Lockdown

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Jonesy and three new ones came ’round just after lunch and told them all to finish their smokes and get inside their cells. Something had happened in the men’s section, so it was lockdown; lockdown for each and every woman. Once they were in, Camilla got out the cards and started dealing them so fast she cut herself. The TV sparked. ‘Fuck that.’

‘Fuck you, Denny. Those dolls will get disembowelled.’ Denise had shredded any magazine she could find to make stuffing for her dolls a couple of days ago.

It was cold so some of them huddled together or put a second pair of socks on. The window was jammed shut. They smoked on the floor in the middle of the room without worrying about the alarm. Outside, the wind picked up.

‘You want to know what I think about whenever this happens? How good it will be to run my own home again.’

‘I want soft pyjamas. Actually first thing – I want to be around men again, like, I’m serious.’ Goody lost it at that, kicked her feet in the air and held her tummy til she calmed down.

‘No, I’m sick of it, I’m sick of everything about women. And I want my rags to myself for fuck’s sake, I’m sick of sharing them with everyone else.’

‘I want a house with a garden. I want a bidet. I don’t even care if I don’t use it, I want that bloody bidet installed even if I just use it to clean my shoes instead of my arse.’

‘You know what I want?’ said Hen, but nobody was listening because Cammy was picking a fight, burning strands of Janine’s hair with the end of her cigarette.

‘Oi, you know what I want? I’ve thought about this heaps. I want a place that’s totally my own, more private than any place you can imagine. Like, really far underground. Warm, soft, quiet, comfortable. Thickest walls you can imagine.’

‘Like a dirty room for your orgies, Hen, you fatty?’

‘I’m serious. I think about this all the time. There’s nothing you have to do and no one you have to see when you get to this place. No one can reach you if they tried; and it doesn’t matter at all. Because everything you need is there and you’re so full and warm and caught up in the pleasure of being there. You don’t need anybody and nobody needs you.’

Cammy wriggled her way under Goody’s blanket with her feet. Slowly and gently they wrapped their hands together. Outside the wind turned wet and blew sharp, spitting rain across the tin roofs of the cottages. Denise thought about how far it was to the city from here. At least twenty, thirty kilometres on that stretch of road, punctuated by the bodies of kangaroos. Over the hills and between the mountains. Hush, hush. Everyone was quiet until the sound of doors being unlocked.