Elwood's


It all began on a Friday. Everything begins on a Friday in The Joint. But I was walking back from the exercise yard - pretty happy since nobody beat up on me this time, and the guard told me to take some different steps up to my cell block. Somebody had either died or got sick on the usual ones, so everybody got their routes changed.

It was a good change though - I got to see a row or two of people I'd never seen before. Strange people, though. Singin and  talkin to themselves like somebody cared.

Then I saw her.

I looked through the bars of this guys cell, and there on the wall was a poster of a girl. A vision of loveliness - a flower. I stopped for a second to try to soak her all in.
 

"Hey! Numbnuts! Get a move on!"

Damn! The guard.

"Yessir" -  I shuffled past. Now what was I gonna do? Who was the guy in that cell, and who the Hell was that woman in the poster? Something was strange. Felt a weird feeling - kinda like I had seen her some place before.

No way.

People like that don't cross my path too often. And even if they did, they were usually a hit-and-run.

So I went back to my cell. I tried to sleep, but images of her and the fact that my cellmate Rat-Eye Rabbinzo was snoring like a broken chainsaw kept me awake. So I just thought of where I'd seen her before.

Nada.

Next day at chow, I tried to ask around. Had to be careful though, because I didn't want the guys to think I was after the guy in the cell - you know how that kind of mistake can leave you wishin you had practiced with a bat before they sent you upriver.

"Look," I said, "he's got a poster of this chick in a red swim suit. Man, she's hot."

Suddenly, eyes lit up and a few smiles drifted around the table.

"Oh - now you know who I'm talking about."

The guard walked by, and all eyes dropped to the cornmeal mush - it was Saturday, always cornmeal mush on Saturday.

Guy to my left never raised his eyes of his face from his plate. "Yeah. We know her."

"You do?" I asked, trying to hide my excitement.

"Umm hmm" he began to smirk. "Bonny Appetite."

The guys started to laugh, but not loud enough to be heard.

I felt like I had been had, but I went along anyway. "Bonny Appetite, huh? Where's she from?"

Guy across the table offered, "Somewhere beneath your blanket tonite, home-boy."

Table laughed again. I was getting nowhere.

Time to hit the yard. I walked around watching the big guys lift weights, and the little guys standing with their backs to the stone walls.

"Bonny Appetite," I thought. Then I smiled - the same smile James Bond smiled in Goldfinger when Honor Blackman first said "Pussy Galore" - "I must be dreaming."

"Hey!"

I looked at a skinny  black man with a gold tooth. He was standing kinda at a tilt, but his eyes were dead on me.

"You wanna know about the chick in the red suit?" Then he looked around, as if someone would be after him.

I swallowed noisily.

"Yeah. Sure - you know her."

He looked at me like I had just pissed on his shoes.

"No, dumbass - I don't know her. But I know who does."

He was my new best friend.

"Tell me, I whispered.

"Three packs," he blurted before he turned around to scan the guards standing on the wall.

"Three? I don't even have one pack of smokes on me right now. "

He smiled. "Then come back when you do."

And he was gone.