I turned myself in on Friday evening. The law carted me to booking, which was only a short walk down the street. After I was booked they took my belongings, finger printed me, took my pictures, and I saw the nurse. After that I was allowed to sit in the main booking area. This was all familiar because it’s the same thing I did when I was originally arrested. I thought, this was no biggie… maybe I’ll just stay in here the whole time. So I sat down and began counting down the clock.
47 HOURS TO GO.
I soon discovered the nice familiar room would not be my end destination for the weekend. A bus would be coming for us and I’d be off to jail. I figured it wouldn’t be long that I’d be at booking, maybe get on a bus first thing on Saturday morning. My attention quickly was distracted by the belligerent woman in a holding cell who kept yelling and screaming for a lawyer. She was clearly intoxicated and did not understand what she did wrong. She kept yelling “PHONE CALL!” but had no response from the officers unless it was to make fun of her. Finally she shut up and I started to pay attention to my surroundings. Sitting around in booking I felt like I didn’t belong. There were people who were clearly too drunk from partying downtown but a lot of sketchier looking folk were mingled in with them. The women and men had to sit in two separate areas but were still able to see each other. I sat around thinking that maybe I was being judgmental, maybe these people were in the same boat as me. Avoiding awkward glances at other people I just tried to watch the television. There were two TVs both on separate channels and neither could be heard well. Eventually everyone got to their boredom point and started speaking to each other. One girl told me her whole story when I accidentally made eye contact. She was in for assault charges for beating the girl who her boyfriend cheated on her with… or was it the boyfriend she beat? Who knows… There were some girls who were there for failure to appear charges. I didn’t really ask much information because it wasn’t my business.
The conversations were interrupted when the belligerent lady from the holding cell came out. She had been quiet enough to get her phone call and start the process to bond out. Not exactly what I expected her to be. She was large and not the prettiest daisy I’d ever seen. She was rough around the edges and clearly still drunk. She found some food that had been left behind several hours prior and began eating it. I may have vomited in my mouth slightly at the sight. Then she shared her story… apparently she had drunk a lot and went outside topless to talk to her neighbor and that’s how she ended up in jail. I couldn’t help but visualize this and had to swallow the vomit back down again.
Next one girl announced to everyone that she just figured out she was pregnant from the pregnancy test she was given at the last jail she was at and the one here just confirmed it. Preggo also explained that she has been jail hopping from about 3 other jails to finally get to this county to serve time for all her failures to appear. She kept failing to appear because she was continuously getting locked up for fighting but the whole thing was “bullshit.” Girl had a mouth that went a mile a minute. She wasn’t making many friends at first either. How was it that I ended up here again?
Finally she stopped talking. It was late and everyone else started quieting down. People were bonded out, others booked in. At some point I passed out in the uncomfortable plastic chairs. I kept waking up every so often and readjusting, but not enough to take in what was happening.
42 HOURS TO GO.
At 2am I woke up to some noise. The men were being escorted to the jail, which happened to conveniently be located in the same building as booking. There were called out by name and marched into a back door. Preggo realized what was happening and kept calling bullshit that the men got to leave and we had to sit here in these chairs still… her back hurt… she’s pregnant… you can’t do this shit to a pregnant lady… she was starving… she was pregnant and NEEDED to eat… Other people around me were getting just as agitated with her as I was becoming. It actually forced me to strike up a conversation with some other ladies. I was mostly listening to what they had to say, and nodding along at random times. These two girls were “weekenders” so they were just serving jail on the weekend instead of all at once. I learned about their lives, and realized how extremely different we were. Betty had been hit with jail time for beating the crap out of a lady in the Walmart parking lot because the lady touched her car. Tina had taken the hit for her loser boyfriend while he got probation even though she was the one with the good job and he’s a free loader…. How do these people live like this?
Again tiredness set in, and we all fell back to sleep.
38 HOURS TO GO!
I was in and out of sleep for a few hours. Six AM rolled around and food was brought out; delicious bologna and cheese sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, plain nacho chips, and some fake oreo-like cookies. Starving, I ate one of each. All of it tasted fake, but my belly was full and I was content going back to sleep.
34 HOURS TO GO!
Sleep came and went. Consistent sleep wasn’t an option with the florescent lights beating down at all times. Shift changes occurred and occurred again. By this time it was roughly 10am. Everyone had slept enough to be awake. Chatting commenced. I learned all about Betty’s weekend stints and Tina’s boyfriend issues. Red joined us by that time. She reminded me of a Russian mother. She just always had a serious look and was slightly terrifying. I just couldn’t wait until the bus came to take us to the next place. Finally we were called one by one to line up. It didn’t seem that bad up to this point. We were escorted into a room where we were to sit on the benches. The wall was covered in graffiti, which at first thought was no big deal. Being bored I naturally went to check my phone which I didn’t have. It wasn’t until then I realized that the graffiti was impressive/revolting realizing no one was allowed ANY personal possessions except the paperwork you were given after turning in your items…. There were tons of cuss words everywhere and even an elaborate drawing of a guy bending over taking it in the butt. Fascination wiped from my face. That was the first time terror rushed over me. I felt like I would be eaten alive. The officers brought in the chains to be put on us. Clanks echoed in the tiny room. It was earsplitting. The girl who was partially deaf was even affected by the obnoxious clanging. It seemed like the officers were trying to make as much sound as humanly possible. Our legs were chained together. Our hands were chained together. A chain was wrapped around my waist and connected to my handcuffs. All 10 of us were put in a van. The van had the normal front row with 2 seats, a long row for 3 people to fit, and a modified back where 8 people could sit facing each other. It was clear there were favorite prisoners of the guards among the group. Those 3 got the nice row in the middle. Everyone else was packed in like cattle.
The ride to prison was short and bumpy. Oh, didn’t I mention? The jail is under construction so we were on the way to PRISION. Good god, I made a mistake one night and now I’m about to face prison? Terror was looming. One girl kept hacking and sneezing. All these germs were in a tight, packed, non-ventilated area. Was I also going to end up with swine flu because I drove drunk one night? Terror strikes again. After performing the balancing act of trying not to slam in to the other girls while being swung around corners in the van we arrived at prison. There we were escorted off the bus and into processing. Our chains were taken off and we got to sit in a concrete room. It was about noon. Life was about to get a whole lot scarier.
32 HOURS TO GO!