I sneak into a prison in order to win a talent contest, open only to inmates, which has a pretty significant prize.
My performance is sublime, and I end up winning. Several hundred thousand dollars is transferred into my commissary, and I immediately move it into one of my Honduran bank accounts.
As anticipated, I now need to sneak back out before everyone returns to their cells, before anybody notices that I don’t actually have one.
As I swing off a wayward rope acrobatically, my Asian partner boosts me up onto a high ledge, to which the prison lobby is relatively accessible. He performs even greater acrobatics to get himself up, joining me.
We now find ourselves in the public area, where legitimately released prisoners end up after getting discharged, but before leaving.
We are so close to getting out with no interference. Nobody is really paying attention to us as we pass close to the last guard, a middle-aged woman. I faintly hear her voice and can sense that she’s speaking to me. Instead of running, I turn around, expecting to be able to talk my way out of the situation.
“What’s your name?”
“Ian. I just got out.”
“Oh yeah. How many shirts did you have in here?”
“I had a white Nike t-shirt. Oh, and this sweater…” — I motion to the one I’m wearing, the Brassneck sweater I gave to Katiellen – “is my favourite.”
She scrutinizes my being and calls me out because the sweater is still fairly new-looking. She’s been around, and she knows that since prisoners here spend so much time in the sun, most clothing is almost completely faded by the time they get released. I never even considered this element when I set my plan in motion earlier. I essentially accept that I’m caught, and I’m legitimately impressed with the guard at catching such a specific detail.
Breaking out of prison has a stiff penalty, regardless of whether or not you broke in in the first place. I become a prisoner for a few years, mostly keeping to myself as I await my release day. About a week before I’m due to get out, I hear rumours that someone wants me dead, and I acknowledge they might have good reason.
I use different techniques to avoid it happening, which becomes easier to do after I think I know who’s planning it. One of several attempts is enacted by an Irish inmate, and it involves a popular board game that only exists in this prison. I think I avoid it and finally consider myself to be in the clear.
Dad comes to pick me up, but he’s a day early — something to do with the time difference where he’s from. With Dad around, the tension heightens again. Someone is after me. A man visiting someone else slits Dad’s throat stealthily and runs away.
I ask if I’m allowed out for a funeral. The warden, who used to be the guard that caught me escaping a few years earlier, asks who it’s for. She’s generally reasonable, so I expect she’ll let me out.
“My dad. That was him, the one who just got killed.”
“Oh my god. You can apply for early release, but I doubt you’ll get out. It’s not all up to me.”
“Can I use your phone to call my mom and let her know what happened?”
She hands it to me. I look at the time – it’s pretty late back home. Should I let her have one more night’s sleep before finding out her husband is dead? I would like to, but she’s probably expecting him to call before bed, so I dial the number.