Keep on Rich Rollin #3

 “We have to keep on believing because that’s the only way that things change. I don’t want to be scared of the future.” – Walter Van Beirendonck (fashion designer)

 Happy birthday L-Mac. Hope you had a good 34th here with your family… Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang! Haha! If you were here you’d be laughing too.

 Today was another day like any other, except for the simple fact that it was my boys 34th birthday. So what do we do that makes the day any different than the previous or the next… the answer is simple… nothing. We wake up at about 6am and head to breakfast at the mess hall; we call it “chow”, which on this foggy Friday morning consists of a small portion of scrambled eggs, 2 triangle shaped tater tots, two pieces of wheat bread and 1 sausage link. Add a small carton of milk and you’ve got a prison breakfast. Whoohoo!

 After sucking down breakfast in the 5-8 minutes of allowed time… we are shuffled back to the buildings that we call home. My building is 5; known with affection as the “Dirty Nickel” because of its notorious reputation as the worst building on the yard. As a matter of fact… the prison sends all inmates on discipline status to dorm 5. Awwww…. There is no place like home. We actually have a sense of pride about our dorm and I speak about it with nothing but warmth because although it may be the “problem dorm”, it is still our dorm, feel me?

 There are 90 men that reside in the “nickel”. I reside on rack 25.

 So now that I’ve brought ya up to speed on that note… let us return to the day as we were…

 I get back from breakfast and like clockwork I prep myself for my day… starting with my coffee. Now obviously I don’t have a Starbucks or an AM/PM to rely on so I make due with what I got. Which happens to be Taster’s Choice instant coffee. I open the jar and scoop out 1 large spoonful into my cup (which I have adorned with the “double R [Rolls Royce/Rich Rollin] logo) and add 2 packets of sugar free sweetener and some hot water… poof… a “Dart Latte”!

 With my cup in my hand I engage in some conversation with my neighbor Dave. A chill older cat from Watts who has been down for 29 years. While we are getting ready for the yard to open. We live in very close quarters… just to give you a rough idea…. 90 men live in our doors and there is roughly 36 inches between racks… so you can imagine how little space or privacy one has… not much.

 I toss on my workout clothes which consist of a pair of Nikes and basketball shorts, a white tee, a paper-type baseball cap and sunscreen (sunscreen is a must cuz there is NO shade on a prison yard) and a pair of knock-off Ray-bans.  Now that I’m suited and booted… I’m just finishing my cup of mud and waiting for yard to open, which it does around 9am.

 On my way out the door I grab my last item before starting my day’s run. My CD player. Today I’m slapping an old Ne-Yo record “Year Of The Gentleman” (It’s a fucking classic if ya didn’t know… know ya know… ha! Cuz! Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang, Dirt Gang! Haha! L-Mac’s birthday!).

 It’s about 85 degrees as I head out on my run and as I start I look at the length of the record and noticing that it is about 50 minutes I begin my jog. I decide that I’ll go either until my legs feel like they’re gonna give out or ther cords plays all the way through. Today I slack… about 20 minutes in I see “L” waving me down and saying “lets get a soda” cut it’s his birthday. So we get a soda and I wrap up my run and get myself a Pepsi. We “spin laps” which means we just walk around the track I was previously running and just bullshit and chop it up. In our case we have connections from the “street” so the time flies as we talk of mutual friends and share fond memories of birthdays past and of hopeful ones in the future. We do all of this while walking and by afternoon we’ve most likely walked 10 miles by the time they call yard recall and we must return to our respective buildings. He lives in 10 and I in 5 so we split off and say goodbye (this includes two other homies, Touche’ and Sherlock who had joined while we were “spinning laps”). We all have connections from the street so we’re pretty much left alone as we laugh and joke, feeling a little lighter on our feet and taller in our posture knowing that it is our friends birthday and in doing so we can give him the best possible day while refusing to let our present circumstances dictate the way in which we carry ourselves.

 If we can spend our term smiling and laughing…. Refusing to feel at a loss, who then is losing?

 I’m in the best physical condition of my life; I’m outrageously focused and driven. I’m living every day with epitome of virtue because what is prison other than the most basic practice of patience? Are we not told our whole lives that patience is a virtue? It is not I that has failed… it is the system that has failed… our state is bankrupt… the prison system of California is an expense that has become the cement blocks on the feet our our society… yet we still turn our eyes blindly away… say I tell you.

 I have sait it before and again I will say it… I have faith that god is aware of my being right with him… and so I ask you again… who is losing?

 I refuse to fail.

 I may lose a battle but the war is far from over I assure you.

 Moving on… I head back into my building for 4:30 count and hop on my rack where I open up whatever book I happen to be reading at the moment. At present it is “The Secret Life Of Laszlo, Count Dracula” by Roderick Anscombe. A fantastic read I might add. I pop in ear plugs and read until dinner which normally runs around 6:30 but which tonight seems a bit late and I decide to just make myself some top ramen and stay reading until they open the yard again for “night yard”.

 At about 7:45pm I hear the customary “yards open!!!” over the prison loudspeaker, which is my cue to get up and hit the yard. Again as I did in the morning I brew up a cup of some “Dart Latte” and throw on my C.D.C. issue jacked and I hit the yard to go find “L” so I can spend the rest of his birthday with him.

 The remaining hour of yard sees us again “spinning laps” with another soda, more jokes and the customary shit talking… another day in the life of me, another day closer to the house… another day closer to the rest of my life.

 It’s 8:45pm when we recall and lock it up. The day is over and we all return to our racks for our final count and lights out.

 I lay down, again I open up my book and toss in my earplugs. At 10 pm when count clears I can get off my rack until then I’m headed to story land with Laszlo.

10:10, count clears and I get up and decide to write a letter to post… this letter… so here I am at midnight… wrapping it up. One… more… day. And to L-Mac and to all those dudes who read these words… I hope y’all have a beautiful day. Everyday. Goodnight.

Until next time KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN!

-         DART

P.S. Dirt Gang! Dirt Gang! Dirt Gang! Ha!