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Prison made me an animal. And the beautiful brunette’s my first victim.
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I stared at the ceiling of my cell. There was a chip in the paint, just another one of the many flaws of my new “home.” The sink dripped through the night, torturing me into a state of perpetual wakefulness. The springs that jutted out from the bone-thin mattress didn’t help. There was an ever-present stench of mildew and body odor in the air, revolting and gross. And don’t even get me started on the toilet.
One of Florida’s best federal penitentiaries.
Because it’s a downgrade from my penthouse in NYC, that’s for sure. It’s what I get for trusting the wrong people.
No, I wasn’t put away for murder or some other violent crime. In fact, I’m innocent. Framed for insider trading.
It never happened.
But they don’t care.
And now we’re in the middle of the appeals process. But who knows when this is gonna be over? The court system is slow, moving at a snail’s pace. So yeah, my lawyers are scurrying like beetles to right this wrong.
Much good that’s doing.
Fuck my attorneys.
Fuck those prosecutors who wanted to hold me up as an example.
Because I’m a privileged bastard, the perfect scapegoat. Well, I’d like to see them try to build an empire by themselves. It’s not that easy, assholes. Give it a go and you’ll see.
The obnoxious sound of a bell clanged through the building, ear-splitting and impossible to miss.
It was time for work.
Slowly I levered myself off the thin mattress, rising to full height within my cell. This place is fucking tiny, and my head almost brushed the cold concrete. But whatever. With slow steps, I strode from my cell, heading towards the laundry room. There was a crowd of us, streaming to various parts of the prison complex, on our way to do shit like painting rocks and scrubbing the john with a toothbrush.
The laundry room is paradise compared to some of that fuckery.
But I felt for my fellow inmates.
Because most of these guys were convicted of petty crimes. In fact, some were just kids who’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Bad luck was the name of the game, and now they were here for thirty years.
Thirty fucking years.
I was here for two. One if my lawyers could swing it.
But to be honest, incarceration isn’t all that bad. Ironic huh? The guy who was made of gold and lived in an aerie in the sky doesn’t think San Nemo is that terrible. Because once upon a time, I was a hustler on the street with not a penny to my name. There are worse places, trust me. At least here you get three square meals, TV and an outdoor gym.
That’s more than where I came from.
So yeah, San Nemo’s more like camp than anything else. Laundry room. Exercise. Lights out. A routine.
“Hey, Mason.” Silky Slim took the washer beside mine. We were sorting shit, separating orange jumpsuits from white towels. Those are the only two things that make up laundry around here.
“Hey,” I grunted, barely looking up. “How’s it goin’?”
“Good,” he whispered sibilantly. “Good. I think my novel’s going to be a bestseller.”
I nodded, even though I knew no one would want to read Slim’s memoir. The bastard was convicted of armed robbery when he was nineteen. As soon as he got out, he went and did the same stupid thing again. What the hell is wrong with these people?
So yeah, the weasel was thirty years old, immature and horny, basically here for life. He’d never be with a woman. There was just no way. Pathetic fucker.
I studied him for a moment. The dude was practically an albino, his hair a straw-like white, skin so pale it was almost translucent. Fuck. Prison was full of weirdos with bad judgment.
But what’s done is done. There’s no sense in raining hail and fury.
“That’s good,” I grunted noncommittally. “Real good.”
Slim simpered and giggled, pale hands folding a towel. They were so feminine, it was hard to imagine him holding a gun.
“What about you?” he asked. “Are you still crying innocent?”
Asshole. I turned on him, brows lowered.
“I am innocent,” I growled. “It was a frame.”
He giggled. Sniveled is more like it.
“Sure, sure.” He looked like he wanted to chuckle but one glance at my face made him straighten.
“Sorry,” the man mumbled. “They still trying to make you serve time instead of paying the fine?”
“Yeah,” I growled. “Fuck ‘em.”
Slim nodded like he was understood.
“Well, expect to be here a while. My first sentence took nearly a year to get resolved. Them judges and lawyers move like damn snails, I swear. If you ask me, it’s all a way to torture us. Hell man, I’m so stir-crazy and horny I’m considering shacking up with that broad over on the East Wing. You think she’s cute? I think she’d like me.”