Good Connections

29 Feb

The afternoon sails by as I don my marigolds and trudge through the waste in a handful of emptied cells. Left behind are barely intact porn magazines, with little more than a couple of reads left in them. Such is the way with prison, these limp articles of the stiff wristed, are reclaimed from other’s rubbish to provide some evening entertainment for many a man here. Revolting but true. God knows what kinds of bacteria these harbingers of toxin contain. Next we find, still intact containers of Methadone or Subotex, salad cartons converted to ash trays, heavily soiled toilets, blood and urine soaked sheets and left behind food – any takers (?) surely not. Any plastic cups, plates etc are immediately discarded in a refuse sack. The prison must go through an awful lot of plastic containers, I do hope they recycle.

Exercise in the yard is taken in the form of a slow jog round and round and round, Nev accompanies me today. Anthony approaches me in the yard, he is carrying a letter which he hands across to me. The bright red envelope raises immediate attention from the screws as it changes ownership. Fixated eyes stare upon this note, I’m not searched but I’m made to feel guilty with the intense eyes upon me.

It’s a letter that’s been tucked under the wrong door. This must see a lot of mail go walkies, fortunately, Anthony is conscientious. The letter is from Paul, a local fighter and pal from the boxing club I train with at home.  I read the note as I continue my laps, he keeps me updated with the news from a recent fight show.

After lunch, the orderlies cells are re-opened while others fester in their less than adequate spaces. Eating and living in a large toilet makes the moment a cell door is opened a welcome event. Tony pops by to say hi, I hand him the sugar I’ve accumulated. I’m unsure quite what he does with it but as I’m not a ‘user’ myself I don’t miss it.

Canteen delivery arrives, I’m restocked with Green tea and peanut butter, all paid for by me NOT HMP. Santa’s grotto of a cell right now. I slip out the cell and try to use the phone. The beauty of the population being locked up means no queue, no foul language in your ear, no concern that you’re an extra sentence from a tear up on the landing: I dial a number I took for granted I could call up until a couple of weeks ago.

There’s a foreign dial tone, then it’s answered.

“Hey…….”

I share one fine minute on the phone with my sweetheart. There’s no time to say anything more than, “I love you”. I tell her:

“I miss you like morning needs sun-rise”

And then the phone calls over. Back in the real world, I’m in prison, and she’s so very far away.

I keep on writing, I haven’t stopped.

Darren sees me head back from the phones, he knows my situation, he clocks my smile:

“You speak to her? Course you did, Cheshire cat!”

I nod and smile, head back to my Grotto, thinking:

If this is the State’s ultimate sanction, I have a sense of pride knowing I can handle it.

…………………………………..

My new cell has a floor well buffed and polished by its previous occupants. I jump off my top bunk to knock up a coffee, wearing woolly bed socks. I’ve earnt a bruised arse for my exploits. It’s not how I imagined such an injury would occur here.

…………………………………..

 

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