I didn’t know who the Firm’s comrades inside the prison were until the moment I was sprung. After receiving the drawing of the Firm’s logo, I kept my mouth shut because I knew when they wanted me to know something, they would find a way to tell me.
Something was certainly up, though, because I was being taken all over the admin building like I was a prospective buyer. I was being led hither and yon for everything from dental appointments I didn’t need to chats in dark corners – and a certain storeroom – with the screw who had her way with me and after a while I had a pretty good working knowledge of the layout of the admin building. Not that it was doing a whole lot of bloody good. I had some zero clue how to put this knowledge to practical, immediate, freedom-producing use, but I’d learned over the years, both in and out of the Firm, that things usually work out if you let them alone to work out, so I kept my eyes open and my mouth shut, useful advice for a lot of situations, especially when you’re in the nick and you suspect someone is planning your escape but you’re not entirely bloody sure who or even if.
I was more familiar with a storage closet on the first floor than most prisoners probably were. It was a love chamber when the girl screw had to have me and I got sent there for this and that regularly and after a while it hit me that perhaps the closet was key for the still hypothetical escape. So I paid even more attention to it and discovered a vent that went down to some unknown location on the ground floor. This was filed away to the general fund of knowledge, too.
Most days, though, were routine: sleep, wake up, work, read, watch the telly, sleep, rinse, repeat. Then I was taken to an assistant warden’s office as part of a cleaning party. I was taken by a circuitous route and since I had good knowledge of the rest of the Admin Building I was able to reckon the office was just below the storage room. This put the rest of the Admin Building puzzle together. The vent led right to assistant warden’s personal water closet and the office led to a hallway that led to the front door. Stupid to keep PC in the Admin Building.
Soon enough things started happening. That night I had another communique under my pillow: a note that advised me not do anything on my own but be ready to make my way down the vent and into the office. A week later the girl screw came and got me out of the carpentry shop. We went to the storeroom for what I thought was going to be a boff session but instead, she opened the vent, pointed and told me shove off why don’t you.
I shoved off, worming my way down slowly because the bloody shaft wasn’t lighted but it was simple enough to feel me way along. Neither tall nor short, trim nor stout, I fit in well enough and could see the light from the water closet in short order. I was expected because the vent cover was already open and I managed to make it through and down to the floor without killing myself.
The first thing I saw were some folded clothes on the counter and the second thing I saw was the assistant warden. She advised me this was a Firm operation and to put the clothes on with the highest possible level of alacrity. There were some corduroys and a tacky shirt and a tweed blazer with patches on the sleeves and a prison visitor laminate. Everything fit perfectly. There was a fake mustache and fake teeth to change the look of my mouth and some gel for my hair which the assistant warden applied and briefly fussed over. The loafers had lifts which experience has shown to be a disguise technique as brilliant as it is simple. I am so nondescript it doesn’t take much to disguise me and in no time I was a different person. I looked like a prison official from the home office who had come by to visit the assistant warden. The official had been signed in by the screw before the civilian clerk arrived.
The assistant warden and I exited the office and went down the hall to a desk where I gave the civilian clerk the laminate and signed out. There was some danger there because my signature had to match the sign-in one, but it was a nondescript scribble that was easy enough to copy.
We went out the front door to a private car. A back door opened and I went inside. A comrade I had never seen before was in the back seat and The Chairman was driving. He made a crack about how it was about bloody time and how he had worried they’d have to come in and walk me out holding me hand.
In less than five minutes I had gone from prisoner to prison official, from custody to freedom. I was underground again within the hour. The assistant warden and the screw were under suspicion almost immediately after evening count turned up a missing inmate, but it didn’t matter. They had left for the day soon after and visits to their residences by the warden and some coppers showed their apartments abandoned.