Comes Around (3)
Thirteen months later:
“Here’s your new cell, shitbird,” said the guard. Turning to the current occupant, he said, “You know the drill, Grizzly.”
The big man, and he was the biggest man that Aaron had ever seen, and that included anyone that he had ever seen on television, got up smiling, and put his hands behind his back to be cuffed. After the guard had unlocked the cell and Aaron was inside, both he and the big man, Grizzly, put their arms back through the bars to be uncuffed.
“Uh, excuse me, can you tell me why I’m being transferred?” Aaron asked the guard. “No one has told me why.”
The man just smiled, and before he left, he said, “Why don’t you ask your new boyfriend, shitbird.”
“Uh, hello, I guess I get the top bunk, huh? You seem pretty settled in the bottom one.”
“It don’t matter one bit, you see, they come apart at night so we can sleep together. I like to cuddle.”
Aaron didn’t find the comment particularly funny, but he smiled, so as not to be rude. “My box of stuff?”
“You can take that lower shelf. I’ll move my shit later, after my…introduction.”
Oh, uh, I’m Aaron, I guess you are Grizzly?”
“What you think of this place?”
“I’m not overly fond of it.”
“You seen me before? You know me?”
“I’ve seen you. You’re a big guy, hard to miss.”
“You hard to miss too. You kind of cute.”
“You ain’t been broke in yet by the peckerwoods?”
“Them white boys, they pop you cherry?”
Good. You know why they ain’t done that? You know why ain’t no one done that to you?”
“Because of me, motherfucker.”
“You welcome. My baby, he left a couple weeks ago. You might of seen us in the yard, yeah?”
“I think so.”
“I a man of my word. That boy was with me until he got out, and he was treated damn good in here.”
“I been in the system since I was thirteen. You know why I here now? It ‘cause I want to be here now. Them streets will fuck your shit up, boy, let me tell you. You know what I like? I like a monogamous white boy. I don’t need no grill, no damn bitches, no damn money, fucking drugs are for losers. A fucking money-trap ride? Fuck that shit. I be blessed by my size, but my brain is something too.
“You know that?”
“I guess I do now.”
“Why you in here? Now, before you think about lying to me, you ought to know that I know why you here already.”
“You care to elaborate?”
“It was a mistake. I shoved my dick in a girl, without her permission.”
“Yeah, I hear you celibate now.”
“It let’s me sleep. I made this vow. It seems to work. I don’t need sex. Yeah, I get urges, but I can ignore them now. I vowed to ignore them for the rest of my life. It’s working okay for me.”
“Yeah, that going to be a problem for me and you. I likes to fuck. You like the pussy, I get it. Met some like you here, but when they get out, they start hitting that pussy again, sure as shit.”
“Well, not me. I was honestly thinking about being a monk.”
“Okay, shit. You do what you want when you leave here, fucking monk motherfucker. Ain’t no skin off my back. But you been protected so long here because of me. You think them other boys don’t want to get some of that? You a pretty, little white boy.
“You ain’t been fucked with on my command. Ain’t no one else in here looking out for you. You think this all as easy as it been for you? No, it ain’t.”
“I don’t exactly know what you mean.”
“I know damn well you don’t. Let me tell you something. This prison a kingdom, but I ain’t no king. I the fucking emperor. You know the difference between any old fucking king and the emperor?”
“Yes, I do.”
“A king only controls his kingdom, but a emperor? Shit, he controls all sorts of shit not just in his kingdom, but outside it too.”
“That’s not exactly what an emperor is.”
“You know, baby, if you decide you going to be my bitch, you can correct me on a rare occasion. But I ain’t even proposed to you yet. Do I look like some fucking punk to you? You be real careful with you answer. Now, I want you to say sorry to me. You get rewards, certain shit others don’t get, if you want to be mine. But, you don’t have shit yet, motherfucker.”
“The fucking emperor is what I fucking say it is, motherfucker.”
“Damn straight you are. Sorry ass motherfucker. Don’t know how good he got it. Don’t know his entire cushy life is on my command. What you think prison is? You think you slid by unnoticed? You lucky, boy. I had my last baby for five years, the one before that for two years. Shit, you look so good to me baby, and I can have you for another nine years.
“You ready to hear my proposal?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“You’s always gots a choice, bitch. That be my thing. Do you want to hear?”
“No, I want a goddamn ‘yes sir’ from you. You ain’t got no idea how lucky you been.”
“Good, I likes a bitch that can learn. Take direction and shit.
“My terms be simple, simple as fuck, white boy. I may be an emperor in here, but I still a man. I want things some other folk want. I don’t need a bunch of bitches, I just need one. It do get lonely at the top. I always had my one. I did have to settle for another brother in here for my first one, but I was learning. That be before I got my crown and shit.
“I like that white meat. Shit, you know that’s just what I dig. Cool?”
“Uh…I don’t know.”
“Yeah, well, I can give you time to think about it. Look, you been protected since I saw you and I knowed that my baby was leaving in a year. I can keep you protected or I can renounce that shit. Choice be yours. And I even give you a fucking week to think on it.
“You is getting some benefits too. No one can fuck with you at all, as I be the emperor and shit. I ain’t ever digging completely subservient bitches. You ain’t ever allowed to disrespect me in front of the brothers, but you be allowed to talk to me about grievances in private. Shit, when I be in love, I give you half my world…on the outside, in here you still be treated good, but we needs to keep up my status.
“Shit you allowed to hang out with the white boys in the yard if you want. Shit, them top peckerwoods won’t have nothing to do with you, but them minor fucks might. You ain’t got to completely give up you culture, but you never talk bad about me.
“Motherfucker, you be protected from everyone, even the brothers, even my second, you maybe like him, maybe no, but he like that white meat too, and I ain’t going to be fucking sharing your ass.”
“What if I decline?”
“I won’t do shit. I could take you. Look at me, then take a fucking gawk at youself. I ain’t doing that. You can decline, white boy, all you want.
“You see, the only thing you will lose is my protection. If you lose that…you free game up in this bitch. You had it and you can be keeping it. If you says no, well shit… you about to finally see what this motherfucker like.”
“Do I have to decide tonight?”
“No baby, at least three days. Maybe more, if you get me hard enough for you. You ever had that prom bitch you want to fuck so bad? You tolerate her shit more than any other bitch, just to get up in that shit?”
“Yes, yes. You know that feeling?”
“Fuck no, I ain’t ever been to no motherfucking high school. It’s a motherfucking metaphor to relate to you, bitch.”
“Take some time, baby. I ain’t going to rush you. However, let the emperor show you his power. Help me take off the top bunk and put that bitch next to mine. Tonight, we ain’t even got to press the mattresses together. Tomorrow that shit a must, baby. You got a little time to think. So, fucking think it up.”
Aaron proceeded to help Grizzly with the bed. He did have some time to think, and he thought. The next night the mattresses were pressed together. Aaron and Grizzly were cuddling within a week.