We headed to court in a bucking van, but it couldn’t shake me out of a major funk. For eight days, I had slept, cold and alone, in the keep of a forbidding gray monolith. I had been snatched away with no phone call home – or to an attorney – and thrown in jail with others who hadn’t asked to be there. I had observed, trying to decipher where I fit, if I fit. They seemed okay, but what did I know. I’d never met a real inmate before and certainly hadn’t been forced to mingle with a pack of them, eat with them or learn their language.
In the van came much brooding. I had committed a misdemeanor. Didn’t matter. Guards in basic black made sure I couldn’t do much except stare at – or away from – my fellow inmates. Just like me, ankles and wrists chafed in steel.
“What’d you do?” asked a baby-faced inmate with arms-full of faces and a woman’s name and swirls and geometric shapes done in lots of color, like red, and with apparent skill.
Say nothing! You’ve done nothing to trigger awe or fear, like murder. Your response might draw unwanted attention – and laughs.
I kept my distance. That was after the steel doors slammed for the first time. And that was after the last time I texted her. And that was before hobbling to court that day.
Now, I took my place in a trail of orange, stutter-stepping along with about two dozen others, our hands and ankles still shackled. Even though this would be my last day in chains, I had to endure one last trial. It would come, though, without those damn doors and their metal explosion like the clap of death.
To be continued with next post, coming soon!