Friday, 2 November 2012

Basildon Bond - Friday Flash

I got your latest letter. As it always does, it helps speed up time for me, by structuring the eternal hours of nothingness in here. Several days reading it over and over, thinking about every last word on the paper. Gauging the surety of the handwriting that can betray falsehoods like a polygraph can. A week or so maybe composing the response inside my head, taking me up to the time when I qualify for my paper or stamp allowance. To say nothing of the night time nourishment, the sustenance under the sheets.

For you may credit we only have our swapped words, that I have no sense of what you look like since you have never sent me a photo, let alone visited me in the flesh. But you have ceded me one physical impression of you. For your scent infuses the paper on which your letter is written. Transferred maybe by your fingers dancing across its tissue behind the pen, or maybe when you fold it to slip into the envelope and bring the gummed strip to your lips and lick it to seal both your words and your essence inside. Until I set you free, inhaling both word and musk deep inside me.

I won't lie to you. You're like heroin to me. The smack of you wears off a little more each time I take to my bed with you. I develop a - I won't say tolerance- well let me explain it like this; Your scent reanimates me. I reclaim my own reek as I reinhabit my body gone numb in here. As my blood begins to course through me again, it pushes your fragrance to the periphery. I have to choke it all the harder towards the end of the fortnight when you have been almost wholly evicted from my nostrils, full of the stink of me. I have to beat my limp meat so far more fiercely because you are barely present to me.

Does that shock you? It shouldn't really. How else did you imagine me using what you send me? What I want to know is whether I provoke the same response in you back there in your rinky-dinky house behind its trim white picket fence? Do you inhale me up from my clumsily chiselled letters on this cheap [a[er that rips and tears beneath the furious notching of my nib? Is your brain filled with the spice of me? That prison stench of tobacco, fear, blood, shit, semen and sweat? Does the tang of me flow around your bloodstream? Do you run your tongue over the letter seal to taste my sputum where I originally licked it sealed? Do I, incarcerated here on the other side of the country, force you to choke your own sex? I doubt it somehow.

Words and thinking see. I appreciate how your letters stimulate that at least. Something someone said in Group Therapy set me thinking. I probably completely misinterpreted what was being said, but that's what the likes of us in here do. We take things for our own purposes, run with it, put our own stamp on it. Once the notion took hold of me, I zoned out the rest of that particular session. See I'm the one behind bars and yet you have erected your own little cage for yourself. Where you can lock up your dark parts of the psyche. Safely leaving you clean on the outside behind your picket fence. It's through me, through this correspondence that you can look on that pustulant, shrivelled soul in the cage. Poke it. Make it flinch and dance for you when you choose to set the cage swinging on its hook. All through your association with me.

But I won't dance for you. You can't prod me. You need to take your own suppurating heart out of the cage and let it breathe and expand. Let it see the light and either embrace it or try to extinguish it. For that is what the darkness inside means. If something is outside me, it isn't mine, so I just seize hold of it, take it into me and make it mine. Unless I simply am not interested in possessing it. I can help you break your heart free of its restraints. If you follow me. Do as I tell you to do.

Cos seems to me you want it both ways. The thrill of associating with me, hard up against the utter security of me being held at arms length confined in prison. What would it be like if I broke out? If I came to you and solidified the fantasy? Tearing you away from your rinky-dinky house as the getaway car smashed down the picket fence as we sought to outrun the cops. Would you happily join me on the lam?  Always be you having to go out to buy us food because I had to lay out of sight, never sure if the customer in the queue behind you was a plain clothes cop waiting to jump you? Would you happily reload my semi-automatic as we shot our way out of a police cordon? Cos I don't believe you want any of that at all. Cos either I'm stuck here for life, kept apart from you, or that would constitute the only reality for us to be together.

So here's the test. Here's how we can be eternal cell-soul mates, even physically removed from one another. Here's how you pledge me your undying love, that dark heart that I know beats within you.  And which attracts you to me. I will kill a man in here, choke him with my bare hands, or shank him with a knife. But only if you tell me to. You tell me which one out of a choice of men I'll give you, the manner of despatch and what trophy you want me to take and mail you as proof. This will be our exchange of eternity rings. Do this for me, and our scents will be forever commingled in our nostrils. I won't have to trust to receding perfume on writing paper. Whenever I have my own reek in my head, there you will be too.



Taken from my 3rd Flash Fiction collection "Long Stories Short" available for free Kindle download June 4-7th 2016


9 comments:

Alison Wells said...

Chilling and believeable.

Virginia Moffatt said...

My goodness that's quite a challenge,I wonder how she'll respond...Powerful stuff.

Katherine Hajer said...

It would be great to hear about it from the other person's point of view. Is she just a member of a humanitarian group who writes prisoners, or is she someone who falls in love with lifers? What does she write about in her letters?

Great character buildup with the narrator. Makes me wonder how exactly he wound up getting sent down in the first place.

Steve Green said...

An absolutely riveting read, a part 2 would be nice, to see her response, and possible consequences.

Helen said...

Now this has me wondering which one of them actually has the fantasy about the other? It would as other's say be nice to read her response but then if we do, all our questions will be answered. ^_^

Icy Sedgwick said...

Whoa, that was dark and like everyone else says, part of me hopes you'll write a response. But then part of the strength of this piece is that we all construct our own image of his correspondent, in much the same way that he does, and if you were to write her reply, we'd either be right or wrong...

Cindy Vaskova said...

Really enjoyed the narrator's voice in this piece Marc. Very powerfull and compelling in a dark and unexplainable way.

I wonder how the words in this letter affect the person reading them. I second all the above, a response would be great to read, but I fear it might be somehow twisted.

Hawksword said...

I have no words yet to respond to this...a cliche will have to suffice. It made my blood run cold, and my flesh crawl. (I know, that's two cliches!)

flyingscribbler said...

Your superb use of language here is what shines through the piece. It is chosen to generate a true image of life inside. Gritty, dirty and honest. I enjoyed the thought process of this convict: they are those of a man with time on his hands and show the damage that can be done to someone forced to reflect for too long. Great work.