If you've read my bio stuff you'll have noticed that I used to be a prison chaplain. I've often thought I should post about some of the weird and wonderful things that happen in prison. The trouble is I can never remember them unless something else jogs my memory.
Last night, possibly while I was thinking of the damage the rain has done to some of my friends' houses this year and ours in past years, I did remember something funny. It happened in a very old prison where one of my older chaplain friends had worked when he was younger.
Apparently the outer walls of the cell blocks were constructed of two layers of bricks with a narrow cavity between the layers. One of the old-timer inmates discovered that the mortar around the bricks in his cell was a bit loose. Of course he helped it to become a bit more loose. He also realised that the cavity between the bricks was a useful hiding place for small and medium sized articles that you didn't want the officers or other inmates to know about or get their hands on. These could have been almost anything - drug utensils, girlie mags, tattoo machines, weapons, a bit of home, I mean prison brew or maybe none of these. The thing is that as time wore on he couldn't help himself, he loosened more and more bricks just because he could, but only on the inner wall. Whenever he took out some bricks to hide or retrieve something from this ingenious hiding place he would carefully replace the bricks so that no one suspected that the wall was becoming a brick jigsaw that could be pulled apart and remade at will.
It couldn't last. One day he was lurking near his cell door when he heard the jingle of keys that signalled an approaching prison officer. Maybe he was up to some mischief. Maybe there was something on his bed that he wanted to conceal or maybe it was just his guilty conscience at work. I don't know, but I'm told that he made a rush towards his bed and literally dived onto it. The momentum carried him forward and instead of being stopped by a nice solid brick wall, he went straight through it. In fact he went straight through the second layer of bricks as well. The mortar of those bricks being just as old and poor as the inner wall. His cell was on the first floor of the cell block. The surprised officer looked out through the large new hole in the side of the cell to see the even more surprised inmate far below in a pile of bricks.
I heard he sustained no serious injuries.
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