Standing Up (Part 1 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.
It was mid June 2003, 110 degrees outside, and my fifth hour locked in an outside holding cage at Central Unit. My sunburnt body had turned crimson. A sergeant had placed me there to “cool off.” I was determined not to break down. With no water or shade, I willed my body not to either.
My eyes were exhausted from squinting out the sun. Heat-warped air was raging off the concrete, but from 40 yards away, I still managed to recognize a brown uniform coming in my direction. The officer had something in hand, but I couldn’t tell what. He was about 5’8”, mid twenties, his brownish-blond hair cut short. His eyes were behind Oakley sunglasses. Though boyish in face, his posture displayed that of a seasoned officer. Confidence is key in prison for inmates and staff, even if you have to fake it.
Leaning over, displaying my prison-inked arms through the handcuff slot, I gave the officer a look as scorching as the sun.
He approached with a Styrofoam cup of water, reached out and offered it to me. “Here’s some water for ya.”
“Nah. I’m cool,” I replied with an aggressive calm.
“You don’t want any water?”
“Fuck you! Fuck your water! And fuck your sergeant!”
“So you don’t want this water, huh?”
“No, and you’ll see why.”
“What are you gonna do? Go off? You’ll just end up in the hole.”
I snickered at him for assuming I was the temper-tantrum type. “You’re going to see how persuasive I can be to 200 prisoners,” I said, mad that I’d displayed some of my hand, which I put down to the sun getting at me.
I must have struck a chord with the officer as his expression and tone changed. “Look, man, if I could pull you out of here I would. The serg wants you here. He’s a piece of shit, I agree. If I had my way, I’d pull you out, but I’m just a C.O. He’s a sergeant. I got to follow orders.”
“You fuckin’ pathetic loser. I didn’t ask you for a fuckin’ explanation. Fuckin’ get lost, and don’t come back unless you’re to pull me out,” I stated dismissively.
Angry and offended, he turned and walked away.
Forty-five minutes went by. The same officer returned with another to escort me back to my cell. My body was blistering red, my mouth parched as if I’d swallowed a bucket of sand, and the muscles around my eyes aching from squinting. I was relieved they’d come to let me out, but determined not to show it. I pulled my jumpsuit back over my shoulders, as I had it half way rolled down to my waist. I turned around and cuffed up.
Their hands clenched my biceps with a grip that meant, “Make the wrong move, and you’re hitting the floor, face first.”
They manoeuvred me towards my housing unit at their own stop-and-go pace – a tight squeeze to stop, a loose one to go. We walked 30 yards, and turned right until we were facing the control room and traditional sliding steel door. One officer waved for the door to be opened, and the female in the control room activated it.
In the control tower was a familiar silhouette. With his arms crossed and a stern look, it was the sergeant that had locked me outside in 110-degree heat. I gave him an equally level stare that said, “This isn’t over.”
The two officers noticed, and nudged me forward.
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Links to more prison stories by Warrior:
Warrior v Big E.
Rapist on the Yard
Bucket of Blood
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