Brice stole one last look in his cell’s ‘funhouse’ mirror. State clothes, state boots, and state haircut. Tall and broad shouldered – carrying the weight of an infinite sentence. No time for those thoughts. Setting his game face in place, he steps out as the cell gates clang closed all down the tier.
The yard was near empty, most cons at their jobs or faking it in their programs. The one he was looking for was in his usual spot. Posted up, wary eyed, back firmly against the stone wall.
“What up Chet” Brice greeted him, a quick tap of the knuckles, the prison yard `pound`. “Same old. Stressing.” Chet stands near as tall, but sixty pounds lighter. Pasty skinned, weasel faced – always looking as if he’d just sucked a lemon.
“You sweating the parole board?” Brice asks. “Three days from now – but you know they ain’t letting no violents go, and with a rape tag too….” Chet whined. “Maybe so. But there’s always a chance.”
“Better off buying a lottery ticket. Shit wasn’t rape no way. F-ing bitch spread it wide for me - just couldn’t take all the cock!” Chet crowed, cupping his crotch.
Brice’s smile faded as his lips grew tight. “What if we could up those odds?” “Yeah right. Like get a letter from Obama – or Jesus maybe.” “No one from the superintendent.”
“Real funny Brice. Why would the super be wanting to write a letter for me?” Brice looked him dead in his eyes. “Cause you’re going to save his life.” Chet waited for the punch line, the laugh, none came.
“I don’t…” “Shut up and listen” Brice interrupted. “The super walks across the main yard every Friday – Just to show he’s tough, not afraid. Whatever. Tomorrow when he hits mid-yard, I run at him - shank held high. Just when I’m one stride from taking him out – you step between and push him down on the ground. Lay on top of him. I knick you in the shoulder, just to really sell it – and the super owes you his eternal gratitude!”
“That’s f-ing nuts!” “It will work.” “They’ll put you under the jail.”
“Shit. Chet, I’ve already got life without parole. What are they gonna do – put me in the box for a couple months? I get out; I’ll never have to buy smokes again. Be the man who almost spiked the super!”
“I don’t know man – it’ll hurt…””What are you going to do – screw up my fame and fortune?” Brice gives him a hard look. Chet lowers his head, always gives ground to power. “If you think so, alright.”
* * *
Friday’s afternoon sun blazed down on Brice as he began his synched walk to intercept the super. Darting glances to his left ensuring that Chet was on pace. The super trudged along, chest poked out, fat belly straining the buttons of his suit coat. Another symbolic lap to show he’s in charge. Three paces off; Brice draws the shank from his waist and kicks into a sprint. Weapon arcing high – a bestial yell booming forth. Just a tad late, Chet flashes into the gap. Brice’s blade catches him high in his shoulder as he begins to tackle the super to the ground. Brice dives on top, the next thrust of steel lower, between his back ribs and into a lung. His mouth is next to Chet’s ear. “That ‘Bitch’ was my cousin!”
The third strike is centered, up and deep piercing the rapo’s heart. Chet coughed hard, spraying a mist of blood onto the super’s crispy white shirt. Brice lunged back to his feet. Screams “Your next super!” Shank flashing in dazzling sunlight. Two quick strides as the cowering super tries to crawl away in the dust. K-pow! K-pow! K-pow!
A salvo of .223 slugs flies from the towers’ C.O.’s AR-15. Two punch into his back and out through his chest, one through his skull, exploding his left eye.
They had won – but he had cheated them out of their time. His own way!