Title - "Why should I give you a job?"
"So before we begin this job interview, I do need to comment for the record, If you can explain just why you are currently incarcerated by the Australian Government, and the reasons for this, just so I know if it really is worth trying to get you released to take this job. As you can probably understand, usually, we have a strict no-convicts hiring policy, but apparently your resume and history is enough to make our HR department look the other way."
This was said by a strange man on the other side of the glass wall, on the other end of a telephone. Apparently, he didn't know who I am, but had some idea about who I used to be. Being that I didn't have anything better to do, and my other option was my usual 23hours of solitary confinement a day, I decided to tell him the story of exactly why I now find myself confined to a 3x3 cell.
I mean, the day was just like most other days, I had gotten up, gone to work, left late and then returned home. Unlike most days, I returned to find that somehow the toilet had clogged up, AND the float and valve had got stuck. Not what I wanted to deal with before dinner. Or after dinner. Or ever. But it is just basic plumbing, and ever person should have the basic skills of life, whether that be cooking, or cleaning, or changing a flat tyre, or in this case, basic plumbing. So, off with the tap, and then, to save on later having to sterilize my clothes before washing them, I dropped them in the bedroom, and start to work on the toilet.
At this stage, the stranger interrupted "Do you usually do your plumbing in the buff?"
"But of course," I answered, "Anything specifically messy that won't require more effort to clean off my skin compared with cleaning the clothes"
The stranger looked amused, and motioned for me to continue.
So there I was, I had managed to unblock the u-bend (don't ask what was stuck…) and clean up the insides of the cistern. Next on the list was simple, just clean out the bowl. Now this was taking a bit more elbow grease than usual, and I will admit, the brush was looking rather… manky… at this stage. And that was when I heard the door.
Now, I wasn't expecting anyone to be in my apartment, it is just me, no pets, and guests usually warn me first, it isn't like anyone has a key, and the door automatically locks when shut. So I knew this must be an intruder.
I'll give you a hint, being up to your armpits in a dirty toilet for thirty minutes is not a way to put you in the best of moods. Considering how much splash back I had managed to catch, I was in a more foul mood that what I was covered in at this stage.
So I decided I should go and confront trespasser.
"While you were naked?" The stranger clarified?
"Of course I was still naked, you didn't expect I would shower, find a suit jacket to put on, and then greet my unexpected guest with a 'if you will just excuse me, I just need to find my monocle before I am properly attired to greet guests' - Nope – I just went out there, wet, covered in shite, and hanging onto the toilet brush"
The strange now had a wry grin on his face, and from his eyes, I knew he wanted me to continue.
So there I was, nude, covered in what was later referred to by the papers as "brown war paint", armed with a toilet brush covered in more of the 'paint' and bursting in on the trespasser, who at that stage was ripping the cables out of the back of my computer. So did what any I expect most people would do in my situation.
There was a grunt from the stranger, I paused my tale and gave him a raised eyebrow. "Oh," he commented, "I was just wondering how many people find themselves naked covered in brown while confronting a home intruder"
Well, I know what I did in MY case. I charged at him, yelling incoherently, and then did my best to stick the brush down his throat. At least he dropped the knife at that stage. His next action was to try and run away. Which didn't work so well for him. He slipped and smacked his temple on the corner of the desk, knocking himself out.
"So let me get this straight" The stranger replied. "There was an armed intruder in your house, you subdued him, and yet you are the one, not just in prison, but in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison. - Why?"
"Well," I replied "That is where it gets interesting. I am not incarcerated for assault, or even for trying to defend my property. No, I am locked up for being a terrorist."
Well, you see. The guy ended up with e-Coli poisoning from the shite on the brush that I managed to get past his tonsils. His lawyer managed to talk the judge into believing that this should be classed as biological warfare and the judge agreed. So I mean yes, I will admit, in this case, the glove does fit, from a certain point of view, I did willfully engage in germ warfare, which is against the Geneva convention, and that is why I am now in prison for the rest of my natural life.
"You seem somewhat at ease with this outcome"
"Well, I will say, being in here is a lot less stressful than being in my old job. And now, with any type of conviction on my record, I can never go back working in my old job. At least the guards bring me books to read. It is quite peaceful in here"
"If a way was found for you to legally leave, would you take it? You seem like the type of person we are looking for. Well, making the assumption that your previous work history and your references are telling the truth about your computer skills."
"If you think you can get me out, give me a 12 month probation period – If you don't like me, the same people who you would talk to to get me out would be happy to give me back my cell"
And that was how I found myself working under a man by the name of Jack West, Jr.