I come from the projects. I ain’t no softy. In fact, I’d just as soon slit your throat as look at you. They have me now . . . I was stupid enough to get caught after that gas station robbery. What was the big fucking deal? We got only forty bucks. The cops came a-shootin’. My man, Daryl, took a bullet to the head. Under the man’s law, I was charged with murder in the second degree because someone died in the commission of a felony. How do you like that shit? The cops didn’t have to shoot, we were not armed. Of course, I was convicted. It was an all-white jury. What else can a black man expect in America?
Now I am looking at twenty years to life. I sit in my cell and think of my girl. Her skin is light brown and her smile used to send me to heaven. But I can’t see her smile no more. Her name is Gloria. She was my life. Now my life is trying not to get shived in the food line.
Gloria has written me, asking to visit. I will not allow it! I do not want her to see me in a cage. I wrote her back and told her to forget me. Get her a man as unlike me as possible.
It really doesn’t matter anymore. I will not live my life in a cage. Big Dog runs the blacks in this place. He is big, I’ll give him that. We are in the yard . . . the whites are on the far side … the spics opposite. And us niggers have the middle.
I rush at Big Dog looking like I’m holding a shive. I’m not. One of his lieutenants cuts me down before I can get close.
As I lay on the grass of the prison yard, my blood pooling beneath me, I think of my girl and of all the wrong choices I have made in my twenty years of life. But that’s cool . . . there are no more choices that have to be made unless you want to ask me how deep I want to be buried.
Just for the record, it’s six feet.