My newest prison thriller is available and on sale for .99 cents on Amazon Kindle. To check out all of my drug war and prison thrillers go here- http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00571NY5A Here’s an excerpt: Yard business
For yard we were only allowed to wear our boxer shorts, a white shirt and flip flops. We went through the strip search and backed up to get handcuffed. We walked to a door that opened to a narrow concrete path that went for 30 feet to the yards. The sunlight blinded me after not being out of our cell for a month and I had to walk slower to let my eyes adjust.
We walked the path that led to two mini yards. Each yard was about the size of a half court for basketball. There was a 10 foot high fence around it and razor wire in swirls at the top. In place of a tower, above the yard, was a steel catwalk with two prison guards holding guns. The escort guards led us into our yard. It started with a separate boxed in fenced area about the size of a bathroom. We got our handcuffs released through the tray slot and one of the guards asked, “Do you want to use some clippers to cut your hair or trim your beard?”
We needed some man grooming in a desperate way and used the clippers to make us as close to bald headed as possible. My facial hair had turned into an out of control goatee and I removed as much as I could. While we played barber on each other the southern Mexican inmates started to arrive.
Pericho and Sureno walked with their backs straight and their chests sticking out as far as possible. I almost laughed out loud but instead thought about how sad it was. They were a couple of 18 year olds who desperately didn’t want to look weak. The guards unlocked the first cage in the mini yard next to ours and they walked in. Pericho was the crazier one with wild eyes and a bald head with scars in multiple places. As soon as he got his handcuffs off he took his shirt off.
After we finished grooming ourselves we entered our mini yard. There was a basketball hoop on one end that faced the other mini yard 6 feet away. On the other end of the yard there was a shower head and a toilet. I noticed a basketball in the corner and got it. Giant and I took turns shooting free throws and watched all the southern Mexicans walk in handcuffs to the yard cages.
One by one they got their handcuffs off and entered the yard. The inmates from the bottom floor were put in our yard and the inmates from the top floor went into the other one. The younger inmates all took their shirts off as soon as the handcuffs were removed and I realized it was in defiance. They weren’t going to let anyone tell them they had to wear a shirt to cover neighborhood tattoos. I saw Johny get his handcuffs removed and he walked toward us with his shirt on. He looked different, like his outlook on life wasn’t as positive. Maybe it was that all hope of ever getting a chance to parole on a life sentence was gone.
He stopped in front of us and forced a smile. Giant was so happy to see him he gave him an immediate hug. I followed up with one next and asked, “Are you alright?”
The love from both Giant and I brought back a little spark to Johny’s smile and he nodded his head. He said, “Thank you for helping us out.”
It hit me that maybe he was also depressed that he’d killed another person. Even though it was self defense, it probably had him thinking about how he’d committed himself to being in that position his whole life. I encouraged him, “Johny you protected your people and couldn’t avoid it.”
I looked him right in the eyes and his were brown pools of sorrow. He broke the eye lock and looked at the ground and nodded his head. Our attention was broken by a distraction on the other mini yard.
There were over 20 inmates on each of the mini yards and almost everyone stopped what they were doing to watch. The man who called Johny was Topo. He was staring at us from the other mini yard with his hands holding the fence. He looked like a Mexican Joe Pesci. He took off his white shirt and from his waist to his neck there was a collection of tattoo art. His usually bald head had a little hair on it and it made his widow’s peak more prominent. We watched Johny walk to the fence. He grabbed it with his hands like Topo was doing and stood almost a foot taller looking down.
I looked at Giant. He noticed the difference in Johny also. He said, “He’s changed. Even his voice is deeper.”
I nodded my head and noticed all the southern Mexicans on both of the mini yards beginning to establish positions. They were all somewhat watching Johny and Topo like they were waiting for orders. They constantly looked over at the two elders and then went back to whatever they were doing.
Johny nodded his head to Topo and turned and walked to us. His expression was even harder and I realized what it was. While I knew him on the mainline prison yard before the riot, he was himself due to the lack of heavy politics. Now in Administrative Segregation heavy politics were being forced on him.
The pep in his step was gone. He looked up at us while deep in thought and forced a smile and asked, “You guys want to work out with us?”
I felt my expression harden on my face over the stress of our situation. I nodded my head and said, “Sure… We need to see if you can help us figure something out after…”
Johny nodded his head and it was obvious he already knew it was over us being labeled and housed as southern Mexicans. I realized in that instant that every southern Mexican on both yards was aware. None of them had even greeted us. There were a handful of southerners that had looked up to us and loved talking to us on the mainline. Now they were avoiding us.
I heard Topo get everyone’s attention in Spanish slang and understood him. He yelled out, “Excuse me! Attention brothers! It’s time for our workout. Everyone line up!”
Johny nodded his head to us and said, “We’ll help you figure it out after we exercise.”
He quickly got into his role as leader on our mini yard and shuffled all of the southern Mexicans into a line. Giant and I maintained our positions and backed up to melt into the line forming around us. Our backs were to the fence and we were facing the gun tower catwalk above us. I looked up for the first time on the yard and noticed that both guards were studying the dynamics of how all the inmates were congregating. It was easy to see and understand that Topo was running one yard and Johny was running the other one. Both Topo and Johny had their backs to the tower guards while we were all facing them. It had to look like we were a part of the southern Mexican army.
Topo called out the cadence in Spanish and I understood it
“One hundred jumping jacks…Ready Begin!”
We did the jumping jacks.
Topo yelled, “Fifty squats…Ready Begin!”
We did the squats.
Topo yelled, “Fifty pushups…Ready begin!”
We did the pushups.
Topo yelled, “Southern Mexicans!! How do you feel?”
Everyone, including Giant and I, yelled, “One hundred percent!”
Our exercises continued for 45 more minutes. When we finished Topo came back to the fence and called Johny to talk to him. Giant and I watched the two communicate and waited for them to call us over. We both looked at the two tower guards.
Giant said, “This doesn’t look good.”