Old friends

26 Apr

It’s been a long time, well it feels like a long time since I saw the man last. 3 and a half weeks in prison drags, as does every week and every day. Breaking the days into manageable chunks and gradually counting them away; 50% of my current sentence has passed since I saw a face from earlier in my journey; a rush of companionship  floods me. A sense of knowing, belonging – that shared challenge, I feel at last I’ve got my own pal here.

In hindsight, I may have been little more than a side story to him at this time (or even know) but to me, there at that moment, I was happy as a sandboy.

From being on the fringes here, I’m taking a little group of Wandsworth arrivals on a tour around the nick. They update me in the meantime on what’s been going on back behind London’s filthy chamber of secrets.

Daz has been shifted off the wing over the discovery of  a mobile in the laundry of his cellmate. But he’s now landed the plum job of gym orderly and I’m sure is content to keep himself fit and keep his mind healthy.

The two lay preachers who tried to pitch me ‘G’d’ on a handful of occasions are now working on the drugs counselling wing, helping others overcome social and mental issues.

George updates me on his own circumstances since I’d left. After refusing to leave the wing, the Governor was called and rather than issue a diktat on George, he is instead lectured at and after a surprising about-turn of events, issues George an apology and returns him to normal regime.

Assured of his D Cat status, he leaves the meeting thinking his ordeal is almost over – at least in Wandsworth.

Days later they move in a remand prisoner, awaiting extradition to Uganda. A convicted rapist charged with attempted murder. Nice bit of cell management, or something a little more cynical perhaps?

An argument over the tv escalates quickly the second day into their pairing. George wanting it off at 3 in the morning and the remandee, Brian wanting to channel hop until he sleeps.

“I’ll kill you” the rapist spits at him.

“Oh and FAIL again?” comes the reply, as the ex serviceman prepares for some vocal jousting.

George demands to move cells for his own safety or see his partner be ejected. The story that you’re housed with people of a similar criminal persuasion is only a myth. There is always the very real prospect of this type of situation occurring and it’s why cell changes always fill you with a sense of foreboding. The plastic gangster awaiting a death penalty in Africa may not have had it quite so easy with my silver haired buddy.

Well spoken, well-educated and white-collar, yes. A push-over, no way.

I chuckle as I remember a story he told me once of a property owner’s right of reasonable force to defend themself. George has tested the rigidity of :

a. The law surrounding this

b. a car door slammed in it’s frame repeatedly (A stress test if you will)

c. an area of thick calcified tissue: Bone

In conclusion, don’t get caught hanging out a car door in Luton, midway through stealing his car-stereo.

Fortunately when I hear this story I was by then aware of the index offence that led him to being in prison. Had I not known his crime, I possibly would have still thought he was a Wifer.

My Ford life has seen an uptick, I hit the gym/visit’s hall, then catch up with him again. We share a coffee, sat on a wooden bench around the cricket pitch, people watching as the evening draws in.

It’s not Provence and he aint my lover 🙂

but today’s a good day.



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