Dregs

Dregs by Jørn Lier Horst

Book: Dregs by Jørn Lier Horst Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jørn Lier Horst
Tags: Fiction, Mystery
you wondering about that?’
    She pulled the duvet over her to cover her bare breasts. ‘Tomorrow I’m going to interview someone who spent sixteen years in prison.’
    ‘What did he do wrong?’
    ‘He killed a policeman.’
    Tommy sat bolt upright. ‘Why are you going to interview him? That must surely be old news.’
    ‘It’s for an article I’m writing for the weekend magazine,’ Line said. ‘I’m going to profile six murderers. Get them to talk about what the sentence did to them and what their lives are like now.’
    Tommy got up and remained standing in the nude, looking down at her seriously. ‘Do you think up these interviews for yourself, or is it the editorial team that gives them to you?’
    ‘It was my own idea.’
    He laughed. ‘You are strange,’ he said, and leaned over to kiss her before vanishing into the kitchen.
    Line smiled after him and stayed in bed a while longer before going to the bathroom. She had a quick shower, dried herself and went naked to him. Tommy had heated up the cooker again and laid her clothes on a chair, pretending to watch her surreptitiously while she dressed. Taking out two glasses he uncorked a bottle of wine, filled hers and took his own to the cooker. Line sat at the table. He stirred one of the pots, turned to her and drank from his glass.
    ‘It was bloody awful,’ he said. ‘Lonely and isolated, with no chance to keep in touch with family or friends. You’ve got only a gang of key-rattlers around you, who decide all the time what you can or can’t do. Your life is put on hold, you don’t have a life of your own any longer and even your inmost thoughts and feelings are controlled by others.’ He took another drink. ‘I was in with the roughest, but you can’t get me to believe they didn’t snivel in their cells at night like the rest of us.’
    Line sat holding her glass in her hand. ‘All the same, you ended up in jail a second time?’
    Tommy sighed heavily. ‘It was crazy. I promised myself, the first time I got out, that I would never go in there again. Never in my life, but it didn’t work out that way.’
    She looked at him for a long time. ‘Perhaps you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that you’re not the only one. Eight out of ten who are released end up back in prison. And that’s exactly what is a bit of a paradox, given that the intention is that prisoners should come out as better and more law-abiding people.’
    Tommy gave her a serious look. ‘No, it brings out the worst in you. I became unbelievably unravelled inside. When I got out the second time, I practically couldn’t relate to other people. I became anxious about going out the door.’
    ‘That’s precisely what I want to shed light on. What being inside does to people, and whether it serves any purpose – beyond keeping them off the streets for a while. It costs a huge amount of money. One prisoner costs society 2,000 kroner a day – that’s over 700,000 kroner a year. You could get a lot of rehabilitation for that money.’
    ‘That’s my girl.’ He smiled warmly and turned back to the pots, gave them a stir and turned to face her again. ‘I’ll never go back there, if that’s what you’re wondering.’
    She got up and placed her hand on his shoulder. She was about to say something about how fond she had become of him, but he beat her to it: ‘Dinner’s ready!’
    She had not checked to see what he was preparing, but now leaned across to the cooker. Chicken breasts were simmering in a cream sauce in the frying pan, and stewed mushrooms with onion and bacon in the pot beside it.
    ‘There’s salad in the fridge,’ he said. She took it out and carried it through to the living room where Tommy had already set the table.
    ‘What have the other criminals done?’ he asked when they sat down.
    ‘No, we don’t need to talk about work now,’ was Line’s opinion. ‘Let’s relax.’
    ‘I’m serious,’ Tommy said. ‘Who have they killed?’
    Line was not

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