2011 was the year I met Luna. He and I had tons in common. We both had been successful businessmen and we were both intelligent, so we had plenty to talk about. He and I shared a passion for Las Vegas and used to play in Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments there. Rumor has it, Luna once played with Doyle Brunson at a small casino downtown. And Doyle told Luna, “You’re hard to read.” (That part may have been an exaggeration, but hey, it’s his story!)
Luna became the “senior” on the pod. In other words, he ran our unit of 59. Definitely a good guy to have on your side.
We spent most afternoons playing poker in the dayroom, with six or seven of our friends. One constant presence at the poker table was Gallegos. G, as we called him, was a slightly mentally handicapped man in his 50s who loved poker. Or, I should say, he loved to call, hated to fold. Some players were frustrated with G, but I loved the guy. If only we could have convinced him to shower on a daily basis, life would’ve been good, and we wouldn’t have had to bring free samples of cologne strips (out of magazines) to the table for air freshener.
When I wasn’t playing poker I was playing chess with Patchett. He is ever-so-slightly better than I am at chess. We kept track of all of our wins and losses. By the end of 2011, my record was around 850 wins, 900 losses, and 250 draws. I always felt I was the better player, but statistics don’t lie.
My ex-wife had been visiting me every few months, and she wrote me regularly. She confided about her relationship troubles. Out of respect for her, I will refrain from describing those troubles here. I will say, however, that during her last visit to see me, I noticed she was wearing a purple thong. When we were married, she used to say, “Ewww, a thong?! Gross!” She hadn’t worn one in 14 years with me, but now she was wearing one. It was torture. When I noticed it, I asked, “Is that a thong?” She replied, sheepishly, “Oh…I’m sorry, you weren’t supposed to see that.” This was the same woman whose idea of foreplay, years earlier, was to whisper into my ear, “Baby!! Guess what?? I’m ovulating!!” right before kissing my neck. But I digress. These visits were destroying me. Thinking about her with that other guy was driving me crazy. So I wrote her, politely asking her to move on without me. I could no longer be her own personal Dr. Phil. She obliged my request….for a while.
Toward the end of 2011, I received a letter from Dr. Crosby, a college professor who wanted to publish a book of creative non-fiction short stories from inmates describing their prison experiences. She searched various penpal websites looking for the most captivating and well-written ad (a brilliant tactic). It was a complete coincidence that she was a professor at the very college I graduated from in 1996 — California State University, Chico. Magna Cum Laude, and voted by professors as “Commuication undergraduate of the year.” Isn’t it ironic, don’tcha think, that I ended up in prison, years later, largely due to my inability to commuicate in my marriage?
“I’m ovulating, baby. Aren’t you excited?!”
“Um….sure, I guess.”
Categories: Stephen Newman