Raw Bones (Live and Encaged!)

Darkness has settled in now. All day long their area was highlighted. Their loud, uneven snores are indicative of the grueling tasks that befell these gladiators of the day. The moon’s serene glow displays the area’s solitude and quiet. For these stagnant wanderers, this day has regrettably, but necessarily, ceased its activity. Nothing moves now but the small night creatures who dart hesitantly, but speedily, across the concrete floors. The war is over, for now! There looms a sense of the unknown here, for those who know not, a wariness, perhaps a fear, that one might become consumed or enchanted by some form of witchery or debauchery! Yet, the rational mind need only sit, aside, quietly and observe the daily shenanigans perpetuated in this area to realize that this is not the place to devote positive time and energy. For believably so, some strange and powerful metamorphosis takes place here!

Perhaps, it is the activity that changes them. Rest assured, something is affected! Whatever ‘it’ is, it rejuvenates the inactive. It allots power, a false sense albeit, where such power never existed. The mentally, deficient, after numerous successes with the ‘down’ feel a sense of genius arriving at their forefronts. Frail, almost anorexic individuals, become superhuman, and the huge are, quite simply, brought back down to earth. Were the game played as it was intended, it would prove a worthy recreational outlet. But these players, many of whom I can attest to and whose behaviors have become extreme, have gone above and far beyond the game’s objective! There are two things that can be maintained with great certainty: 1) the best at the time can only win the game! 2) the defeated have the option to seek another down or leave!

These exhibited behaviors, I perceive, like all denials, are defense mechanisms. They are rationalized as positive reinforcements, whereas the effort given to reading a good book on self-worth and/or self improvement is rendered secondary to purpose. The game self-ostracizes ‘the players’ from the artistic creation of ideas, of in depth contemplation, of relative progress! It accentuates, though justifies, their living demise! It mirrors the image of the mirage for those who search for that fallacious oasis. It alleviates the stress of their uselessness through assertive vulgarities, promotes the association of human closeness amid the mismanagement and neglect of hygienic necessities (some choose to play rather than wash) and further advocates the continuity of ignorance!

The heads-up games are played, but not with the intensity of the four-man set, where hoopla and folly are prominent! The idea in the set is to grab a partner as one would in order to dance. Preferably, one should choose someone who is not as agile or fleet of foot. In this way, there is always someone to ridicule or blame for the failure, clumsiness, and inadequacy of the proposed duality. Only with winning is the false sense of power and supremacy that accommodates the ignorance, bolstered!

Many, and let me make exceptions for them, play for the relief, to relax from the stressful life of living dead people. I don’t want to criticize them. But you others, and you know who you are I want to make note of the sheer insensitivity of your practices! I have heard Mothers injected into the game, demeaned and violated! A spouse’s sacred secrets have been exposed and desecrated! A child’s innocence has been defiled and abused, not to mention, self-degradation! These human beings have regressed into a primitive and obscene state! And these scenes have been played over and over again! And let me not neglect to emphasize the violence for we know that ignorance is without limitation. But, allow me to let you make the call.

  short, but fiery (white)
tall, but harmless (black)
big, muscular dummy (black)
self-explanatory (asian)
shit talker (white)
role player, follower (black)
three (black, white, hispanic)
drive up, green as grass (white)
no nonsense (white)
TV watchers
fair, but serious business (white)
Prison setting, dayroom, set of dominoes, tables, TV, peg board (for marker), TV benches, pepper spray (substitute), offender ID cards, fan, homemade knife (shank), video camera, settings (Infirmary, lock-up cells) miscellaneous accessories.

running head:
mean mug:

high capping:
beat for:


big chest:


  to overpower by force or intimidation
talking trash
to stare at intensely, often in anger
excessive talking without action
to masturbate on
big time trash talking
to strike an adversary while he isn’t looking;  square off; to get in fight mode
fight or squabble
unquestionable masculinity, manhood at stake if you don’t clap, to knock fists together, one atop the other
a dare intended toward violence if one takes the bait
young, jazzy, attractive female


The sun rises and with it, the 6:30 count is cleared at 7:15. Activities begin, and it being the weekend, showers are called out first. The loudspeaker at the Center Hall desk acknowledges such.

LOUDSPEAKER: Showers get ready!!!

(inmates mulling around domino tables, jockeying for position, signing up to play)

GUARD II: (to Dorm Boss) Say boss, give those offenders a last call on that shower, will you?

(inside dormitory)

DORM BOSS(hollers) Last call on that shower! (calls toward offenders at game tables) Hey! You offenders at the game tables, ya’ll going to the showers? 

(nobody responds, but they look his way, rolling their eyes)

DORM BOSS: (walks away mumbling under his breath) Filthy *#!!!##!


SHORTY(loudly) My first up! I got the table! Come on Slim Skinny, me and you gonna run the table!

SLIM SKINNY: A’ight Shorty.

CRYBABY(whining) Naw, naw, naw, ya’ll. Ya’ll just can’t rayfield the table. I was here way ’fore ya’ll. And these here is my bones anyhow!

SHORTY(scolding) Old crybaby ass fool! I got bones! We don’t need them old marked up ass dominoes anyhow! You know how it go! First show, first go! That’s understood! You check out the new system we got. Write, if you can, your name down like I got me and Slim Skinny, number 1 and number 2. Look at the board, fool! (big chests Crybaby)

CRYBABY: (whiningly) Who thought this here up? Ya’ll always want to change the rules. Shoots!

SHORTY: Somebody what’s got a brain! Shut up anyway, Crybaby! Your ass don’t do nothing but whine like a little baby! Sign up, fool! And come on git your ass kicked!

SLIM SKINNY: Who you gonna play with, Crybaby? Your baby bottle? (laughs out loud)

CRYBABY: (shrugs his shoulders) I dunno.

SHORTY: Well, here comes Big Black. He’s about as good as the rest of these fools. (giggles) It don’t really make no difference! You gonna lose anyhow. (pauses) With your whining ass! (laughs)

CRYBABY: (to Big Black) Hey, Black, you wanna play with me?

BIG BLACK: Sho’nuff, baby. Soon as I git some mud in my blood!

SHORTY: Well hurry up, fool! We ain’t got all day!

BIG BLACK: Yo, you better watch it, Shorty! One of these days I’m gonna forget that you a real dwarf and put my foot so far up in your ass you gonna think I’m Santa Claus and you sitting on my knee!

(Enter the Chorus of Agitators)


  Old Big Black seems cross and moody
To want to put his leg up Shorty’s boody!
Man, that’s gotta hurt something fierce!

SHORTY: Yeah! And I’m trembling in my bloody, shitty drawers! (laughs) Ha, ha! Come on, git off the nonsense, foolio!

BIG BLACK: (eyes Shorty with distaste, twisting his mouth) Yeah, (nodding his head), uh huh!

(The dominoes are shaken.  The game is about to begin, then Waco grabs the marker’s peg board)

(game begins)


TACO: (to Waco) Hey, it’s my up, homes!

WACO: Naw, it ain’t, meskin’! Take this (shoots him the bird) to your casa, and roll it up in a tamale, fool! Look at the board with your pepper eating ass!


  Damn, you hard on the wetback!
Must be shit and that’s for sho’
’Cause ain’t no dogs in Mexico!

TACO: What you mean, homes?

WACO: What I say, meskin’! You must can’t read! My name next! That’s why I’m marking!

TACO: I kin read. It say Taco next! (a bit agitated)

WACO: (laughs) That ain’t no goddamned Taco! That say Waco! (laughs) I knowed you couldn’t read. That’s why you ain’t got no green card! (laughs) Ha, ha!


  The esse can’t be very tough
’Cause the brother handled him very rough
Esse don’t have much to say
So our guess is that he’ll walk away!


TACO: Ain’t no need to say that, homes. I made a little mistake.

WACO: Yeah, I know. (sympathetically pats him on the back) All you dummies make mistakes trying to do what you know you can’t do! That’s why they call ya’ll dummies! Go get your GED, foolio!

(game in progress)

SHORTY: (from the table) Give us 15, marker!

(Waco marks the money)


  If you are stupid
If you are dumb
There’s education, get you some!
Do it now, enroll in school
Otherwise, you die a fool!



TACO: (bows head and walks away cursing in spanish) Chupa mi verga, pinche’ mayate!


  Esse’s talking trash, so that makes him bigger
’Cause the last word that he said was nigger!

WACO: Watch it, meskin’, with all that ya, ya, shit!


SHORTY: (from the table to Waco) Say man, you put down that 15 for my partner and me?

WACO: Yeah, I got you, fool!

SHORTY: (at table to Crybaby) What you say? Speak up! Speak up!

CRYBABY(shouts) I say, I pass!

SLIM SKINNY: For what? A monkey or a baboon!


  It’s a jungle in here
You must agree
Major monkey business
As you can see!


SLIM SKINNY: Good Heavens! The Lord has shined his light upon us, Brother Shorty! (slams domino down) Twenty pen! He ain’t got nothing-nohow. (pauses) But a crybaby game! (laughs) Ha, ha, ha. Boy this here better than virgin pussy!

SHORTY: (to Big Black) Your play, big boy! I’m gonna whip your ass some more!

BIG BLACK: (mean mugs Shorty) Watch it, pygmy!

SHORTY(excitedly) UH, OH! UH,OH! I see you! I see your goddamned monkey ass! Come on outta them bushes, you big gorilla!

BIG BLACK: (connects his domino but still stares hard at Shorty)

SHORTY(calmly) Pen, (points to marker) put 35 stitches in his shitty ape-ass breeches! (connects domino)


  If he needs stitches, he must be busted
So Shorty right here (points to Shorty) cannot
     be trusted
That means Black is no longer a stud
‘Cause according to Shorty, he lost his mud!



BIG BLACK: You better watch your mouth, fool! Ain’t nobody putting nothing in me! And don’t say nothing else ’bout my ass! That’s private property! Absolutely, no trespassing! And you keep on running your head (points to Shorty), I’m gonna put something hard in you! (stares harder at Shorty)


  Now we can’t say if it’s a knife or a prick
But what’s implied is really sick
The way we see it, it’s a crying shame
To bring such violence to the game!



SHORTY: Big Black, you know you ain’t gonna do nothing but what you doing! Nothing! You ain’t no killer, and you ain’t no bandit! So let it go before I put a real pacifier in your mouth!


  That kind of talk is hard to take
Unless, of course, you are a fake
So it’s plain to see, Shorty’s got him right
Since there are no blows and we have no fight!



BIG BLACK: You ain’t gonna get me like that, Shorty! You know that I got my FI-I, and you want me to stay here with you! I’m going home, fool!

SHORTY: Yeah, yeah, Black. FI, as in forever ignorant!

BIG BLACK: Whatever.

SLIM SKINNY: (to Crybaby) Hey fool, you gonna play or you gonna sit up there looking like one of them tight-eyed chinks?

CRYBABY(clearly agitated) Ain’t none of my play! I pass again!

SLIM SKINNY: (mockingly) What you say? You pass! What you pass this time? Gas? (laughs) Ha, ha, ha! Didn’t your mama tell you never to pass gas in public! Well, (slams domino down) 10 (points to marker) to your business, pen!

BIG BLACK: (still mean mugging Shorty) Damn! I’m gonna drop off double trey. (clearly disgusted)

SHORTY: Huh! Not on my watch monkey! (slams domino down like thunder and points to marker) Put 35 more on him for crossing his legs on me, pen!

WACO: (loudly) Ga—a—a—me! Hey Wolfdog, our up, man!

(Big Black leaves the table shooting daggers at Shorty with his eyes)

(Shorty and Slim Skinny exchange daps with one another for their victory)

CRYBABY: (on the verge of tears) Damn, Black, you didn’t give me no help.

BIG BLACK: (changes focus to Crybaby and hollers) Fuck you, Crybaby! Git help from the want ads, fool! (walks away grumbling)


  Somebody’ s gonna win
Somebody’s gonna lose
The way that you play
Is the one that you choose!




SHORTY: Come on, Waco! Where’s that scavenger ass partner of yours at? We ain’t gonna wait on you marks all day! Ya’ll on our time!

WACO: Yo, Wolf, come on, dawg! Let’s show these fools they ain’t got nothing!

SLIM SKINNY: Seems to me you the one ain’t got nothing (smiling slyly). Heard you got a Dear John letter from that fat ass ho’ (pauses). You had!


  Hear these words, and let this be known
In the pen, you mind your own!

WACO: (screams) What’s your problem, little poor ass negro! You all in mine! (puts finger in Slim Skinny’s face) You better check yourself ’fore your stick-pin ass git broke up!

SHORTY: Man, your business is pen business! Four or five of these fools ’round here done hump that fat ass ho’ you call your wife! (sniggles openly) You gotta be a mark! Fool gave me a jack flick of the fat ho’ last night, so I killed her ’fore I went to bed. How you gonna win a domino game when you can’t even win a fat ho’s love! (laughs openly) Ha, ha, ha, ha …


  Shorty hit a nerve, we are assuming
‘Cause look at Waco, he is fuming!

WACO: (angered, but checks himself) Ya’ll can’t sprang me with that bullshit! My head on right! That ho’ is old news. We gonna play these bones or have bones to pick? For your information, I got me a new tenderoni!

WOLF: (walks up and sits down, begins to shake dominoes) Let’s roll! (howls like a wolf) Ow-ow-ow-owh!

SHORTY: Fool, git off that bulishit! You ain’t no real wolf! You just smell like one!

WOLF: Yo, why they call you Shorty? Cause you short on brains or your peeps is midgets?

SHORTY: (mean mugs Wolf) Say, man, I don’t play no dozens! Leave my peeps outta this pen or I’m gonna see if you can squabble like a wolf!

WOLF: (stares back at Shorty) You is the dozens, fool! Twelve little inches of pure de bullshit! And don’t you write no check your little short ass can’t cash!

WACO: Say, ya’ll gonna play or bicker like two little old ladies!

(Shorty and Wolf continue to mean mug one another)

SLIM SKINNY: Ya’ll shake the bones again! (to Waco and Wolf)

WOLF: You shake ‘em! You handicapped or something!

SHORTY: We got the down on the bones! (to Waco and Wolf)

WACO: The only bones you down on is the male bone, Shorty. (laughs) Ha, ha. (then mean mugs him)


  Tell us more and go real slow
We think everybody wants to know!



WACO: (loudly) Man, ya’ll know that Shorty git down on the meat. He ain’t jiving nobody with all that high-capping! (pauses) With his bitch ass! (stares harder at Shorty, awaiting a response)


  Now this scene is really tense
And we are caught up in suspense
Will Shorty’s honor remain at stake?
And how much will he really take?



DORM BOSS: (new boot) Hey! (points toward the tables) You offenders over there at the game tables! You’re getting too loud! These people (points to a few white guys) can’t even hear the television!

EVERYONE: (in unison) Fuck you and them ho’s!

DORM BOSS: What was that? (he stares in their direction)

WHITE GUY (the snitch): They said fuck you ho’s, officer!

BIG BLACK: (from his cubicle) Well, look a’ here what we got ya’ll! A real, honest to goodness 2007 out of the closet informant! That ho’ (points to white guy on TV bench) done took snitching to another level! Bitch gave us all up!

DORM BOSS: We don’t need that kind of language, offender!

(all mean mug the law and the snitch)

SLIM SKINNY: I remember back in the game when the pen was the pen, we’d roll your bitch ass up outta here! But the system done changed, and you safe! (pauses) For now!

(White Guy downs his head and eases away toward his cubicle—exits amid the angry stares of all the players.)

DORM BOSS: (to nobody in particular) Give me your offender ID card!

(Everyone produces I.D. cards)

DORM BOSS: (in uncertainty and more politely) Will you guys please hold it down a little bit?


  The soul that cannot conquer fear
Must, at all times, have keepers near
And if his keeper is afraid
Well then no more need be said!



WOLF: I’m gonna shake these bones, but I don’t want ya’ll to think I’m soft! ’Cause I ain’t! B’lieve that! (shakes dominoes)

SHORTY: (still mean mugging Waco for his comments, suddenly beats for him, knocking him off the seat) Call me a dicksucker, huh! (jumps back and squares off)

WACO: (scrambling to get his composure) Beat for me! You done fucked up now, ho’!

(Waco tries to get to Shorty but is suddenly blinded by pepper spray, coughing, rubbing his eyes, cursing)

WACO: Man, what you spray that shit for? I can’t see shit! (continues to cough and rub eyes to no avail)

DORM BOSS: (sprays whole canister of pepper spray randomly on everybody in the area then runs to the door to call for back-up) Call Center Hall! (to Turnkey) Fight! Fight! (frantically)

SHORTY: Fool ass law! You got that shit in my eyes and my mouth! (coughs and gags, rubs eyes but gets no relief, continues to cough and rub eyes)

SLIM SKINNY: (frantically) Somebody help me to see! Please grab my hand, and lead the way. (continues to cough, rub eyes, and, walk in a circle as though lost)

CRYBABY: I’m a real crybaby now! Waah, waah, aah! (continues to cry, cough, and rub his eyes)

TACO: I ain’t even played yet, homes! (coughs, gags, and rubs his eyes)

BIG BLACK: (standing at his cubicle grinning) Serves you suckers right! Ha, ha, ha!



In the corner, it has gotten hot (coughs)
Stupid ass copper has sprayed the lot
Funny what fear will make you do (coughs)
Stupid asshole sprayed us too (coughs)




(Dorm Boss stands nervously, sweating and shaking with empty canister in his hand, coughing)

BIG BLACK: (with towel covering his nose and mouth to Boss) Bossman, you s’pose to holler fight first, not spray that shit in the air and then holler! You new boots gonna kill us all! (coughs and exits)


(In rush Segeant, Officer w/camera, another officer)

SERGEANT: Roll that projector, Boss! (Officer begins taping, Sergeant coughs) What’s going on, Bossman? (coughs) Shit! What the hell did you do? Spray the whole can? (coughs points to fan) Turn that fan around, and blow some of this shit out of here! (offenders turn fan)

DORM BOSS: I—I—thin—k so. Well, this offender (coughs and points to Shorty, who has tears running from his eyes and is coughing) hit this offender (points to Waco, whose eyes are closed, and he is coughing). They were giving me a hard time, so I sprayed them all and called for back-up! (sticks his chest out like he did the right thing) What do you think, Sarge? (coughs)

SERGEANT: (coughs) Well, I think that when the Warden and the Major see the result of (coughs) your work, you might be unemployed! All in all, (coughs) you fucked up! Bad! (coughs)

DORM BOSS: Bu—u—ut, I—I—thought that this was what I was supposed to do in—in a riot situation!

SERGEANT: (screams) Riot! This ain’t no fucking riot situation! (coughs) These damn offenders do this shit all day, every fucking day! This is a goddamned pastime, Bossman! Some of these offenders weren’t even involved, and you sprayed them! They might look and act stupid, but you can best believe that they will put that paper on your ass!

DORM BOSS: Pa—pa—paper? What kind of pa—pa—paper?

SERGEANT: You really are green, Boss. They file lawsuits on us! So be prepared to go to the free world court after you receive the warden’s verdict! (to other back-up Officer) We need to get these offenders (points to Taco, Crybaby, Wolf, Slim Skinny, Chorus of Agitators) to the showers so they can wash up! Now! (they all exit) You two (points to Shorty and Waco) are going to jail!

SHORTY: We already in jail!

SERGEANT: (to Shorty) Turn around! (cuffs him) You got a smart ass mouth to be such little bitty fellow! Get your ass on! (shoves SHORTY toward the door) You (points to Officer w/camera) take him (indicating Waco). We’ll go to medical first. (Cuffs Waco)

(exit all)

WACO: (to himself as he is escorted away) I knew I shouldna been messing with them fools at the domino table. How can I explain to my lady and my kids that I got a major case and got locked up behind a goddamned domino game. And I ain’t even passed a lick! (walks away shaking his head)

OFFICER W/CAMERA: Well son, my old daddy, bless his soul, told me ain’t but one way to deal with fools and that’s to stay the hell away from them! Other than that, shit happens!

Scene VII


  (from the showers)
Temporarily, we leave y’all as we came
Fools in action, fools by name
Perhaps these scenes will make you look
At when you relax, read a book
Now don’t you think that we are gone
We’ll get back with ya—later on




Scene VIII

(Prison Infirmary)

(Enter Waco with Officer)

NURSE: (at desk) What’s up with this one, bossman? (points to Waco in handcuffs)

OFFICER: He’s a fighter. Need a quick physical on him.

NURSE: Don’t look like too much is wrong with him. (looking at Waco) Child, why your eyes so red?

WACO: (grumbling) Old fool ass wing boss sprayed us all with pepper spray!

OFFICER: Watch you language, offender! (demeanor changes)

WACO: Well, he is a fool! You said as much yourself!

OFFICER: Don’t ’member saying nothing like that!

WACO: Whatever. (eyes Officer curiously)

OFFICER: (agitated, to nurse) You wanna check him out so’s I can get him to lock-up!

NURSE: Keep your shirt on, Boss! I ain’t no offender, so don’t get testy with me!

OFFICER: Sorry. I guess I’m just having a bad day.

NURSE: (rolls her eyes at him) Ain’t we all! (to Waco) C’mon!

(They enter exam room with Waco in cuffs)

(Enter Shorty and Sergeant)

SERGEANT: (to Officer) Damn, Bossman! You still here?

OFFICER: Yeah, Sarge. She’s got him in there. (points to exam room)

SERGEANT: (to Shorty) Get your ass in the cage! You’re the kind always starting shit! (nudges Shorty)

SHORTY: (mean mugs him) You got all the answers! Figure it out!

SERGEANT: (shoves Shorty in cage and bolts the door) I will, and believe me, you’ll get all that’s coming to you!

SHORTY: Man, I’m doing a life sentence! Y’all can’t hurt me one way or the other!

SERGEANT: That’s still no reason for you to be a fool. There’s always hope!

SHORTY: Hope flew outta the window when the judge said, ‘LIFE!’ So save the speeches for your kids!

SERGEANT: Smart-assed midget! You’ll learn … one day!

(Exit Waco and Nurse from room)

OFFICER: (to Waco) Let’s go! (they exit)

SERGEANT: (to Nurse) This is the other one. He’s a smart ass! He’s got so much sense that he stays in trouble! (to Shorty) C’mon outta there!

SHORTY: (mean mugs them both) Ain’t nothing wrong with me that a little freedom won’t cure, if y’all quit messin’ with me!

SERGEANT: (shouts) Messing with you! Boy, you’re self-destructive! Can’t you see that? Rate you’re going, you won’t be free until you’re in the ground! (shakes his head from side to side)

NURSE: (to Shorty) C’mon. Let’s get this over with.

SERGEANT: (to Nurse) You won’t need any help in there, will you?

NURSE: Nah! He’s cuffed. If he starts anything, I’ll grab him by the balls! (smiles)

SHORTY: Now that is some touch that I really been missing in my life! (smiles)

NURSE: Humph!


(Lock-up, pre-hearing detention)

(Waco is in cell #5, contemplating his situation out loud as Shorty and Officer enter.)

WACO: (to himself) Damn! Damn! Damn! How do I continue to let these fools get me into wreck after wreck! Seem like every time I try to do the right thing, some fool come along, and everything turn to shit! (frustrated, he kicks the top unoccupied bunk) Fuck! (shouts aloud as Shorty and Officer pass)

SHORTY: (freezes in his tracks at the profanity) Yo, whassup! You ain’t gotta ‘nuff of me yet, ho?

OFFICER: (nudges Shorty in the back with billy club) Move along, offender! The next one will be upside your head!

SHORTY: (stands his ground) Man, don’t hit me in my back no mo’ with that stick! (mean mugs the guard)

OFFICER: Or what? Get your ass on down the run! If y’all would listen sometimes instead of running your head, things would be better for you. But … (leaves the sentence open)

SHORTY: You heard him call me a fuck! I gotta represent or people gonna think I’m soft! A man gotta be a man in the pen! Else he may well just arch his eyebrows and start to switching and talking soft! That ain’t gonna be me!

OFFICER: I heard ‘fuck,’ but it could have meant anything. He could have been talking to anybody in Texas! Stop here! (they stop in front of #10) Get in, back up to the tray hole, extend your hands so I can take the cuffs off. And don’t try nothing funny, ’cause I got this club and the ups on you! (eyes Shorty warily)

SHORTY: Like I don’t know the procedures. I ain’t no drive—up!

OFFICER: You sure don’t act like a seasoned con. But some of y’all never learn! (takes cuffs off and slams door) Sweet dreams, baby.

SHORTY: Fuck you!

(Waco, having dozed off is awakened by someone calling his name)

WACO: Huh! (rubs his eyes) Yeah! Yeah! Who dat?

SHORTY: It’s me, fool! Who you think it is! I’m down here in 10 cell!

WACO: So what! Ain’t you caused enough problems for one day!

SHORTY: Man, you started it all! You called me a dicksucker! Fool, that’s a major violation in the pen. You don’t dis nobody like that or call ’em no ho’ and not be ready to git down with your thump. So, I had to represent!

WACO: Shorty, you know what. Its funny how when a man is alone to think about all the dumb shit he do, and how it don’t never make no sense. Course it’s too late now since we left to suffer the consequences. But all that hoorahing and namecalling ain’t about nothing! It cause so many problems! We fools ‘cause we choose to be, not ’cause we actually is!

SHORTY: Oh! So now all of a sudden, you is the great philosopher. You can see visions of what we s’pose to do, right! That’s generally how it is when you wimps git back here behind these doors. Y’all git all philosophical and grabs them damn old Bibles. Well, let me tell you something, dawg! When we go to disciplinary, they ain’t trying to hear no long speeches and ’specially no scripture! ‘Make it short,’ that’s they motto! And guess what, you already guilty! So git ready to lose some good time and privileges! Fighting is a no-no!

VOICE OF UNKNOWN OFFENDER: Say, look out, dawg. Y’all wanna hold that noise down a little bit so a brother can get a little rest. Y’all got problems that y’all need to talk about with that old jack-leg lawyer they gonna send to you. Put it on paper, and think about it! 

SHORTY: Fool, ain’t nobody trying to hear that shit! You can’t tell no man when he can talk. What’s up with you ho’s! 

VOICE OF UNKNOWN OFFENDER: Now, I know you didn’t go there with me! I tried to be respectful, something you wasn’t doing. Then you went and diss me, dawg. I know where you at, and I don’t ever forget a face! 

SHORTY: I’m in number 10, fool! Where you at? 

VOICE OF UNKNOWN OFFENDER: If I told you, then you would be like the Boy Scout. Prepared! So, I won’t say. Fool! Just watch yo’ back! 

SHORTY(screams) Ho! I don’t care nothing ’bout them idle threats! I know y’all ain’t doing nothing but bumping! 

VOICE OF UNKNOWN OFFENDER: (hears name called for release to general population) Yo! That’s me! I’m outta here! 

SHORTY: Better be, Ho! 

WACO: Shorty, one day your mouth gonna overload your ass. Then, it’s gonna be too late! 

SHORTY: Fool, let me worry ’bout me! I been taking care of me for 39 years and I probably live to a ripe old age! 

VOICE OF UNKNOWN OFFENDER: Humph. (as he leaves) 

WACO: Be careful. All I gotta say.

(Still in PHD. The next day. Substitute counsel appears at Waco’s cell.)

SUB C: Timothy Wood! Wood! Wake up! 

WACO: (coming out of sleeping stupor) Man, I must have died and gone to Heaven! An angel is at my door! 

SUB C: Cut the bullshit, Wood! I am assigned to represent you on this case for fighting! I don’t see how much I can do. Are you guilty? 

WACO(screams) Hell No! I didn’t even pass a lick! 

SUB C: Well, why do they have you charged? 

WACO: Because that fool Shorty beat for me! 

SUB C(looking puzzled) Beat for you? 

WACO: Yeah! He hit me first, and then the fool ass law started to spray everybody with pepper spray, and I didn’t get a chance to hit him back! It was chaos! 

SUB C: Sounds like typical child’s play to me. When will you men grow up? 

WACO: Is that all? Who are you anyway? Do you have a name? 

SUB C: Substitute counsel! So unless you have anything more to say … (stares inquisitively) 

WACO(shakes his head) Nah.

(Sub C exits)

(MAN awakens Shorty)

MAN (Sub C): Harry Lewis! Wake up! 

SHORTY(stirs, groggy with sleep) What the hell ya want? 

SUB C: I’m supposed to represent you in court tomorrow, Lewis! You got a statement to make? 

SHORTY: Nah! I’m guilty! I hit the other guy, and he didn’t hit back! Let me sleep!! 

SUB C: Is that your statement? 

SHORTY: Yeah! That’s it! 

SUB C: Humph!

(Sub C exits)


(Displinary Court. The next day. Captain Michaels is presiding. Waco is escorted in by Sub C)

SUB C(addresses Captain) Captain, this offender claims that the other offender in question, Lewis, struck him and he never got the opportunity to hit him back. He … (Waco interrupts her) 

WACO: (looking aside her head like she’s crazy) That ain’t no claim, lady! That is a fact! And …

(Captain interrupts him)

CAPTAIN(screams) Silence! Outbursts like that will get you the maximum penalty whether you’re guilty or not! Now don’t let it happen again! Understood! Speak only when you’re spoken to! (eyes Waco) 

WACO(almost incoherent) Yessir. 

SUB C: As I as saying, he claims innocence. But there can be no fight without two parties. 

CAPTAIN: Is this your defense, uh (goes through paperwork) Wood? 

WACO(passively) Yessir. (shaking his head in submission) 

CAPTAIN: Well, step outside! We’ll get back with you in a little bit! (to Sub C) Bring his buddy in.

(Exit Waco and Sub C)

(Enter Shorty and Sub C)

CAPTAIN(eyes Shorty up and down, shakes his head) Are you the offender that is creating all this havoc on my unit? 

SHORTY(passively) I guess so. 

CAPTAIN(shouts) You guess so! Did you or did you not strike Offender Wood? 

SUB C: That’s what he told me, Captain! 

CAPTAIN(Stares at Sub C) Let him answer the question for himself, Counselor! 

SHORTY: Yessir. There was a lot of cussing and namecalling, and it got a little out of hand. I didn’t mean to cause all this. 

CAPTAIN: So what you’re saying is that you’re sorry. (awaits response expectantly) 

SHORTY: Yessir. I am very sorry that I created all this. 

CAPTAIN: Have you apologized to the offender that you hit? 

SHORTY: Not yet. (passively) 

CAPTAIN: Bring Wood in here.

(Enter Waco with Sub C)

CAPTAIN(to Waco) Lewis has something to say to you. (Captain looks to Shorty) 

SHORTY(to Waco) I’m sorry that I hit you, and it won’t ever happen again. I was outta control, but after I slept on it and thought about what you said, I realized that I was dead wrong.

(Captian looks on with Sub C)

WACO: Man, I didn’t want no trouble to begin with, and I accept your apology if you will accept mine.(extends hand)

(Short daps him.)

CAPTAIN: Well, I see that you two can get along, so I’m going to give you both a verbal reprimand. But if I hear of the smallest thing that either one of you has done. (pauses) I’ll tell you like this. Remember what Michael Jordan used to do with that basketball? 

WACO and SHORTY(in unison) Slam dunk! 

CAPTAIN: Precisely! Now get the hell out of my face!

(Exit all)

(Enter Chorus of Agitators)


  Besides being fools 
Besides their self-imposed strife 
The officials chose 
To give them new life 
God only knows 
what happened back there 
But remember, Shorty’s the one 
Who does not care! 
So what happens next 
Yes, we could say 
But that would really spoil the play!




(General Population. Later that evening, Dorm 9. Enter Waco and Shorty w/ property in red net bags. Proceed to the same cubicles where they were before the incident. Other offenders watching TV and playing at game tables)

BIG BLACK: Well, look at what the cat done dragged back to us, y’all! You two love birds done made up I see. Or else … 

SHORTY: Or else what, fool? (mean mugs Big Black from his cubicle) 

BIG BLACK: Shorty, who you think you jivin’! You know these folks don’t just let no fighters go! They wants control, an’ lettin’ y’all go ain’t no way to keep it! 


  What Black implies 
Has a certain hitch 
That Shorty or Waco
Has become a snitch!



WACO: Well, they did just let us go, Black! They gave us a verbal reprimand ’cause Shorty said he hit me, and I didn’t hit him back! 

BIG BLACK(begins to laugh) Ha ha ha ha. Man, I’m a dummy, and I know that’s the lamest game in the joint! If you think that Shorty saved you, you a bigger damn fool than I thought you was! Shorty don’t care ‘bout nobody but Shorty! 

SHORTY: Black, you need to git outta my business! You don’t never lace no fool up. You let him walk ’round with his shoes untied, so he can continue to trip down! 

WACO: So, it’s true, huh, Shorty? You played me! 

SHORTY: Nah! I didn’t play you! I played all a y’all! The law and you! That’s what ya gotta do if you wanna keep on moving up and surviving in this world, fool! That’s the game, mark! 

WACO: Well, you ain’t gonna steal my cool this time! I learned a lesson that the best way to deal with a fool is to ignore him! Later for you! 

SHORTY: Would be best, fool! 


  Shorty is chesty 
That’s for sure 
Something that reasoning 
Will not cure 
What will happen 
We still won’t say 
But correction comes 
In another way!





LOUDSPEAKER (at Center Hall): Nine Dorm, chow get ready! Officer on doors (reverberates on speaker) Officer on doors. Nine Dorm, chow get ready! No stragglers!

(crowd of offenders gather at the door like a herd of cattle) 


  Like docile cows, they rush the door 
Programmed, conditioned to the core 
Their every thought, depleted, gone! 
No longer functioning on their own!



SLIM SKINNY: Yo, Shorty dawg! C’mon man, we gonna miss that chicken! 

SHORTY: Yo, I’m down for that! 

SLIM SKINNY: When we git back, I got us ’a up. We gonna smash these fools where we left off! 

SHORTY: B’lieve dat! 

OFFICER (on doors): Chow going out! First 30! 

SLIM SKINNY: We gonna make this first rush, dawg! 

SHORTY: Show ’nuff!

(both push their way through the door)

Scene XII

(Old Chow Hall)

(Bustling with offenders of all races. Shorty and Slim are seated with a white and Hispanic at four-seat table)

SHORTY: Man, this bird is going off the chain. This ain’t gonna be ’nuff for me. Wanna trade that peach cobbler for your bird? 

SLIM SKINNY: Ain’t no way, fool! I been dreaming ‘bout this here all night and day! 

SHORTY(eyes other two with mean scowl) Y’all wanna deal?

(White Guy shakes head no, quickly grabs chicken and takes a bite)

HISPANIC(douses his chicken with picante sauce, then looks at Shorty) Gallina bueno! 

SLIM SKINNY:(grinning) Well, I guess that answers your question, huh. 

SHORTY(frowning aside) Ho’s! 


  That bird is special in the joint, if you can
     grab the gist. 
Hot, tasty, juicy, that some cannot resist!



SHORTY: Man, shit! This just ain’t a’nuff! 

OFFENDER at another table: Yo, dawg! You wanna trade that cobbler for this old rotten ass bird? 

SHORTY: Sho’ ’nuff! (smiling, get up to make transaction) 

OFFENDER from table:  (gets up to meet Shorty, suddenly brings a shank from underneath his tray and stabs Shorty in the heart, leaving knife inside) Bitch! I told you, I never forget a face!

(Shorty, eyes wide with surprise and shock, drops his tray, and grabs knife handle. Blood comes from the wound and his mouth. He falls backwards with a thud and dies.)

(pandemonium ensues)

SLIM SKINNY(leaning over Shorty who is already dead) Dawg! Dawg! Hold on, dawg! (tears run from his eyes onto Shorty’s body) 

KITCHEN SERGEANT: (apprehends the stabber who still stands there) Turn around! (cuffs him) (to another Officer) Boss! Get those offenders back on the other side of the rail! (to stabber) Turn and face the wall, and don’t move! (grabs his radio from his side, calls shift supervisor) Lieutenant! We got a stabbing in the Chow Hall, better notify Medical! But, I think this is over.

(radio cackles 10-4)

(five other officers arrive with riot gear and billy clubs)

KITCHEN SERGEANT: Boss, get all these offenders out of here! Now! Take them all outside and sit them down on the ground! 

OFFENDERS(all grumbling simultaneously) What about our chicken? Shit! Damn, man that’s too cold! I want my bird! It ain’t right! (grumbling and cursing continues as they are led out of the Chow Hall)

(Enter Major, Shift Lieutenant, Captain, Shift Sergeant, Officer w/ camera, and Nurse w/ medical gurney)

MAJOR(to Officer w/ camera) Get all this on camera and a shot of the stabber! (to Kitchen Sergeant) Sergeant. What happened here? 

KITCHEN SERGEANT: Sir, this offender (points to stabber) got up and was preparing to trade some food with this one (points to Shorty still on the floor in a puddle of blood) when up he comes with a shank and stabs him under the heart. Now what brought the stabbing on, I can’t say. It could have been a grudge or a gang thing. We have to investigate further to find the cause. But from my experience, I’d be willing to bet you that it was something small and petty! 

CAPTAIN(looks closer at Shorty) That looks just like the Offender that I released from detention this morning! It is him! I had a feeling that he wouldn’t last. Fucked up attitude! He thought he was playing me, but I saw through his little charade. I was trying to give him a chance to straighten up.(shakes his head) Sad. 

SHIFT SERGEANT: I locked him up! He was a hard case that was destined for a bad end! You just can’t save some of them. 

MAJOR: Well, take him (points to stabber) to Medical, then to lock-up! I want an around the clock watch on him so he won’t do anything else foolish! I’ll notify the Sheriff so he can arrange to have him picked up and taken to the County for arraignment on charges. They never learn! 

NURSE(leaning over Shorty, shaking her head in dismay) Lord! Lord! Lord! Will this madness ever cease? (checks his pulse just in case) He’s gone. (sighs) I’ll notify the County Coroner when I get back to the Infirmary. So much blood, (continues to shake her head) lives so wasted … (sighs again)

(Exit all)

(Enter Chorus of Agitators)


  The universal plan 
We must discern 
Is to cherish our lives
And await our turn 
Those lives, chaotic 
That move too fast 
Are those cut short 
Hence, they do not last! 
Since we live through experience 
And we learn by trial 
Each fault, each error 
Must be reconciled 
And whatever we adhere to 
And desire the most 
Is the reward we receive 
In total cost! 
Our fates are certain
And this is no ruse 
What we become 
Is what we choose!







Note: Much of the content within this work is based on true events. The names and some of the actual terminology have been changed. Otherwise, this was an actuality.