“How about that one?” Guard 2932 asked.
Guard 1548 looked across the enclosure at the shuffling prisoner. Gaunt, stooped, hollow-eyed, clearly not long for the world. He nodded.
“Okay. He’ll do. Does he have a friend?”
The two guards stood and watched the gaunt prisoner as he circumnavigated the enclosure. Every few yards the prisoner stopped to inhale and exhale deeply, as though he was having trouble breathing when he walked. Once or twice he looked through the security wire at the drab and featureless surrounding countryside. Sometimes he stopped to mutter a few words to other prisoners.
On his fourth circuit, the guards had determined that he spoke mostly to a tall fellow with yellow skin and protruding teeth.
“That’s his friend,” Guard 2932 said.
“Let’s call him over.” Read more…
R J Dent says: ‘I wrote The Joke because I wanted to examine the ways in which brutality engenders humour and the way that humour can – out of necessity – come into existence out of – or because of – brutality. I was also interested in writing a prison-camp murder story. Finally, I wanted to write about jokes – and some of their unfunny manifestations.’
Information on R J Dent’s novels, novellas, short stories, translations, essays, poetry, song lyrics, videos and blogs can be found at:
Copyright © R J Dent (2016)