Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Jail Tales: PART I

I've been in jail twice. It's nothing to brag about or be proud of but it makes for amusing life experiences, not to mention funny stories. At the end of the summer in 1980 my Mom and I were not getting along very well. I decided it was time to go back to N.C. to live with my Dad for a while. I had spent that whole summer clubbing and dancing and was of course hit by the harsh reality that was Durham, North Carolina. I finally found one dance club. My friend Chief said he would take me. I forget the name of the club. For some reason, we took my Dad's Thunderbird. The Thunderbird of that era was a huge car like a Lincoln Continental, not the small sexy sports car from American Graffitti.

Chief always had speed. Black Beauties. I wasn't a speed freak or anything. I was one of those social/party/casual drug users. Anyway Chief had some speed. And I took one. And then later another one. And here I need to backtrack about something else.

That whole summer in Texas, I worked by day as a groundskeeper at my parents' country club. Almost every night I went out with Karl. On Monday nights we went to a drive-in movie, and Tuesday through Saturday we went dancing. Sometimes we saw a movie. (Actually this is the guy that turned me onto Star Wars when he practically forced me to see Return of the Jedi. Yay Karl!) Well at some point I misplaced my driver's license. Instead of just going to get a replacement, which would be the logical thing to do, we decided to save time and Karl gave me an old license that had belonged to his sister. We looked enough alike that I never had a problem with it.

Okay so here it is a few months later. I had the fake I.D. and I was partying at this club in Durham. At closing time, it seemed pretty obvious that Chief was in no shape to drive. The only problem was I really didn't know my way around Durham. Except for driving to work and to school, two years earlier, I was usually a passenger. So we're going along fine and we come up on a light, which is green, and Chief says "Turn left!!!" I start to turn left and he says, "No Wait!! Not here!! The next light!!!!" Well some cops saw this wonderful manuever and pulled us. I did not pass my street test.

We get to the station and they gave me some jail garb. I remember thinking it looked like a McDonald's uniform. I am sent into a small restroom to change. I decided I needed to hang onto my money. Remember this was 1980 and all the movies in the past 10 years portrayed cops as crooks. So I stuffed my cash in my panties and put on my McDonald's uniform. The trickiest part was my one phone call.

I didn't want to call my Dad because I was booked under a false name, so I called my old high school boyfriend. Since a cop was standing next to me, I used the name on the false license, because I knew he would recognize my voice. It went something like this:
Me: Hi HSB! This is "Linda" (the name on the license), I'm in some trouble.
HSB: Oh shit, did you get a DUI?
Me: Uhm, yes, this is "Linda Smith" Remember Linda Smith?
(My biggest concern at this point is they would come to post my bail and not remember my "name." And yeah at this point I should have just fessed up to the cops. For some reason I thought the false I.D. thing was worse than the DUI. And according to the report, I WAS drunk.) Anyway he figured it out, and I told them to come and get me in the morning.

So now I went to the jail part of jail. The part with bars. And criminals. The only thing I remember about that night was that the regulars don't like being awakened at 3:30 in the morning. Oh, and that sleep is not so good on a one inch pad on a metal shelf, in a scary jail, when you're drunk, and you've taken some speed. Yeah, that's not good sleep.

I wake up (or come to) the next morning because someone is shaking me and telling me it's time for breakfast. So I'm not hungry (did I mention the speed?) and become very popular as I give away everything but the orange juice. The eating section is a communal area of metal picnic tables outside of the sleeping cell area. But now I'm totally paranoid about the money hidden in my panties. What was I thinking? was what I was thinking. After I drank my orange juice, I went back into my cell to lie down on my metal slab.

The #1 pastime in jail is to ask, "What are you in for?" I had told my story 3 or 4 times already about how I was driving "JUST FINE" and Chief made me swerve with his bad directions. Well as I was lying on my slab, I heard a woman say she had been there longer than anyone. She was asked how long and why. She said "Two months. I found out my man be cheating on me and I went crazy. I had some scissors in my hand and I stabbed him with them scissors." Someone asked, "Is he in the hospital?" She said, "No, honey, he dead." I can still hear those words in my head today. No, Honey, he dead.

Well, finally "Jingle Bells" - that's what they call the lady with all the keys - came to get me. She brought my clothes in a brown (grocery type) paper sack. One of my cell mates grabbed the sack and pulled out one of my beloved red suede 3-inch heels (remember I had been at a club) and said, "Where's the other one? I'm taking these." I looked through the bag, but the other shoe was not there. She didn't believe me and snatched the bag from me. The shoe still wasn't there. Then she threw the shoe at me and said, "You're lucky the other one's not here!" I got dressed and walked out barefoot carrying the one red shoe. My HSB was waiting for me.

1 comment:

doubleknot said...

Spent the night in jail one time in my much younger years - mostly because they didn't know what to do with me that night. I was alone thank goodness and after checking out my story (looking for a ride home) they sent me on my way the next day. Those were the days before you didn't dare get in a stranger's car and people were glad to give you a ride down the road a ways. We have lost so much trust these days but it can't be helped - there are real monsters out there.