This week it’s my pleasure to welcome back Nest Madden to my Guest Writer Spot. Nest is one of my brilliant students. Here’s a little background detail on Nest and you can read his previous story, The Easter Bunny.
‘Nest is a decorated security specialist who has over thirty years’ experience in front line security work in the UK, Northern Ireland and abroad. He has worked for and with various Governmental departments and also as a security consultant. Now in his retirement, he is turning his talents to stories that are based on true experience.’
The Pig’s Head
Rick Brown looked over at his mate Larry Clark. As usual, they were both on the chief’s shit list and he was explaining to the two of them why they were feckless, useless warders and not fit to serve in Her Majesty’s Prison Service. They stood more or less at attention and waited for the rollicking to stop, or at least fizzle out. Both of them were well used to this scenario. They weren’t bad officers; just a bit careless in their habits – like getting to work on time after a heavy night in the officers’ club or taking the odd day off to go boozing and watching and/or playing rugby. The chief dismissed them, telling them to go and see the principal officer in charge of security. They saluted and marched out.
By the time they reached the security manager’s office the chief had, as expected, called ahead and the security manager had a nice little job for them, as he nastily described it: they were to do a thorough search of the kitchen swill bins. All three of them knew this was a punishment for their latest prank which had involved visiting the chief officer’s married quarter in the dead of night, cutting every spring daffodil from the garden and compounding this by putting a notice up in the prison gate lodge stating that Chief Officer Dixon had bunches of daffs for sale at two and six a bunch.
They walked over to the kitchen yard which was a miserable square of dirty, fly-infested concrete. There were about 20 galvanised metal dustbins, mostly full of food waste from the prison kitchens. Grumbling to each other, they started tipping the contents of one bin into another. Having completed about a dozen of the foul smelling things Brown was hefting yet another bin when a complete pig’s head fell out. He stopped and set down the bin. Clark looked at the head and then at Brown.
“What are you thinking, you evil sod?” Clark asked.
“Let’s keep piggy here for later,” Brown replied.
They worked on, taking a short break for a sandwich and coffee, leaving piggy watching over the bins with a malevolent eye. By the time they came to the end of their task it was coming to the end of the working day and to clean up they made their way into B wing, taking the pig’s head with them and sneaking it hidden in a refuse sack with them.
They saw an empty cell on the ground floor and, in a flash, opened the door and placed the head on the pillow of the empty bed. They carried two rolled up bed packs of sheets and blankets from the store into the cell and made up a body to go with the head, covered the whole thing with a bed cover, and covered the face with a towel to add to the effect. As they stood back to admire their handiwork one of their mates looked over their shoulders.
“What are you sods up to now?” he asked.
“Nothing. This poor man has a headache, that’s all.”
They retired to the tea room; from there they could watch the fun. About 10 minutes later the medical orderly came onto the wing and asked if there were any medical problems that he had to deal with before going off duty. Properly primed, the officer in charge told him the occupant of cell 14 had a headache. The medical officer opened the door and asked the apparently sleeping occupant if he was okay. Getting no response, he asked again in a slightly more strident tone. The medical officer advanced on the prone figure and raised the towel from the face. At the sight that greeted him he let out a strangled yell of horror and alarm which Rick and Larry and the other officer watching found utterly hilarious. Without further thought, the two perpetrators went off duty.
When the two friends arrived for duty the following morning there was a terse message from the chief officer that they were to report to him straight away. With a feeling of foreboding they made their way to the chief’s office.
“Right, you two. You pair of idiots are responsible for the debacle in B wing with that bloody pig’s head.” It was a statement rather than a question. To their credit they both admitted their involvement, well knowing if you’re caught admit with regret rather than try to lie your way out of it. The chief continued, “It may also interest you to know that the night officer in B wing, who is only marginally less stupid than you pair, counted the pig’s head as a prisoner most of the night. In consequence, the prison role was wrong and the night staff had to open every cell to check where the discrepancy was. And it was in B wing. Why? Because of you pair of clowns! Now, I’m telling you both you’re on my shit list and I will be watching you two very carefully. Now get your arses over to B wing and get rid of that damned pig’s head!”
The two miscreants saluted and got out of the office as quickly as they could. Once outside they looked at each other and burst out laughing. As they walked across the yard to B wing Rick suggested an alternative to disposing of the head. Larry looked at him aghast, but then laughed.
“You’re mad; that’s what you are!” he said as they entered the wing.
Under the gimlet eye of the principal officer in charge of the wing they took the offending item outside. However, instead of taking it back to the bins they descended a set of steps to the basement area and thrust a broom handle in the neck of the head and mounted a discarded officer’s cap on its head.
The chief officer had an office on B wing and was in the habit of spending the afternoon there, catching up on paperwork and staff interviews that he needed to do to maintain the staff records. A traditional man – he had his desk placed so the light from the rather high windows was behind his back and his visitors sat in a chair across from him. As one of his officers entered the room and sat down the disembodied pig’s head, jauntily wearing an officer’s cap, appeared at the window. The interviewee was transfixed. By the time the chief had noticed his officer’s mesmerised expression and turned to look himself the head had disappeared from view. This was repeated with reasonable success for the remainder of the week, by which time the head was becoming deeply fetid.
One evening in the officers’ club the two erstwhile owners of the head were contemplating how to dispose of it. One of their acquaintances approached them and asked if they still had the head and would they sell it? Feigning disinterest, they agreed, for the trifling payment of two pints and the deal was done. The new owner had his own evil plan concerning the now very unpleasant object. Taking it in a plastic sack into the locker room he broke into a locker and placed the head on the top shelf.
Norman Huxley was pleased to have been promoted to the rank of senior officer. He was less pleased to having been posted to Wormwood Scrubs from sleepy Suffolk. Still, he was able to commute daily; but that’s how it was if you were trying to carve a career in the prison service. As instructed, he arrived promptly at eight o’clock in the morning, carrying his freshly pressed uniform in its plastic cover. After the usual signing in at the clerk’s office and a quick welcome from the chief, Norman was given his locker key and told to go and get his kit sorted out and change into uniform. As he opened his locker he recoiled in utter horror as facing him was a putrefying pig’s head!
Some months later, Norman had settled into his new prison and had become friends with the guys he worked with. After work one evening he went with one of his officers for a quick pint.
Rick Brown asked him, “Norman, when you arrived at Scrubs did you find anything unusual?”
Norman gave him a hard look and said, “You don’t mean that bloody pig’s head, do you?”
Pig’s head?” Rick asked innocently.
“Yes – some joker put a rotting pig’s head in my locker. I thought it must be some sort of initiation test,” Norman replied.
“What did you do with it?” Rick asked.
“Well, what could I do? I took it home. It wasn’t a pleasant scene: my missus asked me how I got on, being my first day, and all I had to show her was this pig’s head!”
If you’d like to see your work in my Guest Writer Spot, please contact me here or by e-mail: email@example.com. I accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines.