During his first year as an Indiana prison inmate, convicted rapist Mike Tyson has received visits from Spike Lee, Whitney Houston and Hammer, finalized the purchase of a $264,000 Lamborghini Diablo on the prison payphone, assembled a library that includes Mao Zedong biographies and X-Men comic books, received sexually explicit letters from women who enclosed nude photos and mused with friends about his ultimate quest: regaining the world heavyweight boxing title.

As recently as last spring Tyson told visitors to the prison that he no longer thought about boxing and that he might never want to fight again. Not so anymore. "I was shadow boxing the other day and I said to myself, 'God, I look gooooood!' " Tyson said last month, according to his closest friend, Rory Holloway.

"Mike says, 'As soon as I come out, I'm going to fight. That's the first thing on the list,' " said Camille Ewald, Tyson's "adopted" mother. A muscular 220 pounder, Tyson runs, lifts weights, does up to 700 sit-ups a day and calls the present crop of heavyweight boxers "pretenders," friends who have visited him say.

But life hasn't been a Las Vegas fight night for Tyson, 26, who is serving a six-year sentence for the rape of Desiree Washington, a former Miss Black America beauty pageant contestant.

As Indiana Offender No. 922335 Tyson has spent three days in a disciplinary cell for threatening a prison staffer, complained that guards have subjected him to rough and embarrassing body searches, quit high school equivalency classes because he felt he was being ridiculed and refused to eat most of the inmate- prepared food, fearing it might be contaminated, Tyson's friends said.

"I don't trust anybody in here," Tyson has said, according to Holloway.

Monday, Tyson gets another shot at freedom when his attorney, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, argues before the Indiana Court of Appeals why the rape conviction should be overturned and a new trial ordered.

A portrait of Tyson's new life emerges from interviews with friends and attorneys of the former boxer and from information and documents obtained from the Indiana Youth Center, the high-medium security prison in Plainfield, Ind., 15 miles west of Indianapolis, where Tyson has been confined. Tyson declined to be interviewed for this story.

A 10th-grade dropout from Brooklyn, N.Y., Tyson used his fists -- and a furious style -- to become one of the world's wealthiest and best-known athletes. "Iron Mike" grossed an estimated $100 million during his six-year career -- he was heavyweight champion from 1986 to 1990 -- and he brought new life to a sport that had lost much of its luster.

With fame came trouble however. Tyson was accused in and out of court of sexually harassing or molesting more than a dozen women. He settled some lawsuits out of court and told reporters he was being victimized by fame- and money-seeking women. But his boxing career continued -- until an Indianapolis judge sent him to prison.

Now Tyson is noticeably embarrassed by the depth of his descent from glory, say friends who have spent hundreds of hours with him on the phone and in the prison visitors' room.

"Mike tries to camouflage the pain but I can see it in his face," said Ewald, who has twice visited Tyson. "He says, 'Camille, I don't want you to see me where I am at.' "

Whereas he once divided time among luxury residences in Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Tyson now lives with another offender in an 80- square-foot room with a bunk bed, toilet, sink, dresser-table and small window that allows minimal light. His movements are restricted to a gym, chapel, commissary, dining hall, visitors' room, prison yard, law library and "day room," where he can watch specified TV shows and movies -- "Gladiator" was a recent offering.

Whereas he once partied all night and sipped Dom Perignon at the hottest clubs, Tyson is now locked into his room at 11:30 most nights and awakened by guards at 5 each morning. If he wants to socialize, he can turn only to the prison's 1,400 other offenders (average age 33) who have been convicted of armed robbery (28 percent of the prison's population), theft (22 percent), child molestation (17), drug dealing (12) as well as rape, battery and murder.

Whereas he once treated himself to $50,000 jewelry-and-clothing shopping sprees, Tyson now browses at the prison commissary, where the stock includes deodorant sticks ($1.30), toe nail clippers (65 cents), English Leather cologne ($4.15), shower shoes (85 cents) and ear plugs (20 cents). His wardrobe is limited to state-issued bluejeans, sneakers, shirts with his prison number written on them and a low-quality, commissary-bought wristwatch.

And whereas he once earned as much as $19 million for a single night's work, Tyson now collects between 65 cents and $1.25 a day, five days a week, depending on the job to which he's assigned. Lately he's been on gym duty, "doing a lot of janitorial-type work and keeping the weights and basketballs in order," prison superintendent Clarence Trigg said. Hunger

Tyson tells friends he is innocent, that Washington consented to have sex with him on their July 19, 1991, date in Indianapolis. Washington told a TV interviewer recently that as a result of the rape and the publicity brought on by the trial, "I can't heal and I can't get better." A jury found Tyson guilty of rape last Feb. 10 and he was sent to prison six weeks later.

Dershowitz will argue Monday that Tyson didn't get a fair trial because of misconduct by the prosecutors, errors by the judge and perjurious statements by Washington and her parents. Indiana prosecutors will argue that Dershowitz's allegations are baseless.

The court's decision is expected this spring. If a new trial is granted, Tyson could be released on bond -- and his boxing career may resume. If the appeal fails, he will be eligible for parole no sooner than April 1995.

Meanwhile, Tyson is described by friends as being at various times angry, depressed, optimistic, resigned, perplexed and anxious to return to his 70-acre Ohio estate where he has an indoor pool, movie theater, multimillion-dollar jewelry collection and fleet of 27 telephone-equipped luxury cars.

"Prison is hell for Mike," said Ewald, 87, who helped raise Tyson in her 14-room house -- once a haven for boxers -- in Catskill, N.Y.

"Mike says, 'Every day I go to sleep and it's like a dream when I wake up,' " said Holloway, Tyson's former assistant manager. "Mike says, 'I wake up and say to myself, "I'm still here." ' "

On a typical day, Tyson exercises, reads, sees visitors, opens fan mail and attends Christian and Islamic study-group sessions. All things considered, "Tyson has gotten along all right," Trigg said.

But life at the Indiana Youth Center -- a complex of drab, concrete buildings dominated by a guard's tower and surrounded by fences topped with thick coils of wire -- isn't always that simple for Tyson.

He has lost 50 pounds since last winter's trial (when he weighed as much as 270) because he refuses to eat most of the prison's food. It stinks, he tells friends. Literally.

Tyson has heard stories that inmate-cooks in some prisons urinate and defecate in food, said Jay Bright, a longtime friend and former assistant trainer of Tyson's. "So Mike only eats things that are packaged," Bright said, "like tuna fish or crackers."

Friends say he looks undernourished at times.

"When I visited him on Thanksgiving I said, 'Mike, Why don't you eat?' " Ewald said. "Mike said, 'Camille, the food is horrible.' I said, 'You don't look black or white. You look green. You've got to eat.' He said, 'Camille, when you smell it you don't want to eat it. That's how bad it is.' "

For breakfast the other day Tyson was offered two biscuits, sausage gravy (eight ounces), juice (four ounces), milk (16 ounces) and coffee (eight ounces). For lunch, the main course was beef-n-noodles (eight ounces); for dinner, the fare was a cheeseburger (four ounces).

Trigg said the food is not contaminated. "No, because our staff eats the same food as the inmates," he said. Tyson can have unlimited funds sent to his commissary account. So he often makes do with food from the commissary, which sells potted meat (55 cents), spreadable tuna ($1.55), nacho tortilla chips ($1) and other snacks.

Tyson hasn't found school appetizing either: He quit General Equivalency Diploma classes last summer because instructors "were trying to embarrass him, make a mockery of him," Holloway said. Trigg said he doesn't know why Tyson stopped coming to classes.

"In general," Trigg said of his most famous inmate, "he's fairly low-key if people leave him alone."

But they don't. 'Why Me?'

Tyson complains that some inmates have taunted him about the nature of his crime. "... One day {they said}, 'You {expletive} tree jumper,' " Tyson told CBS-TV's Ed Bradley last spring. "... {I said}, 'What's a tree jumper?' And they said, 'A tree jumper's a rapist. You know, you wait for little kids to go by. You jump up a tree and grab 'em.' I said, 'Oh, Christ.' "

Other inmates have phoned supermarket tabloids with details of his daily life. One inmate allegedly stole his ID tag, apparently figuring it's a collectors' item. And Tyson has complained to friends that prison guards have treated him rudely and aggressively at times.

"When an inmate comes down to see a visitor, it's normal for guards to pat him down," Bright said. "But Mike says they've gone to an extreme, giving him a {rough} body search. Then when they're searching they've said things that aren't very flattering."

"Most of the time he lets it rub off -- you know, he doesn't say anything {to the guards}," Holloway said. "But a lot of times, man, it's almost like protecting your manhood. You know, they just want to belittle you.

"Mike says, 'I would never hit one of these guys. Christ, I know I'd kill him.' But, you know, Mike says he has to tell them, 'You just can't be treating me in any old kind of way now, just trying to make a name for yourself.' "

Trigg said the guards treat Tyson fairly.

His most serious confrontation came one evening last May after a guard told him a visitor was waiting to see him. According to Dershowitz, Tyson asked the guard if the visitor was "my mother," as he refers to Ewald, because he didn't want to waste his visiting time -- he's allowed two two-hour visits a day -- on a stranger.

"The guard said, 'I'm under no obligation to tell you who it is. You just have a visitor. You can either take it or don't take it,' " said Dershowitz, recounting Tyson's description of the incident. "And Mike ... said, 'Why are you being such a son of a bitch about this?' "

"Mike said, 'You're being an {expletive},' that's what he told the guard," Holloway said.

Prison officials accused Tyson of threatening the guard with bodily harm and, in a related incident later that night, of threatening other guards. A hearing officer found him guilty of threatening a guard and disorderly conduct. The prison did not release details of the alleged threat.

For punishment Tyson had 15 days added to his term and lost 30 days' commissary privileges. He also spent three days in a barred detention cell, segregated from other offenders. During those three days, he was allowed to see friends and lawyers with one stipulation: He would have to wear handcuffs, shackles and leg-irons during the visits.

When Dershowitz came to the prison that week, Tyson refused, at first, to come to the visitors' room. Ten minutes passed. Twenty. Thirty. Finally, after an hour, Tyson appeared, noticeably embarrassed.

"He looked like a character from 'Roots' being brought over on a galley slave boat," Dershowitz said. "It was the most appalling sight I'd ever seen. The chains were across his chest, around his body. Remember, we're in a {high- medium} security institution. The unit where we meet is utterly escape- proof.

"Mike was very, very upset. He said {in a whisper}, 'Why me? Why me? Imagine. Me being chained like this.' "

Trigg said the chains were necessary because, "Segregated offenders must be secured during visits to protect visitors, staff and other offenders." Like all inmates, Tyson's life is controlled by 101 pages of Indiana Department of Correction rules and regulations, contained in two handbooks that were given to him the day he became a prisoner. Whispers of Freedom

While Tyson rails against the harshness of his treatment, Desiree Washington told a TV interviewer recently she hasn't recovered from the July 1991 rape and the publicity it received.

"I look at people my age having a good time, enjoying their lives ... and I can't do that," she said. "I basically just lost my life. ..."

Washington had agreed to a date with Tyson after meeting him at a morning rehearsal for the Miss Black America pageant in Indianapolis. She later charged that Tyson overpowered her in his hotel suite that night, pinned her on a bed with his forearm and raped her. He was found guilty after a 14-day trial.

Now a Providence College sophomore, Washington has filed a civil suit against Tyson, alleging he has caused her "... emotional distress, terror and trauma ... lasting physical harm ... and psychological problems." The suit is pending.

The rape conviction hasn't slowed Tyson's fan mail -- up to 100 letters a day. According to Dershowitz, a recent letter read: "... I want to come see you. I want to have your baby. We can find a place in the prison {to have sex}. I'll be a terrific wife."

So Tyson chooses his visitors carefully, friends say. He doesn't want to see boxers "because Mike doesn't like other fighters to see him like that. It's degrading to fighters," Holloway said. He doesn't want to see reporters because "Mike doesn't want people to remember him by what he said in prison," another confidant said. And although he has seen some celebrities, he has turned away others, including Phyllis Diller, who was appearing in a play in Indianapolis.

For those who see Tyson, the visits can be awkward. Among the regulars are his fiancee; his 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Michael (pronounced My-KEL); the mother of his daughter; Holloway; Bright; John Horne, his former camp coordinator; and promoter Don King.

The chairs in the visitors room are arranged in groups of four, facing one another "to allow some privacy," Trigg said. But there is little privacy as inmates and visitors are under the watchful eye of a video camera.

Inmates are warned not to get too cozy with their female guests. "Inmates may kiss when they enter the visiting room and kiss and embrace when they leave," Trigg said. "But they can't sit up there and fondle one another during the whole visit."

Tyson often talks to his guests in a whisper, particularly if the room is crowded with other visitors. "It's like being in that E.F. Hutton commercial," Bright said. "When Mike starts talking, the other people in the room kind of arch their heads in his direction."

If he's planned ahead, and bought a 50-cent ticket from the commissary, Tyson can have a Polaroid picture taken with his visitors. To give the photo a softer touch, the inmate-photographer poses his subjects in front of a wall-sized picture of lakes and jagged mountain peaks.

By prison standards Tyson leads a relatively privileged life because of the friends and attorneys who cater to his daily needs. He can be demanding at times but no one seems to mind, least of all the people who are on his payroll.

Holloway said he and Horne are still employed by Mike Tyson Productions even though the company's president and namesake hasn't stepped into the ring since 1991. "Both John {Horne} and I do the same thing: We just basically oversee and take care of Mike," Holloway explained. "Whatever he needs me to do, I'm there for him."

So when Tyson wants a particular book or magazine, he needs only to make a collect call. He has requested and received dozens of books on subjects as diverse as boxing, pigeon breeding, pop psychology, Winston Churchill, Jimmy Hoffa and Egypt in the Pharaonic period.

"Oh, man, Mike is such a great philosopher," Holloway said. "He's just so smart."

Tyson also likes comic books -- "Thor, Silver Surfer, The Avengers and X-Men," Bright said. "You can only read so much philosophy until you start getting buggy, you know."

Bright has sent Tyson photos of every room in his Ohio mansion and individual portraits of the 200 fancy pigeons Tyson keeps in a coop in Ewald's front yard. "I've sent Mike about 4,000 pictures, just so he has the security of knowing everything's okay at home," said Bright, who lives with Ewald.

If the inmate payphones aren't too busy, Tyson will call some of his closest friends two or three times a day. "Sometimes Mike can't talk long," Bright said. "He'll get on the phone and say, 'I just wanted to say hi. But I got to go now and get counted.' "

Holloway said he awakens at 8:55 every morning to "get ready" for Tyson's 9 o'clock call. Some days Tyson will ask him to arrange conference calls so he can do a little shopping. For pigeons.

"Mike will say 'Call this number,' " Holloway said. "It'll be {a pigeon breeder} in Canada. He'll go, 'My name is Mike Tyson.' They'll go, 'What? Who? Wait. Where are you calling from? Wait. I know where you're calling from. This is crazy! Let me catch my breath.' "

Other days Tyson will ask for a report on how his pigeons are doing.

"So I'll go to the pigeon coop with the cordless phone," said Holloway, who lives outside Albany, N.Y., a 45-minute drive from Ewald's house. "I'll say, 'They're flying high, Mike.' He'll say, 'Are they real high?' I'll say, 'Yeah, real high. Do you hear them flapping?' He'll say, 'I don't hear them flapping.' Then I'll put the phone closer to the birds. 'Do you hear them now?' And he'll say, 'Oh, man, how many do I got?' "

Tyson has hired a breeder to care for his pigeons and an automotive expert -- flown in from California -- to look after his 27 cars. The new Lamborghini Diablo is something to behold, friends say. "It looks like a spaceship," Holloway said, "like something from out of hell."

"Mike just wants the newest so when he gets out he won't have to worry about it," Bright said. "He'll have a nice new car sitting there waiting for him."

Tyson has saved little of his boxing earnings -- he's spent upward of $4 million on legal fees for the rape case alone -- but he'll be a bigger draw than ever when he's released from prison, boxing experts say. Tyson speaks longingly of a fight with current heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe, who grew up in the same Brooklyn neighborhood as Tyson.

"And Mike will regain the championship the first time he has a title fight," Ewald said the other evening in her large, 19th century house, filled with Tyson memorabilia. But, she added quickly, there's still one man out there who could defeat Tyson: himself.

"I received a good long letter from Mike right after he went to prison," Ewald said. "Mike doesn't like to write but at the time he couldn't call, so he wrote. There were a lot of things he put in the letter. Mike said that when he comes out he will know how to live. He said it'll be different than the way he lived before."

Ewald fell silent for a moment. Then she added: "I only hope Mike is going to do what he said he's going to do." Defiance

Others have heard similar sentiments from "Iron Mike," that he's ready to settle down. But there are times in the visitors room when inmate Mike, a bag of nacho tortilla chips in his hand, seems defiant.

"He is angry, angry at the system," Dershowitz said. And he's determined, his friends say, that he will not leave prison a changed man.

"Basically, Mike's attitude is: 'I haven't done anything wrong. I haven't hurt anybody. I'm not going to let these people change me,' " Holloway said, recalling one of his whispered conversations with Tyson.

"Mike says, 'Change what? I feel I was a good human being from the beginning. What are they going to change?' "

5 a.m. Tyson is awakened by prison guards.

5:30 a.m. Breakfast.

8 a.m. Tyson begins 7 1/2-hour workday in the gym, cleaning, passing out basketballs and keeping equipment in order. At various times, Tyson also works in the afternoon and evening.

8:30 a.m. Visitors' room is open until 3:30 p.m. Inmates are allowed one two-hour daytime visit per day.

11 a.m. Lunch.

1 p.m. Commissary and law library open (Monday-Friday).

4 p.m. Dinner. Gym activities continue until 9:30; facilities include two basketball courts, weight machines and pool tables. (Gym is open all day on weekends.)

6 p.m. Visiting hours until 9. Inmates are allowed one two-hour visit each evening.

7:15 p.m. Movie is shown in the Day Room, where television also can be viewed.

7:30 p.m. Religious services begin (Protestant, Islamic, Jehovah's Witnesses on alternating days).

11:30 p.m. Lights out. Tyson must return to his room, except on Fridays, Saturdays and holidays when he can read or watch TV in the Day Room until 4:30 a.m.

SOURCES: Interview by Washington Post staff writer Bill Brubaker with prison superintendent Clarence Trigg; documents supplied by the Indiana Youth Center.