Fourteen days was repeating in my head continuously like a coo coo clock was rewinding itself. Even when I was in the shower with all of the glistening bodies, I just kept on hearing that reminder of my doomsday. Although, it’s very easy to tell who’s gay or straight in the shower; pretty rude awakening for the eyes. So I made sure to shower next to Ramos or anyone in the Rat Pack so that we could watch each other’s back. And when I wasn’t watching their back, I noticed the rusting details of the shower head along with the faded prints of hands on the walls. Normally I would think that somebody, or I, should clean this shower head, but right now the water in these closed walls raises my comfort with the steam.
Mac taps me on the shoulder, so I look over to see his chiseled smile directing me to look to my left. As I look over I hear him say, “The big Kahuna got shower time with us. Pretty nice coincidence for you huh?” Everyone laughs as I tense my butt hole.
Ramos taps me on the back and says, “Aw you can relax your butt my man, we wouldn’t let that happen to you. A fight would break out before you’re converted.”
I remain clenched as I say, “Thanks guys” because I don’t know them enough to let my guard down completely.
Mac asks, “But I got one question, is the reason you limp around because of some of these scars on your body?”
My head rolls around in the running water before I reply, “Yeah…”
“Like from battle right?” I nod my head, so he continues with, “Looks like you’ve been stabbed and shot quite a bit.”
“Thanks for the observation.”
“Sorry. But now I know why you’ve been limping. You may want to do whatever you can to hide that. Because guys like that are just looking for a reason to attack you. It’s like they don’t know anything better to do.”
“Let’s hope they never get the chance.”
Mac nods his head and stops inquiring. We successfully make it out of the shower without having to get ourselves dirty with a fight. They continue herding us through this fortress until we’re back at recess; at least I like to call it recess. I make my way over to the brain trust and expect to be left with my thoughts again.
Ramos turns to face me as soon as I sit down and says, “Word in the pen is that the wolves have noticed your weakness. You’re gonna have to stop limping like that or else they’re gonna test your durability.”
I search around before I ask, “Who’s trying to fight me?”
“Anyone that’s bored and is looking for a way to become one of the top dogs. After you gave a sweet display of your tattoo, they figure that you’re a great way to get out of the bottom rankings in here. Sadly, none of them realize that when you do take someone down that looks like a top dog, then a target is put on your back for the rest of the time you’re in here.”
“That makes sense, although I’m going to die soon anyway so what does it matter?”
Ramos laughs with a cough as he says, “True… very true. But if I was a betting man, which I am, then I would bet that you would want to relax before you go. Am I right?”
“That’s what I thought. But, one other thing was bothering me. How much about this whole thing have you told your wife?”
My head drops with a sigh as I say, “Nothing. I couldn’t risk her life or the life of my unborn child with this mess. I just told her that I have standard protocol of leaving war and I would call her whenever I get a chance to.”
“Well… I hate to break it to ya, but you can’t call her from in here without being busted.”
“I know… so now I have to live with the fact that she’s not going to hear from me or of me again until she watches the news and my face is plastered up there as a murder scene.”
“At least you won’t be thinking about it much longer”
I shake my head with a slight grin as the basketball bounces up to us. I catch it and hear the player approaching us say, “Thanks for catching that Marine.” I nod and toss the ball back to him. He says as he turns around, “Semper Phi!” and then laughs over to his group who’s also laughing.
Ramos says, “Don’t worry about them, they’re not really a huge threat in here. They think they run everything and that everyone is afraid of them, but really, nobody thinks they’re worth the headache. They bark big, but their bite is as ferocious as a baby Chihuahua.”
“Good to know.”
“Don’t worry kid. Your last days as Jimmy won’t be as bad as they could be. Also, you can sleep easy that your wife is not gonna be harmed because of this whole mess. You’ll die with her still loving you the most, and that’s all that most of us could ever wish for.”
“Having a widow?”
“No… having someone that loves us, even after we’re gone.”
“I’ll let you get back to your thoughts. Just wanted to let you know that you’re a target now, so stay on your guard.”
Ramos joins his friends as I stare at the eager eyes that glance in my direction. Some think that they’re being sneaky and that I don’t see them, while others want me to see them looking at me. I just hope that they’re looking at me with fighting eyes.