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I’d drained three beers before I heard the siren screaming at me; a noise only slightly louder than the car radio.
“Sir, can you get out of the car?”
“I think so,” I said, clutching the door for balance.
The sheriff cased me from the ground up: my long, pointy shoes, jeans so tight I had to use pliers to zip them, a red mesh tee tight across the chest, and a sleeveless denim vest. Drunk and floating on valium, I began to cry.
At the station for fingerprinting I had to enter a plea. I’d been to jail several times with my mother to get her boyfriend. I knew who was in that cell.
“I need my own room.” My voice quavered. I glanced through the small portal in the doors marked ‘County’. “You know what they’ll do to me in there.”
The sheriff laughed. The dispatchers laughed. The other perps, the janitor and the boy delivering lunch laughed.
I heard only the sound of the officers’ gummy heels squeaking on the linoleum as they dragged me to the pen. The cell door shut, swallowing me with a dull, thudding click as the steel bolt slid into the cylinder.
I kept my head down, not looking at the meth cookers, addicts, and other misfits, and watched my tears darken the cement floor.
He grabbed me just as I saw his enormous black boots in my cone of vision. He pulled me up ‘til I was eye level with a very large, bald, white man in jeans and a black tee. He had a full beard and a gold ring in each ear. Fists like hairy coconuts held me aloft as he walked me to a corner and dropped me on the floor in front of him. Alone in the suffocating wedge, I couldn’t see past his huge, hulking frame and no one could see me. I shivered.
“Do not rip my ass,” I said in the calmest voice I could manage.
“Son,” he said, “I want you to stop crying.” His breath smelled of rotten meat. “You got to pull it together or it is going to go very badly for you.”
I nodded but could not stop sniffling. He grabbed my shoulders and shook me once, hard, then forced me to my knees pulling my face to his jeans. The sound of his zipper was like the rapid pop of a machine gun.
“Bob your head a little bit,” he whispered, “And I’ll tense my butt in a few. You got maybe five minutes to calm down so use ‘em.”
He shielded me, standing over me until I stopped sobbing. Then he zipped up his pants and pulled me up.
“They have to leave you alone now or fight me.” He turned to display me to the pack, his ape arm around my shoulder.
“You’re my bitch now.”
I reached for his hand.
published 18 May 2011
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