Whenever a release date draws near, my thoughts turn to the possibility of rehabilitation. And there is, of course, never a shortage of unsolicited advice from one’s peers. The other night, a gang of us was seated around a bucket of hooch, mulling over our prospects.
A pugnacious “face” from Dartmoor had good news. “Discharge grant’s gone up to ?52. If yer homeless, ?110.”
“Yeh? But the train takes forever to get to London. We’ll have to wait hours before we get the first bag of gear.”
“I heard there was a geezer at the station. Comes dairn specially every morning to meet that day’s releases.”
“Prison service bags don’t exactly keep it a secret. Fucking royal crown and HMP stamped on the side.”
“Does he sell rocks as well as gear?” an inveterate crackhead inquired.
“He can keep ’em as far as I’m concerned,” Singer, our host, replied.
“I thought you was in here for rocks.”
“That’s why I ain’t interested no more. Didn’t I tell yer what happened last time I went dairn that road?”
He emptied the dregs of the first bucket of hooch into his plastic beaker.
“As yer know I was doing a bit of dealing. Originally to pay fer me own habit, but things took off and before long I’m serving up nearly every junkie in town. Naturally, I’m making a tidy profit and after a couple of months I’ve got a proper stash which I’ve wedged behind some shelves in me kitchen. One afternoon I’m sat there airt of me skull weighing up a bag fer the geezer in the flat upstairs, when I look airt, and there’s four geezers climbing me winder frame on their way up to the roof.”
“Why? What was on yer roof?”
“Nuffink. No one was trying to get up there at all. I just thought there was. Crack psychosis, know what I mean.”
The group nodded. Everybody knew exactly what he meant.
“I used to think there was spiders breeding under me wallpaper,” Dartmoor concurred.
“We’ve all bin there. So I tear up to the roof, and of course, it was a wild goose chase. When I get back indoors, the feller from upstairs has done a runner, and me parcel’s nowhere to be seen. Cheeky cunt trying to mug me off. Went mental didn’t I.” Singer bared his teeth. “First thing I focus on is…