Central Unit (Part 4 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.
In Part 3, Warrior learned the guards are staging cockfights in lockdown among the inmates, and there is race war going on between the whites and Chicanos versus the Mexicans.

Still in shock over the fight that had just occurred, I was unable to move. Having to swallow the lump in my throat brought me back to reality. I couldn’t believe what Cowboy had just said. Are these guards that sadistic here? I asked myself.
My mind raced with numerous thoughts. Who will I be set up to fight? I need to pick it up on my workouts. Should I make a piece of steel? What if I get caught slipping? No sleeping in the day for starters. Must get an idea of who’s who.

“How long’s it been like this here?” I asked Cowboy.
“For a minute now. Before I got here.”
“So basically we’re always on our toes?”
“Yup. You gotta be.”
“So who do I got to watch out for around here?”
“Check it out. Right now, runnin’ your people is Tiger. He’ll get atcha, and run everything down, and pick ya up to speed. In the meantime, just sit tight. I’m sure he knows you’re here.”
“Alright then,” I said.
“Well, since the action is over with, I’m gonna make a swig of coffee. I need to write a coupla kites [messages] to the boys ’bout the latest. I’ll get witcha later.”
We shook hands and parted ways for the moment.

I headed over towards my bunk, and turned on the TV. I couldn’t focus on what was on because my mind kept replaying the recent bout. My thoughts were on what preparations I needed to make in case I needed to battle. I didn’t want to make a piece [shank] and take the chance of getting caught with it. I was already locked down for 23 ½ hours a day. I had 30 minutes to shower. I didn’t want to be locked down in the hole for 24 hours. Besides if I couldn’t get the piece quick enough, what was the point? That’s the risk you take with a shank. If you hide it half-ass, you’ll get to it quick when you need it, but so will the cops if they’re searching your cell. If you hide it good, no cop will find it, but unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to get it fast enough when you need it. I’ve never liked shanks much for this reason. My confidence and comfort came from being good with my fists.

As my thoughts rolled on, I was distracted from them by a voice shouting, “Ese, Warrior!”
I motioned over towards my cell bars. My cell was the lower corner cell. Three other tiers were above me. I looked around trying to locate the direction from where the voice came. I then noticed an arm sleeved with prison ink waving at me from two tiers up on the opposite side of my cell.
“I’m coming down!” said the owner of the arms. “Do you know how to fish?”
“Yeah,” I hollered back.

Fishing in prison is where one twists up some line made from the thread of boxers, T-shirts, sheets, even a towel. The line thickness and length varies depending on what you’re pulling towards you and how far you have to go. What you’re doing though, is sending or retrieving something from another’s line. It’s called fishing because you have to cast your line out several times in order to catch the other person’s. Weights like combs, batteries, bars of soap, are tied to the ends of the lines for greater manoeuvrability and retrieval.

Just then I heard Cowboy at the bars. “Hey, there’s a fishing line underneath yer bunk. The dude there before left it for the next guy.”
I went and looked below my bunk. Wrapped up in a hiding spot only those doing time are usually aware of was a white nylon line made from the polyester band that makes the elastic in boxers. Those lines are usually strong. I retrieved and began to unravel the line. It had the crimped half end of a toothpaste tube stuffed with cardboard for a weight. Perfect, I thought. It’s exactly how I would have made a line.
I then heard a soft thud hit the concrete just outside my bars. An orange line was stretching from the tattooed arms two tiers up to the floor just in front of me. At the end of the line was a sock stuffed with what looked to be a milk carton for a weight. The ingenuity of a prisoner’s weight says a lot about him when it comes to fishing. The more creative, the more disciplined he is. The more half ass, the more lazy.

I shot my toothpaste-tube weight out over the orange line. “OK! Pull your slack!” I yelled.
The tattooed arms pulled the slack, lifting my line high enough to yank the toothpaste weight underneath his, so I could pull his line and weight in. I had his line in my house. “OK! I got it!” I yelled.
“Pull!” he yelled.
I pulled in his orange line until I was met with a little plastic bag containing a kite for me.
“Orale, I got it!” I shouted.
“Orale, read the wila [letter] and get back at us!”
“Alright then!”
“Have a buen dia [good day], Warrior!”
“Tu tambien [you also].”
I detached the letter, threw out the orange line and began to read the message.

Click here to read:
Central Unit Part 1
Central Unit Part 2
Central Unit Part 3
More About Fishing In Prison

Our friends inside appreciate your comments.

Email comments and questions for Warrior to writeinside@hotmail.com or post them below. To post a comment if you do not have a Google/Blogger account, just select anonymous for your identity.

Shaun P. Attwood


Anonymous said...

Its about to get crazy for Warrior in Central Unit. Can't wait to read more.

What happens if the guards catch you with a shank?


Dirtos said...

I'm loving Warrior's writing. It's brilliant stuff. I like the way he delves into the inner politics and etiqutte of prison life. Are you going into more detail on this sort of thing in your book Shaun?

Jon said...

Yes, Dirtos. From general jail etiquette to gang behaviour.

Shaun Attwood

adam said...

Yes, this is definately interesting reading. And well written too! Have been following this story unfold hungrily from the first episode, always hoping the next one is up when i check the site. Excellent with all the guestbloggers writing in... or should that be columnists?

anyways - can't wait for more.

have a nice summer