Jailhouse Blues - Part 1 (New Version)

This story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to voondave@yahoo.co.uk


The Jailhouse Blues – Chapter 1 (of 3).  

Chapter 1: Len falls foul of the Authoritarian Female Party's new legislation.

The Lowe Institution for Male Behavioural Offenders.  (L.I.M.B.O.)


December 2070 (Twenty seventy).
Dear reader, 
my name is Len Lightwood, and I am seventy years of age. 

Fate has not been kind to me. And so I hope you will forgive the rather rambling and sometimes vague and disjointed memoirs of a man whose best years are long behind him. 

My mind is still basically sound, per se. But due to the sedative-based 'medication' that has been administered to me on a weekly basis for almost a year now by my Carer, Miss Bella Donna, my mind is sometimes not very clear, and often rather fuzzy. 

Nevertheless, as best and as coherently as my egregiously tampered-with faculties will allow, I shall relate to you some of the more salient, and profoundly disagreeable events of the past fifty years of my life. 

Events, in which my now Carer, Miss Bella Donna, features most prominently ...

To the eyes of a casual or uninformed observer, it might appear that the two elderly gentlemen (me and my fifty-years-long friend, Ross Chapman) sitting listlessly in their power-assisted wheelchairs, each with a rough woolen blanket draped over their knees and staring at the forlorn images of themselves in the large mirror on the wall of the L.I.M.B.O.'s residents' lounge, were just simply waiting, for 'the end'. 

For such, these days, is the customary lack of animation in our jaded, timeworn faces. 

But then, when our two Carers stood behind Ross and I, and put their proprietorial hands on the handles of our wheelchairs, that same casual or uninformed observer might have noticed the sudden change, in our lethargic demeanour. 

Might have noticed, the sudden look of trepidation in our eyes.  

Might have noticed, our unease – our unease, so evidently occasioned from being in our Carers' immediate presence.

And, having noticed our unease, the casual or uninformed observer might then have noticed the underlying, deeper fear – the fear, that has been ruthlessly and sadistically instilled into us over a coalescing blur of prison-cell bound decades – as Ross and I stared back at the reflected visages of our respective Carers: Ross's, Billie Jo, and mine, Bella Donna. 

The reflected faces ... of our nemeses.
L.I.M.B.O. is a government-run institution, staffed entirely by females ... Females, of a certain ilk.

Assigned to the supervision of aging prison inmates now deemed to be in the low-risk 'F' category, L.I.M.B.O.’s Carers are exclusively comprised of retired former prison officers. 

These no-nonsense, mature stature ladies who know what's what and are accustomed to being obeyed run a stringent regime. Rigidly ensuring, that each and every House Rule of the 'F'-rated superannuated prisoners' 'residential home' is strictly adhered to – subject to their no-exceptions administering of harsh disciplinary consequences to any non-conformist's slightest transgression.


Already financially comfortable on their generous prison-officer occupational pensions, most of L.I.M.B.O.'s Carers work only part-time. But some of them, including my own and Ross's dedicated Carers, Bella Donna and Billie Jo, work full-time. They love their work: Love 'looking after' me and Ross ... just as they've 'looked after' us, for the last fifty years. 

To Bella Donna and Billie Jo, 'looking after' me and Ross has never been just a job. 

Almost from the very first day of our having been disastrously deflected into their orbits (Ross, about four months earlier than me), it has been their 'vocation' ... and continues to be. That they are extremely 'dedicated', no one will deny – least of all, me and Ross.

Into their early 70's now, Carers Bella Donna and Billie Jo are themselves no spring chickens anymore. But it's like they've discovered the secret of eternal youth: they aren't so much aging and declining, as maturing majestically.

The saying goes these days that 70 is the new 50. And quite obviously there's a lot of life left in the pair of them yet ... and a lot of mischief, too. 

Bella Donna and Billie Jo are still sparkle-eyed. There is still a spring in their step. They have lost none of their vitality, none of their vivacity, and they are still lithe and fit and vigorously healthy. Still full of vigour, with which to pursue their wicked mischief.

And they are both still attractive, too. Barely a sign of a wrinkle, and what lines there are on their faces have much more to do with laughing, than with aging ... And Ross and me are primarily responsible for that: responsible for giving our now so-called Carers their laughter-lines, in our so inadvertently having given them both so much to laugh about, over the past fifty years. 

Bella Donna and Billie Jo have told us that "looking after" Ross and me keeps them young at heart. Certainly, I know that it helps keep them so sparkle-eyed – I've known it for fifty years.

As we watched Carers Bella Donna and Billie Jo staring with undisguised ill intent at their subdued charges' wary, mirror-reflected faces, from the tell-tale glint in their eyes Ross and I knew all too well what was coming next: our weekly 'medication' jab.

In the mirror, Ross and I apprehensively beheld our respective Carers. Watched them, slowly and gleefully depressing the plungers of their hypodermics until all of the air was expelled, and the familiar dirty-yellow coloured droplets of the sedative-based drug began spurting from the wicked-looking needle points.

Their hypodermic needles now prepared, in their usual fashion our Carers addressed Ross and me. 

Carer Billie Jo said, “Right, you two ... time for your weekly med's. This will keep you both quiet, and easy to handle. Nice and docile, for us." 

"You heard!" Carer Bella Donna snapped at us, almost before Carer Billie Jo had even finished speaking. "Come on! You know the drill: drop your trousers, and pull down your underpants – let’s see your scrawny bottoms.”

Not daring to hesitate in complying with Carer Bella Donna's order, Ross and I set our handbrakes, and got out of our power-assisted wheelchairs.

"Yes, Miss Bella Donna," I respectfully replied, as I unbuckled my belt, and began dropping my trousers.

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo," replied Ross, equally respectful, as he pulled his underpants right down to his ankles, and presented his bare bottom to his Carer as instructed.

Carer Bella Donna then said to me, "Now, turn around, Leonard. Facing me. Hands held behind your back."

"Yes, Miss Bella Donna," I answered respectfully. And I turned around, and held my hands behind my back, just as Carer Bella Donna had told me to.

Carer Billie Jo said to Ross, "You too, Chapman. Turn around. Facing me. Hands held behind your back."

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo," answered Ross respectfully. And he turned around, and held his hands behind his back, just as Carer Billie Jo had told him to.

As always, Ross and I unhesitatingly obeyed our Carers' commands. We obeyed them without question. And we addressed them respectfully: unfailingly using the appellation 'Miss', accordant with their fifty-years'-long standing instruction.

This was Bella Donna and Billie Jo's weekly, sticking-it-to-us ritual. Both metaphorically and literally.

To stand there, and look down at our exposed genitals – exposed, at their command ... and laugh, at our manhood. 

Laugh, in our unfailingly obedient, ever respectful faces ... before they needled us.

I suppose I could say that Bella Donna and Billie Jo's weekly, sticking-it-to-us ritual symbolised the dynamic of our five-decades-long 'relationship' ... but those words seem sort of flowery. Not earthy enough. Come to that, 'earthy' isn't earthy enough.

Our manhood ... Yes, that was a laugh.

Effectively, Bella Donna and Billie Jo have emasculated me and Ross.

In my case, I had lost my virginity when I was eighteen ... 

I wasn't a bad looking lad, and I'm not saying I was Casanova but with my outgoing personality to help things along some I found I was soon enjoying reasonable success with my female-chasing exploits. 

Sure, I got knocked back plenty of times – what eighteen-year-old guy doesn't? And sometimes a girlfriend might dump me, after we'd had only one or two dates. I could get pretty upset when this happened, I remember, thinking back ... It always seemed to happen with the girls I was most keen on; the ones I felt most attracted to, and who I would find myself thinking about the whole day long, counting the minutes until I would see them again. I even cried a couple of times, over these 'lost loves' – what eighteen-year-old guy doesn't? But I don't think my heart ever got actually broken, as such. Without too much moping, I usually managed to put these painful reversals behind me, and move on – life's too short, and there are plenty more fish in the sea, as the saying goes. 

The odd painful reversal aside, I was looking forward to what I guessed most randy guys my age were looking forward to: a lively and highly satisfying sex life, sprinkled with lots of eventful girl-chasing escapades. 

And I could see no reason why that wasn't going to happen. And maybe I would even fall in love, a few times – or at least think, I was in love, and not just infatuated – and so those more special relationships would last a bit longer, and become more meaningful ... before we split up. 

Sooner or later though, I thought, Miss Right herself would show up. Love, would happen. I would put a ring on her finger. And then there would be marital bliss: I'd end up parenting the proverbial 2.4 children, paying the 30-year mortgage, running the family car, being plagued by the dreaded mother-in-law – and all the rest of the marital shebang. 

But until then – until the day I put an engagement ring on a girl's finger – I wanted to have lots of girlfriends. Play the field, as the saying goes. Sow some wild oats.

But, so tragically soon after its commencement, my liberal sowing of wild oats was brought to a sudden and permanent stop, upon my (albeit, unwittingly) falling foul of the new Crimes Against Females Act. 

And that was it: My sex life was over – over, when it had barely begun. 

For me, there would be no more playing the field. No more highly exciting and eventful girl-chasing escapades. No more sexual adventures – from the casual and carefree one-night-stand liaisons, through to the more special, longer lasting and more meaningful relationships ... No more love-life.

So I would never get to meet Miss Right ... never get to put an engagement ring on her finger. 

And so there would be no marital shebang, either.

And why? Because of Bella Donna.

Ross, on the other hand, had confided in me that he'd still been a virgin, upon his being imprisoned. 

And so ... he still is.

I wondered if it was better to have loved and lost, as it were, as I had. And so therefore know: know, exactly what I was missing. But at least consoled, somewhat, by my having ... indulged, in the pleasures of the flesh.

Or had Ross been better off? Not knowing. Not knowing what it was actually like, to 'dip his wick', as the saying goes. And therefore not knowing, just exactly what the heinous Billie Jo had so cruelly and maliciously deprived him of ... Maybe in this case, ignorance was bliss.

But of course, that is to miss the bigger picture – to ignore the real tragedy: As pleasurable as those callow adventures might be, there is so much more to be derived from the rich tapestry of life, than 'dipping your wick', resultant of a successful highly exciting girl-chasing escapade. 

Ross and I never got the chance to meet our Miss Right – and why? Because we were both ruthlessly cheated out of it. 

Ross and I missed out on the chance of marrying our Miss Right, and of proudly raising our kids, and of joyously watching them raise their own kids: missed out, on all of the attendant heartwarming and spirit-soaring fulfillment that building our whole lives around our cherished families would bring – and why? Because we were both mercilessly deprived of it. 

Ross and I missed out, on our marital shebangs. And why ...? 

Because that had been the decree, of our fiendish nemeses – the dark and ineluctable ordination, of our malevolent mistresses: To hold us captive, and deny us freedom. 

Right in the prime of our blossoming adulthood, they had 'claimed' the remainder of our lives, for themselves. And why? To use us, misuse us, abuse us – to sadistically torment us.

Bella Donna and Billie Jo actually held us captive, whilst we were already held in penal captivity ... held us captive, as their own, personal captives. 

Repeatedly, they 'played the system'.

Bella Donna and Billie Jo repeatedly contrived to extend the duration of our penal captivity: contrived to extend, indefinitely, the duration of our 'penal servitude', to them

And why? For no other reason, than to satisfy their own malicious, wickedly selfish purposes.

So that Ross and I would be made to 'build' our wretched lives, purely around them

And be forced to cherish, them.

Be forced, to warm their hearts. 

And, to make their spirits soar.

So that, they, the stitching-up, nimble-fingered weavers of our wickedly purloined life's tapestries; the malevolent embroiders of our profoundly miserable story – the inhumane illustrators of our wretched fates – would be our 'pride and joy' ... Our surrogate fulfillment.

Essentially, Bella Donna and Billie Jo have stolen our lives ...  

Of course, the sedative-based medication with which our Carers inject us weekly, is totally unnecessary. 

Ross and I had been thoroughly cowed and comprehensively conquered – subjugated – fifty years ago, by Billie Jo and Bella Donna. 

Brought to heel, they'd called it.

And this was true. Applicable in both the metaphorical and the literal sense. 

Almost effortlessly, the wicked and callous Bella Donna and Billie Jo had ruthlessly crushed our early valiant resistance to them – our early resistance, to their absolute and uncompromising authority. 

It was very soon patently obvious to us that, in the face of such malicious, merciless domination, not only was our painfully expensive resistance to them not just utterly futile, but also, that it was always doomed to an extremely ignominious failure.

With soul-crushing despair, Ross and I had both very soon realised that the game was up. 

Realised, that this was a 'game' we could never win; that the deck was too heavily stacked against us. 

Realised, that Bella Donna and Billie Jo couldn't lose ... because they were holding all the cards.

Ross and I realised, that our valiant, brave heart, expensively-paid-for resistance to Bella Donna and Billie Jo's power, and defiance of their authority, was a wholly impotent exercise.

Realised, that our defiance was and could never be anything more, than a just-for-show, face-saving effort: Was nothing more, than a mere token gesture. Could never be anything more, than a minor delay – a pathetic preliminary, to the inevitable raising of our white flags. 

And, once Bella Donna and Billie Jo had brought us to heel – forced us, to total, absolute submission at their feet – brutally downtrodden and sadistically oppressed, right from the get-go, Ross and me were two worms who were never going to turn. 

With Bella Donna and Billie Jo's frequent painful and humiliating 'reminders' to maintain (and even further reinforce) our subjugation, Ross and I had soon begun to lose heart. Soon became despairing. Soon became hopeless ... Soon became resigned, to our fate. 

Ross and I could see the writing on the wall ... And, in Bella Donna and Billie Jo's very distinctive 'handwriting', it was written in a language that we could all too easily understand.

Let alone dream of revolt, very soon it rarely even entered our heads anymore to even think of defying the heinously tormenting pair of harpies.

Such, was our capitulation.

Bella Donna and Billie Jo's vile and vindictive victories, were mine and Ross's devastating and demoralising defeats. 

And, in our tacit acknowledgement of that sad state of affairs, it was through our henceforth unfailingly respectful, obedient and compliant – pathetically submissive – demeanours, that Ross and I had indicated our unconditional surrender, to our cruel and callous conquerors. 

Living in the shadows of the pitiless and malevolent Bella Donna and Billie Jo, has been our daily lot, these last fifty years. 

Living in constant fear, of their seemingly boundless capacity for cruelty and malice, has been the staple of our every-day existence. 

Living in ever present dread, of the abominably inventive manifestations of Bella Donna and Billie Jo's insatiable sadism, has been our nerve-wracking norm.

For the last fifty years, our only viable option has been to endeavour to behave impeccably towards Bella Donna and Billie Jo. To scrupulously obey their every command, in the (more often than not, futile) hopes of receiving less severe treatment from them. 

For over half a century, we have been "quiet" for them. And "easy to handle". And "nice and docile". Without even the slightest need for any sedative-based medication. Because, the alternative ...

And of course, the sedative-based drug administered to us weekly by our now Carers has long been available in both capsule and tablet form. 

But then, Billie Jo and Bella Donna have always enjoyed 'needling' Ross and me ... and they certainly have no intentions of stopping now.

Come to that, Ross and me don't need our power-assisted wheelchairs, either. Remarkably, given what we have both been through, at the hands – well, mostly the feet – of Bella Donna and Billie Jo, we are both still reasonably able-bodied.

But Bella Donna and Billie Jo have been pushing me and Ross around for the last fifty years ... and they quite obviously have no intentions of desisting with that, either.

*          *          *
May – 2020 (twenty twenty).

Sodbury Crown Court, south London.

Dear reader, 
now we come to where my story really begins. 
Here, I shall describe the lead-up, and the upshot of my appearance in court.
And I'll also include some essential background information, which I hope will imbue you with some notion of the governmental dictates of the time, and a sense of the prevalent social attitudes ...
The Authoritarian Female Party (AFP), led by their beautiful and highly charismatic leader, Caroline Flynt, had been elected to govern the United Kingdom on the overwhelming tide of an unprecedented 95% voter turn-out General Election victory, in May – 2010 (twenty ten).

Since then, the UK has been a 'female-friendly' country. 

Moreover, under the continuing rule of the all-female run government, the 'female-friendliness' theme has been expanding all the time ... While forever reaching new, male-averse bounds: the ever increasingly put-upon male population, being put to further and further expense, and to further and further grievous disadvantage and, quite often, hardship.

Among the many benefits that UK female residents have enjoyed since Caroline Flynt led the Authoritarian Female Party to power, is tax-free income. Since the country's tax burden now falls squarely and exclusively upon male shoulders, working females pick up their salaries tax-free. 

If they so choose, though, females needn't work at all – and many choose not to. After all, why should they? When, as ladies of leisure, they can instead receive a generous AFP government Living Allowance.

On the other side of the coin though, long-term male unemployment has become a thing of the past. Male idleness is simply not tolerated by the Authoritarian Female Party. 

Males who are unemployed for over a month, and also school-leavers, who are aged eighteen or over and have no work or training to go to upon their leaving education, are given work-for-your-dole-money assignments, called Placements. 

These unfortunates are sent Letters of Notification, issued by their local Job Centres. These Letters of Notification advise their recipients as to the details of their allocated Placements, working as community servants.

Over the years I have heard many terrible, hard-to-believe stories about these so-called Placements. Where, until they find gainful employment, these unemployed males are obliged to work under such degrading, demeaning – more often than not, humiliating – conditions, to earn their weekly Unemployment Benefit payments. 

And always, in the direct or indirect service of females. 

For instance: The Sock Room. 

An extremely popular female-friendly concept, the Sock Room was one of the Authoritarian Female Party's earliest Work Motivation Programme scheme initiatives. 

An early brainchild of the Authoritarian Female Party leader and Prime Minister, Caroline Flynt, every town in the UK has a Sock Room – the larger towns and cities, usually more than one Sock Room. 

Sock Rooms are where the town's females are encouraged to go (not that many of them actually need, to be encouraged) by the AFP, to change their dirty socks. They put on a fresh, clean pair, laundered by a community servant, and leave their dirty socks behind in one of the colour-coded wheelie-bin style receptacles, for him to hand-wash.

The Sock Room is a male-free environment – except for the community servant. 

Sock Rooms are highly popular, and extremely well-frequented. They are here-to-stay establishments. These communal facilities have been given a big thumbs-up, by the towns' and cities' participating females.

(In 2014, the leader of the Scottish Independence Party, Alec Chaddock, had vowed to abolish all of the Sock Rooms in Scotland in the event of his nationalist party succeeding in the referendum. But Scottish females, voting with their feet, flocked to the polling stations in droves to vote No to Scottish independence.)

If they like, sock-changing females can relax for a while on the comfortable chairs provided (well-padded recliners, even), and put their feet up while they take a well-earned break from their shopping expeditions in town.

Some sock-changing females, though, actually look upon their Sock Room as a sort of social club – indeed, it is a hub, to many. 

A conveniently situated, and highly agreeable meeting place, the Sock Room is an excellent venue in which to catch up on all the latest gossip. Here, these convivial females happily while away a pleasant half-hour or so (longer, quite often) with friends. Quite often, new acquaintances and friendships are made here.

Some sock-changing females even arrange a rendezvous, congenial get-together in advance. In comfort, they can partake of the light refreshments they've brought along with them; sit back, and enjoy their food and drink as they enjoy watching the community servant hard at work in the town's sock-changing females' behalf. 

Some sock-changing females even go one further: make a day of it. As though they've gone to an outing at some theme park. 

Certainly, to many sock-changing females, Sock Rooms are a great attraction ...

With many sock-changing females, winding up and looking down on the Sock Room community servant is a highly popular sport. Some of them really enjoy rubbing it in: enjoy rubbing in the highly humiliating fact, that he is going to be hand-washing their dirty, stinky socks.

And, of course, some of the sock-changing females (especially, the 'regulars') go much further than that ... Much, much further.

The Sock Room, it seems, brings out the bitch in them.

Sock Rooms are fitted with industrial-standard laundering apparatus. And a community servant (a male, unemployed for over one month, or a school-leaver, aged eighteen or over and with no employment or training to go to) is assigned to work in a Sock Room. 

Under the super critical 'supervision' of two cane-wielding female Community Service Officers (CSO's), the community servant must launder the town's sock-changing females' dirty socks to a high standard: He sorts, turns inside-out, hot-soaks, hand-washes, rinses, mangles, clothesline-dries, and steam-irons them. 

Then, upon his latest workload duly passing muster (the close scrutiny inspection of his CSO supervisors), he returns the batch of freshly laundered socks to the Sock Room's ever depleting shelves ... Where they promptly disappear like proverbial hot cakes; grabbed from the shelves, by the town's sock-changing females.

It is a most miserable, soul-destroying business, for the Sock Room community servant. 

By AFP think-tank design (developed from Caroline Flynt's early brainchild idea), it is an exercise in sheer, soul-crushing, mind-numbing futility. A purposefully imposed, heinously devised mission-impossible, for the out-of-work / not-in-training male. 

Slaving away, in hot and humid and horrible conditions. And trying in vain – struggling futilely – to hand-wash the never-ending and ever-increasing workload of females' dirty socks, to meet their never-ending and ever-increasing demand for clean ones. 

Fortunately, since leaving school I had been employed in a reasonably secure Garden Centre job. And so, unlike many I did not live in the constant dread of being assigned to a so-called Placement, and becoming a so-called community servant ... and, possibly being assigned to work in a so-called Sock Room. 

But that's not to say that I could afford to be complacent. Because that awful fate could actually befall any adult male, at any time ... and we all knew it.

All it would need, was for a disappointed or disgruntled (or maybe just malicious or vengeful) female to have one word in the right ear, and ... 

For one reason or another (whether real, or imagined) many men were constantly on tenterhooks. Constantly on edge, nervously awaiting the dreaded manila-enveloped Letter of Notification to pop through their letterbox and land on their doormat like some 'Please open at once!' letter-bomb ... Or, heaven forbid, even a rattling knock on the door, from a pair of cane-wielding, concave bob hair-styled CSO's.

After all ... men just never knew, when a disappointed or disgruntled (or maybe just malicious or vengeful) female might just decide to have a word in the right ear ... about them.

After ten years of Authoritarian Female Party rule, the UK's male population were getting more than fed up with their ever increasingly oppressed lot. 

Increasingly, disaffected males – most of whom had originally voted AFP, on the promise of work being found for them – were making ever louder noises of dissatisfaction. Ever more vociferous expression, of their burgeoning embitterment. 

There were public protests; even a few organised street marches ... they'd had enough: the AFP's mission creep, had crept far enough.

But Prime Minister Caroline Flynt (still in power after ten years – and set to far exceed even the long tenure of former 1980's female Conservative Party Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher) had decided that she'd, had enough. 

The Authoritarian Female Party government's first duty was to protect its female citizens.

The country's males needed a timely reminder of their place. A timely reminder, of their station: Their station, in an AFP-governed UK.

Especially so, the cabal of ringleaders. 

These were the small number of provocative men, who were stirring up such unrest, and who were responsible for organising the public protests and coordinating the street marches that were starting to gather such worrying anti-AFP momentum. 

They, in particular – the dozen or so troublesome agitators – needed to be taught a lesson. And the sooner the better, before things started to get out of hand. 

And the Authoritarian Female Party were just the women to teach them: Caroline Flynt and her AFP government would swiftly ensure that these disruptive, blue-touch-paper-lighting troublemakers – these intolerable insurgents – would have a very public, and extremely humiliating comeuppance.

In a very public exercising of their power, the AFP had an all-out purge. In a middle-of-the-night roundup all of these ringleaders and their number two's were arrested by the AFP's CSO's. 

Using their powers of Citizen Declassification, the AFP stripped these predominantly highly respected, high-powered executive businessmen of their exalted status. 

Whereupon, Prime Minister Caroline Flynt, and her Cabinet Ministers – Harriet Harmman: Minister for Women; Theresa Maynard: Home Secretary; Anna Savoury: Minister for Defence; Anita McVale: Minister for Works and Pensions; Nadine Dorrens: Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation, just to name five of the more powerful and prominent – promptly 'seconded' these uppity men into their own, personal service (a twenty-eight-year-old man, a former Sock Room worker named David Smith, was assigned to Prime Minister Caroline Flynt, at her own choosing).

These formerly high-ranking, highly influential big-cheese figures in the big-business and high-finance world, were promptly reduced to figures of high ridicule. 

These former Captains of Industry's euphemistic official title: Cabinet Minister's factotum. Their new salaries: equivalent to the Unemployment Benefit payments of a Sock Room community servant.

And, when they weren't busy with cleaning their Cabinet Minister's shoes, or otherwise occupied with serving her tea and coffee, or with errand-running, the factotums would be performing their most humiliating service of all: serving as her under-the-desk footrest. 

The former ringleaders' number two's were similarly fated: allocated to certain selected, rising-star AFP junior ministers: A reward, for recent good work.

I have actually seen this myself, on the AFP's Government Today TV channel ... How the mighty have fallen!

As a matter of urgency, to prevent the dangerous possibility of the purge's resultant vacuum being filled by new ringleaders and their number two's, an example also needed to be made to the rest of the male population. 

A new, ultra-effective deterrent was called for. 

Prime Minister Caroline Flynt announced her latest brainchild: the Crimes Against Females Act.

Caroline Flynt declared her immovable stance, and the rigid position of her AFP government.

In a week-long, Monday-to-Sunday series of party political broadcast appearances on TV, Caroline Flynt made the government's intentions clear, duly advising the UK's male citizenship of the AFP's intended clampdown.

The Crimes Against Females legislation would be effective from 00:01 a.m. on the Monday following the end of that week's warning broadcasts. 

There was to be a tough and uncompromising crackdown, the beautiful, highly charismatic and visionary AFP leader warned the UK's male adult population. 

Severe sanctions would be summarily awarded by the courts, warned Caroline Flynt, against any adult male who was caught and convicted of behaving with "impropriety" towards a female.

Unfortunately ... 

By the damnedest, cruelest of luck – and I still curse my luck, to this day – I had booked that very same week to go on my annual holiday.

It was my getting-away-from-it-all, much-looked-forward-to hiking and camping holiday in the Austrian Alps. 

But, in my so wanting to 'get away from it all' – no TV, no radio, no newspapers, and with nothing else to intrude upon my enjoyment of the serene peace and quiet, other than the odd Tyrolean yodeller – in my self-imposed seclusion I had so happened to miss, and so was totally unaware, of the AFP's party political broadcasts that week ... and, of their dastardly message.

And, to what cost! What terrible cost! 

When I returned to England, my flight landing at 07:30 on that fateful Monday, I never even made it out of Heathrow Airport, before being arrested – but not by the police. 

I was arrested by one of the much feared, cane wielding, AFP-deployed Community Service Officer two-woman patrols, who had surreptitiously captured on video camera my Crimes Against Females transgressions. "Gotcha!" one of them had exclaimed gleefully, indicating the pinhole-sized lens of her sneakily-disguised camera to me. 

Of course, I hadn't the slightest idea what the triumphant, grinning-from-ear-to-ear CSO was going on about. But it made no difference. She had caught me bang to rights: recorded on camera, my offences were indisputable.

The two CSO's then formally arrested me. 

After handcuffing my wrists behind my back, they escorted me outside and bundled me into the back of an AFP van that was parked at the kerb. I went quietly. I didn't resist, or even protest, because I knew that to do so would only result in them caning me on the spot – right there and then, in front of whomsoever witnesses.

The two CSO's slammed the van's rear doors closed on me. Then slapping their hands against the van's side panel in an Off-you-go! gesture, they signalled the driver to take me away.  

After that, everything happened so incredibly fast it was dizzying: In the space of just one day, everything changed ...

The exclusively female Community Service Officers are a sort of multipurpose security force. Authorised with powers of arrest by the Authoritarian Female Party, the CSO's were recruited and introduced by the AFP immediately upon the all-female party being voted into power. 

That was in May – 2010 (twenty ten). And so, as I was born in April – 2000, life under the rule (under the heel, many say) of the Authoritarian Female Party is pretty much all I've ever known.

The Community Service Officers are also detailed to supervise the Placement work duties of community servants – and, to 'chastise' them as they see fit, with their AFP-issue canes. To the CSO's, these supervisory assignments are the proverbial cushy number: easy, money-for-old-rope duties, usually with plenty of very well paid overtime available.

It is common knowledge too that, in the matter of correctional punishment, as a perk of their job the power-going-straight-to-their-heads CSO's are pretty much given free reign by the AFP: To not only 'chastise' community servants, but also to bully them, intimidate them, dominate them – subjugate them – in whatever manner they like ... The stories, I've heard.

In their very distinctive uniform, the CSO's are hard to miss: Blue blazer, green blouse, red skirt, and yellow ankle-socks. On their feet, they wear their AFP-issue black, thick-rubber soled backless shoes – rather like clogs. Around their waists, they wear their black nylon utility belts.

Equally distinctive, is the CSO's concave bob hairstyle: Straight fringed, and with the hair cut to follow the jawline, teased under, and cut short at the nape of the neck. 

Normally an attractive enough hairstyle – very sexy, even – on the girls and women it suits. But, on the CSO's, their own adaptation of the hairstyle looks ... menacing. Looks more like some sort of militarist helmet. 

And if all of that's not enough to see them coming, in addition to their highly eye-catching uniform ensemble and their 'striking' concave bob hairstyle, there's also the CSO's flexible and wicked-looking AFP-issue canes ... and the CSO's are always on the lookout for the slightest reason to use them. 

They are a certain breed of female, the CSO's ...

And so the ink had barely dried on the pages of the Statute Book, when I had unwittingly fallen foul of the new Crimes Against Females legislation. 

In fact, within just thirty minutes of retrieving my backpack from the luggage carousel at Heathrow Airport – Terminal 5, I had actually managed to contravene three of the new laws.

An ignorance of the law is no defence ... And so, after having watched and listened to the recordings of the two arresting Community Service Officers' video evidence against me, the twelve-woman professional jury duly found me guilty, of the three cited counts of Ungentlemanly Conduct.

1) Failing, in the Arrivals refreshments bar while enjoying a post-flight cup of coffee, to come to the aid of a lady, and offer my assistance in putting on her coat. 

(The video evidence recording showed me smiling to myself in amusement, as I watched the increasingly-frustrated looking woman make three failed attempts to insert her right arm into the aperture of her overcoat).

2) Failing, in the Arrivals hall whilst on my way to the exit doors, to stop and offer the gentlemanly services of a relieving foot massage to an obviously footsore British Airways air hostess. 

(The video recording showed me clearly seeing the haltingly walking blonde BA stewardess suddenly stop, in obvious distress. Her acute discomfort amply evidenced by the pained expression contorting her face, she gratefully eased her right foot from her apparently rather tight-fitting dark-blue leather uniform pump, and wiggled and scrunched her pantyhose-covered toes in momentary relief ... But, because there was nothing immediately to hand for the footsore air hostess to hold on to, and left unaided, by the nearest-to-hand male attendant – me – left thus unassisted and precariously balanced, she'd thereby been unduly discommoded, by said inattentive attendant, to the point of criminal neglect). 

3) Failing, when asked by a lady standing outside the Arrivals hall waiting for her lift, to provide her with a light for her cigarette. 

(The video recording showed me apologetically explaining to the lady, that I am a non-smoker, and so therefore don't normally carry matches or a lighter on me).

The lady judge, Her Worship Delia Downing, therefore had not the slightest hesitation in awarding me a custodial sentence: Three months in jail.

I was flabbergasted.

"Leonard Lightwood," intoned Her Worship, in her summing-up. "After viewing the damning video evidence against you, I am left quite shocked, by your flagrantly careless and casual conduct. Try as I might, I can find no mitigating circumstances for your appalling behaviour. Your manners towards females leave a lot to be desired – and that, is putting it lightly. You appear to have no sense of decorum. No notion of deference. Absolutely no sense of propriety, where females are concerned. No concept, of what it is to be a gentleman. 

"I must congratulate the jury. Quite rightly, they deemed inadmissible your implied contention that, as a non-smoker, you are thereby exonerated from your obligation to carry cigarette lighting-up paraphernalia on your person. And I must commend the jury. Quite clearly, the members of the jury have duly reached the correct and proper decision: On all three charges, a unanimous verdict, of Guilty.

"An example has to be made ... and so I am sending you to Greystone Prison. There, you will be taught how to behave properly, towards females," Her Worship told me.

Gawping at Her Worship in astounded, open-mouthed disbelief, I had stood there, utterly incredulous.  

"Run entirely by females, Greystone Prison is a purpose-built correctional establishment. A doctrinal centre, where you will receive specialised, training-intense treatment to address the errors of your ways. The errors of your ways will be systematically and thoroughly drummed out of you. And teachings, as to how to behave with propriety towards females, will be systematically and thoroughly drummed in to you."

This couldn't be happening!

Feeling my legs buckling under me from the mind-numbing shock, I held onto the dock's balustrade-supported rail, white-knuckled. 

"There will be no remission of your sentence for good behaviour – that will be expected of you, Mister Lightwood," the lady Judge continued. "But, if so recommended by the Greystone Prison officers, under whose regime you are being interned, extra time can, and will, be added on to your sentence accordingly, if you do not conduct yourself as expected by the female prison officers."

I couldn't believe it.

I was just twenty years old. And now, I was going to have a prison record – which meant I was sure to be fired from my Garden Centre job.

Life just seemed so unfair!

At one-month's imprisonment per Crimes Against Females offence, designed to get errant males back in line – back in their place, before they started getting too uppity – this was known as the AFP's (Prime Minister Caroline Flynt's brainchild) 'short sharp shock' penalty. 

"Take him down," Her Worship Delia Downing had then ordered, sounding bored now, with it all.

Whereupon two Securi-Fem prisoner transport officers – whose uniform consisted of a white, short-sleeved blouse, black tie (clip-on, in case of any funny business from the sent-down prisoners), black, above-the-knee skirt, and black, thick-rubber soled shoes – immediately approached the dock with intent. 

And I immediately became wary. 

Not hard-faced exactly, they were still decidedly no-nonsense, capable-looking women in their early-to-mid twenties. And before I knew what was happening, they were roughly setting about pinning my hands behind my back, preparatory to handcuffing me. 

Instinctively, I had resisted. "Hey! Get off me!" I protested indignantly.

"Keep still, you!" one of the Securi-Fem officers said in annoyance.

"You will remain passive, Mister Lightwood!" Her Worship Delia Downing ordered authoritatively, her voice immediately regaining its animation, at seeing such unseemliness in her courtroom.

"Oh, we've got a lively one here, Sandy, heh heh heh," said the Securi-Fem officer with the name-tag 'Sonia', to her colleague, name-tagged Sandra, who was the one who'd told me to keep still. 

But they were strong, and the two of them efficiently restrained me and quickly handcuffed me – they were seasoned officers, used to subduing real criminals, and rendering them, harmless, so the likes of me was like putty, in their expert hands. 

I felt the cold of the steel bracelets being pressed to my wrists, and then ... snap! snap! They were clamped shut; painfully tight, totally unyielding. "That's you sorted!" said Securi-Fem officer Sandra in satisfaction.

I almost cried out – but I didn't want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they were hurting me.

Duly restrained, Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra escorted me out of Sodbury Crown Court. 

It was nice and sunny outside ... and I found myself thinking I'd better enjoy it while I still could: for the next three months, sunshine would most likely be a commodity in short supply.

Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra's large, dark-grey painted panel van was parked right outside at the kerb. I beheld it with dismay. 

I don't think I've ever seen such an ugly vehicle. It was like a mobile blot on the landscape. It seemed to actually darken the day. I was certain that the hideous vehicle had a second – but, no less important – purpose: to darken the day and depress the spirit of those transported in it ... conditioning them, for what was to come.

I saw a mischievous look pass between Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra.

Securi-Fem officer Sonia said to her colleague, "Shall we have a quick ciggie, Sandy, before we take Mister Lightwood to prison?"

Securi-Fem officer Sandra, tight lipped, obviously from holding in a complicit giggle, nodded.

Securi-Fem officer Sonia then turned to me and said, "Have you got a light, Mister Lightwood?" And then, putting her index finger to her lips as if suddenly realising something, she said, "Oh – but, hang on a minute ... you don't smoke, do you, Mister Lightwood?"

At that, the pair of them were bent double with mirth, laughing their silly heads off.

When the two of them had recovered sufficiently, Securi-Fem officer Sandra pulled open the two tall doors at the back of their prisoner transport van. Inclining her head and pointing her finger, she gestured to me to get inside. "In you pop, Mister Lightwood."

I hesitated. 

I stared inside, at the utterly cheerless, unrelieved bleakness of the large panel van's austerely furnished dark-grey painted interior. 

I stared at the prisoner transport van's bare metal roof, walls and floor. And at the two scratched, scarred and torn black-vinyl faced bench-seats, bolted to the floor along each side of the van. 

"Come on, Mister Lightwood," further prompted Securi-Fem officer Sandra. "What are you waiting for? In you get ... and don't drink the cocktail cabinet dry."

Securi-Fem officer Sonia enjoyed a good chuckle at that.

Still, I hesitated.

Securi-Fem officer Sonia warned, "Come on, Leonard. Don't give us any trouble, now. Don't tangle with us. We'll eat you for breakfast – and that's a promise. You are going down, and there's no two ways about it. So come on, Leonard. Just be sensible, eh? And don't make things any harder for yourself, than they need be."

"Yes, come on, Leonard. And don't be all day, either," coaxed Securi-Fem officer Sandra, taking my elbow. "Once you are safely locked up in prison, you'll be going nowhere – but we've got a schedule to keep to."

"That's right," agreed Securi-Fem officer Sonia. "So don't hold us up. And besides, Leonard, the sooner we can get you off our hands, the sooner you'll get those cuffs off your wrists – and then we'll all be happy ... I'll bet they are hurting, aren't they?"

Securi-Fem officer Sandra exclaimed, derisively, "Ha! If it was up to me, Sonia, I'd hogtie Leonard. I would! I'd hogtie him, and laugh at his protests and yelling as he rolls about on the floor of the van as we transport him to Greystone Prison – the round-about route!"

"Yes!" agreed Securi-Fem officer Sonia vehemently. "So would I. And the way you drive, Sandy, that would certainly give Leonard something to think about! And Leonard would deserve nothing less – for what he did!"

Securi-Fem officer Sandra started tittering, then chuckling.

"What? What are you laughing about, Sandy?"

"What you just said, Sonia. You mean, what he didn't do, don't you? Remember? Leonard is actually going to prison, for something he didn't do ... Ha ha ha ha!"

And that was it. 

The pair of them were bent double again, laughing fit to bust. "Talk about irony!" Securi-Fem officer Sonia squealed delightedly. "He didn't do three things – and he's got three months!"

Resignedly – and to escape being the hapless butt of Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra's malicious jokes, and to get away from the tormenting sounds of their cruel, cackling laughter – I climbed the two grated-metal steps, got into the van, and sat down on the right-hand bench-seat. Miserably, I sat there with my head in my hands. Yes: I was "going down, and there's no two ways about it". But, they didn't have to rub it in, did they?

"That's right ... good boy, Leonard," said Securi-Fem officer Sonia in satisfaction, as she'd watched me drag myself into their dreadful vehicle, and sit down quiescently. 

Upon which, she and her colleague slammed the two tall doors shut behind me, slid the bolt, and padlocked them.

I hated – absolutely hated – being called Leonard. 

But I wasn't going to tell Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra that.

*            *            *

Dear reader,
my arrival at H.M. Prison: Greystone ...


After a thoroughly miserable three-hour journey south – we'd been held up for about two hours on the M23, behind the scene of an overturned poultry lorry, and I'd had to sit there, listening to Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra laughing and giggling their silly heads off at the sight of the lorry driver, emergency services personnel, and stranded motorists all running about recapturing the live chickens and returning them to the righted lorry – the prison van at last arrived at my destination: Greystone Prison. 

The "purpose-built, female-run correctional establishment" was situated somewhere in the South Downs countryside in Sussex. The scenery en route was beautiful. But because of the circumstances I'd found myself in, I was rendered incapable of appreciating it as I stared out through the prisoner transport van's dark-tinted side window.

The place seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. But in fact it was only a short, easy-to-get-to car commute from Brighton, on the south coast, where many of the female prison officers lived.

With my wrists still handcuffed behind my back, escorting me between them Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra headed for the prison's security checkpoint building. There, they would exchange paperwork and relieve themselves of their custodial responsibilities for me. 

The security checkpoint was a single-storey wooden building. It was set just outside of the prison proper, which itself was situated behind fourteen-foot high, razor-wire topped walls. 

Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra escorted me into the security checkpoint building, and closed the door behind us – in the environs of Greystone Prison, people always closed doors behind them. 

"Hiya, Natalie, Melanie," said Securi-Fem officer Sonia with breezy familiarity. "This is Leonard Lightwood," she informed the two Greystone Prison receiving officers. The two young women were sitting behind the counter, reading glossy-paged magazines, and they smiled and nodded their acknowledgement. 

"He's going down for three months," Securi-Fem officer Sonia added. "He's in for Ungentlemanly Conduct."

"He's committed three transgressions against the Crimes Against Females laws," my other temporary custodian, Securi-Fem officer Sandra, further supplied.

The two receiving prison officers, Natalie and Melanie, gave me a disapproving look. 

They both had their feet propped up on their desks. And I noticed, somewhat to my surprise, that on their feet they were both wearing a pair of pale blue, thin-rubber soled flip flops, of exactly the same shade of blue as their prison officer uniforms. 

But, as I would very soon learn, their pale blue flip flops were actually an integral part of their decidedly skimpy – and, individually-tailored – Greystone Prison officer's uniform: Short-sleeved, pale blue blouse, and very short, pale blue skirt. 

Deliberately cut to be body hugging, their close-fitting blouses and skirts were specifically designed to emphasise the contours of their womanly figures, and so purposefully enhance and display their alluring female attributes to maximum advantage ... to the sex-starved prisoners. 

The exclusively female prison officers of Greystone Prison, I would also very soon come to learn, were familiarly known as 'The Jailhouse Blues'. 

And their hairstyle: it was the concave bob. 

The concave bob ... Exactly, as worn by the ubiquitous and much feared Community Service Officers (CSO's). 

Ridiculous as it sounds, and I can't for the life of me put my finger on it, but there was just something so ... unsettling, about the hairstyle. Something disturbing, that somehow instilled those females who wore it with an air of menace. Making them seem threatening, and overbearing – intimidating.

Somehow, as worn by the CSO's and the Jailhouse Blues, the concave bob hairstyle endowed an air of authority. Dark, authority. 

Their feet still propped up on their desks, the two receiving prison officers had their ankles comfortably crossed. And, seemingly in no great hurry to move, they were both doing something with their feet, which was causing the heels of their highly flexible pale blue flip flops to repeatedly slap ... slap ... slap ... slap against the bottoms of their bare heels. 

As they idly chatted to my two escorts, the noises that prison officers Natalie and Melanie were both making with their flimsy footwear was soon beginning to get on my nerves. I was finding their repeated – seemingly ceaseless – slap ... slap ... slap ... slapping very irritating. In fact, it was very quickly becoming highly annoying.

The two receiving prison officers' pale blue short skirts were so short, that from where I was standing at the counter I could actually see right up their skirts ... and their panties were the same pale blue colour too, I could see. 

I was finding it hard to look away ... In fact, it was almost as if prison officers Natalie and Melanie were deliberately letting me see; actually inviting me to look up their skirts ... Actually inviting me, to get a good eyeful.

Prison officers Natalie and Melanie were both in their early twenties, and both blonde. They were of very similar build, too. They both had lovely, curvy figures and shapely, suntanned legs ... And, when I looked at their faces again, I was highly disconcerted to see from their knowing expressions that the up-skirt direction of my gaze had certainly not been lost on them. 

But, still, they did nothing about their ... revealing posture, and they kept their feet propped up on their desks, ankles crossed – and kept up that maddening slap ... slap ... slap ... slapping noise, with their prison-officer issue flip flops.
As if I wasn't even there, Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra engaged in saucy, boyfriend-related banter with the two Greystone Prison receiving officers ... and what they were saying was causing me to blush to the roots of my scalp. 

And so, while they exchanged paperwork in connection with my transportation from Sodbury Crown Court, and my admission to Greystone Prison, to avoid further temptation to stare at those extremely alluring up-skirt sights I turned my eyes away to stare instead through the security checkpoint building's prison-facing window. 

From here, the prison could be seen. It was clearly visible through the dark-grey painted wrought-iron entrance gates ... and what a gloomy, thoroughly depressing sight it made! 

As I took in the grey and gloomy, profoundly depressing sight of the prison's forbidding and foreboding edifice; took in the actual physical reality of the place, I stood aghast, and dismayed. I knew that my first sight of the awful establishment would be etched on my mind forever. 

The dreadful place seemed shrouded, in a soul-sapping atmosphere of helplessness and hopelessness. It emanated such an air of desolation ... of despair. It made my blood run cold, just to look at it: my home, for the next three months.

I looked for the obligatory banks of powerful searchlights, trained on the prisoners' exercise yard, and the guard towers, situated atop the fourteen-foot high walls at each corner. But these typical security features were absent ... and so their deployment must be deemed unnecessary, I thought, at this establishment. 

The prison looked like some squat (though it was a six-storey building), dismal grey cube. Unrelieved in its stark plainness, it was an unlikely candidate, I thought, for any architectural awards. 

Uneasily beholding the awful place, I found myself hugging my arms across my chest tightly. As if I fancied that small and instinctive gesture of self-protection might help ward off the dreadful establishment's negative waves. Such was my sense of dread.

At last, Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra's prisoner transfer business was concluded, and they reclaimed their handcuffs. And I can tell you: I was glad to have those damned things taken off my wrists. Securi-Fem officer Sonia had been right – and she knew she'd been right: they damned well had, been hurting!

After bidding their friendly farewells to prison officers Natalie and Melanie, my two antagonising escorts mockingly fluttered their fingers goodbye at me, and sarcastically wished me a pleasant stay in H.M. Prison: Greystone. 

Upon which, they left the security checkpoint building, closed the door behind them, and I was heartily glad to see the last of them ... Except, I hadn't. Not quite.

Just a moment later, the door to the security checkpoint building opened again, and Securi-Fem officer Sonia popped her head back inside. "Oh, Natalie, Melanie, I almost forgot," she said. "Mr Lightwood hates – absolutely hates! – being called Leonard: I can tell. I thought I'd just pop back in and tell you ... I thought you'd want to know, heh heh heh."


Dear reader,
prison officers Natalie and Melanie give me their Welcome to Greystone Prison prep-talk. A prep-talk so incredibly outlandish, that naturally I'd found it very hard to swallow, at the time ...


"So, prisoner Lightwood ... Leonard," said prison officer Natalie, as she continued to cause her thin-rubber soled flip flops to repeatedly slap ... slap ... slap ... slap ... slap against the bottoms of her bare heels. "You like looking up women's skirts, then, do you?" 

"Um ... er, no. I was ... I mean, I was just—"

"Save it, prisoner Lightwood," said her colleague, prison officer Melanie, who was likewise manipulating her flip flops annoyingly. "You couldn't drag your eyes away. We both saw you, so don't you dare deny it! Besides, you are going to find you'll be having plenty of opportunities to do that here, in Greystone Prison ... It's sort of the point."

Once again, I felt the heat of acute embarrassment reddening my face. "The point?" I said, confused now, as well as ashamed. "What is?"

"Before we go into that," said prison officer Natalie, "the first thing you have to learn, Leonard, is that you must always address prison officers as 'Miss', before their names. You can see what our names are, from our name-tags. Failure to address us appropriately will result in your being caned on the spot, on your bare buttocks. Am I making myself clear, Leonard?"

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. 

What? I thought ... Caned on the spot, for failing to call them Miss? And on my bare buttocks! This was outrageous. Surely, that was beyond their remit? Surely, it was—

Intolerant of my disbelieving deliberations, prison officer Melanie uncrossed her ankles, swung her feet down to the floor, and as she came around her desk to confront me her thin-rubber soled flip flops rapidly slap slap slap slapped against the bottoms of her bare heels, rapping out an angry-sounding tattoo.

I soon knew what was going to happen ... I just couldn't believe it. 

I could see what was about to happen, but I was stunned into immobility, too shocked to move. 

Too shocked to move, as I saw prison officer Melanie raise her right hand. Stunned into immobility, as I watched the palm of her right hand descend at lightening speed towards my left cheek ... SLAP! 

"Aaaahhhhhh!" I cried, at the powerful, stinging impact that, in occasioning me to stagger three steps back, nearly knocked me over. 

I couldn't believe it. Prison officer Melanie had slapped my face! And I mean really, slapped me.

"Officer Natalie just asked you a question, prisoner Lightwood!" she snapped reprovingly.

"That hurt!" I complained, rubbing my sore cheek with my fingers. "There was no need for that!" I further protested.

Prison officer Melanie yelled, "This isn't a holiday camp, prisoner Lightwood! Or a leisure centre! It is a prison – and Greystone Prison, at that. Next time, prisoner Lightwood, it'll be the cane. And that will really hurt – I'll make sure of it! 

"Now: officer Natalie just asked you a question. And when a prison officer asks you a question, prisoner Lightwood, you'd better come up with a prompt, and respectful reply. Or it'll be the cane ... or worse. Well, prisoner Lightwood? Officer Natalie is waiting."

Or it'll be the cane ... or worse? I thought. Worse than the cane? I really didn't want to think about that. It didn't bear—

"I said: officer Natalie is waiting!" shrieked prison officer Melanie.

All right! All right! I thought – but didn't say.

Turning to prison officer Natalie, I said, reluctantly and resentfully, "Yes. You are making yourself clear ... Miss Natalie."

"I'm not sure I like your tone, Lightwood," said prison officer Melanie in a menacing tone. "I think you need straightening out."

She was still facing me, as though waiting for me to say just one more word out of line – as though waiting for the slightest excuse to slap my face again. When I didn't say another word; didn't provide her with an excuse to straighten me out a bit more, she said, "Oh, you will soon be whipped into shape in here, Lightwood. You'll soon lose the attitude ... you just mark my words," she predicted chillingly.

I'd better start watching my step here, I thought to myself. Prison officer Melanie was starting to make it personal. I noticed she had stopped calling me prisoner Lightwood, and she was now addressing me just by my surname – and derisively emphasising the first part of my name: making heavy of the Light, in Lightwood, as it were.

Prison officer Natalie then asked me, "Leonard, do you know why you have been brought to Greystone Prison – I mean, brought here especially, instead of being sent to some other jail?"

"I think so, Miss Natalie," I replied, taking care now to eradicate from my voice as best as I could any giveaway hint of my resentment of their unnecessarily harsh treatment of me. 

"The judge at Sodbury Crown Court told me that my manners towards females leave a lot to be desired. She said I have no sense of propriety. So she was sending me here, she told me, to learn how to behave appropriately towards females. In Greystone Prison, she said, the errors of my ways would be thoroughly drummed out of me. And teachings, as to how to behave with propriety towards females, would be thoroughly drummed into me, by the female prison officers here."

"Yes," agreed prison officer Melanie. "Yes, that is what is going to happen. But, do you know, exactly, what is going to happen to you, Lightwood? Exactly?"

"Er ... no, I don't, Miss Melanie. The lady judge didn't exactly say." 

Prison officer Melanie's eyes gleamed. "Good. Because now I, shall have the pleasure of telling you," she said with great relish. "You are going to be a foot servant, Lightwood. You are going to serve at the feet of female prison officers. Just like every other prisoner sentenced to serve here, for Ungentlemanly Conduct. 

"At one time or another during your imprisonment here, you will have gotten to serve us all. And that is something you can count on – we'll make sure of it. However short a prisoner's stay with us may be, we always ensure that he has been made to serve each and every one of us, during his time here. And, some of us, a prisoner will have served many times, before he leaves us. Because sometimes, a prison officer might take a certain fancy, to a particular prisoner ... Lightwood."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. 

I couldn't believe what prison officer Melanie had just told me: I was going to become a ... foot servant? To the prison officers? And, before I got out of this damned place, they would ensure that I had got to "serve at the feet" of every one of them? Some of them, many times – because some of them might "take a certain fancy" to me?

Smirking in satisfaction at my slack-jawed, incredulous expression, prison officer Melanie went on with zeal. "To be more precise, you will actually be worshiping, our feet, Lightwood. 

"As a means of initiating, and then gradually instilling into you, the concept of propriety – that is to say: first, kick-starting your barely evolved notions of decorum, respect, and deference, towards females, and then systematically developing them – every day, you will be made to worship our feet. 

"Particularly, the soles of our feet. 

"Primarily, this will involve you kissing our feet, inhaling our foot scent, and also oral servitude, as instructed. 

"Primarily, your oral servitude to us will entail sucking on and licking in between our toes; licking our soles; and licking and sucking on the bottoms of our heels. Again, there will inevitably be instructional variations, since, as you might expect, different prison officers will require different Foot Service attentions from you.

"Generally, you will perform your servitude exactly as you are instructed, by prison officers. While occasionally, to show us what stage you have reached, on your evolutionary journey, prison officers will give you free reign, to allow you the opportunity to independently demonstrate your state of progress.

"In this way, myself and officer Natalie, and every other prison officer in Greystone Prison, will turn your ideas around. 

"By allowing you and encouraging you – no, by tempting you, and inciting you – to desire and lust after our bodies, while allowing you only to serve at and service our feet, though acting as a collective, we will all play an integral role in the refocusing of your aberrant mindset: We will all play our own, individual part, in imbuing you with a sense of propriety towards females."

My mind was in a whirl. 

Prison officer Melanie was making me feel dizzy. All topsy-turvy. I just couldn't get my head around all of the things she was saying to me. Such crazy things. I mean, was she for real? She couldn't be!

Prison officer Natalie said, "Actually, Mel ... why don't we have Leonard for lunch, tomorrow? I'll book us a slot in the Staff canteen, shall I? For twelve-thirty till one o'clock. How does that sound?"

"It sounds great, Nat," said prison officer Melanie eagerly. "I'll enjoy showing prisoner Lightwood a thing or two; show him that I can walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. Oh yes, I'll really enjoy giving him a ... taste, of just what is in store for him here for the next three months."

"Consider it done, Mel," replied prison officer Natalie with equal relish, writing the memo in a spiral-bound notepad on her desk. 

"And I agree with you, Mel: I don't like Leonard's tone either. I definitely detected a note of insolence, when he spoke back to me. Like you said, Mel, he needs to lose the attitude – and fast. And we can help him with that." 

"Yes," agreed prison officer Melanie. "I'll very much enjoy initiating him to Prisoners' Canteen Service ... It's always nice to be the first, isn't it? The first to make them realise, just exactly what they've got coming to them. In fact, I'm already really looking forward to it; looking forward to having his disrespectful face at my feet – and under them. He's going to get the shock of his life, Nat, when he gets his first whiffs of our stinky bare feet – and finds there's not a thing he can do about it! Not to mention, performing Foot-Cleaning Duties for us while we have our lunch!"

"I'll enter our booking into the computer, Mel, just as soon as Leonard is taken off our hands. Table six, if it's still available: being fairly central, there's also a good view of what's going on with prisoners under most of the other tables, too."

Prison officer Melanie then returned her attention to me. 

"So, something for you to look forward to already, Lightwood: a lunch date, tomorrow, with two lovely young ladies ... Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes ... Very often, Lightwood, prison officers, patrolling the Wings in pairs, may simply use prisoners' faces as convenient footrests while they idle away a little time. This is the common – in fact, the customary, practice here," prison officer Melanie informed me. 

What, the ...? I thought. 

And then I thought: Ah ... Now I get it: They are winding me up! That's all. Trying to get me going. They just have to be! 

They probably do this to new prisoners, I thought, when maybe things are a bit slow, and they feel like having a laugh. To give the new inmates a bit of a fright. 

I mean, worshiping the prison officers' feet? Come off it! Who ever heard of such an outrageous, diabolical practice? Prison officers Natalie and Melanie were talking a load of tosh – none of these things could really actually happen! They were talking a lot of bunkum. Obviously! 

There were procedures and protocols; measures in place, to prevent abuse of prisoners. Weren't there? I mean, just the very idea of it, was completely off the wall. Completely—

"Earth, to Lightwood ..." said prison officer Melanie, breaking into my musings. "Do you hear what I'm saying, Lightwood? Or do you need another slap, to wake you up ...? While you are locked up in your cell, day after day, prison officers will often call you to Foot Service, to break the monotony – theirs, that is. And it could be at any time. Day or night. And you – and your cellmate too, if that is the requirement of the prison officers – will respond immediately. Or it'll be the cane ... or worse. 

"Presenting yourself to the summoning prison officers, you will make your face available to them for Footrest Duties – and, for any other Foot Service duties, for that matter, that the prison officers may wish to avail themselves of.

"It may be the case, that the prison officers require you to massage their feet. In which case, they will insert their feet between the bars of your cell, for you to be able to perform your foot-massage services. You will first pass through to the prison officers the two folding-seats from your cell so that they can sit down. And you and your cellmate will then perform your foot-massage services for them, whilst on your knees.

"Or it may be the case – and, this would be most likely – that your oral services are required by the prison officers. 

"In the latter case, the prison officers will order you to Assume the Position. How you are to do this, will be shown to you when you are taken to your cell; no doubt, your cellmate will demonstrate to you the ... ins and outs, of it."

For some reason, prison officer Natalie had a little chuckle at that.

Did they really think, for one moment, that I was actually being taken in by them? I thought. That I was fooled, by their utter codswallop? That I was actually swallowing all of their fantastical poppycock? That I could be hoodwinked, this easily? 

Prison officer Melanie continued, "Once you have assumed the position, Lightwood, the prison officers will then restrain you by securing your wrists, arms apart, in the bracelets set into the bars of your cell. And then, as instructed, you will duly provide your oral services to their feet. 

"Perhaps, it will be a nice, refreshing tongue-bath, for them. And then ... who knows? The prison officers may then release you, and let you go back to bed, if its night-time ... Or, maybe they won't. It all depends, doesn't it ...?

"Maybe, Lightwood, the prison officer on Night Duty at whose feet you've served will be of the opinion that you didn't show sufficient willing, on this occasion. That your heart simply wasn't in it, this time. And that you are in danger of stalling, on your road to rehabilitation ... And hers, Lightwood, as you will do well to remember, is the only opinion that counts. 

"And so she may just leave you there, restrained to the bars of your cell ... for next time. A convenient footrest, all ready and available for the next prison officers who come along – so that they needn't have to trouble themselves with the tiresome business of ordering you out of your bed, all sleepy-headed, in the middle of the night. 

"Or, if she's patrolling the Wings on your Level all night, maybe she'll just leave you there, all muddle-minded and miserable from lack of sleep. Leaving your face available for her own, personal convenience, ready and waiting for each time she completes another circuit of her Wing patrol – and to give you the opportunity to try and redeem yourself for your earlier lacklustre expressions of due propriety, and to make it up to her." 

Prison officer Natalie said, "And I'll tell you something, Leonard. For getting off on the wrong foot, with us both, that is exactly what me and officer Melanie are going to do to you the next time we are on Night Duty: deprive you of sleep. Have you any idea, just how horrible that is? Well, I promise you now, Leonard, officer Melanie and me will make sure that you find out – and, trust me: we've got the perfect 'smelling salts', to keep you awake with. We both hate Night Duty. And, well, if we can't get a good night's sleep, why should we let ill-behaved prisoners like you sleep? That's what we say. And it would be a long, long night for you, Leonard. A long, long night, of making it up – to us."

Yeah, yeah, I thought – but didn't say.

Prison officer Melanie resumed, "So, Lightwood ... you had better make sure that you always satisfy the prison officers, when they call you to Foot Service. Make sure that you show some willing; an eagerness to please. Try to make evident, some discernible sign of your progress. Above all, you will need to convince prison officers that your heart is in it.

"This way, Lightwood, you will inevitably learn what you so badly need to learn. It's a steep learning curve, yes. But, over time, as you are routinely subjected to our methods and practices, you will learn. And you will learn well. As, day after day, at the feet of female prison officers, a sense of propriety is relentlessly and thoroughly drummed into you," prison officer Melanie told me. 

"And your sense of propriety will inevitably further develop," she went on. "And continue to evolve, as our teachings start to become ingrained, and you are gradually imbued with the due deference to females that you so clearly lack at the present time. 

"So that, in the future, you will at all times demonstrate the requisite reverence to females that today's society demands. Because it will have become second nature, to you, to duly conduct yourself with such unthinking attention and unfailing adherence to the prescribed protocols of male behavioural propriety: Due deference, due decorum, due respect, due reverence – due propriety – an automatic response ... Do you see, Lightwood?"

I just could not believe my ears ... What a load of absolute hogwash! I thought. What gobbledygook!

Yes, I could understand being required to respectfully address prison officers as 'Miss'. That would be de rigueur in a prison environment, and was only to be expected, I supposed. 

And, though I had been somewhat surprised and shocked by it, even prison officer Melanie's harsh, summary face-slapping discipline didn't seem too much out of place or out of order, either. 

I hadn't even thought that the prison officers' on-the-spot use of their canes, in the event of that putting-their-foot-down, extra disciplinary enforcement measure being called for, was exactly over the top. 

But, all the rest of it? 

All of this Foot Service, and Assume the Position nonsense? 

And Prisoners' Canteen Service, with their under-the-table Foot-Cleaning Duties? 

And prisoners' faces, routinely being used as convenient footrests for the Wing-patrolling prison officers, as was the "customary practice" here? 

With Night Duty prison officers actually depriving prisoners of their sleep? 

Even to the extent of keeping them awake, all night long ("and, trust me: we've got the perfect 'smelling salts', to keep you awake with"), with their wrists restrained to the bars of their cell, if their middle-of-the-night Foot Service – their foot worship – performance was deemed not up to scratch?

Because their heart wasn't in it? 

Or maybe, as in my case, for "getting off on the wrong foot", with prison officers? 

Did prison officers Natalie and Melanie really think I was actually swallowing their load of old cobblers? I could imagine them both having a right old laugh, as soon as I stepped out of the security checkpoint building. And later sharing the joke, at tea-break with their prison officer colleagues.

"Yes, Miss Melanie," I said. "I see."

Prison officer Natalie then switched on her desk microphone and spoke into it. "This is Control ... A new prisoner has just arrived: Leonard Lightwood, aged twenty. He's in for three Crimes Against Females transgressions. Three months, for Ungentlemanly Conduct. Requesting two officers to escort him to his cell: Cell sixteen – Level One. Over."

There was a brief crackle of radio static, and then a crisp, no-nonsense sounding voice replied: "Control, received. This is officer Bella Donna. Officer Billie Jo and I have just finished our tea break, and are now leaving the Staff canteen. We can attend. ETA two minutes. Over."

Prison officer Natalie replied, "Received, officer Bella Donna. Thank you. Please attend. Over and out."

"Here, Lightwood, these are for you," said prison officer Melanie, handing me a clear plastic bag containing two dark grey T-shirts, two pairs of dark grey shorts, and what looked like a pair of dark grey soft-fabric slippers. I could see that, printed on the front of one of the T-shirts in bold black letters, was: Prisoner Leonard Lightwood: Cell 16 – Level 1.

"Those are what you will be wearing from now on," prisoner officer Melanie told me. "It's the same uniform that is issued to community servants – except for the colour; theirs is white. And obviously the footwear is different. Prisoners here are issued with bootees: they are nice and quiet, and are of little use as offensive weapons. Change into your prisoner's uniform in your cell. Put your street clothes, shoes, and any jewellery you are wearing, including your wristwatch, in the bag. Someone will collect them later. You will get the items back, upon your release from prison."

Just then, the door of the security checkpoint building opened again, and in walked two cane-wielding Greystone Prison officers. According to their name-tags, they were officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo.

Upon her setting eyes on me, prison officer Bella Donna looked me up and down, giving me the once-over. She didn't seem very impressed with what she saw. Turning to the two receiving officers, she said, "Humph," which was obviously her considered opinion of me. 

Prison officer Bella Donna then asked prison officers Natalie and Melanie, "Does he know what's in store for him? Have you told him?"

Oh-oh, I immediately thought to myself. She's one to be wary of, this prison officer Bella Donna. 

I knew it instinctively. I could sense it straight away, just from the look of her; just from my first impression. And upon hearing her speak, she had left me in absolutely no doubt. It wasn't so much what she'd said, because she hadn't said much. But it had been enough. Quite enough. There'd been enough, in her voice, to tell me all I needed to know. Enough, to get an irrefutable, unshakable sense of her nature.

I'd heard it said that fear can have the effect of causing the hairs on the backs of people's necks to stand up, and I'd always thought it was a myth, just some melodramatic nonsense. But now, I found that the hairs on the back of my own neck were urgently standing to attention.

It was as if prison officer Bella Donna had set off some kind of ... motion sensor, impossible-to-ignore deafening klaxon alarm inside my head, urgently alerting me to the highly perilous nearness of some dire threat.

And prison officer Billie Jo was the same. 

It was obvious. I had never been so certain of anything in my life. Prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo were both cast from the same mould – or from the same mouldy DNA: Their double-helix, heinously configured; their chromosomes, chronically corrupted ... Two peas, from the same rotten pod. 

And a second impossible-to-ignore, deafening klaxon alarm was going off inside my head, urgently resounding and reverberating another dire warning.

Looking at the pair of them, I immediately felt a gnawing apprehension. Holding eye contact with them, definitely not a good idea. 

And, with their militarist-helmet like concave bob hairstyle, they were even more affecting, even more unsettling – even more frightening.

Prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo were both in their early twenties, only a couple of years older than me.

I'd heard it said that beauty is only skin deep ... and now, just like the hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck thing, to my acute discomfort I was also finding out that this was no myth, no melodramatic nonsense, either. 

Bella Donna was very attractive. And, If you could see beyond the decidedly off-putting prison officer's concave bob hairstyle – which, in her case, I definitely could – then you really had something to look at. She was stunning: platinum-blonde, blue-eyed, and her peaches and cream complexion was lightly suntanned. She was about five foot nine and slim, but curvaceous-figured. And, if she had million-dollar legs, well, I can only say you'd be getting them cheap at the price. But, these admittedly alluring attributes, sensational as they were, were no kind of counterbalancing recompense for her manifestly deleterious downside ... and, with Bella Donna, the downside usually won out.

Billie Jo was extremely attractive too, I thought. But in a different way; she had a touch of the exotic about her. Black-haired, dark-brown eyed and olive-complexioned, she was about five foot six, and quite trim; though she was bigger-boned than Bella Donna, and rather more full-figured. 

And, just like Bella Donna, just one icy look from Billie Jo could cause any Greystone prisoner to instantly break out in a cold sweat, and turn his blood to ice-water.

If Bella Donna won in the legs' department, Billie Jo certainly won in the breasts'. And, as for their infamous abilities in scaring the crap out of prisoners (quite literally, in some reported cases), just at the sight and sound of their approach ... probably a tie.

Replying to prison officer Bella Donna's questions, prison officer Natalie replied, "Yes, Bel. We've told him; he knows. At least, Mel and me have given him some gist; a general idea, of what his time in Greystone Prison is going to be like. But he seemed a bit dazed by it all; didn't seem able to take it all in. So I don't know how much of what we have told him about his situation has actually sunk in. And anyway, it never prepares them for the experience, does it? You know, the actual realities, of being made to worship prison officers' feet."

Prison officer Billie Jo said, "Well, we'd best get him started then, hadn't we? Start getting him coming to terms, with the actual realities. And the sooner the better, if he's only in for three months."

I could hardly believe my eyes and ears. 

Replying to prison officer Melanie, prison officer Billie Jo had remained totally straight-faced, and had spoken in a completely matter-of-fact tone of voice ... They all seemed to be in on it, these prison officers, with their for-a-laugh, ridiculous in-joke conspiracy of prisoner-scaring arrant nonsense. Anyway, I thought, I'd soon learn the truth ... 

Prison officer Bella Donna opened the door to the security checkpoint building, and said her first words to me. "Prisoner Lightwood! Out!" she snapped authoritatively.

Without saying anything, I began moving towards the door as instructed.

"Lightwood!" yelled prison officer Melanie, almost making me jump out of my skin. "What did I tell you? I have told you how to respond, when you are addressed by a prison officer!"

Hell! There's no need to shout! I thought – but didn't say. 

Besides, prison officer Melanie was right: I should have remembered. This wasn't the sort of place where you were given many second chances; so much, was already beginning to sink in. And I was considering myself lucky that prison officer Melanie hadn't slapped my face again – hadn't straightened me out a bit more. 

And I was really going to have to watch my step, with these two – prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo. They both looked is if they would as soon whup you as look at you – prefer, to whup you, in fact.

Turning to prison officer Bella Donna, I said respectfully, "Yes, Miss Bella Donna." And then I started walking towards the door again.

"See you tomorrow lunchtime then, Leonard," jibed prison officer Natalie. "I hope you'll like what's on the prisoners' menu."

"I think it's sole, tomorrow," quipped prison officer Melanie.

"Ha ha ha!" laughed prison officer Natalie. "Yes, Mel. It always is, isn't it? The prisoners' Daily Special!" she quipped back.

At seeing prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo's querying expressions, prison officer Natalie explained. "We've bagged Prisoners' Canteen Service 'firsts'. We're having Lightwood for lunch, tomorrow, Mel and me."

"Bon appetit," said prison officer Bella Donna.


Dear reader,
prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo escort me to my cell: Cell 16 – Level 1 ...


Outside the security checkpoint building, prison officer Billie Jo addressed me brusquely. 

"Prisoner Lightwood. As we escort you to your cell, on Level One, you will walk three paces behind officer Bella Donna, and I will walk behind you. As you proceed, you will respectfully direct your eyes downward, at all times focusing your attention on officer Bella Donna's feet. I will be monitoring you. And if, at any time, I see that you are diverting your attention from officer Bella Donna's feet – whether she be walking, or stationary – we will both cane you on the spot. Do you understand me, prisoner Lightwood?"

I couldn't believe this. What the hell next? 

But I'd already sensed that prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo were definitely not to be messed with.

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo," I said respectfully. "I understand you."

With that, prison officer Bella Donna started walking the short distance to the prison, and I got into step, walking three paces behind her. 

I had never felt so ridiculous as, as instructed by prison officer Billie Jo, I respectfully directed my gaze downward, at the heels of prison officer Bella Donna's feet; the bottoms of which, were decidedly grubby.

Watching her alternately flashing soles, and listening to her pale blue, thin-rubber soled flip flops repeatedly and annoyingly slap ... slap ... slap ... slapping against the bottoms of her grubby bare heels with precise regularity as she walked sedately towards the prison, I was soon struggling to maintain my focus of attention. Soon struggling with my enforced discipline, as the effort of not allowing my eyes to wander from their accorded subjects became ever more increasingly difficult to sustain ... But I made it.

In maybe three or four minutes, we were 'inside'.

On the ground floor of Greystone Prison, were situated the Governor's office, administration office, the prison doctor's surgery, the prison laundry, the kitchen and the Staff canteen – not that I noticed, at the time, since the focus of my attention had been respectfully directed downwards, upon prison officer Bella Donna's walking feet. 

Down in the basement, was the prison officers' gymnasium. There was a bar down there, too, where prison officers could enjoy a post-shift drink in congenial company before heading off home. 

Also down there, in the basement area, was the Foot-Massage Room. This was where the prison officers went to get the services of a prisoner's proper, conventional hands-on foot massage. The Governor herself was an occasional visitor, though she would more often call for a prisoner (or two) to be escorted to the privacy of her Governor's office, to avail herself of prisoners' Foot Service ... I would come to know this, from personal experience.

The prison laundry and the kitchen were two of the places where prisoners were assigned work duties ... the lucky ones, that is.

Situated on the upper five floors (Levels) of the square-shaped building, Greystone Prison has 120 cells.

The Levels are numbered: 1 - 5. And there are twenty-four cells on each Level, numbered: 1 - 24.  

Each Level has four Wings: North, South, East, and West: six cells, to each of the four Wings.

Each of the five Levels has a contiguous safety-railed walkway. And central to these Wing-to-Wing walkways is an overlook, below which safety-netting is stretched across.

Though there are two lifts – one on the east side of the building, the other on the west – the five Levels are also accessed by means of the similarly situated dark-grey painted steel stairways.

"Right then, prisoner Lightwood," said officer Billie Jo. "You will now follow officer Bella Donna up this flight of steps, and I will follow behind you. Wait until her feet are at your eye level, and then follow her."

What, the ...? I thought. Just how long were they going to keep up their silly charade?

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo," I said respectfully.

As I climbed the flight of steps, with my eyes on a level with prison officer Bella Donna's feet; her flip flops, repeatedly slap slap slap slapping against the bottoms of her grubby bare heels, right in front of my face, I suddenly realised that I had only to divert my eyes very slightly upwards, and I had the most incredible view: right up prison officer Bella Donna's pale blue short skirt! 

I found it impossible not to look. ("... by allowing, and encouraging you – no, by tempting, and inciting you – to desire and lust after our bodies ...")

Impossible not to look, as I climbed the steel stairway after her. Impossible not to stare, at prison officer Bella Donna's pale-blue-panties clad bottom. What a sight! It made me wish I was celled-up on Level 5!

Eagerly, I climbed up the dark-grey painted steel stairs ... towards my waiting prison cell. 

Just a sneaky peek, wasn't enough. I seemed to have lost all sense of shame – all sense of propriety! And, I found myself thinking with disappointment and dismay, she would soon reach the top of the flight of stairs, and then the exciting little up-skirt peep-show would be over. 

So help me, but despite Bella Donna's patently obvious and wholly insurmountable downside, she was still some kind of woman. 

I was a young, hot-blooded male, and I found the awesomely exciting view irresistible. I was coming over all flushed. All flustered. Getting all hot and bothered. I was all but drooling, upon ogling the highly arousing sight: the highly arousing sight, of prison officer Bella Donna's pale-blue-panties covered—

"Are you still focusing your attention upon officer Bella Donna's feet, prisoner Lightwood?" came prison officer Billie Jo's voice, right behind me, when we were about three-quarters of the way up the flight of stairs.

"Er ... Yes, Miss Billie Jo," I fibbed.

"Are you focusing your whole, entire, undivided attention upon her feet, just like I told you, prisoner Lightwood?" ("We both saw you, so don't you dare lie to us!")

"Um ..."

I could have sworn I heard prison officer Billie Jo chuckling— no, snickering, slyly.

But prison officer Bella Donna had then reached the landing of Level 1, and the danger was over ... for now. 

At the top, prison officer Bella Donna turned to watch me and prison officer Billie Jo come the rest of the way up the flight of stairs ... and she wasn't one for waiting. 

Standing in a classic attitude of impatience: with the knee of her right leg bent, and her lower leg extended behind her, and with the tip of the toe end of her flip flop resting on the floor, prison officer Bella Donna did something with her now vertically-positioned right foot; worked her toes, in some way – maybe the same manipulations that prison officers Natalie and Melanie had performed with their desk-propped feet in the security checkpoint building – that caused the heel of her flexible flip flop to repeatedly slap ... slap ... slap ... slap the bottom of her bare heel. "Prisoner Lightwood! Do you think I've got all day? Get a move on!" she said waspishly, her flip flop all the while slap ... slap ... slap ... slap ... slapping away. "Come on! I said: Get a move on!" Slap ... slap ... slap ... slap ... slap ...

"That way, prisoner Lightwood," ordered prison officer Billie Jo, pointing to the right. "West Wing. You are in cell sixteen. Now, again: officer Bella Donna will lead the way ... you know what to do. And don't forget what I'll, be doing, prisoner Lightwood: Watching you. Every step of the way."

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo," I said respectfully.

And then I proceeded as instructed: respectfully directing my eyes downward, and once again focusing my attention upon prison officer Bella Donna's walking feet, the prescribed three paces in front of me. 

Not daring to take my eyes away, I watched her alternately flashing lightly tanned soles as her pale blue, thin-rubber soled flip flops slap ... slap ... slap ... slapped away against the bottoms of her bare heels as she walked along Level One's dark-grey painted smooth-concrete floor.

I dared not look away ("it'll be the cane ... or worse"). But, without giving away to prison officer Billie Jo the tell-tale sign of head movement, each time I passed a cell I swivelled my eyes to glance inside, just out of curiosity ... and I received curious glances in return. But pitying, too: the expressions on each of the wretched-looking inmates' faces saying, 'So ... another new prisoner'.

And then I was there. I'd finally arrived: Level 1, West Wing, cell 16. 

My home, for the next three months.

Or, so I'd thought, at the time.


Dear reader,
I cordially invite you to share the decidedly mean 'home comforts' of cell 16, Level 1, West Wing, Greystone Prison ...



"What's the matter, prisoner Lightwood?" asked prison officer Billie Jo with mock solicitousness, upon seeing my expression. My expression, upon seeing my new abode, for the first time. Sneering-voiced, she asked, "Not what you were expecting?"

I didn't know what I'd been expecting – I'd never actually seen inside a prison cell before – but it wasn't this. 

What I saw now, looking through the dark-grey painted bars of the prison cell, certainly wasn't designed to lift my sunken spirits.

Like the cell's bars, the three walls and the smooth-concrete floor were painted the same depressing shade of dark grey. 

Bolted to the back wall, one above the other, were two mean-looking bunk beds, with even meaner looking dark grey bedclothes. 

Against the left-hand wall, tinted dark-grey was a stainless-steel toilet that had no seat; on its cistern cover a couple of flat-packs of scratchy toilet tissue-paper. Next to the toilet, and of the same drearily tinted stainless-steel colour, was a washstand with just a single, cold water tap. 

Against the right-hand wall, leaned two tubular-framed, dark-grey canvas folding-chairs. 

And that was about it; the sum total of the sorry cell's contents ... That is, apart from my sorry-looking cellmate. He was sitting on the bottom bunk, staring miserably out at me and prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo.

"What's up? Is the dιcor not quite to your taste, Mister Lightwood?" jibed prison officer Bella Donna. "Oh, we'll have to do something about that! I'll radio Control, and ask them to get the decorators in pronto, shall I?" she sniped. "Oh, and the carpet-fitters, too; have them lay a nice, thick-piled carpet – the one you've got now is looking a bit threadbare. They'll have a sample book, that you can have a look through and choose; pick the sort of colour and design that's just right for you! And, what about having some nice new furniture delivered as well? Hmm ...? A three-piece suite, maybe? A nice coffee table, too. And maybe you'd like a couple of occasional tables, with matching shaded lamps on them, to give off a nice, soft glow of an evening? That would be lovely, wouldn't it? Or maybe you'd prefer a couple of lava lamps? Oh! I can just see it all now ... Goodness – I might even move in with you! Really, nothing would be too much trouble. I mean, we want you to feel all nice and comfy, and right at home, in Greystone Prison."
Her cruel colleague, prison officer Billie Jo, added, "Yes, prisoner Lightwood. And me and officer Bella Donna will bring in some colour charts, to help you choose your new wallpaper. Personally, I think some nice pastel shades will go well, in here – but of course, we'd let you choose, according to your own personal tastes and preferences. And we'll pick out a few knick-knacks for you, too, shall we? Some nice landscape and seascape prints, perhaps, and a few lovely ornaments? You know, just to help brighten the place up a bit ... I know: and what about a fish tank, with some lovely coloured tropical fish swimming around for you to watch? That would be nice, wouldn't it? Oh! And for a nice finishing touch, what about some lovely new curtains? You know, to complete the ensemble? Ooh ... do you know, I think they would set the whole thing off – especially with some nice, tasselled valances! Me and officer Bella Donna would be only too happy, to help you set up your new home – we know just how difficult it can be, moving in to a new place."

Prison officer Bella Donna all but snarled, "Get in, prisoner Lightwood – and get used to it!”

"Yes, prisoner Lightwood. Get in there!" snapped prison officer Billie Jo. "And you'd better learn to like it – and quick!" 

I stood there, hesitating. 

It was like looking into the gloomy, profoundly depressing dark-grey interior of Securi-Fem officers Sonia and Sandra's prisoner transport van ... But a hundred-fold worse, from knowing I would be spending some real time in there. I definitely did not want to go in there ... and have the door slammed shut behind me.

Prison officer Bella Donna then said, "Being as we're already here, BJ, why don't we start now, as we mean to carry on? Seeing as you've been enjoying prisoner Chapman's recent ... improvements, would you like to continue to avail yourself of his services? And prisoner Lightwood, here, can provide Foot Service to me."

"Yes, Bel, I would like to carry on using prisoner Chapman's services. Since the ... improvements, I've had done to him, Chapman is a nice, snug, comfortable fit for me – almost like a custom-fit, in fact. Ha ha ha!"

"Right then, BJ. Let's get to it, shall we?"

"Yes, Bel. And the sooner the better. Prisoner Lightwood is only in for three months, according to Nat and Mel, so we'll need to make doubly sure he never has a dull moment."

"A dull moment, BJ – in this place? Ha ha ha!" 

"Heh heh heh," chuckled prison officer Billie Jo abominably. "You are right, Bel. There are no dull moments, in here."

"Ah ... This is one of my favourite parts of our job, BJ: being their 'first'. Initiating a new prisoner. I mean, there's nothing quite like it, is there, BJ? They say you never forget your 'first' – and that is certainly true for the prisoners here!"

"I totally agree, Bel. I was prisoner Chapman's first – as I'm sure he very well remembers. And, just like in the old Barry White song from way-back-when, I fully intend to be Chapman's first, his last – his everything. Ha ha ha ha! Do you know, Bel, my mum's still got a huge collection of those Golden Oldies. A big box-set, of those old-fashioned CD things. Timeless, some of those old songs are."

"BJ, you've really made prisoner Chapman your own, haven't you? Sort of ... adopted him, you could say?"

"Yes, Bel. I suppose you could say that. I've been using Chapman for a while. I've had him for ... it's nearly four months, now. Actually, he was originally only sentenced to one month. But he's earned himself another three months' prison time – for disobeying my orders, on three separate occasions. So, happily for me, on each of those three occasions I was able to recommend to the Governor that he be penalised for non-compliance, and that added time be tagged on to his sentence accordingly ... Having said that, though, he's behaved himself since then – he's been a model prisoner ... heh heh heh. And so the downside is I haven't been able to get any more time added on to his sentence. You know, Bel, another nice little top-up?"

"Heh heh heh," chuckled prison officer Bella Donna in understanding.

Surely, I thought, prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo were still having me on here, weren't they? 

A continuation? A continuation of the wind-up – the ridiculously elaborate prisoner-wind-up charade – that prison officers Natalie and Melanie had started. Just to cruelly keep the ball rolling, as it were, for a bit longer? To maliciously spin out their puerile, but pernicious nonsense, for as long as they could, to try and maximise the already fretting new prisoner's discomfiture?

Prison officer Billie Jo went on, conversationally, "Obviously, I really enjoy using the other prisoners, too – that goes without saying. Variety is the spice of life, and all that. And it's in the job-description, anyway. But ... it's nice to be able to mould, a prisoner. You know, Bel? Get him all nice and used to your own personal ways and likes: get him used to you, personally. So that, when you call him to Foot Service, he'll actually do everything you want – automatically – without needing to be told. And that's where I've got prisoner Chapman right now; at that stage of conditioning. Of course, I still tell him to do lots of things for me. I mean, that's all part of the fun, isn't it? Part of the buzz. Giving them orders – telling them, what to do. Pity ... he's only got one more week to serve, now. But maybe there's something I could do about that ... Do you think?"

"You mean, if you want to ... retain, Chapman? Yes, BJ, I definitely do, think so. After all, all it would take, is one trumped-up word to the Governor from you. And ..."

"Yes ... You are right, Bel! It would be as simple and easy as that, wouldn't it? Just think, Bel ... I could actually keep hold of Chapman, indefinitely. I mean, what's to stop me? And I'd easily get away with it, wouldn't I?"  

"Easily, BJ," said prison officer Bella Donna confidently. She added, assuring her friend and colleague, "I'd back up everything you accused him of, BJ."

"Thanks, Bel. I knew I could count on you." 

"Oh, think nothing of it ... But, do you know something, BJ? You've got me thinking ... Seeing as these two are in the same cell, why don't I 'adopt' prisoner Lightwood? And I'll mould him, too, as you call it. Make him adapt himself to all of my own personal ways and likes. That would be nice and convenient, wouldn't it, BJ? We could enjoy our all-nice-and-used-to-us foot slaves together."

"Ha ha ha ha! Bel, and then you would be doing the same thing with prisoner Lightwood, as I've done with prisoner Chapman: Making yourself prisoner Lightwood's first, his last – his everything! Ha ha ha ha! And, with a few trumped-up words of your own, 'report' him to the Governor, too. And on a regular basis, Bel – so that you'll be able to 'retain' Lightwood indefinitely, as well."

"You know something, BJ? I think I'm going to do exactly that ..."

Yup, I thought. Prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo are definitely pulling my chain. Did they actually think I was so gullible? Still, I had to admit ... they were both damn fine actresses.

"Ha ha ha ha! Bel! If we get our way, by the time these two are released from Greystone, they won't be golden – but they'll certainly be olden!" 

"Ha ha ha ha ha!! You can say that again! Anyway ... why are we still standing here, BJ, chattering away like two old fishwives?" said prison officer Bella Donna, in tones suggesting she was wondering how she could possibly ever be so remiss with such appalling time wasting. "We should be enjoying these two losers' total, one hundred per cent attentions – and I could be making a start on prisoner Lightwood's special training."

Ha ha ha! I laughed to myself. Very convincing, I thought appreciatively. They were both certainly very talented, I had to admit. In fact, I was actually starting to enjoy their 'show'. And, given another minute or two, I might even have started applauding their 'antics' ...

"Prisoner Lightwood!" snapped prison officer Billie Jo. "I'd certainly be interested to know what you, have got to smirk about?"

I mean, yes, I'd already grasped the very obvious fact that prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo were a real pair of witches. But, they couldn't really, be serious ... could they? It was unthinkable! I mean, there were systems in place, weren't there? Protocols. Checks and balances. Measures. They couldn't possibly, get away with the sorts of heinously cruel, vilely sadistic things they'd been talking of perpetrating! In a government institution? Nah. The whole thing was just too preposterous for words.

"Come on, BJ. We'll soon wipe that silly smile off his face. Let's tell him and his new friend to assume the position. We know why they are here: They are here because they have no sense of propriety, where females are concerned. And we are here to instruct them: to drill the concept into their stupid thick heads. Oh, I'll teach prisoner Lightwood everything there is to know, about propriety towards females – and then some! Oh yes. I'll soon—"

Interrupted by a sudden burst of static, prison officer Bella Donna went quiet, to listen to the imminent radio message.

"This is Control ... A new prisoner has arrived: Bernard Broadbent, aged twenty-five. He's in for one month, for transgressing the Crimes Against Females Act: One count of Ungentlemanly Conduct. Requesting two officers to attend. Repeat: requesting two officers to attend, to escort prisoner Broadbent to Level One, West Wing, cell seventeen. Over."

I recognised the radio operator's voice. It was prison officer Natalie, one of the two receiving prison officers I'd just met in the security checkpoint building, who'd said they would be having me "for lunch" tomorrow, in the Staff canteen. Her voice sounded different over the radio, a bit tinny, but it was still quite obviously her. 

And this new prisoner, this Bernard Broadbent. According to what prison officer Natalie had just said over the radio, he was going to be put in the cell next door.

After a few moments, when no one had responded to prison officer Natalie's general call, prison officer Bella Donna said, "These two aren't going anywhere, BJ. And besides, we'll be escorting prisoner Broadbent right back here anyway, won't we? Right next door, to cell seventeen. If he's well enough behaved, maybe we'll let him watch these two, assuming the position for Foot Service for us. Let him see what he's got to look forward to, as well, for the next month."

A couple of moments later, when still no prison officer had responded to prison officer Natalie's call, after getting the nod from her colleague, prison officer Bella Donna pressed the Send button on her radio. "Control, received. This is officer Bella Donna. Officer Billie Jo and I can attend. ETA four minutes. Over."

Prison officer Natalie's voice came straight back on. "This is Control. Officer Bella Donna, received. Thank you. Please attend. Over and out."

Prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo then each slipped a foot from its flip flop, firmly placed their bare sole against my buttocks and propelled me ignominiously into the bleak environs of cell 16. "I thought we'd told you to get in there!" snapped prison officer Bella Donna in annoyance. 

They threw the heavy, barred door closed behind me, and it slammed shut with a horribly resounding clang. 

Due to the steeply sloped two-foot deep ramp that led into the cell, that I somehow hadn't noticed before, I almost went crashing headlong to the cell's dark-grey painted smooth-concrete floor, only narrowly managing to avoid a potentially nasty fall. 

But before I had time to wonder about that aspect of the cell's curious layout – and not just the ramp, but also the eight torpedo-tube like holes that were set into the wall under the cell's bars – my two tormentors were sniping at me again.

"Don't get too comfortable, prisoner Lightwood," sneered prison officer Bella Donna. "We'll be back before you know it. And then, trust me: I'm going to start making your life very interesting indeed."

"That's right," agreed prison officer Billie Jo. "We'll be back in a jiff. So don't bother putting the coffee percolator on. Or watching a bit of satellite TV – or taking in a movie," she jibed.

"And put your prisoner's uniform on!" ordered prison officer Bella Donna. "When I get back, I want to see you changed into your tee-shirt, shorts, and bootees."

With that, prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo abruptly turned and walked away, their thin-rubber soled flip flops, sounding all business-like and on-a-mission as they slap slap slap slapped against the bottoms of their bare heels as they went, and resounding even more loudly – and maddeningly – up here on the Levels. 

I stood there, glumly listening to the receding echoes of what I would soon come to recognise as prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo's dreaded signature sounds. 



Dear reader,
I now meet my cellmate, who soon disabuses me of my naive, rose-tinted-glasses notions, and gives me the real lowdown on what's actually in store for me, in HM Prison: Greystone  ... 


"So, I see you've met Poison Ivy and her friend, then. And, unfortunately for you, from what I've just heard Poison Ivy has definitely got her dark designs on you," said my cellmate, by means of breaking the ice. 

"Ross. Ross Chapman," he said, holding out his hand for me to shake.

"Len. Len Lightwood. Lenny, to my friends," I said, shaking Ross's proffered hand.

"Well, I'm glad to meet you then, Lenny ... only I wish it could have been under better circumstances than these."

Ross was sitting on the edge of the lower bunk. "I hope you don't mind taking the top bunk, Lenny? Only I'm beginning to get used to this one, after nearly four months."

"That's okay with me, Ross. You were here first, after all. Anyway, the bunks look equally uncomfortable to me." 

"Yeah, pretty much," said Ross. "And anyway, I'm only here for one more week. So you can have the bottom bunk yourself then, if you want it."

"Thanks," I said. Then, "Er ... what was that you said before, Ross? Something about dark designs, and poison ivy?"

"Oh, that. That's just my nickname for her – for prison officer Bella Donna."

I must have been blank-faced, because Ross said, "What? Don't you get it? Bella Donna ... Poison Ivy ... Bella Donna. Get it now?"

Well no, I still didn't get it, and it must have shown on my face.

"The plant, Lenny: Deadly nightshade. It's a poisonous plant. And deadly nightshade is also known as belladonna. So: Bella Donna ... belladonna ... Poison Ivy ... See now? It's just a play on words."

"Oh, yes. Now I get it," I said. "I never knew that before. But I can already see why you call her that. It's pretty apt, from what I've seen of her so far."

"Oh, trust me, you've seen nothing yet, Lenny," said Ross ominously. "Nothing."


"No. But you'll soon get an idea. Just as soon as those two get back here – and they won't be long, either, maybe fifteen minutes or so. Remember? They're bringing our new neighbour, this Bernard Broadbent bloke. Oh, and what they were both talking about, just now? About 'retaining' us? Lenny, if you value your freedom, don't – not for one second – think that they didn't mean exactly what they were saying. Don't give either of them the slightest chance to go reporting you to the Governor – because they'll take it. Snatch it with both hands. You are going to have to watch your every step, mate, with both of them ... And so am I, too, from what I've just heard. It sounds like prison officer Billie Jo has gotten a bit too used to having me around. But, at least I've only got one more week now, to survive."

Hmm ... my cellmate is given to exaggeration somewhat, I thought. I was inclined to take what Ross had just told me with a big pinch of salt.

Surely, prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo hadn't been serious, just now, as my cellmate now seemed to be seriously suggesting?

Surely, the prison officers' outrageous actions couldn't be officially sanctioned? 

Surely, their flippant little chat was all a show, purely for their own wicked amusement? Just like prison officers Natalie and Melanie's? Just a mischievous show, that they had off pat; memorised, word-perfect? A just-for-a-laugh, malicious mickey-take – but nothing more harmful than that – that they pulled on a new prisoner, now and then, when things were a bit quiet? To try and put the frighteners on him? To try and con the con, as it were, just for the sheer fun of it?

Surely, prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo wouldn't report prisoners to the Governor on trumped-up charges? Just to "retain" them. Just to "keep hold of" them, for their own personal, depraved reasons? I mean, what order of magnitude of corruption would that be? 

Surely, their casual, no-big-deal, matter-of-fact sounding talk of all that, right in front of me, had been just one big wind-up? One big leg-pull?

Surely ...?

Changing the subject, to get back on solid ground, I said, "I'm in for three months, for three counts of Ungentlemanly Conduct. What about you, Ross?"

"Ungentlemanly Conduct, too. One count – one month: For failing, when commuting to work on the bus, to offer my seat to a lady who was standing."

"Ungentlemanly Conduct?" I said, puzzled. "But, Ross, Ungentlemanly Conduct is brand-new legislation, only starting from today. So how come you've already been collared for it? In my case, I was arrested at Heathrow Airport this morning by two CSO's – and then my feet didn't touch the ground: I was formally charged, promptly taken to appear at Sodbury Crown Court, was found guilty, and then transported in a godawful Securi-Fem prisoner transport van to this place by mid-afternoon."

"Ah. You haven't heard, then, Lenny. But then, not many people have – outside of Guildford, that is."

"Guildford?" I said.

"Yes, it's where I'm from. See, Lenny, Guildford – well, and Norwich and Preston and Milton Keynes too – were the four towns chosen by the Authoritarian Female Party as the places to pilot the Social Awareness Programme. A scheme, in which infringements of the rules by males would lead to charges of Ungentlemanly Conduct. 

"It wasn't widely advertised, at the time. Just locally, in those four towns. The AFP kept the experiment low-key, Lenny. They wanted to keep a lid on it, and see if the males of Guildford and Norwich and Preston and Milton Keynes were going to swallow it."

This was unbelievable! I thought. The Social Awareness Programme? What the hell next?

Ross went on, "I hadn't even been aware that there had been a lady standing, on the bus – she'd been standing behind where I was sitting. Or of course, just out of sheer courtesy and politeness I would immediately have insisted upon her availing herself of my seat. But, under the new Social Awareness Programme regulations, Lenny, we're supposed to remain alert, and always be on the lookout and considerate of that sort of thing now."

"But, Ross, what I don't get, is that you said you were given one month, and you've now been here for nearly four months? Remember? About your bunk? You said you were just starting to get comfortable in it, after nearly four months, and—"

"Comfortable? In these things?" exclaimed Ross, slapping his mean mattress's dark grey scratchy bedclothes disgustedly. "I said I was just beginning to get used to it – which is a very different thing."

"You are playing with words again, mate," I said, impatient to get to the meat of my cellmate's story. "You haven't explained why you are still here, after nearly four months, when you said you were only sentenced to one month." 

"Lenny, Lenny ... weren't you listening, just now? To what prison officer Billie Jo said? And to what prison officer Bella Donna was saying? And didn't the receiving prison officers give you the heads-up, when you arrived?"

And it was now, that it finally sunk in. 

Now, that I suddenly saw things for what they really were. Saw, what had been so obviously staring me in the face the whole time. Only I'd refused to see it, until now – wouldn't see it: The truth. 

It was written all over my cellmate's miserable face ... the irrefutable evidence. 

Now, there was just no getting away from it. No hiding from it – and no more denying it. 

No more denying reality.  

No. There could be no more self-delusion. No more pulling the wool over my own eyes. No more kidding myself ... no more retreating, from an uncomfortable and unpalatable awareness.

"What ...?" I said, shocked and stunned, as awful realisation dawned, and I was finally forced to confront the unthinkable realities of my nightmarish new existence.

Shocked and stunned, as the scales finally fell from my eyes. 

Rocked, as I woke up and smelled the coffee, and the actual, terrible truth now finally began to dawn on me in full. The actual, terrible truth, that was written all over Ross's utterly wretched face ... 

That prison officers Natalie and Melanie hadn't, after all, been having me on. And, that they would, in all likelihood, keep to their vengeful promise of depriving me of my sleep ("and, trust me: we've got the perfect 'smelling salts', to keep you awake with"), with an all-night Foot Service session the next time they were on their hated Night Duty, for "getting off on the wrong foot" with them both. ("If we, can't get a good night's sleep, why should we let ill-behaved prisoners like you sleep?").

And, that prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo hadn't, after all, been pulling my leg either: That prison officer Bella Donna actually would, in all likelihood, seek to "retain" me indefinitely, for her own supremely selfish reasons. (Prison officer Billie Jo: "By the time these two are released from Greystone, they won't be golden – but they'll certainly be olden!" – Prison officer Bella Donna: "Ha ha ha ha ha!! You can say that again!").

"But ... but I thought she and prison officer Bella Donna were just joking! How ... how could they not be?" I spluttered in stunned consternation, still struggling to accept it – still struggling to come to terms, with the actual, terrible truth.

My cellmate just stared back at me, pityingly.

"I thought that – that they ..." I stammered, trying to find the words. "That they were both just talking a load of ... scaremongering waffle! You know? I thought it was all just a lot of leg-pulling gibberish. That they were just trying to wind me up! That it was just some ... some elaborate, mischievous stunt, that they sometimes pulled on new prisoners. For a laugh!" 

Shaking his head in sad exasperation, Ross said, "No. They weren't joking, Lenny. That's what I'm trying to get through to you."

"I ... from what the judge at Sodbury Crown Court told me, I thought I was going to be stuck in some classroom all day, being ... well, brainwashed."

More sad shaking of the head from Ross. "There's plenty of brainwashing ... but no classroom, Lenny."

"Hell!" I said. "So ... so it's actually true, then ... extra time really has, been added on to your sentence? Because of prison officer Billie Jo? The judge at Sodbury Crown Court told me that can happen – if the prison officers here recommend it."

"Bingo! You just hit the nail on the head, Lenny: If the prison officers here recommend it. 

"And, guess what? Prison officer Billie Jo has done exactly that – three times. Just like she said: for three separate offences of non-compliance. For each new offence, I was awarded one extra month in Greystone. Remember, Lenny? Prison officer Billie Jo mentioned it earlier – and she told it just the way it happened: That she'd gone to the Governor's office to report me, and to recommend that extra time be added onto my sentence. And she'd said that the Governor signed-off on it, just like she always does. Remember, Lenny?"

"But ... I thought ... Hell! I can still hardly believe it, Ross. Even now. I mean, it was all just so ... outlandish. I thought she was just—"

"Pulling your chain?"

"Yes! I mean, come on! Not for a moment, did I think she was actually being serious, about ... 'retaining' you. About 'moulding' you, to her 'own personal ways and likes'. About her being your first, your last – your every—"

"Well, she was. But, like prison officer Billie Jo said, I've given her no further reason for complaint, since then – not a one! It's been hard ... oh, it's been hard! But I've kept my head down, and I've kept my nose clean, and I've obeyed all of her orders – all of them. And I'm nearly there now, Lenny – I'm nearly there! I've only got one more week left to serve, and then I'm out of here. And then you won't see me for dust – and I'll never look back!"

"But, what did you do, Ross? What were the three offences, that got you an extra three months in this horrible place?"

"It was on my very first day here, when I committed my first offence – and that's when lots of prisoners get caught out, Lenny. So you'll have to be especially wary of that: be continually on your guard, ever vigilant against falling into the prison officers' traps."

"Right," I said. 

"I disobeyed prison officer Billie Jo's order. She was calling me to Foot Service, and I wouldn't 'assume the position' – that's what they call it here, Lenny: assuming the position. She summoned me to Foot Service ... and I said no."

"Prison officer Billie Jo was calling you to ... Foot Service? And you wouldn't ... assume the position?" 

"You'll soon find out what I'm talking about, Lenny. Just as soon as she gets back with Poison Ivy. Poison Ivy will want to begin your indoctrination immediately – that's what they call it here, Lenny: indoctrination."

"Prison officers Natalie and Melanie were telling me something of the sort, in the security checkpoint building. A lot of stuff about foot service, and assuming the position, and making sure that I always pleased the prison officers – oh, and a lot of stuff about showing due propriety, where females were concerned. I thought they were just making it all up – like I'd thought prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo were ... Okay, Ross. You were saying ...?"

"Yes ... So, for not assuming the position when prison officer Billie Jo was summoning me to Foot Service, she handcuffed me to the cell's bars – on the outside, that is, so that other prisoners on the Level could watch, as an example to them. Then she pulled down my shorts, and caned seven sorts of you know what out of me. I was in so much agony, I couldn't sit down afterwards ... But, almost right after, prison officer Billie Jo had given me something else, to ... to take my mind off it."

Ross's mentioning of shorts reminded me of prison officer Bella Donna's order to change into my prisoner's uniform ... "What? She'd given you something else, to take your mind off—"

"Later, Lenny ... I'll get to it soon enough. And there's more, too, after that."

"Okay," I said, pulling on my pair of dark grey, soft fabric bootees. I then grabbed one of the two tubular-framed dark-grey canvas folding-chairs that were leaning against the wall, unfolded it, and sat down. "The floor is yours," I told Ross, and settled in to listen to his first-hand account of prison officer Billie Jo's dastardly doings.

"Prison officer Bella Donna had wanted to join in. She's a demon with the cane, is Poison Ivy – a real hellcat. But on that occasion she had to settle for watching and encouraging. Because prison officer Billie Jo told her: 'No, Bel – he's mine!' She really had it in for me, Lenny. After I crossed her ... after I said no, to her. No prisoner in here gets to defy her, and tell the tale sitting down.

"And then on top of that, as I said before, prison officer Billie Jo recommended to the Governor that another month be added on to my original one-month sentence. And of course the Governor approved the recommended sanction, as she does all prison officers' such recommendations for extra prison time – "slow learners", she calls such prisoners.

"But it had all been to no avail, my non-compliance – that's what they call it here, Lenny: non-compliance. 

"Prison officer Billie Jo, she ... she caned me, and caned me, and caned me. The pain! It got so bad! I was screaming, and screaming, and begging her to stop – and I mean, begging. I was completely defenceless; couldn't do a damn thing about it. I was restrained by my wrists to the bars of the cell, with my shorts pulled right down, and I was yelling and screaming in pain. She said, in between her cane strokes, stuff like: 'Dare to defy me, will you, prisoner Chapman?'. She was really whupping me!" 

Ross went quiet for a minute, remembering the traumatic occasion.

"When you're ready, Ross," I said. 

"Eventually, I ... I submitted. I submitted, to prison officer Billie Jo: I finally assumed the position, for Foot Service. 

"It – it was the pain, Lenny! I'd never known anything like it. It just got so, so bad! In the end, I – I had to do it! I ... I just couldn't take, any more!"

"All right, mate. All right ... take your time," I said soothingly.

"We've all got our limits, Lenny."

"I know, mate."

I could hardly believe what Ross was telling me. 

As he re-lived those terrible moments, I could see the remembered pain, written all over his face. I thought I could actually see the resultant stress lines, forever etched into it. 

Just what the hell sort of place was this?

After a moment or two, my cellmate continued. "And then there was my second offence. In fact, it occurred right after my first – and I mean, right after. Right after prison officer Billie Jo got back to my cell, after she'd been to see the Governor to report me. 

"As I said, I'd – I'd submitted, to prison officer Billie Jo. I'd told her I'd do as she told me. And I'd ... assumed the position, for Foot Service. 

"After prison officer Billie Jo had whupped me into submission with her cane, I thought I was prepared to do anything – anything! – to avoid her taking her cane to me again. But ... I was wrong. 

"Because then, she said she wanted to put her foot in my mouth ... can you believe that? Put her foot, in my mouth, Lenny! Lenny: Her foot! In my mouth!"

"All right ... okay ... You need to calm down a bit, mate," I said. "Just settle down, yeah?"

Ross nodded, but nonetheless ran his fingers through his hair in great agitation. Re-living the still vivid memory, in all of its harrowing, nightmarish horror, clearly wasn't easy for him.

Ross then went on – it was clear that he wanted to tell me everything; that, now that he'd started, he wanted to get it all off his chest. "She – prison officer Billie Jo – secured my wrists into the bracelets set into the cell's bars. Then she stood with her back to me. And, from where I was positioned, she was like authority personified. She looked so powerful, so dominant. So ... superior. 

"I waited, staring at the backs of her legs; at her shapely, tanned calves. And at the cheeks of her bottom, pressing against the cotton fabric of her pale blue short skirt ... but I wasn't waiting for long. 

"She slipped her right foot from her flip flop, and raised the sole of her foot to within a few inches of my face. She told me to look at her sole. To study it – and study it carefully. Study it well, she told me. She said I was going to be seeing her feet a lot, from now on. A hell of a lot. Up close, and personal. 

"While I was studying the sole of prison officer Billie Jo's right foot, just like she'd said, she told me she would be requiring Foot Service, in a moment. She said she would be wanting me to suck on her toes, individually, and to thoroughly lick all in between them – the toe cleavages, she called them – and I was to swallow everything my tongue dislodged, as I went from toe to toe. She told me she would be wanting me to lick all up and down her soles, too, using 'firm and determined, dirty-sole cleaning tongue strokes', she said. 

"She said she could just as easily wipe her soles clean on my tongue, herself – and sometimes, she would, because she enjoyed doing that; enjoyed a good self-service scrub, as she'd called it. But, in the main, that was what I was there for: to do all of the work, and to provide the service. It was a question of propriety, she told me, and that's what I'm here to learn all about. 

"She said: 'A man's tongue is the best exfoliating tool known to woman'. And so, she said, after I'd licked and sucked the rest of her sole clean, still standing with her back to me, she was going to rest her heels in my mouth. First, her right heel, and then her left heel. Pushing them in, so that I could 'work on them properly', she told me. Give the bottoms of her grubby heels a good tongue-scouring. 

"She said to me: 'My feet are dirty, prisoner Chapman. My feet are all grimy and sweaty from walking the Levels all day in these flip flops, keeping the likes of you in line. So this is where you come in, lowlife: You are a footrest, and a foot-cleaner – a foot slave – prisoner Chapman. In the service of every prison officer in Greystone Prison. And now, you are going to tongue-clean my dirty feet, for me: First, my right foot. And then my left foot. Now, get your ungentlemanly mouth open, prisoner Chapman – wide open. So that I can get all of my toes in there and use your tongue as my wash sponge; so that you can work your wash-sponge tongue all in between them, and clean out all the crud. I want to get my toes in nice and deep, where they'll get a good soak from all of the saliva that, even against your will, the taste of my dirty, sweaty feet will cause you to naturally provide in abundance ... Now, prisoner Chapman: open up!' she'd said."

Looking at Ross's eyes, as he said all of this, was like looking into some combat-fatigued soldier's haunted, 1,000-yard stare. 

"And ... and I said no ..." said Ross, his voice thick with emotion, "... again."

"Did you?" I said. "So ... what did she say?"

"She said: 'Do you want to feel some more of my cane, prisoner Chapman? Because, trust me: I'm not even warmed up, yet. You think that, now, after just a few little love-taps, you know what pain is. Well, think again, prisoner Chapman: You don't. By the time I've finished with you, your buttocks will look like two over-sized burger patties. Well, prisoner Chapman ...? It's decision time. And I'm short on patience. So, what's it going to be ...? Believe me, you'll be doing exactly as I tell you, in the end.' That's what she said, Lenny."

I released a breath – a breath that I hadn't realised I'd been holding. "So ... what happened?"

"I told her, 'No, Miss Billie Jo, I don't want to feel some more of your cane. But ... letting you put your foot in my mouth? No, Miss Billie Jo. I can't let you do that. That's where I draw the line. If you put your foot in my mouth, Miss Billie Jo, I'll ... I'll bite it.' That's what I told her."

"You didn't!" I exclaimed. 

"I did. But I wouldn't have bitten her foot – I'm not that stupid. But she didn't know that, did she? Not for sure. And anyway, why should she take the risk?"

This was beyond belief. 

This time I stayed quiet. I waited for my cellmate to go on, in his own time, in his own way. I knew he would: it was obvious he was glad to have someone to unburden himself to; glad to get all of this stuff off his chest, at last. And I sensed, now, that he was getting closer to the real meat of his story.

Ross continued, albeit brokenly, as tortured remembrances occasionally interrupted his painful narrative. But he pressed on gamely. 

"I thought ... I thought prison officer Billie Jo was going to cane me again, make my buttocks look like two over-sized burger patties, just like she'd threatened ... but she didn't. 

"She just stood there, for what seemed ages, just looking at me. She didn't talk. Because she was thinking – thinking about what to do about my non-compliance. Thinking something up. 

"And then ... and then this look came over her face, and I knew I was in trouble – big trouble. Because I knew that she'd thought-up something bad – very bad. She told me: 'Right! I'm through with playing around with you, prisoner Chapman. No more pussyfooting about! And, when you are crying yourself to sleep tonight, remember: you asked for it!' That's what she said."

"Asked for it? Asked for what?" I said, unable to contain my curiosity.

"Let me tell you. Let me tell you in my own time, and in my own way ... I'm just coming to it."

"Okay," I said.

"Prison officer Billie Jo made two journeys: First, to the Governor's office, to recommend another month be added onto my now two-month sentence, making it a three-month tariff – that's what she called it: a tariff. And also, to get the Governor's approval for her chosen method of chastisement – that's what they call punishment, here: chastisement.

"And her second journey – duly furnished with the Governor's written Approval Order – was to the doctor's surgery. To make ... arrangements.

"See, in emergencies, the prison doctor sort of doubles-up as a dentist. And ... well, look, Lenny, see for yourself ..." Ross said, opening his mouth wide, for me to see inside. "This is what prison officer Billie Jo had the doctor-cum-dentist do to me ... see? See, Lenny? See?"

I saw. 

"My ... god!" I said. I was shocked to the core. 

Just what the hell sort of hellhole was this?

Ross continued, even more brokenly. "I – I can remember it, just like it was yesterday ... She ... prison officer Billie Jo, she had the doctor – the dentist, who the hell – needle my gums all up with local anesthetic, and ... and then pull all of my teeth out! All of them, Lenny! All of them! I haven't got a single tooth left in my head!"

Ross ran his hands through his hair again, in his now greatly increased agitation. "He didn't even put me under! Prison officer Billie Jo told the doctor-cum-dentist, 'Prisoner Chapman won't be needing any laughing gas, doctor – I'll be laughing enough for both of us! Ha ha ha ha!'

"And she helped, Lenny!" Ross almost yelled, in outrage and remembered pain. "She helped that butcher. Aiding and abetting, they'd call it, in any other walk of life! She held me down – kept my head still! Prison officer Billie Jo held my head still, and she laughed, every time the dentist plopped another tooth into the metal basin! 'There goes another one!' she'd say, all happy and sing-song voiced."

Ross was becoming over-excited. Getting all carried away, upon so vividly recalling the appalling atrocity perpetrated against him. "All right, mate ... all right. Just ... just steady on, eh?" I said, trying to get my cellmate's pulse rate down a bit.

Again, Ross showed me the results of his impromptu dental 'treatment' – his execrable extractions – at prison officer Billie Jo's behest. The horrendous results, of his single-session surgery at the hands of the doctor-cum-dentist.

"Would you, steady on? Eh, Lenny? Eh?"

I stared, aghast – horrified – at the gummy, ransacked ruins of my cellmate's inexpertly excavated mouth. 

And, I thought, considering he'd sustained these injuries – because that's what they were: grievous injuries, inflicted by the cack-handed amateur dentist – nearly four months ago, now, his mouth didn't seem to be healing up very well, either. 

There were still bits of caked and congealing, fresh-looking blobs of blood in most of the cavities; more especially so, in the larger craters. His gums still looked sore, and very tender ... So how come they weren't healing too well? I wondered.

My cellmate continued, "And, get this, Lenny: prison officer Billie Jo told me she's glad she did it – glad, that she 'custom-fitted' me. Remember what she said, about a custom-fit? She says she can get a good grip now, with her nice new toe-holds – her 'improvements', she calls them. It was her little joke, her 'custom-fit' comment. Oh, she loves a joke – they both do, her and Poison Ivy. In fact, all of the prison officers here do. It's another of their cruel ways, of winding us all up. 

"And," Ross went on, even more hotly; the heights of his emotion close to peaking now, "prison officer Bella Donna – Poison Ivy! – when she saw what her sadistic sidekick had had done to me, she told me: 'Excellent! Truly excellent! And now, prisoner Chapman, maybe you'll know when to keep your mouth open!' And she laughed, and laughed, and laughed. They both did!"

I couldn't believe it. What I'd heard. What I'd seen. I was stunned.

"Uh ... you've told me about two of your extra offences, Ross ... Didn't you say you'd committed three?" I prompted.

"I'm ... I'm still coming to that. This isn't easy, you know."

"Okay," I said. "Take your time. Tell it your own way."

"It was a week later." 

"Okay," I said.

"Prison officer Billie Jo told me she'd allow a week for my mouth to heal. And then she'd be back, to see if I'd finally come to my senses – learned my lesson, as she put it. Well ... I hadn't. But, let me tell you it in order."

"Okay," I said.

"For all of that week, my work duties were divided: working in the kitchen, doing veg prep and wash-up; working in the prison laundry, hand-washing the prison officers' pale blue uniform panties; and working down in the basement, in the Foot-Massage Room." Ross laughed humourlessly. "In there, at least, the prison officers want us to use our hands, to massage their feet. 

"So ... A week later, prison officer Billie Jo turns up at my cell. Right on cue, as promised. In fact, I'd heard her coming – I'd recognise the sound of her flip flops anywhere, anytime. It's distinctive. But I think probably you could say that of all the prison officers here, if you are especially listening out for certain ones ... Listening to all of their flip flops, slap slap slap slapping away all of the time – it drives me nuts! But the sound of hers, is the sound I dread – hers, and Poison Ivy's.

"Anyway, as I was saying ... She was just like she was the first time. She said that she hoped, for my sake – like she cares about that! – that I'd learned my lesson, and that I'd come to my senses. 

"She ordered me to assume the position for Foot Service. And I said, 'Yes, Miss Billie Jo', and I did as she told me, and assumed the position. Then she secured my wrists to the bracelets set into the cell's bars.

"She started winding me up then; you know, the psychological cruelty bit. Prison officer Billie Jo is very good at that – all of the prison officers are. Very good at lowering, and then gradually chipping away at what's left of your pride. Relentlessly degrading your sense of self-esteem, until you begin to feel like less than nothing – teaching us a sense of propriety towards females, they call it. 

"In fact, Lenny, there's nothing the prison officers love more, than, when they have ordered you to assume the position for Foot Service, knowing that you are resenting them, with all of your heart, and loathing them, with all of your soul – absolutely hating their guts – whilst performing the very act of worshiping their feet.

"Anyway, as I was saying ... Prison officer Billie Jo said, in that deriding voice of hers, 'If it wasn't for the need to keep pieces of scum like you off the streets, prisoner Chapman, there would be no reason for me to be here at all, would there?' And I answered, 'No, Miss Billie Jo, there wouldn't', all respectful, like.

"Then she turned her back on me, and she took a couple of steps back, right up to the cell's bars. She slipped her right foot from her flip flop, and raised the sole of her foot right up to within just a couple of inches of my face. She sort of wiggled and scrunched and splayed her toes, right under my nose, and I caught a good whiff of her foot scent ... and it wasn't a nice smell, I can tell you."

Ross broke off for a moment, shaking his head, as though trying to clear it of the remembered unpleasant foot smell.

"Then she said: 'See how dirty the soles of my feet are today, prisoner Chapman? And sweaty, too? And, do you know how they get all dirty and grimy, and so sweaty, too? And the bottoms of my heels, all grubby, like that; and see ... there's even a little black tidemark, around the edge? It's because I patrol the Levels all day, in these flip flops, keeping the likes of you in line. It's a thankless job. Watching the rats, in their traps, you could say. And keeping them there – right where they belong, away from civilsed society. Keeping vermin like you quarantined, and under strict control, preparing you for your release back into society. Yes, it's a thankless job – but someone's got to do it. So ... why not me? Eh, prisoner Chapman? Why not me?' And I answered, all respectful, like, 'No reason at all, Miss Billie Jo. If that's what you want to do.' And she said back, 'Prisoner Chapman, you have no idea – not the slightest conception – of just how much I want to do this job; of just how much, prisoner Chapman, I want to keep the likes of you down.' That's what she said, Lenny."

I was riveted, waiting for my cellmate to go on. I didn't say anything – I didn't want to interrupt the flow ...

"Prison officer Billie Jo then said, 'And this is the part of my job I like the most, prisoner Chapman: putting my dirty, grimy, sweaty feet into prisoners' mouths, for them to suck and lick clean, for me. Lowlifes – like you, prisoner Chapman, who don't know how to behave towards ladies! It's all you are fit for! Now, I'm not going to play around with you – pussyfooting about, like I did last week. So, if you know what's good for you, don't give me the runaround this time. Now: Get that mouth of yours open – and open wide! Or, this time, prisoner Chapman, I'll really make you sorry. I'll make your session at the dentist's seem like a summer's-day stroll in the park!' That's what she said, Lenny."

"And ... what did you say ... to prison officer Billie Jo?"

"I said no ... Again." 


"I said, 'We've been through all of this, Miss Billie Jo. Remember? Remember, Miss Billie Jo, about the line I won't cross?"

"My god! So ... what happened?"

"Prison officer Billie Jo, happened. That's what."

"And ...?" I said, leaning forward eagerly. 

"Prison officer Billie Jo actually looked glad, this time. She said: 'So, prisoner Chapman, you actually dare to defy me again. But, believe me: this will be the last time. There is a cure, for prisoners' defiance – a sure cure – and I shall soon be administering it to you'. That's what she said, Lenny. And she was really scaring me now; what, with her voice, and the way she was looking at me, and all.

"She told me, 'I'm going to the Governor's office now. Not only, to recommend that a further one-month extension be added on to your sentence, for non-compliance – that goes without saying. But also, to get a Special Order signed: for the Wheel of Chastisement. 

"This time, prisoner Chapman, I'm really going to teach you: This time, I'm having your balls – I'm going to bust them, for you. Bust them! That is what happens, to recalcitrant prisoners. Do you hear me, prisoner Chapman? I'm going to bust your balls! On the Wheel of Chastisement, as you come around, and around, and around to me, with your legs restrained wide open, I'm going to kick them, and kick them, and kick them – and, right in front of as many prison officers, who can be spared to come and participate in your chastisement with their canes. And I promise you, prisoner Chapman: those earlier punishments, that I administered to you? The cane? The dentist's chair? They will be as nothing, in comparison. As nothing! And, when you are crying yourself to sleep tonight, remember: you asked for it.' That's what she said, Lenny. That she was having my balls. That she was going to bust them ... And she did."

I was totally incredulous.

"What? You can't be serious?" I said, shocked, and profoundly appalled. "Prison officer Billie Jo, she ... she actually kicked your balls, on this ... Wheel of Chastisement thing? And, right in front of an audience of prison officers?"

Nodding miserably, Ross said, "Prison officer Billie Jo got the Governor to sign a Special Order for the Ball-Bust – that's what they call that particular method of chastisement: a Ball-Bust. Prison officer Billie Jo and prison officer Bella Donna – Poison Ivy! – handcuffed me between them, and they escorted me down to the basement, to the gymnasium. That's where they do it, see? The Ball-Bust. That's where they use their damn contraption – the Wheel of Chastisement. Prison officer Billie Jo, she had me restrained to it: the gathered prison officers secured my wrists to an overhead bar, pulled my shorts off, and strapped my legs wide apart. And then, just like she said she would, she ... she administered my so-called chastisement. As I came around, and around, and around to her, she ..."

"Ross, mate, I don't know what to say. I—"

"If I live to be a hundred, I'll never forget it."

"Ross, mate, I—"

"And, do you know what, Lenny? The moral of the story? Prison officer Billie Jo was right: Since the Ball-Bust, I have never said 'No', to her. Not once. Just like she said, the Wheel of Chastisement is, a sure cure for defiance. And I don't want her – or any other prison officer, for that matter – busting my balls ever again. 

"Trust me, Lenny: you don't want to ever have to go through that. It's beyond imagining ... All the prison officers, taking their turns to cane you, as and when your bare buttocks come around to them, again, and again, and again. And they are all yelling, and cheering, and laughing ... while you suffer. Oh, while you suffer! While you get kicked in the balls, again, and again, and again ..."

"Ross, what—"

"That's enough, Lenny! Enough ... for now, anyway. I can't talk about it any more, now."

"Okay," I said.

"Besides, they'll be back any minute – prison officers Billie Jo and Bella Donna – with this Bernard Broadbent geezer. And if I was you, Lenny, I wouldn't give them any hassle!" 


We suddenly heard the slap slap slap slapping of prison officers' flip flops, slapping on the bottoms of their bare heels as they walked along. And as those highly annoying (and, increasingly ominous) sounds got nearer and louder, we also heard a man's peevishly complaining voice. 

"This is outrageous – a travesty of justice! Thrown in jail – sent to this dump – just because I didn't hold a door open for a woman! And, for heaven's sake, I hadn't even realised she was coming into the store behind me!" the man yelled, in his post-'induction' outrage, fresh from the security checkpoint building, and prison officers Natalie and Melanie's little Welcome to Greystone Prison prep-talk.

"Shut it, prisoner Broadbent!" snapped prison officer Billie Jo. "Or I'll take my cane to you here and now – before I've even put you in your cell! And, as to why you are here, perhaps in future you'll remember to take your social responsibilities more seriously." 

Prison officer Bella Donna added stonily, "You wouldn't be here, prisoner Broadbent, if you knew how to behave towards ladies; if you possessed the slightest modicum of societal decorum. And that's why we are here: to teach you. The prison officers here will educate you. Instruct you, on a daily basis. Relentlessly drum into you, a sense of propriety where females are concerned. And my advice to you, prisoner Broadbent, is don't make things any worse for yourself. You've already earned yourself another month's imprisonment, for one act of non-compliance."

"What? You're kidding! Just because I wouldn't walk three paces behind you, looking at your feet?"

"Yes, prisoner Broadbent," replied prison officer Bella Donna. "Got it in one."

"They're back!" Ross exclaimed. "They're coming! They're here! They're—"

"Ross, calm down, mate, calm down. You're going to give yourself a—"

"Listen to me, Lenny! Remember what I said! It's crucial! Vital! Keep your head down, keep your nose clean, and just do what you're told – whatever, you are told – for your three-months' sentence. And then get the hell out of here – and never look back! That's my advice."


"Trust me, Lenny! If you value your freedom, trust me: Don't get on the wrong side of them – of any of the prison officers. It's just not worth it! Listen, Lenny! Trust me!!"

If only I'd listened to Ross's advice.


Dear reader,
this is where it all started to go wrong for me. Terribly wrong ...


Ross had been right. Prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo didn't take very long in getting back – a round-trip of fifteen, maybe twenty minutes. 

Using the same foot-to-buttock method of propulsion they'd used in shoving me into cell 16, prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo likewise ignominiously installed prisoner Broadbent next door, in cell 17. "Hey! What the hell!" he complained indignantly as he careered headlong down the steeply sloped two-foot deep ramp that led into the cell  ... apparently, he hadn't noticed the steeply sloped entrance, either.

Having duly incarcerated the still vociferously complaining prisoner Broadbent, slamming the barred cell door after him with a loud, resounding clang, prison officers Bella Donna and Billie Jo looked through the bars of cell 16, at Ross and me.

Prison officer Billie Jo wasn't slow in getting down to business. "Prisoner Chapman!" she barked authoritatively. "Foot Service! Assume the position!"

Upon his hearing prison officer Billie Jo's commanding, authoritative voice, Ross's open and engaging manner of a moment ago abruptly vanished – was transformed in an instant, into one of a most dismal, defeated and downtrodden demeanour. 

He didn't need telling twice ("Since the Ball-Bust, I have never said 'No', to her"). "Yes, Miss Billie Jo," he said respectfully— no, with pitiful, pathetic obsequiousness. 

I was taken aback, somewhat. This was a side to my cellmate that I hadn't seen yet.

I watched in rapt fascination, as Ross obediently got up off his lower bunk, and in meek compliance trudged dejectedly over to the bars of our cell where prison officer Billie Jo was standing. 

Imperiously, she stood there: In obvious anticipation of her imminent Prisoners' Foot Service pleasures; and arrogant, in the smug certainty of her dreadful bidding being obediently carried out to the letter.

As I intently watched Ross's actions, it was now that I saw just what those eight torpedo-tube like holes in the wall under the cell's bars were for. 

Ross grabbed hold of the cell's bars, and with an ease of movement resultant of much practice he fully inserted his legs into two of the floor-level circular-shaped apertures, thus bringing his torso and head right up to the cell's bars: his chest, on a level with the Wing walkway's dark-grey painted smooth-concrete floor; his head, at calf level of prison officer Billie Jo's legs. 

Thus, by so lowering himself to a sitting position on the floor, right where prison officer Billie Jo was standing in expectation of his Foot Service, my cellmate had demonstrated to me the method ("the ... ins and outs") by which prisoners 'assumed the position'. 

And now, as Ross held on to the cell's bars, just above and about a foot to either side of his head, prison officer Billie Jo promptly snapped closed around his wrists the two inset bracelets, securing him in place.

I could hardly believe what I was seeing. (Later, I would learn the reason why there were eight of these floor-level holes: for when there were prisoner-overcrowding issues, and consequently four prisoners were made to temporarily share these abysmal little cells; the two surplus prisoners, obliged to sleep on pallet-like mattresses on the floor).

Now that Ross had 'assumed the position', prison officer Billie Jo looked down on him, oozing wickedness

Her bearing was greatly intimidating, emanating an almost palpable air of menace – was fear-inspiring. The suggestion of her dark nature was easily discernible in her voice, too. Mostly, though, the true essence of her character showed through in her eyes: the ever-present threat of devilry. Truly, they were the windows of her soul.

Totally secure in her absolute power over the hapless and helpless prisoner at her feet, prison officer Billie Jo's eyes shone maniacally. Gleamed, with gleeful, malevolent triumph at having such deliciously gratifying control at her command.

Winding Ross up, she said, "Look at you ... just look at you. You are a pathetic, miserable excuse for a man, prisoner Chapman ... Aren't you?"

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo, I am," replied Ross weakly.

"You are just like all the rest of the male rubbish in here. Male detritus, who don't know how to behave towards ladies ... Aren't you?"

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo, I am. But, thanks to you, Miss Billie Jo, and to the other prison officers here, like ... like Miss Bella Donna, I'm ... I'm learning."

Prison officer Bella Donna piped up, saying sharply, "And, so you should be, prisoner Chapman! After all, officer Billie Jo has given you a couple of good lessons, hasn't she, to set you on the right path? You were erring, and she showed you the errors of your ways, didn't she?"

"Yes, Miss Bella Donna, she did. I was erring. And, Miss Billie Jo, she ... straightened me out."

"Well, thank officer Billie Jo, then! Show her your appreciation – you miserable, misbegotten ingrate! Do you think, prisoner Chapman, that us prison officers are here just for the fun of it?"

"Heh heh heh," chuckled prison officer Billie Jo diabolically. "Heaven forfend, Bel!"

Wretchedly, Ross looked up at prison officer Billie Jo's gleeful, gloating face and croaked, "Miss Billie Jo, thank you. I'm grateful, to you. For having all of my teeth pulled out, when I threatened to bite your foot. And, for ... for busting my balls, for my repeated non-compliance. I ... I deserved it. Thank you, Miss Billie Jo. For showing me the errors of my ways, and setting me on the right path."

I could hardly believe what I was hearing.

Apparently satisfied with Ross's showing of his abject gratitude to her, and with his grovelling expressions of approval for her having had all of his teeth taken out, and for busting his balls, prison officer Billie Jo abruptly turned her back on him. 

Slipping her right foot from its prison-officer issue, pale blue, thin-rubber soled flip flop she raised her foot behind her until the sole of her bare, olive-complexioned foot was just a couple of inches from Ross's wretched face.

"Prisoner Chapman. Look at the sole of my foot, and study. Study well. Observe carefully, where your tongue-cleaning work is most cut-out for you. Where there is the most need, for you to concentrate your efforts."

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo. I will. I'll look carefully, Miss Billie Jo," said Ross pathetically.

In the fashion that Ross had described to me earlier, as she talked down to him I saw prison officer Billie Jo wiggling and scrunching and splaying her toes, right under his nose, as though to facilitate the release of her in-between-the-toes aroma. But if Ross was getting a whiff of the wafting unpleasant foot scent that he'd mentioned earlier with such distaste, he certainly wasn't daring to flinch from its olfactory offensiveness now.

"Prisoner Chapman. My feet are dirty. They are grimy, and all sweaty, too. Especially the balls of my feet, which have gotten all grubby – and the bottoms of my heels, too; see, there ... the grimy black tidemark, all around the edge? And, do you know how my feet have gotten like that, prisoner Chapman?"

In a monotone voice almost totally devoid of animation, and his utter defeat and capitulation absolutely manifest in his bowed and cowed bearing, Ross miserably replied, "Yes, Miss Billie Jo. I am ashamed to say that I do. It's because you've been working so very hard all day. Patrolling the Levels, in your flip flops. Making sure the scumbags in the cells are all behaving themselves. Keeping an eye on them – and keeping the male vermin where they belong, while they learn how to conduct themselves with due correctness in the presence of females. It's a thankless job. But someone has to do it. And it's all because of the likes of me, Miss Billie Jo. Uncivilised riffraff like me: uncouth, ignorant morons, who have no notion of nicety, no idea of deference, no inkling of societal decorum, and who wholly lack a sense of propriety, where females are concerned. There should be no need for you to be here, Miss Billie Jo. But, because of disrespectful deadbeats like me, who don't know how to behave towards ladies, there is. To teach us: the slime-ball, dregs-of-the-earth, scummy lowlifes in this place, the errors of our ways, and to put us on the right path. And ... and that is how you end up with dirty feet every day, Miss Billie Jo."

"You are correct, prisoner Chapman. Your interpretation of the situation is one hundred per cent accurate. And, given that to be the case, is it not only right and proper, and perfectly fitting, that prisoners are made to clean up after themselves, as it were?"

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo, it is. It is only right and proper, Miss Billie Jo, that prisoners clean up their own mess, as it were."

"First, prisoner Chapman, before you give the soles of my feet a very thorough tongue-cleaning, I'm going to stand here, at the bars of your cell, and enjoy a well-earned cigarette. And, while I do so, I'm going to use your face as a footrest. So I'll expect you to keep your face perfectly still for me. Further more, prisoner Chapman, as I inhale the vapour from my e-cigarette, I'll expect you to be doing some inhaling of your own. And I shall expect to feel your sniffing, as, with your mouth firmly closed, you inhale the scent from under and in between my toes."

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo. I'll be sure to do that," said the slavishly compliant Ross, with unspeakable dejection.

Suddenly addressing me, prison officer Bella Donna snapped, "Prisoner Lightwood! You will respectfully stand, in the presence of prison officers! Stand up! Get up off that seat, fold it, and pass it through the bars to me. I want to sit down, while I enjoy watching prisoner Chapman servicing the soles of officer Billy Jo's dirty feet ... Oh, and prisoner Lightwood? As soon as we're finished here, I'll be reporting you to the Governor: For failing to offer me a seat, when you could perfectly well see that I was standing around out here. So you can consider yourself awarded another month, added on to your original three-month sentence."

Rendered temporarily speechless and immobile, it was only from my shocked surprise and incredulous outrage that I didn't instantly comply with prison officer Bella Donna's order, as I otherwise would have done ("and that's when lots of prisoners get caught out, Lenny. So you'll have to be especially wary of that: be continually on your guard, ever vigilant against falling into the prison officers' traps.") ... Prison officer Bella Donna was going to report me to the Governor, and have another month added on to my three-month sentence! And for what? Hell! Now I was going to be stuck in here for four months!

But unfortunately, my cellmate misread the situation. 

Fearing that my apparent hesitancy indicated that I was about to be non-compliant, in his concern for me Ross momentarily turned his head away from his close and careful observation of the dirty sole of prison officer Billie Jo's right foot, to nod at me, indicating that I should do as bid by prison officer Bella Donna.

As if she'd been expecting this, prison officer Billie Jo looked over her shoulder and down at Ross just in time to catch him out in his disastrous slip. 

Immediately, prison officer Billie Jo gleefully seized her golden, gift-wrapped, handed-to-her-on-a-plate opportunity; cruel cadences of celebratory, smug and gloating, vindictive triumph the foremost 'qualities' in her voice. 

"Prisoner Chapman!" she shrilled. "How dare you? I wasn't aware, that we required your say-so! I wasn't aware, that we needed to wait for your go-ahead! How dare you, make such an insolent presumption? The Governor shall hear of this! That you consider yourself so important, that prison officers should wait for your signal of approval – to another prisoner! Well, prisoner Chapman, you can consider something else: Consider yourself awarded another month, tagged on to your tariff."

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo," replied Ross, in a voice that was half croak, half sob. "And ... thank you, Miss Billie Jo. I ... I deserve it."

"Quite right, BJ," agreed prison officer Bella Donna cattily. "He absolutely deserves it. Absolutely, he does. And, well done, BJ ... you have managed to 'retain' prisoner Chapman, after all."

As Ross obediently resumed his close study and careful observation of prison officer Billie Jo's dirty, grimy, sweat-smudged right sole ("Observe carefully, where your tongue-cleaning work is most cut-out for you"), still positioned just a couple of inches from his wretched face, even from where I was (still) sitting I could see the glistening wetness of spilled tears on the cheeks of his face. The grief-stricken shaking of his body, was also painfully obvious. 

I couldn't bear to see it. 

I couldn't bear to watch, such a piteous, heartrending, convulsive outpouring of irrepressible grief. 

I shrank, from observing the sudden, copious flowing of Ross's tears – the tears, of his unimaginably devastating disappointment. ("I've given her no further reason for complaint, since then – not a one!").

I quailed, at beholding the uncontrollable shuddering of my cellmate's body – the sad sign, of his wretched, unbearable despair. ("And I'm nearly there now, Lenny – I'm nearly there! I've only got one more week to survive, and then I'm out of here!").

Never before, had I felt so angry. So outraged. So incensed. So uncontrollably enraged.

I launched myself out of the tubular-framed dark-grey canvas folding-chair. 

But, it wasn't to belatedly obey prison officer Bella Donna's order to do so. It wasn't to obediently pass the seat through the cell's bars to her, so that she could sit down while she enjoyed watching prison officer Billie Jo partaking of Prisoners' Foot Service, as provided by my soul-crushed cellmate. 

And neither, was it to respectfully stand, in the presence of prison officers. 

No: It was to confront prison officer Billie Jo. 

"No!" I yelled, my blood boiling in outraged, righteous fury, unutterably appalled at witnessing Ross's dire distress. And heartsick, at witnessing his devastating, unspeakable misery – yet more misery, caused by her! 

"You can't do that!" I railed. "He's supposed to be getting out of here next week! A free man!"

"Not any more, he isn't, heh heh heh," chuckled prison officer Billie Jo diabolically. "I've got him for another month, now ... at least. Heh heh heh."

Prison officer Bella Donna opined, "Quite right, BJ. And I should think so, too. Disobedience needs to be punished, and non-compliance should always be nipped in the bud – or where would we all be? We will never tolerate it. Another extra month of intensive correctional tuition will do prisoner Chapman a world of good; especially under your personal guidance, BJ. Chastisement is the only sure way for prisoners to learn the errors of their ways – and to remember to always do exactly as they are told."

"All right, prisoner Chapman ..." said prison officer Billie Jo, carefully cupping the toes of her right foot around Ross's nostrils "... start sniffing."

"Y ... ye ... yes, Miss Billie Jo," said my distraught, soul-destroyed cellmate, between his uncontrollable, body-wracking sobs.

I saw Ross's lips compress into a thin, mouth-sealing line. And then the sounds of his foot-sniffing were quite audible as, exactly as instructed by prison officer Billie Jo, closed-mouthed he inhaled her under-the-toes foot scent.

Her human footrest obediently keeping his face statue-still for her, prison officer Billie Jo gave every appearance of being blissfully contented: The ball of her right foot, resting on the top of Ross's nose; the bottom of her heel, pressing firmly into the middle of his upper forehead; and her toes, cupping his compliantly inhaling nostrils, prison officer Billie Jo's grip and balance was thus assured and comfortable, as the tip of her e-cigarette glowed the same pale blue colour as her Greystone Prison uniform as she 'vaped'.

I just stood and watched the astonishing scenario, totally at a loss for words.

After what might have been a minute or two, prison officer Billie Jo looked down on Ross and snapped, "Now, prisoner Chapman, Foot-Cleaning duties! You know what to do: open your mouth, for me – and open wide. So I'll be all nice and comfortable, when I put my foot inside it. There's a bit more wiggle room in there for me, isn't there, prisoner Chapman, since I got rid of all of those pesky teeth?"

"Yes, Miss Billie Jo, there is more wiggle room for you," said Ross pathetically. "And, Miss Billy Jo, thank you. Thank you for this privilege. I feel very honoured, that you choose me to do this for you, Miss Billie Jo. Such a beautiful lady, as yourself. I ... I admire you, so much."

I could not believe my ears. Even now. Even after all that I'd heard so far.

Yet, I couldn't help but feel some sort of admiration for Ross, who even now was still grovelling brilliantly ... as it were. 

Despite the unspeakably malicious, heinous cruelty of the devastating disappointment that prison officer Billie Jo had just inflicted upon him, somehow my cellmate was still holding himself together: refusing to respond further, to her malevolent goading; refusing to fall again, into another of her despicable traps. 

For to do so would be a most disastrous folly – as Ross apparently realised – that would allow prison officer Billie Jo to recommend yet more prison time tagged onto his sentence. A catastrophic error, that would give her another excuse to go running to the Governor. A dreadful mistake, that would play right into her slyly manipulating hands, enabling her to further 'retain' him.

And, damn it all! Ross had come so close – to within just one lousy week – to his release from Greystone prison.

So much, then, I thought ... So much, for behaving yourself. And for keeping your head down. And for keeping your nose clean. And for being a model prisoner ... if the prison officers were only going to pull strokes like this!

But now, I could hardly believe my eyes, either ... When Ross opened his mouth, as wide as he was able, and prison officer Billie Jo began inserting the toes of her right foot into it; forcibly stuffing them all in ... Adding injury to insult.

I was aghast: Ross's mouth! His ruined, toothless mouth – his devastating dentistry! 

I tapped prison officer Billie Jo on her shoulder, to protest. "Stop! You can't do this!" I yelled in her ear. "His mouth! It's – it's all—"

"Quiet, prisoner Lightwood!" snapped prison officer Bella Donna. "You are speaking out of turn. And, just as soon as we've concluded Foot Service proceedings here, I shall be reporting your behaviour to the Governor, and I'll be recommending that a second extra month be added onto your sentence. Now: pass me that seat, like I just told you."

Hell! I thought. That meant I was going to be stuck in this damn place, for five months now. 

But, when I saw the contentedly 'vaping' prison officer Billie Jo angle the position of her foot in Ross's mouth more precisely, and then jiggle her foot, thereby causing my cellmate's eyes to suddenly grow all big and bright and woefully expressive – and moist; with fresh, big tears of pain now about to commingle with his tears of unspeakable misery – I couldn't help but "speak out of turn" again. 

Because I understood. 

Understood, exactly what prison officer Billie Jo was doing: she was finding her 'toe-holds'. 

Prison officer Billie Jo was probing for the 'toe-holds', in Ross's 'custom-fitted' mouth. She was pushing the ends of her (fortunately, short toe-nailed) toes, into my highly distraught cellmate's convenient cavities – the commodiously accommodating craters, created at her own instigation!

In his acute distress, expressive of his abject, unspeakable wretchedness, Ross began to emit an eerie, barely audible keening sound.

I was beside myself with outrage. 

It was no wonder, that my cellmate's mouth wasn't healing up!

Helpless, I could only watch prison officer Billie Jo's heinous subjugation of my cellmate. 

I could only look on, sympathetically, as glistening fat tears of misery coursed down my cellmate's abjectly wretched face. I could only look on, uselessly, as Ross was forced to contemplate the grubby, sweat-smudged bottom of prison officer Billie Jo's dominant bare heel, while she casually and carelessly used his face as her cigarette-break footrest.

Apparently comfortably enough settled now, with the bottom of her right heel resting squarely in the middle of Ross's forehead to aid balance and stability and surety of purchase, thus anchored securely, and making the most of her "wiggle room", prison officer Billie Jo continued puffing away in pleasure on her e-cigarette. 

"This is not right!" I cried, clenching my fists impotently.

"And that'll be another month added onto your sentence, prisoner Lightwood!" said prison officer Bella Donna. "Now, shut up – or I'll shut you up!"

Hell! I thought. Now it was going to be six months, that I was going to be stuck in this damned hellhole! Why couldn't I keep my mouth shut?

"Heh heh heh heh," chuckled prison officer Billie Jo. "Who needs trumped-up charges, Bel? When we've got idiots like these two chuckle-heads playing right into our hands. Heh heh heh heh."

Prison officer Bella Donna then said to me, "In fact, prisoner Lightwood, you needn't bother passing that seat through to me, after all. Because I've decided to shut you up now – the way officer Billie Jo is shutting-up prisoner Chapman: I'm going to have a cigarette, too, while I enjoy Prisoners' Foot Service."

I said nothing. I just stared back, at prison officer Bella Donna – at Poison Ivy! 

And now I was really wishing I'd kept my fool mouth shut – just as Ross had advised me. Why the hell didn't I listen? All I'd achieved, as a result of my well-intended interfering, was to get myself an extra three months in this godawful place!

"Well ...? Chop-chop! Come on then, prisoner Lightwood!" snapped prison officer Bella Donna. "Don't keep me waiting! Assume the position for Foot Service. Now!"

Still, I said nothing. I just stared right back at her ... and it was absolutely unnerving. I had never been so scared.

"I won't be telling you again, prisoner Lightwood. It'll be the cane ... or worse. Now, for the final time. I said: Foot Service. You can clearly see, from prisoner Chapman's example, what you are to do. Now: Assume the position!"

For a moment longer, I said nothing. Did nothing.

I just stared right back, at prison officer Bella Donna's uncompromising, concave-bob framed face. Stared right back, into the implacable, fear-inspiring depths of her ice-blue eyes. 

And then I did 'a Ross Chapman'.

I returned to the tubular-framed dark-grey canvas folding-chair. I picked it up, positioned it right opposite to the still-standing, still expectant prison officer Bella Donna, and sat down again.

"No, Miss Bella Donna," I said.

"What ...? What, did you just say to me, prisoner Lightwood?" 

"I said no. I'm not prepared to do that."


The Jailhouse Blues continues, in chapter 2 (of 3).

This story is written by David, please send comments and appreciation to voondave@yahoo.co.uk