Retired from the Game
Retired from the Game
“Umm . . . excuse me, miss.” I halted the sensuous stride of the six-feet beauty of a correctional officer.
I gave her my most disarming smile. “Ahh…I don’t mean any disrespect, but does that ‘thang’ taste as good as it looks?” I raised my eyes from her crotch with an elevated brow of utter innocence, mischief dancing on my lips.
Her rosy cheeks gave her vanilla complexion a healthy glow of radiance. Her green eyes sparkled. Her lips twitched. She fought valiantly to fight the blossoming grin, finally giving in to a colgate smile of even white teeth. “You’ll never know!” she tossed her dusty-blond ponytail with sass, sashaying on down the four-row run. She put an extra dose of nasty in her stride, feeling like the delicious sex-kitten that society would never deem her six feet, 235 pounds of voluptuousness.
“Work it baaby!” I drawled out behind her in a long southern twang of rich molasses.
The run of offenders erupted with cheers, hoots, and catcalls. She stopped, turning to meet my eye in my peep-mirror (a stamp-sized piece of reflective glass that offenders glue to a popsickle stick to extend through the holes in their cell doors so that they can see down the run). Loving the attention, she couldn’t fight the smile as she met my eye and flipped me the bird. She exited Three Row like a plus-sized runway model. Working it.
I fell back on my bunk, pleased with the exchange. We have a saying in prison: ‘If she grin, she in.’ The thought being that if you can get a female officer comfortable enough to relax, smile, and laugh with you then you can possibly get her over that hump of becoming your Piece of Game, or P.O.G., for short.
A P.O.G. is converted by an offender like gold by a leprechaun. And a P.O.G. is just as valuable if not more so than that mythical pot of gold. A properly managed P.O.G. does not only mean an elevated status in the prison hierarchy of convicts; a properly managed P.O.G. can mean the difference from you being in heaven or hell as you do your bid. Money, commissary, narcotics, favorite foods, phones to contact love ones with, sex, and sex, and more sex, and just the conversation and companionship of a real woman who cares enough for you to risk it all to make your situation better. The benefits are immeasurable. The rewards undefinable, especially in a Texas prison where phones, conjugal visits, tobacco, and even the erotic pictures of one’s wife are forbidden contraband that are unavailable to offenders.
“Murff!” She called my name from beneath me on Three Row. Just that quick she’d learned my name. A very good sign. I waited. Played the game how it is supposed to be played. “Muurff!” She sang my name with impatience.
I stood up at my door to look down into her dancing eyes and smirk.
“I just wanted to give you these!” she sent me two birds and bounced off laughing.
“Promises! Promises!” I shot to her retreating back.
Wasn’t a doubt in my mind that she was going to be mine.
* * *
Good society would be appalled to realize that more relationships have been consummated in prison than in any motel, hotel, or inn in the continental United States of America. The topic of homosexuality in prisons has been covered to death. It exists. But what of the seldom spoke upon, never examined heterosexual romances that do blossom and bloom behind the barbed-wire? What of the illicit relationships that do occur between male offenders and the female correctional officers who are paid by the State to secure and supervise them?
I’ve been incarcerated and was “in the game” (what offenders call living outside of the rules) for well over a decade. I’ve bore witness to it all. Oral copulation, anal, threesomes, gangbangs—it all occurs. Often. With women!
Imagine for one second: a single mother with two or more children. She has little education and low self-esteem. She comes from a poverty-stricken environment where the rebels reign supreme. Imagine her being placed in a dangerous sexually-charged taboo place of employment for 12 hours a day to supervise thousands of the very same scantily clad bad boys that she’s grown up lusting behind most of her life. Imagine her being able to pick and choose from hundreds of suitors of pretty words and promises who want to keep her hair and nails done, send her shopping, pay her rent, take care of her kids, and plan that illustrious happy-ever-after with her. You understand that these are the defining character traits of the vast majority of the females that are hired by The Texas Department of Corrections and you begin to grasp just how many P.O.G.’s are won daily. You begin to understand just how prevalent these sexcapes are. How often the forbidden fruit is tasted.
* * *
Sometimes personalities just click. The attraction is mutual. The female is as rebellious as the offender. She needs no coercion or con. The conversations flow smoothly. Hours seem like minutes. The laughs come fast and free. The passion is slower due to the spying eyes and prying ears. It boils like stewing vegetables, only the restraints of the environment and the consequences keep it subdued like a top on the pot. Until want turns to need and a window of opportunity opens for the top to be lifted. We all know what happens then . . .
Me and my babygirl had that kind of rare chemistry. Our relationship progressed quickly, because we both knew what we wanted and neither of us was afraid to grab it. We didn’t play games. Our greatest restraint was my being in administrative segregation. Our greatest hindrance was hating black women and white males who obviously weren’t feeling the “jungle fever” that we’d broken out with. Still we shared endlessly with each other: my mistakes and her goals, my past relationships and her present one, our children (my two and her one), our dreams, our fears. Endlessly. We just clicked on all cylinders.
“God made you too beautiful to be walking around with your head down.” I was in the front recreational room at the front of the run on Three Row.
She was coming from the middle of Three Row after having placed another offender in the shower. She lifted her head with a “no-I’m-not” frown creasing her lips.
“I don’t say things that I don’t mean.” I met her eyes, willing her to me.
Her emerald eyes fell to the floor as she stepped closer to hear me. By habit, I only speak in a serious whisper. “Look at me.” She met my eyes. “I don’t play no games,” I growled with consternation. “I asked you a question several weeks ago and you still ain’t let me know what’s up?”
“What?” she looked puzzled, an arched brow cocked at my tone.
“Does or does not, that-damn-thang,” I dipped my eyes quickly to her crotch and back up, “taste as deeelicious as it look?!!”
“Screw you!” she burst into giggles, turning to go up the steps to Four Row to pull out her next shower.
I watched the sensuous sway of her hips, knowing it was for me. She stopped at the top of Four Row to smile down at me. “And that wasn’t no promise!” she lobbed.
“Tease!” I tossed back as she giggled on down Four Row. My eyes trailed her like a hungry lion’s on a gazelle. She didn’t know it just yet, but she was already mine.
* * *
The administration tries to convince every female officer that every offender is a lowdown, lying, cheating, snake-in-the-grass whose only intentions are to use and abuse them. Many years ago a Captain on the Ferguson Unit was giving such a speech at the officer’s meeting before their shift started, and a promiscuous female officer looked around the room with distaste before saying, “Well, hell, Captain, you just described most of the men in this room!” The female officers laughed hard. The male officers didn’t.
Prisons are like a small village. Everyone knows everyone else . . . and their business. Most units have officers working 12 hours a day, four days a week. Over half of the officers scramble for as much overtime as they can get in an attempt to keep their heads above the poverty line. Due to long commutes and skyrocketing gas prices, most officers reside together in the officer’s barracks on their four days on call. All factored, they spend more time with offenders than they do with their families. They spend more time in this sexually-charged environment with their co-workers than they do with their spouses. The officers’ barracks become a porn palace at the end of the day. A promiscuous place of employment is an understatement. As one older woman once put it, “Everybody’s screwing everybody!”
So how much weight do such words from a ranking officer carry when he is the man who he’s just described. When he is guilty of leaving several of these female officers scorned himself. On most units it becomes a them versus us thing. Them being the uncorrupted but far from righteous rank and their braindead underachieving flunkies, and us offenders and officers that are “in the game”. Us who are incarcerated, trying to make the best (bending the rules though we may be) out of a bad situation. And those officers who choose to take advantage of all of the fringe benefits (bending the rules they may be) that T.D.C. offers for one working long hectic hours for minimal compensation. Us who choose to take a chance on love wherever it is found. The consequence be damned, just let the love be real.
* * *
She pulled her fingers back out of the holes in my cell door. Her eyes darting to the rotunda where the doors are rolled from. No prying eyes.
“Ummm . . . l gotta call it a draw,” I whispered.
“A draw?” she giggled.
“Yep,” I nodded, “You most definitely taste every bit as good as you look. You ain’t babygirl no more.”
“Oh no? Who am I now?” she frowned, looking even younger than her 21 years.
“V.C.B.: my Vanilla Cream Baby!” I smacked my lips. “Bluebell ain’t got nothing on you.”
Her smile would’ve shamed the sun. Our eyes met through the steel and conveyed volumes. “I want—” she started.
“Ms. Brickhouse,” an offender janitor who kept the wings cleaned swept up on us in a hurry. I bobbed my head as he cut his eyes to me with a knowing smirk. “Ms. Real say that Holmes just went told the rank that you’ve been at this offender’s door for way too long.”
We both issued expletives. It was unanimous Holmes was a two-faced hater. She left to go and speak with Ms. Real and investigate the situation. I glanced at my radio clock. She’d been at my door for over three hours. It seemed like only minutes. The janitor tried to conversate. I blew him off and away.
I fell back on my bunk. I’m slipping. Over three hours. I knew better. Female officers especially are reprimanded for being at an offender’s door for five minutes. Due to my knowing that Ms. Real was in the game and would be looking out, I’d gotten comfortable, lost in those pretty green eyes and the moment. Now Officer Holmes had spied us from the rotunda and went snitched. I spit a few choice words of distaste for the goofy whiteboy who’d met and married his black wife on the Coffield Unit. I’d thought that he was cool. I could blame no one but myself though.
“You mad?” My babygirl was back. Obviously amused at my scowl.
“You gotta chill. You know we’re the most hated back here.” I tried to hold the frown, knowing that she should not be back, but happy that she was.
“Screw them! That’s what up!” A young beautiful rebel, that was her favorite phrase. “I had to bring you this,” she continued, grabbing something from her pocket then hesitating. “That guy is looking over here.” She nodded in his direction.
She was speaking of my neighbor a couple cells down. “He’s cool,” I assured her.
She slid me a huge Symphony Bar through the side of the door. “Get rid of the package. Everyone knows that I love those.”
I laughed, just basking in the beauty of her. She’d asked me earlier had I ever had one. I hadn’t. She’d laughed because I didn’t even know what a Symphony Bar was. I hadn’t asked her for anything! Hadn’t expected anything. She’d made no promises. A surprise. “I really appreciate that, Brook.” I used her first name affectionately.
“Screw them. You my boo,” she laughed, sashaying away.
I fell back on my bunk truly smitten. Holmes forgotten. I was violating all the rules of the game. Couldn’t help it. I realized then that she definitely was mine. But I was hers too. We belonged to each other. I smacked my lips around that first block of rich Symphony chocolate. Not quite as delicious as my Vanilla Cream Baby, but very good.
* * *
Most females who never get “in the game” are just too chicken-hearted or they’ve been convinced that every offender is only out to get something from them. Morality is never an issue.
“Ya’ll are just trying to get what ya’ll can get,” a female once challenged. “All of ya’ll are out for something.”
“First off, I am not a ya’ll. I’m an individual,” I chastized. “And what but a fool enters a relationship with no expectations. If a relationship is not mutually beneficial then one of us is playing the fool. I’m not going to play the fool. And I don’t expect you to either.” I smiled.
“But you know ya’ll—”
“There you go again,” I cut her short.
“But what makes you so different, San-Man?” She used my nickname mockingly, violating the rules and unknowingly opening a door.
“The same thing that makes you so special to me, Christie,” I used her first name mockingly, causing her to smile and look around for ear-hustling co-workers. “How I carry and conduct myself. How I refuse to allow an adolescent mistake to define my future. How I confabulate. How I’ll never allow this environment to define my character . . .and . . .”
I could see all of her teeth as she waited for more. “And what?”
I went to rotating my hips and thrust my mid-section at her. “And I BRANG it, baby!”
She burst into loud guffaws. “You are so full of it!” She left rocking with laughter.
The truth is most offenders are full of it. The truth is most females know it. They don’t care. For a little while she is able to live out her fantasy of being truly loved and cherished. She is that beautiful, desirable sex-kitten. The dream may end with termination of her employment today or his getting out tomorrow. But that’s an “if” of the future. For “now” she has manifested the dream.
Most people, rather they be residents or employees, end up in prison because they live every day for today, overlooking their tomorrows until they finally came. They did not worry about the consequences of committing crimes or not paying attention in school or not going to college. They’ve lived for the thrill of the moment. The pleasures and rewards of the now. Why change now? She, like he, enjoys it while it lasts. Praying, hoping, wishing tomorrow’s “ifs” to never arrive.
But don’t be fooled. True love does blossom between male offenders and female officers. I know of quite a few acquaintances who have gotten out and taken up with their once forbidden fruit. I know of a couple secret lovers that have since married. Can name a few females on this very unit who have been terminated for improprieties and braved embarrassment and dirty looks to return to visit their “friend”.
The truth of the matter is love could care less about color, religion, finances, housing, rules, regulations, or risks. It comes like a thief in the night, stealing your heart away and bestowing it to another before you even become truly aware of where that feeling of euphoria is coming from. Why do you smile like a loon the moment that you see her? Why is she smiling? Why does her not working on your wing for her four days on leave you so down in the dumps? Why does just the sound of her voice send your spirits soaring and send your once weary body rolling from the bunk to tend to hygenic needs, throw on your tight-whited best gear, and yes, leave you smiling like a loon. Love. It’s an amazing thing.
* * *
“I love you.”
“You’ve said that to someone before,” she smiled.
“So have you, but that doesn’t make it any less true.”
“You always have the right words, don’t you.” She really does have a beautiful smile.
“The right words are easy, when you’re speaking from your heart.” I was.
I’d finished drying off. Turned and let her cuff my hands behind my back. “12 cell!” she hollered to the officer rolling the doors at the end of the run.
The door rolled. I stepped out of the shower with water still glistening on my shoulders, chest, and back. She likes me like that. I purposely dropped my towel as I stepped across the threshold of my cell door. She stooped half in my cell to pick it up. Just a half-step from the sight of offenders with their peep-mirrors on the run and the officer in the rotunda, we kissed with the deep intensity of lovers who know that they may never see each other again. The seconds seemed like seconds. We never wanted to stop. Had to. Had to make it do until the next window of opportunity opened.
My door rolled closed. She removed the cuffs with a hearty-sigh. Gave me a look of longing that I returned twice-fold. She started for her next shower.
“Damn, I love you.”
“I love you more,” she whispered huskily.
No games. No cons. No lie. I meant every word.
* * *
We all know that loose lips sink ships. A word to the wise, haters are just as deadly. Locked down in a cell for 23 hours a day on a run with 21 other offenders who think that it is a time for celebration when any female walks the run, it is impossible for an offender in administrative segregation to keep his relationship with a female officer a secret. So then it’s not so much keeping the illicit relationship a secret or prohibiting the gossip, but protecting the secret from the ranking officers and their minions that do care and limiting gossip.
A female correctional officer can survive and prosper “in the game” indefinately as long as she is well-liked by her co-workers and the majority of the offender population. Why? Because everyone is looking out for her. Her co-workers do not want to see her lose her job and the offenders like her because she leaves them and their limited possessions alone (don’t shakedown their cells for contraband as policy dictates when they come out for recreation and showers).
Unfortunately, my babygirl was not of that creed. The vast majority of her co-workers could not stand her. She let them know with a scathing tongue that the feeling was mutual. She didn’t hesitate to give offenders that riled her the same tongue lashing of abuse. Unmanageable to say the least. She was a wild stallion on a concrete plain. She could not be tamed. I knew it would all come tumbling down sooner rather than later due to her disposition.
A wild stallion of rebellion. All you can do is hold on, feel alive, and enjoy the ride or get off. I wasn’t getting off . . .
* * *
It is 5:45 a.m. The wing is silent but for the humming of an unseen fan. I’m naked as a newborn, freshly scrubbed, baby-oiled, and baby-powdered down. Rock hard with anticipation.
Five minutes ago, Babygirl had darted down the run to whisper in a husky voice for me to “Get ready.”
“I’d rolled out of bed without a word and ran through a quick scrubbing and hygenic drill. Prepped for the mission ahead.
Not nary another word needed be said. I needed no instructions. I had laced her up on how we’d manifest the dream and satiate the longing when that window opened. This morning all was obviously in alignment.
I peeped down the run to see Ms. Real in the rotunda at the control box. She waved a naughty finger at me. A tremor of need raced through me as my Vanilla Cream Baby rocketed up the stairs, said a quick word to Ms. Real that got a nod, and then jetted down to my cell. My cell door eased open.
Her hand was on me, my tongue was in her mouth before she crossed the threshold good.
Then we were both lost. Past the point of no return. For ten blissful minutes before the other officers made it to their assigned post for the day, we got as close to paradise as a male offender and female correctional officer in love can hope to get behind the barbed-wire. The top was lifted off the pot and passion exploded and bubbled over. I bit into the forbidden fruit. Delicious . . .
* * *
A wise man once said, “All good things must come to an end.” I wish someone would’ve asked him why.
I’d been in from the dayroom for a couple of hours. I’d fallen into an easy smile of slumber. My babygirl had been in the rotunda and I’d enjoyed her smile, her fresh out of the shower fragrance, everything about her. She’d shown me her sunburned shoulder. Delicious. She’d shared with me her and a girlfriend of hers’ getaway to Galveston beach. “You are so scary,” she’d teased, because I refused to give her a note of contraband that I had for her.
“My first priority is to always wake sure that YOU are taken care of.” I’d pointed a scholarly finger at her. “They already got me. I can’t never let them get you. I’ll send it to you right before you’re about to leave.”
BAM! BAM! BAM! “San-Man!” My neighbor pounded on the wall that separated our cells.
“What!” I grabbed the note of contraband from the head of my bunk, instantly awake and alert.
“Man, I don’t know what’s going on, but Purple is up here with the Sarge and Lieutenant.” My neighbor put me on point.
Instincts kicked in. Destroy all evidence. No evidence, no case. I hit my toilet to make sure that it was still operational. If your cell is about to be raided, it is standard operating procedures to turn off your water first, leaving limited ways for an offender to get rid of contraband. Leaving no means of getting rid of some contraband like weapons, phones, and large supplies of hard narcotics.
“Damn! There’s a hundred laws up here now!” My neighbor bellowed and sent my heart to drumming.
I grabbed my peep-mirror and extended it through a hole in my cell door just as Purple stepped angrily in front of my cell. He tried to snatch my peep. Was too slow. Imagine the biggest, blackest, ugliest Uncle Thomas Bo-Bo negro you can. That’s Purple.
“Shit!” I leaped back with the note now burning up my fist, my heart raging against my chest like a mad parrot wanting out of his cage.
“Get naked and don’t touch shit!” Purple commanded.
He may as well have been talking ancient Hebrew. I turned my back to him, facing the toilet. “Okay, just let me use the restroom real quick, sir,” I said too respectfully.
“Uh-uhnn!” he screamed as I hit the toilet button and dropped the note.
The toilet only bubbled. They’d turned off the water!
“Now get your slick ass over here before you get gassed!” he laughed.
I grabbed a towel and thrust it before my face like I was blocking a spray of gas. “Hold up, man!” I yelled, snaking my other hand into the toilet to retrieve the tightly glued note of contraband. I couldn’t risk them getting that. My only thoughts at the moment was of Babygirl. Her child. Her job. Without it, we both lost in a major way.
“Dammit! Get over here!” One of the ranking officers stepped up to the door, shaking his cannister of pepper spray threateningly.
“Gas his ass, Sarge!” Uncle Bo-Bo screamed. “He got something! He bullshittin’!”
The note was too thick to swallow. I tried to tear it up with one hand while keeping the towel before me. “Gas me for what? Ya’ll see I ain’t doing nothing, but trying to get my shower shoes on.” I kneeled to shove my shower shoes under my bunk then grope for them, realizing that it is impossible to tear up a thick wad of paper with one hand.
“You don’t need no shoes!? Let me gas him, Searge. He bulishittin’!” I don’t think it’s possible to dislike anyone more than I did Purple at that moment.
“Man, what you acting like I got some weapons of mass destruction in here for?” I broke another rule of the game, losing my temper, and trying to argue with an officer when I know I’m in the wrong and got no win.
The Seargent aimed the gas cannister right at my face. “Let’s go with it! Now! That’s your last warning.”
I threw the towel back before my face.
“Alright, alright, Searge,” I checked myself. “Let me just slip on my shoes.” I did the only thing I could with the kite. Chunked it, toilet water and all, in my mouth. Damn, I love you.
I dropped the towel and turned to let Uncle Bo-Bo cuff me. My door rolled and I stepped out onto the run. “You get the name off of it?” He was all up in my face like there was a personal grievance between us. I met his eyes with suppressed fury. All these caucasian officers of rank and the one black-as-one-can-get negro doing all of the hollering and yelling for violence against a brother.
“He got something in his shoes!” Bo-Bo took my shoes. Found nothing. “He must’ve swallowed it then. He had something. Open your mouth!” he commanded. I jerked away from him with a frown of distaste. His eyes lit up like he’d just hit a Texas Lotto.
I did the impossible. Swallowed the evidence.
He reached for me as the other officers closed in on me. I let him know exactly how I felt about him as I complied fully, opening my mouth and wiggling my tongue for all to see that I had nothing in my mouth. “He must’ve swallowed it,” he said defeatedly like it was a personal loss for him.
Barefoot, with my head down to mask my watering eyes, and valiantly fighting my gag reflex every step of the way, knowing that if I threw up the note there would be no way to retrieve it with my hands cuffed behind my back, I was marched down to a small legal cage and left as they returned to ransack and pack up all of my property for a thorough search. Babygirl, Purple, and all was forgotten now. My mind was total consumed with one thought; I will be very dead in a few minutes if I don’t find a way to get this wad from the wedge in my esophagus.
I coughed hard. Choked harder. Swallowed and swallowed to no avail. Through tears I coerced an offender janitor to slide me a bottle of tea. Blessedly, a few powerful gulps got the wad down. I fell back in the legal cage with a deep sigh of relief.
Babygirl had been taken to the Warden’s office for questioning. Someone had reportedly seen us pass something. She now blew out of his office and down the hallway like a profane tsunami. Neither offenders nor co-workers were spared her wrath. She slammed on the brakes to sling her walkie talkie and wing keys into the control booth across from me. Up until that moment I’d avoided eye-contact with her, knowing that all in the vicinity was watching us.
“All of ya’ll can kiss my fat ass!”
I knew then that she wasn’t coming back. I threw my right hand to the sky with enthusiasm, drawing her fiery green eyes. “Uhhm…I’ll start it off if you don’t mind.” I smiled, “Kissing your sweet-as-cream fatabulous ass!” I clarified with a laugh.
Her eyes softened. She laughed. Gave me a sad shake of regret and started back down the hallway.
“Screw’em all! That’s what’s up!” I echoed her favorite phrase. A couple of her co-workers were listening hard now. I didn’t even care.
“Screw them all.” She never broke stride. She didn’t even care.
I recorded her every step. Remembered every curve of her voluptuous frame. Watched her ponytail bouncing on her back. Rocked my head to the sensuous sway of her ample hips. I didn’t want her to go. Missed her already. She was nearly to the end of the corridor when I stood up in the cage and screamed in an extra syrupy down-south baritone for all to hear, “Work it, Baaby!”
She paused for a second but didn’t look back. I knew that she was smiling and probably crying as she cleared the corridor like a plus-sized runaway model putting an extra dose of nasty in it just for me. Through misty eyes I watched my untameable vanilla stallion gallop away. Damn, I love you.
* * *
They found nothing in my property. No evidence, no case. No one talked to me. No need to. Over a decade in the system they knew I didn’t know nothing about nothing.
I was returned to my trashed cell later that evening. Lying back on my bunk with only a sheet that I’d borrowed from my neighbor acting as a buffer, I contemplated my dire predicament. My cell is bare. The Major has all of my property locked up in his office. I’ll get it back tomorrow after hijacking the shower, but for now I have nothing but a borrowed sheet, a dull ache, and some soothing memories.
Just that quick it’s all over. It’s all gone. I’m all alone with nothing and no one. I am a prisoner in hell. My Vanilla Cream Baby quit. My P.O.G. is gone. With this life sentence that I have, I will probably never see her again. My heart hurts.
I worry about her and her child. I remember her abusive husband. The one who likes to use her for a punching bag. I worry some more.
An hour or so later I’m back to my own dire dilemma. A bad situation made worse. All of my property is gone. All eyes are on me now. I contemplate the months that lie ahead on L-wing where the baddest of the baddest are housed. L-wing, the hole within the hole. L-wing, where cells are flooded daily by the ignorant and bored. L-wing, where urine and feces are thrown daily by the mentally-ill and just plain nasty. No commissary spends but hygiene and postage. Limited recreational time. No radio. No hot pot. The harassment and headaches that come with being a hot boy caught “in the game”.
You can’t do the time don’t do the crime. I suck it up. It’s all part of the game. It ain’t nothing that I can’t handle. It ain’t nothing that I haven’t handled before. But, oh, how I wish that I could just quit it all too.
It was the next morning in the shower, being threatened with chemical agents for the second time in less than 24 hours, trying to get my property back that I realized: I’m too old for this foolishness. Yes, it is all part of the game, and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t worth it, because there is absolutely nothing on Earth as precious and priceless as a good woman, but after 14 years in the system and over a decade “in the game” that is no longer a game that I’m interested in playing. And that’s why I remain to this day retired from the game.