Harsh Consequences

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Chapter 21

The following morning Mitch and Fitzy shared breakfast together. Mitch convinced Fitzy to sit with Scoob, Coop and Irish, the only other people in their unit Mitch had time for.

It was rapidly becoming Mitch’s reality that if Fitzy’s parole came through today, he would probably be spending more time with these three.

During breakfast Mitch observed Scoob and his mates. They were still very intimidated living in the alpha-male environment of prison. They still hadn't relaxed. They were like timid birds feeding. They quickly took a bite of their food then their heads would continually rotate in response to any raised voices, or they would flinch at any movement nearby. Mitch was sympathetic. This place was hard enough to tolerate, without living every minute in constant fear for your safety.

After breakfast, Mitch took his letter seeking approval to add Fitzy to his telephone list, to the Admin area, while Fitzy prepared for his parole hearing later in the morning.

Once the letter was lodged, Mitch joined the queue waiting to use the telephone. He counted six ahead of him. He didn’t have a watch, but his quick calculations meant he would be waiting for almost an hour and a quarter, plus the time remaining for the guy currently on the phone.

While Mitch questioned if he would wait, or return later, four other inmates lined up behind him. He decided to wait. He leaned a shoulder on the wall and watched the variety of inmates, young and old, passing by.

He was careful not to make eye contact. In here, eyeballing other inmates usually ended in some form of confrontation, if they noticed.


Mitch didn’t see Fitzy again until lunch. For the first time since he arrived in this place Mitch sat at a table in the tea room before any of his friends arrived. This irregularity caused Mitch to assume the Parole hearing went longer than expected. Hopefully, that was a good thing.

The smile on Fitzy’s face as he carried his lunch tray towards Mitch’s table suggested Fitzy received some good news from the parole board.

Fitzy placed his tray down and slid into a chair opposite Mitch. Fitzy glanced at the four empty seats at their end of the table. ‘Where are your three mates…Scoob and co...?'

Mitch laughed. He passed his eyes across the noisy, populated lunch room. ‘Don’t know. They might be in the servery queue. They’ll probably be along soon…’

Mitch leaned on to his elbows as he regarded Fitzy. After several beats passed without Fitzy offering anything, Mitch eventually asked, ‘you gunna make beg to find out what happened…?’

Fitzy smiled as he sprinkled some salt, returned it to the table, then shook some pepper over his lunch, before responding. ‘Let’s just say, by this time next week I hope to be chowing down on a foot long Subway, instead of this shit.’ He grinned at Mitch.

Mitch’s face illuminated. His eyebrows lifted. ‘You got it…’ he said quietly.

Fitzy nodded as he stuffed his mouth. ‘Got it. I’m out of here. Thank fuck for that,’ he said through a full mouth.

‘Next week…?’ Mitch said.

‘Yeah they give seven days’ notice to make arrangements etc.’

Mitch sat back in his chair. It was bitter-sweet for him. On one hand, he was genuinely happy for his friend to finally be free of this place. However on the other hand, he will be sad to see him leave. Fitzy had been a good friend and trusting companion during Mitch’s time in here.

‘Good for you, mate. I’m happy for you.’

‘Apparently, they get me into Melbourne…to the Southern Cross train station. From there I can catch a train to Geelong. Do you think Alison would be able to pick me up from the Geelong train station?’

‘She said during our last chat that if you got parole she would drive up here and pick you up and take you to our home in Torquay.’

Fitzy firmly shook his head. ’No. No, I don’t want to put her out. It’s too far to drive just to pick me up. She has already done enough by allowing me to stay with her. I don’t know too many wives that would do that, mate. You’ve got a real keeper there.’

‘Well, she insisted. Look, I tell you what…She should have deposited more phone allowance by now…So, I’ll talk to her again later today to tell her your parole was approved and see what she wants to do about transport, Ok?’

Fitzy nodded as he chewed. ‘OK. Thanks.’

Fitzy lifted his chin towards Scoob and his mates approaching. ‘Here comes Larry, Curly and Mo now…’

Mitch grinned as he glanced in the direction gestured by Fitzy. ‘Don’t be like that…’ Mitch said. ‘They’re OK. Just a little timid of this environment.’

Fitzy scoffed. ‘Ya think…?’

Scoob, Coop and Irish slid into the empty seats at Mitch and Fitzy’s end of the long table. They were more uncomfortable than usual, sitting with their backs to the open room, instead of their usual preference of backs to the wall. This was not lost on Fitzy who exchanged a smirk with Mitch over their timid mannerisms.


It had been an uneventful week for Fitzy and Mitch. Both kept to themselves ahead of Fitzy’s parole. The last thing Fitzy wanted was to be involved in an incident that could cause them to revoke his parole.

Finally, after a week that seemed to drag, Fitzy’s big day was almost here. The necessary transport arrangements had been made with Alison. She would pick him up from the prison, as discussed earlier.

After lunch Fitzy and Mitch found an out-of-the-way area, outside in the yard to lounge and chat. Fitzy told Mitch he had a few things he wanted to discuss before he left tomorrow.

They chose an area of lawn bathed in full sun light, over towards their unit block’s wire boundary fence. Anyone who approached them while in that location would be in full view from the front. Awareness of one’s surroundings at all times was fundamental to survival in prison.

Both men leaned on an elbow as the lounged on the lawn.

‘Have you heard any more about your application to include me on your call list?’

‘Not yet. It can’t be too much longer. Unless they’re waiting until you leave before they approve it.’

‘Makes sense,’ Fitzy said. He ripped some blades of grass from the ground and tossed it to the side. ‘You know the phones are recorded, right?’ Fitzy said.

‘Of course.’ Mitch said. Where is he going with this?

‘So, if we chat on the phone…we may need some sort of code, or something, should we discuss anything that is sensitive during our calls.’

‘OK. But, sensitive like, what…?’

’Well. For instance, say you want to talk about those fucken Africans who ran from your Dad’s house that night…I mean, you could call them ‘the runners’, or something similar when you refer to them.’

‘I’d call them a number of things…but it wouldn’t be “runners”. To me they are nothing but a bunch of…’ Mitch paused. He lifted a small white pebble from the ground and flicked it away. ’They are what I would call ‘Ankles’. All three of them are nothing but Ankles…’ Mitch said.

Fitzy nodded his understanding. ‘Yeah, gotcha…two feet lower...’

‘Exactly.’

‘Anyway,’ Fitzy said. ‘If one of us talks in a vague language, the other should realise it is code of some sort. We can give hints if we have to, so the other catches on.’

Mitch shrugged. ‘All pretty secretive…I don’t think we’ll need to bother with it but, OK, sure.’

‘Look. For instance, maybe you want to tell me about some joker you had to fix up in here…and the screws don’t know it was you who fucked him up. You can’t admit it over the phone to me…so you need to tell me in code.’

‘Yeah, I got it…Secret squirrel shit…’ Mitch grinned. ‘Not that I’ll be looking for any more trouble in here.’

‘You don’t have to look…’ Fitzy began. ‘Sometimes it walks right up and smacks you in the face…literally,’ Fitzy said. Mitch lifted his eyebrows and rolled his head at how accurate that comment was. ‘Now…’ Fitzy continued. ‘What about the elephant in the room…?’

Mitch shaded his eyes as he glanced at Fitzy. He frowned under the awning of his hand. ‘Not following, mate.’

‘The Ankles…’ Fitzy grinned. ’What about those Ankles….? My earlier offer still stands. I can find ’em and take care of ‘em for you...Break the Ankles, if you get where I’m heading.’

Mitch nodded his understanding. ‘Not sure if I’m cut out for all this code talking shit, mate…’ he said. ‘But, no. My answer is the same as before. I don’t think I could live with myself knowing I was responsible for their…for their…’ he glanced around the grounds in front of them while he tried to think of an appropriate code-like reference. ‘Broken ankles…’ was all he could come up with.

‘Ok. But if you change your mind, just let me know.’

‘Thanks, mate. But I won’t be changing my mind…not on this one,’ Mitch said. ‘Look, don’t get me wrong. I hate these guys with a passion for what they’ve done, but I’m not you…You seem to be able to,’ Mitch held up quotation fin, ‘Fix people up, then forget about it and move on. I can’t do that and I don’t want them on my conscience for the rest of my life. I want nothing but the worse for them…but let the universe, or karma deal that out, not me.’

‘Understood, mate. No broken ankles,’ Fitzy said with a grin.

‘What are you going to do for work when you get out…?’

Fitzy lifted his eyes skyward. He briefly closed his eyes to the warm sun on his face. Mitch couldn’t tell if Fitzy was considering his options, or enjoying the sun. After a few beats of silence passed, Fitzy ripped some more grass from the ground and threw it aside.

‘Dunno…’ he said. ‘I can’t go back into the Army so…I don’t know much else.’

‘What about some sort of private security work…?’

Fitzy shook his head. ‘Need a licence for that and I’ve got a criminal record so…’ his voice tapered off.

‘I’m sure there has to be someone out there who can use a Liam Neeson type…’ Mitch said.

‘Dunno…’ Fitzy said. ‘Have to wait and see.’

As they both reclined back in the warmth of the afternoon sun, Mitch steered the subject of conversation to more pleasant topics. Fitzy had never been to Torquay, so Mitch took some time describing his coastal lifestyle.

‘If you love the beach, you’ll absolutely love it down there,’ Mitch said.

He explained how Torquay was a small coastal town facing Bass Strait, with a population of around thirty thousand. He boasted how it was the gateway to the Great Ocean Road and the many tourist attractions beyond, such as The Otways and The Twelve Apostles.

He boasted how it was only a short drive from his house to the world famous Bell’s Beach, home to surfing’s annual international event, the Rip Curl Pro.

But most of all, he boasted just how peaceful and relaxing the lifestyle was down there on the coast. He talked about how he and Alison took morning strolls along the beach on weekends and how they usually ended up in one of the many cafés for a post-stroll coffee.

‘When you work in a stressful job two hours away in the city…it is so good to come home to the tranquillity of the coast,’ Mitch said.

‘Sounds like it’s one of Geelong’s best kept secrets…’

‘Hardly…’ Mitch said. ‘There are new subdivisions popping up everywhere and the land is snapped up like that…’ Mitch clicked his fingers, ‘as more and more people discover its appeal. So no, Torquay is quite well known, but it is still remote enough and small enough to enjoy.’

‘You had me at small coastal town, buddy. You didn’t have to keep selling it to me.’

Mitch grinned. ‘Yeah, I know. I suppose I just wanted to re-visit it in my mind…you know…All the things that I miss. For a few moments there, mate, I drifted off to my happy place. I was out of this shit hole and living my life back in Torquay.’ Mitch glanced at Fitzy. ‘You wait and see after you’ve lived there for a few days, mate. You’ll think you’re on holidays.’

‘Mate, anywhere other than this place will seem like a holiday.’

‘I can’t argue with that,’ Mitch said.


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