Candy and Blood is a collection of essays about one man’s prison experience over the past 12 years.
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*Includes a 40-page glossary of prison terminology!

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The Dirtbag

When I say that my cellie Ray was a shameless, filthy, unrepentant dirtbag, rest assured that I’m telling the truth. When you live in a tiny cell, everything is compounded, made exponentially more aggravating or disgusting thanks to the simple fact that two grown men are essentially inhabiting a closet with a toilet. I don’t […]

Eating Fire

I was on the floor with my stomach in my back, which means I was broke and starving. It also means there was no way I was going to miss chow, even though prison chili isn’t exactly a gourmet meal or even all that appetizing. The familiar warm, sour smell of food going to rot […]

True to his Word

This excerpt is from Candy and Blood, available on now. Sometimes when a fuming, irate inmate is threatening to beat someone’s ass, he’s not just blowing off steam or spouting machismo. Sometimes, if given a sliver of opportunity, he will carry out each and every threat he utters. Eight o’clock in the morning is […]

The Power of Taylor Swift

“Nah man, forget that. You on some bullshit.” “Whatchu say?” “You heard me.” “Man, I ain’t with all this woofing, so why don’t you do something?” “You don’t want none of this.” “Yeah, sounds good. Just step to me, and we’ll see who’s the vic.” “I ain’t no vic!” The machismo was palpable in the […]

Open Wide

Going to the dentist can be intimidating enough, but having a wisdom tooth removed by a prison dentist is a whole other kind of scary. === “Go ahead and open wide for me.” Never before had more terrifying words been spoken to me. They were made even more sinister by the tone of good-natured banality […]

Robbie the Cell Rat

This excerpt is from Candy and Blood, available on now. When a guy in prison chooses to grow a large beard, he is generally perceived to be at least a bit of a bug. This embracing of one’s hirsuteness is usually interpreted as a descent into depression and a loss of one’s will to […]

Porcupine Chicken

It doesn’t matter who a person is or how much money he may have on the books, there will come a time in prison when his stomach’s in his back and he’s feening for just about anything to quell his hunger. It may be because commissary is so far behind schedule that he hasn’t hit […]

Brady’s Birdcage Tale

My buddy Brady had both done time in The Birdcage, so when the topic came up, we began swapping stories in a strange and twisted competition to see who had witnessed the most disturbing thing during his tenure in the infamously violent maximum security cell house. Eventually I had to concede victory to him. When […]

A Despicable Reflex

I did not know this man; I had never laid eyes on him before he entered the visiting room. He walked past the table where I sat with my visitor and gave me a harsh glare full of meanness—that hard prison stare that many guys develop shortly after their arrival. At first, this look is […]

A Chemical Imbalance

This week’s post is an excerpt from Candy and Blood. Available on now. Blood and feces mixed in a sticky mess across the floor and against the thinly padded walls. The pungent aroma was beyond awful, and I couldn’t imagine bleach or disinfectant ever dispatching it entirely. I also couldn’t imagine why anyone would […]