“My time at USP Florence comes to an end”

Shot callers Part 9

Yeah, that’s what it means to be “Blessed” by one of those guys. Again, I can’t stress to you how much of an honor this is in the System, especially for a white-boy.

Because of the way things looked in the surveillance cameras (like something racial was fixing to jump off) they locked us down for a bit while things cooled off. When they let us out I went immediately to the cell of the Big Homie who had befriended me and apologized to him for putting both our cars at risk – truth was, I didn’t know that he and his people would intercede in my behalf. But much to my surprise he stopped me in the middle of my apology and said that I didn’t need to apologize, that I wasn’t wrong. In fact he told me that he owed me an apology for not doing something about Dirty. Then he assured me that Chongo was on his way to Preachers cell to lay down the law. Finally, he looked me in the eye and said, “Remember, no matter what, right or wrong, I have your back”. It was a profound statement, one that has always remained with me, and whenever I think about my friend, I remember his words, and they bring a smile to my face. Yeah, that’s what it means to be “Blessed” by one of those guys. Again I can’t stress to you how important that is in a place like USP Florence … it can mean the difference between life, or death.

What happened after that was this – true to his words, while I was with his Big Homie, Chongo was confronting Preacher. Chongo made it clear that I was hands off and that if the Blacks didn’t deal with Dirty, that they, the Surenos, would. A few days later the Blacks caught Dirty in the Gymnasium and tried to put the boots to him – I was there; he broke and ran to the guards office like a bitch! then snitched on his homeboys. Human garbage. An oxygen thief.

Later Chongo and I sat down and he explained to me a few things about being “Blessed”, it means, well, it means forever.

Not long after that my friend was transferred out of Florence, before he left he gave me a hug, then slid a piece of paper in my hand and said that if I ever needed anything to write him. When I went back to my cell, I opened up the paper he’d given me, it was his daughters name and address in Whittier, California. Again, let me say it here, we don’t just give out the addresses of our daughters, that alone was the greatest example of trust one convict can give another … for the record, I have never given anyone my daughters info, it just ain’t done. He left that night. Just like that, he was gone … little did I know, I’d never see him again.

Chongo went home shortly after that leaving me and the other Big Homie (man I wish I could tell you his name, he’s an F-ing legend!) to hold down the fort. I will add here that I have given my son Chris his name, and he, my son, told me last night, that he’d found his address; I ask my son to send him this Shot Caller Series, well, the part where I talk about him anyway, to ask permission to tell you who he is.

After that deal with Preacher and the Blacks, I took on a elite convict reputation – all the fellas on both sides of the yard now knew of my unusual status with the Black Hand. Hell, rumors were crazy according to who was telling the story. Some said I’d faced off with Preacher, true. Others said I’d whipped him in a cell fight – not true; truth is Preacher was a big man, like 6′ 1 285 big, a tank of a man who could probably rip me in half. Now my big Irishman, he would have been a match for him, ,but not me; yeah those Southie Boys are some tough men; for the record, I’ve never met a Southie that couldn’t fight. No, I don’t know about Ben Affleck and Mark Wahlberg, but IF they are actually Southies, I’d have to say they’re probably tough too, not your normal Hollywood type, anyway. As for the rumors, hell, a couple years after this event, at FCI Pollock for Christ sake, I heard one story claiming that I’d put the steel to Preacher and that the Surenos had butchered a dozen of his crew – that isn’t true either. In fact, I’ve never even owned a knife in prison … yeah, that day with Ziggy, I was bluffing! 🙂 But what is true is that my Big Homie friend made it clear to everyone that he was with me, hell, he made a point of walking the yard with me at his side and twenty or so Surenos walking closely behind. Like I said, it was crazy; everybody knew that I was close to men they could only know from a distance.

These men I’m telling you about are legends in the System and I still to this day hear stories from people who run across ’em. In fact just awhile back I heard from one of the Surenos who recently went home from here at Three Rivers, that one of the two Black Hand men I was acquainted with at USP Florence, the Painter, is fixing to go home. My son recently confirmed this to be true, then added that this man had been in prison since 1984!!!! How in the hell do you justify locking a man up for that long!! I know this man … he ain’t an animal. In fact he’s very quite and respectful. It appalls me that GOD believes in second chances, but his people don’t! Oh how far we have fallen from the Goodness of our Creator. Shame.

In 2010, after 10 plus years I left Florence and the Penitentiary behind; I had survived. No, I never told another soul, not even my children about the things I’ve just told you. I didn’t go to FCI Pollock or FCI Three Rivers for that matter and tell everyone that I was a badass and had been “Blessed” by the Black Hand, you heard it first in this Shot Caller Series. No, not even the Surenos on this yard, I have never spoken of it before, but as God is good, it is the truth.

Yeah, over 10 years at USP Florence, few men stay there that long, in fact, it might be a record. The thing to remember is this: When I arrived there, Staff didn’t think I could make it, I chose not to Snitch, I never ran in the face of uncertainty and I never shamed my children or the people who put their trust in me, and ten years later … well, I can’t say it, but you can figure it out. Suffice to say, the name Mayor Mark carries a respectable reputation, albeit, one I didn’t entirely earn.

As for my friend, the Big Homie who blessed me … well, he was transferred from USP Florence to one of the Penitentiaries up north, where he was killed in battle. Rest in Peace old friend.

Again as always I ask you my faithful friends to pass this along to as many people as possible, maybe somewhere along the way some of the men mentioned here will see this and add their own flavor to these stories.

Peace be with you, Mark

Three Rivers, 10-30-18