Gangster Turned Guru Presents: Chapter Excerpt: Killer Canaan

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“…I laid back down in my bed, put on my headphones to catch the local radio station news, when I heard “United States Penitentiary Canaan, is locked down due to the murder of office Erick Wilkins, by an inmate in the unit he was assigned to.”

“Oh shit P-Lee!” I shouted, shooting up out of the bed and snapping on the light.

“Yo! What’s up man?” raising from under the blanket, eyes squinting from the sudden brightness.

“We’re locked down because they killed a CO last night.”

“Get the fuck out of here, Eddie.”

“I just heard them announce it on the local news,” I said, walking over to the cell door to look out on the unit, “And the TV’s are turned off.”

“Oh shit, they’re about to put us through it.  They killed a fucking officer,” P-Lee said, shaking his head while climbing down the latter.

“I’m glad my mother brought the girls to visit last weekend because we’re about to be on lockdown for months,” I said, walking over to my locker and pulling out my bag of commissary to do a quick inventory assessment, preparing to ration out my personal food for the duration of this ordeal.

An hour later, the main unit door slammed shut and I heard the jiggling keys of the officers.  I walked over to the door and saw them loading cardboard boxes on the pushcart.

“Food trays are up P-Lee.”

“Good, I’m starving.”

Two officers were feeding the unit, coming to each cell door, unlocking the food slots and shoving in the two brown cardboard meal boxes, along with two cartons of milk.  This type of meal wouldn’t sustain a kindergartner, let along two grown men.  Watching the officers as they approached, I saw the anguish on their strained screw faces.

Rumor on prisoner.com said that allegedly, four officers that work on the compound were ordered by the shift lieutenant, to shake down an inmate named Jessie’s cell, which is a standard procedure normally done by the one officer working the unit.  For some reason, the shift Lieutenant, nicknamed “Big Show,” because he looked just like the professional wrestler, tall, overweight, bald with a thick mustache, directed the four compound officers to rip this particular cell apart, and they did.”

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Gangster Turned Guru Presents: Chapter Excerpt: Love Sick

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“Unable to disguise the impact of Maria’s news when I walked in the unit, my friend Twin, wasn’t far behind me after I went into my cell to sulk.  Twin’s called my bigger little brother, who’s been my work out partner since he arrived at Canaan from Lewisburg about a week after I did.  At 5’9, he was tipping the scale at 260 pounds back then, but after a few months of working out hard together six days a week, he dropped down to 215 pounds.  Although he still struggled with a sweet tooth, that he’s had since childhood, like the blue cookie monster from Sesame Street, he’s one of the few people that survive my militant boot camp style encouragement to make it through some very tough workouts.

Twin grew up in Pittsburg P.A., and in 2002, got sentenced to 20 years for possession of a few dime bags of crack cocaine.  Before going to the gym each morning, we spend about 10-15 minutes having positive spiritual talks to start the day off with the right attitude.

When I began writing, Twin was the first one I would read my chapters out loud to and I trusted him with my first rounds of edits, which helped him gain a clearer insight by carefully reading what I wrote.  We always look out for each other’s best interest in all situations.

“YO!” he said, walking in without knocking, finding me already under my covers with the blanket pulled over my head.

“Yooooooooo!” I moaned.

“What’s wrong?  How was the visit?” he asked.

Peeking out from under the covers, teary-eyed, letting out a deep sigh, I said, “Maria has left the building! She’s had enough.”

“Enough of what?”

“Of this, doing the bid,” I explained.

“She’s leaving you?”

“She’s left. It’s done. Over. I could see it in her eyes.”

Shaking his head, pulling up the chair and sitting down, both of us quiet for a couple of seconds, he then asked, “What about your daughters?”

“My mother will bring them,” I answered slowly climbing out from under the covers still fully dressed.

“Eddie, you already know what it is.  It’s not ‘if’ they’re going to leave, it’s ‘when’ they’re going to leave.”  Twin repeated his mantra, stemming from his own broken heart.

“Nah, I know. I’ve been here before. It’s part of doing time.”

I was hurt, mad, angry, not eating, hardly sleeping and foreboding locking in at night when all I could do was lie in bed with excruciating images of Maria in the arms of another man, agonizing my aching heart.  It was the first time I felt vulnerable to slipping back into my gangster ways.  There were moments I felt like exploding, but didn’t and maintained my self-control.

After a month immersed with these tormenting thoughts and images, I realized more than ever that I needed to continue to practice what I’ve been preaching by consciously staying in control of what I thought about.   Once I caught my self-thinking negatively or feeling sorry for myself, I’d find an activity to take my attention to something positive.  Normally it was working out, which I was doing three or four times a day for at least an hour and a half each period.  I was writing more and at night I always had two or three books on the table next to my bed to read myself to sleep.  I brought a book light so I could read without disturbing my celli, which helped me to quickly fall back to sleep.

I choose to be patient with myself, knowing from prior experiences that the hurt and pain of a broken heart would heal in time.  By continuing to be kind, friendly, helpful and honest, I attracted the same to my experience when I most needed it.”