“What in the ….”
I stopped myself because I didn’t know who could hear or see me in this dimly lit room that was no more than about 10’x10’(I'm sure I am off but let's just say it was smaller than a downstairs bathroom). I was afraid that they may have had hidden cameras or mics somewhere and the last thing I wanted to do was look belligerent. In this tiny room was nothing but a phone and screen console on the wall. No desk, no Commissioner in uniform with an interrogation light and a desk full of folders. Just a phone console on the wall with one sign that said “Pick up phone to speak”.
So basically, The Commissioner is the Wiz. Awesome.
I reached through the phone slowly as if I was in some type of horror movie. The screen on the console was divided into four parts, one that showed the top of The Commissioner’s head who was indeed a woman like I had imagined and the other one showed me on the phone. Don’t even ask me what the other two showed. I was trying my best to focus.
“You are in here for….” And then it happened. I zoned out. The room, the eeriness, me talking into this weird phone to this person who was in an unknown room some place in the universe was too much for me to take in all at once. Not to sound proud or anything but I have zoning out down to a science. I usually listen for two things: inflection and my name. I never lose eye contact and I nod every once in a while and smile. Sometimes I make it back to the conversation, sometimes I just can’t.
“Do you have any questions, Ms. Haynes?”
Dead silence. There it was, inflection and my name. This was no time to play like I heard and understood everything she had said. This was too important. “Could, could you repeat all of that just ONE more time, please?” The Commissioner of Oz went on to say that I had to wait for a Pre-trial where I would possibly have to make bail. All that meant to me was more waiting. I walked out of the room and thought about when I could make my one phone call. I sat by the booking desk just in time to see the security guards supervisor come out and scold the female security guard for letting the Muslim woman keep her shroud. “Do you know that she could be placed in a cell and hang herself with it?” I do remember them asking us as we were booked if they were suicidal and two other conditions, one that I think was insane. I don’t think the third one was insane because I would’ve asked them to describe exactly what they meant to see if I fit any of the criteria. The security guard apologized to her superior for the confusion and then went over to talk to the Muslim lady who was standing against the wall for her mugshot. “Oh no!” she began to cry. “I can’t go over there without this with the men, I can’t go over there with the men.” The lady next to me leaned over and said, “I wonder what she did?” “I know, right?” I replied glad that I finally had someone to talk to. She then turned to me and said, “I hope you don’t mind but can I just ask you what you are in here for?” “Oh just some traffic violation type thingy” I said. Traffic violation TYPE THINGY??!!! Did I just say ‘thingy’ in jail? Seriously? She gave me a once over and half smile that said “Yeah I thought so” and continued to look over to see what kind of drama the Muslim lady was raising. Later we found out that she was arrested for fighting a woman who they separated her from across the room who was in a poorly fitted wife beater and some ratty pink sweatpants. You know, parents always want to make sure you leave the house with clean underwear on in case you get in an accident. They don’t ever tell you to not leave the house in something you wouldn’t want to be arrested in.
The security guard that came out and told me to see The Commissioner came back out and called my name and about six other people to come follow him to pre-trial. “This might almost be over” I thought. I envisioned that we were going to something like night court where I would have to plead my case with an attorney by my side. We filed in the hallway and followed the security guard to another door. He opened the door and I almost fell out.
Part 6 coming soon…