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Day 1 Evening
As I walked into the showers, the one they call Bubba looked right at me. I engaged his gaze, I looked back, hard, firm and unyielding. He gently caressed a rather large inmate while holding me in his gaze. The other inmate is ironically called Tiny, and it certainly wasn’t due to his physical size.
I approached the shower stalls with caution, fear in my heart but fire in my eyes. To not fear is to die in this place, without fear you cannot activate your defense mechanisms, without defenses then there will be no offense, and you will die, or worst, you will live. Admitting fear is human, I was afraid. Fear was my ally, fear is required.
I knew that if Bubba and Tiny got the best of me then, it would be over for me. Henceforth, every night, every shower, every meal, I would forever be there slave. I held on to the soap on a rope that Phil provided me via a care package, I concealed the shank that Chada smuggled in for me wrapped up in my towel. I mentally reviewed all the martial arts lessons that Janeen and Gabs had trained me on during preparations for this time. This time that we all knew would eventually arrive.
I recalled what Amal and Mike said to me, take no prisoners. Take no prisoners. How ironic, for we all are prisoners here in Yelp Jail. Take no prisoners. Garrett once said to me that I look like I’m ready to scrap at any time, I counted on this to work as a deterrent for me at this place. However should it fail me I had my fist, my legs, my teeth, the shank, and even this soap on a rope to turn to.
Bubba and Tiny turned towards me, admired my tattoos, then Bubba asked me “What set you claim”. I looked at them and replied in a stern yet non-offensive voice “I claim the army of 2, myself and whatever God you choose to believe in.” Tiny laughed a deep hard laugh, I don’t believe in a God little man. I looked at Tiny and said “That’s a shame friend, all that means to me is that there will be nobody to carry your soul away once you have finished making your mistake.”
They looked at each other, then looked at me again. They looked at my soap on a rope, then they looked at the towel. Bubba then spoke again, “You’ve got guts little man, but you’d better make some friends. A man can’t live in here on guts alone.”.
I looked at them both, I took a deep breath and nodded my head. I spoke again “Perhaps you rather large men are not hearing my words, I already have an army, the army of one.” At that point a C.O entered the stall and called out “2 minutes convicts”. The 2 looked at me, looked at each other again and said “This isn’t over fish”.
I smiled and turned towards my shower head, “I didn’t think so, big boys”.
Growing Up Bronx