Posts Tagged ‘carmine’

a new follower, and a mention to JWC

February 14, 2011

Good news today! I got a new follower to this blog! One that I met through a mutual friend – JWC. My last blog mentioned playing cards with Carmine. After 240-C, I went to 60, and my new card partner was JWC.


JWC reminded me of Carmine in that he liked me enough to play cards with me, but I think he preferred to be on the other team in bid-whist. Other than that, JWC probably had absolutely nothing in common with Carmine. Carmine took pride in his life of crime. JWC was, what the career criminals called, a “Citizen”. And I was too. Individuals that had lived a regular life, and then, one day, ended up in jail.



I won’t talk about JWC and his case other than the fact that I know he got a bad deal. And that is from someone who got a bad deal. I guess I have not mentioned about my own charges. A real life of crime.


I admit, there was a simple assault in New Hampshire. And domestic violence is a serious offense. However, in my “defense” I would point to two marriages and many other relationships where there was no domestic violence. Sometimes, it takes two to tangle. In addition to that, the charges in NH were dropped.


My greatest crime, according to society, was a violation of a restraining order. When my girlfriend got back to Massachusetts, she took out a restraining order. I violated it with an apology, in an e-mail. Yes, I know that it was against a court order. However, it was not threatening, and certainly was not worth two and a half years, for someone who had no previous record. To me, it was an example of a justice system that thrives on overcrowded jails and does not give any regard to justice.


Maybe more on that later. Again, thanks to my new follower, and to Kerri. I think the blogging is working. Maybe the dreams are going away?


Playing Cards With Carmine

February 13, 2011

If I ever have a book about all of this, my current choice of titles would be this one.

I met Carmine on the 240-C block. I was there for my six months of pre-trial status. Carmine was the “original gangster”. Lots of guys in jail called themselves “OG”, standing for original gangster. Carmine was the real deal. He had never been in jail before. He would tell you that, then quickly follow it with “I broke the law every day after I turned 18, and twice on Sunday, but I never went to jail.”


Now Carmine was 65, and with the lifestyle he led, he looked 85. And someone had ratted him out, and he was in bad health and he was dying. Still, he carried on, fueled by the hope that one day he might get his revenge on the rat.


I found out that Carmine likes to play cards. One of his games was knock Gin. He would go out, he would not just say “Gin”. Instead he would say “Carmine’s the name, Gin’s the game.” When I played him, sometimes I would win, and I would say “My name is Chris, and I like playing cards.”  He tried to explain that I mixed up the saying, until he realized I was trying to give him a hard time.


I liked the pace of our card games. I know sometimes I slowed Carmine down, but I like to think I play a “thinking game”. Carmine would try to speed me up singing “What if tomorrow never comes?” Sometimes, actually more often than not, there were pauses in the game. We would try to resume, and Carmine would say “Now where were we, besides Middleton?”


Carmine was Catholic, but it was more in his OG kind of way. Not the kind of Catholic who actually was worried about things like actually going to Church. Carmine knew I was Catholic, and he knew I worked in the Chapel. He would give me a hard time whenever I went to work for the Protestants, as if I was a traitor or playing for the other team. He would also give me a hard time when I went to play for the Protective Custody groups. However, he never was so upset that he stopped playing cards, so I think we had an understanding. I would go to the Chapel any opportunity that I had. And when I was on the block, we would play cards.


We would also play “bid Whist” which is a card game I never heard of until I got to Middleton. Not surprisingly, Carmine often chose not to be on my team. Still, I figure he liked me enough to be the opponent, but not the teammate.


Carmine lived off the canteen. He would usually give away any food he got from the state. He did keep the desserts. Sometimes, other inmates would bring their desserts like someone would bring a gift to the head of the mob. Carmine thought the canteen had everything he needed, except missing one thing. He said they needed hookers.


I often asked Carmine for advice. He had been through a divorce, I was going through mine. He knew I was worried about my kids ever coming back. He told me that his kids did eventually come back, and they always admired that their mother never said one nice thing about him, and yet he never said a bad word about their mother. At least, he never said it to them.


In some ways, it felt like I was in a retirement home. Just passing the time playing cards. At the same time, I always enjoyed the time playing cards with Carmine.