Banged-Up Abroad Skinhead Scene 1

From my jail memoir, Hard Time, that Raving Arizona is based on:

Lingering in the doorway of the corner cell were three skinheads. Young. Tattooed. Waiting.
Forcing a smile they failed to return, I joined them. “I just got here,” I said, conscious of the fear in my voice.
“You need to come inside the cell, so we can have a little chat.”
“OK,” I said.
“Go in there, dawg.”
I walked into the cell, stopped by the window and turned around. Looking at them, I could see my left eyelid twitching. One of them blocked the doorway. Another leaned an arm adorned with a Valknut – three interconnected triangles found in early-medieval Germanic inscriptions – against the wall, forming a barrier.
“Where you from, dawg?”
“England.”
“What the fuck you doing out here?”
“I was a stockbroker, then I threw raves.”
“So what they arrest you doing?”
“I’m not quite sure. They didn’t actually arrest me doing anything. I was just –”
Raising his forearms, the biggest skinhead stepped forward, fists clenched. “What the fuck you mean, you’re not quite sure?”
I braced to be attacked.
“How the fuck don’t you know what your charges are?”
I’ll try to push my way through them and escape.
“I do but –”
“Every motherfucker knows his charges! What you hiding from us?”
Got to push through them. If I fight against the wall they’ll just close in on me. 
“He’s bullshitting us!” The third closed the door, but not so it was locked.
I’m screwed. Charge and hope for the best.
“If you got sex offences, you’d better tell us now ’cause we will find out!”
“I don’t have sex offences. What I mean is, I don’t understand my charges: conspiracy, crime syndicate. I’m new to this. The cops just raided me and nobody’s explained what evidence they have. I thought they’d let me go when they didn’t find any drugs at my apartment. I don’t know what’s going on.”
“Where’s your paperwork at?”
“Right here,” I said, fishing it out of my top pocket.
“Lemme see.” The biggest skinhead snatched the charge sheet. Reading it, he said, “Goddam, dawg! $750,000 cash-only bond! You some kinda Mafia dude or what?”
“No. I threw raves. We did drugs. Everyone had a good time.” I wondered if my charges were acceptable to them.
“I shot someone in the chest at a rave,” the mid-sized one said in a scary matter-of-fact tone. “He was on GHB. I’m getting 10 for attempted murder.”
A raver or doesn’t like ravers?
“I’m here for drugs too, dawg. Name’s Rob,” the biggest one said. “Stand up and hold your fist out, man.”
Heart check? I thought. I raised both fists, dropped my chin, and tried to squint like Lee Van Cleef.
They laughed at me. “Not like that! Just hold a fist out like this.” Rob held his right fist out as if he’d just lost at the card game raps. I copied him, and he bumped his fist into mine. “That’s how we shake hands in here, dawg.”
I laughed and they joined in. My tension fell like a firework returning to earth.
“It’s to avoid catching diseases from people’s fingers. There’s a lotta sick motherfuckers up in this joint.”
“My mouth’s killing me. How do I get a toothbrush?” I asked.
“I’ll grab you one,” Rob said. “I’m the head of the whites for this pod. Used to be in the Marines.” He held out a tiny toothbrush. Splayed and stained.
“Thanks, Rob. Why’s the toothbrush so small?”
“So we can’t make shanks out of them.”
“Shanks?”
“Jailhouse knives. You’ve gotta lot to learn, dawg.”
“Got any toothpaste?”
“Here you go.” Rob smeared the toothbrush with AmerFresh, a brand made in China that Sheriff Joe Arpaio provided the inmates – five years later, the FDA found AmerFresh to be contaminated with diethylene glycol (DEG), a toxic chemical used in antifreeze and as a solvent.
“Do you mind if I brush my teeth at your sink?”
“Nah, go ahead,” Rob said.
I shuffled past them to the sink. The AmerFresh put out the fire in my mouth.
“You need to take a shower too,” Rob said.
I thought of all the shower scenes I’d seen in prison movies.
“Everyone coming from The Horseshoe fucking stinks. You’re making our race look bad going around smelling like that. We don’t wanna have to smash you for bad hygiene.”
“No problem. Where’s the showers at?” I asked, still brushing my teeth.
“In the corner, next to this cell,” Rob said, pointing at the wall.
“Better get in there before they call lockdown,” the mid-sized one said.
“What time’s that at?” I asked.
“Ten thirty.”
“Alright, I’m off to the shower then.” I cupped water in my hand a few times to rinse my mouth with, then stepped toward the door.
Rob blocked me. I flinched. “Not so fast. We ain’t finished with you yet.”
His last sentence crushed me. “What is it?” I asked, afraid of what he might say.  
Rob cocked his head back, narrowed his eyes. “What do you know about your cellies?” Accusation had returned to his voice.
“Cellies?”
“Cellmates.”
“Not much. I guess Boyd’s here a lot, but the other one, David, has barely spoke a word.”
“Yeah, we know all about crackhead Boyd. What about the other one? Any idea what his charges are?”
Rob trained such a gaze on me I gulped. “No idea.”
“We think he’s a mo.”
“Mo?”
“A chomo. A child molester.”
“Uh oh.”
“You can get smashed in here for having a celly who’s a chomo.”
My tension escalated again. “What should I do?”
“Usually, we’d tell you to tell him to roll up, but we’re gonna handle it for you.”
“OK. Thanks,” I said, unsure why I’d thanked them. “I’d better go and get my shower then.”
“You do that. And don’t go in the shower barefoot. Durango foot rot ain’t nothin’ nice, dawg.”

Raving Arizona is based on my memoirs Party Time and Hard Time

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Party Time with Amazon links.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Hard Time with Amazon links.

Click here to read Chapter 1 of Prison Time

Shaun Attwood

2 comments:

Preston said...

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