Saturday 25 June 2016

Contraband by Paul Beckman

The nightmare man arrives again while I'm still awake. Guard bangs on my cell door and I heft myself out of my bed and waddle my obese body in a fat man's walk over to the metal sink hanging off the wall. He unlocks the door and enters. I no longer have the temptation to look and see him; but I wait for him to smack me in the butt with his night stick and then I drop my underwear and lean over the sink—legs spread—hands intertwined—head resting on my arms.
I hear the snap of his rubber glove left on from his other cell visits and try not to tighten up. He probes my anus deep and rough, looking for something he thinks I'm hiding there. He finishes my humiliation and I remain in position while he tosses my cell trying to find the drugs that someone ratted me out for. He flips my mattress—shines his high intensity flash around, rustles through my desk drawer, knocks over my books and checks inside my shoes and clothing.
Guard whacks the back of my leg and I stand up and turn around facing him but staring down at his shoes—never lifting my head or eyes. He speaks and it's the same as always—"Where is it?  This can end." I remain rigid and silent, head down, shorts around my ankles. I feel the sting of the nightstick on my arm even before he swings it and then I turn and re-assume the sink position. I've learned the moves well.
The nightmare ends, not with the relocking of the cell, but with the sound of his heavy boots walking down the hallway towards his next humiliation. I push myself upright and then bend down and pull up my underwear.
Back in my bed I reach under my overhang, my "mud flap" and feel my “high” scotch taped deep up in the folds of my skin. I slowly pry it open while I'm facing the wall. I reach into the brown powder with my thumb and snort what I extract with my nail. I do it again for the other nostril and then quickly re-tape before it hits me hard—good and hard, and I fall back into what passes for sleep.
Previously published in Molotov Cocktail


  1. Thanks on both accounts, NaN.

  2. Wow, Paul. Really powerful.

  3. Incredible! Looking forward to reading Peek! Wow!

  4. Holy crap! I'm not going to ask how you know this stuff. Note to self: Stay out of jail.

  5. WOW. This was riveting from beginning to end. And I love, love, love that he's called "the nightmare man." This is brilliant Paul. I've got chills.

  6. One of the astoundingly good stories in Peek!! Fabulous Job, Paul!!

    1. Thanks Gay, Linda, Jayne, Lisa, Anne,

    2. Excellent, Paul. Well-written – as if you were there.


Congratulations to our 2023 Pushcart Prize Nominees!

We are delighted to nominate the following FlashFlood stories to the 2023 Pushcart Prize: ' The Doll House ' by Nathan Alling Long &...