, tomato lettuce, cheese (of their choice) and onion….with mayo,…fries, cole slaw and drink of their choice. The cole slaw should also be able to be substituted for a salad if inmate so desires. (cole slaw can be a bit spicy for some)….with a three dressing limit on it, of course. Three dressings to choose from. Vinaigrette, Blue cheese or Ranch.

That’s not too outrageous…..or expensive. Everyone likes cheeseburgers, don’t they? It’s the all-American food.

For the record. My last meal,…as it stands right now,…would be three stuffed cabbages with red sauce, mashed potatoes with red sauce, green beans, cole slaw and a Little Caesar’s $5 Pepperoni pizza. A gallon of 2% milk and a Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. With a side of cheddar cheese stuffed jalapeños with ranch….

I don’t live in Texas, so this is a reasonable meal request.


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