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Day 33

Tuesday, March 7, 2000

Ahhhh. Commissary came today, and brushing my teeth was a near religious experience. The new no-name toothbrush had soft bristles that gently cleared my teeth, and I got a fresh tube of Colgate Tarter Control toothpaste instead of the off-brand crap the jail issued me. Even when I spend a year living in a tent as a whitewater raft guide, I STILL maintained good oral hygene. I gladly threw away my old toothbrush.

I also got some Irish Spring soap and a plastic soapdish like you'd use for camping. For a snack tonight I had a Baby Ruth, a vending machine sized bag of Fritos Texas Grill corn chips and a 20 ounce Mello Yello. For being in jail, life is GOOD! In nonfood items, I got two legal pads to keep on writin', an extra Bic pen, 10 stamped envelopes, and a birthday card and a thank you card. The latter were for my Mom and wife, respectively.

One strange thing happened today, at lunch, the guard was asking everyones bunk number as we got our trays, ensuring nobody snuck back in line and got someone else's tray. I told him my bunk number, to which he responded "Oh, so YOU'RE the Wizzard!".

"Well, I don't know if I'd say a WIZZARD ...", I said as I let it trail off at that. I can only assume he was referring to my computer skills as some kind of link to the occuld. Who knows.

I went out to exercise this morning and walked and ran laps the entire hour. It was a beautiful warm morning, and they said it was supposed to hit 80 degrees today, which would be a record high. It sure was beautiful at 9 AM. I was somewhat sweating when I came in, and was called directly in to the Work Release office. I prayed it was good news. I waited outside, then was called in. A man I didn't know was asking about the charges against me, and I answered honestly, giving my rebuttal to each of the four charges against me, two of which are the same thing, just worded differently. I also told him that my journal is being falsely represented as being one big gripe about the guards and conditions of the jail. Not so. The only pages copied with his documentation were the very few that bitched about things here. I told him the rest of the journal talked about my job, how much I missed my kids, etc. Throwing all shame aside, I practially begged on behalf of my family to let me go back to work release. I could tell he felt sympathy for my situation, yet I doubt it will change anything. I had to try. He said I'd hear by days end what the outcome was. Well, here I am. I guess I have my outcome.

Later I had a long conversation with two more guys in the dorm, whom we'll call Mark and Doc. Mark has his masters degree from a college that was one of my college's biggest rivals. It makes for interesting conversation. He's a paramedic who, like me, just had a newborn. Actually, his daughter was born three weeks ago; he's been here four weeks. What kills me is what he's in for.

On duty one night, his ambulance was in a bad accident. He was hurt pretty bad. His doctor prescribed him a controlled drug called Darcocet. It's an expensive drug, and although he had a refill coming, when he was almost out, a friend had given him a bottle of the drug that he, too, was prescribed, but he had stopped taking. To me, it seems like a way of saving money, as it must have to Mark. Unfortunately, to the officer who pulled him over for speeding and saw the bottle with someone else's name on it, it seemed like Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance.

That seriously sucks for Mark. I'm not sure if the case has been finalized or if the court date is pending, but either way it's got to suck for Mark who, like me, is an educated professional with a family who needs him. He had to miss the birth of his daughter. That's such a shame. I couldn't imagine having to be locked up when my daughters were born.

I learned a little about Doc, too. Althouth the others call him Doc, he has nothing to do with medicine. I think they call him that because his glasses make him look like he could be a doctor. Somewhere in the vicinity of his fifties, he looks young but calls himself an old man. He has a Bachelors degree in Economics. He hails from Seattle.

It's cool to know some guys in here like Alf, Mark and Doc. They're good people. I think i the morning, Mark, Doc and I are going to go to the G.E.D. class. For two hours each morning, we got to go through various computer training modules covering different parts of the G.E.D. Although we've all gone to college, it should be interesting to see how much we remember from high school. Once we get in there, they have other areas of academic study, but I won't know what kind until I get in there. I mean, what the hell? It's a way to kill a couple of hours.

10:00 PM - Lock Down. At 10:55, someone called for prayer time, in which about twenty or so of us gather in a circle and a couple of guys read scriptures, and everyone says the Lord's Prayer followed by the group leader offering a prayer. Usually, we do this just after the 10:00 lock down, but tonight it was way late.

In comes the guard who says since we weren't on our bunks after ten, we're all locked down ALL DAY tomorrow. No TV, no phone. Well isn't that grand. To add irony, one of the night's liturgists was reading the verse about how "if God is with us, what man can be against us?" Well, he wears a badge and walked in right about then. Punishment of the Jailhouse Martyrs.

Well, lock down tomorrow or not, I felt better after prayer time, as I usually do. Then one of the guards came in and told me to come with him. He said it had something to do with getting stuff from my work release locker.

"But my work release locker was already emptied by one of the officers", I replied.

"Oh well, maybe you're supposed to be putting your stuff IN a locker", he suggested.

If that were true, then I'm back on work release and set to go back to work in the next couple of days! I was overjoyed. Then I saw Mookie. If you recall, Mook was one of my cellmates at CJC, ten he was sent here and put on work release. He's a barber by trade.

Well, he was.

It turns out he was fifteen minutes late getting back one day, and a known traffic jam was the reason. They pulled his work release and are making him work inside the jail for no money. What will he be doing? It just so happens they need a barber in here. Go figure.

Well, as my luck would have it, I AM off work release, there was a mixup about my locker. It was already empty, as I already knew. Well kids, it's official! I'm here for three more weeks!

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