Sleepover in Cell Block-C
A true story
Written by Jimmy Hansen
Hehehe… Well it all started back in February. I was coming home from YSA and coasted a little too fast into town. Right at the bottom of the hill Mr. Po was waiting for me and pulled me over. He didn’t write me a ticket for speeding, but the insurance card had expired and I had not switched in the new one. So he gave me a court date for April the 8th.
The weeks went by and in the hustle and bustle of life I completely forgot about the court date to prove that I had current car insurance. A few days later I remembered and went in to City Hall to clear things up. The secretary there told me there was a warrant out for my arrest, but since it was such a petty misdemeanor the sheriff would not round me up. She said I could just lay low till May 13th. Sounded like a plan to me, and I put the matter out of my mind.
Monday when I arrived at home Luke, my little brother, said the sheriff had come by and asked for me. The sheriff said he had some papers I needed to fill out and I needed to contact them, turns out this was a tricky lie. Eleven o’clock that night I was in my room about to sleep when my dad called for me to go downstairs. I started to get up and my dad surprised me by running up the stairs to get me. I don’t think I had ever seen the old man move up the stairs so quick!
“Grab your I.D. Jim.”
“Is it the sheriff?”
What the blazes was the sheriff doing here this late. Was his paperwork that important to finish? I met the sheriff in the front entry way. He was fairly tall, had a mustache, and at his side was his faithful Latino sidekick in a baseball cap.
“Howdi,” I said in somewhat cautious tone.
“Hi I’m sheriff Miles, I’m here about the warrant out for your arrest”
“So you are going to arrest me?”
“Well I’m gonna call it in right now and If we confirm the 99 then we will have to take you in. Can I see your I.D.”
I handed over my license.
“This is sheriff Miles, I need to confirm the 99 for James A as in alpha Hansen, he is a white male.”
“What’s a 99,” my dad growled.
“I’m confirming the 99 er… I mean warrant,”
“And if it is confirmed?”
“If the warrant is confirmed then we have to take him in, if it is not then he stays here.”
Dad had spent hours under Katie’s car that night switching out the radiator hose that was in the most hard to get at place and he was fairly tired and out of patience. Also with his face and hands smeared with grease and soot he looked very menacing.
“This is ridiculous! You don’t need to arrest him. All he did was forget to place the new insurance card in the glove box, and then we were out of town and he missed his court date. You have better things to do than arrest students! He even went in and tried to clear it up and they said until the next court date in May there was nothing to do about it. Now you show up at eleven o’clock at night to arrest my son, I am just seething inside! A little communication would solve this problem!”
The sheriff got defensive and stammered back some excuse about his duty and there was nothing he could do about it, and how he could have arrested me in school and embarrassed me in front of my friends.
Dad must have figured it was a waste of air to reply because he just nodded his head with a disgusted look on his face.
“Well, the 99 has been confirmed so I’m gonna have to take you in for processing and then it will be a 207 dollar, cash only bail.”
“No checks?” dad asked
“Nope, cash only.”
“I won’t be able to go to the bank till the morning.”
“Swell,” I thought. This means I get to spend the night in jail.
“If you have anything in your pockets you want to leave behind now is the time to take it out.”
I emptied my pockets into my dads hands.
“Now turn around and put your hands behind your back, palms together.”
He clamped the cuffs down on my wrists and then took me by the arm and we went out the door.
“Nuts,” I thought. I was really getting arrested and to top it off it was for the most ridiculous reason. Might as well make the best of it, and I decided to have a fun stay in jail.
The sheriff let me into the back of the car and I had to lay sideways to keep the cuffs from digging into my wrists and back. The ride over was uneventful except that the sheriff was going 75 on a 55 mph road. What a boofer.
When we got to the jail house I was shuffled in and patted down. The night deputies were chill and asked me about school, life, and we even talked about my mission some. They said my mug shots were the best they had ever seen. They put me into a room to strip and shower and put on the county inmate oranges with a pair of classy, matching orange sandals. The suit was surprisingly comfortable and were just like scrubs only made of a thicker canvas-like material.
Then deputies escorted me back to cell block C.
“Grab a pad there”
Beside the door was a pile of the most dilapidated old green vinyl mats. The vinyl was all cracked and flaking and the foam was so old that it had zero spring to it. Swell! Sleeping on that was gonna be comfortable. They also handed me two coarse brown sheets and a blanket, but sadly they do not provide pillows.
Whoosh! The door to the cell popped open(the doors had air locks so they all whooshed whenever you opened them).
“Find a spot to sleep on the floor,” the deputy mumbled as he shut the door behind me.
I tiptoed over to the farthest corner away from the inmates. A couple of them looked up at me upon entering, but they just rolled over and went back to sleep. I laid out my bedding and then sat down facing everybody. I won’t lie, I was nervous. I did not want any of these guys messing with me. After a while I said a prayer that the other inmates would not bother me and then I went to sleep.
I woke up somewhere around 4:30ish. Not for sure because there are no clocks in jail, so I am guesstimating. I didn’t want to go back to sleep so I just sat up in bed. The hum of the fluorescent lights and the shifting of blankets as people rolled over were the only noises. I was getting way bored so I started counting blocks in the wall. I counted a total of 2,056 blocks. After about an hour or so the deputies came over the loud speaker and told us to get out of bed. None of the other inmates even budged. Any minute now the deputies would pour into the cell and start clubbing people, but instead the door popped open and they left us with a broom and a mop to clean.
Finally an old guy with a long gray beard rolled out of bed. After he did his morning business he went and waited by the door. After a few minutes the slot popped open and they gave him some pills. I bet they were crazy pills, because after that he started pacing the cell and he would pace right up next to me. It was creepy, and the other guys called him Old McDonald. I only I had stayed in jail a few days longer I might also have earned a sweet jail-name!
By now most everyone had gotten out of bed and were chatting and cleaning up the cell. Everyone kept staring at me. They were all curious about the “new guy.” I didn’t exactly feel like being social, so I was doing my best to keep my eyes on the floor, and stay out of everyone’s way. I had to wizz bad but I didn’t want to get up and cross the cell to the toilet. What if somebody decided to punch me in the face or something? You can only hold it so long so I got up and crossed the cell. The Toilet was just a stainless steel bowl. Above it was a sign that read “Please wipe the rim after you pee,”(I edited it for the children). I did my stuff, wiped the rim down and headed back over to my corner. On the way an inmate stepped in front of me. He was average height, shaved head with a beard, gnarly tattoos all over, and looked like he was 45 years old give or take. I’ll refer to him as tough guy.
“What you in for,” he asked.
“Oh… I failed to appear in court and provide proof of car insurance.”
“Hehehe… that’s #%$@* Newton County for you! They’ll bring you in for nothing.”
“Yeah,” I agreed with a nervous smile as I backed around him into my corner. I sat back down and watched the other inmates. Most had gone back to bed, a few were writing letters or reading, and Old McDonald was pacing up and down.
There was a clank as the grate opened and everyone hopped out of bed and lined up. I got in the back of the line, didn’t want to disturb the hierarchy. Breakfast consisted of two slices of toast, a ball of peanut butter spread, a bowl of frosted flakes, and a cup of coffee and milk. I went to sit down at one of the tables, but before my butt even touched the seat 3 inmates in a matter of fact kind of way said,
“You can’t sit there.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled. I took my tray and sat down on the floor by my mat. I guess I didn’t qualify for a seat at the table, but no worries keeping the other inmates happy was my goal.
The food was not filling and except for the coffee it was all gone in just a few minutes. I didn’t know what to do with it. It was against the rules to share food and trade stuff, but if I tossed it the other inmates might get ticked. Tough guy solved my problem.
“You gonna drink that coffee?”
I shook my head no.
“Then pour it in this cup,” he muttered as he tossed me a Styrofoam cup. Sitting on the floor turned out to my advantage since it blocked me from the guards view, and they couldn’t see me give tough guy my coffee.
“This is good coffee,” and tough guy grinned as he sipped his double helping.
After breakfast there was a lot of conversation going on. The conversations mainly centered on crimes committed, encounters with the police, and which prisons you had spent time in. Tough guy was bragging about how he had been here for four months and was going to the state penitentiary next week. Their language was all very coarse. After awhile it quieted down, and everyone resumed their normal activities. That is most everyone went back to bed except for two letter writers and Old McDonald who was pacing up and down still. One of the inmates writing a letter asked me what I was in for. I told him of the heinous crime I had committed and he just laughed. Then the other guy who was listening in started giving me jail pointers.
“Make sure that before you flush the toilet yell out fire in the hole, cause if someone is showering they’ll get scalded. Then they’ll be ticked off at you and you don’t want anyone ticked off at you.”
I certainly did not want anyone ticked off at me, but there was no way I was using the toilet in front of everyone. No privacy in jail.
“Also, make sure you wipe the seat down when you pee”
“Yeah, and if you need anything come to us don’t ask the guards,” the other guy chimed in.
“Thanks guys.” Yikes! Looks like I’ve met the underground.
“How do you tell time in here?”
“We mainly guess,” he replied.
Talk about mind torture. I had only been in jail for 8 hours and I already felt like I would go crazy from boredom. Half these guys must be deranged when they finally get out of here.
I could almost feel the boredom attacking my head. To entertain myself I watched the inmates and tried to understand prison life. It was very dull.
“James Hansen grab your things and meet us at the door,” blared the loud speaker.
Yes! I’m getting out of here. I grabbed my gear and walked over to the door, but before I’d made it halfway across the cell tough guy had stopped me.
“Gimme your towel.”
He reached out and just swapped my fresh towel for his rank one. I could care less, I was getting out and the guards couldn’t punish me anymore. Plus there is was no need to make tough guy unhappy.
Whoosh! The door opened and two deputies escorted me out to the desk. The night shift deputies had been very friendly but these two were jerks. I guess they take the job of processing a criminal like me seriously. They wore no smiles and barked all their orders at me. They brought out my box of belongings and a nice color copy of my mug shots was in the box.
“Can I keep these,” I asked?
“No! I wouldn’t think this is something you would want to remember,” the deputy snapped. He snatched up my mug shots and tossed them into the trash. Well Brrmmpphh!! Somebody didn’t get their jelly filled donut this morning!
“Out these doors”
Whoosh! Click, Whoosh! Click.
I was outside and a free man once more!