I’m pretty much exactly 30.5. How did that happen?

lighthouse-storm-sold-george-e-lee

It’s a funny thing, being 30.5 years old. On one hand, I feel as though I should have my life in some sort of order. I mean, there’s a societal expectation that I should have produced at least one bouncing baby, and possibly have a grizzly snotty toddler tugging at my trouser leg by now. I am approaching the brow of the biological hill, ready to roll gently down into spinsterhood at any moment. Unfortunately, I’m failing miserably to meet any social standards by not even getting a ring on my wedding finger (as I was politely informed by a concerned taxi driver recently). Poor form indeed.

On the other hand, I feel as though there is so much more exploring, learning and growth for me to do before I set down roots and launch duplicate DNA into the world. It’s taken me my whole life to reach the beginning of a peaceful inner dialogue, which is still developing through its infantile blueprint stage.

loch-ness

 

It’s a massive cliche but the best (and worst) thing to happen to me relatively recently was falling in love (or at least what I thought was love anyway). It had been a long time since I’d felt that spark, the excitement of getting to know someone new. I’m not someone who often lets her guard down, but I made the decision to dust off my softly ticking heart and sacrifice it up freely for the first time in years. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, and if I’d taken the time to think it through I would have flung myself from the car way before it crashed and set alight, rather than ending up with multiple burns to heal.

Love was never in the plan
You only had yourself in mind
What’s hard for me to understand
Is why you’d even waste my time?
You always had the better hand
I just couldn’t read your facial signs
How could you love me, put it all on the line?
I lost my heart in a losing game
I could never win

I don’t want to dwell on the details, but actually it did me an enormous favour (in-between the bouts of heartache) and I can see that now. I’m not bitter, and believe that it started out from a place of innocence and genuine connection despite the end result. What it taught me was that despite being a grown woman with a strong moral standing, I was not immune to some well timed attention and flattery. Fierce independence, it seems, is penetrable with the right weaponry after all.

lighthouse

 

I know now he was not my lighthouse. I’m not even sure he was the storm. If anything he could have been the seagulls blowing haphazardly in the wind, the fish swimming under the turbulent water. I was the storm, and the lighthouse too.

Local Recommendation – Massage in Buckinghamshire

https://www.facebook.com/Sportsmassagebykc/

Kerry Crosby

07803600361

I first heard about Kerry when she started working at my local gym in Aylesbury. As someone with back problems for most of my adult life i have tried many kinds of massage, and have had some amazing ones (and some bloody terrible ones!!!) I was particularly keen to get booked in with her after seeing her rates, which are unrivalled in the local area. 

Kerry is friendly, professional, and above all she listens. She adapts her massages to suit your needs, and doesn’t just do the “standard” routine. She has a wide repertoire of techniques and always explains what she is doing and why. Although i went to ease my back, she has helped me by pinpointing weak areas elsewhere in my body and given me advice on how to strengthen them. Massages with her are relaxing (other than when she works on my glutes..wow!) and i always look forward to them. I know some clients don’t like to talk during a massage (i usually don’t!) but i really enjoy putting the world to rights when we see each other. I call it my free therapy session! 

Kerry is professional and efficient, and i always feel so much better after I’ve seen her. The only thing i will say is she’s very popular and gets booked up, so contact her asap!!!

“The Toughest Prison of All” by Floyd C. Forsberg. Book Review 12.3.2017 by Tab Sky

floyd fosberg

When Floyd Forsberg lost his father at 10, he turned to shoplifting and burglary to feed his family and fill the void his father left. At 14, he was sent to the Luther Burbank School for Boys for possessing firearms and running away. There, Floyd found himself trapped by a system that sought to destroy his dignity rather than restore his character. From this point forward, Floyd would strive to become the most hardened, disciplined, professional bank robber ever.” (toughestprison.com)

What an amazing book.

This unapologetic autobiographical account provides a truly fascinating insight into the mind of career criminal Floyd Forsberg, documenting his escapades in a gripping yet humble fashion. The photographs throughout are captivating and offer a 3D experience for readers who enjoy visual stimulation.

Chapter one sees Floyd preparing for “Reno’s most perfect robbery”, and I wasn’t sure the book was for me due to all the strategic language and premeditation of crime. I was hoping the subsequent chapters wouldn’t be too heavily peppered with robbery jargon and detailed plans, as I’m more interested in action and consequences! Floyd’s self-esteem issues and need for validation become apparent very early on, and despite his arrogant opinion of the “nobility” of his “chosen profession” he is a likable story teller. One thing that stood out to me was how many wise words and beautiful quotes were scattered throughout the pages, and I found myself wishing I could distribute copies to the prisoners I have worked with over the years.

“I was whipped with a belt for bad behaviour and felt lucky about it. Some of my friends got a parental fist.”

“Even as juvenile delinquents, we understood how important it was to let the caseworkers and psychologists think that they had you all figured out. Once they had you tagged and labelled, they pretty much felt their job was done and were far less apt to interfere with your life.”

“More importantly, I still had my dignity. I had kept the code. I had maintained my silence to the end.”

“Psychiatry is a dangerous profession Floyd. They analyse and dissect all human behaviour down to certain basic fundamentals. At first it’s all very interesting and exciting to them. Then they realize they’re not so different from the people they study.”

What I particularly liked about this book was that it didn’t follow a predictable pattern, and I found myself guessing constantly. Although I have worked in prison and rehabilitation systems it was shocking to read just how calculated and ruthless Floyd and his associates were. There was a consistent undertone of desperation and despair in his choices, which is all too familiar in the criminal world – adrenaline, instant gratification, living for the moment, dire consequences. Floyd falls deeply in love with Nancy, and this is the first time we see his true vulnerability and inner turmoil.

“She didn’t understand that I couldn’t be entirely myself – that I couldn’t be totally me – even with her. She could never possibly understand why I still needed the War, why I would probably live a Jekyll and Hyde existence the rest of my life.”

The cat-and-mouse nature of Floyd’s relationship with the authorities is astonishing, and exposes not only a sophisticated network of criminals outwitting local and national police, but a seriously corrupt and damaging justice system. The book examines the insanity of the prison revolving door and the reality many offenders face when trying to break free of their learned behaviours in a society that regards criminals as sub-human. Floyd is an intelligent author, able to reflect on his life with little pity and buckets of honesty. He pulled on my heartstrings in unexpected ways, particularly with his inability to empathise and connect with another person without suspicion and fear.

“In the past, I hadn’t ever valued my freedom because I hadn’t ever valued myself.”

Floyd recognises the positive and influential figures that gave him cause to think about life outside his ego-centric bubble, which is heart-warming without becoming insincere. His connection with Mr Hubbard was refreshing in a book so full of contempt for “the system” and shows the reader the deeply philosophical Floyd often hidden by his alter-ego “Frosty”.

“I will keep on doing what I can, and accepting what I cannot change. That’s what mature people do, Floyd. It is this very same level of emotional maturity that you still have to learn.”

Floyd grows as the pages turn, showing an ever increasing capability to relate to people around him and recognise the correlation between his decisions and the impact on himself and others. It is rare to find such a beautifully written book that encompasses raw facts and sickening acts but at the same time describes a vulnerable and damaged individual forgotten in a world of punishment and alleged reform.

“There really wasn’t any place for me to escape to. I carried my real prison inside me.”

Tab says….

Do read this book if –

  • You like a love story
  • You enjoy reading or watching anything crime related
  • You want to get lost in a story
  • You enjoy autobiographies
  • You like to be shocked
  • You like to learn about conspiracies, corruption and loop holes in systems

Do not read this book if –

  • You’re looking for an easy read

(Book errors:

Chapter 25 reads “Denise stared giggling” – should this be “started?”

Chapter 27 reads “the DA watned” – should this be “wanted?”)

**(Belated) Behind Closed Doors Disclaimer**

**Please be advised that Behind Closed Doors is a fictional story. Any likeness to people/prison environments/events is purely coincidental and not indicative of real life. I have used media stories, autobiographies, imagination and my writing degree to create this piece of work. My time working in prison has informed my understanding of regimes, and corruption talks from security have inspired some of the story lines**

Behind Closed Doors (7)

dsbsbd

*Prison Gym*

“There’s just so much goddamned weight on my shoulders
All I’m trying to do is live my motherfucking life
Supposed to be happy, but I’m only getting colder
Wear a smile on my face, but there’s a demon inside”

Jordan tapped his feet in time to the angry lyrics, sweat gathering on his creased forehead. His lunch time gym visits had begun in order to escape sitting with his colleagues as they ate their sandwiches and talked shop, but 8 months later he was a convert. He felt part of something powerful in this dingy, testosterone-fuelled room of pain and achievement. His belly was still apparent under his fluorescent Nike t-shirt due to the cheeky weekend burgers and his dislike for cardio, but he was proud of his colossal biceps. The CV room was next door but he never went in there, preferring the rush of lifting weights to a run on the tread mill.

Jordan exhaled heavily and lay down on the tattered blue bench, flexing his fingers in anticipation. He wriggled his back and arched it off the bench before relaxing and gripping the bar above him with both hands. He took an inhale of breath, and

“Hey Jordan!”

He let go of the bar and looked to the patterned Superdry leggings at his side.

“Hey Aaliyah. I just have one more set to get through. Hang on a minute?” 

“Sure. Lemme go stretch”

Jordan once again gripped the bar and focused. He heard the bar clank as it left the rack, and his arms extended against the 80kg resistance. He grunted gently and held still as his arms protested yet another set of reps, before slowly returning the bar towards his chest. He repeated the action methodically, counting each time he pushed upwards. The final two reps hurt and he uttered a low growl as he placed the bar back in the bracket. 

He sat up and looked for Aaliyah who was touching her toes in the far corner, oblivious to the attention her compromising position was attracting. Jordan caught the eye of PEI Ringston who had been taking a keen interest in Aaliyah’s post-workout routine, and fixed him with a stern glance. Ringston grinned apologetically and shrugged, before allowing his eyes to flick back to Aaliyah, who was now holding her right foot up behind her as she stretched her quads. Her pinched in waist and shapely hips were accentuated by the pink lycra leggings and brought a soft quality to the sweaty masculine environment.

Only two men were completely oblivious to Aaliyah’s entrance. In the squatting rack Jason Discone was spotting Paul Prosserto as he braced himself to lift and squat his PB +10kg. The pair trained together every lunch time if they were on the same shift pattern, and most evenings after work in their local gym. Jason was a retired body builder, 6ft 2ins of pure muscle constantly coated in what appeared to be a thin layer of cuprinol. Paul was his protege , lifting weights 6 days a week and swigging chocolate protein shake in obscenely large quantities.

“Sometimes I cannot take this place
Sometimes it’s my life I can’t taste
Sometimes I cannot feel my face
You’ll never see me fall from grace

Something takes a part of me
You and I were meant to be
A cheap fuck for me to lay
Something takes a part of me”

Jordan strolled over to Aaliyah, rolling his tight shoulders and nodding his head in time to Korn as it blasted through the slightly distorted speakers. Smiling, she pulled him in for a hug. She smelt faintly of parma violets, with an overtone of lavender and clean sweat. He, as usual, smelt mainly of prison with a lingering odour of bergamot. Jordan held her tightly, before releasing his grip and pulling his right arm across his chest, holding it in place behind the elbow with his left hand.

“Hey you, sorry about that”

“That’s ok. Looks like training is going well then?”

“Not bad actually. Feels like I’ve hardly seen you recently”

“I know sorry. Life has been kind of hectic”

“Yeah I hear that. I’ve missed you!”

“I’ve missed you too. Want to come round for dinner next week?

“Yeah that would be nice. I’m sure Sasha will let me out for a few hours”

“Haaaaa under the thumb!! Ok bro, let me know. Oh I’ve ordered mum’s birthday present – you owe me £35”

Jordan shifted his position to stretch his left arm across his chest, holding it in place behind the elbow with his right hand.

“Erm. Ok. What did we get her?”

“I got her a beauty treatment voucher and some candles”

“Cool. Right better go shower. F wing this afternoon?”

“Yep. Right love you. Give the kids a squeeze from their favourite auntie!”

Aaliyah jogged off in the direction of the women’s changing room, just as Paul completed his third squat then returned the bar to the rack with a groan. Jason patted him hard on the back , and Jordan heard him say

“You’re going to be a fucking champ mate, you smashed it”


*A Wing 232*

She put the six £20 notes in her pocket and stared the prisoner right in the eye.

“This could work out very well you know, I think I could like spending time with you”

He smirked, and bent down to adjust the top of his sock.

“Yes miss, I think so too”

She stepped towards him, their bodies almost touching. She smelled of cigarettes and CK One. He could feel her body heat as she placed her hand forcefully on his crotch and spoke quietly in the direction of his left ear.

“You be good to me, Stevens, it will be worth your while.”

“Yeah my brother told me, innit”

She withdrew her hand and walked the two steps to his cell door, saying loudly

“Stevens you are not that ill that i should need to unlock you. Go to the hatch after lunch and get the nurse to check your blood sugar. If you press the bell again i will happily give you an IEP”

before saying in hushed tones

“Keep that photo hidden for fucksake. You’ve got what you wanted you could get rid of it now.”

“I will keep it for now miss if it’s all the same”

With that she strode onto the landing, bellowing down to the 1’s

“Gaffson! If you don’t stop making a fucking racket I will bend you up, got it?”

Stevens reached into his boxer shorts and removed the photo his brother had sent him. Miss Walker was lying on a dirty mattress facing away from the camera, naked from the waist up. His brother was also in the photo, looking directly into the camera as he licked a line of cocaine from between her exposed and distinctly tattooed breasts.


*B Wing*

Officer Dovely swallowed the final bite of his second Rustler’s burger. He hadn’t particularly enjoyed the first, but they’d been on offer for £1 in Tesco and took less than 2 minutes each to microwave,  so who was he to argue? His trousers were uncomfortably tight, and prisoners had started making comments about his snowballing weight gain and constant breathlessness. He knew things were getting out of hand, but since Clare had told him their break should become more permanent he had stopped caring. His colleagues knew he was going through a tough time, but in standard Dovely fashion he used humour to deflect the extent of the situation. Truth be known he had spent the last week lying awake on the sofa wondering if there was any point in him even being alive anymore. As he wiped a stray smear of plastic cheese from the corner of his mouth he felt overcome with exhaustion and hopelessness. He was sick of being the positive person for everyone else while his life disintegrated around him to nothing. 

Dovely sighed, and picked the remaining crumbs from the blue plate, before awkwardly rising to rinse it in the makeshift ‘kitchen’. He turned the hot tap on, which invariably was only ever lukewarm at best, and squeezed a dollop of prison issue washing up liquid onto the plastic plate. He began thinking about when he had met Clare, over 20 years ago on a night out in Watford. He had been in a pub when Haddaway had started playing

“What is love
Baby don’t hurt me
Don’t hurt me
No more…..”

and he spotted Clare laughing with her friends at the end of the bar. She looked happy and he was drawn to her excessive silver eyeshadow and infectious grin. 

Dovely was gently shaken from his memories by the sound of officers returning to the wing from the gym. He realised then it wasn’t only his trousers that felt too tight. He was short of breath, and the walls seemed as though they were closing in on him. It was as though three prisoners had taken up residence on his chest, and Dovely began sweating profusely. Gasping for oxygen he dropped to his knees, grimacing as a combination of shooting pains and unbearable pressure overwhelmed his entire body. He tried to shout for help, but no sound left his whitening lips.

**End of Part 7**

 ​**Please be advised that Behind Closed Doors is a fictional story. Any likeness to people/prison environments/events is purely coincidental and not indicative of real life. I have used media stories, autobiographies, imagination and my writing degree to create this piece of work. My time working in prison has informed my understanding of regimes, and corruption talks from security have inspired some of the story lines**

Behind Closed Doors (6)

car-smoking

*B Wing office*

The post Christmas slump was upon him, the air thick with anti-climax. Jordan tapped the Micron pen against his teeth, watching prisoners aimlessly wandering around the wing on soc. He was feeling listless and discontent in a way he couldn’t describe. The winter break had been pleasant, and he and Sasha had enjoyed their annual leave together. Marcy had slept in her own bed nearly every night, meaning their dwindling sex life had been fuelled by mulled wine and the season of festive goodwill. He had almost forgotten how incredible the sensation of naked skin could be, insistently pressing up against him in the dead of night. He closed his eyes, remembering her curves rising under his demanding hands as they fumbled by the fire on Christmas Eve. Of course, the routine of work and school had put paid to the passion continuing into the new year but he didn’t mind. Sasha had been far more adventurous and receptive than he’d known in a long time, and for that he was grateful.

The door opened, startling him from his compromising position by the fire, and he looked over to see Lucy smiling at him as he adjusted his trousers.

“Good afternoon Mr Tenby”

“Good afternoon Lucy, how are you?”

Lucy’s cheeks flushed slightly, her grin expanding until it was impossible for it to stretch any more.

“Yes I’m fine thanks…not seen you in a while?”

“No, I took some time off to spend with the family, and I’ve been covering a few different wings and escorts since I’ve been back”

“Oh, well it’s nice to see you again. Could I please see Mr Stokes, 214? He missed the session this morning and I need to speak to him about the cell work he can do to catch up”

“Let me see if I can find him for you Lucy, I think he’s unlocked at the moment. Go into the spur office and I will send him down. Fancy a cuppa?”

“Thank you. That would be lovely if you don’t mind”

“Not at all. Tea one sugar isn’t it?”

Lucy nodded at Jordan, staring directly into his big hazel eyes. Her heart was pounding fit to burst, and she gripped her files against her chest as though to stop it falling out and straight into his lap.


*B Wing*

Prisoner AM7886 sat on the fabric chair wedged in the far corner of the ground floor. He watched his neighbours playing pool, imagining them against a pub backdrop. He could almost taste the ice cold Peroni, but in reality he had tasted nothing other than prison hooch for three years. He held a rolled cigarette between his right thumb and index finger, the lit end concealed in his palm. Looking upwards he saw the programmes girl leaving the main office, her face flushed. She was closely followed by Officer Tenby who paused to lock the door behind him. AM7886 observed as she made her way towards the wing office and Tenby headed to the kitchen, turning only briefly to glance at her swinging hips. AM7886 chuckled to himself and shook his head, before returning his eyes to the pool table.


*Prison Car Park*

She pulled into a parking space at the back of the car park and lit a Mayfair Blue. Her phone was flashing on the passenger seat. She picked it up and unlocked the screen with her left index finger, revealing 3 unread messages. The first was from her on/off boyfriend Anton, wishing her a good day at work. The second was from her mum, asking if she wanted to have lunch together at the weekend. The third was from an unsaved number, and consisted of a single word. “TODAY”

She looked in the rear view mirror to top up her already thick eyeliner, catching a movement behind her. She felt a heady combination of fear and excitement sweep through her, and her left foot began gently shaking with adrenaline. She flicked the cigarette end out of the driver window and closed it, before turning the key anti-clockwise in the ignition. There was a CK One bottle under the passenger seat and she liberally sprayed it into her hair and around her body in a circular motion. Without bothering to reply to any of the texts she held down the button on the right hand side of her phone, switching it off. She put it in the glove box along with her purse, then exited the vehicle. Every movement felt slightly strange, and as she walked towards the prison entrance she wondered how many other staff members were strolling around with foreign objects up their rectum. She smiled.

**END OF PART 6**

​**Please be advised that Behind Closed Doors is a fictional story. Any likeness to people/prison environments/events is purely coincidental and not indicative of real life. I have used media stories, autobiographies, imagination and my writing degree to create this piece of work. My time working in prison has informed my understanding of regimes, and corruption talks from security have inspired some of the story lines**