Hard Times, Chapter 4

Chapter 4


“I need a favor.”

Corrections Officer Natalie Giovanni was clawing at me.  Giovanni was pretty.  In prison—shit like that didn’t matter especially with bitches like her.  She was a warm, willing wet mouth for all I was concerned and after findin’ out I was about to be sentenced and placed on Death Row a warm wet mouth is all I need.  A part of me wants to fuck her mouth—get rid of all the stress but my dick can’t even get hard.  Everytime, I think about sex I think about what those fuckin Yardies did to the fuckin’ kid.

“I got you baby, anything you need—-after though…”

We are in the back of a storage room.  We’re supposed to be getting supplies for the kitchen.  I’d been placed in the kitchen—-which was one of the best jobs—-because of how orderly I was.  I knew a lot of other guys were jealous of me. A part of me should have been quiet.  Kept low.  Kept out of trouble.  Maybe that would help with sentencing, but I couldn’t just let what happened to that Worm Kid fly like that.  He was under my protection.

“The warden put Buddha in isolation again.  I need access to his cell.”

“You want revenge for the fag?” Giovanni asks.

“Yo—watch your mouf bitch.”

“What you want me to call him?  The punk?  The sissy?   That must be better to you.  Huh?  Oh no.  I got it.  I got the pefect one.  How about: The Rape-Magnetic-Tape?”

She finds this shit funny.  Most of the guards out here were fuckin’ foul and grimy as fuck.  I don’t know why I expected anything different from this hoe.

“Yo.  Get the fuck off me.”

I literally have to pull her off my dick.  I rearrange myself.  You would think I pulled a golden bar away from her by how she reacts.   She can’t get enough of the dick.  In her mouth—in her pussy—in her ass—wherever she could get it.  I didn’t blame her.  Bitches on the streets went crazy for the dick too.  Normally I wouldn’t care but for some reason her talking about Worm like that is getting under my fuckin skin.

“Oh you mad—mad?” she asks.

“You going to help me out or not?” I ask.

“You going to give me some dick or not?” she asks.

“Nah—my bodies my temple and all that other shit,” I respond, “OK—maybe not but I just ain’t in the fuckin mood right now—aight?”

“Well I ain’t in the fucking mood to help you play Clark Kent for a fuckin fruit.”

“Yo why out got to be a fuckin bitch?”

“You want to get written up?”

“You gonna write me up because I ain’t giving you no dick?”

“Nah—-for this…”

With that she takes her nail.  I watch in horror as she digs her nail into her skin marking up her face real good to the point that it’s almost bloody.  She’s looking at me whole the time.  This look of satisfaction on her face as she does it.

“You crazy bitch.”

“Heard you got that death row sentencing coming up.  Wonder if they would take into consideration you attacking a CO.”

Goddamn it.  She was blackmailing me.  I give her a look. I shouldn’t have fucked her in the first place.  If this was a dude I would have broke his skull right in here in the storage room.  I remember my stepdad whooping on my mom back in the day every time he hit a bad crack pipe.  I hated the idea of hitting women.  Maybe that’s why I just give in at this moment.

I didn’t have choice.  Not yet, at least.

I unbuckle my pants and pull out my massive meat through the zipper.

“This what you want?”

“Hell yeah.”

Her mouth waters as she drops to her knees and swallows my cock in one sitting as though she was the one on death row and my 9 inch dick was her last meal.  I am hardly hard and not enjoying a fucking moment of it as she goes to town.

“At least help me with Buddha.”

“Nah,” she states, “The new deal is you give me dick when I want it…anytime I want it and I shut the hell up.  Maybe then you won’t fry in the electric chair like bacon.  That’s all you’re good for Lynch.  Dick.  So shut up and be useful for something.”


I feel dirty when I get out of the storage area.  I get back to my cell.  I’d been sleeping alone for the past week, dealing with my execution sentencing and struggling not to break down.  At least they didn’t put me in isolation.  That’s what they do with people usually facing execution.  Scared they are going to kill themselves or worse, someone else.  They should have been more careful because I definitely had a plan.  If only stupid fuckin’ Giovanni would have let me do it.

“You’re here…”

I walk into the cell and my voice breaks a little bit.  The kid is here.  He’s laying on the bed.  I knew he’d be getting out of the ward but had no idea he’d be back in my cell.

He doesn’t look up from the bed, “Not for long.”

His right eye was a bit swollen but a lot of the swelling other places had gone down.  He’s not as bad as he was in the hospital.  I think about giving him some sort of compliment but that’s just straight up gay and soft at this point.  I wasn’t going to kiss his ass no way.  That innocent look he had on here was gone.  Good.  Maybe now these guys wouldn’t be looking at him like some sort of walking target.  He was still attractive even with the swollen eye and busted lip, but now he wasn’t smiling all the goddam time and definitely didn’t wave at me like we lived in the burbs.

“What’s that mean?”

“What’d I say?  I won’t be here for long.  Grayson’s getting a new cell and he’s going to work to having me put in there with him.”

“Oh dope.”

Maybe it was better if he was in there with his husband.  Maybe it’s better for me.  Maybe it was better for him.  I turn away.  Clearly he didn’t want to talk.  I wasn’t going to force him.  What’d he expect?  ME  to kiss his ass?  Nah—son, I didn’t do oral.  Fuck outta here.

“I’ll be out your hair.  You can have guards in and out of here suckin your dick if you want.”

“All that though?”

He was saying it snappy-like.  He had this whole attitude.

“All that.”

“It was about my sentencing.  I explained all that shit in the letter.  You even read that shit?”

“I don’t give a fuck.”

Oh.  He was trying to hurt my feelings.  OH!  I ball my fists.  Anyone else would have got beat the fuck up ASAP and I’m mad I was holding back on smashing his fucking face in, dragging him out the cell and stomping him the fuck out with my work boots.

“All that too?”

“All that too.”

“Yo.  If you read the letter you know what I did wasn’t about me getting my dick sucked.”

“Says the man with his fly open.  There’s a little bit of cum hanging right over there right now,” he notices, “Not even dry yet.”

“Man fuck you,” I hiss, spitting a little bit.  Maybe out of embarrassment this smart motherfucker was mostly right, “Look I ain’t fuckin’ tell those boys keep raping you.”  Low blow, Wisdom.  Low fucking blow shut the fuck up.”

I can see his face sour at that moment.  I should stop there.  I should stop fucking talking right then and there but this dumb motherfucker was getting me so mad.  I was literally trying to make up with his stupid ass.  I didn’t try to make up with NO ONE.

I didn’t KISS ass.

And here I am trying to do right by you and you just going to play me with these smart ass comments.  The worst part is that they are actually working.  They are actually getting under my skin.

“Dumb ass lil’ nigga.  Maybe you should stop fuckin dressing like that.  Get some baggier pants or some shit.  Look at your ass—all sitting up.  Just a ‘FUCK ME’ sign waiting to happen.  Good looking guys in jail make themselves look ugly so people aren’t attracted to them.  Here you are keeping yourself well trimmed all the fuckin time.  Who you lookin good for?  The Yardies?  Dumb ass lil’ nigga.  Why you walking around with those tight fuckin pants?”

Oh fuck.

It’s like when I get mad words just start flying out my mouth.  I might as well have just hauled his ass out of the cell and put a boot to his face.  It would have hurt him less than what I’m doing now.  I stop, literally having to bite my lip to quit going in on him.  I manage to stop myself.  Too late though. Way too late.  The kid raises his eyebrows looking at me with those big ass fuckin eyes.

For some reason this little piece of shit had a way of making me feel bad without even fucking saying a word.  In that moment I fuckin hated myself.  I literally fucking hated myself.

He takes a deep breath, looks up with a tear falling out of his eye before adding bluntly, “You blaming me for getting raped?”

“I’m saying stop being so fuckin stupid and maybe you will stop getting a dick up your ass.”


I’m surprised when I this fuckin kid pushes me.  He pushes me hard too.  So hard I am up on the damn window glass.

“You stupid fuckin fag!”

I’m roaring right now.  It’s not that he pushed me.  It’s the fact that I’m sitting here trying to apologize to this sensitive ass bitch and he’s just hard.  He’s just hard to get along with.  Anyone else we would have just fought, bust each other heads in and got all this fucking energy out but by the time I manage to pin him to the ground and raise my fist to bloody his face up—-I stop.  The piece of shit wasn’t fighting back.  He was just looking up at me.  A big ass DUH expression on his face that let me know he wasn’t about this life.  How the fuck do you hit a man who isn’t even defending himself.  You don’t.

“Go ahead,” he states.

He wants me to hit him but I don’t.  I know I won’t.  I get up off of him.  He probably hates me now.  If it wasn’t bad enough that I wasn’t there for him after promising to protect him, I had to go ahead and blame him for everything as though that would make this moment better.

I just didn’t know how to communicate with him.

So I had two options:

Option 1: Plead with him to forgive me.   Face the fact that for some reason this kid makes me uncomfortable.  He reminds me of a time when people weren’t monsters.  A time when someone smiled at you and they actually meant it.  People shouldn’t be as nice as Avonte White Jr.

Option 2: Or two.  Tell him to fuck off.  You a bad motherfucker.  The worst of the worst.  This is a cold world and you weren’t going to let some soft ass kid make you soft.

“Fuck off,” I tell him, leaving the cell.


“Ball?” West asks.

I’m sitting there watching tv, “Nah.  Not in the mood.”

“Well then use this to unwind.”

He had a point.  I did need to get a lot of energy out.  Waiting on whether or not I’d be added to death row was scary as fuck.  I wasn’t scared of death.  Fuck death.  What I was scared about is the isolation.  Niggas on death row got put away for years.  I heard there was one guy who spent fifteen years in isolation waiting to be executed.  By the time he got executed, the motherfucker was a fucking nutcase.

I didn’t want to go out like that.

“Nah fuck that,” I state, “I’m trying to look at the news.  Did you hear that Deathrow gave himself up today.”

“Why the fuck would he do that?” Robinson asks.

“To protect his son.  To get his kid out of here,” I state, “I respect Deathrow man.  He’s a real man.  He said he would do whatever it took to get his son out of jail.”

“What’s ‘whatever’?”  Robinson asks.

I shrug, “Ionno man.  All I know is I promised to protect his son and I fucked up.  I got to make shit right with White Sr. man.  I got to make shit right with him.”

“You want to attack the Yardies?” Robinson asks.

“Hell yeah.  Help me yo.” I look around, “I want Buddha gone.  Payback for what he did to the kid.”

They knew what I meant by gone too.  Not missing.  Fuck missing.  I wanted that nigga Buddha dead.  I wanted him completely fucking dead.

“Gray Goon wants to handle it himself,” Robinson said.

“Oh—you mean GraySON?” I ask giving wild attitude.

I didn’t like his bitch ass.  I know that would be foul to say.  On the streets I probably would have been checked immediately for going after someone so high level.  I was supposed to have all this respect for Grayson because he was right under Deathrow White.  But for me—it was more like he was UNDER White’s nutsack.  What kind of asskissing, dicksucker married his boss’s son.  He was clout-chasing.  Period.  I’d heard a million things about Grayson when I was out on the streets and none of them were about him being a punk.  What’s the point of being married to someone if you’re just going to hide it?

“Yo—you wild,” West states.

At least he finds it funny because Robinson doesn’t, “You need to watch your mouth Lynch.  Lotta niggas loyal to Grayson.  He pays niggas on the streets.  Niggas loyal to who cutting they check.”

This nigga Robinson was always bustin my balls.

“Ain’t no check,” I remind him, “This ain’t no 9 to 5.  We sell drugs, motherfucker.”

West laughs.

“Well I ain’t trying to piss off Grayson.  I don’t plan on being in jail forever.  I’m gonna need to be in his good graces when I get out,” Robinson states.

“Then fuck ya’ll.”

West looks irritated, “So you not coming cause Grayson wants to get revenge for his husband himself?”

“Exactly.  Fuck ya’ll.”

West has this weird looking smile that comes slithering up on his face, “Damn, guess Avonte just going to have to see me running around with my shirt off.  Sweat drippin and shit?”

Worm was at the gym?

“Oh shit,” I change my mind, “Actually I did need a workout.”


The game starts and I’m playing with this West, Robinson and this kid.

He is short, with tattoos on his neck and back, arms and shoulders, hands too. His shorts are low, jersey is baggy — a playground player, with the attitude to boot.

I’d played with him here, in this gym, once before, a few weeks back. That night, I accidentally fouled him hard as he was driving through the paint, then reached out to grab him as he went careening out of bounds.

“You okay, man?” I asked. “My bad.”

“I’m good,” he said. “I’m good.”

And we went back to playing.  I knew he was good and I wasn’t going to let Robinson and West beat me.  We all had our shirts off though and I notice him walk into the gym.  HIM.  Avonte.  He isn’t alone.  He’s over there with Grayson.  Grayson has his arm over him.  Real homo shit.  I mean niggas had a joint in prison but you didn’t just do that shit out in the open like this. You didn’t just—–

“Yo pay attention.”

It’s the kid.  He is pissed cause I missed the ball.  I grab the ball and go back to playing trying not to be distracted by Avonte but my attitude shifts.   I noticed that he was particularly demonstrative. Every time he’d get fouled, he’d complain. “Mothafuckas need stop fouling me, yo.”

If he made a shot, he’d shout: “Bong!”

If someone was trying to score on him, he’d be like: “You got nothin’.”

West gives me a look.  Same thing that I’m thinking.  It was only a matter of time until someone threw this kid into the rafters, but tonight we were on the same team so he wasn’t my problem. That changed almost immediately though, when I learned that he wasn’t just annoying to play against, he was annoying to play with.

He kept telling me what to do: move here, move there, set picks, roll to the basket, simple shit that anyone who has ever played basketball does intuitively. I didn’t so much mind,  pick-up ball is adapting to players you don’t know, but there’s levels to it — when a player acts like he’s the second-coming of Iverson, it can get annoying.

And then there’s Grayson.

“You good, Lynch.  You need me to handle your business on the court for you.”

Hearing Grayson say what he says gets on my nerves.  It pisses me off.  The kid I’m playing with is laughing.  Everyone knew I could play ball.  Everyone knew I was the man.  Grayson was new here.  Maybe on the streets he had some clout, but I’d been transferred in and out of the Jungle for a while now.  I was the MAN here.

“Nah I can handle my own business, right Worm?”

“Fuck’s that supposed to mean?” Grayson asks.

“Nothing,” Robinson shuts it down before it even starts.

I know what Robinson was trying to do.  Especially when Robinson gives me a look.  That was my feeling on the third or fourth trip down the court, when he passed me the ball and I pulled up for a jump shot. Of the jump shots I’ve taken in my life, it was not a particularly bad one; the only bad part was that it didn’t go in.

I look over at Avonte as I shoot a 3.  I get it in.  I wonder if he sees it.  He is pissed at me still.  I can feel it.  Right now him and Grayson are working on weights which are on the other side of the gym but close enough that they can see us.   The only thing separating us is a half fence.  I can hear what they are talking about. Grayson feeding him romantic pussy ass lines and shit.  I know that Avonte was too smart to fucking fall for the bullshit.  Right?  Maybe not.  He did marry this motherfucker after all.

“You don’t have to jump stop,” the kid I’m playing with barked. “Dribble and go to the hoop.”

Another problem was that the kid just wasn’t playing well.

His defense was horrible, with his man beating him off the dribble repeatedly; on offense, he kept throwing the ball out of bounds, either directly or unintentionally, merely by failing to throw a proper pass. The pass had to be a no-look, or even worse, behind the back.

He also couldn’t make a shot, pulling up from what, to my eye, seemed like at least 30 feet away. It was like if Steph Curry died and came back as the worst basketball player of all time, but still tried to play like Steph Curry, this is who he’d be.

Now, toward the end of the first game, as he came winding through the paint on a fastbreak, he passed me the ball about 10 feet away from the hoop. Instead of a regular pass though, he threw a no-look and it went soaring out of bounds.

“Can’t catch—Lynch?” Grayson shouts out.

Robinson gives me a look. A  look that tells me not to tell the big Bad Gray Goon who had all this clout from the Black Union to swallow my nut and gag.   I don’t have the opportunity anyway because West had the ball and this is the winning shot.

“Ya’ll lost…” West states scoring the last point.

“Man you suck!” the kid shouts, coming up to me, his arms swinging wildly as though he’s trying to announce to the entire gym.  The entire gym included Avonte who looked up, probably hearing the loud noise and getting a bit uneasy.

“Suck my dick,” I respond.

Usually I would leave it at that.  It was just a game.  Game was an overstatement for this kid.  His game was overly flashy like he was trying to prove something.  That’s when the game ends and I see it.  I see him go to the fence and give Grayson a pound.

As if he knew Grayson.

As if Grayson PUT this kid up to this shit.

“My man, ay…come back over here.  My man, where I’m from we shake after a good game,” I state to the kid.

The kid turns to me surprised by it but leaning in probably to give me a pound.  What he doesn’t expect is for me to swing on him.  I know it’s a sucker punch.  I don’t give a fuck.  If I had told him to square up, it still wouldn’t have been much of a fight anyway.  He hits the floor hard getting his nose smashed.

He’s on the floor and I’m just pounding him out.  I’m stomping all over this motherfuckers face.  Stomping and stomping and stomping.  Robinson and West join me and before I know it we are doing a fucking line dance on this kid’s face.

I look up at Grayson when one of the COs come to get me as being the clear aggravator in this situation.

Grayson looks back at me.

It’s tense.

Good.  Just how I like it.  I wanted him to know.  I may not be able to touch you yet, Grayson.  But be careful with me, motherfucker.  I’m crazy as fuck and I handle business.


It isn’t until we’re halfway toward a holding cell that I realize who is escorting me.  It’s Officer Destin.  I look up at him and just seem surprised.

“Yo—Destin, help me out man,” I state.

“I’m not your fucking friend Lynch.  You’re nothing but trouble.  Everyone knows it.”

“Don’t be like that.’

“So, you’re not trouble?”

I sigh at the idea.  Ok, maybe I was, “Good point, good point.  So don’t help me.  Help Worm.”


“Avonte White Jr.,” I state.   I want to add the kid with the fat booty that you’re in love with but I don’t add any of that because I needed this motherfucka’s help.

Luckily, a stalker like Officer Destin remembered his name.  It still blows my mind that he cares so much about Worm.  This was one of those round the way white boys.  You would expect him to be one of those guys who use to watch TRL, wear printed t-shirts and listen to Rock And Roll.  He was supposed to be the kind of motherfucker who grew up and went to work for his father’s legitimate business, marry some white lady with blond hair named Becky, have two sons and teach them how to fucking play baseball, hockey or some other sport that lacked melanin.

But this dumb motherfucker worked in the worst block of one of the worst prisons in the world and probably spent his nights beating off to the sights he caught of the son of a gangster in the shower.  I’d seen him looking too whenever Avonte wasn’t paying attention.  He definitely had a lot of beat-off memories to create man mayo as white as he was.

“How can I help him?” he leads in whispering.

“You heard what that curry-eating piece of shit Buddha did to him?” I ask.

I wasn’t politically correct, fuck you.

“Ridiculous.  I went to see the Warden.  Tried to get White transferred out of the Jungle.  The fuckin Warden tells me that he’s a threat because of who his father is.  This whole system man, this shit it—-man, it—-”

He can’t even talk.  Either he is this whipped or he’s taking this to a whole different personal level.

“You really care?” I ask, “About Avonte, huh?”

Destin pauses, “My little brother was arrested back in the day.  He was a good kid just hung around some bad people.  A lady ended up dead during a bank robbery.  He didn’t pull the trigger.  He was innocent but all his boys pinned it on him.  My little brother was innocent and died in jail.  Some fuckin loser killed him over a can of soup.”


Cold world.

“Avonte is innocent.  I can tell.  We all can.  Avonte could have been my brother.”

Actually…Avonte was a black male, so statistically, he had a much higher chance of getting arrested than your brother, Destin.  Of course, I don’t say that though.  I still needed this motherfucker.  And now it was clear why he was going so hard for Avonte.  It was clear why he seemed to care about Avonte so fucking much.

“Help me.  Help me make sure Avonte is safe.”

Destin pauses.  He was good boy.  He didn’t usually get himself in trouble with pieces of shit like me.  He was one of those legit officers.  Not like Giovanni who would probably sell her soul for the right price.   He was the kind who followed the rules.

“How?” he asks.

“Let me into Buddha’s cell.”

Looking at Destin, it’s clear people do dumb shit when they like someone.  They do shit they normally do.  Shit that they shouldn’t do.  And then I realize something…

Is Destin the stupid one acting out of character for a boy, or was I?

Or was I?


The next day I catch Worm watching tv.  He is peering out at the screen.  His father is on the screen.  It is a big deal.  His father going to jail. I knew that the news wouldn’t just let this go.  I could tell he was in a bad mood.  I can tell by how Grayson keeps rubbing on his leg all weird and shit as if that’s what he thinks this will comfort Worm.

That’s when I walk up.  I knew EXACTLY what Worm needed for comfort.

“Buddha won’t be bothering you again…” I tell him.

Worm seems surprised when I walk over.  He lifts up his head, “What do you mean?”

“He won’t be bothering you again.  He won’t be bothering anyone else again.  Ever.”

It was only a matter of time before the Warden sent his guys in here asking questions and I’d have to start playing stupid like I didn’t know what was going on.  Before that though, I wanted Worm to know that Buddha was dead.  I wanted Worm to know WHY Buddha was dead.  But for Grayson—I wanted Grayson to know who took care of this for Worm—-before he could.

Grayson looks irritated, “You think this proves something.  We got other shit to worry about.  Worst shit—–”

“What’s he talking about?” I ask.

Worm sighs, “My dad.  Something crazy is going down.”

I look over at the TV, “What are you talking about?”

Grayson grabs onto his husband’s hand, “We should go back and move your stuff into my new cell.  I got permission.”

Knowing that Grayson had so much pull with Worm was irritating.  I went from Worm following me around like he was my shadow to him following around Grayson.  I have to admit it is irritating.  I kind of missed just having him around.  I kind of missed having him NEED me like this.  I can’t tell what he’s thinking now that I brought him the news about Buddha.  He doesn’t seem happy about it.  He actually seems weirdly distracted.  It feels like something has gone on.  Something I probably missed when I was in the hole earlier that day for fighting.

“Can I have a minute with Lynch?” he asks.

“We don’t have time.  It’s not safe to be out in the open.”

“I told you I took care of Buddha.  The other Yardies won’t be moving on him without Buddha.  I took care of the issue.  What’s there to be scared of?” I ask.

“I should go,” is all Worm says in return.

I want to punch something when Grayson takes him away like that.  What the fuck was that about?  Grayson making up some fear shit because he was jealous of the fact that I got to Buddha before he could.  That was all this was about.


I return to my cell later that day to see that Grayson has moved all of White’s shit.  Even the fuckin thin ass prison mattress.  I can’t believe that he’s gone.  I just sit on the springs where his mattress was.  If I was another dude you would think I was emotional in a moment like this but fuck that.  I was a G.  I couldn’t just sit here and be a little bitch.


I look up and see Robinson walking in.  He’s walking in like a man on a mission.

“I need a moment, alone,” I state.

“Fuck your moment,” he responds, “Some shit has gone down.  Some shit that changes EVERYTHING.”

Some major bomb must have dropped by how Robinson’s acting.  Robinson is usually the calm collected homie.  He is usually the one that calms West and me down when we want to be on our DUMMY boy bullshit.   Robinson is the reasonable one.  Right now he wasn’t reasonable though.  Right now he looked upset.

Really upset.

“What happened?” I ask.

“It’s Deathrow White,” he states, “He’s snitching…”

I remember how Grayson and Worm were looking at the tv.  I remember how Grayson told him it wasn’t safe.  I remember how weird they were acting.  It was all fucking weird.  Something had gone wrong and this was it.  This was more than a bomb.  This was a nuclear bomb.

“Snitching?” I ask, before adding, “On who?”

I knew the answer didn’t matter.  The rules on the streets are the same the rules in the Jungle for the most part.  No snitching was universal.



I don’t know how to react to this.  Avonte White Sr. was my hero.  I looked up to him.  I knew that there was only one reason he would have been snitching.  The Feds were offering him a deal.  The deal couldn’t have been for him.  I knew what White was snitching about.  He was snitching to get his son out of here.  He was snitching for Worm.

“The gangs pissed.  They know why he’s snitching.  And they want to stop him.  Take away his reason for ratting everyone out.”

Robinson was real, “You can’t be talking about what I think you’re talking about—–”

“They want to punish him.  And they want you to do it.”

“Why me?”

“The kid likes you.”

Fuck.  I knew what Robinson was ordering me to do.

This world was a tough world but it was gang before everything.  I liked the kid.  I really did.  But the son paid for the sins of his father.  That’s another rule of the streets that played out in prison too.

Worm needed to die.  And I had to be the one to do it.