The Dallas Pet Penitentiary had never seen an inmate like me. With three platinum records and a Grammy, I was a celebrity behind bars. I was also a target. And for a thug trying to boost his rep among the other inmates, I represented a golden opportunity. I was an icon in the gangsta-rapping, panty-raiding pug community. Take me down, and you had instant respect.
Such was the goal of Hedgie, leader of the Chew Toy Mafia. The CTMs were some of the baddest prisoners in the pound. The group was made up of thieves, biters and carpet-shredders. They were more cunning than the Bloods and the Crips, more vicious than the Aryan Yorkie Brotherhood. Hedgie expected everyone in the pound to live by his rules. When he ambled down the hall, others stepped aside. When he went to the cafeteria, he moved to the front of the line. And everybody was expected to pay him a weekly rawhide tax. With that rigid stance, there was bound to be friction between us. You see, nobody – nobody! – came between me and my rawhide.
When Hedgie’s goons showed up at my cell to collect, I told them to scram. When they balked, I raised my hackles and kicked my back leg to let them know I meant business. "Don’t make me puncture your squeakers, punks," I growled. They got the message. After a couple more days, Hedgie knew he had a problem. I was challenging his authority – and earning the admiration of the other inmates in the process. Finally, he came to my cell to issue an ultimatum. "Pay up, pug," he said, standing outside my locked cell door. "You owe me five sticks of rawhide – plus interest. Deliver it to my cell by noon tomorrow, or else. I’ll be waiting."
I let out a low growl as my natural rawhide-defense mechanism kicked in. "You’ll be waiting a long time, Hedgie," I barked. "You want my rawhide, you’re going to have to take it."
Furious, Hedgie marched back to his cell. The fur was about to fly.
To be continued