It was two days before Christmas, and William walked out his cell for the last time. A cell he had occupied for the last three years.

Walking down the hard, cold corridors of HM Prison Barlinnie, he looked his last on his ex-inmates. This was one of the hardest prisons in the world. Situated in Glasgow, it housed some of the most dangerous men in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales.

He had it fairly easy in here though, compared to some of the others who had braved these halls over the years. William cast his mind back a couple of years. Back to a small boy, no more than seventeen, who had been brought in. He was a small, skinny kid with bad hair and a face that looked like a lost puppy. He lasted three weeks before Stainless, an eighteen stone bank robber with a face only a mother could love, took a dislike to him and threw him off the balcony, smashing his skull on to the concrete floor twenty feet below, and breaking both legs. After that, they started putting up nets, to catch anyone who ‘slipped’.

There was always something going on in this place. Nobody was going to take on William though. Not unless they wanted a shorter life expectancy. His father was Billy Matheson, a local “businessman” in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, and had a number of pubs and restaurants in the city. One of Scotland’s most notorious criminal kingpins, Matheson had risen from poverty in the east end of Glasgow, to being one of the wealthiest men in Scotland. He commanded thousands of committed gang members and workers alike. If you upset Matheson at lunch, you’d be under the dirt by dinner. 

Everyone said William took after his father. They both had the same build and facial structure and they both had more entrepreneurial skills than Bill Gates and Richard Branson thrown together.

As he passed the main reception, William stopped and turned to look at a large, bald man, sitting on the chair behind the desk.

“Well Mr Andrews Sir, I guess this is it then.” 

“It had better be!” Mr Andrews replied. “I don’t want to see you walking these halls again.” 

“So you want me to wait till you have that second heart attack then?” William replied, bouncing up and down on his toes. 

“Very funny Matheson.” He reached under his desk and pulled up a box. It was battered and office regulated brown. “This here’s your effects.” 

Not even looking at William as he continued. “One watch, broken. One cigarette, stubbed out. One pair of handcuffs, pink.” He looked up at this point. “You brought your own handcuffs?”

“Yeah, and don’t you just wanna life as exciting as mine.”

“Watch your mouth Matheson.”

“You could always unscrew that leg of yours, that’ll bring the ladies swarming.”

“You’re not out of here yet Matheson.” He put his face right up against William’s. “I could stick you in the hole now, and nobody would find you. You’ve been released, you see.”

William cleared his throat. “Good point, well made.”

“Right. Let’s see.” Mr Andrews continued. “Oh yes. One Pair of white briefs, a toy gun and a sombrero.” A smile came to Mr Andrews face. “And don’t forget, all prison clothes must be returned at he end of each visit.”

“You expect me to go out there in nothing but my boxers?”

If that’s how they come in, that’s how they go out.” He replied, as if reading an invisible rulebook. “Here’s your twenty quid. Now sod off!”

***

William walked out the main gate, in his old white briefs and sombrero, clutching onto the handcuffs and the toy gun. He stood still, looking out into Glasgow. Well, he was back, and back to stay. He turned right and continued on his way, back home.

..

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