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Day 1

Friday, Febuary 4, 2000

Friday afternoon at 5:00 I got dropped off by my wife at the main jail downtown. I hotboxed a couple of cigarettes and walked in the door. It took a while to get in because of the local news crews crowding the small lobby. It seems there was a man who beat in the skull of his girlfriend's infant child. He was appearing before the night court judge. The media frenzycaused me to have to wait to get in the dors, leat I appear on the live 5:00 news cast. Considering there aren't many people that know about my being here, I didn't want to be on TV.

So I got in and made my way back to intake where thay gladly relieved me of anything worth a shit, and stuck me in a holding cell. I sat there for a couple of hours. No surprise. There were four of us in the holding cell during the first hour. One guy got arrested because when he re4cently bought a used car, the dealership had mistakenly put a "99" instead of "00" on the temporary tags. They arrested him with illegally tampering with tags or some shit. He said it was because he was a black man driving a nice used car. I tend to agree with him. As he pointed out if he was going to tamper with the tags, he would have made it a "00" instead of "99", but the cops were too thick headed to listen to that, so they took him to jail just in case. Typical.

There was another guy who sat silent, then there was this guy who spent all his time on the phone. He must've called fifteen people or so collect from that holding cell. He talked to his girlfriend, his mother, his dad, his friends. He was talking about not having any bond set at all. He was talking about the seriousness of his charges. It didn't take long for me to figure out this was the (alleged) infant murderer that all the media frenzy was about. I looked long and hard at this guy. He was sitting across from me, about 4 feet away. I could have easily extended my leg and kicked his. I looked into his face. His eyes. He was young, clean cut, seemed normal enough. His eyes met mine a couple of times while I was staring at him. He quickly looked away, as if afraid I was going to jump on him and bash his against the wall, like he (allegedly) did that baby. I wasn't thinking the kind of thoughts he assumed I was. I was just looking at him. Wondering what could make a person (allegedly) do what he (allegedly) did.

After a while, they moved me to a big holding cell area with one big room and ten small 2-man cells off the big room. In each small cell was 3-4 people. This was Friday evening around 9:00. there was a phone here, so I took the opportunity to call my wife and fill her in on my adventure so far. they opened the small cell doors and let everyone in the commons area for a while. It was interesting to see all the people in this communal lock up wearing their different street clothes - soon I would see them all in totally different, or I sould say, totally similar, attire. One guy was braiding another guy's hair. There was a shy Steve Urkel looking guy off to one corner. A Harley biker type stood off to one side with a couple of gangster looking thugs. Some were old, some young. Some were black, some white, a few latin. One ducked in a cell to burn a cigarette someone had snuck in. Someone else lit up a fat assed joint with a tell-tale smell that made me think I was back in college again. I couldn't believe someone had the gall to smoke a joint in jail. this was the first of many surprises and misconceptions to come.


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