Gabe had yet to be ass-raped in the showers.
A week in prison had still been an education though, even if it was minimum security. The food was lackluster, the cells were bare and grey, the dull light of the yard making a miasma of low-grade hopelessness that sunk into his bones. It was horrific in its mundanity because as humdrum as the days were, he was still in goddamned prison.
He was pissed off, but this didn’t mean he wasn’t scared shitless.
Gabe had gone from expecting to pick up his dinner from ‘Oriental Express Takeaways’ to sleeping in an orange jumpsuit on a narrow bed that went gloing when he lay down. The entire process of being arrested, questioned and booked into St. Lowry’s Penitentiary, had happened in less than two hours.
But he hadn’t lifted himself from homeless street urchin to mediocre bootlegger without learning to read people and knowing when to run, when to fight and when to negotiate. His survival instincts had kicked in. Hard.
So, he kept his head down and made sure there was not even a single hint of fear to make him stand out. He spoke to no one unless he was forced, and strove to be as non-descript as possible.Being noticed would get him killed. Weakness would get him killed. Anything could get him killed; he’d learned that when a fight broke out over an apple at lunch one day. A fucking apple.
Whether it was luck or some altruistic angel guardianship, it ran out after a week.
As Gabe was leaving the showers, the door was barricaded by a wall of graffitied flesh.
“Didn’t I see you punch some guy over an apple?” he said, then mentally kicked himself. After a week of good behaviour, he was going to get himself killed because he couldn’t stop a wise crack in the face of danger? Nicely done, Gabe.
The thug simply stepped closer. Gabe dropped his arms to his sides. He didn’t like to fight, but he could hold himself when he did. Not that he had the luxury of choice now.
The blow landed on his jaw before he could dodge, He slipped clumsily over the tiled floor, landing hard on his ass. The ‘wall’ fell on top of him, hands wrapping around his throat and leaning down with his weight. Gabe scrabbled at the sausage fingers, then hit at his assailant’s face, but to no purpose.
Fuck, he was going to die on a shitty prison shower floor. At least it will clean up easy, was his smart assed thought as he passed out.
Gabe came to in a blurred vision of the grey concrete ceiling. He was disappointed; he expected hell to be more exciting.
“His highness awakens.” A reedy voice chuckled.
Gabe lifted his throbbing head. Gingerly touching the back of it, he felt a pillow of inflamed tissue, where he had hit the floor. The rest of him ached as he sat up, each part complaining in turn.
He was also aware that he was still wearing a towel. As Gabe scrambled to cover himself better, the voice cackled “Cool your jets. I ain’t gonna touch your bits.”
The voice belonged to a man who looked built from bulbous, veiny muscle, and was completely out of place with his thin reedy voice. Gabe squinted at him, trying to assess the variables. What did he want? What did Gabe have? Could he fight if he needed to?
From his position against the metal door frame of Gabe’s cell, the chunky muscle man cackled again. “You’re a jumpy little fucker. Probably why Martinez got you so quickly. Scare easy.”
Gabe swung his legs off the bed and put some distance between himself and the guy. His cell door was open, and the stranger slouched while picking a fingernail between his front teeth. “You could thank me for saving your pansy ass.”
Gabe wasn’t sure what to say. A lot of questions were jostling for first position. But the guy heaved his huge frame off the wall, farting as he did, then cackling again.
“You’re a lucky princess. I wouldn’t mind if Mister Xero was watching my back in here.” With that he lumbered out. But Gabe was frozen. The name his saviour had tossed out so casually had sent a chill through him.