Lot of people wonder what it would look like if I bled out. They’d have to catch me first. There’s a school of thought around here that bigger is better, that you surround yourself with muscle then you’re guaranteed protection. People around here surround themselves with people, bulk up to the point where they can’t even bend their limbs properly. Numbers don’t matter. Strength don’t even matter. What matters is speed – fuck him up before he does the same to you.
“Hey, Tats!” It was Weasel. He was waving at me from down the mess hall. Why was this fool even talking to me? Probably a distraction. Someone’s sneaking up on me. I always keep a nail between my middle and ring finger when I’m walking around. The base is wrapped in cotton so I can tuck it up my ass. My right hand always smells like shit, but it’s a small price.
A short uppercut under the jaw is all it takes to take most men down. He leans his head back and scratches at my arms with some kind of shank. He’s fast. Who is this kid?
“You new?” I ask.
“Fuck you, man. I came just to kill you. You remember Jack Bronsen?”
“He was my brother!”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, kid.”
He charges at me, snuffing like a rodeo bull. He’s emotional. Good. People are chanting, “Tats! Tats! Tats!” This is a problem. Being popular tends to attract the guards. Making enemies draws their interest more than I’d like. A shot is fired and we all hit the deck. Well, except for new guy. He doesn’t know the drill. I sweep his legs out and his head cracks on the ground. I stay down or else I’m a dead man myself. The guards want to see me bleed just as much as the others.
“Everybody down! Down! Tats, you fucker! You’re gonna live in solitary! C’mon!”
They clock me over the head a couple times and drag me off. But, hey, this kid’s fast. Maybe when I get out, he’ll understand the environment and he’ll be ready. I like a challenge.