The Smoking Section (Masthead) Respect Our Fresh!

"Stranded On Death Row..."

Let me tell you all about it cuzo…

First off, I had to go b/c I caught a bullshit charge. Whatever.

So I had to be there by 6 pm Friday and was set to release at 6pm Sunday. I promise you, that was part of prolly the longest 48hrs of my life.

When I go in, I requested the Martha Stewart suite.

dude asked me “have you ever been to jail before?”

I gave him the Tim Duncan stoneface and I guess he caught the drift.

He said “well it’s not like regular jail. Most of these guys here, come from the county over here for minor offenses, to serve the rest of their time out and get jobs, go out on work release and stuff. The rest will be weekenders like yourself so you should be got locks on your door, keys, books, etc.” Cool, I’ll read and pass the time like that.

As I’m sittin there, there’s a old white dude, a black dude who looks like Marcellus Wallace except he’s got a perm and informs us that he just got out the state pen March 1. and finally there’s an old black dude drunker than Cooty Brown.

We go in and they give us the strip search (minus the anal cavity search), a roll of tissue, toothpaste, tootbrush and a grey, matted, hairy slavery blanket.

As we go in, a “manly” woman CO tells me I’m in L2 10 top bunk and that’s my new home for the next 48 hours.

We’re in lockdown because she’s been “disrespected” b/c some of the inmates have tried to smoke on her shift. Lockdown means we’re in our cells. No tv in the outer room, no snacks, nothing. Not that I give a fuck. I ain’t planning on making no friends anyways. I go into my lil cell, make my bed and cool out. I gotta get my gameface on before I go out to meet my new circle of friends for the first time. But, herein lies problem number 1 – I smoke like a freight train. Two packs on a good day, three if I’m stressed or busy making moves. 48 hrs w/no squares sounds like a nightmare. But I digress.

The population is roughly about 120 men. All shapes, all sizes, all dirty lookin mofos for the most part. I mean dudes that look hardened from life. Not necessarily jail itself, but life in the streets. There’s maybe 20 whites, 2 hispanics and the rest are runaway slaves like myself. I see braids, tats and either messed up teeth or gold teeth.

Come to find out, the warden has taken away the books so I’m stuck watching tv, which is cool b/c I remember that in my cell, there’s a small clear 13” tv set. But watching Oz and American Me and the typical jail movies, I know I’m not supposed to mess w/anybodys stuff regardless so that’s off limits to me until my cellmate comes in. whatever. I took some sleeping pills before I came in the doors so first thing I do is take what will be one of many naps to come.

The first time I wake up, it’s roughly 9-10pm, and my cellmate walks in. he says something but I’m mad groggy so it doesn’t even matter. He asked me a question and I must’ve replied because he says “aww they gave me a weekender”. I remember mumbling “yeah whatever” and try to roll back over. He’s cut on the tv set, low at first and then he puts in earplugs. He starts to laugh (which he’ll continue to do throughout our stay, tv or no tv) so I roll over to watch the tv from my bunk and I do for roughly 20-45 mins before I decide that my dream is more entertaining that trying to watch tv. We’ve got 4 channels 1 of which being the religious channel. The others are hit and miss, sorta like watching scrambled cable, because we’re working w/bunny ear attenaes.

About 4am Sat, I hear a lot of rumbling and the guy in the room w/me tells me “cellie you better wake up if you want some chow!” groggy again. I hop off the top bunk, not really knowing what I’ve been told but knowing that food was vaguely mentioned. I go to the line, wiping heavy sleep boogers out of my eyes and proceed to eat a breakfast of grits, eggs, milk and toast. I ain’t a slave so I skip the grits and opt for the eggs and toast. The eggs look like small intestines and taste pretty similar to chitlings but I’m hungry so fuck it. I eat and roll back to my bunk to finish sleeping b/c it’s too damn early to be up in the first place.

Let me mention here that I never drank anything that wasn’t already prepackaged. I remember comin up on the block, they used to talk about how in prisons and jails they put “soft peter” in the water. “soft peter” is exactly what it sounds like. I make the mistake of sipping just a little of the worst coffee ever before this thought kicks in. now, I’m only here for 48 hrs but I ain’t drinkin nothing that’s gonna have me impotent for a month after I get out so the only drinks I have all weekend are two blue cartons of lowfat milk and a bottle Sprite.

I woke back up from my nap roughly before lunchtime comes and I socialize for a bit before and after. The social aspects of situations like these are very little. In state or fed pens, they say it’s not about rehabbing criminals but only making them worse because their around people who are criminals for life, those who know all the tricks of the trade. In county jail, you have the people you see on “Cops” and “America’s Dumbest Criminals”. Socializing with these dudes is like talking to the slow kids in school. All they do is say the dumbest shit and every thing is followed by a laugh. I recognize faces from either the club or the local malls but I don’t actually know any of them. I manage to parlay w/two cats playing Tonk and read the newspaper. I’ve had enough, I go back to the top bunk and take yet another nap.

This is basically how my time spent breaks down. Sleeping, waking up to eat, watchin tv in my cell (my cellie is gone all day on work release so I’m good), and dreaming about cigarettes. I wear the same clothes the whole time because I’m playing it like Caine from Menace. No showers, no shittin. I sleep in this ratty ass blanket that I swear Harriet Tubman must’ve left behind when the Underground Railroad ended. It had to be the world’s largest dustbunny because it was just nasty, wool and gray. All it needs is ears. Evertyime when I wake up, I have to pull the biggest pieces of lint out of my eyelashes, mustaches, lips, etc. and everytime I wake up, I find myself shootin upright and thinking “goddamn it I need a cigarette.” At one point, I’m plottin to get a square because I heard cats talking about them earlier in the day. I’m way past ready to pay a buck or whatever it costs to score one but no luck....Marcellus Wallace tells me his guy only has 3 left til the work release cats come back. I go back to my cell and watch tv.

I watch “Dharma and Greg”, three episodes in a row, then “King of Queens” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” and pass out. I wake up, “Chow L1, let’s go. Chow L2, let’s go”. I think I ate some pork but I don’t give a damn. I’m hungry. I eat, socialize for a sec and go back to sleep. I wake up again and we’re on lockdown by the lady again. I don’t even waste time comin out. I go lay back down, wake up again, watch “Cheaters” and “Blind Date” and get ready to go back to sleep. I have no idea what time it is but I notice my cellie isn’t back and I know it’s mad late. I pay it no mind. I take off my shoes, glad no one is in the room, because I’m sure they stink b/c I’d been rockin them shits since 530pm Friday haha.

Around 1-2 am, the CO’s come in my room and ask me where my stuff is. Groggy. “right there in the corner”. They proceed to take everything else out of the room and ask “is this your tv?” “Nah but let me hold that for a minute yo.” They leave it, I watch it for 10-15 mins then go back to sleep on my top bunk. I hate bunk beds now. I had one when I was a kid. It was cool then. Now, I feel like such a homo climbin up and down just to get into bed. Anyways, about an hour or two later I guess, they come back and take my tv set. “it’s cool yo. I ain’t got that much longer anyways”. But I’m knowing these last hours are gonna be hard as hell w/no tv. There’s not enough sleep in the world to cover that time span and I ain’t goin out there w/population to hash out world politics and giggle.

“L2 Chow…” This time, I hop up b/c I know what time it is. Waffles, corn flakes scattered all over the plate, a corner of syrup and bologna. Waffles for me. Pass the bologna to the hungry aggin sittin beside me. Back to bed.

430 am , Sunday– “Ain’t you _______?”


“you s’posed to have been gone. Roll out.”

No hesitation on my part. I hop straight out my bunk and grab my unworn tshirt, draws and undershirt. I’m knowing I’m not supposed to get out until 6pm but I’m not about to argue.

“Clean your room?”

“nah but I got that”

Strip my bed. Wipe down my vinyl mattress. I’m good.

Go to the release room. “Sign here sir”. No problem.

“You don’t want to make a phone call?”

“Nope” I shout over my shoulder as I’m walking my happy black ass out the door.

“Give us us free!” like Cinque on Amistad.

First things, first, I grab a cig out the pack I took in and begin my stroll in the darkness of dawn. I’m figuring it’s a 15min car drive home but fuck it, I’m good I’ll walk.

Not happening. That first square makes me superwoozy like I just hit some hydro. I bust a left for a five minute stroll to the Waffle House , call my folk and have them come get me.

“yo I’m free mayne come get me”

“It’s 5 in the morn”

“I don’t give a damn pimpy mayne come get me now”

I see why people who come home from jail feel weird in the real world when they get out. I ain’t been gone a full 48hrs and home feels weird. It feels big and small at the same time. I can’t stay inside so I go outside to smoke a square. I’ll get used to it again but it’ll take a lil while.

I ain’t really sure what the future holds. In the past two years, I’ve been in the county’s holding cells 2-3x, bailed out and released on RR. Been in the “detox/suicide watch/loony bin/and all the rest of you crazy mofos in here” building at least 2x for 2-3days apiece, inpatient rehab for 19 days, outpatient for another 3 weeks….i’ve been thoroughly institutionalized several times at this point and hopefully this is THE last step I have to take to get my life back on track.

Right now, I’m happy to be free and proud to rep Block L2 out here in these means streets of the city.

Latest from The Smoking Section

Smoking Section Twitter

Smoking Section Facebook