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Constant war zone, then good-byes to San Diego's Metropolitan Correctional Center

Letters from the inside, Pt. 2

MCC - Image by Jim Coit
MCC

Sooo! How ah yas!.

Some skeevy little bastard stole my cup. Minor point, but it becomes a hastle if you don’t have a cup.

Telephone time, twelfth floor. A couple of my Mexican friends approached me with this news. “So & So is going to kill you tonight or tomorrow.’’

Luckily, the guard on duty is really good people and we get along great. He’s a black dude with a good sense of humor, an ex-Marine. He keeps things in line but does it in a nice way.

He's always goofing. Anyway, I told him about the cup. He looked around for me but we couldn't come up with one. Then he said “Oh yea, the ‘girls’ went home on a furlough. You can borrow one of their cups until you steal your own.’’ He opened up their cell and as we were walking out he noticed the two Mexicans next door had three cups. He took the best one and gave it to me. Another problem solved.

A little later, as I was talking to the same guard, he told me how one of the guards flipped out a day or two before. I always wondered how they could handle this insanity on a constant basis. After all, they are in jail all the time and never get out unless they quit, flip out or retire.

But this guy was telling me that he doesn’t let it get to him. That’s why he goofs with people and tries to keep it a little light. As we were talking he shot out a few comments at some Mexicans nearby. They came over and started goofing too. Unexpectedly one little guy put his arm out and patted the guard on the back. He leaped up with a paranoid look on his face and told one of the Mexicans to tell that guy never to do that again.

“I’m glad this place doesn't get to you” I said as I walked away.

4 more months!

T


What’s up Docs,

The food is just wonderful here. A guy I know just had his wife smuggle in some food to him from the outside. It was the first time in 1 yr plus 101 days that he had real food. He threw it up! I guess his system just wasn’t ready for real food!

He may not be but I certainly am. My system would just love to be exposed to some nice Maine lobster, veal parmagiana, fresh asparagus and fine French wine. Top that off with a nice fat Cuban cigar and a blond and you'd get my vote. We have our own “bird man” in here. They caught this guy smuggling all kinds of birds. I can’t hang up this letter without telling you about “Bird Man.”

This guy is from Kentucky and looks like one of the characters from the “Hobbit.” He’s real little so all the brothers were calling him an elf at Christmas Time. He got pissed off and started jumping up and down. Any minute I expected him to say “Here comes de plane. Boss.”

Anyway “Bird Man” had already been caught doing business a few times before so they burned him this time. I read about his act a while back and thought it was great. This last time, they caught him with approximately 500 birds (excuse me, I just leaned out and asked — 601 birds to be exact). He had taken the insides out of ladies hair curlers. These of course were in a wide variety of sizes. The Bird Man taped their bills and tied their wings. Then he just slipped each bird inside a curler for increased organization and better transportation. Finally, he attached row after row of these Bird Curlers to the inside of a long coat and “Away we go.”

Unfortunately for him, at least, this batch of birds was a bit too feisty. As he was crossing the border, his whole coat almost took off into the sky with him. Needless to say, the “perpetrator” was apprehended 10-4 over and out.

T-bird


Compadres,

Right now I’m on the 6th floor in the Law Library. I just looked out the window and it looked great. Looking through the plexiglass slits from the 12th floor doesn’t feel real. Its more like watching television because you feel so removed from reality. Here at least its a little closer to the ground and it adds a bit more dimension to things. People walking in freedom on the streets. Cars as they weave through the traffic. Life is just a kiss away.

This morning I spoke to some people about getting the fuck out of this pigeon coup and going to a minimum security place. It just seems ridiculous that I should be stuck here with mother rapers, bank robbers, and murderers. These people are pretty hard to identify with.

Last night I found out that a friend of mine was a rat. He’s been telling stories out of school. He paid for it too. We were watching TV when a big black dude came in picked him up (he’s 6') by the scruff of the neck and bounced him off the wall. “You motha fuckin snitch bastad.” Other people in the room got into the act and they knocked him around like a pinball. There’s a definite wolf pack mentality around here so God help the weak, sick and old ones. They get eaten up real quick. My friend was crying like a baby and I sincerely thought his time had come. Needless to say, he’s not my friend anymore. There’s no such thing as a friend with a long tongue in here. I just wonder how long it was?

That's one reason why it is so important to watch who you hang with or speak to. In the beginning I didn't suspect anybody of anything. Now I suspect everybody of everything. Instead of cruisin easy. I've become very introverted and I never do anything or go anywhere without looking over my shoulder.

I’m getting buffed and I’ll use it if I have to. There's nothing left to be afraid of because the worst they can do is kill me. I’m not afraid of dying but you can be god damn sure it won’t happen without a fight. A full-on, do or die. New York ass kicking fight to the finish. Let em try!

I’m ready!

Tico


Gentlemen:

It is now count time. “Cuenta.” This is a fun game we play around here. Everybody stops whatever they are doing, then everyone gets in a cell and the intellegentsia comes around to count heads. There are 2 or 3 officers to count each 80 or 90 inmates. Sometimes it takes them more than three tries and over 30 or 40 minutes to do so. The other nite as our officer made his fourth pass I asked if he would like a calculator for Christmas. Either that or they could bring in an extra couple of guards to help. With 4 or 5 guards there would be enough fingers and toes to include all of us in their count. This game is played all day and all night. At nite, they flash a nice BIG LIGHT in your eyes to see whether or not you are a pillow or a dummy or a bag of rags.

I think I’ll be a bag of rags tonight and see what happens.

Thank god for my showers! They have become my vehicle of escape. Everything I could possibly want is obtainable underneath a good forceful shower. Sometimes I’m up in Canada with Dennis at his cabin. Peace and quiet and total wilderness. Today I was in Trinidad drinking rum again with the Pirates and swimming in the warm, clear Caribbean waters. Yesterday I spent some time in Hawaii with my blond Texas girlfriend. There are great waterfalls in Hawaii. I had a very pleasant vacation.

Mind traveling! If you can’t beat em leave em. I sure would like to be back in Europe with Taya. I guess she's in Paris right now. Then she will go over to Germany and fly out of Munich. Munich is a great town especially during Octoberfest.

But I’d take Paris any day. A great many Americans don’t like the French or Paris but I definitely do. Twist my arm. I’d go back in a flash.

FEAR. This whole place is filled with it, thrives on it. I’m afraid to walk alone, afraid to eat bugs in the food or get disease from the low-lifes. I fear the guards, the establishment, the inmates, the squealers, the good guys and the bad guys, and most of all I fear myself. I have to maintain. Discipline and self-control are the key. I have to tax my inner strength and sprint to the finish or else its all been for naught. I will survive! I will survive!

T


What's the latest!

Tonight is Tuesday and we were just exposed to the 5th Gladiator exhibition of the week. Quite a bout! Some cocky little Mexican picked a fight with a big black heavy named Bo. It seemed they both wanted to drink from the same water fountain at the same time. After some preliminary words of greeting the Mex hauled off and zapped Bo in the kisser. Next they exchanged a few blows, grappled and rolled down the stairs together. The show lasted a good six minutes or so, until the Mod Squad arrived. These Mexicans have heart! Bo beat him down to his knees and worked out on him for a bit then backed off as if to say “I’ll spare your life, fucker.” The Mex got up took a deep breath and smacked Bo again. Tough, very tough, also very dumb!

I thought for sure my “angel of death” was going to come over and have a go at me but he was too interested in the action. Afterwards there were too many guards.

After the bout, there were teeth all over the floor. I’ve never seen anything like it. During the commotion I kept thinking I was seeing things. Now, I know I was seeing things — teeth.

Right now we have all been put in our cages and there is action in the air. People always get pumped up by a fight. Obviously, that's why they put us away.

The other fights (75% i.e. 3 out of 4) involved my hit man. He's really got a chip on his shoulder and must really be insecure because he is constantly trying to prove himself. I also think he got the lowdown on me and is thinking twice about approaching me again. If and when the time comes I’m sure I’ll blow him right out.

Fast Eddy still lurks and looks. I feel like I'm playing middle linebacker again. Everybody is looking for a piece of me. So, I’ll use the same old philosophy, “Hit everybody until they stop moving or the whistle blows.”

I’m starting to look more like I did while playing linebacker too. Buffing out. I sure did let myself go these last few years. Life (the “good life”) in the Fast Lane will do it every time.

They called me the “Prince of Evil ’ ’ or the “Dev” when I played ball because I had a goatee and played with “reckless abandon.” Just like an action potential I'm all or none. There’s no middle of the road. Flame On! and full steam ahead!

The Ringmaster


Ola,

I just ran out of patience. After lunch, which I couldn’t eat. I'm supposed to clean up the dining area. This includes clearing off all tables, chairs etc., wiping tables, sweeping, mopping, and replacing everything. Loss of dignity to say the least. But nobody has dignity in here. They strive to take it away from us. When I got to the dining commons there was blood from one end to the other. I inquired about it and found out that Kerry, one of the “girls” from A Quad, got demolished by a wild Mexican called “Chamuco.” Kerry is a fag, very mellow and possibly the only or at least one of the very few intelligent people I can talk to. He's only about 25 but he's the publisher of a magazine and has just finished a book. He and his partner are here because they overcharged the public through the mail, two and three times, the necessary bill on their credit cards. They got three years but certainly should not be at this place. It was inevitable that he would get hurt. I don’t know how bad it is yet.

This place has been a constant war zone for the past ten days. I think the holidays increase frustration and tempers flare. My angel of death attacked two new “fish." One guy was a white guy who looked “slow” to say the least. I wondered what such a weird borderline retard like that was doing in here. It turns out the guy is a fucking computer wizard who beat Sears, Roebuck & Co. out of $180,000. That’s right One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Dollars.

Now who’s the MARON? The other victim was a black kid from New Jersey. He's in here because he wouldn't tell where he got some counterfeit money. He is definitely slow. At first I thought he was together but he really is not all there. This black kid apparently had it real tough all his life and is basically a good person, even if he is dumb. He eats all the scraps and I give him my breakfast, part of my lunch, and whatever else I come across. I asked how he could eat that shit and he said he's never been exposed to so much food. He was starving on the outside. Both of these kids fell prey to the “tattoo wonder.” I wonder when we will finally come to a final showdown.

After cleaning up Kerry’s blood I decided to go to the Mexican Caribbean, so I headed to the shower for some traveling. I was all set for the warm waters of “Cancun” or “Isla Mujeres.” No such luck. The god damn shower had no hot water. Pissed off and depressed I went back to the cell and turned the radio up full on. I just want to block out all the bullshit. Today was only the end of three weeks. Help me! Help me!

T


Coffee time,

I hooked. I’m a coffee junkie. I can’t eat the food and my shoulder is so bad I haven’t been able to lift at all. Matter of fact, I can’t even sleep with the pain in my shoulder.

I don't want to go to the doctor because they don't do anything and besides you always come back sicker. This is due to the fact that you are herded into a closet, with 6-10 others, while waiting to see the doc. Most of these guys are Mex and have all kinds of bugs, disease, etc.

I can't let on that I’m vulnerable or else the vultures will be on me in a flash. Between my knee and my shoulder I'm in trouble. I don’t know if I told you but I hurt my knee bad the first day in. That’s life in the “Bad Lane” I guess.

One thing I should tell you about is my appearance on TV here. Channel 10 news was here for the Charger Game and I was on the news. On the back of my chair it says “50 yard line” MCC Stadium.

I doubt if this latest exposure will help my career any but at least it broke the monotony.

Tom


What’s Shakin,

As they say in Brooklyn “Do I got a story fa youse guys.”

Earlier today there was a new guard on duty. After I did my clean up routine he came to my cell and asked a favor of me. “Listen I got to get the place in order for an inspection today. Could you do me a favor? Wax and buff the floors?” “Okay, Okay?” I said. “Thanks man.”

He’s a black dude and definitely an alright guy. It was funny to see him running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Freaking out over the up and coming inspection. He couldn't understand why all of the inmates didn't have his enthusiasm.

Anyway, we went looking for some wax and came up dry. “God Damn! “he said. “Our supply sheet says we should still have a couple of gallons of wax left.” I gave him a knowing nod and looked over at a group of Mexicans. “They polish their shoes, door knobs, mirrors, use it in their hair, and probably eat the shit” I said. He looked over in disbelief. “Sheee-it.“ He called another floor to round up some more as I lugged out the giant buffer.

While I got the buffer ready a little Mexican came up and said “Eh Misteer Tom, I help you, no?” “Sure” I smiled. This tiny kid is no more than 16 but he lied about his age because he wanted to come here as opposed to the facility for minors. Over there it seems things would be tougher for him. The bigger kids would beat the hell out of him. So he feels safer in here because most everybody is so much bigger and older that it works in his favor.

I asked him what hes in for and he smiled. “Estoy pollo.” Loosely translated he's an illegal alien. “Well how come they locked you up?” I asked. Usually they would send someone like him back across. He said he wasn't sure but maybe it was because he rammed his car into the Immigration Agent's car as he tried to make his getaway. Hot stuff. Then when the agent said “Look what you did to my car” he replied “Look you do my car, moverfocker.” Poreso esta aqui.

The guard came back with a bottle of wax and we prepared the machine. He was getting antsy because time was short and he wanted everything just right for the inspection. “We need a new pad,” I told him. We rounded up a new pad without too much trouble but when I picked up the new bottle of wax it was damn near empty. “Hey, check this out,” I yelled. “Those thieving bastards gleeped the wax.” He looked pale and I thought he was going to cry. “Listen” I said, “me and little Poncho here will get started while you round up some more.” He appeared somewhat relieved. The kid said he would start buffing while I moved stuff out of the way. First I made sure to explain how to use the machine and he assured me he had plenty of experience. I was impressed by this kid because the machine was three times his size. Yet, in typical Mexican fashion, he was ready to handle it. What I should have realized, however, was another typical Mex trait: “Never admit you don’t know something.” When in doubt, give it your best shot and forge ahead.

In Mexico, if you need directions you will never come up empty when asking people on the street. Of course, you may get different versions from each person asked. They would never think to admit they don’t know. Instead, they smile, rattle off their best guess, and send you off, many times in the wrong direction entirely. You’re satisfied because they got you on your way and they feel confident that the directions will eventually get you there. It may take a few hours extra and a dozen more people, but eventually you’ll succeed.

Which brings me back to my little friend. I watched as he prepared for take off. Plug in, wax on, button down, turn handle, and VAROOM! The mother fucker took off like Apollo 11! The handle has a “dead man switch” that shuts the machine down when released. I repeat and emphasize: “Released.”

His vocabulary does not contain the words released, give up, admit defeat, or surrender. Instead he looked like one of those pong games as he blasted around the dining area crushing and bashing everything in his path.

Eventually his feet left the ground as he became a pin wheel of destruction. As I yelled for him to let go he reminded me of one of those lawn trimmers used to edge around hard to get at places. Nothing was hard for him to get at as he jolted and hopped over and through anything in his path.

My initial shock and fear turned to hysteria. I was laughing so hard I pulled muscles. Even after I yanked the plug this kid was still bucking and shaking. He reminded me of a Lou Costello bit. I played Abbott as Mike the cop came back and totally flipped out.

“Oh my good God! ” He moaned. Then he sat down and went into a trance.

The inspection didn’t go too well.

T


Mis Amigos,

Today was difficult. I went in to the shower and while under the water somebody lifted my clothes and towel. Since nothing phases me much anymore I just figured one of the lunatics around here wanted an extra towel and set of clothes. However, when I got to my "room" everything I owned in the way of clothes and towels had disappeared. This presented a bit of a problem since it was dinner time. The only thing they didn't take were my work shoes.

Not wanting to miss another meal today I felt I had two choices. I could pull a Steve Martin and hold one shoe in front and one in back or secondly I could just wear the shoes. I chose number two.

Needless to say, people were in stitches as I stood in line for dinner. The guard came over and said “What the fuck are you doing?” “Why, I’m waiting in line to eat. What’s it look like?”

113 days left

T

< hr />

Brothers,

Today I want to talk to you about SIN. As you know the world today is filled with evil, and one of the greatest of all evils is gambling. Of course, nobody gambles in here because it is illegal. But an awful lot of the guys make believe.

People inside here make believe they are betting on all things — large and small. There are football games, basketball games, horses, pool, spades, and how long the line will be at dinnertime. There are pools. Pools on who will get beat up next, turn gay, escape, go to bed first, make the longest phone call, have the shortest visit, kiss the most ass, get the most ass, or act like the biggest ass. When a fly was seen in the dining area, people immediately started to lay odds on which table it would land.

Right now I’m waiting for “Church Call.”

Yours in Temperance

Father Tom


News Brief:

The main event of the evening last night was a stunning and most deserved upset. The reigning champion, “Mr. Buffed” himself, Lonnie Jones was decidedly trounced by the Mexican Mafia.

Lonnie, a heavy weight from San Quentin, had been making threats and promises all week, only to be upset by a surprising show of Mexican strength in the final moments of the contest.

The first round definitely went to Jones as he muscled a pool stick away from Lopez and decided to play a game.

Undaunted, the small Lopez deftly used surprise and the attachment to the industrial vacuum cleaner, a 4 foot pipe. In a “come from behind” victory the Mex repeatedly attacked Jones with the pipe. He scored about 5 or 6 RBIs before the large Negro had enough sense to strike out with the pool stick. Lopez caught the butt end of the cue on the back of his head as he scurried around the pool table.

At this point I scored the fight about even with both contestants bleeding profusely. Moving right into the next round, the cocky Mex, still in possession of the pipe, and even though Jones had lost the cue when he wrapped it around the Mex’s head, was smart enough to keep the table between him and the growling “Black Superman.” At this point some fast pitching all but ended the inning. Lopez threw three quick strikes with balls off the table. The impact of ball meeting face and brain was a deciding factor as the black giant faltered. In his desperate last effort, the “dying” Jones was attacked by 7 Mexicans as the match turned tag team. They wrestled him to the floor and proceeded to kick field goals for the remaining 4 or 5 minutes of the contest. Needless to say, the career of Jones is in doubt at this point in time, as is his life. He is in critical condition at a local hospital along with one of the Mexicans who suffered a fractured skull.

Another somewhat related story concerns my black friend Clinton Mitchell the comedian. He also lost his title & some teeth earlier in the day. He will not be telling jokes for at least 6 to 8 weeks, which is the required time for his jaw to stay wired. He received a trouncing which produced a multitude of stitches and a broken jaw.

Happily, I was not required to aid either individual because of circumstances beyond my control. Those being the fact that I was not around when Mr. Mitchell “got it“ and also, in regard to Jones, I was more inclined to help the Mexicans than him, but kept my distance anyway.

“Just another Del Mar Day“

T

PS.
They fired the black guard I told you was a really good guy. The one that said he “doesn't let this place get to him." He was too normal so they “let him go." FIGURES!


Amigos,

Once again the pool table is an active source of tension. The “Coyote Pack” is lusting fora kill.

I say coyote because the group consists of medium range (5’ to 5'6“) pollitos. These are tough little Mexicans. If you’ve ever watched a pack of dogs, and the way they react, you know exactly what these guys are like. They mill around jumping, playing, barking, and waiting for something to happen. Tension is everywhere and the smell of blood is still fresh in the air after the “kill” the other night. I get along fine with all of these guys but I can’t say the same for the other white guys in here. They were hassling my friend when I came up and I gave my friend Lucaterra a nod as if to say “Give him a break he’s my friend.” Since Lucaterra is one of the leaders of this group he took care of it for me. He’s really a great guy but can get caught up in the heat of the moment. He respects me and we’re great friends. He’s one of the best I have in here. The white guy is good too however.

That other “scutch,” to use an Italian expression, the one who threatened my life has been fairly cool since he sees that all of the Mexicans respect and like me. But he still hovers around and gives me the death look. I would never turn my back on him or get too close. I know fora fact that “it” will happen before long. It's only a matter of time. He will lose.

Kerry the fag came back from the hole. Anybody caught fighting, regardless of who starts it, goes to the hole. In his case he beat the livin daylights out of this other guy's fists with his face. He came back with 17 stitches, but would have had 40 if it was done on the outside. They only do enough to stop profuse bleeding in here. You know how expensive thread is these days!

T


Yo,

What a night! I came back to my cell to get some peace and quiet and I felt like I’ve been running a reception line for the United Nations. At least fifteen people have been by to chit chat, talk business, or say goodbye. Normally I would be very pleased but tonight I’m tired and have a lot on my mind. Since a major portion of these people are from other countries, I am forced to smile and be a good host for fear of insulting someone.

It seems there is a lull here for a few minutes so I decided to put down some words to the outside world. My friend Miguel is getting out tomorrow. He's from Guatemala and wants me to visit when I get out. I think I’ll do it too. He's fine people and definitely somebody I'd like to visit. I know one thing for sure, a vacation is an absolute when I get out of this pigeon camp.

My “roomie” the “Godfather” wants me to take a cruise with him. That sounds about right. Hawaii and Tahiti are very good possibilities. In fact, they are the best and most likely for where my head is at right now. We’ll see.

T


Hi ya.

Today was a little sad. My friend Miller was cut loose. I hate to see him go. He’s the Black Mexican who says he’s living in L.A. but Black Mitchell says he’s from Guadala-Harlem. It was especially sad because as I spoke to him I realized he had nobody to go home to. They’ll turn him loose with no money, he has no house and no family to go to. I was kidding when I said something like, “Hey Miller, they said they’re going to keep you here.’’ He said he didn’t mind because he had nothing and nobody to look forward to. He is such a nice guy, good athlete and good looking. I’m sure he’ll be able to work it out. Still, I couldn’t help thinking of him getting out in the rain with no money and no one to meet him. That’s life I guess. Bummer!

T


Mis Hijos,

I’ve decided it would be appropriate to discuss the multitude of nefarious entities that presently surround me and threaten the existence of my being.

“Loony bin’’ would be accurate, but lacks the absolute decadence I’m faced with as I venture forth day after day. The air reeks with a never ending chorus of slamming, banging, yelling, and howling. I’ve dubbed it the “Other Big Bang” theory. This theory represents the emotional drain which each and every person connected with this “Netherland” is destined to suffer. At first I thought that perhaps it was a coincidental collection of noise-orientated extroverts. Not so. With time I noticed that all, including myself, were inclined to slam and bang. Guards and social workers are not spared and I would venture to say provide the catalyst as well as a major portion of the disturbances.

Obviously this is a venting of frustration and very much along the lines of the old noise begets noise problem. At a party, loud music inspires loud talking which in turn promotes louder talking until the place is roaring. Everybody wants to be heard.

New York City is a perfect analogy because there too it’s over crowded, frustrating noisy and tense. One of the best things New York ever did was to create the law against horn blowing. Of course it didn’t cure all but it helped a little.

Why they don’t try to provide a more mellow atmosphere inside this place I’ll never know.

You can catch more flies with sugar, and music soothes the beast are two ideas they should take into consideration. A good exercise program wouldn't hurt either but let’s not get carried away.

T

Post Script

Approximately three weeks after my last letter a couple of my Mexican friends approached me with this news. “So & So is going to kill you tonight or tomorrow.’’ My tattooed friend had made up his mind. On several occasions I had informed the people in power that I thought my life was in serious jeopardy. This was laughed off. I was belittled and made to feel foolish. “I’d like a transfer. My life is in danger, too.’’ Ha!

Ha! Ha! So upon receiving the warning, I decided to handle things myself.

It was time to take the offensive. I would kill the tattooed man before he got me. I set things up with some of the black inmates. They would entice him with a supposed drug deal. I’d take care of the rest. I would have the element of surprise, as well as my legal weapons the steel tipped work shoes.

That night I tossed and turned after lock up and finally dozed off. Suddenly in the early morning hours, I sprang out of bed as I realized the door to my cell was slowly opening. I attacked and surprised the intruder as well as myself. It turned out to be a guard. We stood up with pounding hearts as I explained. Then he explained. “You are being transferred.”

The transfer was not the result of anything I had requested. Rather, it was the normal flow of my sentence. That morning I left for Terminal Island. Periodically, I still wake up screaming.

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MCC - Image by Jim Coit
MCC

Sooo! How ah yas!.

Some skeevy little bastard stole my cup. Minor point, but it becomes a hastle if you don’t have a cup.

Telephone time, twelfth floor. A couple of my Mexican friends approached me with this news. “So & So is going to kill you tonight or tomorrow.’’

Luckily, the guard on duty is really good people and we get along great. He’s a black dude with a good sense of humor, an ex-Marine. He keeps things in line but does it in a nice way.

He's always goofing. Anyway, I told him about the cup. He looked around for me but we couldn't come up with one. Then he said “Oh yea, the ‘girls’ went home on a furlough. You can borrow one of their cups until you steal your own.’’ He opened up their cell and as we were walking out he noticed the two Mexicans next door had three cups. He took the best one and gave it to me. Another problem solved.

A little later, as I was talking to the same guard, he told me how one of the guards flipped out a day or two before. I always wondered how they could handle this insanity on a constant basis. After all, they are in jail all the time and never get out unless they quit, flip out or retire.

But this guy was telling me that he doesn’t let it get to him. That’s why he goofs with people and tries to keep it a little light. As we were talking he shot out a few comments at some Mexicans nearby. They came over and started goofing too. Unexpectedly one little guy put his arm out and patted the guard on the back. He leaped up with a paranoid look on his face and told one of the Mexicans to tell that guy never to do that again.

“I’m glad this place doesn't get to you” I said as I walked away.

4 more months!

T


What’s up Docs,

The food is just wonderful here. A guy I know just had his wife smuggle in some food to him from the outside. It was the first time in 1 yr plus 101 days that he had real food. He threw it up! I guess his system just wasn’t ready for real food!

He may not be but I certainly am. My system would just love to be exposed to some nice Maine lobster, veal parmagiana, fresh asparagus and fine French wine. Top that off with a nice fat Cuban cigar and a blond and you'd get my vote. We have our own “bird man” in here. They caught this guy smuggling all kinds of birds. I can’t hang up this letter without telling you about “Bird Man.”

This guy is from Kentucky and looks like one of the characters from the “Hobbit.” He’s real little so all the brothers were calling him an elf at Christmas Time. He got pissed off and started jumping up and down. Any minute I expected him to say “Here comes de plane. Boss.”

Anyway “Bird Man” had already been caught doing business a few times before so they burned him this time. I read about his act a while back and thought it was great. This last time, they caught him with approximately 500 birds (excuse me, I just leaned out and asked — 601 birds to be exact). He had taken the insides out of ladies hair curlers. These of course were in a wide variety of sizes. The Bird Man taped their bills and tied their wings. Then he just slipped each bird inside a curler for increased organization and better transportation. Finally, he attached row after row of these Bird Curlers to the inside of a long coat and “Away we go.”

Unfortunately for him, at least, this batch of birds was a bit too feisty. As he was crossing the border, his whole coat almost took off into the sky with him. Needless to say, the “perpetrator” was apprehended 10-4 over and out.

T-bird


Compadres,

Right now I’m on the 6th floor in the Law Library. I just looked out the window and it looked great. Looking through the plexiglass slits from the 12th floor doesn’t feel real. Its more like watching television because you feel so removed from reality. Here at least its a little closer to the ground and it adds a bit more dimension to things. People walking in freedom on the streets. Cars as they weave through the traffic. Life is just a kiss away.

This morning I spoke to some people about getting the fuck out of this pigeon coup and going to a minimum security place. It just seems ridiculous that I should be stuck here with mother rapers, bank robbers, and murderers. These people are pretty hard to identify with.

Last night I found out that a friend of mine was a rat. He’s been telling stories out of school. He paid for it too. We were watching TV when a big black dude came in picked him up (he’s 6') by the scruff of the neck and bounced him off the wall. “You motha fuckin snitch bastad.” Other people in the room got into the act and they knocked him around like a pinball. There’s a definite wolf pack mentality around here so God help the weak, sick and old ones. They get eaten up real quick. My friend was crying like a baby and I sincerely thought his time had come. Needless to say, he’s not my friend anymore. There’s no such thing as a friend with a long tongue in here. I just wonder how long it was?

That's one reason why it is so important to watch who you hang with or speak to. In the beginning I didn't suspect anybody of anything. Now I suspect everybody of everything. Instead of cruisin easy. I've become very introverted and I never do anything or go anywhere without looking over my shoulder.

I’m getting buffed and I’ll use it if I have to. There's nothing left to be afraid of because the worst they can do is kill me. I’m not afraid of dying but you can be god damn sure it won’t happen without a fight. A full-on, do or die. New York ass kicking fight to the finish. Let em try!

I’m ready!

Tico


Gentlemen:

It is now count time. “Cuenta.” This is a fun game we play around here. Everybody stops whatever they are doing, then everyone gets in a cell and the intellegentsia comes around to count heads. There are 2 or 3 officers to count each 80 or 90 inmates. Sometimes it takes them more than three tries and over 30 or 40 minutes to do so. The other nite as our officer made his fourth pass I asked if he would like a calculator for Christmas. Either that or they could bring in an extra couple of guards to help. With 4 or 5 guards there would be enough fingers and toes to include all of us in their count. This game is played all day and all night. At nite, they flash a nice BIG LIGHT in your eyes to see whether or not you are a pillow or a dummy or a bag of rags.

I think I’ll be a bag of rags tonight and see what happens.

Thank god for my showers! They have become my vehicle of escape. Everything I could possibly want is obtainable underneath a good forceful shower. Sometimes I’m up in Canada with Dennis at his cabin. Peace and quiet and total wilderness. Today I was in Trinidad drinking rum again with the Pirates and swimming in the warm, clear Caribbean waters. Yesterday I spent some time in Hawaii with my blond Texas girlfriend. There are great waterfalls in Hawaii. I had a very pleasant vacation.

Mind traveling! If you can’t beat em leave em. I sure would like to be back in Europe with Taya. I guess she's in Paris right now. Then she will go over to Germany and fly out of Munich. Munich is a great town especially during Octoberfest.

But I’d take Paris any day. A great many Americans don’t like the French or Paris but I definitely do. Twist my arm. I’d go back in a flash.

FEAR. This whole place is filled with it, thrives on it. I’m afraid to walk alone, afraid to eat bugs in the food or get disease from the low-lifes. I fear the guards, the establishment, the inmates, the squealers, the good guys and the bad guys, and most of all I fear myself. I have to maintain. Discipline and self-control are the key. I have to tax my inner strength and sprint to the finish or else its all been for naught. I will survive! I will survive!

T


What's the latest!

Tonight is Tuesday and we were just exposed to the 5th Gladiator exhibition of the week. Quite a bout! Some cocky little Mexican picked a fight with a big black heavy named Bo. It seemed they both wanted to drink from the same water fountain at the same time. After some preliminary words of greeting the Mex hauled off and zapped Bo in the kisser. Next they exchanged a few blows, grappled and rolled down the stairs together. The show lasted a good six minutes or so, until the Mod Squad arrived. These Mexicans have heart! Bo beat him down to his knees and worked out on him for a bit then backed off as if to say “I’ll spare your life, fucker.” The Mex got up took a deep breath and smacked Bo again. Tough, very tough, also very dumb!

I thought for sure my “angel of death” was going to come over and have a go at me but he was too interested in the action. Afterwards there were too many guards.

After the bout, there were teeth all over the floor. I’ve never seen anything like it. During the commotion I kept thinking I was seeing things. Now, I know I was seeing things — teeth.

Right now we have all been put in our cages and there is action in the air. People always get pumped up by a fight. Obviously, that's why they put us away.

The other fights (75% i.e. 3 out of 4) involved my hit man. He's really got a chip on his shoulder and must really be insecure because he is constantly trying to prove himself. I also think he got the lowdown on me and is thinking twice about approaching me again. If and when the time comes I’m sure I’ll blow him right out.

Fast Eddy still lurks and looks. I feel like I'm playing middle linebacker again. Everybody is looking for a piece of me. So, I’ll use the same old philosophy, “Hit everybody until they stop moving or the whistle blows.”

I’m starting to look more like I did while playing linebacker too. Buffing out. I sure did let myself go these last few years. Life (the “good life”) in the Fast Lane will do it every time.

They called me the “Prince of Evil ’ ’ or the “Dev” when I played ball because I had a goatee and played with “reckless abandon.” Just like an action potential I'm all or none. There’s no middle of the road. Flame On! and full steam ahead!

The Ringmaster


Ola,

I just ran out of patience. After lunch, which I couldn’t eat. I'm supposed to clean up the dining area. This includes clearing off all tables, chairs etc., wiping tables, sweeping, mopping, and replacing everything. Loss of dignity to say the least. But nobody has dignity in here. They strive to take it away from us. When I got to the dining commons there was blood from one end to the other. I inquired about it and found out that Kerry, one of the “girls” from A Quad, got demolished by a wild Mexican called “Chamuco.” Kerry is a fag, very mellow and possibly the only or at least one of the very few intelligent people I can talk to. He's only about 25 but he's the publisher of a magazine and has just finished a book. He and his partner are here because they overcharged the public through the mail, two and three times, the necessary bill on their credit cards. They got three years but certainly should not be at this place. It was inevitable that he would get hurt. I don’t know how bad it is yet.

This place has been a constant war zone for the past ten days. I think the holidays increase frustration and tempers flare. My angel of death attacked two new “fish." One guy was a white guy who looked “slow” to say the least. I wondered what such a weird borderline retard like that was doing in here. It turns out the guy is a fucking computer wizard who beat Sears, Roebuck & Co. out of $180,000. That’s right One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Dollars.

Now who’s the MARON? The other victim was a black kid from New Jersey. He's in here because he wouldn't tell where he got some counterfeit money. He is definitely slow. At first I thought he was together but he really is not all there. This black kid apparently had it real tough all his life and is basically a good person, even if he is dumb. He eats all the scraps and I give him my breakfast, part of my lunch, and whatever else I come across. I asked how he could eat that shit and he said he's never been exposed to so much food. He was starving on the outside. Both of these kids fell prey to the “tattoo wonder.” I wonder when we will finally come to a final showdown.

After cleaning up Kerry’s blood I decided to go to the Mexican Caribbean, so I headed to the shower for some traveling. I was all set for the warm waters of “Cancun” or “Isla Mujeres.” No such luck. The god damn shower had no hot water. Pissed off and depressed I went back to the cell and turned the radio up full on. I just want to block out all the bullshit. Today was only the end of three weeks. Help me! Help me!

T


Coffee time,

I hooked. I’m a coffee junkie. I can’t eat the food and my shoulder is so bad I haven’t been able to lift at all. Matter of fact, I can’t even sleep with the pain in my shoulder.

I don't want to go to the doctor because they don't do anything and besides you always come back sicker. This is due to the fact that you are herded into a closet, with 6-10 others, while waiting to see the doc. Most of these guys are Mex and have all kinds of bugs, disease, etc.

I can't let on that I’m vulnerable or else the vultures will be on me in a flash. Between my knee and my shoulder I'm in trouble. I don’t know if I told you but I hurt my knee bad the first day in. That’s life in the “Bad Lane” I guess.

One thing I should tell you about is my appearance on TV here. Channel 10 news was here for the Charger Game and I was on the news. On the back of my chair it says “50 yard line” MCC Stadium.

I doubt if this latest exposure will help my career any but at least it broke the monotony.

Tom


What’s Shakin,

As they say in Brooklyn “Do I got a story fa youse guys.”

Earlier today there was a new guard on duty. After I did my clean up routine he came to my cell and asked a favor of me. “Listen I got to get the place in order for an inspection today. Could you do me a favor? Wax and buff the floors?” “Okay, Okay?” I said. “Thanks man.”

He’s a black dude and definitely an alright guy. It was funny to see him running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Freaking out over the up and coming inspection. He couldn't understand why all of the inmates didn't have his enthusiasm.

Anyway, we went looking for some wax and came up dry. “God Damn! “he said. “Our supply sheet says we should still have a couple of gallons of wax left.” I gave him a knowing nod and looked over at a group of Mexicans. “They polish their shoes, door knobs, mirrors, use it in their hair, and probably eat the shit” I said. He looked over in disbelief. “Sheee-it.“ He called another floor to round up some more as I lugged out the giant buffer.

While I got the buffer ready a little Mexican came up and said “Eh Misteer Tom, I help you, no?” “Sure” I smiled. This tiny kid is no more than 16 but he lied about his age because he wanted to come here as opposed to the facility for minors. Over there it seems things would be tougher for him. The bigger kids would beat the hell out of him. So he feels safer in here because most everybody is so much bigger and older that it works in his favor.

I asked him what hes in for and he smiled. “Estoy pollo.” Loosely translated he's an illegal alien. “Well how come they locked you up?” I asked. Usually they would send someone like him back across. He said he wasn't sure but maybe it was because he rammed his car into the Immigration Agent's car as he tried to make his getaway. Hot stuff. Then when the agent said “Look what you did to my car” he replied “Look you do my car, moverfocker.” Poreso esta aqui.

The guard came back with a bottle of wax and we prepared the machine. He was getting antsy because time was short and he wanted everything just right for the inspection. “We need a new pad,” I told him. We rounded up a new pad without too much trouble but when I picked up the new bottle of wax it was damn near empty. “Hey, check this out,” I yelled. “Those thieving bastards gleeped the wax.” He looked pale and I thought he was going to cry. “Listen” I said, “me and little Poncho here will get started while you round up some more.” He appeared somewhat relieved. The kid said he would start buffing while I moved stuff out of the way. First I made sure to explain how to use the machine and he assured me he had plenty of experience. I was impressed by this kid because the machine was three times his size. Yet, in typical Mexican fashion, he was ready to handle it. What I should have realized, however, was another typical Mex trait: “Never admit you don’t know something.” When in doubt, give it your best shot and forge ahead.

In Mexico, if you need directions you will never come up empty when asking people on the street. Of course, you may get different versions from each person asked. They would never think to admit they don’t know. Instead, they smile, rattle off their best guess, and send you off, many times in the wrong direction entirely. You’re satisfied because they got you on your way and they feel confident that the directions will eventually get you there. It may take a few hours extra and a dozen more people, but eventually you’ll succeed.

Which brings me back to my little friend. I watched as he prepared for take off. Plug in, wax on, button down, turn handle, and VAROOM! The mother fucker took off like Apollo 11! The handle has a “dead man switch” that shuts the machine down when released. I repeat and emphasize: “Released.”

His vocabulary does not contain the words released, give up, admit defeat, or surrender. Instead he looked like one of those pong games as he blasted around the dining area crushing and bashing everything in his path.

Eventually his feet left the ground as he became a pin wheel of destruction. As I yelled for him to let go he reminded me of one of those lawn trimmers used to edge around hard to get at places. Nothing was hard for him to get at as he jolted and hopped over and through anything in his path.

My initial shock and fear turned to hysteria. I was laughing so hard I pulled muscles. Even after I yanked the plug this kid was still bucking and shaking. He reminded me of a Lou Costello bit. I played Abbott as Mike the cop came back and totally flipped out.

“Oh my good God! ” He moaned. Then he sat down and went into a trance.

The inspection didn’t go too well.

T


Mis Amigos,

Today was difficult. I went in to the shower and while under the water somebody lifted my clothes and towel. Since nothing phases me much anymore I just figured one of the lunatics around here wanted an extra towel and set of clothes. However, when I got to my "room" everything I owned in the way of clothes and towels had disappeared. This presented a bit of a problem since it was dinner time. The only thing they didn't take were my work shoes.

Not wanting to miss another meal today I felt I had two choices. I could pull a Steve Martin and hold one shoe in front and one in back or secondly I could just wear the shoes. I chose number two.

Needless to say, people were in stitches as I stood in line for dinner. The guard came over and said “What the fuck are you doing?” “Why, I’m waiting in line to eat. What’s it look like?”

113 days left

T

< hr />

Brothers,

Today I want to talk to you about SIN. As you know the world today is filled with evil, and one of the greatest of all evils is gambling. Of course, nobody gambles in here because it is illegal. But an awful lot of the guys make believe.

People inside here make believe they are betting on all things — large and small. There are football games, basketball games, horses, pool, spades, and how long the line will be at dinnertime. There are pools. Pools on who will get beat up next, turn gay, escape, go to bed first, make the longest phone call, have the shortest visit, kiss the most ass, get the most ass, or act like the biggest ass. When a fly was seen in the dining area, people immediately started to lay odds on which table it would land.

Right now I’m waiting for “Church Call.”

Yours in Temperance

Father Tom


News Brief:

The main event of the evening last night was a stunning and most deserved upset. The reigning champion, “Mr. Buffed” himself, Lonnie Jones was decidedly trounced by the Mexican Mafia.

Lonnie, a heavy weight from San Quentin, had been making threats and promises all week, only to be upset by a surprising show of Mexican strength in the final moments of the contest.

The first round definitely went to Jones as he muscled a pool stick away from Lopez and decided to play a game.

Undaunted, the small Lopez deftly used surprise and the attachment to the industrial vacuum cleaner, a 4 foot pipe. In a “come from behind” victory the Mex repeatedly attacked Jones with the pipe. He scored about 5 or 6 RBIs before the large Negro had enough sense to strike out with the pool stick. Lopez caught the butt end of the cue on the back of his head as he scurried around the pool table.

At this point I scored the fight about even with both contestants bleeding profusely. Moving right into the next round, the cocky Mex, still in possession of the pipe, and even though Jones had lost the cue when he wrapped it around the Mex’s head, was smart enough to keep the table between him and the growling “Black Superman.” At this point some fast pitching all but ended the inning. Lopez threw three quick strikes with balls off the table. The impact of ball meeting face and brain was a deciding factor as the black giant faltered. In his desperate last effort, the “dying” Jones was attacked by 7 Mexicans as the match turned tag team. They wrestled him to the floor and proceeded to kick field goals for the remaining 4 or 5 minutes of the contest. Needless to say, the career of Jones is in doubt at this point in time, as is his life. He is in critical condition at a local hospital along with one of the Mexicans who suffered a fractured skull.

Another somewhat related story concerns my black friend Clinton Mitchell the comedian. He also lost his title & some teeth earlier in the day. He will not be telling jokes for at least 6 to 8 weeks, which is the required time for his jaw to stay wired. He received a trouncing which produced a multitude of stitches and a broken jaw.

Happily, I was not required to aid either individual because of circumstances beyond my control. Those being the fact that I was not around when Mr. Mitchell “got it“ and also, in regard to Jones, I was more inclined to help the Mexicans than him, but kept my distance anyway.

“Just another Del Mar Day“

T

PS.
They fired the black guard I told you was a really good guy. The one that said he “doesn't let this place get to him." He was too normal so they “let him go." FIGURES!


Amigos,

Once again the pool table is an active source of tension. The “Coyote Pack” is lusting fora kill.

I say coyote because the group consists of medium range (5’ to 5'6“) pollitos. These are tough little Mexicans. If you’ve ever watched a pack of dogs, and the way they react, you know exactly what these guys are like. They mill around jumping, playing, barking, and waiting for something to happen. Tension is everywhere and the smell of blood is still fresh in the air after the “kill” the other night. I get along fine with all of these guys but I can’t say the same for the other white guys in here. They were hassling my friend when I came up and I gave my friend Lucaterra a nod as if to say “Give him a break he’s my friend.” Since Lucaterra is one of the leaders of this group he took care of it for me. He’s really a great guy but can get caught up in the heat of the moment. He respects me and we’re great friends. He’s one of the best I have in here. The white guy is good too however.

That other “scutch,” to use an Italian expression, the one who threatened my life has been fairly cool since he sees that all of the Mexicans respect and like me. But he still hovers around and gives me the death look. I would never turn my back on him or get too close. I know fora fact that “it” will happen before long. It's only a matter of time. He will lose.

Kerry the fag came back from the hole. Anybody caught fighting, regardless of who starts it, goes to the hole. In his case he beat the livin daylights out of this other guy's fists with his face. He came back with 17 stitches, but would have had 40 if it was done on the outside. They only do enough to stop profuse bleeding in here. You know how expensive thread is these days!

T


Yo,

What a night! I came back to my cell to get some peace and quiet and I felt like I’ve been running a reception line for the United Nations. At least fifteen people have been by to chit chat, talk business, or say goodbye. Normally I would be very pleased but tonight I’m tired and have a lot on my mind. Since a major portion of these people are from other countries, I am forced to smile and be a good host for fear of insulting someone.

It seems there is a lull here for a few minutes so I decided to put down some words to the outside world. My friend Miguel is getting out tomorrow. He's from Guatemala and wants me to visit when I get out. I think I’ll do it too. He's fine people and definitely somebody I'd like to visit. I know one thing for sure, a vacation is an absolute when I get out of this pigeon camp.

My “roomie” the “Godfather” wants me to take a cruise with him. That sounds about right. Hawaii and Tahiti are very good possibilities. In fact, they are the best and most likely for where my head is at right now. We’ll see.

T


Hi ya.

Today was a little sad. My friend Miller was cut loose. I hate to see him go. He’s the Black Mexican who says he’s living in L.A. but Black Mitchell says he’s from Guadala-Harlem. It was especially sad because as I spoke to him I realized he had nobody to go home to. They’ll turn him loose with no money, he has no house and no family to go to. I was kidding when I said something like, “Hey Miller, they said they’re going to keep you here.’’ He said he didn’t mind because he had nothing and nobody to look forward to. He is such a nice guy, good athlete and good looking. I’m sure he’ll be able to work it out. Still, I couldn’t help thinking of him getting out in the rain with no money and no one to meet him. That’s life I guess. Bummer!

T


Mis Hijos,

I’ve decided it would be appropriate to discuss the multitude of nefarious entities that presently surround me and threaten the existence of my being.

“Loony bin’’ would be accurate, but lacks the absolute decadence I’m faced with as I venture forth day after day. The air reeks with a never ending chorus of slamming, banging, yelling, and howling. I’ve dubbed it the “Other Big Bang” theory. This theory represents the emotional drain which each and every person connected with this “Netherland” is destined to suffer. At first I thought that perhaps it was a coincidental collection of noise-orientated extroverts. Not so. With time I noticed that all, including myself, were inclined to slam and bang. Guards and social workers are not spared and I would venture to say provide the catalyst as well as a major portion of the disturbances.

Obviously this is a venting of frustration and very much along the lines of the old noise begets noise problem. At a party, loud music inspires loud talking which in turn promotes louder talking until the place is roaring. Everybody wants to be heard.

New York City is a perfect analogy because there too it’s over crowded, frustrating noisy and tense. One of the best things New York ever did was to create the law against horn blowing. Of course it didn’t cure all but it helped a little.

Why they don’t try to provide a more mellow atmosphere inside this place I’ll never know.

You can catch more flies with sugar, and music soothes the beast are two ideas they should take into consideration. A good exercise program wouldn't hurt either but let’s not get carried away.

T

Post Script

Approximately three weeks after my last letter a couple of my Mexican friends approached me with this news. “So & So is going to kill you tonight or tomorrow.’’ My tattooed friend had made up his mind. On several occasions I had informed the people in power that I thought my life was in serious jeopardy. This was laughed off. I was belittled and made to feel foolish. “I’d like a transfer. My life is in danger, too.’’ Ha!

Ha! Ha! So upon receiving the warning, I decided to handle things myself.

It was time to take the offensive. I would kill the tattooed man before he got me. I set things up with some of the black inmates. They would entice him with a supposed drug deal. I’d take care of the rest. I would have the element of surprise, as well as my legal weapons the steel tipped work shoes.

That night I tossed and turned after lock up and finally dozed off. Suddenly in the early morning hours, I sprang out of bed as I realized the door to my cell was slowly opening. I attacked and surprised the intruder as well as myself. It turned out to be a guard. We stood up with pounding hearts as I explained. Then he explained. “You are being transferred.”

The transfer was not the result of anything I had requested. Rather, it was the normal flow of my sentence. That morning I left for Terminal Island. Periodically, I still wake up screaming.

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