Louisiana State Law Courts, April 1980
Scowling over the top of her horn rimmed spectacles the Judge prepared to break the expectant silence. “Henry Cecil
Clench..!” She said slowly and very calmly. “Having committed the crime of abduction, false imprisonment….”
As she judge paused for breath the accused dared to take his chance.
“Miss...!” He said nervously as he rose jerkily from the creaky wooden chair which he’d spent almost two weeks
occupying. Suddenly he was aware of his audience and winced at his predicament, he loathed being the centre of
attention. his eyes darted restlessly around the room at the dozens of accusing faces gazing back at him and then he
raised his hand. “Miss… My friends…! Well, I like my friends to call me Doofus..! Doofus Clench..! It’s just that I’ve
been sat here for two weeks now and well miss, I think we’re friends now!”
A growing crescendo of laughter circled the law court only stifled by the look on the presiding Judge’s face. Her jowl’s
shook with barely concealable rage as her face reddened to violet with anger.
“Silence in court..!” She spat venomously. “Silence in my court..! Mr Henry Cecil Clench you will not speak when I am
speaking, do you understand?”
“Yes Miss..!” Doofus slowly sank back into his chair and gazed forlornly at the floor.
More titters and sniggers circled like doves, passing over the heads of the jury and settling in the seats reserved for the
“Silence in court- Henry Cecil Clench having listened to the evidence this court has found you guilty of abduction and
attempted murder; therefore it is my duty to sentence you to thirty five years in prison without parole. Do you have
anything you would like to say to your victim and this court? Bear in mind Mr Clench this may be your time to apologise
for your crime..!”
The entire court plunged into a deafening silence as all eyes fell on Henry Clench. His lips trembled unperceptively as he
thought about the words and then tried to form them in his mouth. “Miss..!” He said nervously. “Miss… Honest miss..! I
didn’t do nothing wrong. I’d be obliged if you’d let me go home now? The thing is my mommas don’t like me staying out
overnight..! And she’ll get real cranky if I don’t go home soon.”
Louisiana State Penitentiary
12 hours later
Ma Clench smiled at her son and settled into the chair beside the Lawyer Malcolm Price, who had failed so miserably to
prevent her son’s incarceration. Hiding behind oversized sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat she smiled once again.
“How are they treating you in here Henry dear?”
Doofus shifted nervously in his chair but kept his eyes firmly fixed on his hands which he was slowly rubbing together.
“Mom..!” He whispered. “I really don’t think I’m going to like this place momma..! Not one little bit.”
“Oh Henry dear…”
“Can I come home with you…? Please… Promise I’ll be good.”
“This isn’t like that time at summer camp Henry; you can’t just pack your things and walk home just because the other
kids are picking on you. Do you remember that day? You almost drowned in that awful river.”
Doofus grimaced at the memory. “My cellmate is kind of nice I think he wants to play poker later..! He’s been real
friendly to me.”
“See, you’re making friends already.”
“Everybody else seems to be real afraid of him; he’s a big old black guy, covered in all manner of tattoos.” He said.
“They say he’s been incarcerated here for twenty five years for sodomising and killing a young man. They call him
Shirley Mamma, Aint that a girl’s name?”
“That it is Henry… That it is.”
“What does sodomising mean? He said if I play my cards right tonight I might get real lucky..!”
Mrs Clench quickly removed her sunglasses and then turned to the Lawyer. “Would you give my son and I one moment
She watched and waited while he left the room. “Now listen to me Henry this man, this Shirley, he’s not a nice man, not
one little bit. He’s going to try and do all manner of nasty, horrible things to you tonight.” She leaned closer and lowered
her voice. “We both know that you possess certain god given talents and after what you did to that little Turner boy I
forbade you from ever using them again. But if that frightful man so much as touches a hair on your pretty little head you
know what I want you to do? Don’t you?”
Doofus swallowed hard and licked his lips. “Yes Mamma, I know what you want me to do.”
“Just try not to kill him… Much.”
Governor Edward Pinkerton had arrived early that day; first there was the meeting with his old friend Senator Jackson,
then came the grand opening of the new block and finally a rather tiresome meal with his snooty sister in law.
Surveying the aging contours of his old face in a mirror he slowly applied grease to his hair and slicked it back with a
comb. Time had long since poisoned the well of youth and this morning he was finally beginning to feel his age, the last
of his jet black hair had finally succumbed to the grey scourge, that once most handsome of men now old and haggard.
“Well Pinkerton..!” He said to his own reflection. “Not long to go now, two more weeks and we’re out of this shit box for
The Governorship of Louisiana state prison was quickly becoming more like a prison sentence with every passing day,
politics and do-gooders had served to almost destroy law and order in America. There wasn’t a week went by it seemed
like yet another murdering son of a bitch was getting out on appeal.
He’d just about finished straightening his bow tie when the door burst open and in rushed Quinton, Officer Quinton
was a promising guard and might even make Governor himself one day, the guy just needed to toughen up a little and
stop being so darn polite to the prisoners.
“Sir..!” He cried breathlessly. “Sir you gotta come and see this..!”
“What is it Quinton, I got a busy day ahead of me.”
“I don’t really know how to explain this sir; I ain’t ever seen anything like this before. It’s that inmate Henry Clench, the
fella who came in the other day; well he’s gone and done something..! Something bad..!”
Pinkerton picked up his trademark Stetson and placed it on his head. “OK Quinton let me see what the retard has done.”
They walked across the yard in silence, hurrying to get out of the glare of the morning sun. Soon they were inside; the
interior was cold and dim in stark contrast to the outside. Pinkerton removed his Stetson and used both hands to carry it,
a mental shield to the danger and evil the building contained.
Two guards stood sentry outside the cell henry Clench shared with an inmate known as ‘Shirley’. “You really need to
see this Sir..!” Quinton said.
Pinkerton nodded at the guards, a sign for them to stand aside, stepping inside he allowed his eyes to settle upon the
seated and rather pathetic looking Henry Clench, where they hovered for a second before moving to the blood spattered
wall at the back of the cell and a sight he would never forget for the rest of his life.
“Jesus H Christ..! What in the name of God...?”
Clay Finn AKA ‘Shirley’ whimpered in pain at the sound of the Governors voice and tried to open his mouth to speak,
but weakened by the loss of blood gave up. His left leg dangled broken and swollen, his other leg was trapped behind
him. The rest of his body was hanging twisted and deformed from the bars on the window wrapped up tightly in the
mangled remains of something which loosely resembled the top bunk. His eyes wide and glazed with terror looked almost
demonic staring out from his blood drenched head, but at least he was still alive and thankfully that little fact would cut
down on the paperwork.
Pinkerton looked over at Henry Clench. “I… I can see putting you in here with this animal was an oversight on our part.”
“I’m real sorry about the bed sir, but that man tried to touch my privates and like my mamma said ‘privates is private’.”