Straight Dope: County Jail Time

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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County Jail time with Jim and Danny


Everyone has one of those, “I really fucked up and I need to get it together moments” and hopefully you only have one. Myself, I had well…I can’t tell you, but I had them. And at this particular moment, I really fucked up. To make a long story short, I got popped for a DUI while driving from a bar in a rental (yeah, a rental). I wasn’t surprised that I was arrested because I had been drinking and driving for a while, and if you know anything about the law of averages (like my Grandfather would always say), you know that sooner or later, things will catch up to you. While they were filling out the paper work that would put a major cramp in my life (but would also save it), I was put in a cop car with this young guy we will call Jim. Skinny, funny, spoke a mile a minute, and all around likable, Jim kinda made my current situation a bit more bearable. I mean I am going down for a DUI, but at least I can laugh with this cat. Jim was telling me these crazy stories about his previous arrests of drug possession, abuse, theft, and other various offenses. Tonight’s run in was a DUI like mine, except instead of alcohol, he was on “crushed up vicotin smoked out of a bong.” Jim was bouncing around in the cop car telling me during the sobriety walk, he danced around singing a song, because he knew he was busted. So in Jim’s mind, why not get a laugh out it?


When we were dropped off or unloaded at the county jail, there were many things that went through my mind. The first thing was normally when the city cops “bust” you, they send you to the city jail to see if you can bond out. If not, then you are sent to the county. Not in San Diego. You do not pass go, you do not collect 200 dollars, you are going straight to the county. The jail was dirty, smelly, paint was peeling, crazy graffiti and gang tags filled the walls, and just any and every type of filth you could and could not imagine was around. The arresting officers, who were actually very very cool, put Jim and I in a holding cell while we were being processed. I took a seat on the bench looking around when I caught a very scraggly looking older man checking us out. The older man, who looked as if he was in on a drunken disorderly, domestic abuse, or just scrambling in the street for something to eat, had turned his attention to Jim. At first I don’t think Jim really paid it any mind. He was still slightly energetic, although I could see that his high was coming down. The older man then began to stare at him more intensely, making Jim nervous, as if he knew he could see through Jim. Then, the old man started thrusting the jail door with his pelvis, or in crude terms, “Fucking the gate hard.” He would yell out “Come here skinny butt. Put that punk in the cell with me.” I was taken aback because you would hear and joke to your friends about people being sexually assaulted in jail, but you wouldn’t think that it would happen. Seeing and hearing the old dude wanting his way with Jim really tripped me out, but it really made me feel bad for Jim. I looked at him and could tell he was scared shitless. All that cool, tough man shit went out the window.


Within about an hour or two into our stay in the “first” holding cell, we were transported to the drunk tank, which probably made Jim feel a bit better. Now, probably the most pronounced thing about being locked up is that it feels as if “time has stopped.” It is as if everything is put on hold. Your life has stopped, but the rest of the outside world keeps living. It is some real crazy shit. To really emphasize that point, there are very few if any clocks around. After I got to the drunk tank, I copped a squat on this cold ass bench next to a wall with mad gang graffiti and rules to live by such as, “F police” and “Don’t trust a b…,” if you get where I am coming from. Trying to get some sleep, but failing to do so, I would over-hear people guessing what time it was or how long they are gonna keep us in here. While doing that, I caught a glance at the toilet in the corner. Okay, this thing, and I cannot even call it a toilet was a vessel of disgust. This metal canister of manure, vomit, bile, and shit I had never seen before was posted up in the corner and everyone tried there damnedest to avoid, it. If I had to compare to something, which to this day I cannot, I would cite the Trainspotting scene where Ewan McGregor’s character goes into a bar and discovers, “The Worst Toilet In Scotland,” and I still think “The Vessel” has it beat. With all of this going on, and my lack of sleep turning into an irritant, the cops unlock the door and we all look up. Anytime the door would open, we would hope to hear a last name with, “Roll it up,” or “Your bail has been posted.” But no, another body was escorted into the drunk tank. This fellow I will refer to him as Danny. Now Danny was in a few words, “Messed up.” Barely able to stand and moving his jaw constantly, Danny plopped down in the middle of the dirty concrete and started jerking around. Moving really odd, and the strangest thing was, everybody one by one came over and sat around him, like he had some type of magnetic pull. It was one of the strangest things. I guess you could compare it to people wanting to see a freak show or when someone is has crazy tattoos on their face. You couldn’t stop looking. Danny, maybe oblivious to his new audience or not, started talking about his drug use. Looking like this kid hadn’t seen a decent rest in quite sometime and clearly crashing, he said he’d been up six days speedin and that all he wanted was a big mound of crystal so that he could just bury his face in. Kind of like Tony Montana’s final scene of excess in Scarface. I hadn’t been around too many tweakers in my life because A: I thought crystal was just dirty and B: Not too many people from around the way did it. Where I came from, crystal, crank, meth, whatever you want to call it was what white folks used that were from the back woods and I didn’t know any of them. To my surprise, in SD many people used it. After telling us about his meth fantasy, other people started talking about their meth experiences, as if they were performers on queue. I said, “Damn. All y’all muthafuckas use.” From Latino, Black, white… a lot of people in that holding cell had their own meth story. I looked around and said to myself, “I have got to get the fuck out here,” and I did. Later, maybe 8 or 10 or 12 hours later, I was released and I couldn’t forget three things: Jim and the crazy cell fucker, Danny and him coming down, and of course, the toilet.



For more, pick up Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture at NOW!!!


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