14 Oct 06
Visited by Mum, Dad and Auntie Lily the Slug Killer
Mum, Dad and Auntie Lily arrived in Tucson yesterday for a seventeen-day stay. Barring another hostage situation, I expect to see them today. I'm doubly excited because not only are they here to see me, but also to plead my case with the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency at a hearing on 19th October, which, could result in my freedom as early as February 2007.
4:15am I woke up excited about the visit and I couldn't get back to sleep.
8:15am Full of joy, I trotted to Visitation.
I had been told there was a good chance that Auntie Lily, who I hadn’t seen in fifteen years, might cry upon seeing me. Indeed, she was rubbing her eyes. Moving in closer to give her a hug, I couldn't see any tears. Then, she suddenly said, “The sun shining off your head is blinding me. You look like a Buddha in that bloody orange.”
We all laughed. Mum and Dad radiated a happiness not of this world. After a round of hugs we sat down as far away as we could from the windows to avoid the sun. We chatted incessantly.
The smell of microwaved food wafted by, but the burritos I enjoy the most were all sold out.
Looking at the two inmates waiting to use the restroom, Auntie Lily said, “That one’s waiting for a wee. The other’ll be wanting a number two.”
“How do you know that?” Mum asked.
“Because he’s letting people go ahead of him,” Auntie Lily said.
“They don’t do number twos in here, do they?” Dad said.
“It’s got to be bloody urgent to do a number two in here,” Auntie Lily said.
“I couldn’t come here to visit and do a number two,” Dad said.
“Who is Number Two?” Mum said. “I am not a number. I am a free man.”
Admiring the flowers in the prison garden, Auntie Lily asked if they had a problem with slugs.
"I'll have to ask Xena," I said.
“I vinegarise the slugs,” she said.
“Why do you do that?” I asked.
“They’re slimy and horrible, and they eat my plants.”
“Some people salt them,” Mum said.
"I prefer putting vinegar on them, because if you salt them you get a big glob of gooey slime.”
“That’s horrible,” Mum said. “It’s really cruel. I put trays of beer out at night and in the morning they are full of slugs. I suppose it’s still cruel but at least they die happy."
“Your mum likes to drown them in their favourite beer,” Dad said. “She’s tried them with both Stella and Budweiser.”
“Yes,” Mum said. “They definitely prefer Stella.”
Spotting the prisoner who takes visitation photos, I remembered I had prepaid for five. (They cost $2 each.)
On the wall a sign read:
PHOTO RULES FOR POSES:
SIDE BY SIDE
ONE ARM AROUND SHOULDERS OR WAIST
FAILURE TO COMPLY MAY RESULT IN DISCIPLINARY ACTION
The photographer took five, one of which I wasn’t ready for, so it had to be retaken.
“He can’t take it again can he?” Auntie Lily asked.
“Of course he can, he’s got a digi,” I said.
“He’s got a digi one,” Auntie Lily said. “Like a digi widgey?”
“No,” I said. “A digital camera.”
After the photos, I bought Mum and Auntie Lily some flowers so rich in pink and magenta they looked as if the colours had been spray-painted on. For vases we used empty water bottles.
At 2.30pm we hugged and parted.
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Copyright © 2006-2007 Shaun P. Attwood