Blue was out: In last week but out now. When he was in he was in, but now he’s out. He is concerned! Passed the discharge board, but there was always the fear. Two months; halftime; twenty-seven and a wake up: Does his fuckin’ head in. Home Detention Curfew: Tagging. That’s the best laugh of all. Blue knew that he was eligible after two weeks. The only requirement was to have the monitoring equipment installed at his address. They would even fit a phone line to take the modem. That’s fuckin’ great. What are they going to say when they see he got two months for theft? – A French stick and a lump of cheese to be precise He wondered why they bothered when they knew he was N.F.A. Perhaps if he had an F.A., he would be able to settle down and get a job. As it is all he got was sweet F.A. So after the wind up, you always try not to raise your hopes. You know you are going to get knocked back, but your head still does it: so it’s twenty-seven and a wake up.
Gate happy week starts when you stop the daily count down. Then it’s twenty-one gone; seven and a wake up, but it’s counted for most of the day, every day. Gate happy: That’s when you try to find a bird killer. Anything to take your mind off it:
Does your fuckin’ ‘ead in.
Two days and a wake up: Tannoy squawks unintelligible joinedupdrawl. Unintelligible noise pollutes each wall. A squash ball of gobbledygook. Rattling keys click at the door of his peter. Steel pricks the brass labia. Now you know you’re fucked.
Discharge board: There may be a gate arrest in the offing. They are supposed to tell you these days, but they don’t. Now that does do your head in. One and a wake up. Not going to work today: Fuck ‘em. They can keep their fifty pence. In the governor’s office to give your name and number. That’s the last day for numbers. Tomorrow I’ll have my nickname back again, he thought he hoped.
Breakfast is a reminder of the bland repetitivity of prison life: Cornflakes with no sugar and just enough milk to make them too dry to enjoy. You can always have the porridge. No, I have no wallpaper to hang today. Then there is the rubber toast and packet of jam. After opening the plastic pack, (which is almost impossible to rip without wearing the contents): There is a choice of red or purple. Spread it on the rubber, then throw it in the bin.
So there he was, leaving the safety of the cell. Three square meals a day laid on and no responsibilities to anyone, even himself. So the alpha of punishment is the omega womb. And now the fear of release gripped him. There’s always the chance of a gate arrest. Through reception to the gate with forty-three quid discharge grant. No travel warrant was asked for, neither was one offered. There is only one pace home: Inside to out: The massive wooden gates are like the cattle keep, but not to keep the invader out of course. The wicket gate is a missing tooth in the armour of walls and razor wire. The hair stands up on the back of his neck as he
gingerly places a foot on the out. Testing the water, convinced the path will be too hot to bear. No fingers gripping his shoulder. No coppers on the gate, awaiting his arrest. Every nerve tells him to run, but he knows he will look stupid. His head is bursting with the effort of not turning back to look: Too afraid that if he does, he will be sucked back by some immutable unmoved force. If I don’t look at them, they can’t see me. The oil in his belly made the panic attack inevitable. Run. Don’t run.
It’s not a sunny day, but the light is too bright. Why are all the cars and busses going so fast? Why is everything so noisy? Why is everyone staring at me? They know. I know they know and they know I know they know. Even though I know they don’t:
How can they know? There is something different about the world and it’s not that I missed a month of it.
The Tannoy at the railway station announces unintelligible joinedupdrawl: A squash ball of gobbledygook.