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Day 54

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

Finally it was Midnight. Since we once again hadn't been outside, they let us out and about for exercise. That lasted an hour. I sat back down and played some cards and dominoes with the guys, then Opie and I played a couple of rounds of paper football. I won one, he won one. By now it was nearly two in the morning. one of the guys was hammering out a beat on the table. Another started laying down a bass beat on the metal bed. They told me to jump in and I piched up one of the plastic stools, which have a sort of an hourglass shape, and began to lay down some rhythms conga drum style. It didn't take long for the guard to come in and ask what in the hell was going on with all the noise. Adrian told him that we were having a jam of sorts to celebrate my release, kind of like a going away party of sorts. He said, rather matter of factly, that nobody was being released.

For some reason, that didn't surprise me. The others were saying things like,"What do you mean there's no release tonight? There SHOULD be a release tonight! He's supposed to go home!" The guard said that there were no orders in the office for anyone to be leaving. If ANYONE was being released on March 28, it would be on first shift after 8AM. I sat still and calm. Having been in here this long and having learned how things work here, I wasn't in the least bit surprised. I had the inner peace of a Jedi Knight. I was leaving very soon, whether the guard knew it or not.

The other guys were mad as hell for me. They talked about how they's do this or do that if it were them, I sat peacefully by and told them to remain calm, I was going home, and don't ask how I knew. They couldn't help but be skeptical.

However, about five minutes later, as the 3rd hole cell was coming in from recreation, Clarence knocked on the door and said "Hey Internet King! They're going to get your bag, man!" I looked out the door to see two guards exiting the far door, a tell-tale sign of a release getting ready to happen. Shortly they returned with two property bags and came to the cell. They needn't have even called my name. I had my stuff in my hands before they even got the door open. I turned to my "cellies", and told them all to get the hell out and don't come back, making a special effort to lock eyes with Opie when I said it to drive an especially strong point over to him. I hope for HIS sake, that he listens to me. There was the all-too-familiar slam of the cell door, but this time it was behind me, like so many of the other things from the past 54 days.

I was taken downstairs and changed into my street clothes. I signed a few papers, walked through the building to the other side and left without saying goodbye. The guard that let us out told us to not come back. No problem, I thought to myself.

Taking a fresh breath of cool night air with the cement of the sidewalk beneath my feet, I realized that finally I was a free man.

Wondering how I was going to call my wife and where I was going to have her meet me, my thoughts were interrupted by one of my fellow free men. He asked if I needed a ride, to which I replied that I did. His ride wasn't going all the way to where I lived, but was going in that direction. He was going far enough. I gave him the destination of the Springwater, a little hole in the wall bar. The bartender is a friend of mine from my hometown. He used to tend bar at my favorite bar back home. His name is Mark.

Mark was pleasantly surprised to see me. He hadn't seen me since my youngest daughter was born. I told him about my fiasco, and he shook his head in regret, asking how my wife and the two girls got along without me for a couple of months. I told him the details.

Turns out he, too had a DUI recently. The local police department seems to look heavily for DUI drivers in this part of town, so close to the University. I sat and had a cold beer as he cleaned up while I waited for Jeanne to come and get me. Mark went on to tell me that he is engaged to be married in October. He plans to have his reception at the bar he used to work at. I'm sure I'll be there. There's also been a lot of changes back home since I've been locked up.

My wife arrived and took me home. On the way I told her about my ordeal in the hole. I don't remember exactly what, just that I was glad to be back in OUR car heading back to OUR place to sleep in OUR bed. Once we arrived I kissed both my daughters on their heads and wandered around the apartment. I didn't sleep at all, I just got straight to work on all the things I've slacked off at doing since I've been gone. Once my daughters woke up, it was happy time ALL day until I went to sleep, finally, sometime after midnight Wednesday morning.


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