Photo of prison cells in grayscale.
Courtesy of Nicolas Vollmer / Flickr

When we were last with Gerald in his hometown of New Orleans, he had just learned that his old crew, including his best friend Greg, had gotten long prison sentences for a string of robberies… 

All us had been juvenile together, raised together. Detention center together. 

Now I’m thinking these dudes like, “F*** it.” They hitting the penitentiary. I’m like, “D***.” 

Greg play a big part on me. I hope he ain’t ratted. I heard another one was a rat too. But I never checked the transcript to see who rat. 

See, word travel in the streets through hustlers. I don’t give a d*** if you out the game, in the game —you gonna get the word. If anything happen in that jail with anybody rat, somebody gonna come out.  

When you go in that jail, you don’t look to come out tomorrow. (Now, that’s when you on capital offense, you on a robbery, murder, you on a big charge.) 

But you come out tomorrow, I don’t even want to stand by you. I know what that means: You either told on somebody. Or you told on somebody. 

Man, I tell you, when I heard he was maybe doing that, I was like, “D***.” 

Then they give him 75. 

Everybody caught a big case. Big time. And everybody was like “Aw, f*** it. It is what it is.” 

I stayed on the street maybe six, seven months. Eight months. Ten. Almost close to a year. 

They was down. They down in the Parish Prison, getting ready to get transferred. 

I heard Greg try to swallow a quickie. A quickie is like bleach. 

He try to swallow a quickie, trying to kill himself. 

That what they say. But it’s hard for me to believe. But the f***ing pressure will bust the fight.

A lot of pressure. I’m always saying — the pressure will bust the fight. 

You catch some of these dudes, some street dude. When the police put him up, and put him on the benches, put the cuffs, and talking about the 75 years. 

They go to singing like Jesus. Some of them sing better than Michael Jackson. 

“I know what Gerald did! What Gerald did with Lisa! What Lisa did out of the project!” 

You know, with all them hardcore dudes. They can fall. They got 17, 18 gold. I see some of the hardest dudes in the game fall. 

To be continued. Gerald’s first book, “Still Standing: how an ex-con found salvation in the floodwaters of Katrina,” is available on