01 Oct 08
Warrior v Big E. (by Warrior Part 1)
Warrior - Serving fourteen years for kidnapping and aggravated assault. Half Hispanic and Scottish-Irish with family still in Mexico. Brought up by a family steeped in drug commerce.
Guys in prison always feel they’ll eventually be able to lay their swords down, hang up their spurs, and not have to maintain the status quo when it comes to respect.
For some, their looks, size or reputation enables them to do so.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve never had such luck. It’s always been my looks that made me stand out to be tested. Even as a kid in school, I remember it being the same way. I’ve heard I look like a pushover, I’ve also heard the term “innocent." I never cease hearing, “You don’t look like you belong in prison,” even from C.O.s – whatever that means?
I know this is the reason Big E. chose me to be an outlet for his aggression.
Big E. stood for Big Ego. A Mexican cat about 6 foot 1 and 200 pounds. He had been around the system for a while. Earned his ink putting in work for the EME (Mexican Mafia). He was covered in prison ink from neck to toe. Aztec Warriors. Brown Pride. His gang shield. The traditional stuff. Old English on his back and stomach. He wore a pair of Maddoggers sunglasses that added to his disposition.
I had just touched down in Buckeye prison. Knew a couple of faces. Met some new ones.
One face I knew was a guy named Trip. Him and I did hole time together.
It’s always good to run into a familiar face you’re cool with from another unit. It helps your credibility as a solid dude when another solid dude can vouch for you. Plus it helps you get a lay of the land quicker. Who’s cool. Who’s a dope fiend. Who’s trouble. What cops are assholes, and which are cool and let us do our time.
My first day at rec, Trip and I walked a few laps.
“Damn it’s good to see you, dawg!” Trip said.
“Fuck, I know. I didn’t think I was ever gonna get outta the fuckin’ hole,” I said. “It’s good to see a familiar face.”
“I hear you, bro. Who’s still left over there?”
“Eagle, Monster, Spider are all stuck. Roy made it out to a yard though. He was happy. He’s over here around the way on a Level 3 yard.”
“Fuckin’ Roy! That’s cool,” Trip said. “The other cats stuck, huh? Tsk-tsk. That’s the name of the game though right: cops and robbers. How long you do in the hole?”
“Three fuckin’ years, homes,” I said. “I tell you, man, that last year was wearing on me mentally too. That sensory-deprivation shit ain’t no joke. A lot of hate was building up in me. I don’t know how those other dudes go ten years like that.”
“Those other dudes probably mad with hate by five years hole time,” Trip said. “By then, those fools can only function in the hole. Complete antisocial sociopaths. The really fucked-up shit is the system has no idea of the monsters they’re creating. As long as their pockets are full, all we’ll be is dollar signs.”
“I hear that. Fuck the system. It’s their Catch-22 one way or the other. Karma doesn’t discriminate. It goes after systems too.”
“Word has it a coupla dudes offed themselves?” Trip asked.
“Yeah. Four dudes in a month and a half. Two hung themselves by sheet. Two others cut their wrists. It was crazy. A youngster too. You shoulda seen it. Administration had the cops doing fifteen-minute walks to make it look good when the investigators came. But the minute the investigation was over, back to before.”
“Damn that’s dirty. That’s prison life though.”
Trip and I finished our catching up. He then introduced me to a group of dudes playing cards at the Independent Table. It was a table where all of the races go to play poker. Guys gamble money, drugs, property, even their homosexuals.
All the races had claim to one of three tables: blacks, whites, Mexicans. But the fourth was a neutral spot all the races agreed to and only meant for gambling – the Independent Table.
Gambling is big business in prison. Even in prison, green is acknowledged as the ultimate color, the color of money. Just another source of income for those “holding the keys” – the heads of the races running the yard.
At the Independent Table, all the guys had their shirts off as they took in the evening sun. By all the ink they displayed you could tell they were old numbers. Sleeved with swastikas and Vikings if they were white. Aztec Warriors and women if they were Mexican. The blacks had images of Africa and civil-rights leaders.
Trip introduced me to everyone, Big E. being one of them.
Everyone was cool and shook my hand except for Big E.. He looked me up and down, sizing me up. Everyone acted like they didn’t notice, but I’m sure they did.
I exchanged small talk with a few guys and then we were on our way.
“Hey, who’s that fool with the Maddoggers glasses?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s Big E.,” Trip said. “He thinks his shit don’t stink. I noticed him sizing you up.”
“You caught that too, huh. I can’t stand motherfuckers like that.”
“Well, you don’t look like a tough guy. That face, man,” Trip said jokingly.
“What I lack in looks, I make up in experiences, believe that!” I said, growing irritable.
“Hey, whoa, whoa…I’m not the one sizing you up there, killer. Maybe Big E. was having a bad day? Don’t take it personal, it’s too early to tell.”
“We’ll see,” I said.
I’d been down long enough to know when someone was about to test me. When it’s played out so many times, you become familiar with the signs.
I was thinking, Here we go again.I always hear from my buddies that I have this certain look that makes guys want to test me. To this day I don’t know what that look is.
I was on the push-up station doing some sets with a guy named Gangster. Just then Big E. and Ghost walked up. They started small talk with Gangster and asked to join in a couple of sets. Then the hostility talk began:
“I can’t stand fuckin’ chumps on this yard,” Big E. said, glancing at me.
If you were Warrior, how would you handle Big E.?
Click here for Warrior v Big E. Part 2
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