As the electric door at United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg slides shut with it's ominous metallic clang, Bernard Madoff finds himself alone, lacking the freedom, money and power that exemplified his life. An aging, white Jew--scion of society--sentenced to 150 long in the harsh world that is the Federal Correctional system.
But Madoff is an enterprising, resilient type, and soon, he settles into the prison routine.
He learns, quickly, that it is best to not make eye contact with other inmates, to listen to the screws, and to avoid the confrontations that cause lesser men to become a prison bitch or worse--dead.
Soon, Madoff settles into his routine. He takes a job in the prison's library; and, he helps other inmates learn to read, encouraging them to check out books, and improve themselves in ways that they never imagined. Sure, there is resistance, but Madoff is wise enough to walk away....
One afternoon, while shooting hoops, Madoff is approached by several large, mean and very black inmates.
"Yo, Jewboy, give us the ball," says one--an inmate called Nushawn Gonzales.
Madoff knows that people are watching, and he pauses, then continues dribbling. He puts up a sweet fade away jumper that hits the bottom with little more than the rustling of the net.
"Yo, Jewboy. I'm talkin' to you," Gonzales says.
"And, I am playing basketball." Madoff grabs the rebound and lays the ball up, watching it kiss the backboard, finding the hole. He knows that he has crossed his own Rubicon.
Gonzales moves toward Madoff, who stands his ground.
"Some one's gonna get hurt, Kike."
"And," says Madoff, "that someone is you." Madoff grabs Nushawn by his loose-fitting shirt, pulling him closer. Bernie gives up a good six inches, and a cool hundred pounds, but he knows that there are times to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
A crowd gathers, watching Bernie commit (in their minds) suicide.
They are surprised when he delivers a punishing blow to Nushawn's solar plexus, which causes the large, sweating man to wince in pain. Then, another to the stomach, followed by a knee to the testicles.
Nushawn crumples to the ground as his crew watches, in horror, as Madoff kicks him in the face, shattering his nose, and spilling his blood.
The guards, who have been watching from a distance, come rushing to break up the melee. They spirit away Madoff, none too gently; but, with respect for this man who had proven not only to be money from fifteen feet, but a badass as well.
"Into the hole, Madoff," says the warden.
"It's 'Mad Dog'," says Madoff.
After his time in solitary, the inmates give Madoff a little more room, a lot more respect.
"So, let me get this straight," says DeShawn Jackson, a triple-murderer from Newark. "I gives you a carton of cigarettes today, and in three weeks, you gives me two?"
"That's right," says Bernie. "And, I want a tatt. They say that you are the best artist in the joint."
"D'as a fact," said DeShawn, his chest swelling with pride.
Mad Dog gets his ink.