Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Sometimes, as I lie in my bed of fine-grade straw at night, quietly waiting for the gentle arms of Morpheus to enfold me in their comforting embrace, I find ·myself thinking about things that have happened through the day, things that may happen in the days  to come and, now and then, musing on the days past. Oddly enough, I don't do much of the latter - that road leads to brooding, a lot of resentment and insanity: not a place anyone quite wants to visit.

These brief periods of pensive thought never last very long - a few minutes. I seem to drift off quite quickly these days, probably a  combination of age and the fact that not much bothers me these days. Years ago, when I first started on this particular nightmare, I spent many nights completely sleepless - rage ruled supreme. These days, I seem to be much calmer, not so volatile and, who knows, even a little forgiving, who can tell?

I said forgiving, not forgetful. We may forgive a lot of things, but we never forget. We never forget a good deed, or a bad one - it's human nature. At least, it is my nature, I can't speak for everyone - I leave that to politicians and policemen.

What was I talking about?

Oh yes - soul-searching.

I often sort of review my day - people I have spoken to, things I have done, that sort of thing. Sometimes I realise that something I have said or done may well have caused unwitting offence, and, if  I come to the conclusion that that is or may be the case, then the following day I will go to the person, whoever they may be, and give them an apology - it's the right thing to do.

Well, it's like the ould IRA man lying on his death bed and the priest kneels by the bed to give absolution.

"Are you ready to renounce the devil and all of his works my son?"

"Aahh," says the ould IRA man. "It's too late to be making enemies now, Father."

So, sometimes I put matters right the following day - as I say, it is the right thing to do.

Having said all that, there are times when we may well have been rude or upset someone and it is fully justified. In fact not only justified but compulsory! They deserved it, shall we say.

I had such an instance the other day. Someone said something utterly ourageous to someone else and, to be quite frank about it, it was offensive. Not only that, but the fellow who said it thought it was clever - being offensive without the fear of retaliation.

He didn't realise that I was in the offing, standing astern of him. So, being quite capable of holding my own in any verbal contest, I put him straight on matters and it won't happen again. Life is hard in jail without some idiot making it harder unnecessarily. Any-hoo, that night in my pensive pit it crossed my mind fleetingly that I may well have caused offence, so I decided to have a word the next morning. Unfortunately, when I approached the fellow concerned I found him being offensive to someone ELSE!

So, being an erudite sort of cove, with what some call a caustic wit, I went up and said, "Excuse me, but I would like a word."

Himself and the two or three cronies he had with him looked at me.

"Yesterday," said I, "I may have been rude. I would just like to take this opportunity to say that if I did or said anything which may have caused offence, I would like to say, with the greatest of sincerity, that I couldn't give a shit."

Even his own friends laughed at him - the clown.

And so, as the day draws gently to a close and I begin to prepare myself for yet another night's sleep in the tender embrace of Lizzie Windsor's minions, it occurs to me that it's only a week to my final home leave - and eleven days after I come back, it's my Parole Board hearing.

I will have to remember to keep a civil tongue in my head and not allow my caustic wit any sort of freedom - it may well be taken in the wrong spirit, and that will never do.

The Voice In The Wilderness

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