Perception

      I've got eleven and a half years left, but I don't know if I'm gonna make it. You never know in a place like this. Someone's always out to get you. Sometimes they just wanna scare you into gettin' them cigarettes. Sometimes you just look at them wrong, and they wanna kill you. They tell you to never make eye contact for the first month that you're in here, else someone'll decide your life isn't worth anything. It's not anyway. None of our lives are in this place… but I don't want some psycho to end mine.
      I got sent up on multiple narcotic charges. Possession, intent to distribute, intent to distribute to minors, distribution to minors… cocaine, mostly. Possession of a semi-automatic handgun too. I ain't never apologized for that one, though. A man's gotta have protection when you're in the business, right? I wasn't gonna shoot nobody if they didn't come after me first. But they nailed me on it. Twelve years, twelve years… state pen. I was only sixteen, though, when I went down. That ain't right. They said I should be tried as an adult. That's the life I led, you know, adult I mean, but it still ain't fair. Prosecutor was just out to make himself look tough for the friggin' "war on drugs"… whatever. I should be out in three, max, not twelve. And I should be in juvy, or one a those work farms.
      It won't even my fault what really happened. Some rich little kid, twelve I think he was, wanted a score. I started him out slow, you know? Marijuana. Some amphetamines. But he kept askin' for harder stuff, and that's what I do, right? He was a customer. So I hooked him up with the real stuff. Heroin. Cocaine. But then the rich little snot goes and OD's, right? So now everyone feels all sorry for him, like he's a victim or somethin'. Kids been doing drugs for two years, knocks himself off cause he don't know when to pull back on the stuff, and he's the victim. Whatever. And what's that make me? I ain't never forced him to take nothin'. All I did was give 'im what he wanted. But one a his little punk friends suddenly gets a conscience and gives me up to the police. This is the same guy that hooked me up with the kid in the first place, right? Police didn't care. To them, you're a drug dealer or you're a victim. Nothin' in between. Ain't right. Punk took more than he could handle, and he paid the price. It was his choice, I don't care if he was only twelve. He shouldn't have been askin' for it in the first place if he couldn't handle it.
      So get this, prosecutor wants to pin a murder rap on me, just cause that kid died. Like I shot him or something. Murder in the second degree. Whatever. He never proved that one. But it don't matter. He just charged me with that cause he wanted the judge to think I'm some kinda monster out killin' little school kids… plus to make himself look tough. It worked, though. Judge didn't convict me of murder, but he did gimme twelve long years… nobody gets twelve years at sixteen… nobody. But that's what I got. My own stupid lawyer didn't do jack for me. That must be why they give you one for free.
      I ain't got no visitors either. That's fine by me. I don't wanna see my mom or my sister in here… makes me think too much about what it was like on the outside. If you spend your time thinkin' about what things used to be like, ten years is like a hundred years. But still, I wanna get out. I can't stand this place. Every thing you do is when they tell you to. You eat when they tell you do. You go to the bathroom when they tell you to. You sleep when they tell you to. You don't got no choices here. Not like on this outside where you got choices.
      If I could do it again, would I do something different? I wouldn'ta sold to that little punk that died, that's for sure. But other than that… I wouldn'ta had much choice to do anything else. Sooner or later I probably woulda gotten nailed on the same charges… just for a different kid, anyway. But it still ain't fair. I shouldn't be here. Even when I get out, if I make it, what am I gonna do? Only thing I do is scorin' loads for people. That's what I'm gonna go right back to… I'll just be smarter next time, you know? So I don't get caught. I just gotta make it through this, is all.
      Just eleven and a half more years.