02 Mar 09

From Two Tonys (Letter 10)

Two Tonys - A whacker of men and Mafia associate serving multiple life sentences for murders and violent crimes. Left bodies from Tucson to Alaska, but claims all his victims "had it coming." Recently diagnosed with liver cancer, and is in chemotherapy fighting to prolong his life.


Greetings My Pal From The Misty Isles,

The Land of Pendragon, Churchill, Sir Drake, The Great Monte Savior of the Free World, and Amy the Great. I’m talking Winehouse here. Not the Liverpool Winehouses, but the London Winehouses. Am I correct? I like Amy, and if I could get to London, I’d like to hang out with her. I’d straighten her out. Not in a mean way. But help her in a nice way.

It’s 6:30AM over here. I’ve been up since 3AM doing the things we do. Clean my area. Straighten up. Do part of my store list.
I’ve got to go to pill call around 8AM, and have them give me my chemo and pain pills. They look under my tongue. Degrading? Yes, but it’s all part of my journey. Humbleness and degradation has a big part.
Now that doesn’t mean I just pull the plug. You know, I go to pill call twice a day, and there are around 40-50 guys that all get turned out at the same time, and stand in a long line while each guy gets his pills and goes through the same ritual. “Tongue up! Show the sides of your cheeks!”
Now I’ve got a buddy here who goes with me to get his issue also. He’s cool. He’s one of those Italian Stallions out of Phoenix. We try our best to enjoy our trip. We laugh at some of these phoney motherfuckers, who, on the walk up there start grunting, groaning, baby-stepping along. And if they catch someone checking them out, it’s even worse. They really turn it on. Oh poor me. Poor me. I’m sick. I’m sick. Pity me. Now that kind of shit gives me strength to climb my mountain. And I enjoy that. Look, if we’re climbing a mountain and we’re all hooked on a line, we don’t want 3 or 4 weakasses who cry, snivel and gripe all the way.

Look, I’ve received a lot of our blog buddies comments telling me to fight the fight. I feel that everyone is sincere and very considerate. So this is what I’m up to. My goal is not really to find a cure for this bullshit. I guess I just want to show my old ass off and try my best to go out. Not complaining or sniveling. But as the man I think I am. We discussed pain and suffering before. Yeah! I copped to being scared of it. Bit after researching it, pondering on it real hard, I come to the finding that it’s there, but we have to fight to endure it. Where is it? It’s in the mind. Pain is just lying there waiting to stick its head up and root in self-pity, weakness, unknowing.
The worst of cancer is the actual physical pain itself. It is the motherfucker who separates the strong from the weak. Was Hemingway weak when he crawled down in that basement in Ketchum, Idaho, and ate the end of that 12 gauge? I think he just pondered what lay ahead and the rough tough guy he was, he said, “Fuck it!”
I get a lot of mail from family and friends talking to me of the quality of life importance, and that a time will come when quantity of life will take a back seat to quality. I’m pondering the truth to that. I sure as fuck ain’t got no quality in this shithole. It don’t exist in this camp (the worst I’ve seen). So fuck it.

We could stay up all night and debate is there a heaven or hell. We just got to wait and see. It would be great if I could have a road-to-Damascus epiphany like Saul of Tarsus did. But I haven’t. I guess at times I try to hedge my bets. But that’s normal. Don’t you think?

Good luck with your adventure in the Big Smoke. I am really happy for you, and I do believe in you. You’re very unique, and have a clearheadedness to go with that when you use it. Your boss, Tony, sounds OK, and as long as he’s good to you, he’s alright with me. Everybody you speak to won’t understand you, so fuck ’em. But you’ve got a real chance to help some youngsters have a life, so get out there and do it. You’re going to be great. I believe that.
Hey bro, watch that nightlife. It will come up and bite you right on your red ass. But you know that don’t you? I believe you when you tell me you’ve got a plan and you intend to work it. But to quote: The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Put yourself on a short leash. I know you will. Big cities eat people up, but you get in there and do what you’ve gotta do. Chris in Phoenix had a good comment on your manic side kicking in and trying to fuck up your plan. Be on guard.

I’d like to thank you sincerely on your choice of books. The Great Thoughts is a 9 ½ on the Richter. And I’m just getting into Shantaram, and The Shack.

Hey permit me one more shout out to all our friends who emailed nice thoughts and prayers to me. It’s really pepped me up. So thanks friends! Like I tell my pals out on the yard who wanted to mollycoddle me (but I put a stop to that shit), I’ll deal with this bastard as best as I can. No baby-stepping, hunched-over lifestyle for me. This is my fight. I appreciate the written words from our pals, and I feel like we’re all in our own way pals. I will keep you all posted on my condition, and it will be my adventure. I don’t plan on doing a Hemingway. Your comments help me, and I appreciate them.

Two Tonys

My Response To Two Tonys

1 March 09

My friend,

Thanks for the letter. I really enjoyed how you roped the mountain metaphor into the pill-call story. It sounds like your spirits are up and you’re making the most of your situation. I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. As you can see from the comments, we’re all rooting for you.

You asked if it’s normal to hedge your bets regarding a belief in God. Your question broaches the subject of Pascal’s Wager. Pascal claimed it makes more sense to believe because you will then be rewarded in the afterlife, and even if God doesn’t exist, you have lost nothing either way. The likes of Richard Dawkins have slammed this, but I don’t see the harm in believing in anything that contributes to you having a more positive mental state. As you’ve said many times, our happiness is governed by our thoughts, and we have the freedom to think whatever we want.

As for my job, my boss has been in South Africa for two weeks visiting some rehabs he works with. So I’ve still not started yet, but I’m rearing to go.

I have a girlfriend now. Kathi from Halle, Germany. About 6 months ago I noticed her on Irvine Welsh’s MySpace friends. (Irvine is the Scotsman who wrote Trainspotting.) We emailed back and forth, and before I moved to London, I told her my parents were in Abu Dhabi, and she jumped on a plane to Manchester from Leipzig, and spent the weekend. She is a social worker (rescues abused children), and a part-time runway model. She has frizzy German-barbarian copper-coloured hair bordering on an Afro, and showed up in old-school Converse sneakers. She is cultured, intelligent, has a kind heart, and big green eyes. And on top of all that she has special knowledge of cheese, which she demonstrated at our local pub, The Coterie, by rattling off the names of the many cheeses on display, names the waitress was having problems with. Considering we’d never met and she speaks limited English – she brought an electronic translator – we hit it off from second one and there was no awkwardness at all. She’s flying out and staying for the last two weeks in March. She said if I don’t make it in London, I should move to Berlin.

Click here for pics of Kathi’s stay in England, including new pics of Hammy.

My mentor, Sally Hinchcliffe, is really helping my writing come along. The book about the time I spent at Joe Arpaio’s jail is 85,000 words now. With her help, I’m confident it will be in a presentable shape soon, and I’ll be able to open the right doors. It’s been a long time coming, and I hope you get to see some of my success.
I’ve really got no choice other than to work myself out of my present situation. The government’s still paying my rent and giving me money for groceries. It’s weird having so little after having so much before prison, but it’s also motivating me to work harder, to accomplish more. Anyway, I aim to do you proud.

Only one bad thing’s happened recently. I keep waking up with blood in my mouth. I went to an emergency dental appointment, and she said I need to see a specialist to get the deposits removed from under my gums. She said gum disease is usually caused by smoking or genetic factors, but I think I’ve brushed my teeth too much over the years and worn my gums down. The problem is no dentist will see me because I’m still classed as unemployed. England used to have free healthcare for everyone, but now its been privatised. So I’m trying to get on a waiting list for an NHS dentist. I just hope I don’t loose any teeth in the meantime.

So what else have I been up to? My friend Seb from Poland encouraged me to go to karate with him. Done two classes so far. In the last one, some Russian red belt tossed me around, twisted my arm to within millimetres of its snapping point, and pinned me to the mat. This guy was the biggest man there, and had a scar across his face that would frighten most teenagers. It was great. I’m going back for more.
I’ve made a female friend in Guildford. Her name is Brenda. She’s an old bearded lady like you used to see at circuses. The last of a dying breed. She has a confident personality and seems really at one with the beard. I’ll send you some pics when I get a printer sorted out. Click here for pics of the Bearded Lady of Guildford.
But mostly, I stay indoors, writing, living a monklike existence. Doing mundane stuff like deseeding bird’s eye chilli peppers so I can pack some extra punch to a frozen veggie pizza, or tossing a non-biological laundry tablet over the top of my stinky clothes to the back of the washing-machine drum. And thanks to prison I now see the beauty of the ordinary.

Much love from me and Amy Winehouse!

Shaun (your horse)

Ps) which quotes in The Great Thoughts do you find most inspirational during this phase of your life?

Click here to read Two Tonys’ previous letter.

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Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

Awesome post by Double T. Thank you for the ongoing updates on how he is doing. -Jose in San Diego

Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

I really don't understand why more people don't have a Saul epiphany. I try to compare that to other things in life. I was one of those who did, but at a weird time. I wasn't an axe murderer. I was a confused 15-year-old, not particularly extraordinary or in obvious need. But right after that happened, hell invaded our family. My mother died of cancer, my father lost his marbles, remarried a chemically dependent person-and yet, I never felt that somehow it was punishment or my cross to bear. I just knew God was with me, helping me. Jesus was so real to me I have continued on the path for over 30 years. Now not perfectly, sometimes a truly royal screw-up, but that took me through every difficulty I ever went through. His presence never stops being real to me. I didn't like The Shack, but some people absolutely love it. I say, if it helps them know God or connect, that's good. I'm more old school.

Anonymous said...

Whatever he may have done, the world would be a less interesting place without Two Tonys.

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