Episode XXXII – It’s hard to find a cop when you need one.

“You’re a real tough guy, huh?” The lanky blue uniform grunted as he ratcheted down the silver bracelets to a discomfort factor of six. He spun me around, and his eyes lingered coldly on my face, reflecting a blank hatred without a scintilla of sympathy. “Beating up drunks? You have the right…”

I tuned out the rest of the Miranda warnings like they were invisible sound. I knew them already. I was in big trouble. Forlornly, I hung my head as I was lead out in a parade of pathetic individuals. I was trapped between drunks, the slow of foot, and those that were missing part of their mind for the next three hours. As I took my seat in the wagon, I gnashed my teeth about Mysterious. He had fled without a single qualm, disappearing easily rather than supporting me, or shouting a warning.

The ride down to the central jail was painstakingly endless. Out in the dark of night, stars flickered and died before the behemoth that incarcerated us rolled a half-mile. Not a word was uttered. Some people cried. Others were so absent of mind that they were no doubt musing about when the party bus was going to make it to TJ. I was calm. I was in my peaceful place. I was one with the universe, the world, and the smallest grain of sand. I was a focused mind in a larger consciousness. It was all utter crap. I was in a state of absolute terror.

My panic continuously ran rampant through my brain, persisting through my admission and processing into the jail. My side had clotted, mostly. It only seeped at every other third second. It grumbled and rumbled with intense disquiet, and desired to be in a position that was normal – not stretched apart in a backward hug. The admitting officer dispassionately passed it off as a mere flesh wound that would be attended to later. At this, my panic fled, quailing at the rage that surged through my veins; a mix of pure frustration and regret that simply wanted medical attention. I held my tongue, and collapsed into the holding cell, hunching over against the bars, clearing a plethora of cement space from the shambling masses already present. No one really wanted to deal with a guy who tended to ooze blood and exude its coppery smell. My appearance granted me the ultimate prison luxury: personal space and silence from my co-habitants.

In my extra-sumptuous concrete semi-circle, my eyes unfocused into the five mile blank stare of despair. I had turned eighteen three weeks prior. Throughout that day I had celebrated the court approved sealing of my inane rap sheet. From that point forward, in the eyes of the world, I was a regular, clean, average person. No one had anything on me. I was no longer a marked miscreant. I was respectable. My former life had been sealed into a vault that had been dropped into the deepest oceanic trench. All of my earthly sins had been washed away, and I was going to live my adult life in the promised land.

I had ruined the opportunity over something trivial. In three weeks. Three weeks! I had been cast out of the garden. I tried to justify my actions based upon the circumstances. The facts were hollow nourishment for my mourning mind. I was going to be branded as a criminal now, for the rest of my life. As I sat and stagnated in the cement and steel cage of my despair, the door of the holding cell swung open. Two officers walked in.

“Get up.” One gestured at me. There was nothing to do but obey. I shuffled out as they led me to an empty room. I had seen this room before. I had seen the prototype of this room on every television show about cops before. It was that typical room, with the blank walls, double sided glass, table, four chairs and a door. The cops plopped me unceremoniously in a chair and left.

A moment later, two other cops walked in. I then heard a new rendition of Miranda. It wasn’t really new; all the cops read from a little card they whipped out of their pocket. This one was dog eared and brown around the edges. It was unnecessary. After the balloon incident, my Miranda rights danced in front of my eyes every time I even spied a police officer. Because of that incident, I was certain of one thing. I wasn’t going to say one single word; not one syllable without representation, even though I was screwed.

“Busy night.” The second cop remarked, “You know, we arrested about fifty of you and your friends at that bash that was going on. That’s not even to discuss our normal intake of weekend friends.”

I stared at the table.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a lot of work for us to deal with all of you. Plus, it’s a lot of paperwork, babysitting, and whatnot, since most of you little bastards are quite annoying.”

The table was quite fascinating. It had little rivets carved into its steel surface.

“So maybe you’d like to make our job a little easier.” He proposed.