by John Yeo
The very learned judge adjusted his cap and addressed the prisoner in the dock.
“You have been convicted of a very serious crime. My instincts are to sentence you to the ultimate sentence. However I intend to sentence you to one day’s imprisonment in the new psychological institution, where you will be re-educated and pay for your crimes. You will be considered for release at the end of the day’s sentence. That will be all!”
There was a general gasp of surprise from the people in the courtroom.
The prisoner smiled, then laughed out loud. “Thank you Judge! I will be eternally grateful to you for your consideration, and I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.” He guffawed loudly as he was led away to the cells.
George Sweeney had battered a Post office clerk to death in the process of committing an armed robbery. He was a career criminal and had no remorse or conscience whatsoever.
He smiled as he was driven to a brightly lit hospital the next day to begin his sentence. The doctors were calm and reassuring as they showed him to his quarters, the bright lights were continually on at all times.
George ate a hearty meal and asked the orderly. “Can I see the Doctor in charge please, I would like to know what time my re-education begins.”
The orderly smiled and replied. “Don’t worry, Mr Sweeney, you will see him soon, there will be plenty of opportunities as the day progresses.”
George then said. “Can I have my watch back, it was removed from my wrist by the police, when I was arrested. There are no clocks here! What is the time right now?”
“Clocks are irrelevant here!” Replied the orderly. “You will get used to our system of time. Time that is stretched out and manipulated to allow you to think your thoughts and redress your balance. Enjoy the feeling of eternity as the day progresses and you will achieve much re-education and reorientation.”
George began to feel anxious when he heard this. “What do you mean? I am only here for a day, how can I achieve anything? What do you mean by stretching time? I demand to see the Doctor in charge right now!”
The orderly grinned and said, “Yes of course. I will go and fetch someone. I will be back soon.”
What seemed like hours passed as George waited and waited. He began calling out loudly to attract attention, banging on the walls and kicking the locked door. A small aperture in the wall held a lift-shaft where food was suddenly delivered, George then realised how hungry he was and wolfed the food down.
He became disorientated as the bright lights were on and blazing. He slept and woke as the Doctor arrived accompanied by several nurses and the orderly.
“Hello!” said the Doctor smiling. “How are you? What can I do for you? We have a long day ahead.”
“I don’t believe you!” George shouted! “I have been here for what seems like forever already. I demand to see a lawyer and I want my watch back!”
“Yes Mr Sweeney, here is your watch.”
George took the watch and suddenly realised it wasn’t working.
“Hey! My watch is broken! It has been damaged! I demand to see someone from the police to report this crime!”
“Of course, Mr Sweeney, I will arrange that for you. Now relax and enjoy the rest of your day here.”
The doctor and his retinue then left.
What seemed to George like an eternity passed as he was left alone in his quarters with food appearing at odd hours and the orderly checking on him changing faces through the window in the door. The lights blazed interminably as George suddenly became aware that this was to be a never ending day. He became even more disoriented when he finally began to realise there would be no remission on this stretched out day’s sentence.
Copyright © ~ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved