I wasn’t expecting you to write me back. Now I know I was right about you. You see things how they really are. You’ve accepted you could die at any moment. Most people go to absurd lengths to avoid that acceptance.
I looked at the photograph of your painting. I don’t get it, it’s just sunflowers. My cell mate said it looked almost identical to a certain Van Gogh painting, except that rather than having the flowers in a vase, you painted them in an upturned motorcycle helmet. He got all chummy after that, asked a lot of questions. Next day they had to move him out of here. Had himself a nasty accident. The warden says it’s best if I don’t have anymore cell mates. Suits me.
The shortbread arrived a week after your letter. Bloody good shortbread. I’ve given Red Ned the brand name and he’s going to order me some more.
I am surrounded by fools, liars and cowards in here. It disgusts me. I expect you know the feeling. All these men, pathetic, wild, terrified—not one of them has any idea where he is going or why he does what he does. They are vile. I see it in their eyes. They are weeds fit only for burning. Weeds everywhere. The whole world is full of them. Does no one else see it? I know you see it. I want to burn them, but you want to look after them, right? Think they have potential, perhaps? Maybe that’s what the sunflowers are about.
Every day I think about what you did to Terry. I am going to kill you.
—A letter delivered to Rory on 3rd May 2006.
Sorry for taking so long to reply, but some business required my full attention. With that business now concluded, I am glad to write you once more.
I am sorry to hear of your former cell mate’s woes. From what I hear, many of your fellow inmates have encountered unfortunate accidents since you arrived.
It is nice to hear you took some interest in my painting. I have enclosed a photograph of another painting, my most recent one, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
I am sorry you feel disgusted by the people surrounding you. Have you thought there might be more than one way of viewing them? To extend them a little mercy might be as much to your advantage as theirs. Just something to consider.
Terry Ward must have been a close friend of yours. It is truly awful to lose a good friend, and I am sorry for your loss. I am not sorry, however, for shooting Terry. He was a cold-hearted criminal who ruined a lot of people’s lives. By the way, I heard it was Terry who gave you the nickname Biscuits. I also heard he gave you the name Jimmy O’Shea. Is that true?
I doubt very much you will kill me.
—Rory’s reply to the letter. Sent 18th August 2006.
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