Saturday 25 June 2016

Killing Time by Fiona McPhillips

You can go mental in lock-up. Insane. You can cry your fucking eyes out, punch the walls but you’re not going anywhere. One poxy hour a day in the yard and then straight back to your hole to figure out how to survive the next 23. Sleeping when the fear allows, reading until your eyes sting and pouring the rage onto a page instead of slamming it around the cell. But there are never enough ways to kill the time. It pushes and shoves and rips its way inside you, taunting and haunting until you’d do anything to make it stop. They’ll tell you lock-up’s for your own protection but they don’t give you any protection from yourself.

Ryan pulls hard on his cigarette as he skulks along the edge of the exercise yard. Shoulders hunched, his eyes dart from the overhead net to Brenner’s gang across the yard and back again. The net’s to catch the drug-filled tennis balls that come over the wall. But Brenner has other plans.
Outside, Aidan makes his way past the Joy to Pat’s. The guards never bother much with Pat’s so he allows himself a strut in his step. The Joy, now that’s a different story with its CCTV and its dogs, but the juveniles are usually left alone. He feels for the egg in his pocket, he’s ready.
It’s just a bit of hash, something to take the edge off the long nights ahead. Ryan is nine days into a month of lock-up and the darkness has already crept into the crevices, the crack of the young lad’s skull echoing around his head, casting shadows on his senses. If he could just relax, switch off, stop. He’d do anything to make it stop. Brenner throws him a nod, it’s time.
Aidan lifts the egg carefully out of his pocket. It’s been cut at the top, a foil-wrapped piece of hash pushed into the yolk, the egg resealed and tied to a stone. The plan is that it will break when it hits the net, the contents dripping to the ground below. Aidan just needs to pitch the perfect angle.
Ryan’s heart pounds in his ears as he scans the net. Brenner and the Nordie lad, Quinn, are talking to the guards, distracting them. The runner should be outside, the delivery imminent.
Aidan’s hand is already raised when he spots the uniforms. For a second, he considers propelling the evidence over the wall. But that would get the screws involved and he’d take a night in Mountjoy Garda station over a bust-up with Brenner any day. The egg smashes to the ground at his feet, the yolk oozing onto the concrete.
Ryan’s breath is jagged and short as the cell door slams behind him. Tears prick his eyes, anger pulses through his body, driving his fists into the wall. You can go mental in lock-up. Insane. There are never enough ways to kill the time. And you’d do anything to make it stop.


2024 Wigleaf Longlisting

Huge congratulations to Lisa Alletson whose 2024 FlashFlood piece, ' Translucent ' made the Wigleaf Top 50 longlist! You can read th...