I remember that night after I got into a fist fight with my ex, Officer Magana telling me, “will you ever learn your lesson Jorge?” I was drunk, vomiting inside a trash can outside of the holding station. This was a routine I was so used to by now, and what drove everyone crazy was how could I ever go back to that lifestyle, where I would only end up going to jail and back home with nothing but a new case. As much as I hated being in jail, it taught me a lot about life, people, and living situations. For some reason I was not scared though, especially when I saw tatted up guys with bald heads.
I slept that night in the holding station after Officer Magana lectured me about my drunk and evil ways. I woke up feeling like crap, I was hungry and thirsty. I looked up and knew exactly where I was at, I was behind metal bars. I was the only one in that cell, besides my toilet and sink. After about an hour of thinking about what the hell I just did, the officers came and took me to court. I went to court so that I can ride the bus back to Santa Barbara County Jail. I just wanted to go home, but I knew I was trapped. I knew that however loud I shouted or cried, nobody could come save me. I stood quiet until they loaded us inmates onto the county bus. I remember they did play good music though, they played oldies, and I think that was what made the trip a little exciting. I told myself it was not gonna be that bad, it’s gonna be like a little mini vacation, and I will be out in no time. They unloaded us off the bus and I was put inside another holding cell with a phone. I was in there for about 16 hours waiting for them to house me in the right place. I was so impatient, and I hope to never experience that wait in a holding cell ever again in my life. I was hungry and thirsty and all I could remember were about things going on outside of the jail. After 16 hours, I was finally laying on the ground just watching people’s footsteps shadow the door, and finally they found a home for me. I was put into protective custody because my case was with another male, and I was open about my sexuality. I could have been put in general population, but I was actually glad I was put into protective custody. After all I was just trying to do my time, and I had nothing to prove to any person or gang.
When I got into my tank, I noticed nothing but pelones with tattoos all over. I asked the officer if this was protective custody because some of these guys looked scary. He told me it was the dropout tank. It was the tank that all the cholos go in after they drop out of their former gang. These guys want out, and basically will do whatever it takes. Most of the time, they have to snitch people out or become informants for the jail. I did not care, like I said, I think the fact that they were all cholos in there made my jail time experience an adventure. People started to ask me what I was in there for right away, as I was trying to settle into my bunk. It was then when Christian who was nicknamed (yeyo) came to my bunk and helped me tie my sheet onto my mattress. I’ve always had a big comfortable mattress with a clean sheet. In jail they give you a messed up sheet that you have to tie somehow onto your thin piece of mattress. Christian took a razor blade he had on his bunk and started cutting out holes on my sheet, so that he can tie it all together. I was really amazed and new to this living situation. I told him I was gay and that I got into it with my ex, and he just looked at me in my eyes and did not say anything after. I said thanks, and just went to lay on my bunk. I looked up at the dirty walls with graffiti everywhere and told myself to get used to this place because it was going to be my home until I get bailed out. Yeyo walked up to my bunk and asked me if I needed anything to just ask. I told him I was hungry, so he brought me a soup. I was very thankful that this guy was so nice to me and offered me stuff. There was about 19 other guys in our tank and they were all doing their own thing, but still paying attention to us. I thought,” could this guy be into me or something, and is that the reason why he is so nice to me?” Then I thought, no way, this guy has to be straight. He was very macho and I could not picture him doing anything gay from just observing him for 5 minutes. So I laid on my bed because that’s all I wanted to do when I first got there.
I remember laying down and being able to look across my bunk and watch what was going on inside the day room. I noticed Yeyo would sit there for hours and draw and write letters to his kids. He was so talented, and his art was unique. It was gangster art, and the art spoke for itself about pain, loneliness, and imprisonment. I remember growing up I would always notice letters coming to my house from prisons for my sisters, and the letters were filled with art and messages. I never understood what those letters and drawings were all about, until I got to experience it for myself. I remember Yeyo asked me if I wanted him to draw me something to send to my mom. I said not right now, but maybe later. So then I remember he wrote a little note as I was walking up to my bunk, and folded it into pieces. I then saw him walk towards me, and put it under my mattress and said don’t open it yet. I waited for about 5 minutes, then I opened up. The letter said, “Jorge please keep this between us, but I’m a GBG. I really think you are interesting, and I would like to get to know you a little more.” I had no idea what a GBG was, so I asked. He said it was a Gay Boy Gangster, a prison gang. I was surprised that he was even gay. He reminded me of one of those guys who came out in a bilatinmen.com porn, who I would never find out in the streets. He was tatted down, and had the most amazing body. He was very masculine. It was every gay man’s dream and all of this was just happening way to fast, that I felt like I was in a dream.
It was 10 o’clock and it was lockdown time. We all had to get to our bunks and crash out. I was never able to sleep in there because I always worked late and I was used to sleeping at 3 a.m. That night I passed out at about 4 a.m. and I would sleep all morning the next day. Yeyo and some of his friends would get up at 8 a.m. after lunch and workout. It was part of their program to workout and stay fit so that they don’t lose their mind from being locked up. I remember the first morning I noticed all these guys up early working out, I got excited. I mean who wouldn’t? In front of my eyes were all these cholos in their boxers working out with sweat dripping down their bodies. I remember I had my eyes on Yeyo though for a long minute, and saw him do pushups with 2 other guys on his back. It turned me on, but I just pretended to still be a sleep. I closed my eyes and right after I felt someone tickle my feet. I woke up and looked to my left, and it was Yeyo winking at me. After these guys do their sets, they walk a lap around the tank to keep their adrenalin pumping, so while he was walking his lap, he tapped me on my foot. This was my second day, and I remember thinking jail was gonna be fun, if this is what I will be waking up to every morning.
I had to wait for about a week to get my commissary packet with food and my hygiene products. In the meantime though, I just used Yeyos. I remember one night he invited me over to his bunk because he was going to make us some good dinner. I laughed for a second because I was thinking how cute this guy is to try to make me dinner in a jail cell. I did not care though, I was used to always having a guy take me out to dinner at a nice fancy restaurant. Those dinners were nice and I was spoiled with good food and drinks, but none were memorable. Yeyo took out a bunch of junk food that he bought from commissary, and started mixing stuff together. He grabbed a plastic bag and threw in two packs of noddles in there with hot water from the sink. After that he got hot cheetos, nacho cheese, popcorn, beans, and all kinds of other junk and mixed it together for a spread. I was so hungry, I did not care what was in that spread, I just wanted to eat. It was fun watching him make it, and then I thought how sad that this is what he has been doing for the last year. After that little dinner, he made us some coffee. We got away from everyone so that we can talk and enjoy our coffee together. Since we were both interested in each-other, we sat down for hours just picking each other’s brains. I got to learn his story about why he was in there. He was in there for robbery. He told me he was always out jacking fools, and that he would come up. When he finally got caught by the cops, he tried to fight them back and got beat down.
I shared my story, and he laughed and told me to go home. I certainly did not belong in there because I was always in school and working. I was going to make this time in there worth it, and I felt like I did. I felt like I was conducting a sociology experiment the whole time I was in there. I got along with Yeyo so well that I did not even pay attention to time. Our conversations never got boring, and I remember there were days where I would just watch him draw with his shirt off, for hours. When the hair clippers got passed around, we buzzed eachother heads, and I would trim his mustache. The other guys were starting to suspect though because he was with me all day long. Before I was there, he would chill with his other homies and when I got there, he spent his days with me. His friends were starting to suspect that he was gay because he was chillin with one all day. He told me he didn’t care and that if one of them said anything to him that he would crack them. Yeyo got me into reading all these books while I was in there, and they were the best books I had ever read. He was a very interesting guy that allowed me to come into his life. We always made eye contact because we just wanted to kiss, hug, and even shower together, but we couldn’t. I remember we would try to do sneaky stuff and not get caught by the other guys. He had me take him stuff in the shower like his soap on purpose, so I can see him naked. When I saw him naked, I think that’s when I fell in love.
This experience was very different because I’m used to meeting guys through websites or clubs, and truth was they never lasted. I got to hangout with Yeyo everyday and talk to him. He took care of me and even protected me. I went to court soon after, and I had a bail of $ 1,000. At that point, I didn’t care how long I stood in jail, as long as Yeyo was in there with me. My mom appeared in court and that night she bailed me out. I remember laying down next to Yeyo that night and the officer told me to roll it up. I asked what does that mean? He told me to roll my bed up because I was going home. I looked at Yeyo, and he was sad of course. He said,” go have fun and live your life.” I will be out in 3 years. I did not want to leave, but I had to. My mom traveled 150 miles to come rescue me. I grabbed my stuff and walked away. I had Yeyo’s info and all that written down. He told me to write him and let him know what I have been up to.
I came home that night with nothing. I had no clothes, just myself, and letters and drawings from jail. I wrote him for about 2 months and even talked to him over the phone. It was sad and it started depressing me. After those 2 months, I just stopped writing. I needed a guy who was there by my side, and he was 150 miles away behind bars. I did love him, but I was able to realize that I loved myself more and it was time to just back off. The whole situation really made me unhappy and I planned on leaving home again. I thought I was going to do better now, and that jail taught me my lesson. So I went back to live with my ex after a few months. I was still an alcoholic of course because he was one too. Alcohol has always complicated my life, and I think it will continue to do so for as long as I consume it. We got into an argument one night, so I grabbed some bleach and poured it all over his clothes in the closet. I then walked outside and smoked a cigarette while I waited for the cops to come arrest me.