jPay Message #175

So I was made fun of for how not like a criminal I am…again. This time I was standing watch for my cubies as one cut the other’s hair–a very minor infraction–as I was briefly distracted by a conversation with a neighbor when I looked up to see a CO not even 10 feet away. Startled, I jumped and loudly said the CO was coming, so loud that the CO even heard me. They all laughed at me, and brought it up again that night, still greatly amused. It’s true, though: I’m a terrible criminal. 

Likewise, it amazes me how many inmates knew of or were even friends with other prisoners out in the world. Every methhead from up north seems to know all the other speedfreaks from that way, or at least hung in the same circles, and now they are all locked up. For example, my homeboy used to date another guy’s sister, who’s now talking to someone in the back hall…you get the picture. And this is only my unit. With the brothers from the city or Flint, shit’s even more incestuous.

Contrast that with my former milieu: I didn’t even know anyone who used meth, and the majority of my acquaintances are college-educated and have respectable jobs. Fuck, I think I may be the only guy from my zipcode in the MDOC. I’d only known three guys to have ever been to the joint prior to my arrest, one of whom set me up to send me here in the first place. 

Anyways, I think I’ve pinpointed the primary reason for the majority of my problems in here: my whole vibe is not really threatening or gangster-ish; i.e. not oriented towards dominating the yard. I’m too chill. I speak correctly, and use big words. I’m sociable versus standoffish. 

I’m terrible at issuing convincing threats myself, or scaring people into conforming to their end of the bargain, which is really to everyone’s detriment. Just the other week, someone I was cool with had fucked me over egregiously. Basically, it was a situation where I had to do something, or else be hoed out, despite my natural inclination to drop the issue and forget it happened.

Although he tried to lay blame elsewhere, and act like everything was copacetic, he came up with a million reasons I couldn’t get my shit yet, but the delays were far beyond what any reasonable excuse necessitated. I knew these were the telltale signs of a kick. Even though he was affiliated I knew I had to take some kind of action, hoping that his bros respected me enough not jump in or plot revenge in the aftermath. I tried to convey that my hand would be forced, but he must have dismissed this as empty bluster. 

So, with the next chance I got after chow, I quietly sidled up next to dog, who acknowledged my encroaching presence with a nod, and then, without any preamble, punched him in the face. He was clearly surprised as shit (and to be honest, I was a little as well) until regrouping– seething, looking maniacal– he returned the blow, and we tackled each other to the ground. On-lookers quickly jumped in and broke up what had basically devolved into horse-play, except at first, and we were saved from being caught. 

I never got my shit (throwing a punch cancels out any debts), but he had to have known deep down he had it coming, despite never confessing to any wrongdoing. Regardless, things have been civil between us since then. But I had to demonstrate that I wasn’t gonna take a kick laying down, and even if only he knows that, I’m with it.

If I knew how to assert my rights in an authoritative way– ya know, being aggressively confrontational and borderline yelling–dude probably wouldn’t have tried these shenanigans in the first place, because there’d be no question I’d go that way from the jump. 

I reflect on the incident with wry amusement; my quasi- suckerpunch was like an awkward kiss, abrupt and without the build-up of sexual tension, where the girl doesn’t quite know how to react, whether to return the kiss or pull away. Jus like how I had to improve my game in that arena, I’m working on my bluster, which, far as I can tell, is 90% about putting bass into my voice while talking that shit.

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