*Excerpt from Chapter 9: A Lion Amongst Wolves*
It was three days since my brother’s visit, and I was starting to miss the outside. I told them to stay away from me while I was in here, but I was starting to miss Jarrah and my mother. I was in here for almost two weeks, and I hadn’t made a move on Jerrell yet. I was trying to play the long game, but I was starting to get impatient. I needed to get answers quickly so I could get out of here and be there for my girl. I didn’t speak to Jarrah since the night at the club. I was ashamed to face her, so I stayed away from her. I would speak to my mother and Dustin on the phone most days, but I didn’t want to speak to her. I knew she was going through a lot, and I was the cause of most of it. I was tired of hurting her. I wished things played out another way. Now, she had to go through life knowing her mother put a hit on her ex-husband. That was the last thing I wanted. That’s why I held onto that secret like my life depended on it. However, I didn’t expect someone else to expose me to her. Hell, I didn’t even expect J to do something like that. One thing he wasn’t was a snitch, but who else could it have been?
Regardless, I was going to press him about it, today. I was tired of keeping my head down and waiting for the right time. I needed answers now, so I could be there for Jarrah. As I walked to a vacant table after I got my breakfast, I scanned the cafeteria to see if he was there, but there were no signs of him. I sat down by myself and began eating my scrambled eggs, whole wheat bread, and cream of wheat. I had pineapple juice, whole milk, and coffee to wash the dry ass food down. I drank all of it because it was the only way I was going to feel somewhat full. One thing I hated about being in prison was the food. I was spoiled on the outside when it came to what I ate, so having to pass up my salmon and lobster for this shit drove me crazy, especially since I didn’t have to. I could easily get out of here, and return to my life, but not before I did what I came here to do. As I started on my cream of wheat, a group of guys came to the table and sat around me. They all glanced at each other. Then, at me. I kept my eyes on my tray because I didn’t want any trouble. I couldn’t have anybody messing up my plan before I got to enact it.
After eyeballing me for a while, the Mark Henry-looking nigga asked, “Whatchu doin’ at our table, fish?” I assumed he was the leader since the others blindly followed him. Instead of answering him, I kept eating my food. I was new here, so I was getting tried all the time. My tactic was to not give them any energy, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t work with this inmate.
“You deaf nigga, or slow,” he spat, getting agitated with me. I slowly stood up with my tray in my hand to try and leave the table. He nodded his head at one of his boys and prompted him to stop me. His do boy grabbed my arm and squeezed it tight, so I wouldn’t be able to move.
“Sit,” the leader commanded. I followed his instructions. I knew I had to play this role if I wanted to be successful with my plan. I didn’t care how I looked to any of the inmates in here. I was in here for one reason and one reason only, and I wasn’t going to allow anyone to stand in the way of that no matter what I had to do.
“Word around the prison is you got bread,” he said to me. I quietly stared at him. I wasn’t sure who would tell them I had money since I hadn’t spoken to anyone since I got here, not even my cellie. Then, it dawned on me. The only person that knew me outside of here was Rell.
“You can’t believe everything you hear,” I retorted, finally engaging him. He smirked through thick crusty lips.
“Well, I do. My source is reliable,” he answered. I clenched my jaw as I tried to hold myself together. I hated guys like this, and I knew Jerrell was privy to that information. I wouldn’t be surprised if he instigated this.
“You think I would be in here if I had it like that,” I questioned. He leaned into the table and stared at me.
“I think you’d say anythin’ to cover yo’ ass. Just by lookin’ at you, I can tell you got paper. You don’t belong here, so that makes me wonder… What are you in here for,” he asked me. I furrowed my brows at him. I knew that question was coming.
“Why does that matter,” I asked, getting impatient.
“Because nigga… I said so,” he responded as he stuck his finger in my cream of wheat.
The more he spoke, the more he made my blood boil. I was able to evade conflict since I came in here, so I would be angry if I couldn’t in this situation. Instead of answering him, I stood up again and tried to leave the table, but his clique surrounded me. They enclosed me in a circle as he walked around the table, toward us. From the beginning, I knew he was trouble. I hated that I was in this situation. I kept a low profile for this long, but I knew it was a matter of time before someone chin-checked me. When we were face to face, he laughed in my face. Then, he drew his fist back and swung at me. I dodged him and countered him with a two-piece that put him to sleep. His clique paused for a few seconds in disbelief, before jumping me. I defended myself as best as I could against them. It felt like it took forever for the guards to break up the fight.
When they broke us up, they immediately took me to an empty cage. I was confused why they didn’t take me to my cell. I sat on the edge of the bunk and tried to slow my breathing. I was angry I couldn’t avoid that situation. If I pulled my punch a bit, I probably would just get a ticket, but since I knocked him out, I was sure they were going to confine me to my cell for a while. I just hoped I got off easy since this was my first time getting into some shit. After I was sitting on the bunk for about five minutes, I heard footsteps coming my way. I lifted my head and stared at the cell door. When I saw him standing in front of me, my blood pressure instantly rose.
To Be Continued...