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.”

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Gangster Turned Guru Presents: “Catching An Epp”

Oct 10, 2018 at 4:23 PM

Suddenly an agonizing outcry interrupted my afternoon spades game. It’s the wailing I was used to after spending over a decade in the penitentiary where stabbings are methodical occurrences that happen every week. Yet, in the two and a half years I’ve been back in M.D.C. Brooklyn on appeal, there’s only been two stabbings on my unit, which would really be labeled as scratches, not that serious at all. 

But this currant screeching was reminiscent of the past, felt in my bones to where I assumed someone was being punctured to the point of loosing their life. 

Up on the top tier, a cell door slammed open, amplifying the screams from this 6 foot 2, muscular mountain of a man, about 35 years old, struck with a look of pure terror. Blax, my new celli, tried pulling this huge man back in the cell, only to be swatted away like a fly while his yelling continued. 

Mountain man, sprinted to the stairs with the attention of the entire unit watching. A two second hesitation, which I suspected he needed to take a deep breath for the continuing hallowing as he threw himself down the stairs. This was a enormous guy, about 250 pounds of muscles, coming down each of the 15 steps hard. 

Crashing at the bottom, he sprang up, spun around and raced back to the top, bellowing out the piercing scream of horror.
He grabbed the same steel cell door he just kicked open, slammed it against the wall and began punching it bare knuckles, like a young Rocky Bowbowwa beating up a side of beef while training in the ice box. 

By now of course, we all figured out what was going on, he was having what we call an epp, short for an episode, after smoking synthetic weed, known as K-2. These are the weekly occurrences I’ve become used to here at M.D.C., it’s just that this one took the crown. He continued beating the steel door until the C.O.’s ran in. It took five officers to restrain him while he kicked, punched, screamed and defecated on himself, until finally he was cuffed and carried out. 

You would think that guys would see this as an informitable warning that what’s labeled as synthetic weed is nothing like weed at all. Smoking crack doesn’t make people act like that! 
But in this strange world where down is up and up is down, as soon as they let us back out of our cells, all the smokers were running around trying to get some of what he had! How crazy is that.