Well, it was the letting-in of this new chelloveck that was really the start of my getting out of the old Staja, for he was such a nasty quarrelsome type of plenny, with a very dirty mind and filthy intentions, that trouble nachinatted that very same day. He was also very boastful and started to make with a very sneery litso at us all and a loud proud goloss. He made out that he was the only real horrorshow prestoopnick in the whole zoo, going on that he'd done this and done the other and killed ten rozzes with one crack of his rooker and all that cal. But nobody was very impressed, O my brothers. So then he started on me, me being the youngest there, trying to say that as the youngest I ought to be the one to zasnoot on the floor and not him. But all the others were for me, creeching: "Leave him alone, you grahzny bratchny," and then he began the old whine about how nobody loved him. So that same nochy I woke up to find this horrible plenny actually lying with me on my bunk, which was on the bottom of the three-tier and also very narrow, and he was govoreeting dirty like love-slovos and stroke stroke stroking away. So then I got real bezoomny and lashed out, though I could not viddy all that horrorshow, there being only this malenky little red light outside on the landing. But I knew it was this one, the vonny bastard, and then when the trouble really got under way and the lights were turned on I could viddy his horrible litso with all krovvy dripping from his rot where I'd hit out with my clawing rooker.
What sloochatted then, of course, was that me cell-mates woke up and started to join in, tolchocking a bit wild in the near-dark, and the shoom seemed to wake up the whole tier, so that you could slooshy a lot of creeching and banging about with tin mugs on the wall, as though all the plennies in all the cells thought a big break was about to commence, O my brothers. So then the lights came on and the chassos came along in their shirts and trousers and caps, waving big sticks. We could viddy each other's flushed litsos and the shaking of fisty rookers, and there was a lot of creeching and cursing. Then I put in my complaint and every chasso said it was probably your Humble Narrator, brothers, that started it all anyway, me having no mark of a scratch on me but this horrible plenny dipping red red krovvy from the rot where I'd got him with my clawing rooker. That made me real be-zoomny. I said I would not sleep another nochy in that cell if the Prison Authorities were going to allow horrible vonny stinking perverted prestoopnicks to leap on my plott when I was in no position to defend myself, being asleep. "Wait till the morning," they said. "Is it a private room with bath and television that your honour requires? Well, all that will be seen to in the morning. But for the present, little droog, get your bleeding gulliver down on your straw-filled podooshka and let's have no more trouble from anyone. Right right right?" Then off they went with stern warnings for all, then soon after the lights went out, and then I said I would sit up all the rest of the nochy, saying first to this horrible pre-stoopnick: "Go on, get on my bunk if you wish it. I fancy it no longer. You have made it filthy and cally with your horrible vonny plott lying on it already." But then the others joined in. Big Jew said, still sweating from the bit of a bitva we'd had in the dark:
"Not having that we're not, brotherth. Don't give in to the thquirt." So this new one said:
"Crash your dermott, yid," meaning to shut up, but it was very insulting. So then Big Jew got ready to launch a tol-chock. The Doctor said:
"Come on, gentlemen, we don't want any trouble, do we?" in his very high-class goloss, but this new prestoopnick was really asking for it. You could viddy that he thought he was a very big bolshy veck and it was beneath his dignity to be sharing a cell with six and having to sleep on the floor till I made this gesture at him. In his sneery way he tried to take off The Doctor, saying:
"Owwww, yew wahnt noo moor trouble, is that it, Archi-balls?" So Jojohn, mean and keen and wiry, said: "If we can't have sleep let's have some education. Our new friend here had better be taught a lesson." Although he like specialized in Sexual Assault he had a nice way of govoreeting, quiet and like precise. So the new plenny sneered: " Kish and kosh and koosh, you little terror." So then it all really started, but in a queer like gentle way, with nobody raising his goloss much. The new plenny creeched a malenky bit at first, but the Wall fisted his rot while Big Jew held him up against the bars so that he could be viddied in the malenky red light from the landing, and he just went oh oh oh. He was not a very strong type of veck, being very feeble in his trying to tolchock back, and I suppose he made up for this by being shoomny in the goloss and very boastful. Anyway, seeing the old krovvy flow red in the red light, I felt the old joy like rising up in my keeshkas and I said:
"Leave him to me, go on, let me have him now, brothers." So Big Jew said:
"Yeth, yeth, boyth, that'th fair. Thlosh him then, Alekth." So they all stood around while I cracked at this prestoopnick in the near dark. I fisted him all over, dancing about with my boots on though unlaced, and then I tripped him and he went crash crash on to the floor. I gave him one real horrorshow kick on the gulliver and he went ohhhh, then he sort of snorted off to like sleep, and The Doctor said: "Very well, I think that wil be enough of a lesson," squinting to viddy this downed and beaten-up veck on the floor. "Let him dream perhaps about being a better boy in the future." So we all climbed back into our bunks, being very tired now. What I dreamt of, O my brothers, was of being in some very big orchestra, hundreds and hundreds strong, and the conductor was a like mixture of Ludwig van and G. F. Handel, looking very deaf and blind and weary of the world. I was with the wind instruments, but what I was playing was like a white pinky bassoon made of flesh and growing out of my plott, right in the middle of my belly, and when I blew into it I had to smeck ha ha ha very loud because it like tickled, and then Ludwig van G. F. got very razdraz and bezoomny. Then he came right up to my litso and creeched loud in my ooko, and then I woke up like sweating. Of course, what the loud shoom really was was the prison buzzer going brrrrr brrrrr brrrrr. It was winter morning and my glazzies were all cally with sleepglue, and when I opened up they were very sore in the electric light that had been switched on all over the zoo. Then I looked down and viddied this new prestoopnick lying on the floor, very bloody and bruisy and still out out out. Then I remembered about last night and that made me smeck a bit.
But when I got off the bunk and moved him with my bare noga, there was a feel of like stiff coldness, so I went over to The Doctor's bunk and shook him, him always being very slow at waking up in the morning. But he was off his bunk skorry enough this time, and so were the others, except for Wall who slept like dead meat. "Very unfortunate," The Doctor said. "A heart attack, that's what it must have been." Then he said, looking round at us all: "You really shouldn't have gone for him like that. It was most ill-advised really." Jojohn said:
"Come come, doc, you weren't all that backward yourself in giving him a sly bit of fist." Then Big Jew turned on me, saying:
"Alekth, you were too impetuouth. That latht kick wath a very very nathty one." I began to get razdraz about this and said:
"Who started it, eh? I only got in at the end, didn't I?" I pointed at Jojohn and said: "It was your idea." Wall snored a bit loud, so I said: "Wake that vonny bratchny up. It was him that kept on at his rot while Big Jew here had him up against the bars." The Doctor said:
"Nobody will deny having a little hit at the man, to teach him a lesson so to speak, but it's apparent that you, my dear boy, with the forcefulness and, shall I say, heedlessness of youth, dealt him the coo de gras. It's a great pity."
"Traitors," I said. "Traitors and liars," because I could viddy it was all like before, two years before, when my so-called droogs had left me to the brutal rookers of the millicents. There was no trust anywhere in the world, O my brothers, the way I could see it. And Jojohn went and woke up Wall, and Wall was only too ready to swear that it was Your Humble Narrator that had done the real dirty tolchocking and brutality. When the chassos came along, and then the Chief Chasso, and then the Governor himself, all these cell-droogs of mine were very shoomny with tales of what I'd done to oobivat this worthless pervert whose krovvy-covered plott lay sacklike on the floor.
That was a very queer day, O my brothers. The dead plott was carried off, and then everybody in the whole prison had to stay locked up until further orders, and there was no pishcha given out, not even a mug of hot chai. We just all sat there, and the warders or chassos sort of strode up and down the tier, now and then creeching "Shut it" or "Close that hole" whenever they slooshied even a whisper from any of the cells. Then about eleven o'clock in the morning there was a sort of like stiffening and excitement and like the von of fear spreading from outside the cell, and then we could viddy the Governor and the Chief Chasso and some very bolshy important-looking chellovecks walking by real skorry, govoreet-ing like bezoomny. They seemed to walk right to the end of the tier, then they could be slooshied walking back again, more slow this time, and you could slooshy the Governor, a very sweaty fatty fair-haired veck, saying slovos like "But, sir – " and "Well, what can be done, sir?" and so on. Then the whole lot stopped at our cell and the Chief Chasso opened up. You could viddy who was the real important veck right away, very tall and with blue glazzies and with real horrorshow platties on him, the most lovely suit, brothers, I have ever viddied, absolutely in the heighth of fashion. He just sort of looked right through us poor plennies, saying, in a very beautiful real educated goloss: "The Government cannot be concerned any longer with outmoded penological theories. Cram criminals together and see what happens. You get concentrated criminality, crime in the midst of punishment. Soon we may be needing all our prison space for political offenders." I didn't pony this at all, brothers, but after all he was not govoreeting to me. Then he said: "Common criminals like this unsavoury crowd" – (that meant me, brothers, as well as the others, who were real prestoopnicks and treacherous with it) – "can best be dealt with on a purely curative basis. Kill the criminal reflex, that's all. Full implementation in a year's time. Punishment means nothing to them, you can see that. They enjoy their so-called punishment. They start murdering each other." And he turned his stern blue glazzies on me. So I said, bold:
"With respect, sir, I object very strongly to what you said then. I am not a common criminal, sir, and I am not unsavoury. The others may be unsavoury but I am not." The Chief Chasso went all purple and creeched: "You shut your bleeding hole, you. Don't you know who this is?"
"All right, all right," said this big veck. Then he turned to the Governor and said: "You can use him as a trail-blazer. He's young, bold, vicious. Brodsky will deal with him tomorrow and you can sit in and watch Brodsky. It works all right, don't worry about that. This vicious young hoodlum will be transformed out of all recognition."
And those hard slovos, brothers, were like the beginning of my freedom.