08 Mar 09
The Dangers Involved with a Gay Cellmate (Part 2 by Warrior)
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. He writes some of the best prison-fight stories on the Internet.
As my cellmate was being cuffed, I paid close attention to his hands, attempting to gauge his size. In here, where cellmates sometimes kill their new cellmates, you have to notice such things, in case the compatibility to live with one another is not there. I noticed small hands, more feminine than a man’s. I also noticed lengthy fingernails, which meant my new cellmate was a homosexual. Then it dawned what the sergeant had meant by asking if I’d cell with anyone.
With my new cellmate cuffed up and my leg shackles off, the escorting officer directed the control tower to release the lock on the cell door. Before I entered, I felt the stares escaping all of the surrounding cells.
The face I saw was of a boy no more than 18. Short with feminine features. Thinly built almost to the degree of a woman in frame. He had to be part Native American. He was light-complected and grew no facial hair, which played into his ladylike appearance.
“Shit,” I said, knowing what drama celling with this individual would bring. I instantly saw fear in the kid’s eyes and posture. A sign that he’d been through a lot.
The officers shut the door, and we were both uncuffed. The bottom bunk was empty, so I knew it was mine. I wondered if the kid preferred the top bunk for safety reasons – harder access to try and hurt or rape him along with eliminating the scenario of being punked for the upper bunk.
“What’s up. I’m Warrior.” I put my hand out to shake, and he followed suit and tried to meet my handshake. Limpwristed. It was more of a hand curtsy.
“I’m Sasha,” he said in a lisp.
Irritated, I asked, “What’s your real name?”
“You don’t mind if I call you Daniel, do ya?”
“Nah, it’s cool.”
“Well, if you don’t mind, it’s been an exhausting day, I’m gonna crash out for a little bit.” I was tired from waiting in holding pens out in the hot sun all day. Normally, I wouldn’t sleep around a new cellie until I was able to feel him out further. Given Daniel’s disposition, I didn’t have much to worry about. I couldn’t imagine how much shit he’d been through because of his sexuality. Homosexuality is frowned upon in the Arizona prison system, yet prevalent.
I woke to dinner. Daniel retrieved the trays from the trap. We both started to eat. With an air of fear, Daniel asked if I wanted some food from his tray. I declined.
I define individuals on who they are and how they behave, not in terms of social background, sexual orientation or religion.
To ease his fear, I explained I didn’t expect or want anything form him. I just wanted him to be a respectful cellie, and I’d be the same. I saw a weight lifted off him, and his eyes welled up a bit. I thought he was going to cry, but he held back.
What he told me, I wasn’t ready for. At that moment I guess I was the closest thing to civility he’d run into for a while. He said how every cellie he’d had ended up wanting something sexual from him since he’s been in the hole. He’d been bouncing from yard to yard because homosexuals are not allowed on the yards anymore. When he wasn’t getting beat up, he was trying to avoid servicing someone sexually, even though he usually ended up having to do so. The kid was in the hole for assault on his lover. He’d got to the point where he offered his food up, hoping his cellmates would eat and be too full to want to mess with him.
I’ve always been quick at understanding someone’s nature and sincerity or lack of. The kid’s eyes told me he’d been through a lot. I had compassion for him, knowing he’d been through more that I could. If I were him, I would have killed the people that harmed me. I was surprised he hadn’t killed himself yet. I recognised he had a good heart, so I decided to school him in prison, politics, survival 101. I stayed up most of the night explaining why the system frowns on homosexuals, and why many prisoners behave like animals around homosexuals.
He asked if I believed he could do the rest of his time in peace. I told him only if he was in protective custody, which was his safest course of action.
The next day was rec. It consisted of being placed inside small fenced-off dog kennels. There were ten kennels side by side, opposite another row of 10.
It was morning still, and I asked Daniel if he was heading out for rec. He said no. I knew he feared the other inmates.
Rec was an hour, so I told him I’d be back in an hour. Again I saw the fear in his eyes, so I asked, “What are you worried about?”
“Those guys are gonna try to get you to beat me up.”
“Look, I don’t know what your issues are, but as far as I’m concerned you’re cool. It’s different in the hole as far as yard laws are concerned. I can play this game like the rest of these fools. Relax, you have nothing to worry about. I’m no two-faced fucker either. I told you I expect nothing but a respectful cellie. That’s what you’ve shown me, so you have the same coming in return.” I then went to rec.
I was the last one brought out of the twenty cells. Cells 2 and 1 didn’t go. Some guys were working out, others talking. Each kennel had a different race, some blacks, some whites, some Mexicans, some chiefs.
I was the only body in my kennel since my cellie stayed in. I took my shirt off to display my ink. To let the rest know I wasn’t knew to the system. I started my workout.
A short stocky Mexican with a goatee and lacquered back hair was the first to make conversation.
“Q-vo, homeboy. What’s your name?”
“Orale. I’m Chuco. This is my cellie Sniper.”
“Orale, homes,” Sniper said, and nodded his head. He was young, thin, with a bald head. One arm sleeved in ink, so he was in the mix of prison politics to some degree.
Introductions in prison are verbal chess. They are attempts at establishing position and seniority, finding out who rolls with who and who’s connected to the gangs, and if so how far up the ladder they are.
So I played the game with these two. I could tell Sniper was a wannabe, and followed Chuco’s lead. I could tell Chuco wasn’t sure about me, just as I wasn’t sure about him. So we were at a stalemate, though on the surface it all came across as a courteous conversation.
Then the drama began. “So you celled up with Sasha I see,” Chuco said.
“Daniel you mean?” I replied.
“Oh, my bad, Daniel,” he said sarcastically. “You know that’s a violation, right?”
Click here to read Part 3.
Click here to read Part 1.
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Shaun P. Attwood