Thirty One.


Prison Sucks

Dear Gina,

Sorry about the mess we got you into. It seemed like any easy plan, like easy money and a little excitement. I hope you are ok.

By the way, prison sucks. Our first day on the yard, this big motherfucker said he was going to come see me one night, but I kicked him in the nuts and head butted him across the nose. It was pretty cool, blood spurted out the gash and he fell back across a table where some dudes were playing cards. We thought all Hell was going to break loose.

            Joe and I stood back to back ready to fight. But no one made a move. They all jumped when it happened, and stood looking at us, but then they just rolled the dude out of the way and reset the table.

After that no one even talked to us, except some dudes from Aryan Nation who were talking about how the whites have to stick together if they want to survive. Joe said he didn’t have a beef with the blacks or Mexicans, and that the only color he hated was blue.

Other than that it’s really boring here. We pretty much just sit around talking all day. We work out a lot, because that’s all there is to do. I read a lot. Joe talks to the other inmates.

            Gina, sorry about all of this. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t know who could be reading, but I hope you are ok, wherever you are. Joe sends love, Mann.

I didn’t know where to send the letter, so I mailed it to The Well. I figured Nick would see her before I did.

I had plenty of time to think about what happened. I sat in that boring cavern of a gray cell and re-lived the night over and over. Joe and I talked about it a lot. We couldn’t figure out what went wrong and we decided that we never would. We just wrote it off as bad luck, or bad timing, or bad acting on Gina’s part. We were missing too many pieces to put the puzzle together. All we knew was that we found the perfect store. We watched it for a few nights to see how it operated. One dude, always alone– fat, homely looking fuck–, always half asleep or watching a portable TV. Seemed easy. We sent Gina in dressed like Madonna. She looked good, too. It didn’t take long for her to get him into the back room. Joe and I put on our ZZ Top disguises and went inside. We cleaned out the register, even found the money stashed in the lunch meat cooler. We were in and out in no time, but we didn’t even make it back to the car before…


“FUCK!”  Joe said, as he raised his hands over his head and turned to face the cop pointing a gun at him. And just like that it was over.

“You, too.” Another cop had his gun on me. “Over there,” he motioned toward the side of the building. “Hands on the wall and spread your legs.”

I glanced at Joe while they were frisking us. His fake beard was askew and he was staring at the wall.

“Well. Well,” the cop said, chuckling as he pulled a .38 out of Joe’s jacket. “Don’t suppose you have a permit to use this while committing a felony.” He smiled at his partner.

Asshole, I thought. Joe didn’t respond. He just stared at the wall. When the other cop finished frisking me, they cuffed us and turned us toward the cruiser. I kept watching Joe. He kept staring at the wall. He didn’t looked scared or pissed or anything. He looked vacant, just stood there staring at the wall, just waiting. When we were walking toward the car, he looked at me. He didn’t say anything, or smile, or shrug, or anything. He just looked at me for a moment. He could tell I was scared and worried, and then right before they lowered him into the car, “Hey,” he called, then he smiled and winked. When I saw that, all the anxiety, anger, and fear drained from me, and I knew everything would be fine.

At the station they took our prints and mugshots, then they tried to interrogate us with that old “he said, he said” bullshit. At least they didn’t play “good cop, bad cop.” What really annoyed me, though, was that they were concentrating on me. They had Joe in the room for two minutes. They had me in there for two hours. They asked same things over and over again, “Tell us what happened.” “Tell us what you were doing.” “He made you do it, right?” “He said it was your gun.”

I didn’t speak at all. I wouldn’t even say my name. For two hours we sat there, and they acted like it was all just a matter of time. I was getting pissed that they thought they could read me like that. I could feel the rage brewing inside. Those fuckers. For a moment, I thought about Joe’s gun. I wanted to make a break for it and just run away. I wanted to be out of there, away from them. I wanted them to stop asking me questions. Leave me the fuck alone. I was getting pissed and I was ready to freak out. They just kept asking me about Joe. Two cops would come in and two would go out. They took turns every couple of minutes. They wanted me to say that Joe planned the whole thing, that he made me do it, that I always did what he said. All this bullshit. It was all about Joe. Joe. Joe. Joe. Like I was just a tag-along. Like he would have done it regardless of whether I was there. And what about Gina, she did all the work. Then I stopped myself. As soon as I realized I was thinking about Gina I knew it was time to quit before I slipped and said something out loud.

The good thing that came from the interrogation was that I was certain Gina got away. They didn’t ask anything about her, or a third person or anything like that. So I figured I better keep my cool, for Gina’s sake. And once I realized there was good reason to keep cool, a weight lifted from my chest and I could think clearly. Then, I remembered how calm Joe was. He just followed their lead, didn’t say a word. He didn’t resist them, or get angry, or anything. He just didn’t say a word.

So I ignored the cops and drifted into a daydream. I thought about when I cut my foot on some glass while drinking and swimming at Loch Raven Dam. I got twenty stitches in one toe and had to walk on crutches for two weeks. Some punk with an old beef took the opportunity to attack me. I was defenseless with all those stitches in my foot, so I curled up and protected my foot and accepted his punishment. I didn’t get angry or anything. I just saw it as a minor setback, and I believed that these little setbacks would occur from time to time. That was really what I was thinking. I thought it was pretty cool to be thinking something like that while some asshole was kicking me in the back. It didn’t really hurt, it was just annoying, like a bee sting. I just curled up and waited for him to get tired of kicking me. Just like I used to do when Duke was first teaching me to fight, before I learned to hit back. I knew I would survive. I knew that the fight wasn’t over.

During my interrogation, while sitting in that musty cinder block room with those cops, I felt like that defenseless victim again. So, I just curled up and accepted their punishment. They didn’t beat on me, but they did push me some, and tried all those mental tricks that any high school dropout could see through. They made promises. They told lies. They were relentless in their stupidity. I couldn’t believe that anyone was too blind or stupid to see through it. The cops knew it wasn’t about tricking confessions, but just getting dudes to turn on each other out of desperation or fear. There really wasn’t much honor among thieves, but there was between Joe and me. There was self-respect, too. I was proud of myself. I thought I was handling it well. They wanted something and I wouldn’t give it to them. It was all just a game to the cops. I thought about it, you really only lose when you admit defeat. They could try their bullshit all day long. I didn’t have to respond. I didn’t even have to be in the same room, mentally. They saw me change when I realized that. They saw my eyes glaze over, or my posture shift, or something, but they knew it happened. I wasn’t going to talk.

When they led me from the room, we passed Joe’s cell. I looked over as we passed. He looked up from staring at the wall. He saw it, too. I had changed. And he smiled and shook his head when I winked at him.

In prison, Gina, you wait. That’s all you do. If you’re a lifer, you wait to die. If you’re a short-timer, you wait to get out, counting the days or weeks or years. Time doesn’t stand still in prison, it sits on your head. And it chokes you like a boot against your throat. And all around outside, you are certain that people are laughing and playing and having sex. You are constantly reminded that life goes on outside the concrete and steel, outside the range of stun guns and real guns and police radios. You are constantly reminded that other people are happy and that they are moving on without you because you now live in a different world.

            All I do in here is think, Gina. And, honestly, mostly, it’s about sex. But I can feel it fading. Sometimes I think about old girlfriends, sometimes you (sorry), whichever I remember the clearest. But it’s all fading. And when I look around at these other dudes, who’ve been in here a lot longer, it’s even more apparent. The longer you’re in the fuzzier it gets. And it seems to fade in little pieces. The memory of a woman’s smell goes first. Unless someone’s sending scented letters, but that seems to stop soon enough. Then the sound of her voice goes, and you can’t hear her saying your name anymore. You can’t even remember if her voice is high or low. It’s just gone. You can still see her face, and you can see her lips moving, but there’s no sound. Some guys replace it with someone’s voice from the television. Then you forget the feel of her skin and finally the image of her face, until you can’t remember her at all.

             But Gina, what you do smell and see and hear in prison is the smell of men in too close quarters, and men showering together, and masturbating men listening at night to other men masturbating and craving human touch. And somewhere along the way you realize that you are part of a symphony of masturbation. Imagine how much cum is shot an hour after lights out. And before you know it, the memories of the women aren’t even important anymore. Over time they cease being women at all and become merely the excuse for why you participate in the symphony you share with your cellmates. And you’re all excited and craving human touch and it becomes less and less important who the touch comes from…

I crumpled the letter and threw it away.

Joe and I never really jerked off in front of each other in prison, but we were cellmates and it was obvious to each of us when the other was. Usually it was after lights out, when everyone was jerking off. We could hear each other, or feel the bed creaking, but we were sort of oblivious to it. We had to be. I mean, we shared a six by nine cell. You couldn’t take a piss without splashing your neighbor. The same could be said about jerking off. So we just pretended it wasn’t happening. Anyway, it wasn’t like we had much choice. No one in prison was getting pussy, including Joe and me. And there wasn’t much else to do, so we jerked off. Sometimes, we didn’t even wait for lights out.

One night, Joe was lying on his bunk looking at a titty mag, and I was sitting in a chair next to him reading Faust. I saw him grabbing his dick while looking at the pictures, but I thought nothing of it. Lots of dudes grab their dicks all day long. Some never let go. But when I heard Joe’s bunk squeaking I peeked over the top of my book.

It was late and kind of dark in the cell. The overheads were off and the only light came from my reading lamp. Joe was shirtless, his pants down to his knees, holding the magazine with one hand and stroking himself with the other. I shifted my book for a better view. He was fully erect and his hand and cock were glistening with Vaseline. I shifted in my chair to cast more light on his bunk. The light flashed off the pages as the magazine swayed with his arm movement. His leg muscles flexed each time he stroked. I couldn’t see his face clearly, but I could tell he just closed his eyes. He laid the magazine aside and started playing with his balls, pulling them, caressing them, rolling them between his fingers, while his other hand kept a slow, steady rhythm. He made little circular motions around the head with his fist before sliding it slowly down the shaft.

I watched for a couple of minutes over the top of my book, wondering who he was thinking of. The magazine beside him was spread open to a threesome, two chicks blowing a dude, one of those cheesy shots with the chicks kneeling in front of the dude and kissing each other with his cock between their mouths. The chicks were cute and all, but I didn’t see anything great about it. But I guess that was the thing with porn, it didn’t have to be great, it just had to be.

As I stared at the picture, and saw Joe out of the corner of my eye, I started to touch myself. I was hard as a rock in no time and needed to free it from my pants. When I lifted the band of my underwear, my cock sprang out like a Jack-in-the-Box. I couldn’t believe how hard it was. I quietly grabbed some Vaseline from the jar next to Joe and smoothed it down my cock. That first stroke was intense. It made me shiver and the pleasure shot through me. It was like I hadn’t touched myself in weeks. But I had. A lot. For some reason, I was hard as Hell and sensitive too. My balls felt like they were aching to explode and I didn’t understand why. The second stroke down my cock was as intense as the first. And the third. I knew it wouldn’t take long tonight. I hadn’t even fantasized yet, hadn’t even looked at the titty mag or anything. I was just sitting there watching Joe…sitting there watching Joe…sitting there watching Joe. I was sitting there watching Joe. Then I realized that I was sitting there watching Joe. I was staring at Joe’s cock while he stroked it. And it was making me hard. I immediately flashed back to that time when Joe stayed at my house and was jerking off next to me in bed and his shoulder kept bumping my back. I remembered that I was hard then too. I couldn’t look, but I could hear and I could feel his movement and it turned me on.

But now I could look. I shifted my chair a little more. The muscle in his forearm flexed with each stroke. It looked as pumped and solid as his cock. My balls were tingling and my cock ached it was so hard. As I stroked myself, I kept sliding down in my chair from the rhythm of my movement, so I braced my foot against Joe’s bunk for leverage. If he noticed, he didn’t object. This also gave me a better view of the rest of his body. His legs were flexing too, as he squeezed them together forcing more blood into his penis. I could see the head swell each time he did it. My foot was propped on the bedframe right next to his flexing leg. A pleasure spasm made me flinch and my foot brushed Joe’s thigh. When it did, he moaned and scared the shit out of me. I thought he was going to open his eyes and catch me staring at him. But he didn’t. In fact, he moved his leg over until it was touching my foot. At least that’s what it seemed like. He did shift his leg, and it did end up resting against my foot on the edge of the bed. Whether he intended it or not I didn’t know. But there I was with my foot resting on Joe’s thigh while he was jerking off. I wasn’t sure what to do after that. I sat frozen for a moment, cock in hand, waiting for some kind of reaction from Joe. He just kept stroking himself and moaning, and flexing his leg against my foot. Each time he flexed and moved my foot he moaned. He never opened his eyes, or acknowledged me, but I was certain he was doing it on purpose. And after he did it a few times on his own I started to help out. When he flexed, I slid my foot along his thigh. Each time he flexed, I slid my foot back and forth a little further. After a few repetitions of this I was fully stroking his thigh with my foot, from his hip to his knee. All the while, Joe was moaning.

I had to stop touching myself for a moment. I was so hard it hurt. I was ready to explode and I didn’t want to yet. I wanted to keep rubbing his leg. I wiped my hands off on a dirty T-shirt and gripped the seat of my chair for leverage. Then I lifted my body up a little for a better angle. Now I could reach my foot all the way over the top of his thigh in a circular motion. Joe moaned. I repeated. It was uncomfortable for me, so I paused. As soon as I stopped rubbing Joe stopped moaning. He still didn’t open his eyes, but I knew he wanted more.

I turned off the lamp and knelt beside his bunk. There was enough light coming from the hall that I could see his body. The angle of light accentuated the cuts in his muscles. I rested my hand on his thigh. I could feel him flexing. The muscles turned from soft and movable into pieces of steel. I’d never touched such hard muscles before, except my own. And that wasn’t the same. I laid my hand on Joe’s thigh just above the knee. When he didn’t object, I slowly started to caress his leg, each time rubbing a little more, a little further. Joe started moaning again. He switched from fondling his balls to pulling on them while stroking himself. With my other hand I reached over and caressed his far leg. I slid both of my hands up his thigh, then down again to his knees, up his thigh, then down again. Joe stopped fondling himself and folded that arm back under his head.

I could see his balls glistening with Vaseline. I was transfixed. I stared at them while I rubbed up and down his legs. He spread his legs some and I slid my hand up the inside of his thigh, circling down the outside, then up the inside again, almost to his balls, over and over, all the while staring at them, all the while creeping my hand closer to them, until I got close enough and brave enough to gently brush them with my thumb. Joe bucked and thrust his hips a little and I thought he was going to cum, but he didn’t. He just moaned and kept stroking. I did it again. This time the whole back of my hand brushed against the skin just under his balls. And the next time I gently wrapped my fingers around his balls while my hand was passing by. Each time I touched them he stroked a little faster. Each time I touched them was for a longer period until I was fully cupping his balls with one hand and rubbing his thigh with the other. It felt strange to touch another man’s balls. I reached down and cupped mine, too. I had Joe’s balls in one hand and mine in the other. They felt similar, but completely different. In one hand were my balls. I knew them well. I knew them my whole life. In my other hand were…another man’s balls. I felt like I had crossed some threshold, broken a taboo. It didn’t feel gross, or wrong, or even weird. It was just different, very, very different, and it felt…nice. I let go of mine and concentrated on Joe’s. I caressed them, rolled my hand over them, cupped and pulled them gently. At first it was hard to gauge how much pressure to use or where to rub, or how hard to squeeze, but I just thought about my balls and what I liked.

Joe was still stroking himself, but moved his hand up so he was only stroking the head. I rolled my hand across his balls and across the base of his cock. I could feel the swollen hardness of his cock under my hand. I slid my hand down the base and across his balls. The next time I wrapped my fingers around the base then stroked down to his balls and pulled them. Each time I moved my hand a little farther up his cock until I was stroking most of it. Joe kept his fist wrapped around the head and pulled and twisted while I stroked it.

After a few repetitions, he let go and folded both arms behind his head. He kept his eyes closed and kept moaning as I stroked the whole shaft with one hand and pulled on his balls with the other. His cock was swollen and slippery. I stopped playing with his balls and reached down to my own stiff cock and stroked us both at the same time. I tried Joe’s technique, circling the head, then pumping. We were both rock hard. It felt strange to jerk two cocks at once. Bringing Joe so much pleasure was really turning me on and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold out too long, definitely not as long as Joe.

I resisted the urge to cum for as long as I could, but when I felt that tingle deep under my balls I knew I reached the point of no return. I don’t know what that point is, whether it is the cum being released and beginning to flow to the surface like an erupting volcano, or if it’s the muscles opening like a flood gate, but nothing else feels like it and I knew I only had about fifteen seconds left to make Joe cum. So I started pumping him as fast as I could. And since I was pumping myself too, and since I was never a drummer who could keep two separate rhythms with each hand, when I pumped Joe faster I also pumped myself faster, which meant that the countdown to my eruption was quickening, which meant that the countdown to Joe’s eruption needed to quicken too. And since I couldn’t tell whether Joe had passed the point of no return I tried in vain to delay my eruption for as long as I could. It was a vicious, intense, orgasmic Catch 22. I just wanted to hold out long enough to make Joe cum. But the thought of Joe cumming was making it impossible for me to hold out. I wasn’t sure if he was ever going to cum, but I was certain that I only had a few seconds left.

Then it happened. Joe’s legs tightened and his hips thrust upward into my hand. I felt his cock swell even harder. I looked up at his face. His eyes were still closed, but he had lifted his chin and chest up, arching his back off the bed. His arms were still folded behind his head but they were flexed and his biceps were bulging. He started grunting with each stroke and thrusting his hips, fucking my fist. When he exploded I felt it in my balls. His cum shot into the air and onto his chest, stomach, thighs, and my arm. Four long streams of cum poured from his cock as I stroked him. He groaned with each thrust into my fist, “Uhn. Uhn. Uhn. Uhhhhhhhn.” Cum shot everywhere. I kept stroking. He kept groaning and squeezing his legs, and cum kept dripping out, puddling on his stomach. His groans turned back to quiet moans, deep and throaty, as he pushed the rest out of his balls.

I stroked him a little more, milking what was left, until only a few drops dripped on his stomach. I watched the warm cum roll slowly down my hand and smelled that warm semen smell. Joe stopped thrusting and relaxed back. He continued moaning slightly as I caressed his spent balls. I was still stroking myself, but in all the excitement I forgot to cum. It didn’t seem necessary anymore.