Daily Prompt: But No Cigar

Daily Prompt: But No Cigar

Tell us about a time things came this close to working out… but didn’t. What happened next? Would you like the chance to try again, or are you happy with how things eventually worked out?


“Here’s yer brekky” Marco said as he slipped the metal tray into my cell.  It was good to hear his voice.

“Thanks Marco” I croaked.  I wasn’t used to talking much.

He moved on, rolling his cart in front of him.  I listened to the squeaky wheels until the guards opened the heavy steel door and escorted him out of the solitary confinement area.  The door closed with a solid sound and quiet descended around me once again.

Located in a sub-basement below the southwest corner of the yard, and known as “the hole” this section of Pillory Point had been my home for the last three years, if Marco was to be believed.  Outside of the guards, Marco was the only person I’d had contact with that entire time.  I saw him twice a day when he brought me meals.  The fact that he told me I was getting breakfast or dinner is the only way that I could keep track of the passage of time.  The lighting here never varied, and without windows I was never sure if it was night or day.  Of course Marco was a trustee, he worked with the bulls.  He could be running a subtle con on me.  He could be bringing me food six times a day, saying “Here’s yer supper” every other time.  I could conceivably believe that three days had passed.  His power to retard or accelerate my time was unchecked and could be all-powerful.  I had to trust him though.  I had no other options.

I looked at my breakfast.  It was the same thing that I had eaten for dinner last night.  We called it “the lump”.  I’m not sure what was in it.  I believed it contained enough nutrition to keep me alive but not much else.  The colour was grey.  The taste was bland. The texture was consistently paste like.  Once I had found what appeared to be part of a peanut in my supper but I couldn’t be sure that’s what it was. I set it aside, I wasn’t hungry, and leaned back against the wall.

I don’t think I heard it at first.  I felt it.  Something was wrong.  Something was different.  Then I heard it.  It amplified slowly and sounded like chaos.  Running feet, shouting voices, the staccato sounds of automatic weapons fire then – concussion, heat, more noise and the heavy steel door swung slowly outward.  A thin man with thick black framed glasses and stringy blonde hair appeared in the opening.  He was dressed in an orange jumpsuit.  “Damn,” he said, “there is someone in here.”  Turning his head to the left he shouted, “How do we get this cell open?”  Then he collapsed.

A guard, with his Sam Browne belt appeared, grabbed the thin man by the ankles and dragged him further into the passageway.  He looked straight at me, the corners of his mouth turned up slightly as he reached to slowly close the heavy steel door.  It closed with a solid sound.  I leaned back again and must have fallen asleep.

I woke when I heard Marco say, “Here’s yer supper.” Then I listened to the squeaky wheels of his cart as he made his way slowly back out of “the hole”.

“Thanks Marco” I said to the heavy steel door.


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