“C’mon, let’s see how tough you are! Just try to take me down! C’mon, c’mon, let’s see you try!”
“Nico, for the last time, back off.” My voice echoes off the cell walls. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times, no.”
“Coward! You are a’scared of me!”
“In your dreams. I won’t do it because you’re half my size. Trust me, if I wanted to, I could kill you right now. But you’re just not worth the time.” I smirk at him, and lay back down on my bed.
“¿Que? Prove it, Señor Macho. Everyone here thinks you some big, tough guy who is no a’scared of nada. I hear what the policìa say about you. They say you used to fight, and you and your amigos were busted in a big raid. People think you’re a cold-hearted killer. But you know what I think?”
“I don’t care what you think.” I don’t care what anyone thinks.
“I think you are really just a big phony, and you are no as bad as everyone believes. You may have some scars, but you are no fighter. You are just a small little gato that would no throw a punch if your life depended on it.”
“Nico….” I turn to him. “You wouldn’t last a day where I ended up.”
“You think you are so strong, but really you are soft. Maybe you used to be muy macho, but ever since you been here, you do nothing. You no fight, you no cause trouble, you do whatever the policìa tell you. I am much tougher than you, and I will prove it one day.”
“What you don’t seem to understand, amigo, is that the more trouble you make in jail, the longer you’re here. Comprende?”
“Coward! Gato! Gato!”
I roll my eyes and turn towards the wall. Of all the people they could’ve put me with it had to be him. I swear if Nico saw his reflection, he’d see a pro wrestler when everyone else would see an obnoxious, little Mexican man with big ears.
Nico keeps shouting trying to get a rise out of me. He usually wears himself out after a while. I close my eyes, and try to focus on any other sounds besides him. Everyone else here seems pretty quiet. The only thing I can pick out other than my lovely cellmate is the jangle of the warden’s keys as he makes his way down the aisle. He catches my eye, but keeps walking, totally ignoring Nico’s shouts. Law enforcement is so helpful.
I watch as he goes over to one of his deputies, who is standing by the window. “When did they say they were coming?”
“I’m watching them pull up right now.”
“That sure is a nice car. What year do you s’pose it is?”
“Who knows, but just listen to it go! That’s quite a pretty penny.”
“I spoke to this couple earlier. Hal and Elizabeth Hart. He works with a big company, so these two are pretty well off. They live in one of the richest neighborhoods.”
“Nice. Someone in here is about to get pretty lucky then.”
Looks like the warden has another couple from a halfway house coming in. I don’t see why he believes putting a convict in a house with strangers will do anyone any good.
Even from my cell, I can see them walk into the jail. On the left is a tall man, very well dressed. His arm is around the woman on the right, who’s clutching her purse in her hands. Her hair is curly and short, and she looks too happy to be in reality. Nico has finally stopped shouting, and we both listen to them talk and fill out paperwork.
“Well, Mr. and Mrs. Hart, everything looks great. Now, I know one of my guys sent you some photos and such about the ones we’d be willing to release at the moment. Anyone that stood out to you?”
They hand back a photo that I can’t see from my angle, and the warden and deputy look at each other. “Is something wrong?” the woman asks.
“Well…yes and no,” the deputy begins. “See, we’re not quite sure how friendly he is. He’s had a pretty dark past, and…Well…¨ His voice trails off, and the warden starts talking about what I’ve done with my life so far. I don’t know why they’re so secretive about it, it’s not like I don’t…wait, why are they talking about me? These two can’t be…Oh, hell no.
“He hasn’t gotten in much trouble since he’s been in here, but…you said you had a baby at home, right? We’re just uncertain on how that will turn out.”
“Has he ever attacked one of you?” the man asks.
“No, Jasper’s been pretty mellow since we got him out of the fighting ring.”
“Then he should be fine, right? I mean, no one’s a lost cause.”
Don’t do it, warden. I’m serious, this is ridiculous. I don’t like them, and I don’t like kids. I’ll take Nico over them!
“Ooooh, they gonna turn you even softer, tough guy! You will not just be a gato, you will be a babysitter.”
“Nico, will you shut up for five minutes?! I can’t hear what’s going on!”
When I turn back around, the warden is unlocking the cell. “C’mon, Jasper. You’re getting out.”
If they think I’m going to go with these two rocket scientists, they’re…then again, it’s much easier to get out of a house than break out of jail.