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Here’s an excerpt from my latest in the Prison Killer series…
We stood there staring at each other and neither Johny nor Topo said anything. I let what seemed like an eternity pass and said, “We have a problem. We’re being housed and labeled as southern Mexicans.”
There wasn’t any shock on Topo’s face. He was a stoic warrior who I knew had already given our situation a lot of thought. It began to dawn on me how much deeper our problem was. The southern Mexican politics in prison could be looked at like a mafia battle that incorporated up to 500 southern California street gangs. Not to mention their business with all of the cartels from Mexico. With all of that to deal with the pressure on all of them was enormous. They surely heard our problem discussed through the vent and heard Giant vehemently telling the Warden he wasn’t a southern Mexican. Maybe they felt insulted.
Topo nodded his head and said, “This is your ticket to enter if you want it?”
I realized that he was offering us his blessing to become southern Mexicans. Maybe the I.G.I guard at classification had that part of it right. That it was a Mexican Mafia tactic to recruit White inmates. I felt Giant looking at me to say something. I didn’t feel any pressure at all. I had never wanted to be a gang member or join a group to feel protected or part of another family. I made a show of looking at my arm and said, “I’m White and I’m not a gang member. So thanks for the offer but I think we make better friends.”
As soon as I finished I realized that Johny’s body posture relaxed. I looked at him and saw that authentic smile I remembered. I looked at Giant next.
There was a silent expectation building to hear what he had to say. Topo stared into his eyes. Johny turned toward him as well.
Giant stood there a foot and a half taller than Topo. I realized with his hair shaved down to the scalp he looked even more intimidating. I imagined him as a southern Mexican being used as a soldier to earn his points. He would never be able to break free and would spend the rest of his life in prison. He nodded his head to Topo and said, “Thanks for the offer Topo but I want to go home on my parole date in just under a year.”
Topo’s stoic expression didn’t waver. He nodded his head and said, “No problem. I can respect that.”
Now that we had the preliminaries out of the way I was curious to see how he and Johny would problem solve it. Johny got the ball rolling. He said, “When you get done with this SHU term in Solitary the next prison is going to send you to a southern Mexican’s cell. If you go in the cell it will be a big headache. Imagine if there are tensions with another race already on the yard you pull up too? What if one of the White inmates on the yard owes us a bunch of money for dope? Or what if there is a war brewing with the Black inmates?”
I thought about the level of secrecy the southern Mexicans held together with all of their gangs and issues. Having a White inmate in the cell would disrupt that.
Topo pointed out the problem even further. He said, “Plus you will have a hard time explaining to the rest of your White people why you are in a southern Mexican cell.”
I thought about it. If the wrong White people were in power on the next yard we landed on, they might shun us.
Topo said, “I’m not telling you what to do, but I wouldn’t go in a southern cell and let the door close on you.”
Giant said, “Refuse to get housed?”
Both Topo and Johny nodded their heads. Topo said, “But that is where your problems really start. Once you refuse to go in a cell think about how that will look to all of the southern Mexicans and all of the White inmates?”
I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it! The next prison would be like all the others. As soon as we got there the politics would began. An inmate would be in charge of studying all of the new arrivals to find out if they were a child molester, rapist or informant. They would ask for our criminal history paperwork. Not locking up was going to make us look like we had something to hide in a big way.
I shook my head in disgust at our positon and asked, “What do you suggest?”
Topo said, “Me and Johny’s names are well known. We’ll write a message for you to give to the southern Mexicans. That will take care of you at that level and it will actually work out well for you. The message will circulate up the chain of command to the shot callers. All the southerners will know you did us a favor and had our backs. How you deal with the Whites is on you.”
I realized that a message from both Topo and Johny would save us a lot of explaining. It dawned on me that our criminal history paperwork wasn’t in our cell right now. It had been boxed up and stored somewhere after the riot. All we had was the paperwork related to the riot. It would be enough to start with.
Johny filled in the rest of the blanks. He said, “You both better take our messages and your riot paperwork and wrap them up as small and tight as you can in plastic to wear out of here.”
What he was saying was to stick the paperwork up our asses and carry it to the next prison. Our property wouldn’t come with us to our next cell. Instead it would go through a search at the next prison for up to a month after we were cleared for the mainline.