Eli watched the door slam in his face, the metal locks sounding and the echoes of the metal on metal signifying he wasn’t going anywhere for a while.
The Hole. Segregation. Again.
“Sam’s going to kill me,” he whispered to himself. It hadn’t been easy to stay outside the hole this time around in prison. Life inside had different rules, and Eli had a different role to play. He was one of Kellogg’s boys, and that meant he had to watch his back, and make sure others knew not to fuck with him.
Meatball’s goons were good, but they weren’t that good. Eli put the little bitch, Eun on the ground, but not before Eun got a couple of hits in with that fucking sock. That shit hurt too.
Only problem Eli had was that a C.O. practically stalked him. Anthony got there before Eli could take care of Eun. The fucking bitch then claimed it was Eli’s lock-in-a-sock. Bull-fucking-shit. Thank fuck Anthony had the CTV checked. But still, the asshole wrote Eli up for the fucking fight.
“Fucking asshole,” he mutter when he thought about his brother. Anthony was the toughest, meanest C.O. His reputation inside said a lot. Kellogg wasn’t wrong when he said Anthony had a permanent stick up his ass. He didn’t go easy on anyone. You broke a rule, you were written up. Eli didn’t even get a pass, and he was the dude’s older brother.
Eli relaxed on his bed and stared at the blank cement ceiling. A week in the hole once again. Boredom would drive him crazy. Sam was due to visit, but he knew that would be postponed. She would definitely give him an earful the next time he called her to tell her she can come visit.
He really aught to stop getting into so much deep shit with her. First, he was putting his foot in his mouth thinking that she had some Jody on the side. Then, after confronting Anthony about him and Sam sleeping together, and getting two weeks in the hole for punching out the fucker, he confronted Sam about the two of them.
Sam screamed at him for thinking that and stormed out of the visitors center. She refused to take his calls after that, and she stopped visiting. Eli even tried getting Anthony to talk to her, but there was no chance for that happening.
In the end, Eli didn’t hear from Sam over a two months and only after he wrote her one of the most heartfelt and sincere apologies he’s ever had to give to her.
Now, though, She was caring for his three kids, and he had yet to see his baby girl. Dakota was only a few months old, and every time Sam planned on bringing her, Dakota got sick or something…or Eli ended up in the hole.
The prison war between Kellogg and his crew against Meatball and his spaghetti crew was causing a lot of tension inside, which led to more fights and more time in segregation. Eli was pretty sure he would be seeing a lot more of the hole the next few years if this stupid war didn’t stop. He had a feeling he was going to get hit by the parole board next year due to his time in the hole.
A week later, Eli saw sun again. He found his friends at the cards table, happy to see not all of them were in seg. Kellogg got a month in the hole a few weeks ago, and was still in there from the looks of it.
“Bout time you got out,” Nancy said.
“They cause any problems while I was in?” Eli asked.
Nance shook his head. “They know not to piss off the head cook in here. I’d be happy to give them my secret recipes if they do.”
Roy and Eli snorted. Nance had once taken a piss on some idiot’s meatloaf when he tried messing with him.
The alarm sounded and Eli dropped to the ground along with the rest of his friends. What the hell was going on now? A few minutes later the alarm went off and two guys from the inside of the main hall was being escorted out in handcuffs.
A C.O. called out, “Okay, inmates. Back to your cells. We’re doing a shakedown.”
“Shit,” Eli swore and headed over to the exit of the yard. He said goodbye to his friends and stood in front of his cell. The shakedown began, the C.O.s demolished his cell, and after he headed inside to pick up the pieces. At least him and Kellogg knew how to hide their shit.
Anthony stopped by his cell just before lights out that night. He was a sore thumb that Eli wanted to get rid of. Fucker wouldn’t stop hounding him. “Inmate, a word,” he said just as Eli relaxed on the top bunk.
“What now,” Eli asked and jumped down from his bunk. “I didn’t do shit.”
“No, I know that. I thought I’d give you fair warning, Eli, but the word is that the new Chief of Police of the San Myshuno Police Department is visiting and taking a grand tour in a few days. You might not want to get into any more hot water.”
“And why should I give a fuck about some asshole pig?”
Anthony smirked, “You’ll see.” He chuckled and walked away. What the fuck? Eli was confused as hell. Why the fuck would Anthony even tell him to stay out of trouble because of some bureaucratic cop? And why would Anthony even speak to him? Anthony never spoke to him like…like they were buddy-buddy anymore.
Eli stayed in his prison cell the next day. He was homesick, and it was killing him not being with his family.
Eli kept staring at the photos on the wall. The photo of Sam with his daughter, Dakota, and the photo of Derek and Bailee playing with paper airplanes both always made him misty-eye. The picture of a pregnant Sam and the kids tore him up the most though. It had been during their first Christmas without him, when Sam was about seven months pregnant. It always hurt thinking about how much he was missing out on.
He wondered if Sam was doing okay at work, if Derek was staying out of trouble and doing his homework like he’s supposed to, and if Bailee was finally using the potty or if she was still being stubborn. He had been in prison for a year, and already it had been far too long for him.
Would his family survive through this? Would his marriage? It was on a rocky ground, but Eli would make up for it. He had to. He could not lose Sam or the kids. They were his heart and soul.
The cell door opened and Eli sat up on the bed just as Kellogg entered the cell. “Hey,” Eli greeted. “Didn’t think you were going to be out so soon.”
“Neither did I,” Kellogg grunted. “Why you inside and not out with the boys?”
Eli sighed. “Missing my family.”
Kellogg shook his head. “Nope, you are not going to do that. If I have to drag you out every fucking day to keep you from losing your shit in here, I will. Now, get the fuck out of bed. We got work to do.”
Eli jumped off the bed and followed Kellogg to their card table.
Damn, did Roy get attacked?
“What the fuck happened, Roy?” Eli asked.
“Fuckers molly-whopped me in the showers before lights out last night with a fucking lock-in-a-sock. Spent the night in medical.”
Eli was seeing red again. “I swear to fuck I’m going to—”
“Stop,” Roy said. “You’re not going to fuck up your chances of getting out of here. Leave the killing to Kellogg and I.”
Eli sat back and grimaced. He hated how his friends wouldn’t let him get into more shit. “I can do more.”
“Not if you want to see your family outside these walls,” Kellogg said. He then leaned over and kissed Nance. “Hey, Baby.”
“I missed you.”
“I know. You do okay alone?”
Nance smiled. “No one fucks with the chef.”
Kellogg laughed, “Even I learned that lesson. Good boy.” It was the jeering and catcalling that had everyone at the table turning their heads. Some of Tony’s goons were coming close to them. “Stay back, Nance.”
Eli stood with Roy and Kellogg rounded the table to head off the Spaghetti Crew. “They will never learn” Roy said with a shake of his head. A few more of Kellogg’s boys came around and joined Eli’ and his friends.
“The fuck you boys want?” Kellogg asked.
“To take a couple of punks out for starters,” one of the fuckers replied, and pulled out a shiv. It didn’t stop Kellogg from descending on him. And it didn’t stop the all out fight erupting right in the middle of the yard.
Eli took as much as he gave against a handful of guys. Kellogg had rounded on Meatball, who had joined in at one point. The rest of the inmates out on the yard were just brawling. Eli had never been in a prison brawl this intense, but he was going to do as much damage to the asshole-Italian’s crew as possible.
At one point, he was shot in the back a few times with rubber bullets.
The sirens were going off, but the fight continued.
Eventually enough guards were on them, pulling them apart. Eli felt the zip-tie cuffs wrap around his wrists and ankles on him just as he was put onto the ground. He was pulled up on his knees along with the rest of the inmates that had been in the all out brawl.
Anthony and the few guards were on the radio, and kept staring between each other and the line. The others had giant rifles in hand staring right at the group of inmates.
Anthony addressed the yard as he paced across everyone on the ground, swinging his baton around in his hand as he walked. “Gen-Pop is going on Lockdown until further notice. If you can’t keep the yard peaceful, then we’ll pull your rec time.”
Someone down the line swore at Anthony.
“Send him to the SHU. Anyone else want to say something? I think I can agree with my fellow C.O.s, we are tired of this fighting. Lockdown until further notice.”
No one said a thing, not even Eli. After, a few of the guards came around to the inmates and the ties on their ankles were cut. Eli was lifted off the ground and lined up along with the rest of the inmates and then they all were escorted back into their cells, and when the doors closed they all heard the locking mechanism take hold.
“Well, fuck,” Eli said, tossing his beanie across the cell.
“Guess we’re in here for a good while. You get to the commissary yet?”
Eli shook his head. “Nah man, was going to do that before lights out.”
Kellogg opened and slammed his locker. “Fuck. I don’t even have my wham-whams.”
Eli climbed onto his bunk and relaxed. “Yup, we both got nothing.”
“This is going to be a long fucking stretch.”
Eli jerked up at the sound of voices. Two days into the lockdown, and he was bored out of his fucking mind. “This here’s the General Population Unit A. Right now they’re on lockdown.”
“Oh? Why’s that?”
Wait a fucking minute. Eli knew that voice. He hopped off the bunk and leaned against the bars to try and see who the fuck was with the Warden. They were still around the corner though. Shit. That voice. He knew that voice.
“We had a brawl out in the yard a few days ago. My men stopped it before it got out of hand. Normally we don’t let anything escalade that far, but this fight escalated rather too quickly, even for my own tastes.”
Footsteps were coming closer. “How many were in the fight?”
“Almost thirty or so. Too many to lock up in out Segregation Housing Unit.”
“Close to being a riot. Should I be worried, Jack?…”
Eli tried his hardest, but could not make out the two men until they round the corner. Come on. He recognized that voice though, and his gut clenched at the thought. He remembered Anthony saying something about the Chief of Police getting a grand tour or some shit, but he didn’t think in his wildest imagination that…that…no. No way.
Finally they were heading down their row.
“Fuck,” Eli cursed. “You? You made Chief?”
“Inmate, back to your bunk,” the Warden ordered.
Grant patted the Warden’s arm. “Quite all right, Warden. I can handle him.”
Grant’s grin at Eli made his insides turn. Well, fuck. “I see you haven’t changed in the last year.”
Eli hated his father-in-law right then. It was one thing to have Anthony there, but to have Grant see him like this? Fucking hell. “I do what I have to to survive here, Grant. You know this.”
“You’re going to tell her, aren’t you?” Eli asked. Fuck. He hadn’t spoken or seen Sam in over a month because of this stupid prison war. This was not helping his marriage.
“She already knows. Keep your head clean, and maybe Dakota won’t be walking by the time you see her. Hell, as it is right now, she won’t even know you by the time you get out of here.” And with that Grant fell back and left with the Warden.
“Asshole!” he yelled to Grant.
Fuck, but Grant was right. He sat on the bunk next to Kellogg, who must have heard everything. “He’s right.”
“Who the fuck was that?” Kellogg answered.
“The Chief of Police. My father-in-law. The asshole that locked me up in here twice. Pick one.”
Kellogg patted his back and laughed. “Man, your Christmases must be interesting. It’s like a joke gone wrong.”
Eli snorted. “You have no idea.” He ran his hand over his head. “I can’t afford to get into the hole anymore, Kellogg. My baby is growing up, and I am missing all of it. Not to mention the shit storm that’s my marriage, and I need to fix it before I lose Sam and the kids.” Eli sat up and met Kellogg’s eyes. “You know, I saw both Derek’s and Bailee’s first steps. Heard their first words. I watched Derek cheer as he pissed into the potty the first time, hitting a bunch of cheerios. I am missing so much.”
“I had a kid once,” Kellogg said, which shocked the fuck out of Eli. What? “He was killed along with my wife.”
“Did…you didn’t…” Eli whispered, “kill them?”
Kellogg shook his head. “No. I killed those white-trash fuckers that did kill ‘em, though. That’s why I’m in here and the only way I’m getting out of here is through a back door parole.”
Kellogg went quiet for a bit, then spoke. “Keep your head clean, Eli. Don’t fight, don’t get into it with anyone unless your life is on the line. Got it? Don’t risk your baby not seeing her daddy. And write Sam, fight for her. Don’t be like me.”
Eli gave a nod. Kellogg was right. He needed to listen to the big guy, and start getting his act together before he lost everything he loved. “Yeah, okay.”