Friday, January 27, 2017






Friend: A person attached to another person by feelings of affection or personal regard. A person who gives assistance, a supporter, faithful companion, and keeper of secrets. Someone with whom you can laugh or cry, share your hopes and dreams. Someone who knows all about you and loves you anyway.
Best friend: Someone who you can trust with your life who has seen the best and worst of you and will be there whenever you need someone to talk to. There is a balance in friendship between give and take. You feel so in sync with them that you can comfortably share your innermost feelings and thoughts.
Sister: A person who’s been where you’ve been. Someone you can call when things aren’t right. More than just family. A sister is a friend for life.
Broken: Having been fractured or damaged and no longer in working order. Having given up all hope, despairing.
How do you go from one extreme to another? How do you feel like part of you is missing and you have no idea where to find it? How do you lose your whole life, everything you thought you had, you thought you knew, you thought would happen…how does it all go away as quickly as the wind blows? The secrets, the plans, the dreams, I can’t even tell them apart anymore. They all melt together, forming one big cluster of nothing. Which is exactly what I am…I am nothing but a damaged person. I have been since day one.
People can be whatever you want them to be. I am the perfect example of that. On the inside, everything is wrong, all of it is misplaced, and nothing holds secure. I was never pretty enough, I was never good enough, I was never smart enough, I was just never enough. They needed flawlessness and excellence, and on the outside, I portrayed it to a T. But on the inside, I was dying. Damaged goods. At least when you buy something broken you can return it, but what do you do when that’s not an option? When you have no choice but to wake up every morning with a smile on your face because that’s what people expect. Your family, your social circle, and your best friend–someone you call your sister. McKenzie thought she knew me, everyone did. I told you I played the part perfectly, hour after hour, day after day, year after year.
I am Gianna Edwards.
But the truth is…
I have no idea who I am. 


All the preparation in the world couldn’t have equipped me for this. I swallowed the hard lump while the lights went out on cellblock number 518. To say I was scared shitless would be an understatement. The Amazing Grace tune, being hummed a few cells down, did little to calm my fears. I didn’t belong here. I didn’t know how to survive something like this. I didn’t know if I could. I was never around people like this. I didn’t know how to interact with guys like this.
“You the guy that raped those two kids?” I heard the inmate to the right of me ask.  “How long you get?”
I didn’t answer. I sat on the thin mattress and buried my face in my hands. Ten years. How the hell was I supposed to be here for one night, let alone ten years? I had held it together for almost a year while I endured a long drawn out trial. Not one tear did I shed. Grown men didn’t cry. I couldn’t remember the last time I had cried. It had to have been when I was a little boy. Never as an adult. I cried that night. I buried my face in the bend of my arm and silently cried.
I did my best to keep to myself. You learn pretty quickly how to survive when you’re thrown into an environment like this. Anger and fear became my only feelings. I tried to stay focused and steer clear of dangerous situations. Knowing from observation the way you’d be put back inline if you stepped out, I kept my nose clean, never making eye contact. Unless, of course, it was one of the guards or Warden Randy Potts.
Potts was quite a leader. The one and only time I spoke to him, I took a billy club to the backs of my knees. I didn’t need to be broken down to know who was in charge. That one painful drop to the floor did it for me. I did as I was told, even when I thought it to be unfair. I listened without speaking until I was told to do so, and I became the obedient little prisoner. The ideal inmate.
I went three consecutive years without one mishap. Not until Shank was transferred from a psych ward in a maximum security state prison, that is. I was lucky enough to be graced with his presence.
I didn’t know what this guy’s beef was with me, but he screwed with me every chance he got, tripping me in the cafeteria, dumping my tray on the floor, knocking books out of my hand, anything he could do to get to me. Had I known the guy, I would have said he had a personal vendetta and was out to get me. Thing was, I didn’t know anyone in prison. I’d never come close to a place like this.
“What’s the matter, pretty boy? Can’t handle somebody your own size?”
I knew what he was getting at. News traveled fast. I was known as the teacher who raped his two female students. I still didn’t get why he was up my ass all the time. Other than I didn’t really look like most of the guys here. Not that I am bragging, but I was a nice looking man. I used my recreation time working out or playing basketball on the court. I had always been physically active, which in turn, showed in my fit physique.
 I stopped doing that, too, when Shank showed up. I never understood how I’d been there for three years without a friend, and he shows up out of the blue with a mass of groupies following him, or whatever the hell you call the gangs behind the razorblades. I never cared enough to learn about the gang slang. I stayed as far away from it as possible, staying in close proximity of the guards.
The newbies coming in were sized up. You could almost bet they were going to fall into one of three categories. Either they would join a gang, easily be taken for granted and robbed of every possession they had, or be punked. I did learn the meaning behind that argot word. I wasn’t about to be forced to be anyone’s sexual plaything. Punk. That just so happens to be the one I inherited from Shank. He wanted me.
I stayed as far away from him and his boys as I could, staying on the other side of the courtyard, cafeteria, and showers. I came in a virgin; I was leaving a virgin. On the nights that I needed satisfaction, I took care of it with my right hand, thinking about her. The thought of shoving my cock inside her was always enough to bring immediate pleasure.
The first time I witnessed one of the assaults was before Shank showed up there. I was in the shower room. I ran, promising to stay in the first open shower. It wasn’t hard to be thrown behind a wall and held down by gang members while a leader had their way with you. Sure, I was offered protection when other gangs witnessed what I was dealing with from this guy, but I didn’t want it. I thought it would make me look weak. I wasn’t about to be brought to this guy’s level. Not on my life. I wouldn’t be bullied.
I did just that, holding my own when I was made to leave my cell. Had it been up to me, I would have stayed right there in my safe little box. Away from Shank and the rest of the monsters I was forced to share an address with. I would have called a guy a pussy for being like I was. I was a strong, authoritative figure on the outside. I was a pussy on the inside. Pretty Boy James. That was my name. No matter how hard I tried to not look pretty, I couldn’t change my looks or my body.
I didn’t see them come in. I was rinsing soap from my hair when a hand cupped my balls, digging fingers into my sack. I couldn’t even scream. The pain was excruciating. The next thing I knew, I was around the corner, out of sight.
“What’s the matter, pretty boy? You don’t like knowing how it feels?”
Shank. Fuck. It was Shank. Between the excruciating pain from my balls being squeezed, my face being shoved into the wet block, my arm being twisted, and my hair being firmly held, I knew I was in trouble. I didn’t even fight it. I couldn’t. I didn’t know where I felt the most pain. Everything hurt. Once my head was shoved to the misty, concrete floor, I was done. I knew I was finished. “Give me some soap,” was the last thing I heard before I was raped by Shank first, and then three other guys.
Shank tried to get me to suck his dick, but I didn’t care how bad it hurt. I wasn’t opening my mouth for his or nobody else’s cock. Not until I saw the shank. It was either Shank’s cock in my mouth or the shiny shank in my ass. The mere touch of the cold metal was enough to convince me to open my mouth.
No matter how much I tried to stay clear of him. He always managed to win. I never did get the chance to fight. There were four of them and one of me. Shank always won. I was never so happy in my life when he was transferred out again. I didn’t know why. I didn’t care. I heard that he beat a guy almost to death. I assumed he was going back to the maximum security prison. Good. He could stay there.
I did ask someone after he was gone what he was doing time for. Shank’s name was Jarod and he used to be a normal civilian, the older gentleman, Tom, explained. A loan officer at a fancy bank some place. The guy shot his wife in the head after catching her in bed with his brother or some shit, left behind a newborn baby. Poor kid, never had a chance.
That year was the worst one I had in prison. Once Shank was gone, I focused on getting out, revenge, getting out, and revenge. Freedom and retaliation. That’s what I waited for.  


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