A Letter from the Biggest, Meanest-Looking Guy in the Prison Yard, by Erik Voss


D-39 INMATE No. 57073

Welcome, new inmates!

On your first day in this state correctional facility, you’re likely to feel a great deal of pressure to prove yourself quickly. New inmates typically assume that if they don’t immediately earn the acceptance of, say, the Aryan Brotherhood, Mara Salvatrucha, or the Al-Qaeda Alumni Network, they’ll most certainly spend the rest of their sentences getting gang-raped in the showers.

It’s like high school all over again!

That said, coming from the biggest, meanest-looking guy in the prison yard, please, don’t walk up and punch me in the face.

I get it. You’re trying to make a name for yourself. You figure that if the other guys see that you have the balls to take a swing at the big dog on day one, then no one will mess with you. It’s not a bad strategy. It’s just not an original one, either.

Over the years, dozens of fish have spotted my 7’2’’, 310-pound frame, my tattoos of motorcycles made out of bones, and the burn scars covering half my face, and thought: “That’s the one.” I can see the resolve in their eyes as they march nervously across the basketball court, and, before even taking a moment to learn a little about me, my hobbies, or my thoughts on The Kite Runner, BAM! Right in the teeth.

I once thought that having hands that could crush a man’s skull would be a plus in the slammer. But it’s brought me nothing but trouble. Ever since the previous biggest, meanest-looking guy, Maddox – 7’6’’, 330 lbs, with 33 teardrop tattoos on his neck for the victims of his orphanage arsons – got released due to overcrowding, I’ve found myself slouching in the mess hall to not stick out too much. At one point I got the idea to try various tricks of perspective with large clothing and props to make myself appear smaller, like the hobbits in the Lord of the Rings movie they screened on Easter. That didn’t work either – the guys working laundry couldn’t find a jumpsuit larger than XXXL, and eating my soup with this novelty-sized spoon isn’t fooling anybody.

Of course, it doesn’t help that the next-biggest guy, Rocco, is a former Giants linebacker who knows he’s next in line and has been meticulously watching his figure. And he politely asked me to stop crouching behind him in the showers.

It just wears you down after a while. Emotionally, I mean. I used to be the kind of guy who could make new friends anywhere, but nowadays people treat me like I’m a prized buffalo to mount proudly on their cell walls next to their Megan Fox posters.

Remember: I’m a human being. A plain ol’ curb-stompin’ rapist, just like you.

We’re a family here. So while you earn your street cred over the next few days, keep in mind that targeting me for my appearance is a cheap shot, not to mention a rude, apelike attempt at dominance.

Also, I’ll fucking destroy you.


Randall (Inmate No. 57073)

Erik Voss is a writer and performer living in Los Angeles. He hosts the Evil Blond Kid podcast and performs on the house team Wheelhouse at the iO West Theater.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit, send an email to Brian Boone.

A Letter from the Biggest, Meanest-Looking Guy in the […]