Don't know how much I can write today...pain is killing me...
Shawna thinks I’m crazy, but she backs me. I don’t sleep much that night. I know the first day is going to be the hardest.
Start the next morning with phones and stores. I’ve got five pay phones inside of the module. The do stores right outside the door of twenty-three hundred today. I start them on the phones. Five at a time. Five minutes each. King and Tatupu run the phones. Folger runs the guys out to the store. Smooth for the first couple of hours. Then we have our first test. King calls time on the phones. One guy won’t get off. Big ass Samoan. King tries again. Guy shrugs him off. Tatupu comes over. Rips the phone off of the wall and beats the dude with it. Drags him down the row. Five minutes later, the beaten Samoan is on his knees in front of my booth.
“I won' evuh mess up on the phone again...evuh...may I please go to Doctor?...I fell outta my bunk.”
“ He one clumsy muthuh fuckuh, deputy.”
Tatupu smiles when he says it. He’s proven they’ll police themselves to get their privileges. This is a scene that repeats itself numerous times over the next couple of months. I had power on the street. Because of what I could do. This…fuck. If I let these motherfuckers know I want someone fucked up…or dead, they’ll do it. No questions. I should be appalled…but I’m not. I like it. I like it a lot. That’s the one thing Shawna never understood about me. She never saw my black dog…didn’t want to believe it was there. I loved her for that.
Things run smooth for a while. The inmates aren’t fucking with me. Hell, they bring me extra info just to stay on my good side. They know I won’t rat them out. The other Deputies don’t know what to make of me, but what the fuck do I care? Nobody was jumping ship to bail my ass out when the captain fucked me…and everybody knew he was, just not why. It’s not like I was Mr. popularity before anyway. This is about survival…and I’ve got major trust issues.
Folger has taken me under his wing. We go in the dayroom alone for one hour every day. He can tell my leg is fucked up, something about my chi being off. He’s teaching me how to protect myself. Shit you wouldn’t believe. Not departmentally approved shit, mind you, but quick. Lethal. We’re in on one of our sessions. School’s in. The master speaks.
“You gotta understand where they comin' from...what they hooked on...the ultimate narcotic is power... the ultimate power is life and death...on the outs, each one of'm respected... feared...in here, they jus' a face in the crowd again...tha's a hell'f a Jones to kick.”
“Leg's gettin' worse, ain't it? Tha's why I been teachin' you all this...nothin' fancy...you in the shit, you gotta finish it quick...with whatever's available.”
He gets up. Walks over to another table. There are games on it: dominoes, checkers, a deck of cards, a Scrabble game. My cigarettes and matches are on the table too. And my lunch; a sandwich and an orange. Billy Joe picks up the book of matches. Quickly rolls it into a tight tube. Shows it to me. He points first to his temple, then to his eye, then to his windpipe. In a silent blur, he lunges at the table. The match book is buried almost to the hilt in the orange. Next, he picks up a card from the deck. Shows it to me. He points at his throat, then his eyes. Another silent blur, this time the hand holding the card cuts through the air like a scythe. The orange wobbles a little, but otherwise looks no different.
“You been in here four and a half years, Billie Joe...you're bound to be a little rusty.”
Billy Joe reaches over and picks up the orange. He holds it out for me to see. Squeezes it firmly between his thumb and index finger. The orange is cut is so deep, the pressure of his thumb and index finger causes it to gape open like a mouth. I’ve never seen anything like that. Before or since.
“I can't afford to get rusty, Deputy Norris. Neither can you.”
That's enough for now...Patron and pills time...
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