On November 28th, 1950, James Henry Corbitt was hanged at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, England. In 1949 he had murdered his mistress, Eliza Woods, in a jealous rage. He strangled her in a hotel room in Ashton-Under-Lyne, Lancashire. On the day of his execution he had only one request. To be acknowledged and remembered by his executioner, Albert Pierrepoint, the infamous and long running official English executioner. The two men were friends before Corbitt committed his crime, drinking and singing buddies who affectionately called each other ‘Tish’ and ‘Tosh’. Tish (Corbitt), was a constant at Pierrepoint’s less grisly job, owner of a pub called Help the Poor Struggler. Many years later, in his memoirs, Tosh (Pierrepoint) would write:
“I thought if any man had a deterrent to murder poised before him, it was this troubadour whom I called Tish. He was not only aware of the rope, he had the man who handled it beside him singing a duet. The deterrent did not work.”
On his execution day, Pierrepont gave Corbitt a friendly ‘Hallo Tish, how are you’, the same greeting he would give the man each night before he was a murderer. Tish relaxed a bit and smiled after the greeting and went to the gallows, according to Pierrepoint, “lightly…I would say that he ran.” Pierrepont had a prolific career as a hangman, executing over 400 criminals. He resigned in 1956 having changed his views and supporting the abolishment of the death penalty in England, which was eventually accomplished in 1965. Unfortunately I could not find a picture of ‘Tish’ or his victim Eliza Woods, but pictured above are: ‘Tosh’ Albert Pierrepoint, his pub Help the Poor Struggler, an old picture of Strangeways Prison and finally the hanging chamber within where ‘Tish’ met his end.
The suitcases continued to loop around in a never ending circuit, all different shapes and sizes and colours. The longer she stood there, the more suitcases appeared on the conveyor belt, as though every person in the damn world had been travelling on her flight. And right now, they were all preventing her from doing what she really wanted to do.
All Katniss Everdeen wanted as of this moment was to get to her hotel, have a shower and scrub the last 8 hours of sitting next to a drunk guy falling asleep on her shoulder off of her skin. And order a meal and a beer from room service.
She glanced at her watch, noted that she’d been waiting close to 15 minutes already. It probably wasn’t all that long in the grand scheme of things, but she’d already seen a few people arrive after her and saunter off with their Samsonites, iPhones already up to their ears as they reconnected with the world.