Dreadnought had just three days left to serve on his latest sentence, but he was about to put his release date in jeopardy. He’d been banged up on an assault beef, and the six months that the judge had handed down had passed relatively uneventfully up until now. During his time in Pelican Bay, three inmates had ended up in the hospital wing and two had been laid out on a slab in the morgue, and none of them could be traced back to him. Like he said – the stretch had been a quiet one.
He was standing on the first floor gantry, looking down at the bulls and the inmates below, watching for anything out of the ordinary. All aspects of the human condition were on display, well, all negative aspects, anyhow. Envy, greed, cruelty, fear, hatred – you name it, it was there, many times over, coursing through the blackest of hearts, and by black, he didn’t mean negro, because Dread was a man of colour himself, and the one thing he’d learnt in his thirty odd years on the planet was that all muthafuckas had the capacity for evil, no matter their race, colour, or creed.
He flexed his considerable biceps then ran his hand down the prison ink he’d had inscribed on his left arm. The sleeves of his blue penitentiary shirt had been torn off to make sure everyone got the message. The words, rendered carefully in gothic script, read ‘Only God Can Judge Me.’ He wasn’t a religious man, but he’d seen the phrase spray painted on a wall somewhere and had liked it immediately. It made him stand out from the crowd. The cops, the courts, the whole damn legal system could do what the hell they liked, but it didn’t mean shit to him. No one but God could judge him. All the rest could go hang.
“You ready?” he asked, turning to the brute alongside him
All he got in response was a grunt. Cyclops. When that cat was in the zone he was all the way gone. Cyclops was Dread’s number one go-to-guy when it came to busting heads. He’d been a violent son of a bitch since kindergarten, and he’d been known by many different names over the years, his most recent coming after a prison fight in which a member of the Aryan brotherhood had gauged out his left eye. Cyclops may have lost fifty per cent of his vision, but the white supremacist prick had come off far worse – he’d lost all motor function from the neck downwards.
Dreadnought strode along the walkway until he’d made it as far as the shower block. He exchanged a quick nod with the brother standing guard by the door, waited for him to turn up his boombox to a near deafening level, then stepped inside. The sinks were laid out in a row to his left, while the communal shower area was off to his right, kept separate by a dividing wall that had gaps for ingress or egress at either end. There were three people using the facilities – a geriatric career crim washing up at one of the sinks, and a pair of Latino faggots soaping up in the showers. When Cyclops gave the old guy at the sink one of his looks, he quickly realised that personal hygiene was off the agenda and slunk out the door in a hurry.
“Well ain’t this nice and cozy…” said Dreadnought, as he walked into the shower area with shiv in hand – a shard of glass with a length of bed sheet wrapped around one end to form a makeshift handle.
The two Latinos turned as one, both of them sporting impressive erections, their members standing proud like twin flagpoles yet to receive their standards.
“You don’t wanna start no shit, Dread…” said the taller of the two. “You’d have to be loco to mess with da Mex Mafia.”
“Yeah, well, my pops always said I was a crazy son of a bitch.”
The Latino took a half step forward with fists raised while his companion wilted into the background.
“You wanna dance with me Rodriguez?” asked Dreadnought, keeping his back to the wall and forcing his target to circle around and face him.
“Rodriguez! Look out!” shrieked the other Latino, his voice high pitched and feminine.
Rodriguez started to turn but it was too late. Cyclops, who had entered the shower area from the far end, came up fast to deliver a piledriver of a punch to the naked man’s kidneys. Rodriguez slumped onto the wet tiles, mewling like a kitten as he curled into a ball.
“Now you’re gonna tell me all you know,” said Dreadnought. “Or you’re gonna find yourself in a world of pain.”