Around noon, Charlie found himself alone in a bustling Sterling restaurant nestled within the heart of
Chinatown. He savored each bite of his meal, the flavors of home bringing a semblance of comfort to his
day. But as he ate, the tranquility was shattered by the sudden arrival of two Immigration Bureau police
cars. Their flashing lights silently screamed trouble.
Charlie kept his head down, seemingly indifferent to the commotion unfolding outside the restaurant’s
Several police officers rushed in with haste, snapping photos of the patrons. Abruptly, they approached
Charlie, their voices raised in unison, “Are you Charlie, the one who smuggled into the United States
Charlie raised his head, feigning innocence as he shook it, “No.”
The officers reviewed the photo again and shared a knowing sneer. One of them turned to his
colleagues, whispering, “That’s him, let’s take him in!”
Before Charlie could react, they pounced, twisting his arms behind his back and handcuffing him.
He pretended to resist for a moment, but when the threat of a drawn weapon loomed, he wisely ceased
The officers bundled him into one of their cars, sirens blaring as they raced toward the immigration office.
At this juncture, the officers were ignorant of Charlie’s background. All they knew was that their superiors
had tipped them off about a Malaysian illegal immigrant suspected of multiple thefts lurking in a
Chinatown eatery, instructing them to seize the opportunity and apprehend him.
Once at the immigration office, they confiscated Charlie’s Malaysian passport, a decrepit old mobile
phone, and a little over two hundred dollars in cash. Verification of his passport’s identity information
confirmed his status as an illegal immigrant from Malaysia.
Charlie was temporarily confined in the immigration office’s detention room, awaiting his uncertain fate.
Upon arrival, Charlie found himself surrounded by at least twenty others who shared the same
predicament. These detainees spanned various skin tones, their expressions marked by despair and
Spotting Charlie, an Asian man with a scruffy beard approached him, struggling with his English accent
as he asked, “Are you Japanese?”
Charlie shook his head, replying, “I’m Malaysian, but my parents are Chinese.”
Another Asian-faced man with short hair perked up upon hearing this. He exclaimed, “Brother, I’m
Chinese too! We share common roots!”
Jagoan nodded and inquired, “How did you end up here?”
The short-haired man chuckled wryly, “Well, there’s no glamorous story. I walked the wire, had no
identity, no cash – I was even robbed on my journey here. I arrived with nothing, set up a makeshift tent
in the park, only for it to be stolen by an old guy. I thought about pilfering a bicycle for food deliveries, but
the police caught me, and here I am.”
Jagoan furrowed his brows, asking, “Why’d you head to New York instead of Los Angeles? It’s closer to
Mexico, isn’t it?”
The short-haired man slapped his thigh, exclaiming, “You know your stuff, Brother! You didn’t come
through the wire, did you?”
Jagoan shook his head, revealing, “I arrived by boat.”
The short-haired man’s enthusiasm dwindled, and he sighed, “You had it easier. A few months on a boat
from your hometown – not like us, enduring a grueling journey. I’ve been through hell, it’s as if I’d have to
skin myself alive to survive.”
Someone in the group chimed in, “Hell, even riding a boat is no picnic. Imagine standing the whole time,
sometimes having to swim for kilometers. Over sixty of us boarded, but only half made it ashore, the rest
were swept away.”
The short-haired man shrank back, adding, “My mother deeply regrets sending me here. This place isn’t
a paradise, it’s a purgatory. The swindler agent told me I could make seven to eight grand washing
dishes in a month. But when I got here, eight of us fought over a single dish to wash in a Chinese
He continued, turning to Jagoan, “Brother, you asked why I didn’t go to Los Angeles. Well, initially, I did.
After arriving from Mexico, a bunch of us made our way to Los Angeles, only to realize those high-paying
jobs were a lie. I spent over ten days sleeping on the streets, surviving on meager handouts. Then I
thought, ‘Maybe I’ll try my luck in New York.'”
Curiosity piqued, Jagoan asked, “How did you make it from the west coast to the east coast? It’s quite a
The short-haired man chuckled, “I took a train, of course. It’s a long haul, so we followed a few seasoned
hobos, the ones who ride trains all day long. We trailed them to New York, and our hands got blistered.”
“Upon arriving in New York,” he continued, “I thought, ‘This city’s bustling, there must be a place for me
here.’ I contemplated finding work in Chinatown, settled on a job delivering food for a Chinese restaurant,
but without a vehicle, I resorted to stealing a bicycle – that’s how I ended up in cuffs.”
Jagoan offered a faint smile, inquiring, “What’s your plan now?”
The short-haired man sighed, “Who knows? It’s not worth being locked up for what I’ve done. American
prisons are overcrowded. Petty crimes by illegal immigrants often result in mere days behind bars. After
release, I assumed they’d deport me, but they couldn’t care less. Now, I’ll be back on the streets… If I’d
known the U.S. was like this, I’d never have come.”
Jagoan nodded and suggested, “If you find a way, maybe consider going back to China.”
The short-haired man shook his head, despondent. “I want to, but I lack a passport and funds. The
Americans won’t deport me, and retracing my steps is impossible. This trip cost over ten thousand
dollars – where would I find that kind of cash in U.S. dollars?”
Jagoan shrugged, offering, “Then focus on saving money to return.”
The short-haired man’s face contorted with despair. “Brother, I spent ages saving for this journey. Along
the way, I indulged in foods I’d never tasted before. Saving up again only to return – is that fair?”
Jagoan couldn’t help but chuckle, asking, “What did you do before coming here?”
“Me?” The man laughed bitterly, “Construction, food delivery, odd jobs, even a bit of extra work in films –
I’ve done it all.”
Jagoan nodded, understanding the dire circumstances faced by these illegal immigrants. The life they
led was unforgiving. Only the jobs that the locals shunned were available to them. Hogan had been a
financial luminary back in Hong Kong, but in the United States, he eked out a living running a roast
goose shop. For those without specialized skills, the path was even more arduous.
In a moment of quiet reflection, the short-haired man muttered, “I’m just speaking from the heart. If I
could, I’d return… This place is nothing like I imagined.”
In the midst of this, several more illegal immigrants were escorted in by the police and placed into a
detention room. Among them was a yellow-skinned officer who fixed his gaze on Jagoan and beckoned,
“Jagoan, come with me.”
The short-haired man, curious about the exchange, piped up, “Hey, buddy, what did he just call you?”
Jagoan nodded and exchanged greetings with the short-haired man. “He’s taking me.”
The short-haired man appeared slightly disappointed, querying, “Why’d they whisk you away so quickly?”
The yellow-skinned officer cast an expressionless glance at the short-haired man and declared, “He’s
being transferred to Brooklyn Prison!”
The short-haired man couldn’t hide his surprise as he gazed at Jagoan’s departing figure. “Hey, did you
murder someone or set a fire? I’ve heard American prisons are an absolute mess, so you better watch
your back!” Jagoan, without turning around, waved dismissively. “Don’t worry, goodbye.”
The yellow-skinned policeman led Jagoan to the office area, finding a secluded corner to share
confidential information. He whispered to Jagoan, “Sir, our chief left in a hurry, so I’ll escort you to
Brooklyn Prison right away. We have an informant there – Lucas, a Brazilian known as the Brooklyn
Prison Know-It-All. Seek him out upon arrival, he’ll fill you in on the prison’s situation. Just mention that
Andrew sent you, and he’ll be more than willing to assist.”
“Alright, I’ll remember that,” Jagoan acknowledged with a nod. He suspected that this officer was part of
the Joules family’s intelligence network. For a powerful family like the Joules, building their own
intelligence network in the United States was a given. It likely extended its tendrils to Congress, police
stations, and major government agencies. Such networks were carefully structured, with information
isolated in layers to ensure security.
At times, only the highest echelons knew they served the Joules family. Lower-level members might
remain unaware of their connection to the family’s intelligence network, thus ensuring its safety.
Shortly thereafter, Jagoan completed the prison transfer process at the Immigration Bureau and was
transported directly to Brooklyn Prison by the police.
Though not expansive, Brooklyn Prison was situated in the heart of Brooklyn, New York’s most chaotic
and crime-ridden neighborhood. Consequently, most of its inmates were serious offenders, primarily
gang members involved in murder, arson, robbery, and drug trafficking.
Within the New York prison system, Brooklyn Prison boasted the grimmest and most unpleasant
environment. Most prison guards dreaded assignments there.
Upon his arrival at Brooklyn Prison, Jagoan underwent a swift admission procedure and was swiftly
assigned to the prison’s first ward.
Due to its urban location, Brooklyn Prison consisted of a multi-story, self-contained building entirely
enclosed. There were no open-air yards, so communal spaces and indoor recreation areas were
The first and second wards flanked either side of the common area. Prisoners from both wards could
only interact during meal times and recreation periods.
After Jagoan completed the formalities and donned his prison attire, he gathered his toiletries and
followed the prison guards into the first ward.
Only once inside did he realize that the prison was even filthier than a refugee camp.
Here, the cramped cells held no resemblance to the two-person units with private toilets depicted in
American movies and TV shows. Dozens of inmates were crammed into each cell, representing a
diverse array of races. Beds filled the rooms, leaving little space for movement.
As Jagoan walked through, the cells buzzed with activity. Many inmates noticed the arrival of newcomers
and shouted through the iron grates, whistling and banging the fences with makeshift objects. Obscene
words and derogatory remarks were hurled, some accompanied by lewd gestures.
Jagoan walked on with a stoic expression, taking mental note of those who jeered at him, especially
those with sinister intentions that made his skin crawl. He couldn’t help but mutter under his breath, “This
godforsaken place could use a makeover.”
Update of The Charismatic Charlie Wade by Lord
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