By Will Conway
I live in HMP B——. I spend most of my day sleeping or watching television. I watch what my cellmate wants to watch because I don’t want him to fight me again. It was a novel experience to me, his facial expression, his movements, the feelings on this body, even for days after.
I am a visitor from another planet, we don’t have a ‘name’ to speak of like Earth does. In fact we don’t call Earth by that name either. I am here for research purposes, until or unless I receive orders from my superiors, I have no violence planned. If I was to be ordered to fight however, I would not be alone. I don’t think this would be likely from what I have seen. There would be little gained by either party. I could kill this man in my room if I needed but it would not help me or my cause at the moment.
Not having the choice over what we watch on the television is a ‘blessing in disguise’ really. I wouldn’t know where to begin. I am trying to gather data on your species but all of this looks the same to me. I have had to really pay attention to make any sense of it. I like when they laugh at the singers but I don’t understand why they laugh. It all looks and sounds the same to me without smell or touch, perhaps that is the point. The distance. Sometimes the television viewers are meant to feel the same as the depicted characters and sometimes not. I believe this is something to do with irony. Irony is something that I struggle with; every time I believe I understand it the rules seem to change. I am beginning to think that perhaps my understanding it too rigid, either that or most humans do not fully grasp it, but that cannot be right.
I listen to people here talk while we exercise or feed. I am very interested in females. The prison, like the world, is divided into male and female. There is a Mother and Baby Unit but I have never been allowed to visit. My requests are met with confusion so I do not press the matter. I do not want to draw attention to myself. Do the babies born here keep their prison record? From what I gather this could be a ‘stigma’ in later life.
Females fascinate me. I never realised how different the two parts were until I moved into my home in the prison. My room-mate comments on the televised females constantly and I hear about the wives, daughters, girlfriends, mothers and bitches from the other occupants. Females seem to have an exalted status in human society. They are held sacred and worshipped but in a way that often sounds brutal. I would be interested to know more about these matters but this is not the area I have been tasked with researching.
Embed and study human males; they are my objectives. I do not know how many more of my kind there are stationed here but I wonder if they have found it as easy as me. Food and shelter is something I do not have to worry about but I understand these to be precious commodities that many humans do not have access to and very little seems to be done about it. I am ‘on to a winner’ in my present situation though.
Eating is a rather novel way of nourishing oneself but I appreciate that my nutrition has been worked out for me. I fear that I would be lost if I had to feed myself three times a day, let alone other dependents. There didn’t seem like much choice before I was staying here. Too many options for the same kind of things.
I did not have to work very hard to get to where I am now but my meals and board are covered for years to come. If I have to stay on this planet longer than that then I can either go through the parole process or top up my criminal record. I could kill another person or perhaps I could move a person’s belongings from one place to another. In the interests of study perhaps I should consider a different habitat but that seems like unnecessary bother. It’s odd, I was never this lazy back home.
Illustrated by Faye Twine.
Faye Twine is a multi-talented illustrator who does much more than just cakes. Keep an eye out for her…
More illustrated stories at Will Conway‘s website