On his release from California's maximum security prison at Pelican Bay, Jimmy Kendall is determined to re-unite with Rita, his old flame and, he thinks, true love. But Rita, now a call girl with a string of unsavory clients, is not so sure of her feelings. Kendall is also determined to leave behind his prison gang past, in which he served as a hit man for the Aryan Brotherhood in their wars with the Black Guerilla Family. He quickly discovers that the world into which the ex-con is thrust is no less confining than the walls of Pelican Bay, and that his past involvement with gangs and violence has set him on a road with no exits. Daniel Hallford's PELICAN BAY is a fast-paced and riveting look at the ugly underbelly of society where sleazy businessmen and corrupt politicians mingle easily with desperate call girls and ruthless killers.
Excerpts from Pelican Bay
All excerpts copyright©2003 by Daniel Hallford
When Jimmy Kendall got out of Pelican Bay he had all his worldly possessions in a brown paper sack. He never saw a pelican and never even glimpsed the bay. Tucked up in the hills, hidden behind trees, he had felt the cool salt air come swirling through the halls, glimpsed the fog in the slit windows of the exercise yard and heard the sound of a foghorn in his deepest dreams at night. He had only seen three people, the ones who shoved him his meals through the metal door, and heard the voices of two in twelve months. His punishment had been sensory deprivation in Security Housing, the SHU.
They had no other place for him, they said. So he went from his cell in the middle of the day to the exercise yard for an hour and then back to his cell to start the same routine all over again, every day. He did three hundred pushups a day. Every day. Not twenty-five here, twenty-five there. Or sets of fifty, then rest, and another set of fifty. He did them all at one time. Sweat glistening off him afterward, washing himself off in the metal sink and wiping himself with the raggedy T-shirt they gave him.
He listened to Hunter's voice five days a week at around eleven in the morning. Telling him to get out, walk down the hall and into the yard where he jogged around a 20-by-20 concrete box and shot a basketball through a hoop without a net. Then told him to get his ass back to his bunk where he did pushups, read a book, wrote letters to his old lady and jacked off.
He heard the others when he walked past their cells on the way to yard. Fuck you, Kendall, they said as he stepped past the food slots. Your time is comin', brother. They can't keep you locked up and by yourself forever. Someone'll find you, traitor fuck.
Hunter had a replacement two days a week and he liked hearing it. It was a female voice. He imagined what she looked like, the shape of her breasts, the smell of her hair, the wetness of her lips. When he got out through R and R he saw two officers, one a woman, whose name he couldn't recall. It stunned him after hearing that voice for the last year. She was overweight, bulging out of her uniform, and had frosted, puffed up hair. After all that time locked down, almost too good to be true.
They stood outside the grand ballroom knocking back vodka tonics.
"You almost fed me to that fat fuck," she said.
"Relax," he replied. "He just wanted to meet you. So I was doing him a favor."
"You know what this place is. I just want to meet somebody who'll remember me in the morning."
"What about me?"
"What about you? Can you offer me a job? Do you have any money?"
"More than the guy in there. Probably more than a lot of people in there."
"Yeah. What do you do?"
"I'm a businessman."
She almost choked, on purpose so she didn't have to laugh at this joker.
"Well, I'm a businesswoman, except I'm looking for a real job because the economy is tough at the moment."
"No kidding? I would have thought you were some kind of hooker coming to this event. Do you have a business card?"
"Know, if I wanted your opinion?"
"We're getting antagonistic. Let me slow this down. I think you are beautiful. Maybe a little short on morals, but then so am I. I do have a legitimate business. I can offer you a job, maybe even a place if you need it and I'm not a drunk. I apologize if I've offended you but I'd like to get to know you better and if we can steer the conversation in another way, maybe that's possible. What do you say?"
It sounded a lot better. She put on her game face, all her senses on alert. Maybe they could work something out, at least for the time being.
"First thing, what's this all about with Florencio? You two got something going?"
He stood there with a childish look on his face, as if to say it doesn't matter what you ask, I'll tell you everything. But the certainty was that he would tell her only what she wanted to hear, she thought, nothing dealing with the truth if at all possible, and only in bits and pieces if absolutely necessary.
"I need his help. I'm trying to do some business in his district and I need him to grease the skids. He saw you and I thought I would help him out."
"If he weren't so drunk."
"If he weren't a fucking drunk."
"Don't be shy about telling me what you do. I can handle it," she said, ready to be impressed, depending on what he said.
"Have you ever heard of U-Stor?" he said, the crooked smile on his face beginning to look more attractive by the minute.
"Yeah, spelled u-s-t-o-r."
"It's a storage facility. A place people can put their stuff temporarily while they move or if they don't have enough space in their house."
"Because that's me. I'm U-Stor. I have storage places up and down the San Joaquin Valley, from Redding to Bakersfield. Every small town up and down highway ninety-nine and some on highway five."
She didn't know what to say to the storage king of the San Joaquin Valley. Maybe something witty, maybe something so she wouldn't laugh derisively.
"Is it profitable?"
"So it helps kissing up to that fat fuck?"
"Why don't you just bribe him?"
"I can do that. But I like the personal touch also. It's part of people management skills. Shows that I'm involved."
"Man, you are cynical. What's your name again?
"Randy Lynch," he replied, stretching out his hand.
"The storage king?"
"Call me king."
The place was in the middle of the Oak Park ghetto. The brothers hanging out on the basketball court, hidden away among the trees or congregating near the picnic benches. They had small killing wars like they did inside. Except they killed each other. Inside the wars were between color alliances. White against black. Mexican against white. Southern Mexican against northern Mexican. The A.B. never made alliances with people of color. Mexican or black. They had tighter-knit groups because of that. Fewer snitches and more loyalty. Also more brutality in dealing with traitors. Like him.
Garland sat at a picnic table with two other brothers. He wore a red do-rag. Kendall approached them with caution, walking slowly. Didn't need the prison walk, the don't mess with my shit swagger that he sometimes did. The brothers saw him coming, suspicious and wary, making ready to get resentful the closer he got. When he did, he called out.
"Hey, Garland. What's up, man?"
Garland looked over at the white boy approaching him, adjusted his do-rag. Just like that. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen years since they been tight and all of a sudden Jimmy Kendall, in the middle of the ghetto, comes walking outta nowhere and yells his name in front of the brothers. He said it again, louder, friendlier. Garland looked at him in disbelief but didn't show it. No good showing emotion because it was a sign of weakness.
"Who the fuck that?" one of them said.
"Hey, Garland, long time no see," he said within smelling distance.
They didn't like that and it showed in their faces. Man, what the, what you doing? Seemed to come out all at once.
"Uh, huh," Garland said. "What the fuck you want?"
He looked at the two guys, threatening him with their stances, looking at him with evil stares, mad-dogging him out in the middle of the park. He ignored them and looked straight at Garland, the tattoo on his forearm like some kind of outrage out here in the territory.
"I seen your mama earlier today," he said.
That walked up to the line, stepped over and slapped them in the face. Garland more than the others and they waited for him to take it out and shoot the white boy between the eyes. No one talks about another man's mama. Garland put his palm on his hip, ready to execute.
"Miz Lulu sure is a nice woman, mighty fine person I might add. Gentle and understanding. It was like seeing a lost friend from so long ago. We talked about you and how she was so worried about you being in prison and all. Seems she prays for you every night. And once a few months back she even thought of me, Jimmy Kendall, the little white boy from down the block and even said a prayer for me. Whaddya think a that, Garland?
Garland continued to stare at him, dropping his hand away from the waist of his pants and the baggy shirt covering it. His partners didn't say anything, waiting for the next move. They knew his mother.
"Hey," Garland finally gave in. "Long time. What you been up to?"
As if he was supposed to be here talking to the brothers like they were in Disneyland at Space Mountain or someplace.
He didn't want to tell him that he needed to talk to him in private so he continued to play the old friends routine.
"How's your bro Derek, man? Ain't seen him in a long time neither. You know, bet he doin' good like a auto mechanic or body and fender man or something like that, huh? I bet Miz Lulu is proud a him, you know? He always liked cars and shit, maybe he even became a car salesman or somethin'? I just got outta Pelican Bay so I been outta touch, you know? I know you been in the pen too, Garland. The pen's a terrible place. Yes it is. I was a lieutenant's clerk for a while but got locked up so I couldn't get no job after that, no jobs in SHU! But shit, you know that! Anyway, thought I'd come out here to say hello, you know. How you doin'? Like I said, Miz Lulu's worried about you and all, says she's prayin' for you..."
Garland's partners turned in disgust at the talking white boy, like he was some Barney Fife motherfucker with no sense at all. They walked away letting him ramble. They got out of earshot, Kendall still talking, Garland listening to him for a while.
"Shut the fuck up," he told Kendall. "They can't hear you no more."
Kendall looked around.
"Yeah," he said. "Thought I'd have to keep that shit up for another two hours. How you been?"
"What do you think, man?"
"You're looking well. Under the circumstances I mean."
"As well as can be expected. What the fuck you doin' here? Ain't you been in enough trouble?"
"Yeah, I guess. But I need your help."
"Help? You Aryan mothafucka expect my help?"
"You know I'm outta that."
Garland didn't reply. He snatched off his doo rag and put it in his back pocket.
"You need a hug or something. Like the brothers we once were?" Kendall said.
"Yeah," Garland replied. "I look like I'm friends with you, see 'em over there?"
Kendall turned to look.
"Leave it alone. Enough I said they out there watching us. Part of the crew, you know? Tell me your business and then get out. We may been friends a long time ago, but this ain't no place to be reminiscin'."
"Okay," Kendall said. "I don't have to tell you about it because you already know. Word gets around. Now I'm out for watching my own ass. I need a gun to protect myself in case I run into to any of them fuckers. I can't get it from them, I know you can get me a piece.
Garland thought over the situation. Realized there was money to be had so he couldn't walk away from it. He wasn't about to give Kendall a price break.
"How much money you got?" he asked.
"About fifty dollars."
Garland laughed derisively.
"You ain't gonna get no gun for that, man. Give me two hunnert dollars right now and I'll see what I can do."
He seemed to resist. The body language told Garland.
"If you don't have it, take a walk right now and don't come back. I don't need to be insulted."
Kendall reached into his pocket and pulled out the last of his money and handed it over. Garland counted it, twenties, out front to let the boys on the other side of the park see he was handling some bank.
"Meet me tonight at Twenty-fourth and Broadway," he told him.
"What? I don't get it now?"
"Not even close, my Aryan brother. Tonight at ten o'clock."
"How do I know I can trust you?"
"You can't. But remember you could once, huh? Remember them days and think of me as your old buddy. Someone you could trust with your life. Pretty strange thought? There's only one way to find out. See you tonight."
Garland got off the picnic table and walked past him. Strolled across the baseball field toward the brothers waiting on the other side of the park. He took out the money and counted it one more time so they could see. He saw them laughing, putting cold forties to their lips, already talking about how Garland got over on the white boy.