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Have you read The Fourth Side? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

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The Fourth Side: A Prison Odyssey by Zap Tales | www.zaptales.com

The Fourth Side: A Prison Odyssey by Zap Tales | www.ZapTales.comBuy Book: The Fourth Side: A Prison Odyssey by Zap Tales | www.ZapTales.com

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8 thoughts on “Read Comments

  1. Helen Fanning

    Well honestly I don’t even know where to begin. First I want to say that it was one of the most powerful books that I have read in a very long time. The variety of emotions were many. Sometimes I found myself glued in anticipation of what was to come next, other times I laughed out loud and then there were times that I was very deeply disturbed by the way you depicted the inhuman acts of these callous C.O’s and some of the many inmates that I had to put the book down. Sadness and horror is an understatement. You have managed to reach deep down in your soul to express the many different aspects of what goes on behind those walls that fortunately others would not know. The sympathy and compassion you expressed towards that seagull shows a side of you that unfortunately not many people will ever get to see. I am happy and privileged to know you and call you my friend. Looking forward to reading more. The kids in the listed charities are fortunate to have you in their corner .
    Helen xoxo

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  2. SSGT Jim Willig USMC

    Good morning Guy,
    I am in the process of reading your book, The Fourth Side. I am blown away by your writing skill and the frank, honest content of the book. To lay your life bare like that and be so descriptive in all the details denotes a great amount of courage and literary talent. I was impressed with you prior to our first face to face visit, more impressed after it, and now I am amazed at the obvious transformation you have made while confined. I thoroughly applaud your dedication to children’s issues, I thank you for your support for our Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program, and wish you ultimate success with your literary, and legal efforts.

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  3. Jerilyn DeJesus

    Hi Guy:
    sorry it’s taken me so long to finish and get my comment in. I’m really at a loss for words here. I think that a thank you is deserved to you for telling this story and opening up about your life. this could not have been easy. it was surprising how people are treated in these facilities and what is allowed to go on there. your writing is exceptional and I really did feel your powerful words. I am happy to have you as a friend and will always wish you the best!! and thank you for giving your proceeds to these charities.

    Jerilyn

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  4. Dana

    Good morning Guy. Last night Joseph and I started to read your book. Well let me be totally honest, he read it to me. Not bc I can’t read haha but bc I knew this book would touch him and the way he reads your stories had me feeling as if I was there with u. As I lay on his chest and he read chapter after chapter i found myself with so many emotions. I was laughing then crying, I had chills from the disbelief of the things that happened and I also found myself angry too. As he read I drifted off and fell to sleep. Only to wake up to him saying, babe go to sleep we will read more tomorrow. Well damn near 5 hours later I woke up and this man was still reading ! I cannot wait to read the rest of the book and from what I have read so far all I can say is god bless u. Being with joe has made me very humble and I see where he got that from. We love you xoxo

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  5. Dana

    Wow is all I can say ! I just finished the book and guy you are one brave man. Thank you for being brutally honest about everything and letting us into your life. Many don’t know what goes on behind those high voltage fences. I hope you continue to write and may god bless you.

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  6. Bonnie

    They way guy writes puts the reader right next to him taking them through his journey. His words are raw and bring up many emotions. Keep writing! Looking forward to the next book.

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  7. Steve Dougherty - Author of THE SINATRA CLUB - New York Times - People Magazine- The Journal and More

    Welcome to the world of the damned. Your tour guide, prisoner No. 99-A-2233, is a convicted murderer, a onetime mobster from Brooklyn doing 25 years to life in New York State’s maximum security penal system.
    Before entering, abandon all illusions created by the prison scenes in “Goodfellas,” where made guys show off their culinary skills like contestants in a Cosa Nostra Top Chef spin off. Or that “corrections” means anything other than punishment. For wiseguys, inmates of every gang and street tribe, whatever their racial affiliation, and even for their guards, life inside the gothic hellholes of Attica, Clinton-Dannemora and Comstock is an unending fight for survival.
    “Each of those maximum-security prisons,” the self-taught author of a prison blog called Zap Tales writes in this newly published e-book, “is a gladiator school, straight up buckets of blood, where violence is the answer to every question and the solution to every problem.”
    Pounding out his shockingly vivid chronicles in a cramped cell on a manual typewriter, he writes not for monetary gain — all proceeds from this self-published book, which sells for $10 via http://www.ZapTales.com, go to charities earmarked to help children who have or are suffering abuse.
    Those very same children otherwise being the most likely to end up like the author, locked up in adulthood in a place filled by men who were themselves victims of violent physical and sexual abuse as children, in a never ending cycle of damnation.
    Instead, No. 99-A-2233 writes for self-preservation — for some measure of sanity in a horrifyingly hopeless prison system guaranteed to maim the mind, body and soul of all its inhabitants — on both sides of the bars.
    Violent depravity knows no limits in these laughably euphemistic “correctional facilities” where notions of rehabilitation are a bitter joke.
    Readers will meet sadistic, racist guards, like one who proudly sports a tattoo of Buckwheat of “The Little Rascals” fame — with a noose tied tight around his neck, his hair standing on end and his eyes bulging out. That particular guard relishes clubbing cuffed and shackled prisoners who have the bad luck of being black.
    Because guards receive comp time following altercations with inmates, prisoners brace for beatings as holidays approach.
    “Normally,” the author writes, “it happens when an inmate is stopped and put up against the wall, hands above his head, feet three feet back and spread so the inmate is off balance, leaning forward, helpless. And susceptible to all kind of accidents. The incident report will be written up to say that the inmate spun off the wall during frisking, and attacked the C.O.[Corrections Officer]. Use of force was used and inmate so and so will wind up hospitalized and charged with assault while the unscathed C.O. enjoys his comp day off.”
    Because many guards are avid hunters, recruited from rural areas where most state prisons are located, deer season also sees an uptick in such attacks, the author claims.
    For their part, convicts arm themselves for battle with one another with weapons of every kind save fire arms — those are reserved for marksmen in guard towers who fire live rounds to quell frequent melees in the exercise yards — to inflict maximum injury on adversaries. Among them: wire garrotes for strangulation, wooden boards with nails stuck through used for clubbings, easily smuggled surgical scalpels, X-Acto knives and carbon fibre rug cutters obtained for specific purpose: to open gaping facial wounds known as “shots” in cellblock slang.
    In a twist on the classic prison shiv or shank, the author describes improvising one by fusing a jagged piece of metal from a bacteria encrusted tuna can to the shaft of a melted plastic toothbrush.
    Throughout most of his first decade behind bars, few prisoners were more incorrigible than the author himself.
    He delighted in performing, he writes, “outrageous displays of violence that convicts refer to as `making a movie’.
    “And of course, the more gore, the better the ratings. A victim’s loud screams and special effects using anything flammable or pyrotechnic make for blockbuster, five-star extravaganzas. When it came to making movies in prison, Stephen Spielberg had nothing on me.”
    A masterful producer of such ultra violent special features, he also relished designing elaborate set pieces — long running extortion schemes that targeted those inmates considered “the lowest of the low”: convicted child molesters, abusers and sex offenders.
    In league with fellow cons who would first terrorize targeted new inmates upon arrival, the author describes, in brutally vivid language, how he would then befriend the newcomer and promise protection — in exchange for monthly $500 cash installments secured via credit card payments wired to the prison via by the target’s worried family. The cash would then be split among the conspiring convicts.
    Once the molester’s source of funds was drained, or cut off, came the grim drama’s denouement, the author writes. The beating long threatened, would be delivered. As “the blows were about to rain down, every former payee said almost exactly the same thing: `I trusted you’.
    “Then came the twisted part I enjoyed the most. I looked them in the eye and said, `That kid trusted you, too’.”

    The event that changed No. 99-A-2233’s life occurred early one bitterly cold winter morning at a max security lockup in downtown Manhattan. Held in solitary confinement, he was allowed out of his cell for one hour of exercise, alone on the prison’s rooftop yard.
    As dawn broke over the city that morning, he exulted in the cold clear air and watched as dozens upon dozens of seagulls soared and reeled among the surrounding office towers as if in celebration of the precious thing they had and he did not: their freedom. Walking along the perimeter of the rooftop, enclosed by a high, chain-link fence, he noticed that one gull was perched there, its silvery white wings spread wide. Stretched across the top of the fence were long coils of barbed razor wire. As he approached, he heard the bird’s “heart-piercing screams.
    “Both of the gull’s outstretched wings were impaled on the wire’s sharp hooks; the more it struggled and flailed, the more the razor wire tore its flesh…Crimson blood flowed from its wounds, and poured over its yellow webbed feet before dripping onto the fresh fallen snow below.
    “The creature’s cries pierced to my very core and I recognized in an instant that the gull and I were one and the same. Both of us were captive and yearned to once again be free.”
    The next morning, the bird was still at its perch. “But it was done protesting. There was no more fight left, just a limp, empty vessel hung there with both wings outstretched as if it had been crucified.”
    For the author, who soon thereafter renounced the violence that had long defined him, and began to compose and compile these confessions of his sins and chronicles of life in a world most readers will be glad they don’t know firsthand, that gull was indeed a kind of winged savior.
    Riffing on the philosopher’s “if a tree falls in the forest” riddle, No. 99-A-2233 wonders if “a convict’s screams are real if nobody outside those 40 foot walls can hear them.”
    With this book, the inmate-author hopes, those screams may be more widely heard. And heeded.

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