Slim (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.
“What? What?” Charlie asked with an anxiety that said he thought he might be the target.
“They’re gonna get Slim right now.”
“Who? Who is?” Charlie asked, his voice growing more worried.
“Shhhhh…Not so loud. Calm down. Just pay attention.”
Charlie trusted me, and in prison trust is rare. No matter how much trust you put in someone, there’s still a part of your consciousness that never lets you forget you’re in prison and should trust no one. In here, your friend can be your enemy from one minute to the next. So I understood Charlie’s anxiety.
“Look! Look!” Charlie said, pointing at the pull-up bars.
Just then Casper threw a swing at Slim. Slim ducked as if he knew it were coming.
In prison you become more in tune with your instincts. As Stan Lee would say, you develop a “spider sense.” It’s as if our minds regress to the days when danger lurked around every corner, like saber-toothed tigers. So I wasn’t surprised by Slim’s response.
Lumpy was on the other side of Slim. Slim didn’t realize this as he began to run in Lumpy’s direction. Lumpy took a swing that barely clipped Slim’s ear. Slim flinched a little, but it didn’t stop his momentum. Slim began to run towards the middle of the rec yard. An older laid-back convict named Big Mike was in his direction. Mike saw him coming and threw his arm out to clothes-line Slim. Slim was running at full speed when Mike caught him. Slim’s head stopped, but his feet kept going. It looked like an old comedy skit from the sixties where a guy slips on a banana peel and his body flies horizontally. Dust billowed around Slim’s head as it hit the dirt. I hadn’t realized how much hate everyone harbored for Slim until Big Mike started to kick him.
As Slim struggled to get up, all the guys playing basketball stopped, ran over, and began to get their kicks in. No one wanted him to get up. Then, some playing cards and working out came for a piece of Slim. Two guys even dropped the telephones they were on. I’d never seen one man hated so much. I could hear the thumps from feet making contact, a few slaps as punches connected. Dirt and dust were flying through the air as Slim continued to struggle to get up and run away.
For a moment, I was struck by a feeling of déjà vu. The scene reminded me of a nature show in which a pack of wolves were trying to take down an elk that had strayed. No matter which way the elk turned there was always a wolf present at exactly the right time to deliver a bite. Its only option was to keep moving, hoping an opening would occur. It had fear in its eyes, like I saw in Slim’s.
Two explosions caused Charlie and me to flinch. Slim’s attackers dashed away. The officers in the watch tower launched tear-gas canisters at the center of the melee. The prisoners scattered chaotically, like ants reacting to an invasion of their hill.
One man named Happy continued kicking Slim despite the tear gas. The officer in the tower fired a warning shot. Everyone hit the floor face down because we all knew the next shot would be aimed at any man still standing.
Happy continued kicking. There was a shot. Happy fell.
Offended by one of our own getting shot, everyone got to their feet, and threatened to riot. We targeted our aggression at the officers in the area. But more officers came with shotguns, tear gas, and Tasers. We weren’t outnumbered, but outgunned. It was over.
Having been shot with rubber pellets, Happy was hospitalised. Slim was taken to the hole, too much of a liability to keep on the yard. Some guys were caught and taken to lock-up, others got away in the pandemonium. The rest of us had to wait out on the rec yard for several hours, cuffed with zip ties while investigators completed their investigation.
I realized that day what a fine line of violence those of us locked up have to walk. The guards have to be violent enough to set an example, yet not so much as to be labelled bullies and ignite the whole yard.
Aggression is inherent in human nature. It’s how we’ve survived for thousands of years. In modern society it’s more subtle though. But prison never lets you forget our potential for violence, whether as predator or prey.
Here’s the link to Part 1: http://jonsjailjournal.blogspot.com/2009/10/slim-part-1-by-warrior-warrior-serving.html
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Shaun P. Attwood