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Drama Crime

12th April

“My darling Kerri,

I want you to know that I am okay. I am well in myself but missing you and kids so much right now. I managed a good workout this morning. I am keeping myself fit, as you know. They always serve something sweet with every meal here but I only eat a bit of it because I don’t want to put weight on. That would be something, wouldn’t it? Getting fat in this place! Anyway, I’m keeping trim because I know I am coming home soon. I know it. They can’t keep an innocent man locked up in here forever. They can’t. The truth will out.

I got to tell you, though, that I had that bad dream again last night, the one where I’m falling out of the sky. From really high up, like the stratosphere or something, like I’ve been just dropped out of aircraft over a city. Just falling helplessly with the cold wind whistling past me and I’m plunging to the hard concrete below but, just before I hit the ground, the earth opens up like a big crack all the way down to the molten core. And then I’m falling through this crack in the earth and screaming and then I wake up. They say that if you don’t wake up in time in your dream, you actually die in real life. But how can they know that? It doesn’t make sense to me.

But after I woke up, I couldn’t get back to sleep again. It always shakes me up and I just sat on my bed trying to calm down. I wish it would stop it but it just keeps happening again and again. I saw the prison psychiatrist today. Like I told you, I have to see her twice a month, mandatory. I told her about the recurring dream and she said it was repressed guilt. Bullshit! Guilt about what? I was framed for something I didn’t do. You know that. These shrinks are supposed to help us but they’re really part of the system. They’re all liars and their job is to break our spirits. Well, it won’t work with me, my darling. My spirit is strong because I know that you and our children are there for me and that makes me strong.

I’m getting a bit weary now because I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I’ll round up. It’s Monday so we’ll be having the usual for dinner, chicken pie with new potatoes and peas, followed by strawberry mousse. I suppose it’s not too bad, really.

You must stay strong as well, Kerri. Hug and kiss the kids for me and tell them that their daddy loves them very much and that he’ll be home soon.

I remain, always, your loving husband and their devoted father.

Tony”.

18th April

“My darling Kerri,

I am writing this letter to you with such a warm heart and a big smile on my face because I know that our little Sophie turns 8 this week. Wow! Our darling little jelly tot is 8! I will enclose a birthday card with my special message for our special little lady. Make sure that you get her presents that are from both of us. Of course, I know you will. You would never allow our kids to forget me. Our family bond is too strong for that.

And give our little man, Jack, something too. What is he now, 11 years old? My God, it seems like yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital. My little man! Our kids are growing like weeds. He’ll be a teenager soon enough. But I’ll be back home before then, you can rest assured of that. I won’t give up fighting for justice and you mustn’t either.

I know you would send me photos of them but they’re still blocking your letters and visits. It’s so unfair. I am constantly filing complaints with the prison governor but they just ignore them. All the other inmates get visits, letters, cards even packages from their loved ones. All except me. We both know why, don’t we, my love. They’re trying to break me. Just because I won’t confess to a crime I never committed, they’re trying to break my spirit and will to resist by denying me my rights. Yours too. It must be such hot hell for you and the kids. I tell them that all the time; they’re punishing you, not just me. If they want to punish me, then let them. I don’t care. But not you or the children. That’s just cruel. They’re cruel people. At least they let me write to you. Two free letters a week; that’s the rule. I know they check them and they can censor them too. So, I am not sure how much of this you are getting. But I will keep writing them anyway. Don’t lose faith, my love. We will prevail.

Sunday night is usually fish for the evening meal. Cod, usually. You can choose mashed potatoes or chips with beans. I’ll have the mashed potatoes; they’re healthier. Sponge cake and custard for dessert. It’s okay, I suppose. Could be worse. Not sure I’ll bother with the dessert.

I’ll go to sleep tonight, as I always do, thinking of you all and relishing the day when we are re-united as a family.

I remain, always, your loving husband and their devoted father.

Tony”.

April 23rd

“My darling Kerri,

It is such a gorgeous Spring day today. I went for my usual jog around the rec yard this morning and the warm sunshine on my back and the tang of the sweet, fresh air really lifted my spirits. Yes, even in this terrible place, you can find modest pleasures. It got me thinking what a great day it would be to take the children to the park or for a drive in the country. We should do that as soon as I get myself out of here.

I’ve changed my workout routine. In the morning, I do some running-on-the-spot, just to get the blood flowing. Then I do jumping jacks, squats and stretching. That sets me up the for the day. Then a jog for, like, 15 minutes or so. I think that’s a pretty good routine. In the afternoon, I usually play basketball with the other inmates. I’m not very good at it. Actually, none of us are any good. But that’s not the point, right. The point is to work up a sweat and get a decent workout.

At night, after the evening meal, I do some work on my stomach, crunches and twists. I caught a look at myself in the mirror in the gym today and I’ve got a six-pack now. Yes, really. You’re not going to recognise me when I get home. Baby, I’m going to be your sexy, dreamboat guy and we’re going to fall in love all over again.

And I almost forgot to mention but, guess what movie they showed last night? Mrs. Doubtfire! Didn’t we got to see that together on our second date? Or was it our third. I can’t remember. But I do remember that you loved it and I hated it. But I watched it again last night with new eyes and I really did enjoy it. Funny thing, that is. But maybe your tastes change over the years.

Friday night is crispy chicken with rice and corn. My favourite, actually. And usually, they give us chocolate ice-cream for dessert. I think I’ll have the ice-cream tonight. I’ve earned it. The sweet chocolate will give me sweet dreams of you and Jack and Sofie.

I remain, always, your loving husband and their devoted father.

Tony”.

April 24th

“My darling Kerri,

I know I wrote to you only yesterday. But I just had to write to you again today. I had a dream last night. Such a vivid dream. Not the falling one, no. I dreamed about that time we went sailing on Grafham Lake. Do you remember that? It was late summer and you were pregnant with Sofie. And how old was Jack? 3, or maybe 4? I hired that Sunfish sailboat and we spent the whole weekend sailing and exploring around the lake. That was such a golden time. We didn’t have a care in the world. Though, I remember you were worrying about little Jack being on the water. He loved it, didn’t he. He was squealing with delight. I told you not to worry and that I would look after him; I would look after you all. And I did, didn’t I.

In my dream, I was back there on a boat but you and kids were on a different boat and you were shouting at me but I couldn’t hear what you were saying. Your mouth was moving and you were angry but there was no sound, no words.

That weekend was the best holiday I ever but, when I woke up, I was completely down. I’m still down. Got no energy to do anything. It’s like this dark, thick cloud is hanging over me. I feel so lost and alone, so cut off from everyone and everything I love. It’s so unfair. I keep asking myself, “Why me? Why did they pick on me?”

I don’t know the answers, Kerri. I just know that they don’t care about us. We don’t matter. We’re little people. Just insects struggling in their giant web, waiting to get eaten.

I’m sorry to be so down, babe. But know that I will not stop fighting for justice.

They’re serving beef stew tonight. It’s crap. Watery and very little meat. Don’t think I’ll bother. I’ll just stay in my cell and think of you.

I remain, always, your loving husband and their devoted father.

Tony”.

6th May

“My darling Kerri,

Good news, my love. Brace yourself. Your man will be coming home soon! Yes, you did read that correctly. I’m teaming up with one of the new guys here. His name is Kenny and he got framed as well. They said he committed a murder which he never did. We got talking in the rec yard. He’s a really smart guy. Used to work for the government on some secret projects or something. It’s all very hush-hush. It was some sort of conspiracy to discredit him because he knows too much. But now he's got some of his old friends who know he’s innocent and they’re hiring a top lawyer to get him out. I told him all about my case and he says that his new lawyer will take on my case as well.

This is it, Kerri, this is it. I can just feel it. I just needed someone who believed in me and now I have it. I’m coming home soon. Tell the children that daddy will be home soon.

When Kenny and I get out, we’re going to the press and we’re going to blow this whole thing wide open. We’ll be shouting from the rooftops about the corruption and the lies of the system. They won’t be able to ignore us any more, my love. You can bet that heads will roll when we get out. Heads. Will. Roll.

Turkey breast tonight with baked potatoes and peas and I’m going to have a double helping! How’s that??!! We’ll be re-united soon, Kerri. Hug the kids for me.

I remain, always, your loving husband and their devoted father.

Tony”.

10th May.

The office of the prison psychiatrist is an oasis of pastel colours and sedative abstract paintings. There are plenty of plants and soft furnishings and a diffusor fills the air with ambrosial smells.

There are two armchairs facing each other next to a large window which overlooks the prison rec yard and the kitchen block. The prison counsellor, Jackie Mears, is in session. She has a thick file on her lap. Tony is sitting opposite her, his arms on the armrests, his feet on the floor. Composed.

“Nice to see you again, Tony. You’re looking well. Very fit.”

“Thanks”.

“Have you been working out a lot?”

“Yep. Got to stay in shape. A healthy body is a healthy mind”.

“Do you believe you have a healthy mind, Tony?”

“Never healthier”.

“How would you describe your mood right now?”

“My mood? Optimistic”.

“Optimistic?”

“Yes. I’m going home soon”.

“You are. How so?”

“I’m getting a new lawyer. A top guy. He specialises in miscarriages of justice. He’s going to review my case and, when he does, the truth will out.”

Jackie Mears cleared her throat and opens the file on her lap.

“Tony, I’ve been seeing you for a long time now but we’re not really making any progress here. And the reason we’re not making any progress is because you refuse to accept responsibility for what you have done”.

“Responsib…..You amaze me. You people are amazing. How much are they paying you to peddle this bullcrap? Whatever it is, it’s too much. You think I don’t know what’s going on here? I know what’s going on here. You act like you’re here to help but, really, you’re just part of the system. Your real job is to gaslight people like me into believing that I’m guilty of something I didn’t do. All so your bosses can clear up their crime stats and look good for the public. And all the time, I’m rotting away in this jail. But they don’t care. You don’t care.”

“Gaslighting. You mention this word a lot in your letters, Tony. You’ve written so many letters. Over a hundred now.”

“My family needs to know the truth even if the world doesn’t. Yet”.

“Well, let’s see if we can find the truth, shall we. Why don’t we have a look back over your trial documents? Let’s see if something there can help us move forward.”

“Do what you like”.

Jackie Mears begins to read the trial notes as Tony zones out. He turns to look out of the window and, there, not far away is Grafham Lake, shimmering as the rays of the setting sun dance over her surface. Above, a skein of birds threads its way lazily across an indigo sky. And there on the lake is a Sunfish sailing boat gliding smoothly across the glassy water. And on the boat are Kerri and Jack and Sofie, looking so happy and well. They’re enjoying themselves so much. They all look up and wave at Tony and blow kisses. Tony raises his hand to wave back and he mouths the words “I love you all. Be home soon”.

“Who are you waving at, Tony?”

He snaps back.

“Nobody. Nothing”.

“Who were you talking to?”

“You wouldn’t understand”.

“Try me”.

“I don’t want to try you”.

“Then what do you want, Tony?”

“I just want to go home and be with my wife and children again. That’s all I want”.

Jackie Mears put the file down and leaned forward in her chair.

“Tony, you murdered your wife and children. That’s why you’re here.”

Tony folded his arms across his chest and let his head drop to his chest. He tucked his feet back under the chair.

“I’m a loving husband and a devoted father”, he said under his breath.

Jackie Mears let the silence reign for a minute. From across the yard, came the familiar ‘whooshing’ sound of the industrial ovens being started up in the kitchen block to make the inmates’ evening meal.

November 15, 2021 05:42

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