When I was a kid, my granddaddy used to take me hunting.
I didn’t want to go, but he’d drag me deep into the bush.
One day, we were out tracking a coyote.
Golden fur, he was a great catch.
We chased him into this canyon, but it was a trap.
Sumbitch had us cornered. Snarling as he circled us, his eyes glinted in the fading light.
We were fucked.
But my granddaddy, he looked that ‘cote right in the eye and said:
“A desperate man’s a dangerous man.”
Desperation, man… it’s better than any drug.
When you’re backed into a corner, when the odds are against you and the world seems like it’s closing in, when you’re really desperate… that’s when you find out what you’re really made of.
And that day, I remember the vultures circling, their shadows hovering like a dark omen.
But then the scavengers came. Those that lived in the darkness, who thrived in it.
Drawn by the scent of death, they swarmed around the coyote, fighting each other for the choicest bits.
I was torn between two worlds.
Like the coyote, I’m a survivor, hunted by those who want me dead.
And like the scavengers, the other Death Row inmates, I am forced to fight for every scrap of sustenance and hope, knowing that my time is running out.
The coyote has me cornered.
The scavengers are hungry.
But what’s the point? What’s the point of fighting for a championship, when you’re already dead?
When the clock is ticking down on your life, and you know that there’s nothing you can do to stop it?
It don’t mean shit. You’re a dead man walking.
You’ve got nothing to lose.
It’s like trying to outrun your own shadow, to hold onto a dream you’ve already forgotten.
And yet, here I am.
These other guys, they mourn who they used to be. They fantasize over the jobs they did, or the men they killed.
But not me. See, I’ve already lost everything. My innocence. My freedom.
And now my life’s not my own anymore.
So what do I have left to lose?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I’m not fighting for gold, for reputation, or for glory.
I’m fighting to survive.
I’m fighting against the system, against the Red Hood, against a society that has already given up on me.
Fuck them all.
So who am I?
The coyote, sentenced to a grisly death?
Or the scavenger, forced by society to sacrifice my humanity to survive?
Because I remember that day with my granddaddy.
I remember what desperation made me do:
I remember my hands ripping the neck out of the coyote.
Just like I’ll remember being the last man standing.
I remember its corpse, light fading from its eyes.
Just like I’ll remember the golden sheen of the Championship.
I remember walking away from the ravenous scavengers.
Just like I refuse to be chained to this forsaken place.
I don’t wear chains. I break them.
Just like I’m not a dead man walking.
Trust me, I know who I am.
What I am.
I’m a goddamned survivor.