A Quiet Fight – Visit at the Gaol


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Fabio Freitas E Silva | Dreamstime.com – Steam punk vintage computer

Visit at the Gaol

Stephanie and Stephan arrived at Scotland Yard. Stephanie had a full basket of lunch goods and tea. DC Beatrice Monroe met them at the foyer and accompanied them to the rear of the building to the gaol. At the initial entrance, a uniformed man and woman sat the desk playing cards. Monroe coughed into her fist.
The man looked up and then stood up quickly, “Detective Monroe. What brings you here?”
Monroe said sharply, “These two will be visiting Wynn Maynard. I assume he has been moved upstairs after our conversation.”
The woman said, “That be Hobby’s job. We understand it was supposed to be done.”
“Then we’ll head on up to the open room.”
“Err..Ma’am? We need to check the bag.”
Stephanie smiled and put the bag on the desk. She added helpfully, “There are couple of cheese savory breads on the top that Wynn can’t possibly finish.”
When the woman opened the basked, the smell of fresh bread filled the room. She murmured, “Cor, smells like my grand mum’s flat.”
Stephanie said, “Take the top loaf. I’m sure we’ll be here a lot.”
The woman quickly took the loaf and glanced at DC Monroe who nodded yes. The man took a loaf as well and then opened the gate.
Monroe muttered, “Hate this place. The guards get fat. The rich prisoners get fat and the poor prisoners starve before they get to trial.” She sighed as they arrived at the desk in front of the open room. She said to the guard, “Hobby, these folks are hear to see Wynn Maynard.”
The uniformed man made a ceremony of looking at a list and then said, “There is no Wynn Maynard on this floor. You might check general.” Stephan’s stomach dropped. He could feel Stephanie’s hands tightened on the basket. She said, “I was promised.”
Monroe stiffened and then said slowly, “Mr. Miller, Miss Miller… could you wait down the hall? Officer Hanley and I have things to discuss privately.”
Stephan nodded and moved Stephanie down the hall around the corner. They could hear the conversation. There was a slam on the table and a groan, “Hobby…I passed good money to you and the others to get him moved. Are you telling me you pocketed that scratch thinking I wouldn’t notice?” Another slam.
A groan and then a mushy voice, “DC… Sergeant Stiles said ‘e had to stay in general…” Another slam.
“You know my rank?” There was a pause. “Good…You and I are making a little go round to general and Sergeant Stiles and remind him of rank.” There was a pause.
“Stop!…yah… just ….wait….Keys!”
“Certainly Hobby. Tell me the drawer and I’ll get them. Wouldn’t want you to accidentally press an alarm button.”
“Second middle.”
There was a jangling of keys and then steps. DC Monroe came out holding the desk sergeant by the neck, “Pardon me Mr. Miller. Miss Miller. Hobby and me are going to clear up a paperwork matter.”
Stephan asked, “You need help?”
Monroe laughed, “Hardly. I’ll stop by and pick up Addie at the gate. She’ll want more of those loaves.”
The officer whined “fresh loaves? You ain’t said nothin bout food.”
Monroe slammed him on the wall harshly. Stephan winced at the sound. “Now if you hadn’t welched me, you’dve found out about the benni. I gave you and Stiles a half crown each for this. Ya could have bought you own bloody loaf an and ale and still had money. Now we are going to visit Stiles and remind him of his agreement.” The desk sergeant nodded quickly and blood spattered on his face. Monroe said, “might take a little. Find a bench and get comfortable.” And she frog marched him down the stairs.
Stephanie said, “I’m worried. He could get hurt.”
Stephan smirked, “Like to see the nob who tries.” He sat on a window ledge and said, “Oh I expect he’ll have a bruise or two but nought that won’t heal proper.”
Stephanie did not look convinced. She sat next to Stephan who took out a box and began to fiddle with it. The box was tiny in his large hands but he made adjustments. Popped it open and a music tune played. He wiggled a finger at it. The figure bowed back at him. Stephanie looked at it and furrowed her brow. Stephan closed the box and put a finger to his lips.
DC Monroe returned still frog marching Hobby, the desk Sergeant. Behind them, Officer Addie was helping Wynn into the hallway. Despite Stephan’s reassurance, he looked terrible. Both eyes were black, his lips were swollen and his nose looked a little off. Stephanie gasped, “Wynn, what happened?”
Wynn coughed a little and said, “Seems I wasn’t cooperative with the constabulary.” Monroe glared at Hobby and then let him go. “And I ended up in a cell with down in out veterans who seemed to have heard I might have be part of the Barracks attack.”
Officer Addie looked angry, “Can’t say I blame them.”
Stephanie said, “He is innocent. He was with someone that entire night.”
Officer Addie let Wynn go roughly, “Beggin pardon, Miss. But they all say that as do their kin.”
Monroe said, “Don’t be too quick to judge, Addie. I am inclined to agree with Miss Miller.”
Addie tipped her cap, “I respect ye’ DC. Ye’ made it past all them guys. But the Inspector says the evidence is strong what with him being Irish and the gun.”
Monroe narrowed her eyes at the young officer. “Officer, you and I will have a private discussion. There is more than the Inspector is choosin to see. Now back to your post. And we’ll talk later.”
The officer made a quick salute and left. Stephan walked up to Wynn and said, “Want me to fix your nose?”
Wynn rubbed it and winced, “Better do it now before it sets like this.” Stephan used two hands aside Wynn’s nose pulled down and shifted. Wynn snarled, “Jesus, Stephan could you be any rougher?”
Stephan eyed Wynn’s face, “I could have broken it in the first place. It’s straight. You might have an odd crook.What do the other guys look like?” He handed Wynn a kerchief for the new gush of blood from his nose.
Wynn leaned back and held the kerchief to his nose, “’bout what you’d expect. After discussion, they left me alone.”
Monroe said, “Hard to believe, but they look worse than he does.”
Wynn coughed a little and dabbed his nose, “Most of this is from our local constabulary. Decided not to hurt them but they were none too gentle.”
Stephan said to Monroe, “Are they going to be a problem?”
Monroe puffed her cheeks out and looked over at Hobby who was nursing his own broken nose. “Short term. No. Can’t say longer term. Him being up here will keep the worst away. But he’s going to have to watch his back and check his food and rations.”
Stephanie handed over a basket, “We brought a luncheon.”
Monroe looked at the basket, “Do that every day. It will keep the guards happy too.”
Wynn smiled, “Thank ya’. I am starved. Haven’t had anything since last night.” His voice caught. He looked at Monroe, “How many dead?”
Monroe said, “Thirty five. Twenty from burns. Fifteen from injuries including that dandy you took out.”
Wynn said, “I keep telling ya, he was the one doing the killing. Had to stop him.”
Monroe whispered back, “Listen…you took out a Kipling when there was a riot around Kipling employees. He might have been killin’ like you said, but the powers that be are going to want you dancing to the hangman’s tune.”
Stephanie whispered, “We have to get him out.”
Monroe hissed, “You say nothing about that. Not in front of me and especially not in here.”
Stephan put a hand on his daughter’s arm, “We have the food, let’s eat.”
Monroe led the three to desk sergeant Hanley. “Ready for your new prisoner Officer Hanley?”
Hobby held a cloth to his nose, glared at her and then took the keys and opened the door. Inside was a sky lit corridor. There were three stories of cells and an open area at the bottom. The prisoners were well dressed and clustered in groups of three or four. He muttered, “You’ll have cell C18. Third story, other side of the hall. Visitors 10 to 2. Meals served morning and night. Inspections happen at random. You cause trouble, you’ll be back in general again.”
Monroe said lowly, “But if someone else attacks him? Hobby, if you can’t control this crowd, I will have you keeping him company in general. He will get out and you will stay down there until you retire.”
Hanley said defensively, “If he don’t cause the trouble he won’t go down.”
Wynn shrugged, “I will probably stay in my cell most of the time. Sends some books and writing stuff.”
Hanley said, “Has to be cleared.”
Stephan handed the music box, “Wynn’s Aunt sent this music box.” Stephan handed over the box. “Press the button to make it work.”
Hanley eyed it narrowly and then pressed the button. The figure twirled to a tune. “Don’t know. Could hold a weapon.” Stephan sighed and held up a half crown. Hanley smiled but said, “Other prisoners might get jealous.” Stephan held up a second half crown. He grabbed the two coins “A bit of fresh bread when you visit would be appreciated by me younguns’ ”
Stephanie frowned, “We’ll be here each day. I can bring a extra loaf and a bit of jam if we don’t have to go through this routine every time.”
Hobby handed the box to Wynn and said, “It’s hard ta’ believe a killer like you has such a nice family.”
Wynn took the box, “Cross her and you’ll find out how nice.”

Author’s Note

Gaols and insane asylums were infamous for taking pay from family and friend to secure better treatment, food and location. Of course, one can question if much as changed when prisoners viewed as “non-threatening” are place in lower security prisons with better conditions.

Wynn will spend some time here and make some new acquaintances, however I will have to eventually spring him to finish the story.

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