Harsh Consequences

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Chapter 19

After returning their dishes and trays to the kitchen, Fitzy led Mitch outside into the yard. A gentle breeze from the west greeted them as they stepped out under the fresh, overcast sky.

The two friends stood close together, Mitch with his hands casually shoved into his pockets, toeing some pebbles on the ground, while the more self-confident Fitzy stood with his muscular arms crossed. His eyes scanned the various inmates gathered in their immediate area.

Mitch picked up a small pebble. He tossed it up in the air and caught again. ‘So…You never said. What happened to those pricks who got me…? Did they move them?’

Fitzy’s eyes were the only part of him that moved from his nightclub bouncer posture; they flicked to Mitch. ’Yeah. They have been moved. You could say that.’

‘So…they’ve gone. They’re no longer in the unit?’

‘Correct.’

‘Was that a punishment for attacking me, or something?’

‘That’s exactly what it was, mate. They’ll never do it again.’

Mitch lobbed the pebble and caught it. ‘Why do I get the feeling you’re not telling me everything…?’ Mitch said.

Fitzy grinned. His arms fell to his side. ‘Well, you asked and I answered. But you’re too perceptive for your own good,’ Fitzy said. ‘They weren’t exactly moved…not in the way you thought.’

‘No…?’

Fitzy shook his head. His focus was elsewhere as he spoke. ‘No. They each went out on a sheet covered gurney…’

‘Your doing…?’

‘When I found you lying on the shit house floor…I thought you were gone, mate. I honestly wasn’t expecting to see you back here. Then, when I saw those fucken dogs laughing as they ran off…’ Fitzy’s jaw tightened. He gritted his teeth as he shook his head. ‘I had to make it right. I had to make them pay for what they did. They were not getting away with it… not a fucken snow ball’s hope in hell.’

Mitch nodded his understanding. ’What did you do…Beat the shit out of ‘em…?’

‘Not at all…’ Fitzy said. A grin snuck out the side of his face. He held up a thumb. ‘One hanged himself in his cell after lockdown.’ He shrugged. ‘Can’t do much about that.’ He held up a finger. ‘One died in his sleep of natural causes...heart attack apparently…’ Fitzy grinned as he held up a second finger. ‘One slipped and fell in his cell and hit his head on a desk…wet feet on a concrete floor will do that…’ He smirked as he lifted a third finger. ‘And the other one…poor bloke had an unfortunate accident in the gym… a bench press bar crushed his throat when it fell on him.’

‘That was all you…?’ Mitch said as a question

Fitzy held his arms out to the side. ‘There’s not a single piece of evidence linking me to their deaths…’ Fitzy checked his surrounds. ‘That’s what I do...I fix problems and make it look like an accident, where possible…’

‘Isn’t that a little severe, Fitzy? I mean…Does killing them make it right?’

‘They left you for dead, mate. Stomped your head…repeatedly. You could’ve died. Probably would’ve, if I hadn’t found you. So, yeah. The dogs don’t deserve to live. I’ll be honest though…’ Fitzy said. ‘I did what I did coz I thought you were gunna die in hospital.’ Fitzy shrugged. ‘If I had of known you were gunna live…that you were going to make a full recovery…yeah, maybe I would’ve done things differently. But do I regret what I did…?’ Fitzy waved the back of his hand. ‘Not a chance, mate. Not a chance. They were pond scum.’

Mitch rubbed a hand across his mouth. While he understood Fitzy’s motivations, killing those men didn’t sit well with him. Unlike Fitzy, he had never been exposed to violence and death like this. Unlike Fitzy, he had a conscience. Guilt was not a foreign emotion. As much as he hated those men for what they did to him, he never at any time wanted them dead. That thought never entered his mind.

Fitzy leaned a shoulder against a wall. ‘If I get parole…I’ll be out in about a week,’ Fitzy said. ‘I can track down those three dogs who got away with killing your father and do the same to them…If you want…’

Mitch lifted his hand to Fitzy. ‘No. No. No. Look.’ Mitch sighed heavily. He checked his surrounds. ‘I appreciate the offer Fitzy. I really do. It’s just that...I want these guys to pay for what they did to my Dad and my family. But I want them to pay by a lengthy prison term, not by me playing Judge, Jury and Executioner by giving the order to have them killed. I don’t think that would sit very well on my conscience, mate.’

Fitzy continued to eye the inmates standing around them. ’As long as you realise…not only won’t they be getting a lengthy prison term…they won’t be getting any prison term. Did you forget… their case was thrown out because of insufficient evidence to place them at the scene…remember?’

‘I know…I know. And it cuts me deep every time I think about it… They literally got away with murder. But that is our legal system, as fucken useless as it is.’

‘Your call, Mitch. I’m out of here soon. It won’t take much effort for me to find these jokers and…’ Fitzy tapered off. He extended his hands to the side. ‘Your call.’

‘It’s not that I don’t appreciate the offer…I do. Plus all the help you have given me in here, mate, but…’ Mitch’s head dropped as he shook it slowly. ‘I just can’t bring myself to do it…well, to get you to do it...’

’Fair enough. I understand. Actually…No, I don’t understand. But that is your decision. If they killed my Dad like that…’ Fitzy shook his head for emphasis. ‘It would be a no-brainer for me. They’d be gone already.’

Mitch didn’t want to discuss this anymore. He flicked a hand towards the unit. ‘Let’s head back inside. It’s getting cool.’

As both men made their way inside, Fitzy lifted his chin towards their direction of travel. ‘Keep your eyes on these three knuckle heads up here…’ Fitzy said. ’I’ve been watching ‘em…I’ve got a bad vibe from them. They look like trouble.’

Mitch causally glanced at the three men standing between them and the door to the unit. One was a lanky bean pole and the other two were short and stocky. Each was in their late thirties to early forties and each one had ‘the look’ about them.

During Mitch’s time in prison he noticed there were a large number of inmates here in maximum security who had a certain look; the look of prison regulars, he called it.

Maybe it’s the confidence with which they carried themselves. Maybe it’s simply their body language, or even their stereo-type appearance. But whatever it was, those inmates who had spent most of their lives in prison had a certain mannerism about them that distinguished them from the everyday people Mitch interacted with in his normal life outside.

Fitzy didn’t have that ‘look’. Neither did Scoob, Coop and Irish, the inmates he met when he first arrived here. These three inmates in front of them did.

As they neared the three men, the shorter man of the group, the one with both arms heavily tattooed said, ‘You two faggots should get a room…’

Mitch slowly shook his head. Not because of the pointless juvenile abuse directed towards them. He shook his head because the one who spoke verified his suspicions about identifying their perceived ‘look’.

Fitzy on the other hand was less receptive of the man’s insults. ‘What did you just say, fuckhead...?’ Fitzy said.

The same man continued. ‘Every time I see you two around, you’re huddled together like fucken love birds. You two must be fucken each other? Who’s the catcher and who’s the pitcher…?’ He said. His two friends cackled at the man’s insults.

Fitzy stopped walking and squared himself up to the loud mouth. He glared down at the shorter man.

The loud mouth man stood in the middle, with a friend on either side for support. ‘Oh look at this guy will ya…’ the same man said to his mates. He jabbed a thumb at Fitzy. ’I’ll bet he’s the man…and this cunt here…’ he lifted his chin to Mitch. ‘Is his missus…’ the loudmouth said. ‘Isn’t that right, bitch,’ he said to Mitch.

Fitzy’s body language tightened. The men standing either side of the loud mouth responded by edging closer to Fitzy.

Mitch tapped Fitzy on his arm. ‘Let it go, mate. They’re not worth it.’

‘That’s right, cue ball…’ the loud mouth said to Fitzy. ‘Listen to ya missus here,’ he said.

The three aggressors stood in a small, but tight arrowhead type of formation in front of Mitch and Fitzy, doing their best to look and sound threatening.

They could have been all bluff and false bravado, but Mitch would never really know for sure. Fitzy had a no tolerance attitude and a position on never backing down from threats, no matter what the outcome. So, the longer Fitzy remained staring down the man, and the more insults the man threw, the more likely this was going to escalate.

Mitch naively did his best to defuse the situation before it went any further. ‘Look mate…we don’t want any trouble, OK,’ Mitch said.

The man kept his focus locked on Fitzy while he responded. ‘You gunna let your bitch do ya talkin’ for ya…?’

‘What is your issue, here?’ Mitch said, even though blokes in here with this anti-social mindset didn’t need a reason to behave like childish, school yard bullies.

‘Faggots like you and him…’ The man lifted his chin at Fitzy. ‘That’s what my issue is.’ He sneered at Fitzy.

This had gone too far for Fitzy to walk away from this type of abuse and confrontation. It’s wasn’t his style. But if things went south, Fitzy would risk his parole and that concerned Mitch.

Mitch waved the back of his hand at the three men. ‘Let’s just go inside, Fitzy…walk away…’ Mitch said.

Fitzy didn’t move. He held his firm glare on the loud mouth of the group who glared back up at Fitzy. The man was a good eight or nine inches shorter than Fitzy.

‘Coming from a fuck-stick like you…’ Fitzy said, ‘standing there with your harem boys…’ He individually eyed each of the other two men with a derisive up and down glower.

The tall man on the left obviously took offence to Fitzy’s comments. He stepped forward to Fitzy. He stopped when the loud mouth of the group placed his arm across in front of the man.

‘Maybe if these two faggots suck our dicks, we’ll let them go. What do you say, boys…?’ the loud mouth said.

’Oh…You’ll let us go, will ya…?’ Fitzy said in a condescending tone.

The loud mouth flicked his lit cigarette at Fitzy. Fitzy didn’t flinch. Orange embers sprayed as the cigarette bounced off Fitzy’s chest. To Fitzy, that was a throw down; an act of aggression that had to be met with a counter. Failure to do so would give the perception he was weak. And as Mitch had come to learn, Fitzy was anything but.

Around the time it took for the wayward cigarette to fall to the ground, Fitzy had delivered a short, sharp, powerful punch to the loud mouth in front of him, followed instantly by a left hook to the unsuspecting man standing on the right and a right cross to the other man on his left. All three men were out on their feet. They dropped like felled trees.

Fitzy panted heavily as he glared down at the three men lying at his feet. Mitch checked his surrounds. He grabbed Fitzy’s arm and dragged him towards the unit door. The force of the grab spun Fitzy around, away from the fallen men.

Mitch continued to drag Fitzy for several metres, until Fitzy shook Mitch’s grip free.

As they quickly moved inside, Mitch regarded Fitzy. His face still wore the tension of anger. His brow dipped low into lifeless eyes that glared straight ahead as they walked.

Mitch placed his hand on Fitzy’s shoulder as they walked. ‘You OK…?’

‘Yeah…good.’ But nothing changed in Fitzy‘s outward demeanour.

‘I had to get you out of there, mate. You’ve got your parole hearing coming up soon. You don’t want any bullshit fighting breaches, or anything like that hanging over your head…’

Mitch’s words must’ve resonated with Fitzy. He glanced towards Mitch as they walked. He nodded once. ‘Thanks mate…I appreciate that,’ he said.

‘What is it with idiots like that?’ Mitch said.

‘They were testing the water…’ Fitzy said. ‘The loud mouth pushed to see how far he could go. The longer it took for us to respond, the more it appeared we were too weak to fight back. Mark my words…’ Fitzy said. ‘If I didn’t respond to him flicking that cigarette at me…next to come would have been a punch, probably from all three of them… guaranteed. He was testing how far he could go and how much I would take.’

‘Well…He won’t do that again…’ Mitch said.

‘That’s the intention…’ Fitzy said.

As they strolled into the lower floor of their unit Mitch scanned his surrounds. Wall to wall prison greens and white t-shirts worn by some of societies worse misfits; men of all ages who had proven they were not able to follow society’s laws and conventions.

He reflected on his short time spent in here. It was definitely another world. Prison’s reputation for violence was not new to the average man on the street. But until he arrived in here and lived it daily, he had no appreciation as to how bad it actually was.

Every turn you took, every direction you walked, there were men who had absolutely no issue with beating down on you, or stabbing you because they didn’t like the way you looked, or to try and establish a reputation, or seniority within the prison unit.

This was no way to live. In fact, it was not living, it was trying to exist in a hostile, adversarial environment where anyone and everyone was a potential threat. Mitch remembered Fitzy’s earlier advice about trusting no-one. He now understood what he referred to.

What’s worse was the knowledge that he shouldn’t even be in there. His Lawyer tried to get him transferred to the Metropolitan Remand Centre, which housed guys on remand, instead of with convicted bad-arses doing time in Maximum Security. But there was no room in the MRC, apparently. So here is where he stayed until his court date.

He couldn’t even draw comfort in the thought that he was over two-thirds of the way through his remand. There would be no guarantee he would beat these murder charges when he eventually fronted court in September.

The last thing he wanted was to be sent back here facing a lengthy period of incarceration, living every day in this place. It would surely kill him, if another inmate didn’t get there first.

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