THE JAILBIRD OF ALCATRAZ

This is an English language lesson and the keywords of the lesson are highlighted in bold.

So let me begin.

I am a jailbird and I want to tell you my incredible true story.

I am one of the few prisoners to have ever escaped from Alcatraz, probably the worlds most famous top security prison of all time.

Alcatraz is located on a tiny island in the middle of San Francisco Bay and is infamously known as the Rock.

It was America’s most feared prison for more than twenty five years.

Sean Connery made it famous in a 1990s Hollywood movie.

Famous detainees included the gangsters Al Capone, Jamie ‘Whitey’ Bolger and the man we know in stories as the Birdman of Alcatraz.

Escape was thought to be impossible but on the night of 12th June 1962, I managed it with the assistance of two cell-mates.

Not until a quarter past seven the following morning did a prison guard realize that three prisoners were missing from their cell and raise the alarm.

The prison guards and police started a huge manhunt and continued the search for weeks afterwards.

We would never be captured.

So how was it done?

We used spoons to dig holes in the air vents in the backs of our cells.

While two of us were digging, one of us would play the accordion to cover up the sound.

We made paper-mache heads with newspaper and glue, painted them and attached hair.

We put other pillows on the bed under the sheets to look like a body.

We climbed the pipes in the utility corridor to get to the top of the cell block and climb out of the vent.

We left the island on a raft we had made using raincoats.

The accordion was used to blow up the raft quickly.

I like to think that the prison closed in 1963 because my co-escapees and I a year earlier proved a point but we all know that the real reason was because the prison was just was too expensive to run.

Today the prison on Alcatraz is a popular Museum and tourist attraction.

Some thirty years after my escape, I have returned, incognito of course, to Alcatraz island.

I have paid my admission money and taken the guided tour, even asked questions to the well-informed guide.

Selfies have been posted on social media showing me in places which serve as memories to this day.

How intriguing it was to listen to the tour guide explain how I escaped that night and what might have become of my cell-mates and I.

Did I drown in the icy cold waters?  Did I have an accident during my escape?  Was I actually shot dead and there is a cover-up story?  Did I make it to Brazil or some other far-flung place?

For the record I suppose, I am still a wanted man according to the FBI and I am still a fugitive.

Today, I consider myself a free man and to me, Alcatraz represents freedom and liberty.

You do not need to know my name then or now.

You just need to know what I did and why I did it.

Long Live the Rock!

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