Posted by Glyn Wade

Here is my latest attempt at telling a story about a picture in 1000 words to ‘prove’ the adage that every picture tells a thousand words. Yes I know my picture is actually taken at Alcatraz and the story starts with prison gates but…..there’s a bit of poetic licence allowed surely!

Swear words have asterisks to protect the innocent and there’s a bit of content that is a tad risque but done in a humorous way so hopefuly it’s not offensive to anyone.

Anyway….on with the picture…..then the story…..



I stood outside the gates looking left and right. I had nowhere to go. Indecision reigned supreme as I pontificated a while longer before the sorry realisation that it really didn’t matter which way I went overshadowed any excitement I may have felt coming through the gates.

You may think that getting out of prison would be a wonderful thing and, in most cases, you’d be bang on the money with your reasoning. But imagine now that there’s no-one waiting for you outside, no loving wife who’s waited patiently while you served your time, no still loving Mum who turns up with your favourite home baked apple pie still warm under a gingham teacloth and definitely no best mate who stood up for you at the trial because he knew you were innocent. Oh no, that was a DEFINITE in my case.

Unfortunately he was better dressed than me with no pierced ears, no bleach blond hair and certainly no tattoo on the back of his neck. He was also prone to being able to let a tear run down his face virtually on cue (those drama lessons certainly weren’t in vain) and he was eloquent, charming and most of all, handsome. The women on the jury wanted him inside them, the men wanted to be him; heck they all probably wanted him inside them too no matter what their sexual preferences. Yes, when he got up on the stand and lied through his pearly white perfect teeth I never really stood a chance.

And five years later I wish he was here so we could have a little chat.

To say he had ruined my life would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. To say I had lost everything thanks to that sly, scheming, slimy son of Satan would not be stretching anything other than my vocal chords as I screamed it at many a cell sharer during my time inside. Hell I even screamed it at HIM when he came to visit me.

Oh yes he had the audacity to come and visit me. Imagine!

‘You’ve got a visitor’ I was told.
‘Who?’ I asked.
‘Dunno, but he’s a bit of a looker’ says the 22 stone totally straight prison guard with animated love hearts streaming from his brutal heart.

Apart from the expected expletives I blared out I was in a state of total disbelief and expected to run into the visiting room and grab him by his neck before laying waste to his good looks with my fists. No-one would expect anything less surely as I battered the truth out of him and thus have him take my place in here with an even longer sentence than that meted down to me.

Payback time!

Except it wasn’t. I couldn’t and you wouldn’t either if you’d seen him in there. He was still a ‘bit of a looker’ as the guard had called him but it was only a bit. I almost cried as I saw him, his body a wasted shadow of its former self sat in a wheelchair, his futile legs pulled up onto silver foot plates. His face was pretty much all that remained of the smarmy git that had condemned me to five years’ incarceration but that had tears rolling down it now.

It had been four years since I had seen him, four years inside one of the toughest prisons in Britain. I’d been beaten, been degraded to levels that brought me to tears, eaten food that I wouldn’t previously have given to a dog. And all because of this man. And here, right now, I felt that I was the one that was better off.

And as I sat opposite him and looked into those tearful doughy blue eyes I was damned angry that I wasn’t allowed to lose my temper and shout at him. With a resigned demeanour I could only quietly utter one single swear word. It was more than enough to start a flood of tears as my fading nemesis was racked with what I hoped was guilt.

As he muttered ‘I’m so ******* sorry’ I almost cried myself. This wasn’t fair! I was supposed to be angry and on the verge of getting out of here not feeling sorry for a man I despised way beyond all others.

Eventually he managed to stem his sobs and attempt his explanation. In between getting caught and going to trial he’d found out he was dying and was only given a few months to live, maybe less. His body would waste away rapidly and within weeks he’d be unable to walk before quickly losing the ability to speak. He didn’t want to suffer that in prison and wanted to live as long as possible on the outside.

The plan had been to own up to the truth when he was close to death, I would be released and his illness would prevent him ever seeing the inside of a prison cell. He waited for his body to break down and start decaying and the weeks became months which then turned into years. Unluckily for me the doctors had got their estimates wrong, he was racked with guilt (not enough certainly) and now, four whole years later here he was to set me free.

‘How long have you got? I asked. ‘A week’ he said,’ maybe two. It didn’t quite go as planned and I kept everything but my legs and they only went a couple of months ago. I’m so ******* sorry’ he repeated sobbing again. ‘I’m going to the police when I leave here and getting you out.’

‘No’ I surprised myself by saying. ‘No use both of us dying guilty men, besides I’ve only got another year to go.’

So one year later, no he’s not waiting for me, he did die within the fortnight and an innocent man as far as everyone but he and I knew. And I still wish he was here to meet me.