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I spent 12 months at Her Majesty’s hotel for naughty adults. During my stay, I met an Indian guy. He did not look like the sort to be in prison. He spoke well, was clean-shaven, and dressed smartly.
He looked like the type of person you would expect to see working in a bank.
There were rumors on the wing he was serving time for a drug charge. Some inmates speculated he was a nonce.
There is an unspoken rule in prison: Do not ask somebody what their crime is. It can land you up shits creek without a boat.
One day I was relaxing on my bed reading a copy of New Scientist - which was difficult because prison beds are as comfortable as a bed of nails.
I noticed a shadow in my peripheral. A guy was standing at my door. To my surprise, it was the Indian guy. The potential class A drug dealer slash nonce.
I cautiously stood up to greet him and shook his hand. We exchanged names and introduced ourselves.
He asked if I had any older copies of New Scientist he could borrow. I did. I had about 6 or 7 copies.
I reached down to fetch them from the cupboard. As I stood back up he moved his hand toward my face.
Prison can be a vulnerable place where your mind is always on high alert and ready for danger. I was about to react and push him away.
“Relax, your glasses are filthy.” he laughed.
He took my glasses to the tiny prison sink, applied a little no-brand soap to the lenses, and ran them under cold water. After drying them with some toilet paper he put my glasses back on my face.
“Can you see better now?” he asked.
I could! Everything was crystal clear. It felt like I had a new pair of eyes. How did I never know about this?!
“I used to do that for my customers while they waited." he said.
I wanted to ask him what he was in for. I was eager to know.
“Before you ask I am a pharmacist who got caught overprescribing methadone to a pair of drug addicts”, he explained.
“Forgive me for asking, but why?”
He continued to explain how a pair of drug addicts forced him to give them methadone whenever they requested it. If he refused to cooperate his life and the life of his family members would be in danger. They knew his address. They waited for him after work.
He claimed the addicts threatened one of his children and he was unable to report it to the police due to the nature of the situation.
I believed him. Eventually, I got to read his court papers. The judge acknowledged he was coerced into handing over the methadone.
But, the judge also said the reason why he had to hand down a custodial prison sentence, was because he had every opportunity to report what was happening.
From that day I’ve never cleaned my glasses with a cloth or spray.