The police officer sees us on the security camera and pushes the button that activates the large sliding metal gate. We drive in to see the parking lot full of police cars and head towards the sally port – a secure transfer spot for taking prisoners in and out of the city jail.
Five officers are waiting for us as Kevin and I step out of the rig to see why they called us to the back of the jail today.
The officer with the stripes on his sleeve approaches me and gives me the story. “Hey guys, so we picked this guy up on being drunk in public. While we’re getting him booked he starts talking about being suicidal and wanting to kill himself. So instead of booking him we put him on a green sheet to get checked out at EPS.”
“Did he actually do anything to hurt himself or is it just talk?” I’m just trying to see if I’ll have any injuries to deal with or is it just verbalizing suicidal ideation.
“No, he didn’t do anything – he actually wants to go to EPS. Go figure.”
“Has he been violent with you guys?” Trying to gauge the need for restraints or not.
“No, he’s been good, but he’s a big guy so we kept him cuffed.”
“Sounds easy enough. Do you want us to come in and get him or do you want to bring him out?”
“You can hang tight here, we’ll bring him out.”
We’re in the mid-county, more affluent cities, so there are more available police officers than in our Big City. In these cities it’s common to have four or five police cars respond to a single incident where as in the Big City they are stretched so thin it’s hard to get just two cops even when we need them.
The officers return from the sally port escorting a man in handcuffs. With one officer on each arm, and three more keeping watch, the man is doing a slow shuffle towards me as I wait next to the rig. He’s got his eyes closed down to slits which gives him a menacing look yet also allows him to surreptitiously observe his environment without others seeing the direction of gaze – prison yard stealth. With his shifting gaze he never looked past my blue uniform, which matches the police officers, to see who I am.
“Yo, Lil’G, what the hell you doin’ down here?!” The officers stop mid-stride as they didn’t expect to hear “street speak” coming out of the clean cut paramedic standing in front of them.
Lil’G’s eyes pop up to full round and he drops the prison yard stealth mode as recognition sets in. He gets a big smile on his face, “Yo, T2, it’s my boy. Ya’ll did me right, you called my boy to come get me.”
“Lil’G, you all right man. You gonna be cool if I get you outta those cuffs?”
“Yeah man, I cool, you my boy.” I can smell the alcohol coming off of his breath and hear the slight slur to his speech.
I turn to the officers holding on to his arms. “I’m good guys, you can un-cuff him. We’re old friends.” They catch the irony in my voice.
Lil’G happily climbs up into the ambulance as I chat with the sergeant for a few minutes. “I usually see him up in the Big City around the seventies. I’ve never run into him down here.”
“Yeah we haven’t seen him before. I’m happy to send him up to EPS and out of our city.” It’s the classic small town sheriff giving the trouble maker a bus ticket out of the city.
“I hear ya’. We’ll take care of him. See you next time.”
I climb in to sit on the bench next to Lil’G and pull out the fat person blood pressure cuff to fit around his enormous guns.
“Lil’G, you losing some weight? You’re looking skinnier than the last time I saw you.”
“Yeah man, I going through some shit, you know. Not eatin’ much. I lost my daughter two week ago, she dead.” He’s introspective and just a little bit sad. I’d say that’s justified.
“Oh man, I’m sorry to hear that.” I’m curious about the circumstances but I honestly don’t want to talk about it too much with him. Remembering his bipolar diagnosis I know he could cycle on me and you just never know where that’s going to go.
In an attempt to steer the conversation somewhere else. “You got any new raps for me?”
“Yeah man, I got a rap for ya T2, it’s my story.”
I’m a play’a… that’s my number one life style.
I’ve been a play’a… since I was a li’l child.
I grew up… havin’ hard times every day.
I had to choose a road… but didn’t know which way.
Started kickin’ it with the fellas… on seven ohh.
Makin’ money… cuz that was the way to go.
Smokin’ dank, full tank… get an even high.
Even had three ho’s… on my side.
Two was cool but one… thought she was a gangsta.
But I didn’t know… I was fuckin’ with danger.
She kept on tellin’ me how down she was… you know.
She said she didn’t give a fuck… about five-ohh.
Till the day on the ave… we was kickin’ it.
Wasn’t nothin’ else to do… but get lit.
Straight hands to a gangsta… whole nine yards.
Till the sucka tried to pull… my damn playa’s card.
I threw a left… and connected to the fool’s jaw.
The punk fell an’ tried to walk… but he had to crawl.
I split the scene… and went to the fuckin’ sto’.
On the way back… I ran into the Po Po.
Shit was cool… so I didn’t want to bail.
Fuck the po-lice… I ain’t going to jail.
I cocked my nine… then I fired at the dirty mack.
I started trippin’ and my mind… started to un-fold.
I’m in the middle of a shoot out… damn I’m told.
As curiosity was fuckin’… with my damn head.
Bullets kept flyin’, people dyin’… and bodies bled.
I dropped my nine, then I reached… for my four-four.
Empty one clip, then I headed… for my car door.
I couldn’t believe my eyes…
It’s my mind’s surprise…
I’m the only black nigga gonna stay alive.
Jesus Christ… this mutha fuckin’ gang.
Po Po try an’ jack me… and playin’ wit my fuckin’ brain.
But I ain’t going down… I’m not a sucka.
You want me… you gotta kill me mutha fucka.
Bill Gates… and the rest a the klan.
Ya’ll can suck my dick… cuz I’m a crazy ass black man.
But in the mean while… I’m just as versatile.
That’s my life… gangsta life… that’s my life…style.
My name is Lil’G… and I’m out.
Lil’G is a very real man and the above rhymes are his words. I apologize for the graphic nature and language yet I think it’s important to keep it authentic as an accurate representation of how his mind works. It would be easy to dismiss this as typical gangsta rap but I think it goes deeper than that. This is a man who has been in and out of institutions – criminal and psychiatric – since he was young. He may have actually picked up some coping mechanisms to deal with the turmoil that haunts his waking moments and it manifests with introspective communication in the only way he knows how. Just as his bipolar mind cycles from emotion to emotion his physical body will cycle from street to institution until both are exhausted. There is no escape for his mind or body from the streets that created his life…style.