It was usually an awful thing to be handcuffed behind the back and sitting in the back of the squad. This time was different. I haven’t done anything wrong. I had no idea what I was going to be charged with. I wasn’t dreading all the fines and probations I might face.
At least, I hope I’m not facing any probation. I was getting pretty sick of Florida.
The other times I was arrested I was just brought in for a mug shot and fingerprints and let go. That was what I was expecting that night. I knew I was wrong when a corrections officer took off the cop’s handcuffs only to exchange them with his. I was going to jail.
I was fine with that. I had always wondered what jail was like. I would have gone there before if I didn’t require me to get caught committing a crime. That was too much work.
In the holding cell were a drunk and a surly Mexican who stared at the floor the whole time. The drunk pounded on the door and yelled at the guards. The guard would come and ask if there was going to be a problem. The drunk would shrink back to the metal bench. He would sit for a minute or two and then start pounding again.
“Is there going to be a problem in there?”
He got bored playing that game with the guard and tried to have some fun with me. He tried to tease me playing on my fears of prison rape. Only I wasn’t afraid of being raped and not at all afraid of that guy.
“Fuck off”, I said.
I was charged with obstructing justice. Whatever, I thought. The rest of jail was all about being told what to do. Face the wall. Put your hands behind your head. Walk here. Stand there. Turn to the left.
I was put in the cellblock. It was crowded. Saturday night. I looked around for some sign of Peewee Herman. This was the jail where Paul Reubens found himself after that incident in the adult theatre. I knew I wasn’t going to find an etching that said “Peewee was here” but there wasn’t anything else to do.
There was a booklet with directions on how to be a prisoner. I can’t remember what it said even though I read it several times. Most of the prisoners were settling down on the cellblock floor with their bedrolls. There wasn’t enough bunks for everyone in the cells. I didn’t like the idea of sleeping on the floor that night so I climbed up on a bunk above a large black man who was already asleep.
I know I am supposed to b afraid of the large black man in jail but I wasn’t. It was a little scarier when the cell door slammed close and I was locked inside that tiny room. I lived though. I wasn’t raped.
At what must’ve been about five in the morning we were served breakfast. I was excited to find out what jail food was like. Pancakes and grits.... I had never had “grits”. It was the best part. Yummy. Well... not really. I only sampled as I wasn’t really hungry... or at least not that hungry. I didn’t try that thing that looked like a coaster for the cup of what looked like coffee. I think it was sausage. The drink that looked like coffee tasted like steeped dirt.
I was given an arraignment date and let go at six thirty. It was too early to call my brother for a ride so I decided I would walk. I was about a few miles away so I broke up to the journey at the coffee house. I wanted some real coffee dammit.
Stephanie was there and asked how it was possible that I was up so ungodly early on Sunday morning. I told her I was in jail. She shook her head. Then she asked where my shoes were. I said they couldn’t make bail.
She shook her head again.
She gave me coffee and a bagel.
I walked back by the Brownstone and peered in through the window to check on my things. Everything was still there.... my music gear, my cigarettes, and my shoes. The bar was closed until Tuesday so I would have to wait a couple of days to get my things. Those were my only shoes. I was traveling light in those days.
So, I got back to my brother’s studio, grabbed a bike, and rode off to work. I was working on the key with a faux finisher. We had been working on a penthouse for the last several weeks. That day, I was doing some side work for the owners. They wanted me to repair the door in the condo where they were staying until the penthouse was ready.
They weren’t all that surprised when I showed up barefoot. I was doing artistic work and people expect artists to be weird and colorful. I was hoping they would ask about it so I could explain that I was thrown in jail last night and all that. I wanted to see if they would hide their daughters but they weren’t interested. They just wanted to pay me cash so they wouldn’t get ripped off by the interior design agency.
Tuesday night I was back in the Brownstone and I finally got my shit back. Todd came in and outlined the sculpture that had met it’s end in white tape. For my next performance, he turned the stage area into a prison with barbed wire and police tape. The barbed wire alarmed Earl but he let it go. I opened my set with a cover of Jane’s Addiction’s Pigs in Zen. I added a raving monologue about the Sarasota PD. It would be the first and last time I played that song.
I just wanted to say “pig”.