The place: Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, WA.
The year: early 90’s
Gordon was entering his 35th year of incarceration for a variety of convictions, including 1st degree murder. Although he stands 5’8” and only weighs 140 lbs., he’s a heavy weight amongst his peers.
Don was entering his 18th year of incarceration for a variety of drug and weapon convictions.
One day the 62 year old Gordon approached the 35 year old Don and said, “Hey man, wanna make some easy money?”
Don gave him a skeptical look. “Doing what?” he asked.
Gordon turned and faced the handball courts, then said, “I got this fool right over there,” he pointed, “that says he can whip your ass at handball.”
Don says, “Who you pointing at? Larry?”
Gordon replies, “Yeah! You know him?”
“Not really,” Don says, “We’ve played a few games, but that’s about it.”
“I know,” Gordon says, “I watched you beat him yesterday. That’s how I know you can beat him. That’s why I want to bet on you!”
Don pauses for a second. Then asks, “How do you know he’ll bet?”
Gordon gets stern and says, “Listen, I already talked to him. It’s all set up. All you gotta do is bring your ‘A’ game and go whip his candy coated ass! Can you do that?”
Don is a little reluctant because he knows he could lose. Gordon watched ONE game that Don just so happened to win. That doesn’t mean Don will win all the time. There have been days when Don loses 3 or 4 games in a row to Larry. And vice versa.
But Don doesn’t want to look like a Chump to Gordon. So he says, “These shoes are trash,” as he shows the left side all blown out, I can’t run in these at all!”
Gordon is wearing a new pair of Nikes. He asks, “What size you wear?”
Don says, “10.”
“Here! These are 9 ½.,” As he slips them off.
Within seconds the shoe swap was done.
As they walk to the court Gordon says, “Win and I’ll hook you up with some of that sh*t.”
Don says, “Sounds good…I got this!”
The first game is a very close game. Don loses.
Before the second game starts, Gordon pulls Don aside and says, “Listen you little f*cker, I’m betting fifty bucks a game here! Now get your sh*t together and win!”
Don wins the second game.
Half way through the third game, Don grabs his chest and falls to the ground. He’s having a massive heart attack!
“Man Down…Man Down!!!!” Larry yells up to the gun tower. The guard calls a medical emergency.
Gordon runs out on the court and tries to untie his shoes that are on Don’s feet. But the guard up in the tower yells, “Get back! Get back NOW!”
Gordon backs up. It’s either that, or risk getting shot. These Walla Walla guards don’t play. They will shot and kill!
Within a few minutes a team of prison medics and guards are strapping Don to a big orange gurney.
Everyone is fairly quiet until Gordon yells out, “Hey man! Those are my shoes!!!”
A chorus of sick laughter ensues as a few dozen sick minds find humor in Gordon’s antics.
Within a few hours the news started to spread that Don died of a heart attack. Gordon never did get his shoes back.
And life in the Penitentiary went on.