HMP Dogworth 1990
Sam pulled hard and long on the joint, holding the precious smoke deep within his lungs for a few savouring seconds, before he allowed it to curl slowly out through his nostrils while his mainspring unwound a little. Now even the cold metallic noises of the prison seemed to hold a musical quality in keeping with mad mix of voices and radios, drifting from the cells. The gear he decided, was indeed good, and worth the risk.
He looked around at his new cell, pretty much like the old one with different cunt and cars on the walls. At least this guy seemed half the way there compared to the dickhead he'd given a beating earlier. In his eyes there was only one thing worse than nonces and screws reading your mail before you did, and that was a pad mate reading your Dear John before you. He laughed as he tried to imagine the idiot propped up in the hospital bed, wrapped up like a stiff mummy with a neck brace and groaning in muffled agony as he stood by the side of the bed sticking needles in his feet, disguised as a nurse saying, Just nod if you feel this, Mister Porter? Or something to that effect.
"Gonna let us in on the joke then or what?" said Johnson, a half cast lad who sat doodling at the table.
Sam swung his legs off the top bunk and sat up. "Just dreaming of torturing a pad thief," he chuckled coldly, "Hope they put arsenic in his coffee."
Johnson forgot his pencil, as the smell of sweet leaf nudged his tense brain, refusing to be ignored any longer. "Is it mine yet?" He asked as he turned to face him.
"Loads left," he said handing him the joint.
"Easiest part of the prison to escape from," Johnson told him, "Wish I was there now."
"Become a pad thief."
"Fuck that," he laughed, "As I am now I mean."
"A fragal then."
"Mad yeah, Fragal no."
"Joke, mate. Joke."
"Bloke got out last year with a broken arm. Still not caught him yet, though."
"He won't be going nowhere, not after the way I done him in," he growled, "Guy was a wimp, didn't hit him hard. Never even put his hands up to defend himself."
"Could've been blagging you."
Sam stared at him, "What with blood pouring from his head?"
"Mm, yeah s'pose."
"Crying like a little baby." He proudly reassured himself, "Would have gave me a blow job if I'd have asked."
"Taller and musclier than me."
"Fatter you mean."
"Teach him to fuck with my business." He remembered his face going white with terror as he'd entered his old cell and caught him, one hand in his jeans as if he was getting off on the bad news, "If he's got any of my photos," he raged, "If he's writing to her," he made the cut throat sign, "I'll finish him."
Johnson shook his head, "C'mon, get a grip. Y'gonna do life for a letter from an ex who don't want'a know you no more?"
"Unfuckingbelievable." He was right, and he couldn't think of what else to say that would explain the way he felt as he crashed back down on his mattress,
"Get a grip mate."
Sam turned to stare at him, "What d'ya mean?"
Johnson sighed, "Give it two weeks and she'll be writing to you again." He tried to sound convincing, but knew most men were better off without the added grief that a physical wall created. "You reckon?" Sam calmed down at the chance of hope.
Johnson nodded and pointed to his draw, "The times I've had to empty Dear John's out of there you wouldn't believe." He half lied.
"Threw them then?"
"No in me properties with me make up," he said, as he flicked the roach through the bars of the tiny window.
"With your Make up?"
"No y'fool, sorry letters, y'know like "I didn't mean it Johnny" and "I'll always love you", things like that."
"You got kids?"
Johnson laughed, "Everybloodywhere mate. But she don't know. How's about you?"
"None." Sam sighed and put his hands behind his head as he imagined Sonia writing things "like that" to him. "Don't know why but I still love'er."
"Can't live wiv'em hey."
A thick silence fell between them as Sam dreamed up the next letter he might get, hopefully covered in her perfume and lipstick prints. Outside on the landing the sound of the hot water urn drawing closer to their door reminded Johnson of a giant steel foot. The rattle of keys and the apathetic voice of the screw: "Hot water? Yes? No? C'mon make your mind up"
The sound of cups being filled.
The slam of the door..
Sam lay still content for a while in his dream world until the door opened and he returned to the cell with a crash.
The fat screw blew out his cheeks impatiently at the lack of interest, "Hurry up sunshine, I've still got fifty cells to go."
Johnson sucked his teeth and smirked at him as he found two plastic cups. "You know what they say," he said as he took his time walking toward the urn.
"Uh." The screw frowned as the silent red-band filled both the cups, unable to stop his hands shaking with twenty years of stir craziness.
"Don't do the crime-"
"If you can't do the time." Sam finished for him.
The screw sniffed the air suspiciously, "Been smoking dope Johnson?"
"Ner, must be drifting from downstairs."
"Mm." He was not buying it. "Think I'll have a word with the C. O tomorrow."
Sam sat up bit his tongue and glared at him instead. He knew his next move would be down the block, and so he guessed, did the tormenting screw.
The fat uniform grinned provokingly, "Nothing to say er-" He paused to glance at the card on the door, "Mister Smith."
Johnson shook his head, "Give the man a rest," he sighed.
Now it was the screws turn to smirk as he nodded for the red-band to move on and stopped with the door partially open. "Perhaps you should have done a better job on Mister Porter."
"You what?" Sam jumped for the door.
Johnson grabbed his arm, "Leave it, man."
The door slammed shut.
"Escaped from the hospital wing about an hour ago," he spoke close to the door.
"Fucking liar," he screamed and booted the door.
"Kick the door all night for all I care, son." The fat screw taunted him with an exaggerated yawn, "My shift ends in twenty minutes."
Sam wrestled free from Johnson's grip as he worked a steel bed leg free from the bottom bunk.
"What the fuck you doing with my riot tool?"
"Knock me out," he said, "You can say I fell off the bunk. I've gotta get over there."
"You're nuts man."
"My phone card says your right," he agreed as he pointed at the left side of his jaw, "Just about here should do it," he said, "Nice and sharp on the button. But break me teeth and I'll have your gold'uns. Got that, mate?" he warned him as he braced himself against the steel bunk, "On the count of three, yeah."
"Just one thing," Sam halted him as he practised his swing with the bed leg, making the air whistle through the air between them.
"I want half ounce of baccy too"
"You're on," he said through gritted teeth, as he squeezed his eyes shut, and bravely muttered:
Glossary of prison terminology:
Fragal=psycho, madman, usually inmate awaiting psychiatric evaluation before move to regional secure units or even Broadmoor.
C.O= Commanding Officer.
Red band= (Dangerous inmates who behave impeccably inside), have hold positions of trust within prison, and usually manage to get released on parole. =The privileged few. Also called brown tongues and governor's arse lickers.
Stir craziness (crazy) = What prison does to some inmates over a long period of incarceration.
Dear John= Letter of break up from girlfriend to inmate (and one of the biggest causes of attempted suicides).
Plan of Escape: 1370 words
Full name: Jonathan Brown.
Pen name: Jon Brown.
DOB: 21/9/67. Birthplace: Northampton (central England).
This is one of many works written by Jonathan Brown who is a juggling house husband with a beautiful wife and four children. Cultivated first as a hobby, writing prolifically has brought him some recent publishing success. Hopefully upon his final edit deadline in November 2006, his first book "Autopilot" will be published by Lionel Parker.
Like many modern day writers he has gathered his material and his critiques both varnished and unvarnished, whilst trying to remain balanced in his attitude towards his own work and that of his fellow pens.
Credits: Forward Press x5 shorts. Black Petals x3 shorts. TBRAx2 shorts. Whispers of wickedness x1 poem. Tales for Melancholy Children x1 short. The short story page x1 short. Request for ongoing work from Strangeroad.com. Ad Hoc Monadnock x1short. Wanderings x2 shorts. Various Koestler awards. Playwright for prison production. Various illustrations waiting to go upon further request.
(C)opyright 2006 Jon Brown All Rights ReservedSend us your comments on this article