For reasons of practicality, finance, and containment, we’ve now put both our inmates in the same cell block. One unfortunate repercussion of this is regular rioting. They smash up the place, take cuddly prisoners and demand better conditions. Sometimes I cave. Sometimes I have to go in. Usually they can be bought off with warm milk or a story.
Their cells have thick wooden bars. It’s lovely once they’re behind them. Me and the governor can relax a bit, and snuggle.
Thing is, though, I’ve seen The Shawshank Redemption. I know what prisoners are capable of. It’s a good job this prison is escape proof. I check regularly that they’re not sawing through the bars with a converted sippy cup or burrowing through the mattress. On top of that, we have a camera monitoring their cells. The governor and I enjoy watching them as they whisper to each other, planning, plotting. They think I’m stupid. They think they can out smart me. I chuckle.
Next morning I wake up and take a look at the monitor. My son’s cell is empty.
I stare at the screen in disbelief then sound the alarm. When I go in he’s sitting on a chair reading a book. He smiles at me as if him being there is the most normal thing in the world.
The next night on the monitor I see him heaving himself up the corner of the cot, hooking a leg over, climbing out and softly dropping to the floor. He scampers off and moments later the light flicks on. I didn’t know he could do that either. I’m stunned. He’s out witted me by getting taller.
Immediately I’m wondering how I can make the bars higher, but the governor has a different idea. A mind blowing idea.
I spend a couple of hours in the inmates bedroom that day, hammering and screwing and swearing. That night my son looks at his bed, open mouthed. The bars are gone. We look at each other, as if to say, “What happens now?”
I find his new freedom profoundly scary. My son doesn’t, I can see it in his eyes. Once he’s figured out how to open the bedroom door, the house is his.