Angel 42 (return ticket)
While Mickey was out, scratching around looking for a bit of dope and visiting one of the other prisoners in their cell, Angel tried writing a letter to Pizza Face to explain things. She’d everything she needed. Notepad, pen and lined-paper. She started and stopped, scratched things out, balled up the paper and flung it towards the bin. Pizza Face didn’t read very much so she knew she’d have to keep it simple. But the words flipped, came out wrong, and nothing sounded right. What she was trying to say she couldn’t say, because she didn’t really understand it herself, what she’d done, or tried to do. No dictionary or grammar book could help her frame her feelings or help her to re-write her history. Things happened to her. That was it. She didn’t know how to explain it any better. She scrawled another piece of paper and flung it towards the bin. If you could just go back to a time before she went to the Boulie she’d have done it in a second, but even then, she wouldn’t have met Pizza Face that night.
Mickey came back into the cell stinking of dope and looking pleased with herself. ‘Whit you being doing?’
‘Nothing,’ Angel rubbed at her eyes and yawned. ‘Just tired, and going to bed.’ She moved the pad off her lap and tried hiding it between her leg and the side of the chair, as if it was porn.
Mickey didn’t seem to notice. She crashed down on the bottom bunk and giggled. ‘I’m starving, you got any munchies?’
‘Nah,’ Angel climbed up and into her bunk. Hands over her stomach she felt a kick, which thrilled her, but she also felt bone weary. She’d been determined to settle things, but hadn’t.
When Angel woke up in the early hours of the morning, needing to pee, she tried to be quiet about it and not wake Mickey. But she’d a new plan doing cartwheels in her head. To write to Tony and ask him to come and visit. She’d explain things to him, and he could tell Pizza Face, explain things better than she ever could.
It took over a week to get things sorted, but when she came through the door of the visiting room and spotted Tony and Bruno she felt elated.
Tony was casually dressed in a jumper and denims. He stood up to meet her and seemed shy, kissing the side of her cheek, as if they were…she didn’t know what.
Bruno dyed his hair the colour of butter and cropped it, so that he looked butch. He had on a smear of pink lipstick and kiss of mascara and when he hugged Angel he smelled of aftershave. She didn’t want to upset him by saying he almost looked normal.
She tucked her legs in beneath the table, the usual hubbub from the other prisoners and their visitors, swelling and rising like the long note on a trumpet. She teased Bruno, lowering her voice. ‘You lost weight?’
‘Oh, no,’ Bruno scratched underneath his chin, with his glittered green nails. ‘I’m not a size queen. I take people as I see them. If it was up to me I’d take all the scales and fling them in the deepest part of the ocean. They don’t measure pounds or kilograms. They only measure human misery.’ He pointed at Angel. ‘Look at you, you don’t weigh anything.’ He jerked his head in the direction of Tony. ‘And as for him, he’s just a skinny beanpole.’
Tony sighed and chewed on his bottom lip. ‘Better a beanpole, than a fat fuck.’
‘I’m a very good fuck –as you know, fat or not.’ Bruno exchanged a glance with Angel. ‘It’s fattism.’
Tony leaned across, a pained expression on his face. ‘I havenae really slept wae him. You know whit he’s like.’
Bruno shrugged, blanking him and drawled, ‘Oh, well, our Angel knows whit it feels like to be rejected. I couldnae believe that cunt Pizza Face attacked you. I mean, I know he’s thick, but attacking you in a prison. That’s just fucking mental.’
Tony chipped in with, ‘They put him back inside for breaking bail’. He looked across, meeting Angel’s gaze. ‘I got your letter. But…I’m no sure whit to dae. Whit you expect me to dae?’
Angel squeezed her hands together her voice lowered to a whisper. ‘I don’t know,’ and rising up in exasperation. ‘Bruno’s got a point, right enough. People like me because of the way I look. Pizza Face doesn’t love me. He loves my body. I know that. And he loves the idea of me he’s constructed in his head. He wanted sex and I gave it to him. And I gied it to him again and again. And he said he loved me.’ She clutched the back of her neck, but when I had sex wae somebody else – because they were blackmailing me – he went apeshit.’
‘Och, I get that all the time,’ Bruno waved an arm and flapped his hand. ‘But I tell them, I’m not an ornament to be picked up and put down at your pleasure.’
‘Big fucking ornament,’ guffawed Tony. ‘They’d need a forklift.’
‘I’ll choose to ignore that remark and leave it were it lies, in the gutter.’
‘The thing is,’ said Angel. ‘I want us all to be friends. To be there for each other, the way we used to be. Sex has just fucked it up for us.’
‘Speak, fer yourself,’ said Bruno.
‘I know whit you mean,’ Tony turned his head and looked sideways as a scowling guard passed them. ‘But you cannae dae anything about that.’
Bruno with a smug look and the tip of tongue poking out the corner of his mouth offered, ‘You could join a nunnery?’
‘I’m already in one, of sorts,’ said Angel. ‘And I don’t want to be in another. To be honest I can take or leave sex, it’s never been that great. But I need to be loved.’
‘Jesus,’ cried Tony. ‘Angel, you’re only sixteen and absolutely stunning. You don’t want to be giving up on sex, already.’
Angela hooted with laughter. ‘I didn’t say I had.’ And she added in a mocking tone. ‘Was that a compliment left dangling in there somewhere?’
‘Aye,’ Tony made a face. ‘No. I mean, maybe.’
‘Maybe nothing,’ Bruno nudged him. ‘It was a compliment and those are so rare you should take it away and crotchet something and frame it, and put it above your fireplace – not that you’ve got one like those great Victorian dames.’
‘You’d know all about that,’ mumbled Tony.
‘Ladies,’ Bruno glanced across at prisoners exchanging kisses and hugs. ‘Time is moving on. One good thing about this whole debacle is Pizza Face is no longer a worry about whit he’ll dae with the twins. He’ll want nothing to dae with you noo.’
‘Don’t bank on it,’ said Tony. ‘If they were my kids, I’d be fighting to see them.’
‘But they will be your kids, Tony,’ said Angel. ‘I wanted you and Bruno to take care of them and you said you werenae sure, but noo you are.’
‘I didnae say that,’ said Tony.
‘Well you never said you never,’ Bruno stood up and twiddled his fingers, waved at a male prison warden and called as he fell in beside some visitors that were leaving. ‘O’er here ducky, you can search me anytime’.
‘You’ve no shame,’ said Tony.
‘Overrated and as bad for your health as smoking,’ replied Bruno.