Harsh Consequences

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Chapter 6

When Mitch returned to the police cells, the occupants of all the other cells-- those who were not required to attend court — had gathered in the small exercise yard. All eyes turned to Mitch when he entered.

The cell door clanged heavily behind him. It was a sound he still struggled to get used to. Mitch glanced around the exercise yard. There were about fifteen men gathered in the area, ranging in ages from twenty to around forty. Each seemed comfortable with their surroundings.

Three young men strolled side-by-side, pacing the length of the exercise yard, turned and paced back again. They repeated this action endlessly, while casually chatting to each other. Clearly they had been locked up in confined spaces before.

Mitch moved to a spare seat against the right hand wall. Before he could sit someone yelled to him, ‘That’s my seat...’ Laughter followed.

He turned to the direction of the voice. A young male in his mid-twenties lounged on the floor, on the opposite side of the yard with three other similar aged men. Each laughed at Mitch.

Mitch glared at the male. The man’s thin arms lacked muscle definition and were covered in tattoo sleeves. Tattoos were visible on his neck and the back of his hands.

To Mitch, this younger man was a try-hard; someone who wasn’t very tough, but tried to project the impression he was. Mitch regarded the man’s friends, each of whom continued to glare at him. He didn’t want any trouble, so he moved along to the next available seat.

Before he could sit, the same man yelled, ‘and that’s my seat too…’

Mitch rolled his eyes. Clearly this young bloke was being a smart-arse. Maybe he wanted to establish a pecking order among the group. Either way, Mitch didn’t care. He sat in the seat.

Two of the men jumped to their feet and approached Mitch. ‘I said that’s my seat….bitch…’ the same heavily tattooed man said.

Mitch shook his head. His eyes lowered to either side of his seat. ‘Not any more,’ Mitch said. He glared back at them.

The loud mouth man regarded Mitch in silence while several beats passed by before he spoke. ‘Whachoo in for, man…?’ He regarded Mitch in an up and down glower. ‘Did you forget to pay a parking ticket, or somefin…?’

The man laughed at his own humour and playfully elbowed his mate. His friend returned his laughter.

Mitch defiantly crossed his legs, overtly ignoring the men.

‘I know…’ the smart-mouthed man began. ‘You must be a crooked Lawyer and you got busted…that’s why you’re in a suit…’ He looked to his mate. ‘Who wears a suit in jail?’ He rhetorically asked his friend. The friend of course laughed at the banal humour.

‘Hey, Mr suit man…’ the smart mouth said to Mitch. ‘I asked whachoo in here for…?’

Mitch ignored the man. He didn’t make eye contact.

‘Hey…fuckwit…’ the man said, this time more aggressively. ‘You fucken deaf, or somefin…?’

Mitch ignored the man.

The smart-mouth man’s questioning eyes moved to his friend. The friend shrugged.

‘I asked you a question, bitch…’

Mitch met the man’s gaze, then casually looked away. He wasn’t intimidated by this man, or his friend. He just didn’t want any trouble.

The man with the tatts made the mistake of misreading Mitch’s lack of response to all the abuse as a sign of weakness in Mitch. Or maybe the guy in the suit challenged the younger man’s machismo.

The trouble maker took a step closer to Mitch and forcefully slapped Mitch across the side of his head, with an open hand. As he did so he said, ‘I said…whachoo in here for, bitch?’

The force of the slap rocked Mitch’s head to his right. Mitch glared at his attacker through narrowed eyes. He sprung up from his chair, grabbed two handfuls of the man’s t-shirt from and forcefully rammed his clenched fists up, under the man’s chin.

He aggressively pushed the man backwards across the exercise yard, forcefully ramming him into a concrete wall opposite. The man flinched on impact.

Mitch moved his face closer to the young man, who looked back at Mitch with a wide-eyed stare of terror. Mitch’s jaw tightened. His teeth gritted. ‘I’ll tell you what I’m in here for…Bitch…’ Mitch said. ‘Double murder.’ He punctuated his comment by forcing his fist up under the man’s chin. ‘Killed two people…and if you ever touch me again…you’ll be the third.’

He forcefully dragged the man from the wall and threw him to the floor. The younger man hit the floor hard and slid. He spun around, leaned on his hands and glared back at Mitch. Fear etched across his face. He remained on the floor watching Mitch approach.

Mitch stopped beside the man and glared down at him. He gestured to his seat. ‘Now, I’m going to sit back down over there and I am not going to get any more trouble from you.’

The man was smart no more. He held up a defensive hand to Mitch and shook his head. ‘No, No we’re good, bro. We’re good.’

Mitch shifted his eyes to the friend who stared back at Mitch with an open mouth. ‘What about you…’ Mitch said with an intimidating glare. ‘Am I going to get any trouble from you?’

The second man took a step back from Mitch as he shook his head. ‘No man…’

Mitch regarded each of the men staring back at him. ‘Good.’ He nodded, then glanced around at the other men in the exercise yard. All were watching him. ‘Good,’ he said as he moved to his seat. At his seat he stopped and again regarded all in the room before sitting.

Mitch hadn’t been seated long when the cell door opened. The same cop who escorted Mitch to court stood in the door way with a plastic bag. The cop surveyed the exercise yard. He stopped when he found Mitch looking back at him.

‘Mitchell Dunne…’ the cop said. ‘Your wife brought in a change of clothes for you.’ He held up the plastic bag.

Mitch moved from his seat and accepted the bag from the cop.

‘Place what you’re wearing back in there…’ the cop gestured to the bag in Mitch’s hand. ‘Shoes and all and bring them back here to me,’ the cop said.


Mitch returned to his cell to change. Alison provided a change of underwear, black socks, his favourite pair of blue jeans, a t-shirt, a black hoodie and casual shoes.

His fresh socks, underwear and casual clothes were a pleasant change from his day old clothes. He rolled his suit up and shoved it into the plastic bag, along with his shoes, and dirty washing. The bulging bag tested the strength and integrity of the bag’s seams.

After changing his clothes, Mitch returned the bag to the cop waiting at the cell door. When he handed the cop the bag, the cop said quietly, ‘got everything under control in here…?’ He lifted his chin towards the exercise yard. Mitch’s eyes followed.

Mitch’s little altercation must’ve provided some CCTV viewing entertainment to the cops outside. Mitch nodded. ‘Yeah…all’s good,’ he said.

‘Good to hear,’ the cop said. He turned to leave.

‘Oh, before you go…’ Mitch said. The cop turned back to Mitch. ’What time will I be leaving here for prison?'

The cop checked his watch. ‘It will be after four sometime…’

‘What time is it now?’

’11.40…’ The cop nodded once then closed the heavy door, followed by the sounds of latches and locks.

Mitch returned to his cell. He was over waiting in the exercise yard with everyone else.

Mitch reclined back on his bed, dozing on and off. He heard a cop call his name. After emerging from his cell the cop escorted him to a counter where he was handed his property. From there the cop escorted Mitch to a secure Sally Port where a white prison van, similar in size to a large RV, was parked.

The cop escorted Mitch to the passenger side of the van. There were three doors spaced at intervals down the side. A row of small windows, about half the size of those on an aeroplane, ran the length of the van.

The middle of the three doors was open. The cop walked Mitch to this door. He gestured inside. Mitch nodded and stepped up into the van. The cop slammed the door shut behind Mitch, securing him inside.

What Mitch stepped into was a dark small pod about one and a half metres by one and a half metres. The only natural light was limited to what bled in through the small window. The walls and roof were lined with cold reinforced steel.

There were two seats in the small pod. One of the seats was already occupied. This other man lounged with his legs extended and his arms crossed. If nothing else, he looked relaxed.

The man lifted his chin to Mitch in a muted greeting. Mitch remembered this man from the exercise yard in the police cells. He was the only other older man of the group and he too kept to himself.

Mitch nodded a greeting. He ran his eyes around the confined space, stopping at the area of the empty seat. A piece of sheet metal about thirty centimetres by thirty centimetres, hinged at the bottom, sat vertically against a steel nib wall. A seat belt hung loosely over the top of the wall. He lowered the uncomfortable, unpadded steel seat.

‘Good thing I don’t have claustrophobia,’ he said. He grunted as he lowered himself onto the flip-down seat. The steel felt cold and hard. It pressed firmly into his bum. He hoped the ride would be short.

Mitch was not a big man; five feet-eleven in the old money, and around eighty-five kegs. The guy beside him was a similar build. However despite their average sizes, Mitch still had to wedge himself onto his seat, where he sat shoulder-to-shoulder with his travel companion.

As Mitch fastened his seatbelt, the other man said, ‘How’s that fuckwit in there earlier…?’ He jabbed a thumb back towards the police station. ‘The one with the big mouth...’

Mitch scoffed. ‘I could tolerate him up until the time he hit me over the head.’

‘To be honest…I thought you went pretty lenient on him,’ the man said. ‘If that cunt hit me like that…I’d snap his skinny fucken neck. He’d never touch me again…’

‘Oh, he got the message, don’t worry about that,’ Mitch said.

Mitch glanced out the window to his left. Like the windows on an aeroplane, there was an inner and an outer window. Only this inner window was severely scratched with various graffiti tags and names.

The prison van commenced its journey. It was an uncomfortable ride jammed into the small pod. Every bump jarred through his body. Every corner rolled him left or right. Instead of insulating the outside sounds, the steel walls amplified the road and wind noises. No expense had been spared on prisoner comfort in these transport vehicles.

Mitch glanced out through his porthole window. ‘Do you know which prison we are going to…?’ Mitch said.

‘Dunno about you, but I’m going back to Port Philip…I had to come down here for court.’

‘How did you go…?’

‘Fucken beak added two months to me sentence,’ the man said. ‘Didn’t they tell you where you’ll be going…?’

‘No. No-one seemed to know…’ Mitch said

The other man didn’t comment. He continued to recline with his eyes closed.

There was not a lot of conversation happening in the small pod. As they were new acquaintances, the conversation was limited. The only thing each man had in common was they were being transported to a prison.

Mitch passed his eyes over his temporary confinement. He exhaled heavily as he slowly shook his head. This is what he had been reduced to for defending himself.

He glanced at his resting travel companion. ‘This thing is like the dog van that dog-catchers put wandering dogs in to return it to the dog pound,’ Mitch said. He held an extended glare at his sleeping travel mate, waiting for a reaction. There was none.

Mitch crossed his arms as his disapproving eyes ran over the cold, sterile interior for a second time. In his mind, Mitch didn’t belong here. He was not a criminal. In fact, his case hadn’t even been tried, yet he was still being shipped off to prison. How could that be? What if they found him not guilty? What if the court found he acted in lawful self-defence? He would never get back these months he spent in jail, yet he would be innocent. It didn’t seem right, certainly not to Mitch.

After around fifteen to twenty minutes of driving the van turned off the main road. Mitch glanced out the small window. ‘It looks like we are pulling into Barwon…’ Mitch announced.

The van stopped at the external wall, outside a large metal door. After the door slowly slid open, the prison van edged its way into the Barwon Prison Sally Port. The large metal door closed behind the van securing it inside.

The van rolled forward and stopped over an inspection pit, similar to those used in mechanic workshops. A prison guard descended into the inspection pit, emerging a short time later. Once cleared, the van entered the prison to unload some of its cargo.

Mitch waited with interest to see if his door opened. If he had a choice he would prefer to be housed here at Barwon Prison, due to its close proximity to Geelong.

He strained his neck looking out his small window, trying to see outside. He could hear other pod doors opening and closing and voices talking, but his door remained closed.

After around ten minutes the van started up again. Mitch fell back in his seat, deflated. He sighed heavily. He glanced at his travel companion. The man remained unmoved, with his legs extended, his eyes closed and his arms tightly crossed.

‘Looks like you got your answer…Port Philip…’ The other man said. His eyes remained closed as he spoke.

‘Looks like it...’ Mitch said as he assumed a similar reclining position.

The travel time from Barwon Prison to Port Philip Prison took about forty-five minutes of mostly highway driving. Mitch was too uptight to sleep and he certainly couldn’t relax. He tried to pass the time with conversation.

‘So…what were you locked up for…? You said they added two months to your sentence…what did you do?’

The man’s eyes sprung open. He held an extended glare at Mitch. Mitch noticed the man’s reaction.

’What…? Mitch said.

The man closed his eyes and returned to his relaxed position. ‘This your first time inside…?’ he said as a question, with eyes closed.

‘It is, actually,’ Mitch said.

‘I’ll let that slide—this time…’ the man said. ‘But a word of advice, especially in Port Putrid…’

‘Port Putrid…?’

’Yeah…That’s what we call Port Philip coz it a filthy fucken shit ‘ole.’

‘Oh, OK…’

Never…ask anyone what they are in for…OK. Questions like that will get you stuck.’

‘Stuck…? Stuck where…?’

‘Stuck…’ The man opened his eyes and glared at Mitch. ‘Shived…Knifed…’

Mitch nodded. ‘OK. I wasn’t aware…’

‘You wouldn’t be, would ya…I’m just tellin’ ya for your own good.’

‘I appreciate that.’

’And for that matter, never tell anyone what you are in for, unless you trust them. But I mean you really have to trust them. And just so you know…there are not too many in there that I would trust, OK.’ The man closed his eyes

‘OK. Noted, thanks.’

Mitch ran his fingers through his hair. He exhaled heavily. How was he going to learn all the Do’s and Don’ts of prison? He couldn’t afford to piss everyone of as soon as he got there. Maybe it would be safer to just keep to himself.

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