71. This jailbird won’t sing!

I must confess I love it in prison – languishing.

Most people would be afraid of going to such a commodious brig, possibly confused as to why such a place exists aboard a cruise ship, at all – but not I. I can see our host’s attention in these merry, little details. Why, that darling little court could just as easily have been judged by Punch, himself, in a stripy, seaside theatre, with me cast as the penitent Judy.

So yes, I welcome this respite from the horrors that occupy the other side of those barred windows – let the dumb animals kill each other for a while. I’m out – at least for now.

When I arrived – in what felt like the blink of an eye – I stood alone in the empty brig, the little safety I felt flushing away as a rather annoying feeling of vulnerability washed in. Ha – the toilet pan of my fear!

I made my way to the cell block and peered into the first cell.  It was empty, and although there was no lock on the door, the concrete and steel ‘ornamentation’ was much more comforting – at least until signs of life echoed from elsewhere in the brig.

That noise? My beastly partner in crime.

I needed a weapon.  I searched the bedside cabinet, briefly distracted by the reek of the recently used bedpan under the bed – what dirty squab would squat there, when there was a perfectly good toilet at their elbow? I found only a few books. Not good enough.

I edged my way out of the cell as my fellow arrestee did the same at the other end of the block.  He was badly injured and although my wounds ached – burned like fire – they weren’t likely to kill me (in the expert medical opinion of Dr Lucy, M.D. that is).

Any thought that I and the Beast could be amicable cellmates, united by our shared injustice, was a barefaced lie.  We understood what the other was thinking.  He staggered out of his cell – not toward me, but into the adjacent room.  From the ruckus I assumed he was searching for a weapon of his own, so I moved to the next cell and continued to do the same.

More books, books, book, and… and a stabby piece of metal with a tape handle. Somewhere, the word: ‘Shiv’.


Not ideal, but a weapon is a weapon. Tiptoe, tiptoe, and it slid easily into his gut, just before he could get both hands around my neck.

‘Twas love, dear Beast. Sigh.

I washed the thick blood from my hands and searched the other cells to ensure I really was alone. Now I wait (and hope) to be released: ‘He was just lying there, your honour. Must’ve tripped, overcome by the bedpan fumes…’

I was most recently passing the time by flicking through a few pages of ‘Ham Day’ by Frankie Patterson, but it ended in a scowl when other matters intruded – I swear I could hear Bailey laughing from outside of the brig.

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