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Ask an ex-con (almost) anything

Discussion in 'Prisonscape' started by PekkaK, May 19, 2014.

  1. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Not with a probation officer breathing down your neck. You gonna have to get a job or be a fucking quadriplegic.
     
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  2. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    It is indeed a dark day, bros. I found out yesterday my friend and former cell mate Ramirez, who I've talked about multiple times in this thread, was busted late last month on a drug conspiracy charge. I can't tell you how bad this disappoints and hurts me. I really believed he was going to stay away from that shit.
     
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  3. Chad J. Thundercock Cipher Patron Possibly Retarded

    Chad J. Thundercock
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Just curious, but do you think people returning to crime after getting out are a fault of the system (like lack of opportunities for jobs, lack of support from anyone else on the outside or no proper rehabilitation) or do some people just have no other option or are just drawn to it?
     
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  4. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    It's both. I can't speak about Ramirez because I don't know what it was going through or how he got started with it again. There's really nothing inside or outside as far as rehabilitation goes to prevent people from reoffending, so if there was there would be a lot less recidivism.

    But there are some people who are just drawn to that lifestyle and can't pull away and as much as I hate to say it, I think that had to be a lot of it Ramirez. I'll also tell you that for a lot of people, especially those drawn to it, the thing that is the nail in the coffin for them is hanging out with the same people or types or people they were when they were doing illegal shit, because that almost guarantees they'll return to that lifestyle. Ramirez is charged with conspiracy and was busted with some other dude, so that's probably a lot to do with it too.

    I remember the couple of months in prison where the hooch was flowing like water and we were all getting drunk every night. It was a weird time, but after that I looked at Ramirez totally different, because he just became a totally different person. Not really even mean or reckless, just different. He started spinning out of control quick. It was like every night with him once we got him started and I felt bad about it and started to worry, so that's why we stopped and eventually he did too. But what it made me realize was it was very easy for him to get caught up in something cause he went with whatever the crowd was doing. I wouldn't call it peer pressure, because I don't think he actually felt pressured into doing it, but it was a similar idea.

    It's also fully possible he started using coke again and became addicted and for a lot of people once they develop a drug habit they turn to selling to pay for it. I saw his mug shot and he had definitely aged, not terribly, but noticeably.
     
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  5. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    You'd be in jail again as well, were it not for the RPG CODEX, the website that changed your life for the better.
     
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  6. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    God I hope that's not true.
     
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  7. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    I received a letter from my friend Dave the other day. He's an older guy I played D&D with. He had a bad health problem recently where he had to have a triple by pass and get a pace maker put in. Apparently he flat lined during the surgery.

    He's at Butner now, which is a medical facility and bizarrely only about 15 minutes from me but I can't visit him (because rules).

    Anyway, he seems to be doing well and told me about all of the people he ran into that we knew from Petersburg. Also, apparently the influx of drugs is so bad there they're banning all non-white paper letters, which is insane. No color paper, cards, envelopes, stickers, print outs, posters, pictures, glitter... That's insane. Can you imagine someone who has kids not being able to get drawings from them in crayon and people not getting birthday cards?

    Also, I stay in regular contact with a buddy of mine from PB and he was telling me that there's a rumor they're going to tear down the chow hall and Richmond and Lee Hall. Now, if you've been reading this thread I've talked about how fucked up Lee & Richmond Hall are before. Old as fuck, dilapidated. The rumor they would be torn down had existed even when I was there. Same for the chow hall. But it seems this time they're serious.This means shipping maybe 600+ people off the compound. Holy shit.

    Check out the map I posted awhile back to see how major that would be.

    It also means that people who have been there forever will leave and it's already happening. A dude I knew and played frisbee with named Steve (we called him Big Steve cause he was 6'8", also Big Dummy because he ran around on the field like a stupid Golden Retriever puppy) is getting transferred and when they do these fast transfers they give you maybe a days notice. So he had to say good bye to everyone he's been doing time with for over 7 years and be uprooted from a place he's that comfortable with and used to. I lost a couple of people that way and it really is tough. I was lucky in that I left before a lot of my closest friends did and the people I hung out with mostly left around the same time.

    But I think about guys like Dave who is really the only member of my close crew left after me, Tom, Ramirez (all went home) and Fig left (transferred about 5 months before I went home) and think that it must have been weird for them. Now, Tom did get D&D going again after I left with a new crew and I think he tried to keep it going for Dave so he'd have that after he left, but the new DM got transferred immediately after and killed that. Now Dave has been transferred to Butner and has to adjust to that. Sucks. He's from NC, so it's closer, but he's lost basically all his family in the last 3 years.

    But the good news is at Butner he is playing in 3 different D&D campaigns.

    Occasionally I'll ask my buddy at PB to say "what's up?" to someone for me only to find out they went home or were transferred. I realized that if I went back, I wouldn't recognize almost anyone and it would be a totally difference experience.

    I also found out T-Rex, who I've also talked about before, got a bad infection in his leg and was transferred to a medical facility in Missouri (FCI Springfield). Word is, they amputated that leg :(

    It seems like just yesterday so these drastic changes are weird to hear about... but then I realize it's been YEARS.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
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  8. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    Do you know Big Herc? Do you bust cheeks or split wigs?
     
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  9. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Haha, yes, I watch his videos. Funny enough, I only recently discovered his videos while looking for a video to post here. He did time in the feds too, although he did time at rougher spots than I did (UPS's), but there's still a lot of similarities. I'd say 90% of what he says I can relate to and at least 75% is exactly how it was where I was at.

    "You go stinking up the cell, you're gonna get your wig split."
     
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  10. Ninjerk Arcane

    Ninjerk
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    The way he talks about doing time is hilarious. "Don't let nobody take ya cheeks."
     
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  11. Binky Learned

    Binky
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    I've got a couple of questions for ya:
    • Now that you've been out for a while, is making new friends & dating still hard? More importantly, does the "You're a criminal!" brand ever go away (or at least fades with time)?
    • Any positive changes to your personality (more resilient, prudent, etc.)?
    • What would you do if you ever went back to prison?
    Thanks for all the posts in this thread, btw. Been informative reading this over the years.
     
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  12. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    It gets easier. I don't think about it as much now and it's not like when I got out, when I felt like everyone knew or at least would find out in short order after getting to know me. That actually hasn't happened at all and most people I've gotten to know over the years since getting out have no idea about my past. Those that do don't care or in one case of the person who has become my closest friend since getting out have a past themselves.

    Part of the reason it's become easier is I kinda got forced to become social because of the nature of my business (resell and online resell, mostly antiques). I go to a lot of auctions, thrift shops, estate sales, etc. and there's a regular cast of characters you get to know. You want to do good business with these people so you forge friendships along the way.

    Dating, though, that's still a bitch and the reason is that in the back of my mind I know that if stuff gets serious I'll eventually have to have "the talk" with them and if I really like them and feel we could really have something it's scary because if they totally reject me when they find out it would be crushing.

    I recently decided to ask this girl that works at a thrift shop I go to all the time out. I've been attracted to her for years. She's extremely hot but also has a down to Earth and kind personality. She was surprised when I asked and looked a little embarrassed (shyness, I hope), but said yes, so we'll see how that goes. I don't know how much we will end up having in common but, and not to be crude or say this is my only agenda, if I could just fuck her I'd be happy lol.

    As part of my probation I have to see a therapist once a month. Not kidding. It's just something they started doing in the district I live in and a lot of other ones around the country too. The guy thinks I don't need to do it anymore and is working on convincing Probation to discharge me from that program. It started out as once a week group "therapy" when I first got out. Basically they divide people up into groups of 10 - 15 people and you meet and it's more of a support group and it was actually helpful when I first got out and was struggling because it gave me people to talk to who understood what I was going through.

    But eventually it became stupid and I kept trying to go down to once a month having to go and the company they contracted to run the groups was bullshitting because they wanted me to keep coming bi-monthly because it meant more money for them. Eventually that company lost the contract and this new guy takes over and he after talking to me one time takes me out of group and now is working on getting me taken out of it all together. He's also got the PO to ease up on some restrictions. Dude has been pretty awesome, I must say.

    Anyway, the point of all of that is that he's been trying to get me to date more and pursue a romantic relationship. He's even offered to sit down, for free, with me and the chick I start dating if said chick has concerns about my past.

    At first I was like "I'm not against it, but I'm not really prioritizing that," but over the last couple of months my desire to get involved in a romantic relationship has increased. It would just be nice to have someone to have fun with on that level and do things with. Also, to fuck.

    I'm definitely more resilient. I'm tough as fuck now. It's like "Shit, I've been to prison. This is NOTHING." I'd say I'm more prudent as well. I'm also better organized and more driven. That has to do with a combination of keeping everything in a small locker for years, but also wanting more for myself. In addition, when you do time with successful Fortune 500 CEOs and other high profile people and have conversations with them about business and success it really does motivate you and when you recall those conversations you do believe that if you put your mind to it you can do whatever. In less than a year I've increased my income probably 500%. I bought a new car (post about that below). I have awesome credit.

    I also have a lot more empathy for people, but that does have limits. When I see someone ask me for money every day for a week I'm just like "Dude, get a job and get your shit together. I did almost 6 years in fucking prison and look where I am. Get. Your Shit. Together."

    I wouldn't say I was a push over before, but I definitely put up with more than I should. Now if someone is causing me problems or trying to take advantage of me I will put a stop to it immediately.


    I'll never go back to prison and I don't mean that in a "I'll never do anything to get myself sent back" kind of way, although that's true, I mean I'll never let them take me back. You can read between the lines on that one.

    But in some fantasy scenario where I did go back if I got sent back to where I was I'd probably reconnect with my friend sstill there. But if not, I'd keep quite, stay low and wouldn't really get to know anyone. Very different than how I did my time. I'd just be productive as possible and use the time wisely, but I wouldn't try to make friends or even have fun. The thing is, I've already had to leave friends and things I liked in prison behind once and that was super hard and it should never be hard to leave prison.

    I didn't know how it would be when I got out, but all that shit seems like a distant memory now. It doesn't even seem real. I know the truth now and that only the stain of prison remains... all the things you thought were real and tangible, with a few notable exceptions (me and my friend and ex cell mate Tom text daily), aren't. They fade quick and hard. So there's no reason to get to know anyone or get too comfortable in prison, because that shit is like dust in the wind once you get out. It's like you might as well returned back to Earth from an alien planet.

    Crazy it's been YEARS since this started. When I was approached my Pekka to do this thread after I reached out to him, I wasn't long out of prison. I was very different. I wanted to do this mainly because I needed a place to express myself and get things out. So thank you and everyone here for reading.

    The Codex was a major part of my recovery.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  13. Lambach Arcane

    Lambach
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    You didn't go to prison because you raped someone or because you were selling heroin to 6-year-olds, but because you tried to scam some money and didn't even actually do it. If that alone is a deal breaker for someone, that someone sounds pretty fucking boring to begin with.
     
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  14. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    I bought a new car bros:

    This was two weeks ago and I forgot to mention it, but as a major development in my life I purchased a brand new car:

    2019 Crosstrek 2.0i Limited

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    (Obviously these pictures are from the Subaru website but this is exactly what my car looks like, inside and out. I was too lazy to take pictures when it's 100 degrees outside)
     
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  15. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    That's true. A lot of it is I magnify it to much in my head, but another part of it is that society does, so anyone with that "F" for felon beside their name is automatically cast into a stigma regardless of the circumstances. And, the reality is, because of this there are a lot of things as a felon I can't do or are difficult. I think it'll get easier once I'm off probation too, because that's most of it right there.

    Like imagine if I had a girl over and my PO showed up to do a home visit or if she wanted to go on a trip out of down on the weekend.

    "Hey Garland, let's do something crazy this weekend and drive somewhere!"

    "Okay, sure, where were you thinking?"

    "I don't know... let's go to Charleston!"

    "Um, honey, I'll have to call my PO and get permission to travel to go there... and it's Thursday so I might not be able to do it in time..."

    Really fucks things up.
     
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  16. ItsChon Scholar Patron

    ItsChon
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    Amazing work man, I really appreciate you taking the time to post all of this. You write very well and it's a pleasure to read. Now for my questions.

    I saw your post detailing the physical fitness of inmates, and just wanted to followup on that. What would the chances of someone who's an average joe off the street defending himself in a fight if it came down to it; what about someone who's fairly active and strong with some training?

    How long did it take for you to finally acclimate to prison life?

    Any regrets of something that might have happened in prison or relationships you wished you kept/followed up on?

    Thanks!
     
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  17. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Thanks man

    It depends on how crazy they're willing to get. An average Joe can destroy a big strong inmate if he's willing to pick up a shank or a broom handle. Likewise a big strong tough inmate will get their shit busted up if the average Joe has a shank or broom handle or fire extinguisher, etc.

    There is no honor or rules in a prison fight, so while size, fitness and skills can matter, it by no means sets outcomes in stone. If I knew someone was coming at me you better believe I'd be strapped with a shank and have a cup of boiling baby oil and Magic Shave close by ready to toss it on them.

    I actually had an easier time figuring prison out than I did figuring the real world back out after I got out. I spent my first few months in jail and jail is quite different than prison, but it also is a good place to learn the basics and experience some of the worst. It feels all uphill once you've been in jail awhile.

    So jail I figured out pretty quick because I had too. It was less pressing when I got to prison because the consequences of fucking up were actually less there than jail. I'd say it probably took me a week to get to the point where I wasn't doing anything so off that it put me at risk of getting into trouble and within a month I pretty much had shit figured out, although it took me about that long to get comfortable and figure out what I wanted to do. The first couple weeks I didn't know what to do with myself. It didn't help that I'd been in jail for months where movement was basically zero to a place where I could actually move around. I'd just go down to the gym during the day and there was this guy who played guitar. I don't even remember his name. He was from Tennessee and real country. He was young, though, and about my age. I'd just hang out with him and listen to him play. Within a month I barely saw that guy anymore because when I figured out my routine he wasn't in it.

    It helped that the first day I was there I met who would become my first cell mate, Tom (not the same Tom who posted here for awhile, this was a different one). He was also from NC and we just got along. He was older than me, in his early 40's at the time and he only had a year so he wasn't there for much of my time. But he really showed me the ropes.

    By the time he left I pretty much had stuff figured out. About a week after meeting Tom I also met Justin and Travis, who were closer to my age and became my first close friends. Eventually Travis went home and Justin went to the Camp.

    By the time Tom left about 8 months in I pretty much had shit down, but not really. When I moved in with who would become one of my closet friends, Fig, and started hanging around with him and our mutual friend Drew, who were both around my age, that's things felt "normal."

    About 3 years in though is when I really hit my stride. I knew how everything worked, I knew everything, I was established, I had a hustle, I had a seat in the TV room, I had seniority, I had a routine. Once you know the right people well enough, COs included, shit gets easy.

    I need to think about this one. I'll get back to you.
     
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  18. PekkaK Heaviest Matter Developer

    PekkaK
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    Shit, it's been over four years since we started a dialogue with Garland. It has been great to see how things seem to have worked out for him, and I still follow this thread with dedication. Man, we should really have a proper chat someday on Skype or something.

    It's a shame that the game itself has been on hiatus for a long while now. It is still being developed, but veeeery slowly due to various reasons, including family stuff.
     
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  19. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    How long is your Parole anyway?
     
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  20. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Hey man, good to hear from you. Good to hear the game isn't dead. We should definitely chat sometime, just let me know.

    5 years. I have less than a year left now.

    And it's probation, not parole. Parole no longer exists in the federal system. The difference is probation (called "Supervised Release" in the feds) is a set term in which you are assigned a probation officer and are monitored and restricted in certain ways after your prison sentence is complete. It's a separate thing.

    Parole is the same thing (parole officer, restrictions and monitoring) except people are put on parole if they are granted it. For example, an inmate in prison is eligible for parole and goes before a parole board. He's done 4 years and has 6 left. The board decides he's has good enough behavior and has changed enough to justify him being released before his sentence is complete. He will then be on parole for the rest of what would have been his prison sentence. If he fucks up, he gets sent back to finish it out in prison.
     
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  21. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Okay, I thought about this one.

    I don't know if I regret anything in prison really. I mean hindsight is 20/20, right? So I'm sure I would have handled certain things differently, but I made it out in one piece and it went pretty smoothly relatively speaking and as someone who believes that one little change in the past could change much more than intended I wouldn't change anything.

    The only thing that I kinda regret is I distanced myself from my friend Ramirez my last couple of years. We were really close, but then I just kinda started hanging with a different crew and he started hanging with more of the Spanish guys. That was really the only reason, but I liked Ramirez a lot and near the end of my time I was in my bunk sleeping one day and my celly and him were playing Scrabble in the cell and I was a little pissed because they woke me up. I got over it pretty quick, but I didn't hide my negativity well and Ramirez saw it and it made him uncomfortable and feel unwelcome. I always felt bad about that. When he got out a few months after me he called me from the halfway house, then I never heard from him again. Recently I found out he got in trouble again.

    As for relationships from the outside while I was in prison I do wish I hadn't lost touch with just about everyone. Many wrote and even visited me at first, but then fell off the face of the Earth. I haven't bothered trying to reach out to them since my release. I just assume they moved on with their lives. In one case I got in touch with a friend from the outside about 3 years into my sentence. She was cautious talking to me at first, not sure about what happened, but then opened up and we talked for awhile. Then she disappeared and when I got out I texted her and she replied "please don't even contact me again." I'm like WTF? I have no idea why. I didn't and I kinda regret ever inviting her back in my life.

    In another case, I reached out to an ex-girlfriend after my release only to realize we were totally different people. It was kinda a depressing realization.

    There were a couple of people from the outside I didn't contact and I regret not keeping up with them. One of them was my former boss who was running for Congress. My actions could have really fucked up his campaign. Fortunately, they didn't, and I've always wanted to apologize but never did because I was afraid he'd reject me. The thing was, I looked up to him a lot and at the time, meeting and befriending him was one of the best things that had ever happened to me because he really changed my outlook on a lot of things.

    As for in prison relationships, there's a few people I lost touch with I regret. The #1 is Ramirez. Outside of that most of the people I was really close with are still in prison and I still keep up with them, but there's a few, especially from early in my time, that I do wish I'd stayed in touch with. Back then I felt I had so much time left I wasn't even thinking about post-prison yet.

    There was also a girl from Germany, Veronika, who started writing me in prison after I signed up for one of those prison penpal websites. She write me every month I was there and a couple times when I got out but once I got out I think she felt like she wasn't needed anymore. I liked her though. I was going to try to see if we could start chatting when I got out.
     
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  22. ItsChon Scholar Patron

    ItsChon
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    Thanks for the response brother, it definitely made me feel emotional; doubly so because I'm absolutely awful at keeping in touch with people. I'll post again when I think of some new shit.
     
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  23. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Hang on, so a probation is in effect even after your sentence is done? And that's a default addition to your sentence?
     
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  24. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    Sounds good!

    Yep and everyone who does time in the feds gets some term of "Supervised Released." The minimum in most cases is 3 years and many sentences do have mandatory minimums. I got 5 years, which is the average people receive now and what was suggested in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for most case. The guidelines used to be mandatory, but the Supreme Court said if they were mandatory it was unconstitutional in United States v. Booker. Now they're simply "suggestive," but most 90% Judges -- and I mean like 90% of them -- still treat the guidelines like they're the gospel and stick to them ridgedly.

    Some people, particularly sex offenders, and not just hands on offenders either, are now getting a LIFETIME of supervised release.
     
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  25. GarlandExCon Arcane

    GarlandExCon
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    So update on this: I was extremely busy all weekend with this crazy ass 3-day auction I went to but I left early Saturday basically because I ran out of money and to go out with her. She wanted to go see the new Mission Impossible movie, which surprised me although I don't know why. It surprised me in a good way, though, because I thought she might want to see whatever rom-com is out now. I'd already seen it, but pretended I didn't.

    After the movie we got something to eat. I asked her where she wanted to eat. This is not a fancy girl. She was thinking whatever fast food place. She loves Bojangles. I know this because she's always eating it in the store. I am not a fan and thankfully none were near us, but I suggested it at first to show I cared about her and she seemed to notice. Thankfully the nearest one was about 20 minutes away so she sees The Waffle House and suggestions it and I almost came.

    I was like "you keep saying things like that before this might is over we might be married."

    The thing is, I love TWH. I eat there once a week and order the same thing and oddly enough it's always right after I get done seeing her at the thrift shop she works at. So I guess in a funny way I associate hashbrowns and waffles with her and the wonderful way she smells. I know that sounds weird, but I guess the best way to put it is imagine you see a sexy ass girl you're attracted too, she smiles at you as you talk for an hour, she smells good. Then you go eat TWH and you're still thinking about her as you eat their delicious food. So that's why there's a connection.

    So we ate there and it was kinda like a coming full circle now eating at TWH with her instead of doing it and thinking about her.

    And, in the middle of my conversation, I decided to just confess this to her: that I eat at TWH once a week, it's always after seeing her and I'm usually still thinking about her when I do. I say to her "I think you should come with me for now on."

    And, I don't know bros, she really liked this. I think she soaked the entire table. From that moment there was a magnetism like we wanted to just launch into each other. In the car, taking her back to her house I felt it. I actually started getting nervous because I'm still not on my game yet post-prison.

    I pull up to her house and walk her to her door. I'm waiting for her to ask me to come in, but she doesn't and I could see it in her face that she wanted to but decided to pump the breaks. But she gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek and then started to turn and then came back in, pushed her entire body against me and gave me a kiss on the lips, very minimal tongue but it was there. It lasted about 5 seconds and I hard as a diamond in a coal mine.

    Then she went home, I left, got home and furiously masturbated. I'm not ashamed.

    So today I decide I have to go see her. I drive to where she works and then remember on Monday they're closed, but as if some divine provenance she was there doing some inventory! Alone. In an empty locked store. Together.

    But nothing happened. I did ask her if we could go out again soon and she said "of course!" and was happy about it. Then I had a proposal for her: she had mentioned to me that she wanted to make some extra money (no, this is not going where you think it is!) and I need some help with my business, doing things like cleaning items to list on ebay. But also, I need a hot girl to model clothes and hold up things like signs. When a person holds up a sign people get a better idea of its size, and if there's a pair of tits in the background, even better.

    So she offers to help me for free, I tell her I want to pay or something and we go back and forth and then she says: "we'll work something out."

    Does she want to get paid in D?

    Then her mom calls, who owns the place, and who also loves me, and tells her she needs her to help with something. I was going to ask her if she wanted lunch, but instead I asked if she wanted to come with me to eat at TWH on Wednesday when I'm in town and she asks her mom there on the phone if she can cover for a couple hours and when her mom asks why and she tells her mom is totally on board. LIke I said, she loves me.

    So that's where things stand. Now I need an idea of a cool date to take her on this coming weekend. Any ideas?
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
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