“Leather” is an 8th ward native and shoe cobbler who is currently serving a sentence in the Orleans Justice Center—a.k.a. Orleans Parish Prison, or OPP—for charges related to a family dispute, subsequent warrants, and the labyrinthian carceral state that disproportionately traps too many of Leather’s fellow Black New Orleanians. He has agreed to be a prison correspondent for ANTIGRAVITY, stating, “Writing articles helps the time go by in here, and gives me a reason to keep my head up, to keep going. I want to give my readers the truth about what’s goin’ on here.” The following has been transcribed from hand-written letters and has been minimally edited for clarity and format, as well as to protect the identities of other people who are currently incarcerated.
In this chapter of Tales From the Pen (penitentiary) I will attempt to write a story, “Mojo the Epidemic” with interviews from users, dealers, and my own experiment with this drug. OK first of all mojo is a fake form of weed which goes by several names like K-2, incense, mojo etc. This is a highly dangerous substance that causes people to get stuck, flash out, lose control, if overdone.
The guy I’m going to interview, B, will help me figure out why so many young guys in jail are getting addicted to this awful drug.
Hi, how are you, and for the record what’s your name?
B: My name is B and I am 26 years old.
OK B, why are you in jail?
I’m in jail for having control substance.
What was the control substance?
It was Alprazolam, better known as Xanax, bars, etc.
And how long have you been in jail?
6 ½ months.
Wow, for how many pills?
I was caught with 2500 pills.
So how you handle bein’ in jail?
In the world I popped pills, in here I smoke mojo.
And why is that?
It’s simple. Mojo is cheap, easy to hide, and get you fucked up real fast.
Isn’t it dangerous?
Not really. it’s kinda like heroin, everybody wants the batch that makes motherfuckers overdose. I want the mojo that will make me flash out.
What do you mean by flash out?
Flash out mean you get so high you do somethin’ foolish in the flash of a second that can change your life forever.
Then why smoke it?
Because it helps me deal with jail. It passes time and makes things a lil simpler.
How much do you spend on mojo?
Bout $80-$100 a week in jail. My family sends me money for food, I spend it all on mojo.
And how much mojo you get for that? 1 gram, ½ a gram, what?
Hell no—for $50 I get about a toothpaste cap full, maybe ¼ a gram, but it don’t take much.
Damn, does your family know about that?
No way, I can’t tell them I’m doing drugs in jail.
So are you going to stop when you get out?
Probably not. I like the high it gives me.
B, I really appreciate you giving me your time, you really been helpful.
Now next I’m going to talk to another man about this mojo. Now this guy is different, the guy I’m interviewing next is one of the guys who sells mojo. His name is T.
Wazzam my nigga?
T: I’m chillin’
You doin alright?
Yeah, you know I’m coolin’ one day at a time.
Well I’m glad we could do this lil sit down.
You know if I can help, I will.
OK, straight up what you do for a livin’?
Well I have a regular job but I sell mojo.
And why you sell mojo?
Leatherman, are you serious?
These are questions that I need to ask.
Money, extra cash.
You make OK money? Really good money?
This is for my readers, where you sell your mojo?
I sell my mojo in the streets and in jail. LOL.
Wow how you manage that?
I’m a weekend warrior.
And for those who don’t know what that is please explain.
A weekend warrior one who comes to jail on weekends only. The judge sentences an inmate to this program if the charges aren’t too serious.
How much time do you have?
I have two years of weekends.
So that’s 48 days a year, huh.
Sounds about right. It ain’t that bad. I come in Friday at 5:00 and I leave round 5:00 Sunday.
Sounds cool as fuck. I wish I could get some shit like that.
You should talk to your lawyer.
My lawyer is a fuckin’ prick.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. LOL.
That shit ain’t funny sun, I been in that hole for 8 months, no plea bargain no time no nothin’.
It’s gonna be alright sun, keep your head up.
I’m a soulja I’ma be alright, ya heard me. I sure appreciate you talkin’ to me and helpin’ me out. Thanks partner.
Well I hope you’ll get some good output from my two good friends, now I’m bout to smoke a stick of mojo and tell y’all how it makes me feel… Well, well, well my friend gave me a stick of mojo and man it was one hell of a ride, me and four other guys smoked this stick about as big as a piece of straw off a broomstick and I was high as a kite. I was so high I couldn’t write. I was as they say stuck, I couldn’t move I just laid in my bed for like 30 minutes. I was S.T.D. (Scared To Death). The room was spinnin’ round and round kind of crazy as thoughts runnin’ through my mind. The best part was that it only last a good 30 minutes then it mellows out and when you come down it feels like just a weed high. But I can honestly say I don’t like how it makes you feel when you first smoke it. I can see how one flashes out, loses control, because too much mojo can really be dangerous. This fake drug ain’t made for human consumption. I think I’ll stick to good old cannabis because smoking this unnatural weed has been known to kill. So I beg of you people who read this: please stay away from K-2, mojo, incense, fake weed, or any other fake drugs out there. I’m not any kind of drug advocate, I’m just one man, one voice who wants to help. Thanks for your time.