MCC. This place is divided into three camps. White, Black, and Brown. The blacks get along better with us however since we are Americans.
The author was sentenced to six months in prison on federal drug charges involving cocaine. While incarcerated at downtown's Metropolitan Correctional Center, he wrote to his friends. These are his letters.
I've finally found some time to take out of my busy schedule in order to write a letter.
This afternoon I had an extended luncheon engagement with some of the finest people in the area. They included: Jeff “Sonny” Blackman, a noted black leader involved in banking and firearms, Calvin “Big Head” Johnson (no relation to the football player), a well-known motorcycle enthusiast and advisor on transportation matters, John Cemo, also involved in banking but his background includes many years’ experience in the Treasury Department.
B Quad, twelfth floor. If there is nothing better to do the Mexicans go over to A Quad and throw “kisses” and “cat calls” to the bitches.
Apparently he took over the enormous task of inflation fighter. His simple solution, “Print your own money,” made it possible for many people to find relief from financial pressure over the past 10 years. Finally, Salvatore Di Napoli. Mr. Di Napoli is well-known throughout the country and internationally as well. Due to lack of time and space I won’t go into the enormous list of his accomplishments. I’ll just say “He’s a good a boy to know.”
Twelfth-floor cell. From now on I won’t be wearing sneakers or shower shoes. Strictly work boots. Even to the shower.
On a personal basis, I'm happy to report that I've been elected unanimously as a member of the “Board of Governors” in this region. This news came after the luncheon and my formal introduction to the board by Mr. Di Napoli. As guest speaker today I presented my views as well as my accomplishments over the past 10 or 12 years. Due largely to my success in New York, Chicago, Miami and Las Vegas, not to mention the Caribbean, South America and Mexico, the final decision was an easy one for the board.
That about does it for the news at this time. However, an update will follow as soon as a story breaks. Thank you and good nite!
I thought the opening salutation appropriate since the air is filled with an international flavor. Although I’m not sure whether that flavor is South American or Mexican the culture is very similar.
Today we are being entertained by our own “Mariacchi Band.” Even though they have only been playing and howling for three hours now I’m beginning to realize the tempo and rhythmic synchronization of their music. I’m proud to say I've been with this group since the beginning of their “Tour” and I would venture to say they will be around for many years to come. Throughout this latest medley they have accomplished vocal feats beyond your wildest dreams (nitemares).
It’s hard to believe a human larynx could achieve such fluctuations much less continue to function after three hours of grueling highs and lows. The nature of this music is very simple: “Find anything you can possibly produce sound with and beat, strum, shake, rattle or roll it, as long and as hard as you can.” This perfect blend of music and vocal backdrop could quite possibly be the answer to any one of a dozen advertisements in the pain remedy field.
Another day another dollar! Actually not quite a dollar. I think we make about 25 cents a day (if that!).
Today was just a little bit off in all respects but what can ya do. Usually, I dream about being able to “sleep in” since they come banging around with their jingling keys and screaming at 6 a.m. Today I had to make a phone call at 8 a.m., no problem, I thought. They kept us locked up so I missed out. Figures! Next I thought I would look at the “Reader” which we “managed” to get in here somehow. My roommate threw it out because he thought we both read it already. O.K. so I'll shave, wash my face, and read a book. Ten minutes later I looked like a cross between the electric razor “Gotcha” commercials and a cow's view of a butcher shop. Since there wasn't enough of my face left to wash I was too pissed off to read.
126 days left.
Soooo! How are ya Doctas,
Today is Sunday and it’s a beautiful day outside. I know because I can see the sun and a panoramic view of the harbor. All I need is a balcony, a butler and some Don Perignon.
“And, if frogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their asses when they hopped.”
This morning we had crumb cake and coffee for breakfast. Not a bad eye opener. A friend of mine in here doesn't get along too well with the Mexicans and since they were handing out the goodies he was in trouble. The guy in charge told me to tell him he wouldn't get any. This created a little friction. I got three pieces (as opposed to the normal 1 small piece per gringo) so I tightened up my buddy later on. It pays to speak Spanish.
This place is divided into three camps. White, Black, and Brown. The blacks get along better with us however since we are Americans. The first nite I got here they were deciding where to put me and this black asked the officer in charge to put me in with him. “At least he’s American” he said. But the boys already had it arranged for me to move in with the Godfather.
Since then I've become real good friends with that black guy and he is definitely a good guy to know. I pretty much cruise it easy. I don't take sides unless something directly effects me so I get along in all three camps.
I cracked up laughing the other day while we were watching a football game. Some new white guy, who looked pretty middle-class straight, was sitting next to crazy Harris. Harris is black, 6'7" and not only is but looks totally wild. He’s in here for murder on a Marine Base. It seems there was a slight disagreement so he disembowled a few marines. Anyway, this new guy starts talking Christmas and how his grandmother would always bake all kinds of cakes, pies and assorted goodies. Harris listens intently nodding in earnest. “That’s nice” he says. “Yo gran momma was a baka. I remember my gran momma too,” he says, “she was a butcher. She butchered her last three husbands.” He laughed this deep wild laugh and pulled his finger across his throat from ear to ear. Needless to say this new white dude excused himself and went to the bathroom.
Que Paso mis Amigos,
Spare me! I’ve just encountered a space cadet of the worst kind.
This guy is about 4' 11" tall, weights 110 lbs and is very much convinced that he not only has but will continue to conquer the world. He’s into just about everything in creation that could possibly turn me off. You name it he's got it. knows about it or has done it. Marines, policeman in Kentucky, “lovely” little military wife, a bundle of joy that should be bound and left on the doorstep of the ugly farm. Top this off with his new found life, free from alcohol and full of the Lord and you have one boring “almost” offensive individual. What a prince.
How do people like this exist? I'll tell you how they exist! Their wives collect money from the government for protecting us from foreign invasion and he trains “guard dogs,” participates as an active member of the Armed Forces (armed & extremely dangerous), and finally, he prints and accepts phony checks (gov't checks I might add) for deposit in his military account. What a MAROON!
Of course, he is extremely wealthy. He makes 38 dollars/hr not counting his paycheck from the service. But, he's over here bumming coffee and cigarettes from me. I gave him half a bag of coffee and a pack and a half of cigarettes just to save him a trip (not to mention saving myself the aggravation of seeing him more often).
If there is a God, how come he’ll allow nit wits like this guy to go on living while people like John Lennon get gunned down. Yo no sail.
This guy has a 3 foot by 4 foot picture of Christ hanging over his bed. On the wall is another giant sign which reads “NO SMOKING IN THIS ROOM AS AN OFFERING TO GOD IN HOPES THAT HE WILL HELP ME TO A SPEEDY RELEASE FROM PRISON SO THAT I MAY REJOIN MY WIFE AND MY 5 MONTH OLD CHILD AND CONTINUE MY LIFE IN HIS HONOR FOR THE GREATER GLORY OF HIS SON JESUS AND THE HOLY SPIRIT AS WELL. . . ”
Meanwhile he smokes like a fiend outside the room and constantly talks about his guns and killer dogs.
You can be sure I will get his address and phone number in order to look him up on the outside. That way, I could be sure that my contact with him will keep me in contact with the LORD and reality.
I just had another visitor. He's our resident leader of the Black Panthers.
Slight interuption — Jesus was back AGAIN! This time he brought back our Playboy and exchanged it for a Penthouse. Of course, those magazines don't stimulate him in any way because he is totally “into” his wife (and the Lord). AMEN.
Any way, my Black Panther friend came to tell me not to worry. We made a bet on the Charger-Pittsburgh game (for toothpicks of course) and he said he'll take care of me within the next day or two. “I not worried” I said. “I don't think you'll be running out on me.” He laughed.
He said he likes me “’cause you got balls man. You're the only white dude that calls me a Nigger to my face and to top it off you laughs.”
“Honesty is the best policy” I told him. Besides what are friends for.
I'm getting Buffed! By the time I get out I should be able to handle “Bad Mike“
What it is.
Well I’m finally burned out on the breakfast around here. I took 9 days to finally become disgusted with the bugs and plastic eggs and microwaved pork fat. I drink a lot of the coffee (not theirs my own).
We finally got the TV back and this morning they have “Bugs” (Bunny that is) going full tilt. Hearing the Loony Times theme, up full blast, seems very appropriate some how. There is an over abundance of Loonys around this place.
When I first got in, I picked up some bad vibes from one of the hard core yard birds. He’s a white guy and he’s got his own little crowd. All of them are full-on buff boys and I get along with all of them except him. For some reason he decided he didn’t like me. Does this eye look worried? I guess it is because I came in looking real beachy and healthy. Not your typical bad ass. Anyway, we had a minor altercation last nite when they handed out the mail. They called him right after me and the crowd was passing back the letters and cards. Somebody handed me a card from Taya and he came up and snatched it, thinking it was his I guess. I asked him if his name was Gleason too, with a smile, then he looked at the address. We froze with hard eyes as he handed it back. Storm Clouds are a gathering. It seems to have been building since the first day. (¿Quien sabe? Who knows?
Yes it's been a wonderful week. Sunday my wonderful wife came to visit. She was here two minutes and I asked her to leave. I won’t go into details. She called me an animal who belongs behind bars. I thanked her and she left promising not to return. Finally, a reprieve!
How y ya. How y ya. How y ya.
I still haven’t received a single letter yet and I’m beginning to wonder. It’s only been days but thats a long time in here. As I write this the guard is at the door of my cell.
He just came in to do an ‘ “inspection.’ ’ I should say he just came in to bust balls because this guy surely has his “Masters” in pissing people off. We just scrubbed this whole place this morning and I’m sure it was obvious but he still had to stick his head down over the “bowl” and say “Boy this could use a cleaning.” So, I told him we cleaned it this morning but if he would bring in a Flame Thrower I’d be glad to get it cleaner.
“Actually,” I continued, “it could be that you were too far in there and you were smelling your own bad breath.” He gave me a half smile, a bad inspection mark and took off in search of the next victim. This whole place is a battle of wits and wills. Only the strong survive and I’ve been a survivor all my life.
Today was a most interesting day. We had live entertainment for lunch. The guard stepped outside to talk to some official and an old friendship was rekindled between two Mexicans. One of them tried to present a gift to the other. It was a beautiful resculptured fork. The beneficiary seemed reluctant to accept it, however. As much as the one guy would try to give it to the other, the second guy just kept jumping back and forth and from side to side saying “O Dios.” (O my God) I guess he was overwhelmed.
Finally he was forced to accept. Now nice! Mick is “rollin’’ on the radio with Brown Sugar and I feel like dancing. I'm sure one of the “girls” over in A Quad would just love to shake it with me but I guess I'm just too shy to ask. When I first got here I was almost floored as I watched a “Blonde" with long well-kept hair come swishing up the stairs. I was wondering what she was doing here on our floor until I got a closer look. “Say Hey Babe, take a walk on the Wild Side.” She lives with another cutie over there and I'm sure they are just as happy as could be in here with the odds in their favor.
The Mexicans are happy to have them around because they provide a constant source of diversion. If there is nothing better to do they go over to A Quad and throw “kisses” and “cat calls” to the bitches. In the early morning or late evening they also like to watch the “ladies” set and brush their hair. They set up a mirror and brush the required 100 strokes each day. Sweet.
Another plus for the girls is the fact that many if not most of the Mexicans think it’s alright to be with one of the girls as long as they (the girls) are on the receiving end of the action. Lucky girls. They certainly aren’t frustrated in here.
Today is Tuesday the 23rd and we were given a surprise for breakfast. I guess it was because of the Holiday Season. Instead of just regular cereal we also received a bonus, fresh meat. This meat was so fresh, it was still moving, in the form of tiny little animals. They were generously spread throughout the cereal. Who say’s the System doesn’t care. Merry Christmas!
Things have been pretty cool in general. The only real problems so far were one flip-out by a big black dude who only had 1 1/2 days left. He went nuts and started tearing the place and people up. He also bounced a few of the guards around as they struggled to get him down and out. He ended up on the “5th” floor. The infamous “5th" floor. That’s where they take the antisocial criminals, crazies and cocksuckers. Believe me, around here being antisocial in this community means you are a psychologist's dream. The other major problem was concerning another large black fellow who decided to end television for everybody because he couldn't watch what he wanted. Needless to say that television is history. In this case it would be a TV repair man 's dream, a bad one.
Yes, we do have temper tantrums in here.
I just had dinner with our resident comedian and two other maniacs. This black comedy act consisted of Clinton “Mitch” Mitchell, one of the truly great black comedians and his straight man Lyton Miller alias Mike Miller, Miguel, Tydell Miller, Jesse Sanchez, Miguel Sanchez, Sanchez Sanchez and a list that extends on into infinitum. Tonight we were discussing the heritage and general “Roots” of “Miller.”
Mitch told Miller that contrary to his claim of Mexican, West Indies, American, Black, Guadalajaran and a variety of other cultural influences upon his heritage he was in reality a runaway migrant worker from a cotton field in the Deep South. Miller, in his rich Caribbean accent, said he was not black but rather a Latino.
“Nigger, please” said Mitch “you knows yous a got-damn black man.” “I'm from de Guadalajara” replied Miguel. “More like Guadala-Harlem, brother” says Mitchell. They bantered back and forth until I had cramps from laughing. Since Mitch is lighter in complexion he asked Miguel how come he was so black, if he was a Latino. “Dey ave di block peoples down der.” Finally, I told Mitchell it’s possible that Miguel has strong genes for pigmentation.
“Stron genes? This nigger couldn’t get his tongue around that upper lip if his life depended on it. Besides, look at dat nappy head. Black Mesacans have a nappy head like yours man.” I was laughing too hard to reason with him so I just listened. “You know. Miller” said Mitch “if the Klan came in here right now they’d be takin yo black ass outa here befo mines. I could just hear y’ll screamin O no please I ain’t no nigger, I’ms just a pough black lookin Mesacan from Coolakan.”
We were all laughing so hard the guard came over to check us out. I think he thought we were all stoned. Everybody in the place must have thought the same thing. My bad ass “friend,” that white dude I told you about who doesn’t seem to like me, seemed disturbed by the fact that I was sitting with the brothers. They call him “Fast Eddy.” He just sat there giving me bad looks. I hope he’s real fast cause ole Tomas el Gato has lightening in his hands.
Where are ya when I need ya? Ya Fucks! Right now I need a good back up man. Fast Eddy and his boys are putting the pressure on me. Today, I wanted to work out. In order to work out you need a “Pin” for the Universal. Of course. Fast Eddy controls the pin (at least the white pin). None of the brothers, with access to the black pin, were around. So I asked Jimmy, Eddy's right hand man, for the pin. We have been fairly friendly and at least on speaking terms. Today he said he didn't know where the pin was so I checked around and came up dry. I went back to Jimmy and he still “didn’t know” but he said maybe Eddy would know. Obviously I wasn’t going to ask that cocksucker so I left their Quad pissed off.
One of the Mexicans picked up on the rub and said “Tomas esperame” and came back with a pin from the Mexican sector. Fuck’em all. If you don’t control a pin or work out with a specific group it's hard to obtain a pin because people don’t let them out unless they are in the room. The groups are very defined but I usually pop in on whoever is working out, when I feel like it. Except, of course, when bad ass is in the room.
I decided, before I even came in here, that I wasn’t going to join any group and I still will not do it. I think that's another thorn in the side of Eddy and his gang. At first it was just him. but now they are all become a little stand-offish. Too fucking bad. I've never been a joiner and hopefully never will. One of my best friends in here just got out. “And the beat goes on.” His name was Bill. He’s about 38 years old and bad. Good-Bad that is. He’s Irish with a big chowder head, slightly balding and a constant smile, but don’t EVER piss him off. He weighs about 260 lbs. 6'4" x 4' x 4' . His arms are the size of my thighs and you know how dainty my thighs are. Anyway, he got out this morning so I guess the gang over there thinks I’m more vulnerable now. Wrong.
I’ve got 85% of this place behind me one way or another. Besides, I can handle anybody one on one. I only worry about the “third man in” as they say in hockey. My other buddy from Boston got out a few days ago too. Of course, I still have my aces in the hole and thats the ace of spades, the ace of diamonds the ace of clubs and the all important ace of hearts.
The ace of spades is obviously Jenkins the Black Panther from the Bay Area, the ace of diamonds is my own roomie “The Godfather,” the ace of clubs is my Mexican connection with Rudy the Mexican giant and finally the ace of Hearts, the best of all, is mine and mine alone. I have more heart, as they say in the big apple. Nothing or nobody will ever take that heart away from me. Thats what makes me Bad and thats what Fast Eddy is going to have to deal with if and when the time comes.
One thing I did change, however, is my dress code. From now on I won’t be wearing sneakers or shower shoes. Strictly work boots. Even to the shower. I learned that strategy a long time ago in the New York black and blue bars. You don’t want to be wearing dress shoes or sandals if the shit hits the fan. It most definitely pays to think ahead. I saw a good friend of mine get his ass kicked by a black dude in New York who he outweighed by at least 40 lbs and had 3 or 4 inches on him in height. This happened because big Mick Giglio wore sneakers and Charlie Lowe, a bad ass black guy we went to school with, wore work boots. They were fighting on grass and big Mike slipped with those damn sneakers. Charlie took advantage by kicking him in the face with his work boots and thats all she wrote.
I woke up this morning looked around and my heart started pounding. Boy did I have a bad dream.
Typical of my luck lately, the shower was cold. When I came back to the cell my “roomie” started talking to me and I realized my bad dream wasn’t a dream. Fuck, I can’t believe it.
Last nite, the institution had a little of the Holiday Spirit. They gave each of us a little cup of egg nog. Everybody was hanging out in the dining area when this bad looking Mexican approached me. “Can I talk to you man?” I said sure and he motioned that we step down the stairs behind us. When we got to the bottom I expected him to be selling drugs of some kind. Instead he looks me in the eyes and says “Hey motherfucker man, you think your bad or something.” It took a few seconds to register and then I knew I was in trouble. My instincts took over and I braced myself for the storm to come.
A quick evaluation told me to be careful. He looked tough with dark squinty eyes and pretty buffed. The worst thing however was when I noticed the outline of a knife in his pocket. After the initial shock and fear I kept it together. I said “What's the problem man. I'm not trying to get bad with you or anyone else around here. Did I do something to insult you?” “Man, I just don’t like you. I’m going to kill you.” My head started to spin and a million thoughts zipped through. I thought of being here six months and getting out in April and my “good time” and going to school. Why the hell is this happening to me? I cursed under my breath. I cursed myself and my luck as I waited with anticipation for the first fist to fly. He had one hand in his pocket as he talked to me. His whole attitude was cold and definite. He didn’t like me and that was it. I tried to reason with him saying “If we get into a hastle we both go to the hole and get extra time.” “Time don't mean shit to me” he snapped. “I got plenty of time already.” Fuck! Fuck fuck, fuck. Just then my black friend Miller, the guy with a Caribbean accent came down the stairs. “Hey you gonna play di cards?” When he saw that there was friction in the air he backed up a few steps. With him standing there I just told this guy ‘I don’t want any trouble with you man.” “Well you got it man and I'm gonna get you, just wait.” As he walked away, I felt scared and sad and everything else that goes with a situation like that. Why the fuck did this have to happen? I feel so helpless its ridiculous. I just want to do my time and get out. Here I am worried about Fast Eddy and this asshole comes in out of the blue for no reason at all. Believe me, I would much rather deal with Eddy than this sick bastard. My worst fear has now been realized.
I spoke to my roomie about this and he said I handled it the right way. He also said the guy is crazy and will definitely be back. I asked what I should do and he said I only had one choice. Kill the bastard.
Merry Fucking Christmas
Well it’s the day after Christmas and I'm still here and still in one piece. My brush with the dark side of life had me down but not out.
Last nite he came back. We were playing cards when he came into my section. Since I was seated with a fine group of gentlemen including a bad Mexican I don’t think he wanted any part of it. He abruptly turned and disappeared. Before he did I raised my eyebrows and shot him a look like “Can I help you.”
I got to thinking about this whole scene and as I went over the many real close calls and brushes with death I’ve had in the past, it dawned on me. “Fuck this guy and everybody else.” I will survive and that’s a promise. I’ve had better guys than this motherfucker try to do me in. My initial shock and fear has turned into hate and rage.
Now I'm almost looking forward to the confrontation so I can get it over with (and him over with).
I’m at a great advantage because he thinks he has the upper hand and thats a mistake. His over confidence will do him in when the final cards are laid upon the table. He is convinced that I’m afraid but my reluctance was only to save my “good time” and the extra two months it would mean if I pound him into eternity.
Yo digo — Ten Cuidado Cabron! porque Soy un malo hombre cuando estoy enojado!
Today I watched him pumping iron. He’s definitely a rock but believe me, in a fair fight, I’d smoke him in a heartbeat. With his blade. I'll still smoke him because I have faith in myself and experience and I was street wise before he could walk. He’s only 24 or 25 best. He looks the part though. I watched as he worked up a sweat. Streams of salty water were running down over the many spiders and snakes and naked girls on his body as he furiously banged away at the Universal. Tattoos from his toes to his nose but he’s still a punk.
Ten Cuidado, Pendejo!
I must say I cut a fine figure of elegance as I stroll around here in gym shorts (compliments of the godfather) black socks and work shoes topped off by a Guinea T-shirt. Cute! Very stylish.
The Jesus freak asks me everyday “Hey man, where did you get those Combat Boots? I’m laughing inside as I think “You hit the nail right on the head asshole.”
Funny how you notice things. When you buy a new car you tend to notice that make, model & year a lot more than you would otherwise. I donned my “combat boots” and noticed all the long termers and hard core yardbirds wore the same. Not exactly a coincidence. They noticed mine too! Aguas!
See you soon,
And a good morning it is. I just took a nice ice cold shower and loved it. It’s been sooo hot in here this week you would not believe it. Since my “suite” faces southeast, it is about the hottest room in the house. The fact that we are the penthouse (top floor) is another reason for added heat. I hear it is in the 80s outside.
I quit smoking (again)! As Mark Twain used to say “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve done it a thousand times.” If only I could get outside to run or at least see the sun & some fresh air. Too bad I can’t get sent to some minimum security camp. That would be dynamite. I keep flashing back on the Thursday that we all played football after finals. What a day! I knew then, what I would feel like now, so it meant even more to me. I just can’t describe the feeling of freedom that I experienced that day. Running free in the sun!
This morning as I took a cold shower, it made me trip out. I just closed my eyes and stood there under the ice cold water, imagining I was somewhere else. I thought of upstate N.Y. in the early summer or late spring. When I went to college up in Albany, there was a beautiful waterfall way out in the country. I used to ride my motorcycle (a 650 BSA) up there with this girlfriend of mine. We’d get naked and dive into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The water was freezing since it was all melting snow but it felt great. What a rush! We would stand there under the falling water and play and make out. Then we would lay on the hot flat rocks. I always felt like a lizard laying naked on those smooth hot rocks. C'est la vie!
This place sure gets smaller every day. I think it’s safe to say that I would easily be able to find my way around here blindfolded. Funny thing is, I am half blind right now. My right eye is swollen shut and I hope the bone isn't broken in the orbit. “I walked into a door!” Accidents will happen. A lot of people around here have been accident prone lately. Some guy fell down the stairs and knocked himself out at about the same time I walked into a door. We really must be careful!
I made some calls today. It was really great to talk. I feel some kind of reality is still out there when I call the other world. I can't call my parents because they think I'm out on a tuna boat. I refuse to call my sister or brother anymore because I haven't gotten any mail from them and I’m really pissed off about it. I just wrote an open letter to everybody back there telling them all to fuck off! And I mean it sincerely.
At this time, I still haven’t gotten any of my school books in yet. That will be nice if and when I can get them. I really want to power down and know that stuff inside and out.
Boy do I have an urge to smoke right now but I don’t think I will. I was smoking so much and drinking a hell of a lot of coffee in the beginning. The headaches were worse then too because of all that nicotine and caffeine. Of course, I have a headache right now. My whole head is throbbing but it certainly isn’t from coffee or cigarettes.
Those doors will do it every time.