Last Stand, Section One, A Story From 30 Pieces of Silver

Like all good prison stories, it’s best to start at the beginning. But that’s the problem: I don’t remember where the beginning is. About a week ago, my friends, brother and I woke up in a cell in this prison. Now you may say to yourself:

“Frank, every fucking guy in prison either can’t remember why he’s there or is innocent.”

I’m Frank and I’m not bullshitting. John, Mike, Ray and I woke up in a prison cell and our belongings are gone, we’re in the typical prison uniforms. You know, like hospital scrubs.

Anyway, this is the first day they have let us out of our cell. We ate in the cafeteria with other inmates and then we were moved to a day room to watch a baseball game. It’s the first time since arriving here that we’ve seen other people. Once we walked into the dayroom, it seemed like the plan was that we never walk out.

Once Ray stepped foot into the room, someone hit him over the head with a broomstick. It cracked in half. Ray dropped to the ground; Mike, John and I were swinging. John picked up the two halves of the broomstick and used them as a pair of daggers.

John stabbed two guys, Mike was punching anything that moved, and I downed a few people with a folding chair. Now, Ray, Ray was another matter. He was bleeding from his head. Seconds after they knocked him down, he stabbed this guy named Teddy with a pencil. Teddy dropped to the ground. What happened next changed everything. Ray dragged Teddy to the back of the room. None of us took notice as we were all in the middle of a riot.

Between swinging the chair at anything that came near me, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. Ray got caught up in the surrounding insanity. I shook my head to clear it and then looked back over; Ray was raping Teddy while sticking the pencil in his neck.

I dropped the chair, fell to my knees and threw-up. The prison lockdown sirens blared, and the guards came through the door with shields and tear gas.

They hit me with a baton until I lay down. Once down I was handcuffed with zip-ties.

They dragged me, John, Mike, and Ray to solitary confinement.

I’m not sure how long we’ve been in prison. A week, two weeks, I’m not sure. I’ve never been in a shared yard outside. It wasn’t until the day of the riot that any of us had been let out of our cell. So, we hadn’t been to a cafeteria or a day room. Once we were let out, it seemed as if they scheduled us to die.

Every afternoon when the guard, Rhodes, would wheel the lunch cart around, he would give each of us our lunch tray and a large white pill that we had to take in front of him. A little thimble of a plastic cup with the pill inside and a glass of water to wash it down. Then Rhodes would say:

“Open your mouth. Lift your tongue. Next.”

Rhodes would repeat this three more times and move on.

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30 Pieces of Silver


30 Pieces of Silver Signing

Come and get a copy of 30 Pieces of Silver signed in person!

30 Pieces of Silver

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30 Pieces of Silver

First Chapter of 30 Pieces of Silver

The first chapter of 30 Pieces of Silver is available as a download:

30 Pieces of Silver

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30 Pieces of Silver

30 Pieces of Silver by Michael Essington Official Commercial

Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling author Michael Essington presents his latest gritty and insightful book 30 Pieces of Silver. Available now from Essex Digital Media.

“Michael Essington’s book does an excellent job of delivering this tale of depraved despair with a steady one-two-punch rhythm that hurts like hell while still being impossible to put down.”

-James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces and My Friend Leonard

Visit Michael Essington at:

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Hard Times, A Story From Broken


I had been in a fog for two weeks, back when I was trying to get Life Won’t Wait knocked out and the chapbook finished (both on a shoe-string budget) that I was, sort of, feeling sorry for myself. Then two things I saw this week changed my point of view.

First, there is a Hispanic guy that scours this area for cans and bottles. I couldn’t place an age on him, he’s weather-worn and beat down. Shopping cart and numerous Hefty bags full of recycled goodies. I see this guy every few days around Northridge. If I have any plastics, I give them to him. Well, on Monday I saw him dealing crack about a mile from my place. I had to do a double-take, weird moment when our eyes met.

On Tuesday I popped into a Jack-in-the-box for a cup of coffee. And I see the afternoon manager at the local 7-11 camped out in one booth with her boyfriend. Their phone plugged into one outlet and all their backpacks filling the seats at the table. She works her shift, camps out and then a few hours before her next shift they go somewhere to clean up and change then she comes to work.

Later that day I had to pick something up from that very 7-11 and she rang me up. Again, that awkward moment when she looked at me.

To quote Lacy J. Dalton: “Honey, we ain’t got no hard times, we ain’t got no hard times at all.”

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Accordion, A Story From Broken


Soon as I get to the door, some chunky guy pushes his way through while playing the accordion. Followed by five of his friends, each holding a case of beer.

Maybe it’s me, but this was not one of those moments where Charlie Sheen would’ve said, “Winning!”

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Racism, A Story From Broken


I ran up to 7-11 to get my son some Wite-Out. He told me at 8:30 that he will need it for a class project tomorrow morning at 9:00.

I buzzed the store, the girl on the phone said they had it. I would have just driven to Target or something, but tonight the wife has a meeting and had the car.
So, I walk into the Oasis of overpriced shit. I find the aisle with pencils, glue sticks, and assorted crap.

I bend over to check everything on the bottom of the rack, a Hispanic guy in a beanie comes barreling down the row, hollering, “Excuse me, excuse me. Oh, you’re white I guess you may take up all the room you want.”

I stood up, looked to see where my son was. He was questioning the cashier on the whereabouts of this very elusive Wite-out.

I headed towards the back of the store to thump my new racist friend.

Just as I have him pressed against the glass door for the Cerveza, my son calls out, “Hey dad, the lady says they don’t have Wite-out.” I walk away.

As we head towards the front door my new amigo yells out, “I have no money!” Then says “Hey, buddy, do you have any cash for me?”

Just as I was entertaining shoving the beanie up his ass the clerk yelled at him to stop bothering the customers and to leave.

I waited around for a second, kind of hoping to lay this guy out. He opened the door, looked both ways, then ran the opposite direction down the street.

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