The War Journal: Colditz

A liitle short story while it’s quiet in the world of bizz. 

 You join us slap bang in the middle of an embarrassing situation. Here we are, packed like cannon fodder, on a long journey to captivity. I’ve no idea how we got caught by the enemy and neither do any of the other prisoners. It’s as if our memories have been wiped out and we’ve just been born.

A bumpy road made us fizz and soon we are hauled out of the wagon and thrown into glass cells. The first thing that hits me is the cold. It’s absolutely freezing.

“What kind of barracks is this? We haven’t misbehaved yet and still we’re thrown in the cooler right away.” shouted Private Chibber.

“Quiet, soldier, the whole camp is on permanent chill.” said an old lag/prisoner from a level below us.

I surveyed our surroundings. This was an unusual internment camp. It housed only one building and prisoners were stacked on different floors and seperated according to their rank and colour.

“This is just like the J.G. Ballard book, High Rise. Have you read it?”

“I’ve seen the film.” mumbled the Private.

“It hasn’t been made into a film.”

“Oh. I must be thinking of something else.” he thought for a moment. “High Noon, that’s it.”

“Well anyway, High Rise is a book about this luxury skyscraper that is a sanctuary away from the outside world. The building has all the amenities a community needs: Shopping malls, swimming pools, tennis courts, pubs, bookies, bingo, you name it. It’s a utopian paradise for the super rich.

“Soon some minor teething problems arise and there are power cuts. You know what these cowboy builders are like. Feuds break out between the neighbours that escalates into extreme acts of terror like murder and arson. The utopian world goes upside down and becomes dystopian.

“The people divide themselves into groups depending on where they are situated in the building. The high rise occupants organise themselves into the three classic types of society- upper, middle and low class. Total anarchy ensues. It is a very violent book. You’d like it.”

Chibber was unmoved. “ It’s just like Waterstones book stores then?”

I failed to see the  violence connection and was curious. “How do you work that out?”

“That’s got the levels things going too”. Chibber went on “Right, in the basement floor they’ve got the good stuff for normal people- sport, music, film. The ground floor is neutral. A kind of a, no-man’s land. The first floor is where the fiction books are kept for the middle-class muppets. And finally, at the top are the reference manuals and “serious” books. This floor is for the toffee noses.”

“Quiet soldier, the cavalry is coming.” shouted the old lag. “Every now and then there’s a jailbreak. It’s just your luck if your turnstile is picked. I’ll get out of here one day, you’ll see. I’m isotonic”

I didn’t have a clue what the old boy was on about. He must be on some kind of funny cigarettes thinking he’s bionic. Mind you the whole place did go quiet as footsteps approached.

The steps stopped and a rustling was heard from outside followed by a loud noise of falling silver. All of a sudden the iron in front of me was turning. I had a chance to drop into a waterless moat at the bottom of the cage. Suddenly I could feel myself being pushed from behind. Chibber had decided to force his iron open and tagged onto me, dropping into the ditch. A Butch and Sundance moment.

“This was just like the old days when we used to double up into the football grounds with only one of us paying.” reminisced Chib.

In seconds all the light disappeared as a giant airplane with five fingers hovered above us. Freedom.


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10 Comments on “The War Journal: Colditz”

  1. FANTASTIC JW, and a splendid surprise to finish!
    I had images of Keanu Reeves with tubes in his head (gruesomely unforgettable), or Ewan McGregor on his Island, with hints of Dandelion & Burdock & the like, but the MACHINE!! At last it all slots into place

  2. JW10 Says:

    Morning Dolores. Glad you liked my cola breakout story. Colaitz the real thing. The isotonics are still on the shelf going out of date.

    Before blogging I had to delete about 100 spam comments. As if there's not enough housework needing done.

  3. This escape story escaped me – until the finale. Brilliant!

    And I suppose the escapees got drunk afterwards?

  4. Ah yes, JW – the joy of Spammers (may all their fingers explode).

    Haven't seen High Rise, but it seems to have a hint of 'Escape from New York'(Kurt Russell with exciting haircut & hideous knife wound).
    Or at least, it does after the HighRise power cuts. There aren't Levels of violence in New York's future, it's just one huge prison for a seething mass of evil-doers.

    It's Fab!

  5. JW10 Says:

    Hello CI, it seems such a waste of good cola to put vodka in it…oh OK, you've twisted my arm. Make mine a double.

    High Rise hasn't been filmed yet, Dolores. I do recommend you read this book and also Concrete Island by JG Ballard. Both are short books with great storytelling.

    Seen Escape from NY many years ago; super film. Of prison dramas only recently I watched An Innocent Man starring Tom Selleck. although slightly dated the scenes in jail were very powerful.

  6. Expat Says:

    OK. It took me four reads to work this out. I obviously don't watch the same movies or read the same books as the rest of you. Or drink cola. Deviously clever, JW, but I'm waiting for Construction Wars, the Sequal! Or a Tractor Trailer trailer.

    Best prison movie ever is The Shawshank Redemption.

  7. JW10 Says:

    Hello Expat, this is me just trying to get back in the groove. Normal realistic serious service will be resumed (no chance of that)

    It's frustrating when, after inserting 50p, the vending machine doesn't drop the can of juice. Saddened as I am by the monetary loss I feel sorry for the can that refuses to escape. The poor thing has been institutionalised.

  8. Can't you just give it your Glasgow Kiss, JW? – works for me… (although been feeling a bit fragile since)

  9. Bilby Says:

    Gadzooks! What a brilliantly zany beast you are, Mr J W Coyote. Wish I had your imagination.

    Top Story!

  10. JW10 Says:

    HO,HO, Dolores. Nice one. 🙂

    And Hiya Bilby. Thank you for your kind comment. It's good to know that “off-centre” stuff is liked.

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