We are awoken with searchlight intensity illumination at
5:00am, as I’ve been told we would be, for breakfast (which I try to refuse but
am quickly stifled again) at 6:00am and lockdown again at 7:00 – after all,
drugs have been distributed, womyn have eaten poison, and the tv won’t go on
until 10:30 – IF everyone has behaved.
I am not tired but I’m torn: I want to let womyn know I
will listen to their story, if they want to share it, and I will write about it
but I’m anxious about my Baby. I don’t know how long I can safely leave her
without someone inflicting damage on her.
My name is called over the loud speaker and the cell door
is released along with another inmate’s door – the new brown womon who has been
brought in during the wee hours for driving without a license. A tense white male
jailer has appeared, frowning at his paper work as he gruffly orders me to
stand against the wall perpendicular to the door.
He drills me on what I’m allergic to and will not let me
get away with not naming the specific chemicals in the lotion they want to put
on my hands in order to fingerprint me. He gets angrier and angrier as I attempt to explain first that I need
to look at the container and then I say can’t pronounce these chemicals without
By the time he is spitting angry I come up with the
biggest words I can think of off the top of my head because now I’m REALLY
committed to not being fingerprinted with chemically-laced lotion.
“Di-oxigenate phosphates, phosphorous chloridiums, pesticides, preservatives,
depleted uraniumology” I make up, "you know chemical sensitivities."
He is disguising his bafflement with my list and is close
to spitting mad, threatens me with remaining in my jail cell – i.e. not being
able to meet with a public defender or go to court – until I agree to be finger
I tell him I agree to be finger printed but I don’t agree
to be poisoned.
He orders me back to my cell, slams the doors as he scary
mad huffs out. The other womyn are dying of curiosity but have to wait until
we’re let out of our cells before I can tell them what happened.
A little after 9, the nurse comes back with more meds. I catch
her at the doorway and tell her my problems with chemicals and the angry guard.
She gets them to use water on my hands. Of course the angry male guard
sarcastically demands if I’m allergic to water. I tell him it depends on what
they’ve put into it.
He snorts like I’m making a joke until I tell him I use
filtered water because most cities dump tons of chemicals into drinking water. I
ask him hasn’t he noticed how awful water tastes? He grunts as he gets a paper
towel, wets it, and proceeds to wipe my hands & take my fingerprints.
I’m led back into my cell and almost immediately the
womyn tell me my name was called. One of them goes to the intercom and informs
the jailers I’ve returned.
A young womon leads me to the interview room: the long
room with stools and a phone receiver on one side of the thick, clear plexiglas,
with the same configuration imitated on the other side as if reflected in a
A very large white male on the cusp of retirement and in
a shiny grey suit that even I can tell screams wealth, glasses refusing to stay
perched on his strate nose, stares at me with some wonder in a heavy southern
drawl. He introduces himself, tells me he regrets not bringing his card, and
that he is going to work on getting me out.
Actually, he amends that to he is going to get me a
public defender who will get me out. After he explains the procedure, he looks
at me admiringly and says his boss, the district attorney (I think) called him
on his cell early this morning – which she apparently rarely does – to instruct
him to get me out of jail.
He ponders what friends I have in high places, but he doesn’t
ask me directly, thank goodness, as I am pondering such a thing myself.
He asks my jailers to allow me to stay in the interview
room until the pubic defender gets there, which they do for awhile but he is
taking too long to appear so I get returned to my cell block and the curious
womyn who are wondering what the hell is going on.
Soon I get called out again and this time I get put into
a ‘solitary confinement’ cell because the lawyer hasn’t shown up in a timely
fashion. There are no windows in this cell, the ceiling is much lower, one
metal bed scrunched against the wall, two steps from one side to the other, no
toilet paper and a dirty stainless steel toilet with no seat, just the rim.
People who have been stripped of everything but jail
clothes have somehow scratched names and dates into the paint on the door and bed
frames, along with drawings, phrases, and even sentences. I can’t imagine how
long they were incarcerated in this dismal room in order to accomplish this.
My anxiety is rising. I don’t want my truck towed. I’m
considering making that phone call – a call I haven’t made yet – begging for
cash or for someone to come get my truck.
But I’m let out of the cell and taken to the interview
room where a very young, very short, very cocoa brown, very slight man awaits
with pad in hand. He introduces himself as my new public defender and listens
carefully as I explain my case. He assures me he will go see the judge and I will
I tell him I’m very worried about my truck and explain
that I need him to check and make sure it hasn’t been and won’t be towed. He promises.
Once again, I’m returned to my cell in time for another
meal that I want to return but I’ve promised my cell mate she can have first
dibs on my lunch tray. I now have to wait until 2:00 for the court to resume.
Around 3:00 I’m led out to the front of the jail, put in handcuffs
and fuckin ankle irons that I can barely drag along a fortunately short hallway
into yet another courtroom. Several men, both Black and white, and all in their
Sunday best, halt their milling around to stare at me as one of the white men
approaches me and asks if I’m who I am.
He then tells me that they’ve been instructed to release
me as soon as possible – and he starts laughing – because the good people of
Adel are thinking there’s a protest at the courthouse, apparently because of my
vehicle! All the other men join in laughing, really curious by this time, and
make a little pack to head to the courthouse to examine my truck.
I make sure they know that there is information on all
sides and to read everything!
So my truck has been working to free me from jail!