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Chapter 5: Scene 19: Nobody makes it on his own


ThinkLink: Can you think of a place or situation you’ve been in where people divided up into groups? Are there ever times when you want to get away from people and be alone?

       I walk back over to the wall and squat down next to Pat. "I didn't even see him coming. Why's he got it in for me?"

       "Randy? He takes you out he gets a name. But you better never snitch at least unless you're sure you're bigger than the other guy and you got bigger guys on your side. Only use it when it pays off for ya."

       "Don't staff want to know?"

       "Nah. Everybody's out to get a snitch , even staff, 'cause snitching makes more trouble for them, so watch it. Your best deal is to get Tony to let you run with him and me and our guys. Randy don't mess with us."

       "I figure it'll be better if I'm on my own."

       "Nobody makes it on his own. You stick with Tony. He's the top guy ."

       "What if I mess my chances up with McGill?"

       "Are you kidding me?" Pat rolls his head around. "You're in Taylor, ain't ya? You gotta run with somebody. Nobody crosses Tony and gets away with it. Then there's Randy and his guys. They're the middle ones -- you know -- the punks." He stops and scratches his arm hard. "I itch all over," he says. "The punks are scared to start anything with us, so they stomp on the wimps and the little guys. They're on the bottom and they don't cross nobody. So where you going to be?"

       "Tony acts like he thinks I was going to tell Ferguson. But I saw him tell about the kid who swiped something off Kelly's desk at Intake."

       "That's different. We was all wanting to get outta there, and he figured the kid would ruin it for us. Tony takes care of us is all. 'Sides, the kid had to learn not to make trouble for us. See?"

       "I guess."

       Pat turns his head and looks at Tony, who's come up quiet on the other side of me. "If Cowboy's no wimp, he can hang with us, right Tony?"

       "Maybe." Tony half-closes his eyes and stares down at me. "What you made of, country boy? Swiss cheese, right outta the dairy ?" He laughs. "You got to be tough to hang out with us."

       Better to be with Tony than Randy. "I'm no wimp."

       "So what's it gonna be, Cowboy?"

       "It's cool -- just so I don't lose my tag." I figure that'll make Tony mad again, but he just laughs and walks off.

       Davis calls from the front door. "Time's up. Back inside." Everybody groans. "Come in and wash up. Watch your step."

       Watch it. Watch it. That's all anyone says around here. I gotta watch out for all the rules, watch out not to get in trouble. Watch out that no one beats me up. I shuffle along in the middle of the line.

       Inside, B-wing is setting up for dinner. "We got breakfasts this week," Pat says. "Next week we switch." He stumbles along looking zonked out again. I figure out his zombie routine is an act he pulls to get out of doing stuff. He turns it off and on like a light bulb.

       We line up outside the bathroom. Davis stands in the doorway and four guys at a time go in to pee into a trough. There are two stalls down at the end, but only one kid at a time gets to go down there. I wait until I get a turn. I go into a stall and just stand there as long as I figure I can get away with it. The toilet is the only place I can be alone.

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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