Me, Randy, and Phill were sitting in the chow hall enjoying lunch – grilled steaks cooked medium rare, scallops, and baked potatoes with sour cream, food that was not intended for inmate consumption. In our cups, tomato-paste wine.
“Who gives a fuck,” I said. “All I know is that I wanna get high, so let’s just lie to the motherfucker and tell him whatever he wants to hear.” We were talking about buying a gram of heroin from Papo, a Puerto Rican guy from The Bronx who had plenty of the stuff, but wouldn’t come off of any unless we agreed to have the money sent via Western Union. The problem was, on this particular day, none of us could get a hold of a family member or friend on the street who could send the money.
“I agree,” Phill said. “When they call the first unit for chow, I’ll run upstairs and tell Papo that the money will be there by seven o’clock. “By that time he won’t even bother coming downstairs to look for us, because he knows that we’ll just be hiding from him anyway. We can deal with his crying tomorrow.”
“Now you’re talking,” I said. I rinsed down a chunk of meat with a healthy swig of wine, then turned back to Randy. “After we do a few lines, will you shave my back?”
“Absolutely not,” Randy said.
“Why?” I asked. “Do you think you’ll turn into a fag or something if you shave my back?”
“No, I think you are a fag for wanting me to shave your back in the first place,” Randy countered.
“Whatever,” I said. “Here comes Dusty. I’ll just have him do it.” Phill turned and looked. “Why is Dusty limping?”
“It’s some knee injury that he got playing softball last summer,” I explained. “He tore his UCLA, or ACLU, or NAACP or something like that. It flares up every now and then.”
When Dusty got to our table, he said, “What’s up?”
“What’s up are these steak’n scallop platters that Fat Sam is selling,” I said. “You need to go into the kitchen and get one before he runs out.”
“I can’t stand fish,” Dusty said. “What about the wine? Is it any good or what?”
“Two quarts will get you were you wanna be,” I assured him.” Go in the dish room and see Jeremy and Scott. They’re the ones who have it.”
“I’m on my way,” Dusty said. And away he went.
A kitchen cop announced “short-line” an early meal intended for kitchen workers, commissary workers, unit orderly’s and a few other privileged inmates.
In front of serving line two, three inmates wearing hair-nets, beard guards, and gloves began serving the noon meal.
“I’m going back to the dish room for another round,” Randy said. “Anybody want more?” “That’s a stupid question,” I said. “Of course I do.”
“I’ll pass,” was Phill’s reply. “I’m gonna try to sneak out the front door right now and run up to Papo’s cell.”
“That sounds like a great idea,” I said. “God speed.”
Alone at the table, I stuck a scallop in my mouth and looked around the dining room. To my immediate left, the former boss of a Philadelphia crime family placed his tray on the table and took a seat. His name is John Stanfa, he is my friend, and when he smiles and waves at me I return the kind gesture. As I look away, I see two black guys near the soda machine engaged in a serious conversation. They look very suspicious.
I’m probably just racial profiling, I thought. To me, all black people look suspicious. I picked up my cup and took another drink.
A man wearing a dark green overcoat and a beanie pulled down to his eyes enters the kitchen. Nick “The Chemist” is his name, and I can tell by the way he was walking that he was a man on a mission….and I wasn’t wrong.
Halfway through the kitchen, Nick pulled something out of his pocket. Anticipating violence, I guzzled the rest of my wine and got ready. If he hit someone black or Hispanic, I could find myself right in the middle of a racial melee. But I would soon find out, a racial matter this was not.
Nick “The Chemist” walked straight up to John Stanfa and bashed him in the face with a soda can, causing the older Sicilian man to go crashing to the floor. Nick then kicked John in the side and yelled, “I ain’t no rat, motherfucker! You’re the rat!” The entire episode lasted no more than 20 seconds, but before the cops could run in and intervene, John Stanfa pulled one of the most classic moves that I had ever seen an assault victim do. After standing up on his own two feet, he turned to Nick “The Chemist,” smiled, and said, “shame, shame,” as he shook his index finger at him. Given the position that John once held, it was as if he were giving Nick the kiss of death.
And in the corner of the kitchen watching his plan unfold, was Nick Geo. By all appearances it looked as though everything had worked out accordingly…
Driving through the streets of Chicago with his high school buddy in the car, Nick Geo spotted the man that he had heard so much about. The wiseguys who hung out in the back room of his father’s liquor store had called him a “dirty rat,” and he even heard one man say that “someone should do something about him.” Well, Nick was no dummy – he knew what they meant. And even though he was only 18 and the gangsters he adored didn’t take him seriously, Nick was determined to make a name for himself.
“Watch this,” Nick told the passenger in the car. He then pulled up along side of the curb, rolled down the window, and whipped out a gun.
“Yo, Mister,” Nick called out. “This ones for the fella’s.” Five shots later, the informant laid dead. Nick then looked over at his friend, blew into the barrel of his gun, and said, “That’s how we do it in the outfit.”
When “Gus,” the boss of Chicago’s Greek Mafia learned that the squealer had been killed by a young kid that he had never heard of, it is rumored that he laughed and said, “who is this Nick Geo? Maybe we can use this stupid boy to do something else for us?” And use Nick they did.
Shortly thereafter, Nick got another chance to prove his loyalty to the ones that he loved. It was said that the owner of a small bar had refused to pay a “protection fee,” so a decision was made to put the man out of business. Using an aluminum ladder, Nick waited until the bar was closed and climbed to the roof with a can of gasoline in his hand. What happened next was best described by a federal judge at the sentencing hearing. “You huffed and you puffed but you just couldn’t burn the little bar down, could you Mr. Geo?” For attempting to commit arson, Nick received a 10 year sentence. But that was only the beginning of it.
An indictment handed down by through the state’s attorney office accused Nick Geo along with known members of Chicago’s Greek Mafia of crimes ranging from misdemeanor bribery all the way up to felony murder, the same murder Nick himself had foolishly committed in front of his high school friend, now a witness for the state. One would think that facing the death penalty would have made Nick a little nervous, but that wasn’t the case. Not only did the local media portray him as an actual “good fella,” but throughout the court proceedings he had the privilege of sitting next to the Boss. For Nick, going to trial, being convicted, and ultimately receiving a life sentence was an honor, for in his mind he was now one of them.
At USP Leavenworth Nick’s delusional state only progressed. Gone from his memory was the true story of a dumb-ass kid who committed a senseless murder and ruined his life, replaced now by a wild fantasy in which Gus – The Boss -had summoned him to a private island in the Caribbean and asked him to personally assassinate the one person who threatened to destroy the entire Greek Underworld. “He asked me because I had that kind of reputation,” Nick boosted in prison. “I never missed my mark.” For the crime, Nick claims that he received two million dollars.
On other mob-related matters, Nick spoke about “conducting business” with Chicago politicians, floating illegal funds through construction company’s and being chauffeured around town in a limousine that was given to him as a gift by the underboss of a New York crime family. Forget about the fact that he was only 19 when he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, in his mind Nick Geo was not only a member of the mob, but he was the baddest motherfucking gangster who ever lived. The guy was a complete wackjob.
It’s easy to see why he and Johnny D. got along so well.
A lone man sat at a booth in his private social club. Above his table hung a low lamp, providing the only bit of light in a dark and otherwise empty room. In front of him, stacks of money – millions of dollars he would later say.
The front door came crashing in.
“On the ground, Johnny D.!” The FBI agent in charge demanded.
Unfazed, Johnny D. just kept on counting, never even bothering to glance up. “Put your hands in the air, Johnny.” This voice Johnny knew well. He was
Special Agent Cohan, head of an Organized Crime Task Force that was exclusively designed to bring down one man and one man only – Johnny D.
“He could be so annoying sometimes,” Johnny D. later claimed about Agent Cohan.
“I’m not going to tell you again,” Cohan warned. “It’s over Johnny Boy.
Now put your hands in the air.”
Johnny D. also known as “Jon Jon,” slipped a rubberband around the last wad of cash then tossed the money on the table.
“You never give up do you, Cohan?” Johnny D. said. “How many times do we gotta keep doing this before you figure out that you ain’t never gonna catch me?”
“Are you stupid or something?” Agent Cohan said. “Take a good look around you, Johnny. There’s 20 agents in here with guns on you. Where do you think you’re going?”
Jon-Jon took off his fedora, stretched out his arms, then yawned. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe Florida. Maybe Vegas. But either way, I won’t be going anywhere with you.” And in that instant, the room went dark.
“Somebody turn the God damn lights on!” Agent Cohan demanded. “Now!”
Moments later, when the lights went on, the only sign of Johnny D. was his fedora hat. It was lying right on the table where he left it.
“Shit!” Cohan screamed. “Will somebody please tell me what the fuck just happened?”
Below the social club, Johnny D. hopped into the back seat of his
Lincoln Town Car. The automatic trap door he had installed under his personal booth turned out to be a wise investment. Now, it was time to check the cameras. He pushed a button on his customized designer wrist-watch an Agent Cohan’s face appeared. Clearly, the man was upset.
Jon-Jon smiled. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” he told the driver. “I’m starving.
Like his insane friend Nick Geo, Johnny D. lived in a make believe world in which he too had come to believe that he was a major player in La Cosa Nostra. In reality, Jon-Jon was a drug addict who had no real ties to organized crime, but at some point during his first incarceration for bank robbery, he started telling stories about a task force that was designed to capture him. Yes, it’s true. Agent Cohen and his crew exist only in the mind of Johnny D., imaginary characters caught in a never ending game of cat and mouse. Always Johnny D. gets away, always Agent Cohen returns another day to try again. Admittingly, they are very entertaining stories.
Everyone in Leavenworth knew that Nick Geo and Johnny D. were completely off their rockers, but no one really treated them that way. Nick, the brighter of the two lived in B lower and spent a lot of time alone in his cell reading true-crime books, most of which were mob related. The people he regularly associated with were Tom Rutledge, a former cocaine dealer from Illinois, a Kansas City mob associate named Junior Bradly, former Genovese Underboss Bobby Mana,
Hans Graw, a hit man for the mafia in Cleveland, Ohio. On the other side of the prison, Johnny D. lived in A-2 and spent most of his time up in the third floor rec’ playing cards and shooting dice. He mostly hung around with degenerate gamblers, and was known to sneak around and stick a needle in his arm every now and then.
Who would have ever guessed that Nick Geo and Johnny D. would come together and form a Crime Family of their own?
I first heard about Nick Geo and Johnny D.’s mafia through my friend Dusty. One day he comes into my cell high on heroin laughing and telling me that he just joined the mafia.
“What are you talking about?” I asked him.
“You know, poke your finger with a pin, burn a picture of a Saint in your hand, then swear to God and everyone else that you’ll be honorable or burn in Hell for all eternity,” Dusty said, referring to a sacred mob ritual known as “Omerta.”
Because Dusty was high on narcotics, I didn’t pay him any attention. But when he came around the next day, he put everything in context.
Up in the library, Dusty explained, Nick Geo and Johnny D. approached him and a guy named Carl about joining a secret society. According to Nick, “Our St. Dismas Thing,” as he called his fantasy crime family, had members all over the world. And if they joined, when they got out of prison they would be taken care of.
Dusty and Carl weren’t stupid – they knew there was no such secret society. However, they both thought that it would be very entertaining to play along. Also, Nick Geo had family members that took good care of him financially. So they both hoped that they might be able to some how profit from Nick’s psychosis as well. Members of “Our St. Dismas Thing,” they became.
Behind their backs everyone who knew about Nick Geo’s and Johnny D.’s mafia started calling it the “Sixth Family,” in reference to the infamous Five Crime Family’s of New York, Colombo’s, Gambino’s, Lucchese’s, Bonanno’s, and the Genovese’s. But what no one realized, however, was just how serious Nick was taking the hole thing.
Enter Nick “The Chemist”
At one time, Nick “The Chemist” was the leading producer of Methamphetamine in Philadelphia. In 1997, after being arrested with many others on drug conspiracy charges, Nick was faced with the biggest decision of his life: cooperate with the government in exchange for a 30 year sentence, or go to trial and risk a mandatory life sentence. “I knew I couldn’t beat them,” The Chemist said. “So I came up with a plan.” First, he told all of his co-defendants to testify against him. He was the target, he was the leader, and he wanted to see his friends get the best deal possible. What he did next was in fact a form of cooperation: He told the DEA the methods in which he used to purchase chemicals that he used to manufacture meth. “It was all done legally, “Nick “The Chemist” confessed. “I ordered chemicals from companies overseas and they would ship the stuff right to my door. So you see, I ain’t no rat – I didn’t tell on nobody. And that’s exactly the way that the government saw it as well.
At his sentencing hearing, the attorney who represented Nick “The Chemist” argued that his client had “provided substantial assistance” to the government, therefore his sentence should be no more than 30 years, just like the prosecutor agreed. Across the aisle however, the representative for the government had a change of heart. While he agreed that Nick “The Chemist” had cooperated, the prosecutor now claimed that the information Nick provided fell short of what he had in mind. Therefore, due to the fact that Nick “The Chemist” was a habitual drug offender and a major manufacturer, he felt the appropriate sentence should be life imprisonment without the possibility of release. The judge agreed.
Enraged that he had been screwed, Nick “The Chemist” made a scene in the courtroom. “I thought that I was here to get something good today,” he shouted. “I did my part – I helped you guys!” Well, he didn’t get anything good. Worse, a local paper printed his quote and to anyone who didn’t understand the circumstances surrounding the outburst; it appeared that Nick “The Chemist” was a disgruntled rat who got burnt by the government.
The newspaper article made it to Leavenworth a few days before Nick “The Chemist” arrived.
Imaginary Crime Boss Nick Geo was furious. Some rat who everyone was calling Nick “The Chemist” had just showed up and everyone was treating him like some swell guy. Moreover, John Stanfa – who actually knew Nick “The Chemist” from the street – had a newspaper article proving that the guy was no good, yet he told everyone to “leave him alone.” Well, maybe prison had turned John Stanfa into a kinder gentler person, but not Nick Geo. Besides, this Chemist guy was Greek – not Italian – so nobody had the right to tell Nick Geo how to handle his own people. Fuck John Stanfa.
To take care of the problem, Nick Geo turned to “Speed,” the shot caller of a white supremacy gang called the Aryan Resistance Militia or “Arms”, it is rumored that Nick Geo paid Speed $500 to get Nick “The Chemist” off the compound.
Three white guys with bald heads entered Nick “The Chemist’s” cell without knocking. “Are you the guy in this article?” One of the men asked.
Nick “The Chemist” took the newspaper clipping, looked at it, then said “yes.” –
“Then it’s time for you to hit the road, buddy,” the same guy said. “We don’t want no fucking rat’s on this yard.”
Without saying a word, Nick “The Chemist” stood up and did what he had to do: He blasted the first guy in the jaw, kicked the second one in the nuts, and punched the third one in the eye. “I ain’t no fucking rat!” The Chemist swore, as he commenced to kicking the shit out of all three gang members. “I hate rats.”
When the guards finally arrived, all three of the white supremacist had to be taken to the infirmary, while Nick “The Chemist” – unscathed – was escorted to the special housing unit. However, within a month all four were back in general population.
The Delusional Don of “Our St. Dismas Thing” was not at all happy with the way things had turned out. Worse, somehow John Stanfa found out that he was behind the failed hit on Nick “The Chemist” and scolded him like a school boy. “Stop trying to be someone that you’re not,” the former Philadelphia Crime Boss told Nick Geo in the chow hall in front of other wiseguys. “You’re nobody. Now mind your own business and be a good boy before I don’t let you sit here no more.” Humiliated, Nick Geo went back to his cell and came up with a brand new plan- one that would kill two birds with one stone. But first, he would have to befriend Nick “The Chemist.” And that’s exactly what he did.
Alone in my cell, high on heroin, I was staring at the two pictures on my bulletin board when I heard a knock on the door.
“Come in,” I said.
The door opened and in walked Nick Geo and Nick “The Chemist.”
“What are you doing?” Asked Geo.
I pointed to the two pin-ups – a topless Kate Moss wearing “Calvin Klein jeans, and Heidi Klum in a swimsuit. “Thinking about pussy.”
“Don’t even get me started,” Nick “The Chemist” said. “All I ever think about is pussy.”
“Yeah, those are some pretty girls,” Nick Geo said, admiring the photos.
The Chemist put his finger on Heidi’s vagina. “What I wouldn’t give to eat this cunt.”
“That’s actually what I was thinking about,” I said. “I was wondering whose pussy taste better – Heidi’s of Kate’s?”
Nick Geo looked like he wanted to get sick. “Ewww. You do that? There’s like filth, blood, discharge and shit down there.”
“Hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it,” I said. “All that stuff is just seasoning for the main coarse.”
Nick “The Chemist” was seriously contemplating my question.” I’d say Heidi’s snatch.”
“Would you two stop with this already.” Nick Geo said.
I ignored him and said to The Chemist: “Why would you say Heidi?”
“Because Kate Moss just strikes me as a filthy whore,” was his response.
“And? My wife was a filthy whore,” I said. “And that bitch had a pussy that taste just like molasses – and I’m not joking.”
Nick Geo couldn’t take it anymore. “If you two are gonna continue, I gotta leave,” he said.
“Alright, alright,” I said. “What’s up?”
Nick Geo asked me if it was alright for them to sit down.
“Go ahead,” I answered.
He then nervously looked over at The Chemist, then back at me again. “Robert, tell me this. Can we trust you?”
Oh great, I thought. Here we go with some weird shit that’s gonna ruin my high. “Yeah, Nick. You can trust me. Why?”
“Well, it’s like this,” Geo began. “Me and some guys in here belong to this thing. Do you know who St. Dismas is?”
I told him that I didn’t.
“In the Bible he’s considered the Saint of all thieves,” Nick Geo continued. “So basically, what he is, is, he’s the Saint who watches over all of us convicts.”
Lovely, I thought. Like I don’t have enough cameras, cops, and snitches watching over me already. Now I’ve gotta worry about some Saint peppin’ over my shoulder as well. “OOOKay? And you’re telling this to me, uh, why?”
“Yeah, so, like I was saying. We have this secret society…”
And that’s when it hit me. “…called ‘Our St. Dismas Thing’…”
Nick Geo was about to offer me a chance to join his fictional crime family, a group which I reasonably concluded that Nick “The Chemist” was now a part of as well.
“…and we’re offering you a chance to join us,” Nick Geo said. “This thing is big, Robert. It’ll change your entire life.”
I wanted to laugh so bad I couldn’t stand it! I wanted to run out of the cell and find Dusty so I could tell him that the clown had just approached me with his dumbshit, and that I was about to become a “made man” in Geoland. Ha! But I didn’t. Instead, I embraced myself for a highly entertaining experience.
“I would be honored,” I actually said to Nick Geo with a straight face. “How do we go about making this official?”
The three of us were up in Nick Geo’s cell, he on my left, Nick “The Chemist” on my right. On top of the locker, a candle burned.
Using a sewing needle, Nick Geo pricked my finger and drew blood. “Okay,” he said. “Now I need you to pick up that picture of St. Dismas and smear blood all over his face.”
I reached down next to the candle, picked up Ole St. D, and did as I was told. “What now?” I asked.
“Now open your hand and lay the picture in your palm,” Geo said.
Nick Geo turned to Nick “The Chemist” and said, “I need you to pick up the candle and get ready to light the picture on fire.” Speaking of fire, there was a fire in Nick Geo’s eyes that I had never seen before; a sheen of sweat covered the top of his prematurely bald head. He was really into this shit.
“What am I supposed to do once the picture is on fire?” I questioned.
“You let it burn in your hand until it goes out then you scatter the ashes on the floor,” was Nick Geo’s reply.
“It’ll be alright,” The Chemist assured me. Those were the first and only words I heard him speak since we got into the room, and I got the feeling that he wasn’t entirely comfortable with the little ceremony.
“Okay Robert,” Nick Geo said. “I want you to repeat after me.” He closed his eyes and began. “May I burn, may my soul burn like this paper if I betray anyone in this room.”
God I so badly wanted to laugh – this was so ridiculous! I was about to make an oath to a crime family that existed only in the minds of a couple of wacko’s, and now Nick “The Chemist” was lighting St. Dismas on fire – in my hand.
I began. “May I burn, may my soul burn like this -” my hand suddenly started to burn. “Ouch!” I yelled, as I shook my hand. “That fucking hurt.”
Nick “The Chemist” immediately stomped out the fire. “Oh my God!”
Nick Geo exclaimed. “What did you do?”
“What?” I said. “The fucking thing was burning my hand. What was I supposed to do?”
“You weren’t supposed to drop it,” Geo shot back, “its bad luck.”
Like I really gave a shit. “Oh well,” I said. “I guess I’m not in.” I turned to leave.
“Wait a minute,” Nick Geo said, stopping me with his hand. “It’ll be okay.” Although he said those words, he sure didn’t look like it was going to be okay. He looked distraught. “Let me make a few phone calls. I’ll get it straightened out.”
Johnny D. had just been released from prison. I could just picture Nick Geo on the phone with him explaining how I dropped the burning Saint – weirdo’s. “So, where do I go from here?” I asked.
Nick Geo gave me a half-hearted smile. “For now, we’re all done. But we’ll soon start having sit-downs in the chapel, and you are required to be there.” He then leaned in, grabbed my face, and gave me a kiss on both cheeks. “Welcome to the family. We all love you.”
Who exactly belonged to our loving family, I had no clue. But I would soon find out that we were about to become one member short. Less than a week after I swore my allegiance to “Our St. Dismas Thing,” Nick Geo convinced Nick “The Chemist” that former Philadelphia Mob Boss John Stanfa had been the one who attempted to have him assaulted by members of the Aryan Resistance Militia. Furthermore, Geo claimed that he just learned that Stanfa had turned to another prison gang called the Dirty White Boys to get the job done. “The Dirty White Boys aren’t like the ARMS,” Geo warned The Chemist. “They’ll put a piece of steel in you.”
To The Chemist it all made perfect sense. He believed that Stanfa was out to harm him not because of the newspaper article which portrayed The Chemist as a government informant who got a raw deal, but because he was close friends with Joey Merlino, an enemy of Stanfa who became the Boss of the Philadelphia Mafia once Stanfa was sent off to prison. So rather than sit around and wait for someone to hurt him, Nick “The Chemist” walked straight into the chow hall and assaulted John Stanfa with a soda can.
Nick Geo didn’t know it, but his little Machiavellian scheme was the beginning of his end.
“Can I have everyone’s attention…” Nick Geo stood at the head of the table waiting for everyone in the room to quiet down. Standing next to him, a six-foot-four monster of a man who easily weighed 325 pounds. “I’d like to introduce everybody to Big Jerry. For those of you who don’t know him, Big Jerry just got here from FCI Greenville where he was accused of orchestrating a food strike.” A purposeful pause, then Nick pointed towards Big Jerry and said, “Now tell me, fella’s. Does this look like a guy who would miss a meal?” It was a lame joke that fell flat; only Nick himself found any humor in it. “Yeah, well, anyway,” Nick continued. “Big Jerry is with us now. So let’s all give him a warm welcome.” A few morons actually clapped.
Big Jerry stood next to Nick looking about as dumb as a box of rocks, and more than likely feeling the same way, too. There was no need for him to talk about the foolish thing he had done – wasn’t even suppose to according Nick. But we all knew. Like the rest of us in the room, he had participated in Nick Geo’s little ritual, making him an official member of “Our St. Dismas Thing.”
Most of the guys were sitting around the table, a few were standing. Somehow Nick, a Catholic, had convinced the Chaplain that we all belonged to a Bible study group, and asked if he could provide us with a private room so that we could come together and study the teachings of Our Lord and Savior Jesus H. Christ in peace. The Chaplain, a man who was more interested in collecting a paycheck than saving souls, agreed. We were allowed to use a room in the Chapel every Saturday for at least one hour.
I took a swig from the bottle and passed it over to Dusty. “This is fucking crazy,” I whispered out the side of my mouth. “We all must be retarded.”
Dusty smiled, took a bite of his sandwich, then rinsed it down with a chug of moonshine. He liked these little get-togethers.
I looked around the room. Fourteen people – that’s fourteen people who Nick Geo and Johnny D. – certifiable wacko”s – had managed to recruit into their little fantasy mafia.
Now I know how cults get started, I thought. People – myself included – are just so dumb.
“There’s plenty of food to go around,” Nick said. “Robert, how about it? Are you ready for another sandwich?”
“I’m fine,” I said. Ham sandwiches, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls and soda (b.y.o.b), that’s what Nick Geo provided for our gatherings, week after week.
I nudged Dusty with elbow and told him to follow me.
“Where are we going?” He asked
“Just come on,” I said. We both stood up.
Nick, seemingly offended, said, “Where are you guys going?”
“To take a smoke break,” I said, knowing how much Nick hated cigarettes. “We’ll be right back.”
In a room where Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other religious groups worship, I sparked a joint. “This fucking Nick guy is a real piece of work,” I said, as smoke filled my lungs. “I can’t wait until, until he gets the shit stomped out of him.”
“I’m gonna miss coming here and eating all of this grub,” Dusty confessed, taking the joint from my fingers. “And this private room is a pretty cool gig. The guards never come back here and fuck with us.”
I changed the subject. “What’s up with this Big Jerry dude?”
Dusty handed the joint back. “I don’t know. But a couple of the Mexicans say he’s a rat from Terre Haute. Supposedly, he snitched on a couple of wetbacks who were bringing drugs in through the visitation room, and as a reward he got transferred to Greenville.”
I took another hit then passed the joint back to Dusty. “So why don’t the EME’s handle it then? He’s their problem.”
Dusty said he didn’t know.
“Do you think that he really believes he’s in the “Mafia?” I asked, referring to Big Jerry.
“Who knows? I just hope the motherfucker ain’t around to try and help Nick when it all goes down – that’s one big-ass cracker.”
Suddenly, we heard a man clear his throat. “Gentleman …?”
We both turned to find the Chaplain starring at us.
“What, may I ask, are you two doing in here?” The Chaplain said.
I held up the joint. “Smoking. But don’t worry about it, Chaplain, it’s for religious purposes only. I’m a Native-American.”
Dusty laughed. “Yeah, me too. Why don’t you hook us up with some peyote?”
The Chaplain shook his head. “Carry on.” He then turned and walked away.
“He’s gonna call the Lieutenant,” Dusty said.
“No he won’t, that’s too much like work for him. But we should go back inside.”
Dusty said wait a minute. “What time do you have to meet Fat Brian?”
“On the next move,” I said.
“Rob, don’t fuck this up,” he said. “This dude wants Nick hit bad and he “has money. ”
“Relax,” I said to Dusty. “I got this.”
Alone on the bleachers, I watched Fat Brian walk through the gate and waddle up the snow-covered stairs. It was a beautiful winters day, with the temperature in the low 20’s and flakes of snow falling from the sky. In the heart of the brutal Kansas winters, very few convicts dare to brave the yard, and I loved it that way. It made prison life appear so peaceful.
“Tell me again why we agreed to come out here in this shit?” Fat Brian said, as he carefully made his way up the slippery stairs. “This is fucking ridiculous.”
“Because white is right and white is beautiful,” I said, knowing how much that he loved white power rhetoric.
My words made him smile. “You’re fucking right about that,” he said. “And doesn’t snow prove that God only loves white power? Imagine how fucked up it would look out here if snow was the color of niggers.”
I didn’t even respond to that. “So, what’s up?” “We’ve got a few things,” he said.
A few days earlier, Fat Brian stopped me in the hallway and said that he needed to talk to me about something important. “Someone sent me to see you,” he claimed. “Someone who said that you could be trusted, but wants to stay out it.” The topic of discussion: A contract hit on Nick Geo,
The person who sent Fat Brain to me had plenty of money that much he made clear. But what he had unlimited access to was far more appealing to me -heroin, lots and lots of heroin. And if I agreed to take the contract, or rather, broker a contract between the anonymous person and my friends, who happened to all be members of the Dirty White Boys, the drugs would be put directly into my hands. My first question to Fat Brian was, “Why not just go straight to Kenny yourself?” (Kenny being the gang’s leader, who also happened to live in the same unit as Fat Brian did).
“Because the guy who wants this done doesn’t want me to directly negotiate this with any of the Dirty white Boys,” was Fat Brian’s response. “And like I said, he trusts you.” Said more honestly, the guy was probably afraid of being extorted by the DWB’s after the job was done, something that commonly happens to those who pay to have others hurt. So that left me with just two more questions: “How much heroin are we talking about? And what exactly does he want done to Nick Geo?”
Out on the yard, I was about to get the answers.
Fat Brian used his chubby hand to push away the snow, then sat done on the bench next to me. “Here’s the deal, the people who are paying for this want broken bones and they want Nick’s face cut – both of those things have to happen.”
I noticed that he said “the people” who were paying for the contract, as if more than one person were behind this. Up until this point, I assumed that one person and one person only wanted this done – John Stanfa. Why Stanfa? Because Nick “The Chemist” was in the whole telling everyone exactly why he had assaulted Stanfa, and he made it clear that Nick Geo was the one who told him everything. Moreover, Stanfa was now out of the hole, he knew the entire story, and I just felt like there was no way an old Mob Boss was going to let Nick Geo get away with what he had done.
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” I said to Fat Brian. “But how much are they willing to pay?”
“Well, here’s the deal,” Fat Brian said. “You can have a gram up front – I’m talking right now – but there’s a couple of guys who want to talk to you first.”
“About this thing with Nick. They’re under the pavilion right now watching TV and I can call them over here right now if it’s cool.”
“Wait a-minute, Brian. You want me to talk to people about this? How many people know that I’m involved?”
Fat Brian ignored my question. “The one guy has dope on him for you right now. All I have to do is call him over here.”
I didn’t like the idea of talking to anyone else about a contract. On the other hand, I liked the idea of someone handing me heroin. It didn’t take me very long to finally say, “Fine. Call them over here.”
Fat Brian stood up, looked over towards the pavilion, and waved his arms. Two guys sheltered from the snow stood up and started walking our way.
“Who are these guys?” I asked, unable to recognize the two figures dressed in heavy winter gear.
“Cuban Billy and Iowa Bobby,” he said. “Do you know them?”
Cuban Billy was a well known drug dealer in Leavenworth. Iowa Bobby, however, was new. The only thing that I knew about him was that he was allegedly mob connected, and that he supposedly had a lot of money.
“I know Billy,” I said. “But I’ve never met Bobby.”
A few minutes later, the two men were standing in front of me. Right away, Fat Brian introduced me to Iowa Bobby.
I shook his hand. “Nice to meet you,” I said to him. To Cuban Billy, I just said “What’s up?”
“Not much,” Billy said to me. “Mind if we sit?”
“Go ahead,” I replied.
Without wasting another moment, Iowa Bobby got straight to the point. “The reason I’m here is because I wanted to personally look you in the eye and tell you how important this is to me. I want Nick Geo taken out.”
Wow! I thought. Who the fuck is this guy? He hasn’t even been here long enough to know Nick Geo, so what could possibly be his motive in all of this? Actually, I didn’t really care; I didn’t trust the guy. He had eyes that crossed, big thick glasses, and the more I looked at him the more he reminded me of Pee Wee Herman – before he got caught masturbating in a movie theater, grew his hair out, and gained all that weight.
“Look,” I said to the stranger. “I don’t know you. And I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Cuban Billy caught my vibe. “No, Rob. It’s okay. Bobby’s cool.”
“I don’t care. You’ve gotta go,” I told Iowa Bobby. I’ve got nothing left to say to you.
Fat Brian looked embarrassed. “Hey Bobby, let’s take a walk.”
“Good idea,” I rudely said. Then I turned to Billy. “Stay here for a minute.”
When Fat Brian and Iowa Bobby were out of ear shot, Billy said, “You shouldn’t have done that. Bobby is a good dude.”
“Whatever,” I said putting an end to the subject. “I don’t trust him.” I then got down to business. “Are you involved in this shit or what?”
“I guess you can say that. I’m handling the dope end of it.”
“Good. And I take it that you have some on you now?”
He said that he did.
“Cool. Then give it here, I said, holding my hand out.
He reached inside of his jacket pocket and pulled out a yellow balloon. “This is a gram. If everything works out like they want, then -”
I held up my hand. “Save it, bro. I just need to know how much dope we’re getting all together, and when exactly it is that you plan on paying us.”
Billy gave it some thought. “I’ll tell you what. As soon as the job gets done, I’ll give you two more grams. Plus, from here on out, every time that I hit, I’ll lock you in at three grams for a thousand.”
The value of a street gram of heroin in Leavenworth was $500; the average price of a contract hit, the same thing. Knowing that Kenny was not expecting more than two grams of dope, my mind started spinning.
“Tell me,” I said, “who else knows about this besides me and you? I mean about how much dope you’re giving me for all of this.”
“Just me,” he said. “I just came up with the amount right now.”
I smiled. “I’ll tell you what, Billy let’s just keep this between you and I…”
He gave me a knowing smile. “Hey, I don’t care what you tell your boys you got for this – that’s you business. I just want you to keep my name out of it. I like Kenny and all, but that motherfucker is a hardcore dope-fiend. If he knows that I have anything to do with this, he’ll never leave me alone.”
“Trust me,” I said. “I won’t say a word.”
I looked in the window of Kenny’s cell, also known as “The Snake Pit.” As I assumed there would be, several questionable characters were hanging out inside.
I opened the door. “What’s up?”
“What’s up, cracker?” Kenny shouted, followed by his trademark cackle-of-a-laugh.
It was obvious to me that he was drunk. “Okay, where’s it at?” I said, referring to the alcohol.
Kenny looked over at Cody.” Go get Rob a pint. He’s good for it.”
“I’ll pay you tomorrow,” I assured Cody. Then to Kenny I said, “we need to talk – in private.”
“You heard the man,” Kenny told the others. Beat it.”
They moaned and groaned, but soon everyone except for me and
Kenny were out of the cell.
He lit a smoke and tossed me the pack. “You’ve got dope on you, don’t you?”
I put a smoke in my mouth and smiled. “Yep.”
Kenny cackled. “Well, what the fuck are we waiting for? Let’s do a shot, cracker.”
“Hold up,” I said, lighting my cigarette. “Let’s discuss this first.”
Kenny, who was sitting on the bunk, jumped up and punched me in the chest. “Fuck you, motherfucker. Hand the shit over.”
“Ouch!” I said, rubbing my chest. “Fucking asshole…” I reached down the back of my pants and pulled a balloon- from the crack of my ass. “Here.”
Kenny snatched the heroin from my hand, ran over to the desk, and in less than minute had dope in a spoon and his needle out and ready.
“So, don’t you want to know the details?”
“Who cares, cracker,” he said, as he ran facet water into a cup. “We’ve got the dope.”
“Seriously, Kenny. These dudes want Nick’s face cut and his bones broken. You need to put a plan in motion.”
The pile of white heroin was now a puddle of clear liquid. Kenny dipped his needle into the spoon, drew up the dope, then held out his arm and took the plunge. When he finished, he turned to me and said,”
It’s time for you to step up and get your patch, cracker. I want you and Dusty to handle it.”
“Fuck no,” I shot back. “I’m not trying to get a patch, Kenny. The last thing in the world that I want to do is join a gang.”
Using running water, Kenny rinsed out the dirty needle then handed it to me. “Alright, cracker. I’ll leave it alone for now. But since you’re down there in B Lower with Nick, do you want to help out Dusty and Wilber?
Dusty was my dawg. If he needed me for any reason, I would be right by his side – he knew that. “I’ll talk to Dusty and see if he needs me to do anything. But I’m really not trying to get involved.”
Kenny cackled. “Cracker, you already are involved.”
Randy N. slammed his card on the table. “Blackjack, motherfuckers!” he shouted. “I’m a motherfuckin’ Peee-imp!” What he was, was drunk, not to mention ridiculously lucky. The son of a bitch just couldn’t lose a hand.
“Calm down idiot,” I said, elbowing Randy. “You’re gonna get us all breathalyzed.” There were seven of us sitting around a make-shift Blackjack table in the back of B lower, Randy and I included. All of us were drinking, most of us were losing, and I could tell that some were getting sick and tired of Randy’s obnoxious behavior.
The Houseman laid down the first card.
“Come on easy money,” Randy said, taunting the dealer. “Papa needs a new pair of shoes.”
The dealer, a Chinese guy named “Country,” looked at Randy like he wanted to turn him into chop suey as he dealt him the second card.
“Un-fucking-believable,” were the words that came out of my mouth when I saw the Ace of Hearts fall in front of Randy. “This shit is getting old.”
Randy laughed. “Yeah, baby,” he boosted. “Now watch this shit.” After kissing the tips of his fingers for good luck, he reached down and flipped over his first card – only to reveal a King. “Blackjack again, bitches!”
This time, I think every one had had enough. “Let’s go, Randy,” I said. I got up, pushed my chair in, then walked over a grabbed Randy’s arm.
He slapped my hand. “Release me, you whoe, he said. “Nobody touches Sir Pimp-a-lot.”
A bunch of guys laughed.
“Okay, Sir Pimp-a-lot,” I said, as I grabbed the back of his shirt. “Let’s get you back to the crib so you can check on all of your whoes.”
“You are my whoe,” Randy told me. “And so are you – “he pointed at Country. “And you are too,” he said to another card player. “You’re all my whoes.”
Dusty poked his head out of cell 166. “What the fuck is going on out here?”
“Help me with Randy,” I said to Dusty. “He’s acting like a fucking idiot again.”
Dusty walked over. “What the fuck, Randy? Why do you even drink if you can’t handle it?”
“Shut up, bitch,” Randy told him. “This is my penitentiary. I own all of you.”
On the count of three, Dusty and I literally picked up Randy and carried him back to his cell, a cell which he shared with Dusty. Once inside, we put Randy on his bunk, then lit up a couple of cigarettes and kicked back.
“Don’t worry about your property tomorrow,” I said to Dusty. “I’ll make sure that it gets taken care of.”
“I know you will,” he said, starring into his locker. “I just can’t remember which legal brief that I stashed the tobacco in.”
Randy sat up in bed. “What the fuck, Dusty? Are you going to the hole?”
“No,” Dusty lied, “I’m just going through some stuff.”
“Bullshit! I heard what you said. And the only reason that you stash tobacco in one of your briefs is because you’re getting ready to go to the hole,” Randy correctly pointed out.
Dusty shot me a “what the fuck am I supposed to say” look.
I shrugged my shoulders. “Screw it. Let’s just tell him.”
“Listen, asshole,” Dusty said to Randy. “I don’t want you saying a fucking word to anyone about what we’re about to tell you. Got it?”
Rather than speak, Randy pretend to zip his lips.
“Fine,” Dusty said. “Here’s the deal…”
And that’s when Dusty and I made the stupid mistake of telling Randy that come tomorrow, Nick Geo would no longer be with us.
An hour later, Dusty and I were in my cell when someone knocked on the door. When I turned, I found Nick Geo looking in my window.
“Come in,” I said.
He ripped the door open. “Dusty, I’m getting ready to kill you fucking celly. The guy just had the balls to walk into my cell unannounced, and tell me that I needed to watch my back – me, watch my back! Who in the fuck does he think he is? I’ll rip his fucking head off.”
“Calm down, Nick,” Dusty said, trying to sound as cool as can be. “Randy’s drunk. He has no idea what he’s doing or saying right now.”
“I don’t give a fuck,” Nick proclaimed. “The motherfucker told me to watch my back like I’m some kind of punk. If he wasn’t your celly, he’d be dead.”
I could see the relief in Dusty’s face; Nick mistook Randy’s warning as a threat.
“Randy’s harmless,” Dusty said. “I’ll go talk to him to see if I can get to the bottom of this.”
“I’m going with you.”
Dusty put his hand up.”That’ll just make it worse. I’ve got this Nick.”
“Yo, if somebody put him up to this I wanna know who it is,” Nick said. “I know that there’s some people saying bad things about me right now that ain’t true, and I want answers.”
“And you’ll get all the answers you need to tomorrow,” Dusty assured him. “But for now, leave it to me.”
When Dusty returned to his cell, Randy was passed out on the bottom bunk.
I opened my cell door and shook my head. “This isn’t good,” I informed Dusty and Wilber. “Nick’s down in Tom’s cell with like five other guys.”
Wilber looked over at Dusty. “Well, whatta we gonna do, brother? Reckon we outta wait ’til tomorra or what?” He had the worst hillbilly accent that I’ve ever heard.
“Fuck no,” was Dusty’s response. “We’re gonna handle this shit today.”
With that said, I knew exactly what I had to do. “Alright, then you two just stay here and be ready. As soon as Nick leaves Tom’s, I’ll run up here and let you guys know.” On that note, I turned and left.
From the moment that I opened my eyes things had not gone well. First, I woke up with a terrible hangover. Second, after I rolled out of bed and mixed up a shot of dope, I accidentally bumped the spoon with my hand, sending $50 worth of heroin splashing to the floor. Then when I finally did manage to shot up, I completely missed my vein, ruining the pleasant rush of my morning fix.
And God only knows that I sure could have used it to deal with all of the drama that was about to unfold.
Joe M., a former “wiseguy” turned Bible Thumper, had apparently learned that the Dirty White Boys were about to hit Nick Geo – and told Nick all about it during breakfast. Where Joe got his information he wouldn’t say, but it was enough to convince Nick that he had problems. So after leaving the chow hall, Nick Geo and his goon Big Jerry came straight up to my cell and confronted me.
“This is this first I’ve heard of anything about it,” I lied to Nick and Big Jerry. “But I’ll tell you right now, it’s total bullshit.”
“Well, something’s going on,” Nick said. “Last night that jerk-off Randy tells me to watch my back, now this?”
And to add fuel to Nick’s paranoia, right at that moment my cell door opened and in walked Timmy Holloway.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” Timmy asked me, as he pulled an 18 inch metal pipe out from underneath his coat and handed it to me.
I almost died.
Uh, yeah, I wanted to tell him. This is EXACTLY what I had in mind. What I didn’t have in mind, however, was to let Nick Geo see it – until it was shattering his knee caps!
“Yeah, this is cool,” I said to Timmy, trying my best to act like I hadn’t just been fronted off. “Thanks.”
As soon as Timmy left the cell, Big Jerry looked me dead in the eye and said, “What the fuck’s the pipe for, Homes? To smash Nick?”
My heart was pounding. “Don’t be ridiculous,” I said, as I bent down and slid the pipe under my locker. “I got the thing in case we ever have racial problems in the block.”
“Uh-hu,” Big Jerry said suspiciously. “Nice timing.” I didn’t respond.
“You know, Rob, me, you, Big Jerry, Tommy, Rusty and Dusty all belong to this thing of ours,” Nick said, referring to “Our St. Dismas Thing.” “You do remember that we all swore an oath to each other, don’t you?”
I told him that I did.
“So if you knew that someone was about to do something to me, you would tell me, wouldn’t you?” Nick asked.
“Of course,” was my answer.
“Okay, good,” Nick replied, scratching his chin. “I’m gonna run downstairs and talk to Dusty. I want him to arrange a meeting between me and Kenny so I can figure out what’s going on.” And that’s exactly what he did.
During the lunch hour, Kenny and Nick met out on the East Yard.
After reassuring Nick that the Dirty White Boys would do him no harm, Kenny pulled me and Dusty aside and ripped into us.
“How’n the fuck could you two be so stupid?” He snapped. “You went and told Randy and now everything is all fucked up.”
“Hold up,” I said. “We might have told Randy, but he damn sure didn’t say anything to Bible Thumpin’ Joe. That leak came from somewhere else.”
Dusty added, “And what’s this shit about everything being fucked up? Me and Wilber are going in there to hit Nick right now.”
“Whatever,” Kenny said. “You two fucking figure it out. But I want Randy’s ass hit, too. We all know he’s a rat piece of shit. It’s time to take care of him once and for all.”
Randy was my friend. Yes, he did things that were very unconvict like, but that’s because he wasn’t a convict. He was a real estate developer/drug dealer who was way out of his element in a maximum security prison. But I did have my doubts about him. There were a lot of guys who thought Randy was providing staff with information in exchange for some favors. That he went and warned Nick to “watch his back,” was only an excuse to do what had been discussed for some time.
“I’ll handle Randy myself,” I said. The truth is I didn’t want to see the guy get hurt, rather, just touched up a bit.
“Fine – you hit Randy then,” Kenny said to me. “But don’t touch him until after Dusty and Wilber hit Nick. I want the dope we’re owed first.”
I hurried back to my cell and yanked open the door. “Nick just walked into his cell,” I informed Dusty and Wilber. “And he’s alone.”
“Wilber, we’re gonna go in there and rock him to sleep,” Dusty said. “So just let me do the talking.”
“He’s gonna know sumpin’ ain’t right when he sees me, brother,” Wilber said. “I ain’t never up in this block.”
“No shit,” Dusty said. “That’s why we’re gonna rock him to sleep. But just as soon as he let’s his guard down, which ever one of us has the best shot needs to get off first.” Then to me he said, “Robb, all I want you to do is stand by your cell and make sure that you keep the pipe close. If anyone tries to jump in – especially that lame Big Jerry – you need to handle it. Otherwise just stay out of it and I’ll see you soon.”
We gave each other a hug.
“Love you, bro,” I told him. “I’ll see you when you over in the hole.”
“Don’t fuck up Randy too bad,” Dusty said. “And make sure you bring some dope with you to the hole.”
“I already know,” I said. “Don’t even trip.”
After saying goodbye to Wilber, they both walked out of the cell.
I knew that Nick could fight. In 1998 an incident occurred in the chow hall where two guys that were horse playing in line accidentally bumped into Nick. When neither guy bothered to apologize to him, Nick turned around and knocked them both out.
So yes, I knew that Nick Geo could fight – I just didn’t know that he could scream like a bitch.
Less than five minutes after Dusty and Wilber entered his cell, I heard
Nick scream, “HHHHHEEEELLLP! C.O., help me!”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Nick Geo convicted killer and all around tough guy was screaming for the cops to help him.
The sound of jingling keys sound followed; help was on the way.
“Where are you?” A correctional officer named Sneaky Pete shouted. “Tell us where you are.”
“Oh God!” Nick cried. “No – not that!”
“Where are you?” Sneaky Pete again called out.
“Please!” Nick pleaded. “Not the razor!”
Seconds later the door burst open and out came Nick, face covered in blood. “C.O.!” he screamed as he ran for the stairs. “Help me!”
Wilber was right on his tail, “stop you bitch!”
But Nick didn’t stop. And as he started down the stairs, eyes wide with fear, screaming bloody murder, the hillbilly kicked him square in the ass, sending Nick literally tumbling down the stairs.
“Stop where you’re at!” Correctional Officer Alexander ordered Wilber. “Don’t move.”
More officers rushed into the unit. “Lock down!” They were yelling. “Every body get back to your cells!”
Dusty, who took off running, dropped the razor on the floor in front on me as he ran by. “Get rid of it, Rob!”
Without hesitation, I kicked the weapon into my cell.
And at the bottom of the stairs, lying broken and battered, Nick Geo latched onto Sneaky Pete’s leg. “Please, he begged the officer, “you’ve gotta get me out of here.”
Moments later, the Boss of the Sixth Family was safely taken out of the unit, never to be seen again.
In the aftermath of the assault on Nick Geo, the institution was temporarily locked down and several inmates were rounded up and taken to the hole, John Stanfa, Fat Brian, Randy N., Kenny, and of course, the assailants Dusty and Wilber. When the FBI stepped in an attempted to pursue criminal charges, their focus was on John Stanfa and the Dirty White Boys. Apparently, they had reason to believe that Stanfa had paid the DWB’s to assault Nick. And while rumor had it that two inmates were cooperating with in the investigation, in the end the feds were unable to prove a thing…no body was charged in the case.
As for Big Jerry, Tom, Rusty, and some of the other members of “Our St. Dismas Thing,” there was an attempt to try to figure out what had happened. But in a matter of days Nick Geo and his imaginary crime family was long forgotten, and I was able to enjoy my heroin in peace.
Cuban Billy made good on his promise.
To contact the author- firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out Robert’s blog at www.robertrosso.wordpress.com and www.convictinc.com and www.facebook.com/robertrosso
Robert, just read this entry. Man, that was a great story. I am sorry you ‘missed’ on the morning of the assault. Steady hands are a must!