With one mighty bound…..
Foreword: All chapters of Pigeon on the Wing published on this website are in draft form only. The final version may include grammatical, syntax and content changes, as well as sidebars and illustrations to maintain a level of interest and to stop readers’ eyes from glazing over. All comments and / or criticisms of content or writing style would be most welcome. Masterpieces like this don’t just write themselves, you know.
Seriously, though – this is your book just as much as it is mine. I couldn’t have even begun to write it without all of your help and support. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me, and I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Pigeon on the Wing – Chapter 12 – And With One Mighty Bound He Was Free
The days following the visit from my three friends, Margita, Chris and Karen, were perhaps the hardest of all. I had no further visits scheduled, and although I had been advised by various prison officers that I was likely to be released in the near future – possibly as soon as Friday 08 June 2017 – there was no official confirmation of this.
For one thing, there was no black-tie evening event scheduled on the prison notice-board, although I checked several times each day for the message – “Hey Timothy, you have been a model prisoner, please RSVP to this invitation for a glitzy champagne party on the wing prior to your release!”
And for another thing, none of the many nubile young female prison visitors, armed with their interminable questionnaires and checklists, had come to see me to check whether their – no doubt extensive – rehabilitation plans had met with my approval.
In a final act of desperation, I rubbed my electric kettle, uttered the magic words – “Abracadabra Alakazoom!” and summoned my Trip Advisor genie.
The Trip Advisor genie materialised in a gently swirling haze of mist with an aroma of sulphur – and the subtlest fragrant hint of Paco Rabanne.
“What the f**k do you want now?” said the genie, obviously none too impressed for having been aroused from his dream-like state.
I was somewhat taken aback. “Well, if it’s not too much trouble, I would like some clarification on when, if ever, I am likely to be released.”
The Trip Advisor genie rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “If I were you,” he said, “I would prepare for a life of eternal damnation and hellfire behind bars, perpetually tortured by satanic imps armed with infernally sharp pitchforks with which they will forever probe your nether regions. That way, if you ever do get released, it will seem like a blessing from on high.”
Then he vanished. “Thanks a lot,” I said to the empty space that he had occupied a moment before. “You’ve been a great comfort.”
As it happened, I needn’t have worried. The morning of Friday 08 June 2017 arrived, and I was woken as usual by my 06:30 alarm. I had showered and dressed, and having performed my habitual one-hour meditation routine by 07:45, I was awaiting the call to the medical hatch to receive my daily heart medication.
There was a series of clicks and the cell door was unlocked. One of the prison officers poked his head around the door. He threw in a couple of large clear polythene bags.”Get your stuff together, Burton,” he said, “you’re leaving in ten minutes.”
“What about my heart medication?”
“Oh yes. Jump to it then. Get your meds, get your stuff out of the cell and report to the staff room on the wing as soon as you can.”
I streaked up the stairs to the medical hatch with all the alacrity of Usain Bolt on steroids. The attractive nurse behind the hatch regarded me with some curiosity as she handed me my daily dose of heart medication.
“Why are you looking so cheerful?”
“I’m being released today.”
“Oh. Well, good luck then.”
“Thanks. I don’t suppose you would give me your mobile phone number with a view to a night of unbridled passion sometime in the not too dim and distant future? I am after all nothing but a poor victimised product of this dysfunctional society when all is said and done.”
The attractive nurse gave me a wistful yet meaningful smile.
“How very kind of you to think of me in that way,” she said, “now f**k off and die, and if I ever see you again, I’ll remove your nuts with a bacon-slicer, you miserable benighted piece of misbegotten humanity.”
“Oh, well, thanks anyway.” Never let it be said that I hold grudges against the female sex. As a rule, it is highly unlikely that you will ever win an argument against the devastating pronouncements of female rejection.
Pondering the whys and wherefores of female whims and the female psyche under such circumstances leads only to paranoia, schizophrenia, and potentially a lifetime of corrosive and unrelenting mental anxiety. Take it from one who knows these things.
I streaked back down the stairs to the wing and started to pack my things into the polythene bags.
It was then that I realised that I had accumulated an awful lot more over the past six weeks than I could fit into my two polythene bags. There were magazines and books galore, at least a month’s supply of tea, coffee and sugar, and two unopened packs of Alpen Original Muesli, together with over half a dozen apples and oranges.
There was also an unopened set of “prison greens” comprising an XL-size tracksuit and T-shirts.
Never let it be said that I am a hoarder.
I decided to leave it all for the next inmate. He would probably appreciate it.
With a last look around the cell, and bidding a mental farewell to my electric kettle and my expensively acquired TV aerial, I took a deep breath and made my way to the prison officers’ staff room.
Two prison officers escorted me to the reception area. I was given back my rucksack with my belongings, my mobile phone, my shoes, my shirts and my suit, which obviously hadn’t been washed or pressed in the intervening six weeks. I was led to a changing area and donned my shoes, my crumpled shirt and even more crumpled suit to face the outside world.
“I don’t suppose I could charge my mobile phone, could I? It seems to have gone flat.”
“Don’t push your luck, Burton. That cell still has your name on it. Here’s a shoulder bag for your belongings – courtesy of HMP Thameside.”
I took the hint and gathered my stuff together. The shoulder bag was surprisingly stylish, all things considered, in heavy duty black nylon with a resilient shoulder strap. I couldn’t have got better from M&S.
I was led to the cashier.
“Here we are, Burton. £42.40 from when we took you in, plus another £44.88 credit that we owe you from your stay. That’s £87.28,” and with that he counted out some notes and coins.
“And here’s a travel warrant to Birmingham. You’ll need to present yourself to the probation office in Birmingham no later than 3:00 PM today. Any later than that and you’ll be in breach of your Post-Sentence supervision requirements and could be recalled to prison.”
WTF?? No sooner was I kicked out of HMP Thameside than I was on a race to make it to the Probation Office in Birmingham in less than six hours. What if the London Tube drivers decided to call an impromptu one-day strike?
More importantly, what if some selfish suicidal sonofabitch decided that there was no other way out than to place his neck on the 12:40 London Euston to Birmingham railway line? I would be in breach of my Post-Sentence supervision requirements before you could say “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here.”
Once again, as it happened, I needn’t have worried. My guardian angel was sitting on my shoulder and looking after me. As the London Transport Network took me to Euston Station and from there via the Virgin Rail Network to Birmingham New Street, I was able to present myself to the Birmingham Probation Office shortly before 3:00 pm.
I was greeted by an attractive young lady of Sikh extraction. “I hear you have been convicted of Religiously Aggravated Harassment,” she said, somewhat combatively – “well it may happen to interest you that I am a Sikh.”
I regarded her with equanimity. “I have been misrepresented,” I said. “I am not against Sikhs, far from it. I am not even against Muslims. I am against the ideology of Islam.”
She looked at her notes. “But it says here that you have been convicted of stalking prominent Muslim personalities, and what’s more, you have been unremorseful and unrepentant in your anti-Muslim activities.”
Stalking? This had in no way formed any part of the indictment and subsequent conviction against me. And as regards to anti-Muslim activities, I was in no way against Muslims, only against the ideology of Islam – an ideology that commanded antipathy toward non-Muslims and the subjugation of all those who refused to submit to that ideology.
“Let me have a look at that,” I said. Sure enough, the paperwork specified “stalking.”
“That’s a mistake.” I said, “The indictment was for religiously aggravated harassment against a prominent Muslim. Stalking doesn’t come into it. Let me speak to your manager.”
She sniffed, disapprovingly. “Wait here.”
The manager, whose name was Steve, was an avuncular type who, it has to be said, was totally on board with my point of view, even if this was not shared with his subordinates, one of whom was a Barbie look-alike apparently fresh out of university.
Steve gestured to the Barbie look-alike for her to make the first move. She consulted her notes.
“Do you realise,” she said in a disapproving tone, “that the words in the emails that you sent to Fiyaz Mughal’s organisation (Tell Mama) could be construed as highly insulting and grossly offensive?”
“So what’s wrong with being offensive?” I said. “It is a highly subjective term and doesn’t cause any real or lasting harm to anyone, even to the person against whom it may be directed.”
You could have heard a pin drop.
“What’s wrong? What’s wrong with being offensive?” said Barbie. She looked like she was going to drop down dead from an apoplectic fit. “You can’t say that!”
Steve, the manager, raised his hand and stepped in. “Leave us for a moment,” he said, “Mr Burton and I have things to discuss.”
Barbie left the room. “I see where you are coming from,” said Steve, “but there are a lot of people here who would object to what you have to say.”
I reiterated my position – which was that Islam was an outdated, barbaric, misogynistic and intrusive seventh-century ideology that had no place in a modern 21st century Western civilisational construct. The presence of Islam, and the acceptance of it as “just another religion” and even as a “religion of peace” would progressively undermine the very foundations upon which Western civilisation was constructed, and eventually lead to the destruction of the very thing that our ancestors worked so hard to build.
Steve reflected for a moment.
“You are probably right,” he said, ” but it’s more than my job’s worth to agree with you in public. Take my advice. Go home and forget about it.”
So, dear reader, in the end I did one of those two things. I went home, to the welcoming arms of my family and to reflect upon the events of the previous months leading up to my unjust charge, prosecution, conviction and the eventual sentence of twelve weeks at Her Majesty’s Pleasure..
But of one thing you may be assured – I did not forget about it. I will fight against the Islamisation of my country for as long as there is breath in my body, and I would encourage every true Englishman and Englishwoman to do the same.
The future of our country is at stake, and our children and grandchildren will not forgive us if we shirk our obligations at this crucial moment in our history. This fight is not over.
End of Chapter 12
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