I’ve been jailed three times in my life. So far. Each time was back in the 1970s while I was in my early twenties. And, each time, my basic transgression was being a stupid fuck-up.
I called my sister to come bail me out. She refused. Some kind of tough love thing, I’m not sure. Since my parents were living in Louisiana, she was my only chance, so I spent the night in jail. I appeared before the judge the next day. He let me go and I was given a new deadline to pay the ticket. Luckily, my sister did come pick me up.
The next arrest was about a year later. My parents had moved back to Southern California and I was now staying in their very nice house in Irvine. I even got my own room. I also had a baby blue 1963 Dodge Dart that my grandfather had given me to make up for the fact that he was an abusive drunken asshole when I was a kid.
It was a Friday night just before New Years and the jail was packed. There were about 50 men ahead of me in the line to be processed. I was wearing brand-new desert boots and a wonderful swede jacket my mother had recently bought me. I looked like what I was: a middle-class suburban white boy. Everyone else in the line looked like real criminals.
“Mr. Monson,” he said. “How is it that a hardened criminal like you wound up with all these good citizens?” He thought that was pretty funny. I didn’t laugh.
Again, I spent the night without smoking, without taking a leak or a dump, and while totally convinced I’d be forgotten and rot in the cell. And, again, I was let out on my ‘own recognizance,’ after an awful breakfast of dehydrated scrambled eggs and rancid orange juice. I was given another chance to pay that original ticket.
I’d never gotten around to paying the ticket for the illegal lane change on the Garden Grove Freeway. Oops.
Tussinland. Mike is also associate editor of the quarterly crime journal All Due Respect. Check in with him here.