Gary Farlow was awarded an Honorable Mention in Drama in the 2022 Prison Writing Contest.

Every year, hundreds of imprisoned people from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works to PEN America’s Prison Writing Contest, one of the few outlets of free expression for the country’s incarcerated population.


EXCERPT

Darryl

Fun? Have you lost your mind? What can be so fun about working in a homeless shelter?

Sam

Don’t it make you feel good to help people who are in need? Look on the bright side, it’s only a few hours a day.

Darryl

No, I don’t feel good about being forced to help losers and vagrants and there isn’t a bright side. Besides this community service, I’m grounded; mom says no more free ride, and I have to get a job. I can’t even drive her car anymore. On top of that, my partner Thomas has tickets to the biggest concert of the year and I’ll be stuck in this hell hole.

Sam

At least you’ll be able to stay out of trouble and come to the shelter’s Black History Celebration.

Darryl

Whoop-te-do!!! I get to ham it up with a bunch of low life winos and crazy crack-pots.

Sam

Hold up, Darryl, a lot of these people didn’t have much of a choice being here, others just made bad decisions. Alcoholism and drug addictions are a sickness. You’re being unfair.

Darryl

Who said life was fair. Drop it. Anyways why are you here? What did you do to get community service!

Sam

Me? Nothing, I volunteered to come.

Darryl

What? Are you out of your mind? You’re as nutty as these cats are.


To finish reading this, as well as the works of all other contributors, purchase Variations on an Undisclosed Location: 2022 Prison Writing Awards Anthology here.