Monday, June 8, 2009

all for a carton of smokes

As many of you know…or can tell…I have not had what most would refer to as a ‘normal’ life.

This is a story that changed a lot within me and will never be forgotten.

From early in the day, the cellblock was busier but quieter than usual. This always happens when something big is coming. The quiet before the storm. The Black and Latino gangs seemed to have more distance between them than usual. As the day drifted on there was a lot of quick meetings and whispering happening within the gangs. The rec yard and mess hall were tense, yet uneventful, which was far from typical. Looking down from the third floor balcony, the common room looked like a pair of hypnotic eyeglasses, swirling groups of people on either side and a few misplaced guards in between.

Gangs in lock up are simple yet complex. They can be quite large but only the top three have any say on what happens that day. Many have no interest in being in a gang, or taking part in the insane schemes, yet protection…a family is an unavoidable need.

It was about 8PM when there seemed to be a lot more scampering around. The volume on the TV was turned up as the Latino leader and his 2 under-bosses emerged from their “office.” Simple gestures by him sent the Latino soldiers on their missions. As a group of about 15 men all converged on the level one balcony, the lookouts began signaling. There seemed to instantly 2 dozen Black soldiers surrounding the Latinos. At first there was just a lot of tough looks, talk and pushing going on. The tension was high, it felt as if it were 100 degrees on the block. The looks on everyone’s faces were looks of fear and confusion mix with honor and duty – reminiscent of soldiers on a battlefield. With another nod from the leader everything seemed to start moving in slow motion. 3 men entered a cell. Outside it was like a scrimmage line on a football field. Hitting and pushing with nobody gaining ground. Moving nearer, There were glimpses of a fellow block-mate backing into the corner of his cell, with his comrades unable to help him. The sight was frightening, even though he was the enemy.

As the muffled calls for help emerged from the cell, it was clear to everyone that his time had come. There seemed to be a slight pause before the view of stabbing motions filled the cell. All watched quietly as the victors emerged from the cell with blood-soaked hands. Quickly, with tear-glazed eyes, the sight of people running, weapons disappearing and smiles from the balcony were seen. It was clear that many involved were filled with hidden emotions. Beneath the smiles and cheers, it was easy to see the fear and sadness. Returning to the cells, hearing the jingling of keys on the guards’ belts as they ran into the block, everyone laid in their bunks, closed their eyes…all this for a carton of smokes.

11 Comments:

M said...

That is so so scary.

Swirl Girl said...

whoa - fiction or non-fiction??

Soxy Deb said...

This was a truly gripping story. I don't know that I would have had the strength to live through it the first time, let alone relive it.

I was in jail once, but the story is not nearly as interesting. And you'll just have to take my word for that.

Going directly to your link as opposed to through Google reader worked. With the reader, all it would bring up was your header. But now I know to come in the front door instead of the back. Heh.

Sam said...

WOW.

TentCamper said...

Deb - Yeah...my back door has a no entry sign on it. did you not see that?

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

I cant even imagine..life being that way and honestly dont want to...that is some scary shit!!!

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

good story, very well told. I personally know someone VERY close to me that has been in prison and I have heard some shit. It definitely changes you, that's for sure.

ChocDrop said...

That story had me on the edge of my recliner. From what I hear thats the way things happen.
A male friend of mine was sodomized or gang-raped by a group of men in prison. I hurt for him. It took a lot of time for him to heal. I was so scared for him.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

WOW... I had no idea. That was really scary...

Well written TentCamper!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Wow.

SweetPeaSurry said...

That is unbelievable. I'm still sitting here waiting for my jaw to rise back up from the floor.

Amazing

 

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