Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Hit

Nurse Ybango rolled down the tier. She stopped at Antonio's cell and he got up off the bunk and came to the door. She handed him a cup and he dumped the contents into his mouth. She rolled on, and as soon as she was past he spit the mouthful of pills out into his hand. Four of the pills were big red gel capsules that burned his stomach when he took them---acid-something he thought they were called. These pills he dumped into the toilet. The last pill was the only one he really wanted. It was orange and had the number one hundred printed in block lettering on the side. This pill he could get money for, at least a dollar a pill, from the junkies who were withdrawing from heroin. It would put them to sleep until it was over and help with the runs. He took the Thorazine and slid it into a crack in his mattress with the rest of his stash.

He stretched out on his bunk, put his hands behind his head and thought about the plan. He couldn't wait to see Puckett's face. First the dog, then that wildass cracker cellbuddy of his. He had already jammed his lock open with pieces of styrofoam while Eddie was out working and everyone was out on rec. He tested the door when he was up getting his pills, and it slid easily open just a fraction when he had his arms through the feedup slot. The next time Puckett came by he would be prepared.

Eddie came back from working cleanup and Antonio knew he didn't have much longer to wait. Lockdown came after rec time and Puckett came soon after that. Antonio saw Bo first as he came on the tier, poking his muzzle at the 2C officer and sniffing at the gate. Puckett tugged him along forward just as he was lifting his leg near the 2C officer's desk. Bo sighed, looked back wistfully at the desk and followed his handler onto the tier. They were coming closer. He could hear the cell doors screetching open and closed, one by one, as Bo plodded in and out, closer and closer.

Bo was outside Antonio's cell. Puckett opened the door and they came in. Bo was within arm's reach but Antonio waited. Bo stiffened briefly then sat down, a well-trained drug dog's alert signal. Bo had found the stash that had been left for him to find. Antonio glanced quickly underneath his bunk, saw Eddie lying quietly with his arm over his eyes. It was time.

As Puckett looked away to radio for backup for a cell search, Antonio jumped off the bunk. He landed flat on the dog and Bo gave a yelp. Instinctively Puckett backed out of the cell onto the tier and pushed the cell door closed, leaving Antonio and Bo behind. Antonio grabbed the dog with one arm around his chest and a fist around his muzzle. Bo struggled and whined but Antonio held him fast. Antonio dragged Bo to the cell door and hit the door open with his shoulder. Now they were all out in the open, on the tier, and Antonio's part was done. He looked for his brothers who were coming with their knives. He did the holding, Donte did the stabbing. That was the plan.

Donte and the other man were there as soon as they heard the cell door crash open. Donte grabbed Puckett around the head with his left arm and pulled a shank from the back of his waistband with his right. In a single motion Puckett's throat was cut. Donte's companion pulled his knife and soon they were both stabbing the officer as Fennell watched. Puckett slid to the floor, silent.

"Hold up! Hold up!" Antonio yelled. Something had gone seriously wrong. Pucket wasn't the hit. They weren't following the plan. It was the dog---the dog---not the police. Police were big shit. Killing police was death penalty stuff. This was a whole 'nother world and he was no longer a juvenile. He let go of Bo and the dog jumped to his handler's side, barking.

Just then the tier gates crashed open and the backup arrived with more dogs. Real dogs. Attack dogs. Antonio ran back to his cell, not bothering to think about his bros or the stash or the dog. He was in deep shit, too deep, and there was nothing he could do.

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