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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Epiphany

By Mwandishi Mitchell

He waited...for what seemed like hours in the blistering August sun, on a Greyhound bus modified for state prisoners. Before him stood a towering forty-foot wall encompassing what could be considered a small township or borough, complemented with eight gun towers. The object of his adoration—SCI Graterford, in Graterford, Pennsylvania. After nineteen years he’d finally made it to the big house, or as it was commonly called—"The Ford."

There were various circumstances that led nineteen year old Harold Adams to the state penitentiary. His tough upbringing in the projects of North Philadelphia, his mother (the welfare recipient crack-addicted prostitute), his father (whom he never knew), his education (or lack thereof), and his wanting of "the finer things in life." Those with less compassionate thinking would mutter to themselves that young Harold should've pulled himself up by his bootstraps; pretty hard to do when you don't have any boots—or straps for that matter.

It came to a head one night at Broad & Cecil B. Moore Avenue. The movie was letting out at 10:30p.m. and Harold knew he could get a victim. Preferably a Temple University student too drunk, or high, to realize just how dangerous their school was because it was in the vicinity of a crime ridden neighborhood. The police were trying to keep control of things by installing surveillance cameras all over the place; but there were always blind-spots.

Harold, followed the inebriated Caucasian past 15th Street, and as he made a right off the avenue— Harold pounced! With the barrel of the Sigsuaer 9mm sticking into the student's gut, Harold announced his demands.

"Dead prezidents ain't worth you bein' dead ova', hand dat shit here!"

The fear could be read all in the student’s eyes as he stuck his short arms into his deep pockets producing his wallet. Also, fearing for his life he cried, "Please don't kill me, man!"

Harold chuckled to himself—tha power of tha gun iz amazing! "I'm not goin' ta let loose on you, home boy. Jus' start walkin' your ass down tha block and don't even think about runnin'. If you do, I got a slug wit' chur name on it!"

Just as Harold finished that statement, Philadelphia's finest turned the block with flashing red & blue lights. A stunned Harold froze, while his victim saw this as a chance to take flight—Harold calmly shot him in his derriere and the student fell on his face. While the men in blue had their Glock 19 handguns trained on Harold, they ordered him to place the gun on the ground and put his hands in the air, or wind up like Michael Brown with a fusillade of shots to the body...Harold complied.

Nine months down the line Harold stood stiff as a board in front of a judge who looked like Herman Munster, of The Munsters television show without the Frankenstein make-up. A public pretender who basically did nothing in Harold's defense, stood next to Harold at sentencing. With the compounded factors of the victim being white, a university student, him being shot in the ass—and Harold being Black—the judge gave Harold twenty to forty years in a state penitentiary, just as easily as if he was ordering Chinese takeout. Thus, another statistic was added to Michelle Alexande’s true but horrific best-seller, The New Jim Crow. Harold sighed once the gavel banged—the epitome of his own hubris.

After an hour of sitting in the hot sun the bus slowly moved inside of the gate. All in all, there were forty of them on the bus who had just come from the county lock-up on State Road. Harold and his fellow cohorts were led off the bus in chains into the reception area.

A thick bodied Black female in a tan uniform introduced herself to Harold as Intake Officer Smith. With a thin stack of papers in front of her (which was Harold's file), she asked him the prerequisite questions.

"Mr. Adams, in the event of your death where would you like your body sent? Who is your next-of-kin? Are you married? Do you have any children? Have you ever had sex with another man? Do you, or have you had a venereal disease? Do you have AIDS?" etc., etc., etc.

After answering the bevy of questions from the reception officer, Harold reverted to tomfoolery and tried to flirt with Ms. Smith—his advances were quickly rebuffed and Harold was ushered off to the next phase of the intake process, the medical department.

Once upstairs in the medical department Harold looked in awe at the men in brown uniforms walking to and fro. He still had yet to contemplate the sheer size of the facility he was in. Being locked-up was nothing new to him, though. Since a juvenile he had went from foster home, to the Youth Study Center, to Glenn Mills, and his last stop—Slaten Farms. Although Slaten Farms was a jail for juveniles equipped with cells, this place reminded him of the Farms, on steroids!

They all had been up since at least 4:00am the previous morning. Now, at close to 7:30pm, Harold and his fellow faithful fallen made their procession down the main hallway of The Ford. It was then that he was able to take into effect the magnanimous size of the eighty-six year old penitentiary. He looked to his left and saw the main yard equipped with a football field, track, weight pile, baseball field and the huge wall that enclosed him which doubled as handball courts.

As the procession walked further, they walked past blocks which housed the general population—blocks A, B, C, and D. Harold was amazed that as he looked down the tiers they seemed as if they would never end. There seemed to be hundreds of individuals out on the block for evening activities. He had never in his life seen anything of that scale before. It made Slaten Farms look like Sesame Street.

It was then that they came to E-Block, where there was a whole block dedicated to Harold and his followers—and the other recently committed offenders. The others were also in yellow jumpsuits; as new commits did not wear the brown uniforms of the general population. In fact, new commits were basically treated as second class citizens in the institution. There was nowhere in the institution where they could go without being escorted. They didn't have the freedom of going to the auditorium for ice cream, or having access to the main yard. For new commits, there were no privileges that the general population was afforded.

"Adams, you're in cell A2-064, right up there," said a heavy-set C.O., as he pointed to the top tier.

Harold slung his pillowcase containing his belongings over his shoulder and climbed the steps to the top tier. He then went to sixty-four cell which was empty at the time; but someone else occupied the cell with him because Harold could see their personal effects laying around.

He then took off his yellow jumpsuit as he stood in the cell with just socks, boxers and a wife-beater on. His chiseled arms and chest, as well as a six-pack abdominal section, came from years of working out in various juvenile detention centers. In the animal kingdom of the penitentiary Darwin's Theory prevailed, natural selection proved true as only the strong survived, and the ones with the weakest genes were stomped out! Just as he finished taking a bird bath his cell-mate walked in. 

José Garcia was a short chubby Puerto Rican from the Bad Lands of North Philly, who stood at about 5'5". He was doing a measly one to two years for possession with the intent to deliver five dime bags of cocaine. As he was just a corner worker, he wanted no trouble from those who had to do hard time. Seeing the size of Harold intimidated José and he wanted to make friends with him—quickly!

"Hey, Papi! Como estas? Me llamo, José. You jus' get here?" he asked, while stretching out his right hand to Harold.

Harold just stared at José’s hand wondering why he had asked a question that he already knew the answer to. He sized José up immediately and knew that there was no way José could beat him in a fight. “Move all your shit to tha top bunk, I'm sleepin' on tha bottom bunk, now," Harold ordered.

There was a slight look of defiance in José’s eyes at first, but once he saw the fire in Harold's eyes he thought better against it. He knew, too, that there was no way he had a chance of beating Harold. "Sure bro, whuteva' you say. I don't want ta get into anything wit' chu," José said, as he began taking his mattress off the bottom bunk and putting it up top.

When Harold got himself situated he stepped out of his cell to see exactly what was happening with the evening block activities. He loved playing poker and gambling on sports games. Picking four winning teams against the spread would be easy for him with his sports knowledge, he thought. He found a game of three-card-stud on the bottom tier, and got $25.00 in chips after showing the guy who ran the poker game his money slip that stated he came into the jail with $200.00. This turned out to be a disaster for Harold, as a half-hour later, the $25.00 was gone. He then got a marker for another $25.00, and that was gone in fifteen minutes. He now owed the poker table $50.00 in commissary; and he hadn't been on the block two hours!

José peeped out the cell door and watched as Harold was knee deep in the poker game. He put a sheet up over the door for privacy and pulled out his latest Show Girl magazine. He quickly turned to the spread featuring Iggy Azalea in a two-piece bikini, one in which her ass-cheeks swallowed the G-string. José jumped onto the top bunk with the magazine in one hand and his dick in the other, as he fanaticized about the curvaceous rap star.

Look at dis blanca! Wit' her firm leel teets and grande ass. Oh! I jus' want to stick it in 'er one time! Oh, shit gurl...bend dat ass ova'. Oh yeah, oh yeah!

José's hand jerked the outer skin of his dick up and down as pulsating jolts of electricity and heat moved into his abdominals and groin. His eyes were locked on a picture of Iggy bent over with her ass out and her face turned around smiling for the camera. Within two minutes tops he was a sticky mess!

Harold went back into the cell frustrated and disgusted where he found a now cleaned up José laying on his top bunk reading the Show magazine. At the sight of Harold, José automatically cursed him in his head.

It iz him, tha bullying block nigga! He haz done dis ta me. Taken my bed from me and give me top bunk. Him a confuse man, a very, very, confuse man! Him not know, payback will be a beetch!

Disappointed at how the evening had went, Harold plopped down on the bottom bunk laying back and putting his hands behind his head. Wanting to defuse any tension there may have been between the two from earlier, José's quickly offered Harold some magazines.

"I have Show and Hip-Hop Weekly magazines, wheetch one you like, eh?"

Harold frowned up his face wondering why this guy, whom he had just chumped, was speaking to him. "Not right now, my man. I'm in deep contemplation 'bout tha money I jus' lost at tha poker table," Harold answered, slightly perturbed.

"You not like me, no?" questioned, José's observing the obvious.

"lt ain't nuffin' personal. I really don't fuck wit' too many Guatez."

José's frowned this time, wondering why Black people always used the derogatory term of "Guates", when referring to Puerto Ricans. They weren’t from Guatemala, they were from Puerto Rico and damned U.S. citizens for that matter! But, being a reasonably intelligent individual, José's surmised that his and Harold’s relationship between one another would not be amicable. For the rest of the night until lights out the two exchanged no further words.

Within the next month and a half, Harold went through the process of completing the diagnostic procedures required by the state of Pennsylvania for new commits. There were education tests: (Harold was working with a 7th grade education), psychiatric tests (Harold was diagnosed as a manic depressive and was ordered to take 150 mg of Synequan), and have meetings with unit managers and counselors.

As fate would have it—or maybe it was just the luck of the draw Harold had been classified to Graterford. Many of the guys who came with him were being shipped to SCI Camp Hill, and from there they would be shipped to institutions all across the state. Harold wouldn't have to go through that. On a Tuesday, at 8:00am, they called both he and José and told them they were moving to D-Block.

Once he and José walked through the main doors, after walking through the metal detectors, all eyes were on them in their yellow jumpsuits. There's a certain way inmates who've served time look at fresh fish—and the two of them were receiving plenty of those looks.

Jonathan, the block clerk came to them first. His lanky arm pointed to a room on the top tier. "Follow me up here so I can get cha'll sum' browns."

When the two of them got inside of the room Jonathan gave them three brown shirts and pants which would hold them over until they were able to get to clothing exchange on the weekend. Then he gave them their housing assignments which he read from the paper that he held in his hand. Harold was sent to B2-032 cell, while José was sent to A1-023 cell.

Harold walked down the top tier in his new state brown uniform. He passed a main bubble that separated the A-side from the B-side. Both sides held two-hundred cells for a total of four-hundred on the block. He could feel the different eyes beaming on him as he walked to his new cell. After reaching thirty-two cell, Harold put his laminated I.D. picture on the door window next to the one that was already there. The other I.D. was one of a bald-headed Black man with a huge gray beard. From Harold's estimation—the man had to be in his sixties! The name under the picture said Curtis Bently.

Inside the cell Curtis seemed to have everything there was for an inmate to have: a flat-screen television, radio, typewriter, three pairs of new sneakers, Timberland boots and a big bag filled with Commissary. There was a plethora of assorted books on his bookshelf, as well. However, Curtis wasn’t in the cell at the time and the only bunk available to Harold was the top bunk—he put his belongings on top of it. He didn't know if this could be a situation where he could bully the old man out of his bunk like he did to José.

"Main yard, main yard!" a call came over the speakers as soon as Harold threw his things on the top bunk.

Harold followed the traffic to the front of the block where the others were exiting through the double doors. Men in brown sweat suits, some carrying handballs, tennis balls and chess boards; along with men in work-out apparel. As he was walking down the hallway, someone tapped him on his shoulder, which startled him in his present environment.

"Whut’z up, Adams?!" said an energetic youth who seemed to be the same age as him.

Harold spun his head and stared Stanley Jennings directly in the eye. The two had been in the Youth Study Center together. Harold for possession with intent to deliver and Stanley for grand theft auto. During their stint the two had become friends and were inseparable. Stanley was a light-skinned Black who stood at 5'10" and weighed about 180lbs. He would be considered to be in excellent shape and handsome, with wavy Indian hair.

"Stizzy Mack! Whut it iz, cannon?" Harold stuck out his right hand to give his not long seen friend some dap. "Where tha hell you been, man?"

"Aw, man, I'm booked homie. Dey gave me twenty-five to fifty yearz on an attempted homi. I swear I tried to take dude’z head clean off hiz shoulders, but I hit 'im in tha shoulder—and the lame got away and ratted me out. Whut 'bout chu?"

"Ditto. Twenty ta forty for robbery and aggravated assault. If I woulda' hit ‘im above the waist, dey probably woulda' gave me an attempt, too. Whut block dey got chu on?"

"I'm on D-Block," Stanley answered, as the two walked down the steps of the main yard.

"Yeah? I jus' moved on tha block dis mornin’."

"Who dey got chu in tha cell wit'?" 

"Sum' old head by tha name of Curtis Bently. Whut'z hiz whole thang?" Harold asked, as he and Stanley walked around the track.

"Well, he'z supposed to be"—Stanley flicked his fingers like quotation marks framing a phrase—"one of the leaders of the Muslim community in here. Dey mainly stays to themselves. Dey ain't 'bout dat life."

The term, "That Life," connotated everything negative that the youth seemed was cool these days. Robbing, killing, abusing and deceiving others. This was the code that many of them lived by. Gangsterism and purely unadulterated sexism.

"He got everything in dat bitch! I might have ta take thingz ova' in dere," said Harold, as he rubbed his palms together.

Stanley blinked his eyes like he couldn't believe what he had just heard. "Wait a minute, wuz old head in tha cell when you got dere?"

"Naw," Harold replied.

Now, it made sense to Stanley. "It'z not goin' ta go down like dat, cannon. Dis dude got crazy respect in tha jail, and physically...well I’ll jus' let you see for yourself."

The old friends talked for the betterment of two hours until yard was called in. They talked about everything from which girls they had sex with, what cars they drove, what drugs they sold, and who was the hottest rapper—unfortunately, neither of them discussed how they would fight their appeals in court!

Harold made his way onto the block and walked Stanley to his cell, then proceeded to go upstairs to his cell. This time, Curtis was in the cell doing major work on his typewriter. Compared to his picture on the door, it did not show the size of the mammoth in true proportion. He was at least 6'2" and 250lbs of pure muscle. If a comparison had to be made of primates, Harold would be a chimpanzee and Curtis would be a silver-back gorilla! Harold stepped in and introduced himself.

"Whut'z to it old head? My name iz Harold, but people call me Hizz, or jus Adams."

Curtis stopped typing and lowered his glasses to the brim of his nose to get a better look at the young man who seemed to have no respect for his elders. "Pleased to meet you, young man. Do me a favor, though, will you? Don't call me old head, you can call me by my Muslim attribute, Abu Bakr," he said, as he rose from the desk to shake Harold's hand. "I came in from work and saw your things on the top bunk. They didn’t tell me I was getting a new cell-mate. Make yourself at home."

Upon looking at the size of Abu Bakr, Harold knew that this wasn't going to be a situation like José where he could intimidate his bunkmate. If he got into a confrontation with this man, the odds were against him coming out as the winner.

"You been in dis jail a long time, Abu Bakr?"

"Only about two years, I got a promotional transfer for good behavior from SCI Rockview. All together though, I've been in jail for over thirty years."

Harold's eyes widened. This man had been in jail for almost double his life span. "You must've caught a body, huh?"

Abu Bakr became somber. "There are things that I've done in my past that I'm far from proud of. But, I've repented to my Lord who says to me in his Noble Book that I will be forgiven for my previous sins — so long as I pray and observe the conditions of a proper Muslim."

Awe, man! I'm in tha cell wit' one o’ deez Muslims! He betta' not try and convert me to dat garbage. Whut doesn’t he get? When you're Black and poor in Amerikkka, you're already livin' in hell! "Well, no offense, but I don't believe in no God. If dere wuz a God, den children wouldn't be comin' dead out o' tha womb, or children wouldn't be molested by sick dudez messed up in tha head. Man made up religion so dat he thinks he'll have dis wonderful place ta go to when it'z all said and done. Let me let you in on a lil' secret—when your eyes close for tha last time, dat'z all she wrote."

Hearing these words made Abu Bakr upset. In his thirty-four years in the penitentiary, he had never been in the same cell as an atheist. He couldn't see himself living with a person who didn't respect God. What? Did they think that they created themselves? That they caused their own selves to come into existence?

"Well, Hizz, is it?" Abu Bakr questioned as he sat back down and presumed typing. "I'm sorry you see life that way. No man is an island, and if you look at the universe and this wonderful earth we live on...there's no way it came into existence by itself. In the meantime, though, while I’m at work feel free to watch my television, listen to my radio and even eat some of my commissary if you get hungry. I work as a clerk on the other side of the jail. But more importantly, take a look at some of the literature I have that speaks about Islam," Abu Bakr said, as he waved his hand at his bookshelf filled with books. 

Imagine dat!?  “Good lookin’ out, Abu Bakr. I’ll respect your property, you don't have ta worry 'bout dat," Harold answered.

Harold got his belongings together and began watching Abu Bakr's television with the headphones in, while Abu Bakr continued to type. They called lunch, but Abu Bakr did not go to main-line. He typed through count and all the way until it was time for him to pray the Duhr salat. Then he stopped everything, made absolution, and prayed. Harold watched Abu Bakr go through the motions of the prayer and wondered why this huge man was subjecting himself to what he saw as a ritual. When Abu Bakr made tasleem, ending the prayer, Harold had questions.

"Hey, Abu Bakr?" 

“Yes."

Whut iz it you been typin' ova' dere all mornin'?"

Not that it was any of Harold's business, but Abu Bakr felt it wouldn't harm to oblige the young man and answer his question. "I’m a writer in my spare time. I write essays, poems and short stories. I have a beautiful friend out in California who posts my writings on a blog that caters to aspiring imprisoned authors. She’s such a treasure; it's a blessing from God that she's in my life."

"You got a lot goin' on, huh?"

"Just enough to keep me positive and out of trouble," he answered with a smile.

Later that night as Harold slept; he awoke in the middle of the night to find Abu Bakr making the witr prayer on his prayer rug. This prayer was different from the one he had observed earlier in the afternoon. He could hear the slow beautiful rhythmic tones of Abu Bakr reciting verses of the Noble Qur'an, and this intrigued him. By Abu Bakr being a writer, it was obvious to Harold that he was a master of the English language. But, the way he recited these words in the Arabic language, with feeling—it was difficult enough to be the master of one tongue, but to master two with such command? And what would make a man wake out of his sleep in the middle of the night to pray?

"Abu Bakr, why do you go through all doze motions when you pray? Why ain't Muslims like tha otha' religions where dey can jus' talk to dey God?"

He smiled, and turned to face Harold. "Mere lip profession of faith is not enough. Faith will be tried and tested in the real turmoil of life, and tests will be applied in all kinds of circumstances, to see whether or not we can strive constantly to put God above ourselves. There will be a lot of pain, sorrow, and self-sacrifice—not because these things are good, but because they will purify us, like a blacksmith heating the iron ore to its hottest temperature to burn out the impurities. This is why I awake sometimes in the middle of the night to repent to my Lord."

This was a complex enigma for Harold. It was confusing, but yet it made so much sense. This faith thing was a very powerful instrument. The men of faith looked forward to God, their quest is God, and the object of their hope is someday meeting with God. If this life we lived was just a trial, this probationary period wouldn't last long. Harold wondered that if there really was a God, would he be forgiven for all of the wrong that he had done in his life. He contemplated on the subject thoroughly as Abu Bakr turned off the night-lamp and got into bed.

The next morning while Abu Bakr was at work, Harold didn't go out to the yard to socialize with Stanley. He didn't even turn on the television to watch early morning music videos. Instead, he reached for the bookshelf and grabbed one of Abu Bakr's Islamic books.

One of the first things that enticed him was the strange writing of the Arabic language which looked like a bunch of squibly lines and dashes, and he wondered how people could read such things. Harold came across names like, 'Aisha, Umar bin Al-Khattab, Khadija, Ibn Abbas, Abu Huraira, Abu Musa and wondered who these people were and what was their significance to the religion of Islam. But, most of all, and most importantly, he learned of the man who would come to be known as the comforter and the last prophet of God, Muhammad Abdullah. How Muhammad had come at a time when the pagan Arabs of Arabia were drenched in occultism, idol worship, sexual deviation, debauchery, incest and the practice of burying female infants alive at birth. The massing of power and wealth in the hands of a few, the orgies of gambling and drunkenness, the frauds of the temples and priests, the feuds and arrogance of tribes and races—all these things Muhammad Abdullah came to expel.

Further on he read about the pillars of Islam: Shahada, praying, fasting, giving to the poor and making the pilgrimage to the sacred city of Mecca, if financially possible. How Islam made the rich no better in status to the poor that they were all on the same playing field when it came to God, and would be judged according to their deeds. That one couldn't go around slandering, cursing, abusing, robbing and stealing from others if they expected to be successful in life. And, that a man or woman had to show through their actions—their submission to the one true God.

The revelation of the words he read seemed to cry out to him like a mother who had just found her lost child, or like and eagle who soars high in the clouds above the mountains. Before he knew it, he had been reading for three hours before Abu Bakr came back into the cell. Harold looked up from the book solemnly as Abu Bakr entered.

"I see you’ve been doing some reading?"

"Yeah, a lil' sumthin'."

"Did you learn anything? Anything to make you change your perspective about God and religion?"

"Well, for one thing, I see dere'z a lot o' work involved," he answered as he closed the book and put it back on the shelf.

"Nothing worth having comes easy."

"Iz dat whut drew you in, made ju strive?"

Abu Bakr blew out a little wind while his mind went back in time, back when he was wilder and rambunctious than the young man sitting before him. "Years ago, when this white beard was black and I had hair on this bald head, the judge told me that it was his intention for me to spend the rest of my life behind bars. And do you know what the most troubling thing behind those words that he spoke was? The fact that I didn't commit the crime I was wrongfully convicted of, nor did I have any knowledge of who did. I cursed God, denied his existence, for I thought he had abandoned me. And then one day when I had given up all hope, I prayed for inspiration and opened the Noble Qur’an, and it just so happened to open up on Surah 29, Al-‘Ankabut or The Spider. The opening verse says, Alif-Lam-Mim. Ahaseeban-nasu a yutraku  a yaqulu amana wa hoom yuftaloon? Which translated means, 'Do men think that they will be left alone saying, “we believe” and that they will not be tested?' Then it all made perfect sense to me—that this life we live is one great test that we must endure. The reward is not this life, though. The reward comes when what we believe is reality passes away, and we come to the true reality. So, that is when I gave my life back to God, and from then on I’ve never looked back."

Harold took in what he was just told by Abu Bakr and thought that it was a truly confusing anomaly— that a man who had been given life in jail for a crime he didn’t commit would totally submit himself to the God that had allowed such a thing to happen.

"It'z a damn shame, Abu Bakr. You didn’t do nuffin'...yet deez people want chu ta die in here! Me, on tha otha' hand, I did exactly whut dey said I did. Am I supposed to be forgiven for all of tha wrong I've done ova' tha yearz?" he asked, with a perplexed look on his face.

Another one of Abu Bakr's regularly seen smiles came across his face. "Once you've made the pledge to turn your life over to God, and believe in His last messenger on earth, all of your past sins are forgiven and you start anew with a clean slate. All you have to say is, ‘There is no God, but God, and Muhammad is his last messenger.”

"Can it be dat simple?"

"It can be—and it is. But I'm not expecting you to just jump at the drop of a dime. Take some time to think about all you've read this morning and what I've told you from my own experience. I'm sure that once you've analyzed everything you'll come to see the truth of the words I've spoken to you."

It didn’t take a nuclear physicist for Harold to figure out he needed a change in his life. He knew that if he kept on going at the rate he had been going, he'd be dead in a few years—stabbed to death at the bottom of a prison tier over a lousy poker game.

Later that afternoon yard was called, and Harold hooked up once again with Stanley, so that they could walk the track and talk about the same mundane, meaningless things.

"I got a quick way fo' us ta get sum' paper, Hizz," Stanley said, as they walked.

Listen ta dis shit! If I wanted ta hear an asshole talk—I would’ve farted! "Yeah, how’z dat cannon?"

"Sum' Guata who jus' came on tha block iz sellin' weed. All we gotta do iz rob ‘im fo' everything he got. I think hiz name iz José sum'thin'."

"José!? You gotta be kiddin' me? Not tha same Rican who came ova' wit' me from E-Block?"

"I think so, cannon," Stanley replied.

"Man, dude iz a turkey! He’z an eazy victim!"

"Let'z make it happen, den."

"Say no more," replied Harold, as they schemed at how they were going to set José up.

The dastardly put together plot to rob José went down later that evening during block-out. The plan was for Stanley to go into José’s cell to buy some of the bags of weed he had for sale. Then, as the transaction was going down, Harold would come in from the blind side and rob José. It went exactly as according to plan. Stanley went into the cell to purchase the weed and in came Harold!

Harold put the homemade jailhouse shiv to José's throat and took all of the weed that José had in his pockets. The act took all of fifteen seconds. Once Harold had all of the weed he punched José square on the chin, knocking him out cold.

Days had passed, Harold and Stanley believed that they had gotten away scot-free and that there would be no repercussions from their actions. Unbeknownst to them both was that the Latin Kings who supplied José with the weed the two stole made it incumbent to José to get Harold and Stanley—or else he would be dealt with!

In the meantime, Harold began to clean up his act and take the fatherly advice that Abu Bakr had been giving him. He stopped hanging around Stanley who was, in actuality, a leech and a parasite.

Some way or another though, Karma has a way of rearing its ugly head. Harold stood in line at the ice machine and while his back was turned...José snuck up behind him and slammed the wack into Harold’s throat, hitting him directly in the jugular!!!

"Whut?! Chu thought I wuz es-scared of you?" José asked, as Harold writhed on the floor with blood spouting from his neck.

The correctional officers had José in handcuffs within seconds. Stanley appeared from nowhere and went to assist Harold who was trying to say something while gurgling blood.

"Whut'z dat? Whut did ju say, Hizz?"

“Dere iz no God...but God, and Mu-ham-med iz hiz last messenger," said Harold lastly, as a faint whisper. His eyes closed for the last time, as the Angel of Death came to collect what he was commanded to do from God.

Abu Bakr was informed of the terrible circumstances behind Harold's demise. He was also informed of the dying declaration Harold had made before he died. Although he was saddened, he smiled upon hearing the latter...as he’d gotten through to at least one before it was all said and done.

Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but God has the excellent return (paradise with flowing rivers, etc.) with Him. 
—Noble Qur'an, Surah 3 Al-Imran 3:14

Mwandishi Mitchell GB 6474
SCI Houtzdale
P.O..Box 1000
Houtzdale, PA 16698-1000





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine being stuck in a bus for hours in the heat AND having to use the restroom. Then to be forced to do so in a cup they passed around, geesh, that's just nasty. You would have thought if the sally port had something jammed up in it they could have had you guys come in via another gate. I don't know prisons well so maybe they only had the one sally port entrance. I hope things have gotten better for you at your new home, all things being equal. Your writing is very moving and you tell a great story - keep your head up! - Ken (Dallas, TX)

A Friend said...

The following comment is to Ken from Mwandishi Mitchell:

I appreciate your comment – it means the world to me. And I am thankful to people like you who read MB6.

Janice G said...

I enjoyed your story. Thanks for sharing it.