Burl N. Corbett 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

SGT. MC MULLEN

Yeah, the absence of snow up to my tits, uncomfortable uniforms, and noise, NOISE, (shouts) NOISE!, from first count to last!

NEAL

(Hollers) WHAT NOISE? (Chuckles) All right, I’ll concede your reasons, but don’t try to con me that you won’t miss a few of us cool old heads, like maybe me.

SGT. MC MULLEN

(Pretends to look around for spies, shields his mouth with his right hand) Jesus, you wanna get me fired? Two measly days to freedom, and you’re fixing to jam me up? (Laughs) OK, dammit, I’ll tell you true. I’ve known some of you guys longer than I’ve known my youngest son, so, sure, a man can’t help but to like some of you jokers. What the hell? I’m human too.

NEAL

(Pretends to scan the area for snoops, looks up at the sky and assumes a posture of prayer) Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I confess: I dig some of you older, mellowed out guards too. It’s just too bad we can’t sit down over a keg of beer and drink and piss away our differences.

SGT. MC MULLEN

A keg? If I could, I’d maybe spring for a case.


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.