Sunday, 7 October 2007

If this is man

Hull-Sitting quietly alongside Hull's main dock road oblivious to the heavy traffic and the vagaries of time is the huge Gothic gargoyle that goes by the name of Her Majesty's prison Hull.
This cathedral of correction is to be the venue for one of News direct's most controversial and dangerous interviews, for we are here to meet Britain's most dangerous prisoner Alfie "The nutter" Dixon.
Dixon, the scourge of the country's prison service has been in every prison on the mainland UK since entering the system in 1974 on the relatively minor charge of littering.
His subsequent behaviour while serving at her majesty's pleasure has ensured a seemingly never ending sentence and an infamy that will surely live long after they carry his still dangerous corpse out through the prison gates.

I arrived at the prison at eight AM sharp to meet my guide for the day, Senior prison officer Sandra Mcpander, the huge woman stood unsmiling before the open door set into the massive locked gates and thrust out a huge paw in a bad imitation of welcome "You were supposed to be here at eight."
"It is eight isn't it?"
"No, it is not eight Sir, it's precisely six minutes past the hour of eight."
"Near enough."
Officer Mcpander's huge flat face turned a deeper shade of what I presumed was her normal purple pallor and said "No Sir, it's not near enough, it's six minutes past! Near enough is not good enough, this isn't Jazz, it's Her majesty's prison service."
"Sorry."
She stood stock still and eyed me up and down while I looked at my shoes.
"Right Sir, shall we go in?"
"Yeah."
She stopped midway through her turn towards the door and I just about stopped my forward motion in time to avoid her huge bulk that was now blocking the tiny door.
"Don't you use manners in that there London?"
"I'm not from London."
"You sound like you are."
"I'm not."
"You sure?"
"Yeah."
"Theres a definite southern edge in your accent."
"I've been unwell recently."
She seemed happy with my denials, but continued to block the door while I looked nervously at my familiar shoes and wondered why.
Several uneasy and quiet moments slipped past until I suddenly realised what she wanted and stuttered "Can we go in now please Officer Mcpander?
She gave me an imitation of a smile "That wasn't so hard was it Sir?
"No Officer Mcpander."
"Manners don't cost anything, do they?"
"No Officer Mcpander."
"So in the future will we remember this?"
"Yes officer Mcpander."
"Now Sir, if you'd like to walk this way we can get started."
She Squeezed her huge frame through the tiny door and motioned for me to follow her.

Just inside the gate there was a small reception area brightly lit and sanitised from the outside world by three inches of bullet proof glass.
Officer Mcpander marched up to the speaker set squarely into the glass and shouted into it "Mcpander and guest to see prisoner 4826 Dixon."
The officer behind the glass looked quickly up from his paper work and seemingly drained of colour, he squeaked through the tinny speaker "Dixon?"
Mcpander nodded towards me and Mouthed through the glass "He's from London, reporter."
The officer in his glass cocoon laughed and pressed a button under his desk that noisily opened a thick door.
After filling out copious forms and liability chits, Officer Mcpander led me into the main body of the prison, through sterile institutional corridors, until we came to a small room marked 'Interview room'.

Officer Mcpander opened the hefty door "If you will be so kind as to take a seat sir."
I walked into the bare room, sat behind the lonely wooden table and nervously awaited the arrival of Britain's most dangerous man.
Ten long minutes later the door swung open to reveal a man who appeared to be the spitting image of Charles Hawtry.
I was at first shocked, then relieved at the sight of Alfie 'The nutter' Dixon as he appeared to have muscles of a young girl suffering from polio and looked as dangerous as a plastic butter knife.
Officer Mcpander carefully pushed Dixon into the room and lowered his handcuffed frame onto the chair before me.
As he placed his almost feminine hands upon the table Officer Mcpander said "I will be leaving him cuffed, there is a button located just under table. If the prisoner makes any sudden moves or lewd suggestions, just press it and we will have the emergency response unit in here quicker than you can say 'Help!! Dangerous prisoner 4826 Dixon is attacking me and I urgently require immediate assistance from Her majesty's emergency response team'."
"Right you are officer, but I'm sure that won't be necessary."
"I will be leaving the door open as a safety precaution."

So here I was alone with Britain's most dangerous man, the air seemed charged with anticipation as we both sat in absolute silence and weighed the other man up.
Dixon seemed the antithesis of the man I heard so much about, his thin frame and delicate hands seemed more suited to light clerical work than kidnap and murder.
It seemed incongruous that this was the same man who had killed fourteen fellow prisoners and two guards all with his bare hands. Was this really the man who had eaten the prison chaplain in just under an hour?
We sat in silence.

"Why have you come to see me?" the sudden feminine voice shocked me and I scrambled quickly for a response.
"I'm from the world famous News direct."
"Never heard of it."
"Yeah you have."
"No I haven't."
"Yeah you must have!"
"No, I haven't."
"Surely you have, Hitler's ladyboy's, Panda sex expose, Giant squids?"
"I've been in prison since 1974."
"Oh right, and you don't get the internet?"
"No."
"Oh ok, anyway your original sentence was for a week and a day, for the offence of littering, I believe?"
"Yes that was my original crime but I..."
"You've really never heard of News direct?"
"No."
"Mouse club, Blair infamy, Sex change dogs."
"Nope."
"Does this disconnection with the world in some way fuel your barbarism?"
"In what sense?"
"Well in the sense that if you had maybe had access to quality publications such as... ohhh I don't know, lets say News direct for arguments sake, would you have still felt the same sense of anger and violence towards the world?"
"I killed my first man three hours after arriving in prison so I don't think so no."
"But could the lack of access to News direct have been a contributing factor in your later murders?"
"I don't know."
"But you do concede that it could have been a contributing factor?"
"Well I suppose so."
"So what you are basically saying is that if you had had access to News direct thirteen people could still be alive?"
"Errr..."
"That's what I think you are meaning to say, but don't let me put words in your mouth, our readers want to hear what you think."
"Are you from London?"
"No! I've had a cold recently."
"I was only asking, you sound like you have a southern twang."
"No, It's the lingering vestiges of a cold."
"The chaplain I ate was a southerner, Kent I think."
"Do southerners taste differently to northerners?"
"Oh yeah they are tastier, northerners are very fatty, I'd much rather eat a southerner they taste quite like veal."
"Veal?"
"Yeah, I think it's the diet."
"Yeah you're probably right they don't eat proper food, I once knew a girl from Reading and all she ever ate was salads."
"Did she taste like Veal?"
"No not really, more like Tuna."
"Well I personally prefer them, they are tastier they are more like free range produce, where as your northerners are like something Bernard Matthews would try to feed your kids."
"That's interesting, if you'd have had more time would you have added, I don't know, maybe some some thyme and a little garlic?"
"Oh yeah that would have been lovely, maybe a splash of red wine and some rosemary too."
"Yeah I would have thought that a nice piece of meat like that deserves it, me personally I would cook it slowly."
"Yeah but I didn't really have the time, I had to eat him raw before the guards could kick the chapel door down, gave me terrible indigestion."
"Shame."

The huge frame of Officer Mcpander filled the doorway and then disappeared quietly back into the institutional walls.
Dixon sighed "Thats the worst thing about prison they are always watching you."
"But you do have a tendency to eat people when they don't Alfie, I can call you Alfie can't I?"
From a myriad of chuckles he said "That's true I do!! Yeah you can call me Alfie."
"Do you ever wish your life had turned out differently Alfie?"
"Sometimes I wish I hadn't done the things I've done, but you can't continue to look backwards all your life you must concentrate on the future."
"On tomorrows tasty victims."
He laughed uproariously and using his manacled hands to wipe away a stray tear he said "That's right, I always say that at the end of every key chain theres a pot of meat."
"Do you think you would have read News direct if those bastards had have given you access?"
"What's it about?"
"People like you Alfie."
"Sounds fascinating, is it very popular?"
"Oh yeah."
"What kind of readership do you get?"
"Well we don't like to judge our success on reader numbers but more on the quality of our readership."
"So it's not doing well then?"
"No."
"Shame it sounds brilliant and you are obviously not only a very handsome man, but also a very talented one."
"Yeah I can't understand it, I feel like I'm throwing pearls at pigs Alfie."
"It must be very frustrating."
"Oh it is, you cannot imagine the sheer loneliness of ceaseless creativity. Some nights I'm so depressed about it I will not be able to cook and have to order a takeaway."
"Sounds horrible."
"It is, the only half decent takeaway is a Japanese one about five miles away, so the sushi is always cold when it arrives, have you ever eaten a Japanese?"
"No we don't get many foreigners in here."
"It's not good mate, and it tends to make me more depressed."
"You just have to stick at it and keep going."
"But I get so low Alfie."
"You're better than that, come on wipe your eyes. Don't let the bastards grind you down"
"Yeah, you're right."
"Yeah things will pick up, I'm sure in a few years time Story news will be the biggest site on the whole interwebby thing."
"It's News direct."
"Yeah, News direct will be huge."
"You really think so Alfie? You're not just saying that?"
"No, I believe you can do it."
Officer Mcpander then arrived and lifted Alfie's slight frame from his seat.
I protested "That's never an hour!!"
She ignored me and continued to guide Alfie through the open door, I stood quickly and leaned over the desk "Thanks Alfie!"
Alfie looked over his shoulder "Keep going and don't get discouraged, I know you can do it!"
"Thanks Alfie, I will, I'll make News direct the best site on the whole damn web!!!! I'll write to you Alfie!!"
And with a handcuffed wave and a smile Britain's most dangerous prisoner was gone.

4 comments:

deathsweep said...

Oh, how I wish this was more than a monthly publication since I love your writing abilities! You can certainly hold ones attention with the stories you tell. News Direct will be the # 1 someday, I think Alfie's right about that and when it hits # 1 I'll still be reading it!

Aningeniousname said...

Thank you Mr Deathsweep for your much valued and unwavering support.
Because of treasured readers such as your good self, News direct is now the most popular English language news site in the whole of eastern Lichtenstein.
Onwards and upwards!

Maria said...

I very much enjoyed reading this very humorous post. I have worked in prisons for the past four years so I could identify with so much of what you wrote. I have learned to handle many of the inmates in much of the same way you did. It certainly doesn't pay to anger these individuals!
I may be starting a blog soon about my experiences teaching in the correctional system. hopefully it will be as entertaining as this!

Aningeniousname said...

Thanks Maria, I'm sure you are a delight to be incarcerated by.