8 Mar

A slip flies under the door the night before you move. I’ve seen my first one.

It’s not mine, it’s Nev’s, but this new knowledge has given me another thing to fixate and annoy myself over. Back to Swaleside, Nev’s going, it’s where he was until a few weeks ago when he came here for a Confiscation Proceeds of Crime hearing. It means someone else will be making my aquaintance very soon.

It will be the last time I have to sit through Scooby Doo in the morning over breakfast. I say that like it’s been anytime at all, it hasn’t in the real world, that’s where this place is like Narnia; just without the Lion. I have though, met a man with long white hair called Aslam. Not sure if he can:

A) Roar

B) Create magically enhanced weapons

C) Summon cheaply animated spirits

Time stands still is where I was going with this.

I say goodbye to Nev as he heads off overflowing plastic bags in tow, I slip off to the gym party to meet with Darren.As usual, he works me through my paces and then has to drag me back to complete his workout. I’m left gasping for air through every conceivable orifice.

The Forecaster’s predict a cooler day today but Wandsworth seems to be excluded from this. I’ve always chuckled how small talk on the weather in the UK, refers to these forecasters as “They”. Often a conversation will begin with:

“They say….”

I love it, I love this deferential moniker we have bestowed upon the noble weather forecaster. Its one of an almost omnipotent acceptance that the forecasters truly are “They” that know. “They say…” carries clout within a weather chat. “They” deal with that which we do not.

“They say it will be cooler today…”

With a bit of downtime, those that have their cases still to be heard, bounce around ideas and strategies for how to get through their legal obstacles. I walk alongside, just interested to notice quite how judicially aware many are here. I’m sure there are plenty who are more than capable of fighting their own battles, if offered a wig and gown.

We get back to the E-Wing and are blocked from returning to the landings. A man has fallen down a flight of steel stairs. The white painted surfaces are obscured with the new shade of rouge; decorated ostentatiously in the surrounding area and below.

Gravity draws the blood down a level.

He’s crying, saying he fell, the onlookers say he jumped. It’s not uncommon to hear of cases where prisoners have injured themselves to claim compensation.

Crap work if you’ve got to get it.

As he fell from the 4s down to the 3s landing, he has moved outside of my cleaning jurisdiction. A number of the workers chat with screws, it seems if he slipped or fell he would not likely be face down right now – a refreshing cynicism that I wish was embraced by the Premier League. Unfortunately for the inmates possible future claim, he was spotted walking to the staircase on the dry side of the landing, by a multitude of people. Is paralysis really a risk worth taking?

We stay locked down till lunch, so i tidy up the cell after my roomy’s departure and rifle through any left-overs. I’m in luck to the tune of 5 breakfast packs and some bags of prison issue crisps. Hoping to have the cell to myself for a day or two, I put contingency plans in to speak to George, who is in the same boat. His own cellie, has been packed off with Nev, after earning himself a 24 year sentence for conspiracy to supply. I’m on standby to move in with him. He may add a little high brow intellectualism to my days here. Over a few brief conversations I’ve also ascertained we have similar comedy tastes, not always easy for me to find in a person.

Outside the rumble of thunder builds, as the grey clouds converge for even more dramatic effect. A tropical storm is on it’s way and the cover’s come on at Wimbledon. It’s pouring down at SW19, there are minutes till it catches on here. Andre invites me over to his cell, he want’s to talk… big mistake…..



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