It wasn’t easy, I guess. It wasn’t easy fucking up my life so bad I ended up here. But here I am.
It sounds bad, doesn’t it?
Well, it is.
But they wanted, they asked, nicely, of course, for me to write my “memoirs”, “my story”, for part of this program Ms. Berry came up with. Oh yeah, Ms. Berry. I’ve got to say, she’ll probably be calling me when I’m on the outside. Or I’ll be calling her.
Hey, nobody’s gonna read this, right?
Guess I better clean up the second draft.
They said the first draft could be a ‘vomit draft’ just all the shit I throw down without expecting it to be good. Sounds like the vomit draft is my life. My life is a vomit draft.
Hopefully, I can expect things to get good?
So, where does it begin? Our mom was a bitch, really over-controlling and my sister got the brunt of it. Claudia, my kid sister, two years younger but ten years wiser. Maybe twenty. Maybe forty. She always had her head up in the air and out of the shit that we were buried in.
What shit? Dad was kind of out of it, even before he officially was. As in “diagnosed”. With Alzheimer’s. Early adult set on. It wasn’t pretty. He went down hard but held on, struggled, kept one foot on the grass. But really? He was fucked up. For a long time and we all knew it.
Dad was a liability. Mom was a curse. Claudia kept whatever we had together. A tight little house. Confined walls. My room was my sanctuary. Oh, my room!
And Claudia, my little sister, could only hold it down for so long. We wanted to get out, she wanted to get out, but only Claudia had a plan. I just didn’t know it yet.
But let me tell you about Hawk, first.
He was my best friend.
The Hawk Man Cometh! Man, who is the Hawk? Well, it’s Hawk Two, that’s who I deal with.
You might know the Hawk One. That’s Hawk Two’s old man.
A legend around these parts. Michigan. But we haven’t seen him in a while. At least I haven’t. Neither has Two, either.
You see, you just call Hawk, my Hawk, ‘Hawk’. If you want to piss him off? You call him ‘Two’, or worse yet, ‘Hawk Two’. Right now, it’s cool, I call him ‘Hawk’. Can’t wait to see him again. When I get out. Any day now.
So, what about my best friend? This Hawk?
We were friends since third grade. There was, what we call, “The Joseph MacGruder Incident.” A little situation between me, Hawk, a bully, and a slab of concrete.
Bully MacGruder decided to pick on me. A lot. He was bigger and good at being a jerk. Decided he would run me down, right there at the bus-stop. Other kids didn’t like MacGruder. But they feared him. But nobody spoke up for me. Nobody but Hawk.
Now, Hawk goes in and tries to defend me against MacGruder. But, you gotta understand, MacGruder’s like two years older than us. MacGruder starts layin’ in on Hawk’s family, his old man. Caught Hawk off guard. Hawk froze.
I see an opening. There was a curb at the bus stop that a piece of concrete was breaking off from. It was stuck there, suspended but it was my chance. I ran over to it and stomped it, stomped on it hard until it broke off all together.
The piece broke off all together from the rest of the curb. It was jagged, about the size of a baseball.
MacGruder’s got Hawk by the collar. So, both of his hands were occupied.
My slab of concrete upside MaGruder’s head.
He hits the ground hard. The harder hit of MacGruder to the ground knocked him out. The smash of my jagged slab upside his skull left the scars.
The scars he carried his whole short life.
Hawk was always big. Not in good shape big, just big, naturally big, but it was like he didn’t even know it. Didn’t know how to use it to his advantage.
He was just a big ol’ boy, and just really good at being himself. Good for a ride, good for a laugh, good for an adventure. Maybe a little too good at times.
When we were 15, we ‘borrowed’ / (stole) a neighbor’s car to go see a movie. Hawk drove and we got into a little fender bender. But the person we hit? Guess what? It was college girls. And they took advantage of us.
Hawk is about the coolest motherfucker I know.
So, Lamont’s this big black guy, I think he’s killed a few people. Most importantly, he killed his dad. And he’s been in here for a while. And he’ll be in here a while, like, probably ‘till he’s dead. I don’t think he has a life sentence, but just a long one. But you can just tell. He’s not gonna make it to see the outside and he’s okay with that. Well, not okay, but, at peace with it, I guess. At the very least, he’s somewhat accepted it.
The assignment I got was Lamont.
Part of Ms. Berry’s study. Let me explain it to you as it was explained to me, by the man himself, our trusty, Assistant Warden, ASSistant Warden Mr. Frank “The Snake” Roberts, always an ASSistant never the man, not the real man, anyway. That was some guy we never saw.
Funny how we never saw the real Warden, we only saw Frank.
But this is what Frank said to me as me and him and Ms. Berry are all sitting there in his office and she’s looking all good with her red hair and her green dress.
“Mrs. Berry” (she ain’t a MRS., Frank!)
“Is gonna tell you about her program, Mick, you piece of shit. Her liberal program is to help pieces of shit like yourself learn from other pieces of shit like this ghetto fuck here Lamont who killed his dad. You’re gonna learn some real inside killer ghetto shit and even though you’re a white piece of trash yourself already this fuck Lamont is gonna teach you his special tricks and then maybe you two will form a team! And this piece of ass here, Mrs. Berry, who I’ve secretly wanted to fuck myself for five years, is gonna do some experiments on you! Sound good? And for your trouble? For your trouble? This will get you out of your room, your cell, for five more hours a week, and maybe we’ll chop off some time for your sentence if you’re a good, little boy and do what you’re told. Sound good?”
Like Ice Cream.
Funny thing was the ice cream line I wouldn’t learn till later.
And I learned it from Lamont.
Me and Lamont had a good ol’ time. See, the assignment, or the experiment as I like to call it, was from Ms. Berry herself. She wanted to have some guy with a short term like myself (short by their standards, not mine, I’m looking at four more years for battery).
Ms. Berry wanted to have a lifer like Lamont tell a “fixer upper” like me about all the bad things that come with being in prison for life.
And then, I guess, maybe the idea is that I learn that being in prison for good, for life, is no good. It is no life. Not a life worth leading, not worth living.
So, I learn from Lamont’s mistakes. His errors. His shitty life in prison goes to my benefit. And what’s in this for Lamont?
Not much, I guess. Just the feeling of satisfaction for helping some fuck out. Some fuck like me.
Lamont told me his story.
Lamont killed a guy. His own father. He took him ‘round the throat and stabbed him, in the chest. Watched the blood spill.
Why? I wanted to know.
And what did you do… afterwards? That’s what I really wanted to know. What did you do to… celebrate?
And Lamont? He did tell me that. He did tell me.
“Ice cream”, said Lamont. “Burger King Ice Cream shake. Oreo. And Chocolate. I had them mix it. It was the best damn shake I ever had. Blood was still on my hands. And I slurped that motherfucker up, thinking it just might be my last. And it was. And it was”.
Can you imagine the taste?
Knowing you just killed some guy, your OWN dad, and here you are, drinking an Oreo and Chocolate shake with your dad’s own blood underneath your fingernails?
I have to admit… I respected it.
It was complicated but it was simple. Some real simple ghetto shit.
I don’t like my daddy? Stab. I kill him.
For me? A little more complicated. But not much. White trash shit, not ghetto shit. There’s not much difference really. Just a little bit.
So, what does it take to kill somebody? Let me tell you a little story. It’s not so little. It’s the story of a boy named Mick, that’s me, and how I ended up in prison.
Music was my life but I didn’t get to listen to much. I didn’t get to go to concerts, not much, anyway, not in my small town.
I didn’t get to do many cool things or be with many cool people.
I got to be with my fucked up dad, and my sad sack mom, and my little sister curled up in a ball.
I got to be in my little cave, my little man cave, my little room all to myself.
And that’s where I had my CD player. My magic CD player. And that thing played… magic. It played whatever I brought it and some things I didn’t. And that’s the type of thing I don’t like to talk about, I don’t like to write about, because when I get back home, I want the magic back.
That CD player? It played songs I didn’t buy it. It played songs other people couldn’t hear. That CD player had a life to its own.
It was my best friend. Besides Hawk.
And let me tell you about my room, again. Ain’t nobody getting in. Why? Because they have the whole house. Mom, in the kitchen. Dad in the living room. Sister? Everywhere else. On the phone. Up and down the stairs. Yelling, screaming, talking, trying to make things right. All the fucking time.
Me? I stay in the room. My room.
Then, Hawk comes, we go out.
Oh, shit, I forgot the bad part.
Dinner. That night.
Here it is, the sad story. Here it is, the sad facts.
I …. Well, Claudia had him over. Emal. For dinner.
And Emal, he was a bit of a fuck. From India, I think. And Hawk and I, well, we just didn’t like him.
And when it was announced, that well, Emal was going to marry my sister, we went through the motions. We acted to care. But we didn’t.
Deep down, I knew this was a bad deal. For me. If Claudia got out, got out of our little house of pain through marriage, then I’d be stuck. At home. With them. Mom and Dad. So, yeah, I was a little resentful.
We said our “congratulations”. We said our nice words.
Then me and Hawk went out for the night.
To a strip club.
I have to admit, I screwed up. I took a little hit of synthetic before we left.
Ever have some?
It screws you up good.
Guess who we saw at the strip club?
Yeah, that’s right, some naked girls.
But also him.
My sister’s new fiancé , as of a few hours ago.
What’s he doing here?
In a strip club?
Just my sister ain’t good enough for him?
We see him on the outside, in the parking lot.
Hawk’s a little drunk and I’m way screwed up.
We start picking on Emal a bit, asking him why he’s even at the club at all, as he’s soon to be a happily married man, and, I guess my brother-in-law.
What’s he doing taking away my kid sister, who was supposed to end up as the babysitter to our declining parents, instead of me? Doesn’t Emal realize he’s fucking up my life with his own?
Emal didn’t like the jokes that night.
Emal had a friend.
A friend that I hit with a bottle.
A friend that dropped to the ground.
And that’s how I got here.
Sorry, I’m in prison.
Sorry, I’m a fuck.