Can You See Me? Continued (11)

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Fafo stepped into the communal shower room. He could always count on having the place all to himself at this time of the day. Not today. He was mildly surprised, maybe a little dismayed to see Mickey having a piss at one of the urinals immediately to his right; he wasn't alarmed though. He went straight to one of the shower cubicles and began to wash. 

Out in the corridors, with the Animal lurking outside his own cell, Leroy hung around the corner acting as look-out and, amazingly, he did not see the Old boy approach until the man stood next to him, tapped him on the shoulder and said hello. Dumbfounded, he returned the greeting in a loud enough voice that warned Animal about who was approaching.

By the time the old boy turned the corner, Animal had scurried into his cell. Leroy was a pace behind as old boy yanked the washroom door open and bellowed out Fafo's name. "Don't look left or right, just walk straight out of there!" He yelled, Leroy tried to peer over Old boy's shoulder from the doorway of the wash room. They could see nothing, only the steam, presumably from the hot showers.

Something happened in that wash room before the old boy opened the door and yelled Fafo's name. Fafo came out unscathed, the soap suds around his ears gave the only indication that he had to get out of there fast. Together, Old boy and Fafo moved quickly away from the vicinity, they could have sworn they heard a leery chuckle come from somewhere though they couldn't pin the source, neither asked the other. The only confirmation; they were never out of step as the pace and speed of their retreat increased getting the hell out of there.

 Mickey came out ten minutes later bruised, battered and bleeding, the pp9 battery still in place. He staggered and stumbled into bed and stayed there until supper. He couldn't stir or speak to his friends. Leroy and the Animal couldn't get a response out of him. He stayed dumb for days, unable to speak. Although his friends managed to cover for him during prison routines. It wasn't easy, but they managed it.

Their escape plan never materialised. When Mickey came out of his stupor, all he would admit to was, an invisible force grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, slammed him hard, face first into the piss bowl of the urinal, growled like a dog or, some wild animal that seemed ready to chew the back of his head off. He fainted! 

So, as they sat in the cramped cell, things were never the same again. They spoke of the African in hushed voices more in awe than anything else. Their ultimate plan of escape was in tatters though none would openly admit this. It was like the proverbial elephant in the room that couldn't be acknowledged. Mickey was adamant that something extraordinary, even supernatural had happened. Leroy wouldn't confirm this without looking like a fool, so he kept quiet. Mickey was trying the best he could to convince his two friends that an unknown entity kicked his ass. "Stinky wasn't anywhere close to me," he insisted.

Of course, Animal wouldn't believe this. He was sure the African guy did the damage physically to Mickey. As far as he was concerned, his enforcer had been thoroughly beaten and it was time to let the matter rest. Leroy was caught between a rock and a hard place. He knew something weird happened in that wash room but felt silly to confirm the strange saga. He'd look stupid and fall out of favour with Animal. On the other hand he couldn't completely back up his boss because he'd get his ass kicked, 0r worse, get his ass razor bladed by Mickey.

Within weeks, their friendship was in tatters. Leroy put himself at the mercy of the officers and asked for protective custody. Of course, one of the conditions would be to inform on his colleagues. It's called Rule 43 in UK prisons. He sang like a canary. Two days after Leroy spilled his guts, Animal was on his way back to a high security facility. One of the toughest. He resigned himself to his fate. He'll be doing hard time for a long while.

Without the influence of the other two, Mickey turned out to be quite a meek and gentle fellow. He served his term quietly avoiding trouble and was eventually paroled a few years later. (Tells you all you need to know about peer pressure!)

Fafo lay on his back staring up at the ceiling of the tiny cell. In his mind, he could recall vividly the journey he'd been on. Hindsight they say, is twenty-twenty vision. He knew the exact moment in time when he reached the crossroads of his journey to this place. Maybe he took the wrong one. Or, maybe it was the right one. Only time will tell. He'd acquired an undeserved reputation, become a prison legend. The guy who tamed the ferocious Mickey. Broke up the ring that ran a prison. Someone had to step up to the plate so, himself and the Old boy ended up filling that vacuum. Their word was law. They reigned wisely. Benevolence most of the time but, they could become ruthless and brutal when necessary. Their environment wasn't a place to show weakness if you wanted to remain that powerful. 

The officers within the system happily let these two bosses run the inmate population. If you asked them publicly though, they would deny that any inmate ran their prison. They and only them held the reigns of power. Privately, one or two would admit that without these bosses and their spheres of influence, their jobs would be ten times harder. These two were easier to deal with on every level and peace reigned supreme.

As he lay there with the charm around his neck, he could have sworn he heard a chuckle come from it. He ignored it. From the moment he accepted what he at one time considered a millstone around his neck, his life inside the prison had become considerably easier. Although still incarcerated, he'd become the boss.

There must be a way to get rid of this thing, he thought...

What happened later? Well, that is a tale for another day!

Stay cool and don't have nightmares.


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