Doing Time

From Afar

”My guess is that this is your first time in jail.” Reid nodded with a guarded look on the man next to him. ”I knew it! I can spot a fish from miles away! You must be pretty happy now, with Hankel and his buddies in the Hole!”

They were walking from the yard to the canteen to get the greasy porridge they called dinner. Reid recognized the man as the one who had been sitting next to Prentiss and laughed at most of the things he had said. That had made him feel a bit stupid the day before and the feeling was growing increasingly stronger with every word leaving the man's mouth.

“I'm sorry mister...” Reid began but was promptly interrupted with a strong pat on his back.

“Don't call me mister! I'm Jeff Davis!”

“Uhm... Okay, Mr. Davis...”

“Just Davis! Are you lame boy?”

“No? I'm walking just fine?” Davis sighed but the big smile revealed his amusement.

“Lame means stupid...”

“No sir – Davis! I am rather intelligent, I just don't understand your vocabulary.” They sat at one of the long tables with a tray and a bowl of porridge each. Laughter from across the table made Reid look up as he finally noticed Prentiss sitting in front of him.

“Fish. He's so fishy I'm surprised he doesn't smell like one.” Davis said with a wicked grin to Prentiss. JJ who sat next to the dark haired man looked less amused.

“Don't tease him like that, both of you! He haven't had a chance to get used to the prison lingo.”

“Sorry, sorry, you're right Baby.” Prentiss gave his boyfriend a smile. “You don't understand what Davis says?” Reid bit his lip and looked down as he shook his head. If he had known in advance that he was going to jail he would have looked for some sort of prison lingo dictionary, but everything went so fast after the... incident. Now he was left feeling stupid. He despised feeling stupid. “Chill out boy! No one expects you to know everything. No one really expects you to know anything – not with you being a fish and all that...”

“What is a fish? You keep calling me that!”

“A new-arrival, a first-timer... Someone who doesn't know a lot about prison life.” JJ gave Reid a pitying smile.

“Oh...” Well, Reid certainly fit that description. “What about the hole? What is that?”

“The Hole is an isolation cell.”

“Oh...” Reid thought about that while absentmindedly poking his spoon in his porridge. “That actually does make sense!”

“Of course it does.” Prentiss smiled at him in between shoveling the porridge into his mouth. “You got any other questions?”

“Actually, yes...” Reid dropped his spoon. He wasn't exactly hungry to begin with and the greasy mess didn't do much to change that. “What is Taco Loco, White Bread and KFC? One of my cell mates mentioned the names but didn't specify what exactly it was!”

“You're sharing with Conrad, right?” Reid turned slightly in his seat so he could look at Davis and nodded in reply.

“Conrad, a... big white guy called Garcia and a black man called Black. Which is actually rather fun all things considered...” JJ looked down at his plate to hide his smile, Prentiss cocked an amused brow and Davis shook his head also smiling.

“Taco Loco, White Bread and KFC are three of the five big gangs in here. Taco Loco is Mexican, KFC is African-American and White Bread is us.”

“And you're the leader of White Bread?” Prentiss nodded.

“I'm the leader, Davis is my Second and JJ here is my little boy toy, which I just can't deny.” JJ gave the dark haired man a mock scowl, but it quickly turned into a flattered slightly blushing smile.

“Why White Bread?” Reid wanted to know as much as possible about the prison infrastructure – everything to improve his chances of survival.

“We're not Nazis if that's what you think.” Davis started in a defensive tone.

“White Bread was meant as a joke. The actual Nazis don't have a name as that, so all the other group just call them Adol-fans.” Reid nodded in understanding.

“Anyway, that Black you share cell with – he's...”

“The Second of KFC which stands for Knights From Compton. What apparently is the only true place for gangsters to grow up. He told me that when I first arrived.”

“So you're not a total fish.” Reid couldn't help but smile as he recognized the phrase. Prentiss continued. “Garcia is a part of Taco Loco, but he's... special.” The other two White Bread members nodded.

“How come?”

“Well, he gets things, so all the other groups try to stay friendly with him, so he will work for them too. Also, the Taco Locos have a rather good relationship with the Italo Brothers – the Italian gang.”

“So the big five groupings are White Bread, Taco Loco, KFC, Adol-fans,” Reid could help but find the name a bit peculiar, but apparently all the gangs seemed to take their name as quite a joke. “And Italo Brothers? Adol-fans being the Nazi group and White Bread the reasonable Caucasian group.”

“Fast learner.” Davis smiled at the lanky man next to him.

“I have one more question.” Prentiss gestured for Reid to go on. He in turn had to think a bit trying to find the best way to form his question. “The croaker told me that someone called Derek Morgan was the one to alert the guards when I was... showering... Who's he?” Prentiss straightened up from his position with a slightly unhappy and certainly guarded look on his face. Davis took that as a cue to answer instead.

“He's the leader of KFC, which I think is hilarious since he's an ex-cop from one of the good parts of Chicago. He killed some pedophile and got a life jolt.” He pointed over his shoulder and Reid turned in his seat to see at what.

A couple of rows down two dark brown eyes looked back at him at he felt his heart skip a beat.

“Eric here isn't very fond of Morgan.” Reid turned his attention back to the table and found JJ smiling to the man next to him, taking his hand. “He was way fast in climbing ranks in the gang and when he promoted to actual leader of the KFC he changed their gang-structure and whole behavioral pattern from one day to the next.” He looked at Reid with a worried look. “It was really rather disturbing. After that he tends to make all the other gang-leader quite... nervous. Except Rossi from Italo Brothers – they're practically like brothers! Apparently Rossi is a big fan of structure.”

“What's a jolt?” Reid was suddenly hyper aware of the small hair standing on the back of his neck. How long had Morgan been watching him?

“A long sentence. There's jolt and bit,” Davis explained. JJ took Prentiss's hand and smiled at him. “Bit is a short sentence.” Reid felt confused and the feeling showed on his face. JJ gave the fellow young man a pitying smile.

“I got a life jolt for killing a cop, Davis got a six-year bit for carrying a concealed weapon while on parole.” Reid's mouth fell open with surprise. The small friendly young man had killed a cop? “It's really not that hard to understand when you get the hang of it.” JJ smiled again and snuggled a bit closer to the now also smiling Prentiss.

“And you need to get used to the slang pretty fast – you don't want to be a liability?” The atmosphere chilled with Davis' question and Reid felt the sensation of being an outsider sneak up on him. Yes, they had accepted him into their gang, but he was still on probation.

“Yes, of course! I'm doing my best!” Reid forced a smile on his face, but that was all it was – forced.

Reid pressed his face into the pathetic excuse of a pillow trying to stifle the silent sobs. The logical part of his mind understood his situation perfectly; Hankel wanted to show everyone that they should stay out of his way and he himself was the unlucky victim. He could even understand that his outward appearance might have been a factor in Hankel's fast decision to do it to him, although he hated that idea.

But still. Some part of his brain kept asking Why me? What did I do wrong? As if there was an answer that would make everything better.

As if the answer would magically make it better.

And now he had joined a gang. He hoped with passion that would make Hankel and men like him stay off his back, and that JJ guy seemed friendly.

But he was still the new and expendable. He would have to change that.

How would he do that?

After contemplating for a while Reid decided to ask Conrad the next day.

He would become a treasured member of White Bread even if it would kill him. And afterwards he would find that Morgan-guy and ask what his problem was!

With a deep breath and a bit of shifting on his bunk Reid closed his eyes and fell asleep.

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