29 Mar

It seems my new cell comes with baggage. The baggage of knowing the previous incumbent was a notorious ponce. He’s borrowed with borrowings, fleeced goodwill and robbed for good measure. Unpopular and a target of future violence, he legs it to the screws to put himself into protective custody; ‘The Numbers’. Before he made the flight to temporary safety, he’s tried and been successful at ‘ticking’ some more Burn. (Ticking is a colloquial term for lending.) Aiming for shipment to a new prison, he better hope he doesn’t find himself inside again. Being a local lad, it will be one of his first stops. Dangerous games, his reputation precedes him and I’m likely to receive  a stream of knocks on my door hunting out this bloke. Sat down for dinner a fella overhears my story.

“H Billet, you in?” He asks.

“Yeah, you know it?” I reply.

A random bloke at a random table, out of 500 men; he also knows this kid.

I joke that I hope when I bin his kit left behind he may have something of use to add to my belongings.

“No chance. Ponce… and a tea leaf, he had nuffin of his own” he talks between mouthfuls.

I put back the rest of the substance lacking dinner and traipse back to a fruitless cleaning operation.

Dirty clothes and greasy floors meet me return. I whip out the mop, you’d think my new cellmate had never seen one before and try to make my half of the cell a home. I clean the entire floor, I’m not drawing  a chalk line and only doing one half. My cellmate chips in by helpfully lifting his feet up for me.

I have tried to sit down to write today, but this new fella is proving a major distraction. One way conversation comes from his direction, he’s harmless but likely to be a bore. In on a 7 sentence for importing Coke in his suitcase from the Caribbean. It seems he was told it would be neatly packed and hidden, when he got to customs and they inspected the case, it was just dumped there on the top of his pants. He is as likely to have got 7 years for being stupid.

He’s harmless, zero danger to the public and is in the process of ensuring he can receive home leaves. Only UK citizens are allowed day and home release and he is currently jumping through hoops to prove he holds a British passport. He has lived here for decades and importantly of all, his passport is in his personal property.

He is not able to access such an item from his property, it is contraband. Irritatingly for him, he can’t even permit a member of prison staff to remove something on his behest, to hand in. Forbidden

It is an impasse where common sense falls down. This happens a lot inside. Here is a man due release many months before, denied because the prison aren’t sure he is a British citizen or not. His passport is 20 metres away, it would take 5 minutes to resolve this paperwork exercise. Job solved.

I think of George and wonder if he will be on next week’s bus. I’m guessing with his surname being in the late letters, he will probably get overlooked week after week. I’m sure it is as simple as that – alphabetical list of D Cats printed off, names ticked off one by one. I miss his dry wit and intellect. I don’t know where my next academic conversation is coming from.


Delroy (New cellie), seems to have earmarked the tv as his own with a clear fondness of soaps. Trapped in a cell with him for 12 hours a day, there is really only so many minutes you can spend in the toilet or shower for some solitude. A late sleeper too apparently, we are two episodes in, into the usual Channel 5 CSI-Spin off triathlon. He commentates as the show rolls, whether I am looking at the tv or not, it appears he is oblivious to my clear lack of interest in anything on the tv or anything he has to say. I am away with my thoughts, my memories of fond times.

When I Brick-Lane loved her

Our new first date

Our new first kiss

Tapas in Clapham

Cute tea shops in the country

petting lambs in big fields

and Cider in Camden




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