Only after the fight with the 26’s it became apparent that my true saviour was none other than my long lost buddy Johan. The same Johan that I had to save on more than one occasion, and was lucky enough to get sentenced before the 26’s could get to him, was at the time friendly with a guy who belonged to the RAF4’s. He was evading me for a week, in fear of retribution for a beating which he was sure at the time I had received in his place for the mess he caused with the 26’s, and when he saw that I had problems with the 26’s he saw an opportunity to pay back the debt that he felt he owed me. That same day we were both recruited by the RAF4’s. Being recruited by a gang doesn’t involve a lot of fanfare; they simply send someone to you to see if you would be interested by talking your ears off. It reminded me of a used car salesman I once met in a bar, that guy talked so much that I later felt as if he was trying to sell me my own beer that I’ve just bought. I would have bought it from him too if it wasn’t for a lovely lady who distracted him long enough for me to make myself scarce. That guy had me mesmerized and I was sure that he could really sell ice to an Eskimo. But the guy talking to me in prison was no used car salesman, and I wasn’t an Eskimo, and we weren’t talking about ice either but the way in which he sold the gang on me had the same effect and I was in before I knew it. The initiation process starts after your background has been checked thoroughly, a duty performed by a high ranking member of the gang and takes four days. Now, the whole initiation process is a complicated ritual which would take me days to explain, so I will simply touch it here and there and not use too much detail since it could still cost me my life if I revealed the ‘secret’. What I can say though is that every gang has rules, or ‘laws’ as they are called in prison, and breaking those rules can have as result different kinds of punishment, with the least serious being a couple of blows on the chest with a double fist, four to be exact, and the most serious offence resulting in the death penalty. To ensure that the secret stays just that nothing may be written down and everything has to be done verbally by another high ranking member, with the recruit having to imprint it on a brain usually dulled by the consistent smoking of weed since smoking of the happy grass is a trademark of gangsters in prison. It wouldn’t be uncommon if a whole ‘bankie’, a plastic bank bag used for putting coins in under normal circumstances, of the stuff was consumed in a single session of teaching. After said teaching the recruits are allowed to discuss that which they have just learned, or were supposed to learn, from their teacher and are given four days to memorize above mentioned information. After four days it’s back to the ‘classroom’ and the recruits are asked in turn to divulge that part of the ‘secret’ that was revealed to him on the previous occasion. Failure of remembering what he was supposed to know would result in four blows on the chest and would automatically mark said individual as someone who wasn’t taking the rules seriously. This would be repeated and cold showers would also be added as incentives to learn your lessons, and learn them well. Up to that point of the initiation I thought I had this whole gangster thing beat by a mile, which is until I received my first four blows. It felt like the guy was planning on breaking every single rib that I had and was even intending to cause some internal injuries as well. For a couple of seconds there I thought that he might have succeeded too but acted as if it didn’t hurt a bit since any signs of weakness would be pounced upon immediately and would have made me the laughing stock for at least a week, if not longer. The teaching part of the initiation was an ongoing thing and I was later to learn that it would never end until you achieved the highest rank in the gang. Johan and myself would be the most diligent learners of all time after my punishment, but more about that another day.