The Yard


The announcement came over the loud hailer in the yard. I’d just finished a set on the bells and was feeling the strain. Tommy ‘Wails’ Thompson picked up the bar with one hand and looked at me; I could see the embarrassment in his eyes. Fine, he could lift more than me, but could he arabesque? I think not. Not that I’d ask, he could bench 220 on a slow day.

“Attention Inmates.”

Really? Why bother? I’m a criminal, Tommy’s a criminal, we’re all criminals in here. Just say attention scumbags and leave it at that.

“No doubt you have seen the posters…”

I had, we all had. It wasn’t every day that a TV fashion contest took place in your little 1000 cell slice of life.

“…filming will begin tomorrow and the producers are asking for a few volunteers…”

The yard erupted. What a thing to say. Of course we’d volunteer to be on the show, we’d volunteer to be on slop duty if it got us within spitting distance of that supermodel chick that hosted the show.

“Now, it should go without saying…” it does but you’ll say it anyway won’t you “…there is to be no foul language, no exposing yourselves – Harold, I talking specifically to you…”

Harold was a flasher and he was proud of it. The rest of us were somewhat less enthusiastic of his abilities.

“..and no interacting with the visitors!”

Fine, no fun it is then.

“Those of you who are interested should see Dave in the office before 5pm today. Thank you.”

That’s when the rush began. That’s when the yard emptied into a bottleneck at the door and that’s when Charlie ‘Tiny’ Curtis broke my ankle. I didn’t blame him and it wasn’t his fault. He’d been inside for the better part of twenty-five, still had the ‘life’ to go and shy of the sixty year old prison nurse with the weepy eye; he’d not seen an eligible woman in a while.

I fell to the ground and saw the effect a 300 pound man can have on a tibia. It wasn’t pretty, certainly not a patch on what I can only imagine the wannabe supermodels looked like.

I spent the next two days in the regional hospital, hopped up on morphine and watching the riot from my private room.

At one point I caught sight of ‘Tiny’ lifting a model over the fence, his hand disappearing up her skirt and a smile on their faces.


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