Eva goes to the Slammer!!!
I wish I could say I was arrested for public indecency or political rallys or being the leader of a large organized crime syndicate. I wasn’t.
I was about as maniacal as the kleptos got. I was a freak. And everyone loved me.
It wasn’t the fact that I stole them a barrage of jewelry, condoms, makeup and music that won their hearts. It was my heart of gold and my strength of character. It was the fact that I could just take what I pleased. Just slip it under my clothes without any commotion, so naturally, gracefully. If stealing was a martial art, I would have been a black belt. If it were a sculpture, it would be the David. Oh, I was good!
So, naturally, as the master thief/saint I was, I had rules. A bandit’s code of honor, so to speak.
- Thou shalt not steal from Mom and Pop Shops
- Thou shalt not put thy wishes before thy friends
It was a warm summer day in 1999. I had just left my 16 mm film course and was meandering around Chicago before work. I was hungry, so I entered a Parkway Drugs. It was the chocolate that drew me in; my mouth was watering as I thought about the rich cocoa flavoring; the caramel, the peanuts. It was orgasmic. I slipped the Snickers into my purse and bought a pack of gum to seem legit.
The next thing I knew a Security Guard was asking me to open my bag. I tried acting, I tried lying. I tried the innocent crap, but I wasn’t in the suburbs anymore, people weren’t so naïve. I was handcuffed and driven to one of the Cook County jails, where I was questioned about why I did it and if I had tried drugs and what my SAT score was and how much money Daddy made. All I wanted was to be back at home reading my book.
The handcuffs were digging into my wrists; the metal was warming up, my fingers going that splotchy white-purple-blue pattern. There wasn’t room for me at this jail, too many females had already been arrested. I got into a paddy wagon and they drove me off to no man’s land where I was placed in a holding cell with a black woman in ketchup covered sweat pants sporting an eye patch. I was afraid of her.
The holding cell was a barred room with a brushed steel toilet bolted to the floor and a cinderblock bench attached permanently to the wall and floor. It was silent except for the fan and the mumbling of the workers; it was all drowned out by the numb buzzing of thoughts inside my brain; all selfish, all childish.
“What you in for?” the woman asked me. I didn’t want to seem like a stupid white rich girl, so of course I made some shit up.
“Drugs.” I said. It was the only legitimate thing that seemed like it could be feasible.
“Man passed me a rock, but it ain’t mine. I didn’t do nuthin!” She asked me if I had any money, she needed to buy some weed when she got out of here. All I had was $5 so I gave it to her and moved to the other side of the bench.
I was called out of the holding cell after about 10 minutes and was searched, categorizing every item in my messy purse. I was then given a partial cavity search by the woman with the most questionable sexuality in the whole place. They took away my cardigan because it had strings on it, and I was sent to be fingerprinted in a pink tank top and Oscar de la Renta pants. I wanted more than anything at that moment to exchange them for a sweatshirt and ripped jeans. I could feel the eyes staring with envy or disbelief or amusement. Truth be told, I don’t know what they were staring at, but I certainly felt out of place. I could feel them judging me judging them.
The phone call to my mom was the hardest.
“Um… mom…” I was crying. “Mom, I really messed up. I’m in jail…
the one um… on the south side I think…
I know, mom. I really messed up…
Mom, I’m so sorry.”
I was escorted down a tunnel where a woman wrote 8646 on my left hand and shoved a pile of napkins in my right. I made my way to my cell. The hallway was narrow and the walls were made of cinderblocks, all painted off-white. The only color in the entire place was the burnt magenta on the doors. My escort opened my door and I sighed, feeling more sorry for myself than I ever had before. I looked around. The entire room, still cinderblocks, was painted, even the floor. The same brushed-steel toilet, this time with a drinking fountain attached to it, speckled with the minerals from water, I hoped. The door was tall, thick and menacing with a 6 inch square of glass about at my eye level. About a foot and a half lower was a small mail slot with a lockable door on the outside.
The room was cold; colder than any other interior space I had ever been in. I tried to rest on the cinder-bench, hoping my body heat would warm up a small part of it, that the heat transfer would do both of us good; but it just drained any warmth I had to begin with.
I tried using the napkins as a blanket; it didn't work and it wasn't practical.
So I shivered for the remaining 13 hours, listening to the sounds of the other prisoners, the sounds of crying and screaming and throwing up.
There was one girl, two cells to my left, I believe, that was in there for selling herself. She was crying and screaming about how she was sick, that she needed to go to the hospital. This went on for several hours,
I'm sooo sick!!! PLEASE, PLEASE let me go to the hospital!!!
She paused only to vomit or cough.
God, you need to help me!
SHUT UP YOU STUPID BITCH!
was all the guard
s ever said.
There was another woman across from me whom I could swear was masturbating. I chose not to watch this. I sat in the corner of my frigid cell singing Cat Stevens and The Beatles; any other comfort music I could think of. I'm sure everyone else hated my guts for it, but it made me feel better, and oddly enough I felt safer for being in a cage.
By the time they sent my complimentary pre-packed bologna sandwich through the mailslot (Around hour number 12) I had taken to making origami out of my napkins and smudging my number around on my hand. I was starving so even that mushy, foul thing tasted great to me.
In the next hour I was freed on a signature bond, and it was time for my mother to pick me up. That ride home was like coming out of the closet for me; there were no more secrets from her. I let her in on the secret that I had tried weed, and that I had stolen for the past few months almost religiously. She told me that she learned her lesson about stealing when she was 8, getting caught stealing cheese from the grocery store. Like mother, like daughter, I guess.
NOTE: I have not stolen a thing since then. I consider myself to be in remission.
This was created as a part of Iceowl's Adventure Quest