MICHAEL ALIG: You know, James, you don’t know any of this: When I first got to Rikers Island, do you know that they put me in the mental ward?
JAMES ST. JAMES: I think I sort of did. Why did they do that?
Michael: (Very sarcastic) Well, gee, I don’t know. Maybe it was the cover story of the Village Voice that had my picture superimposed on top of a skull (James laughs) with a heroin needle underneath (James laughs harder). All about how I’m an admitted pedophile. Remember that article? It said, “Michael Alig admits he’s a pedophile. He says he thinks it’s great!”
James: “Just clean fun, is what he said.”
Michael: Of course I said nothing of the sort. It was a complete lie. But you know the Village Voice gets handed out free to inmates at Rikers Island (a great customer base, don’t you think?). So anyway, it was the talk of the prison.
James: How did they make the logistical leap to you being insane?
Michael: Well, because they thought that anybody that goes around saying those things has to be crazy.
James: So were you in a straight jacket? Was it like The Snake Pit?
Michael: I wasn’t but, James, I’m telling you: I feel for those people who are really crazy, because they have nobody. Nobody is going to speak up for them. I was like Francis Farmer, I was in there with them and there was nobody to listen to me because I was crazy.
James: Were you afraid you were going to get lost in the system?
Michael: Oh, totally. James, listen, they put the crazy people in these trailers that are like modular units off the side of Rikers Island. This is in the dead of winter, there was no heat in these buildings, and we were all sleeping in our coats and gloves. It was just as cold inside as it was outside, and you can’t complain to anybody because you’re crazy and they’re not going to listen to you.
James: Right, right.
Michael: And I was dope sick and throwing up. I didn’t want to get in the shower because I was sick and it was cold. And do you know that the inmates threw me in a cold shower and took all my clothes off and just left me there?
James: The other mental people?
Michael: Yes, it was awful.
James: How long were you there?
Michael: About 10 days. Every so often the inmates have to go in for an evaluation and when I went in for the evaluation, right when I walked in the room, the psychiatrist said “What are you doing here?” I said “What do you mean?” And she said “You’re not supposed to be here” and then they took me out.
James: Where was Freeze during all this?
Michael: Living it up at a place called NEC or something like that. Which is the VIP section, the protective custody section.
James: So you were dope sick all this time. There weren’t any drugs once you got into Rikers?
Michael: Not in the mental ward.
James: But when you got into Rikers?
Michael: Yes, when I was in Rikers, there was. And, oh God, I was buying people’s methadone from them. This is so disgusting, this is how it works: You have to go to the hospital to take your methadone. So inmates were going to the hospital, drinking it, putting the methadone in their mouth like they were going to drink it, and then KEEPING IT IN THEIR MOUTH ALL THE WAY BACK to the dorm where we were sleeping, THEN SPITTING IT UP IN MY HAND, so that I could drink it, and then I would pay them for it.
James: That’s sooooo fabulous.
Michael: No, James, it wasn’t. And you know, sometimes you don’t even know who your getting it from, sometimes it just comes to you in a little plastic sandwhich baggie—and you can tell it’s spit-up because there’s like saliva in it, and everything, and you just have to drink it.
James: What about the heroin? Wasn’t there heroin there for you?
Michael: There was – but the methadone was much cheaper. I couldn’t afford to buy the heroin.
James: No, I’m sorry, that is TOTALLY fabulous. OPM – Other People’s Methadone.