Day 23 – HMP Wandsworth…

19 Mar

I’ve been shifted into Daz’s cell. Nice, much better than I’d hoped. With Shah going we were both cast alone. I still hadn’t heard anything about George and I didn’t fancy shacking up with a nutter.

Daz follows a regular prayer schedule, he observes Islam as does his family. His religious observance is no issue to me and the man has a well-kept and well stocked living quarter. I’ve arrived in relative comfort as the wing’s cells go. Being on remand and with a good little business on the outside, he has access to more available funds than his convicted counterparts. It means he is able to purchase a few more of the minor luxuries on the canteen sheet.

Being on remand allows inmates to spend more money each week, by a sizeable proportion.

It’s his kid’s birthday so he’s had some cards sent in from the outside, for him to fill in and send back out. A much more sensible idea, than buying in the lucky dip of depressing cards from Prison Supplies. I hadn’t even considered that as a plan, simple yet effective. It’s these small little detours in the prison life norm, that keep many inmates sane and even content. Finding a way to fulfill normal life functions in spite of the systems here, is a small victory and to be savoured.

Daz is respected here, what he asks for is generally granted and he’s pulled another turn in getting me from being stuck in with a first nighter. We talk about our lives outside, he knows a fair deal about me already from our time training each day; but we haven’t spoken about the reasons why we are here. Well – he has, mine’s just a little complicated to explain off the cuff in a few words. I tell him about my life in the City. Why I ended up there, what my real ambition had been, how I came to be on the wrong end of a Regulatory Enforcement Conviction and what my plans were now. There’s enough for a little book, for the mad little life this boy had in the last half decade. Pouring Champagne off girls in 5 star hotel rooms, punch-ups outside City pubs with jackets and ties in neat little piles. Gangsters and the plastic ones too, liars, thieves and addicts; I’ve met the lot.

And when I’m done talking, he walks me into his world, stories of the like just don’t enter the average person’s life – EVER.

He’s had, seen and done a lot, but humble and I make this conclusion myself. Theres no prompting from the fella, he’s a man’s man and adds a good helping of black comedy to his verbal autobiography. When he’s done talking, ever the selfless he pulls out from under the bed a large box, 3 foot by 2 foot, filled to the brim with edible artifacts.

A treasure trove of food is opened. We make a fruit salad and destroy a bag of tea cakes I’d rescued from the kitchen, lathered in the marmalade for effect ‘Fruit Spread’ we get in our breakfast packs.

Fruit Spread is presented in a ketchup-like sachet. Coming in a range of colours and flavours, I make these sound a lot like condoms, some of them of them taste little different either. There is however one stand-out ‘Model’, this being the blue denoted blackberry spread.

Just the previous day, George and I had begun to sort each spread into a corresponding colour box and dumped the unloved choices on the landing, to see if they would get picked up by a sugar starved inmate. We weren’t in luck, we needed a coin and glue really. Still armed with the blue fruit spread, I add something to the party in D’s cell.

Who brings condiments to a party? I’d be a rubbish dinner guest.

“I’ve got the table salt guys!”

As we let the stodge sit on our stomachs, laying horizontal entranced by the tv, D says to me:

“You’re not going to be here long, trust me I’ve got a good feeling for you.”

He leans out the side of his bunk and winks to me…..


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