Thursday, 20 April 2017

Getting Married in Prison.

The night before Jim got married the other inmates on his wing of the prison poured buckets of water over the small exercise yard knowing that the heavy freeze would turn it to ice by morning. As soon as the cells were unlocked, and while it was still dark, Jim was dragged out of bed, stripped and bundled along the corridor past the kitchens and out into the full, searching glare of the spotlights that rained down on the yard.

In no time he was on the ground being dragged by the ankles over the rough ice to the cheers of the whole wing. Prison warders changing shifts watched the prank being played on the groom from a distance, amused: although the perimeter of the jail was as tight as a drum the regime within the walls was relaxed. Politics, Irish prison politics.

When Marley thought Jim’s butt had been slid about on the ice for long enough he called time on the pre-wedding entertainment and the men went in for breakfast laughing and shouting and leaving Jim to pick himself up off the wet, bloodied ground and drag his numb, lacerated ass in after them.
He ached all over, but the pain didn’t really kick in till the hot water of the shower started to thaw his frozen cheeks. Some of the other men started to think they had gone too far when they saw the damage but most just laughed. Someone tried to turn his shower tap to cold. He spent the next hour lying on a bed in the sick room with the two nurses picking gravel out of the wounds that ran from his shoulders to his ankles, wincing with every drop of antiseptic they poured into them. He was to be married in a few hours.

At 10 o’clock the bridal party arrived at the prison gate along with the permitted 10 guests, all bundled into two minibuses. It took from then till noon to put them all through security, checking out the flowers, wedding cake, top hats and the frills and flounces of dresses for drugs, knives and whatever else might be smuggled in.

The over-excited sniffer dogs, the searching hands of the guards and the smell of the tiny search rooms each honoured guest had to pass through on his own soon dampened the party spirit, but the sense of anticipation revived as the appointed hour for the wedding drew near and all was in place.
The guests at most weddings are usually anxious to get to see the bride as she makes her entrance, but at this wedding it was the groom everyone waited eagerly to see; most of the guests hadn’t seen him for a few years.

When the wedding party was settled in the small chapel and the flowers had been stuck in a vase, the music Carol had brought along with her started playing through a speaker at the front. Prison guards took their places at the back, and a door at the side opened letting a nervous-looking Jim into the room accompanied by a minister. He was limping and seemed stiff and uncomfortable, but Carol thought he looked good in the suit she had bought for him and had brought along when she visited the previous week.

 Fifteen minutes later it was all over, they were married. Fifteen minutes was all the prison allowed for the preposterous frivolity of a wedding, and fifteen minutes was all that was needed. A quick prayer, a hurried reading and two almost inaudible “I do”s and the deed was done, but there was still the reception.

Filing out past the prison guards, Jim, his bride and their collection of family and friends all looking ridiculous in their finery were given one small plastic glass of non-alcoholic champagne. A prison guard cut the cake, neither bride nor groom being authorised to hold a knife within the prison grounds. Fifteen minutes were allocated for greeting and congratulations then one of the guards, the only one with a sense of humour on display, lead the couple through a door into what he announced as the honeymoon suite. Everyone strained their necks to get a peek through the open door where they saw a bed and nothing else under the dim glare of a flickering fluorescent light. The door closed, leaving the guests on the other side of it along with the guards.

This was the moment Jim had been anticipating. With no marriage there had been no conjugal visits allowed but now he had a wife, and after today he would get to have sex six times a year, and today was to be the first of those times. The anticipation however soon evaporated when the door banged behind him and he was alone with Carol for the first time in three years, with his own family and Carol’s parents on the other side of the door not four feet away. How could he perform under that kind of pressure?

It didn’t seem to inhibit Carol in the slightest. In no time her wedding dress was lying in a heap on the floor so he added all his clothes to the pile, but when she ran her hand round to his back and down onto what she always said was his finest feature - his butt - he let out an agonised yell.

Carol jumped back grabbing her dress off the floor, covering herself with it, shocked and bewildered, not knowing what she had done wrong. The gathered family on the other side of the door fell silent. One of the guards burst into the room giving everyone a ring side view of Jim’s lacerated body, the wounds freshly opened by the putting on and taking off of his wedding clothes, blood trickling down his back and thighs onto the floor, the wedding bed still unused.

Another date had to be set for the consummation of the wedding of Carol to prisoner 123456/789.

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