Chapter 8b: Big Bad
After our work in the mailroom, we returned to the cellblock. At the time, Cypress was taking a shower and bathing himself, while I tried to talk his little brother out of reciting the ravings of a madman to him. When we entered the block, Jirani ran to his brother's cell to see if he was in there. I walked to our cell and I noticed this white envelope on Jirani's bed. The envelope didn't have Jirani's name on it, but it had mine. I picked it up. It had fine cursive penmanship that was instantly recognizable. Melanie Choi...
When Jirani saw that Cypress wasn't in his cell, he ran to me in our cell, panicking.
"He wasn't there, he's not there!" His voice startled me and snapped me out of a daze.
"That's because he's probably in the showers. Rani, you need to calm down."
"You're right, you're right. He's probably just in the showers," he took a deep breath and noticed the letter I was holding. "What's that?"
I smiled, "It's a letter. It's umm... a letter from my girl."
"Yeah," I said happily.
"Awww, do you think she put more pics of your daughter in it?"
"I'm sure she did."
"She's a pretty little-" Jirani saw Cypress coming out of the showers with a towel around his waist. "Cypress!" he yelled all the way across the block and then followed the yell with his quick moving feet.
Initially, I wasn't going to get involved, but I figured that I'd better. I put the envelope in my back pocket and followed him. Jirani stopped Cypress right before he got to his cell. Cypress's chest still shined from the moisture.
"I have to talk to you," Jirani said.
"The fuck do you think you are, callin' my name out from across the room like that? Nigga, are you crazy?" he said.
"I said that I have to talk to you, and it's important."
I approached the two men. "If you're going to say this, can we at least do this in a more private area?"
Cypress looked from me to his brother, and analyzed the worry on his brother's face.
"Alright," he said. "Come in."
Cypress walked into the cell first, followed by his little brother and I. Jirani took a seat on the uncomfortable bedrail. The bed still didn't have a mattress from when Cypress threw it out when he kicked Elijah out of their cell.
I stayed by the cell doors to guard it, and Cypress disrobed. Very uncomfortable, I couldn't stand being in a cell with a naked nigga, but I got over it.
"So what's up?" Cypress asked.
"Lil' Billy said that you're gonna die," Jirani announced.
"He said that someone's trying to kill you."
"And? This is The Well; someone tries to kill me every month. He ain't sayin' nothing new."
"This is what I was trying to tell him," I interrupted. "When he delivered the mail to solitary, Lil' Billy said some shit about the stars, the moon, and the planets and shit. He made it sound real poetic, and now this nigga thinks Lil' Billy is a psychic."
Cypress cracked a smile while he put on his underwear.
"Ok, so he's not psychic," Jirani surrendered. "But he did say that there is some kind of conspiracy to kill you."
"Get the fuck outta here," Cypress laughed. This was the first time that I was seeing him actually crack up. "I don't even know that nigga, and why would he even start talking to you about me?"
I inserted myself again. "It's probably because he was still here the night that you guys went up to the suites."
"Oh yeah," Cypress said. "Rani, he's obviously trying to fuck with you. Why are you takin' what this nigga says seriously?"
"Because I'm fuckin' worried about you," Jirani defended.
Cypress rubbed his forehead like he was getting a migraine. "Ok, well what else did the little bastard say?" He didn't look at Jirani, but instead, looked at me. He didn't want to hear Jirani's emotionally heightened transcription of what happened.
"He said some shit about when the sun runs out of flames, you're gonna die and that the conspiracy to kill you comes from the top," I answered
"Yeah," I confirmed.
"The top of what?" he smirked.
"I have no fuckin' idea."
"And you niggas ran in here to tell me this?"
"Correction," I pointed to Jirani. "He ran in here to tell you this shit."
"Excuse the fuck out of me for taking a threat against your life seriously," Jirani snapped.
Cypress put on a wifebeater A-shirt. "Ok, Rani. Well thank you for telling me."
"You're welcome. Now, who do you think it is?"
"Who do you think it is?" Jirani reiterated.
"Are you serious right now? We just told you that Lil' Billy is fucking crazy, but you still believin' him?"
"Shouldn't we at least consider it?" Jirani looked to me for support, but didn't get it. I mean, what did he expect? That crazy ass white boy tried to say that Hakim's death was related to the alleged conspiracy. "Ok look, he said it comes from the top. My best guess is that Tongis has it out for you."
"Yes. He's the head of the correctional officers. Typically what he says goes." Cypress looked in my direction. He couldn't believe that Jirani wouldn't let this shit go. Jirani went on to add, "Have you noticed anything weird from him?"
"Rani, I'm going to be fine. And Tongis is not out to get me, Melee is not out to get me and neither are the night guards. You have to let this go, do you hear me?"
Jirani exhaled loudly. "I guess I'm sorry for caring about you."
"But you're being naïve."
"You know what," Jirani hopped up from the bedrail. "Fuck you, Cy." Jirani walked to the door and nudged me out of the way so he could get by. He walked out and walked back over to our cell. The departure of Jirani was immediately followed by a moment of awkwardness.
"I should probably go diffuse the situation," I said, excusing myself from Cypress's cell and went back to my own, where Rani was laying on his bed. I chose my words carefully. "I understand that you're worried about your brother, but what Billy said is completely without claim. It can't be taken seriously. Your brother will be fine."
Jirani didn't say anything. He refused to speak to me. He even turned his head away and into the opposite direction, upset because I didn't stand up for him. There was nothing else to say. I couldn't apologize for something I wasn't wrong for doing, and there was no point in trying.
Shit! I almost forgot. I pulled the white envelope out of my back pocket. Just seeing the way she wrote my name, I couldn't wait to rip into this letter. I ripped the envelope open and pulled out its contents. I didn't want to read it just yet. I really wanted to see the pictures of my girl. She was about to turn 4 years old soon. I shook the letter loose hoping the photo's would fall out, similar to how a kid shakes a birthday card from grandma just to get the 5 dollar bill out. No pictures though, not even 1.
I unfolded the letter and began to read.
I have something to tell you. You know I've never been comfortable with writing letters. Honestly, when I write them and read them back to myself I cringe. I want to tell you things, but I hate seeing them on paper. I hate knowing that you're not even going to get the message for a few days. I'll start with the good news. Theresa is about to be 4 soon, as I'm sure you know. She wanted to celebrate her birthday party at the skating rink but it costs too much. Instead, we're just going to take her to Chuck E. Cheese. She's getting big. 3 feet and 3 inches, height definitely comes from your side of the family. My mom picked her up from daycare, and um... she asked her the question that I've been dreading ever since I had her. She asked my mom why doesn't she have a dad. My mom told me that and I wanted to burst into tears. I can't answer that question for her What the hell am I even supposed to tell her. Like should I lie and tell her that daddy's at work or tell her the truth that daddy has a problem with touching little girls? And it hit me it hit me it fucking hit me! She is a little girl! Would I need to be worried about my daughter turning 14 if your out of prison. You will be out right before she turns 10 so will I need to be worried about her then. I know that I was always like I love you and I can't wait to see you but this scares me. You grew up but your taste stayed the same and I don't know if you can change. And I can not come home one day and find out that you have been touching my daughter. I can't do it. I know you said that you love her and you want to see her and all that but I can't. I'm growing up and I see that what you did was wrong. I loved you and you took advantage of that. You took advantage of me and it's time we both stop living in a fantasy. I told your mom and now im telling you when you get out don't contact me and don't try to find your daughter. She is better off never knowing you. This is my last letter and no I won't even stay in contact with your mother anymore. I don't want you or her near my baby girl anymore. Terry I wish you the best and please get some help.
Touching her daughter? Taking advantage of her? Get some help? Oh man... if you could have seem my face. Shit, I was so fuckin pissed at this shit. All the letters about how she loved me and how she couldn't wait for me to get out, and how she was going to bring Little Terry up to see me one of these days. And now her bitch ass sent this fuckin' letter to say this shit? I see why mama was pissed. She was callin' herself taking my daughter away from me, away from my moms? This shit hurts. This shit fuckin hurts. She said she never saw me as a predator but now she thinks that I'm a threat. I loved Terry. I've never loved someone so much in my life and I didn't even know her. I'd never seen her in person. I never heard her voice, but I loved her more than I loved myself. I would never do anything to harm her. And I would never touch her inappropriately. She was my little girl... she's my daughter...
"SHE'S MY DAUGHTERRRR!!!"
Jirani jumped from the bed and rapidly turned to me. The prisoners around the block looked too.
"Terry?" Jirani asked.
I ripped the letter into quadruples and dropped them to the floor.
I grabbed the jail bars to my left and gripped them. The cell was spinning and I could feel the eyes from everyone staring holes through me.
Jirani got up from the bed and offered solace. He rubbed my back and shoulders, but I was too pissed to even acknowledge him. I kicked the bottom of the bars with the heel of my foot. There was a loud cling sound that resulted from the impact.
"Terry, what happened? Is she ok?" he asked.
I kicked it again. Cling! Cling! Cling! Cling! Cling!
Tongis came down from the guard's station to see where the noise was coming from.
"Is he alright?" Tongis asked.
"I think he received some bad news," Jirani answered.
I threw a punch at the metal bar. The shit hurt like hell, but I refused to let it show.
"Terry, chill out!" Tongis leapt into the cell and grabbed my hand to make sure that I didn't do it again. "You need some ice?"
I didn't say anything.
"Rani, go tell Melee to get the man some ice. "
Jirani obeyed orders. He ran off while Tongis held my hand like it was a fragile piece of equipment.
"Does it feel broken?"
"No," I snatched my hand back and rubbed it. "I'm fine."
"You don't seem fine."
"I am! Get the fuck outta my cell Tongis."
Tongis's face reacted to me yelling at him. "I'm going to let you slide because I figure you must be going through something since you're in here trying to kill yourself and I have better things to do. But whatever the hell your problem is, I suggest you work it out before you get hurt." He looked in my eyes, could feel my frustration and knew my pain. He respected my need to be alone and left.
My hand felt like it was vibrating right after I punched the bar, but now it started to go numb.
Jirani returned with a pack of ice and put it on my hand.
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said. The Ziploc back full of ice cooled my knuckles.
"You wanna talk about what was in that letter?"
"Ok, that's fine. But please don't go punchin' other things, and please don't punch me." Jirani's lame attempt to make me smile proved uneventful, but he kept that bag of ice on my hand. "Does your foot hurt too?"
Roland and Khalil walked in, peering in at me from the door.
"You iight?" Khalil asked.
"I said yeah, nigga," I snapped.
"Ay-ay-ay," Roland elbowed Khalil to get his attention. Khalil turned to look at whatever it was that caught his homeboy's attention.
"What's goin' on?" Jirani asked them, while keeping the ice on me.
"The prisoners from cellblock C are coming in," Khalil said.
I flexed my fingers, making a fist and then opening up my hand again. I could feel my hand again, even though some numbness still flowed through the nerves. I grabbed the icepack from Jirani and walked to the door. I wanted to see this. I wanted to watch the man who'd been tearing cellblock C a new asshole. I wanted to see just what the prison had been shaken over.
An officer led the 7 prisoners in and pointed to the cells that the Aryans used to occupy. 6 of the prisoners followed the instructions given to them, but the 7th looked around, taking in his new surroundings. Sugarman loved his new home. He scanned all the faces of his onlookers, trying to see which ones had strength and which ones didn't. He wanted to see which ones he would have to fight, in order to ensure that he was taken seriously now that he arrived. Sugarman had a fear of jail himself, and the way he thought he would conquer it, is to make the jail fear him. And it'd been working. There were 5 free cells, and the rest of the refugees made sure to pick their cells wisely, and left one of them empty because nobody wanted to share a cell with the man that had the dragon tattoo.
Sugarman felt like the whole block was staring at him and as he browsed, he tried to decipher the threats. He looked up toward the top level where the Christian's cells were; and he could see Prison Pastor Chambers staring down at him. He looked toward the Muslim's cells. Many of them were built, and looked like formidable opponents, but Aarif was the one that stood out to him. Sugarman continued to browse because he knew that the "leader of the Bloods" was in this block. He searched and eventually found the honey colored former Blood named Cypress Turner.
When their eyes met, Sugarman smiled. His gums were black and some of his teeth had gotten chipped from his battle royal with the Bloods of cellblock C. In an effort to prove that he was just as intimidating, Cypress popped his knuckles and rolled his shoulders just to prove that he was limber and ready, should Sugarman want to take it to that place.
Sugarman continued to browse his surroundings, his eyes landing on a few of the Mexicans and even that big white bodybuilding pedophile. Suddenly Sugarman dropped his luggage, which was only a blanket and pillow, and he began to charge.
"Varnon!" the guard that escorted the prisoners in yelled.
Sugarman began running. He wasn't running at Cypress, or Aarif, or Chambers or any of them. Without even looking in our direction at first, he began running toward us. We had no idea who he was running to. The nigga impaled through me and took me down to the ground. Jirani barely got out of the way in time to avoid getting smashed down with us. The back of my head banged the toilet seat when I fell. This fat ass strategically planted his legs on top of my shoulders so I couldn't swing my arms to retaliate, while he punched repeatedly. His fingers, the shape of bananas clocked me in the face.
Jirani hopped on the top bunk and tried to back away as far as possible, which wasn't far because of how confined the space was. Khalil and Roland grabbed each arm to hold him back. Together, they worked to drag him backward, in hopes of getting him out of the cell. Sugarman wasn't going out without a struggle. He broke out Roland's clutches, and with the newly freed arm, he punched Khalil right in the nuts. Then, he turned to Roland and swiped the back of his kneecap so his leg wound up collapsing.
The guard who escorted the prisoners in, was also in the crowded cell. He used his nightstick to try to choke Sugarman out. Sugarman grabbed the guards hand and dug his nails into it. By reflex, the guard let go of the nightstick which turned out to be a huge mistake. The guard soon felt the might of his very own nightstick, right between the eyes. He backed out of the cell, clenching his face. Sugarman also took the nightstick to both of Khalil's legs and even his head.
In all the commotion, I remember hearing one thing.
"Jirani," Cypress called. "Come outta here!" Cypress had run to the entrance of the door to make sure his brother didn't get hurt.
Jirani moved all the way to the foot of the bunk bed and hopped down so he could slide out of the eye of the tornado.
Once Cypress secured his brother's safety, he guarded him, making sure that whatever went on, had no impact on his little brother. Muslim Aarif got involved in the fight, but he was only trying to break it up. As one of the bigger guys in the cellblock, he thought that he might be able to subdue the giant. He started by locking his arms around Sugarman's neck in a headlock. Sugarman tried to swing that nightstick at him to get him the same way he got the guard, but when his arm went up, Khalil grabbed it from him.
"Gimme dat got'daym stick!" He threw it, and it flew into the next cell over.
Aarif yanked, dragging that fat ass backwards and he eventually pulled him far back enough so that his legs were no longer on my shoulders and I was able to throw punches at him. The first punch was with my weakened right hand, and I was certain that I heard a crack. Nah, fuck that, I heard it shatter. I ignored the pain since I was in the fight of my life. My left hand darted as many punches as possible, but they seemed not to faze him. He punched me again with that iron fist.
The prison sirens blared through the speakers. Tongis started them up once he saw the guard step back with his hands on his face. The prison sirens started up whenever a situation got out of hand, and they needed more correctional officers concentrated in a certain part of the building. "Cellblock B needs help, I repeat, Cellblock B needs help!" Tongis said over the microphone.
Fuck this shit. I was pissed the fuck off already, this nigga was charged me out of nowhere, and now I had a broken hand. It was time to end this shit! I reached back and behind the sink. I could feel that there were probably about 12 pencils left and all I needed was 1. I pulled the pencil-razor out of Hakim's hiding spot and jabbed it into his heart.
"Gaahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!" He screamed in anguish.
The blade pierced his skin like butter. It went straight through, without putting up a fight. I, then twisted the pencil around. The blade rotated while it was in his body. I could feel it widening the cavity that it originally created as it twisted.
Sugarman's body weakened, and he actually allowed Aarif to drag him backward. Aarif pulled him out of my cell and laid him on the floor. The pencil end of the weapon stuck out of his chest with a pool of blood that was getting gradually bigger by the second. I stood up. My shirt ripped and drenched with his blood, my own blood oozed from my face and my right hand had to be broken. With all these things going on, all I could think was, I did it! I slayed the dragon!
I looked across the block. Cypress stayed on guard of his brother, and everyone else looked at the wounded version of me. I took a step closer to the body, limping. I wanted to see... I had to see... He fucked with me, when he didn't even know me. I needed to see... that he was dead.
The guard that escorted Sugarman in ran up to the guards station and waited inside. And I could see Tongis and Melee suited up. The situation was diffused since the person who caused it was no longer living. But the reinforcement guards hadn't got the memorandum. They came charging in and throwing their tear gas cans. Prisoners scattered before that shit got too deep into their eyes. Most of them ran to the cells on the top floor, but I didn't. I was too proud to run. I stood, looking at Sugarman's lifeless body.
"Get down!" Officer Stinger, the officer who generally watched the hole, yelled at the prisoners.
No... I wasn't about to get down. I spent the majority of that fight being down. I was up and going to stay up for as long as I could.
Not knowing exactly which prisoners were fighting, the guard knocked down anything that wasn't already down, including me. Stinger's nightstick banged right at the top of my spinal cord. It hit the spot between the back of my head and neck. Rendered unconscious...
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