I Started Smoking When I Got Arrested

Posted: 13 September, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

The knife was taken away from me and I was put into the back of a squad car (or are they called that when they’re SUVs).

—Suicide is not allowed. It is considered destruction of government property and is prosecutable under federal statutes.

A call had come in. They said there was a man with a knife and that he looked dangerous.

If I was black, I would have been shot, I am told.

Police have discretion over government property.

It was on a small hill (or what are they called when they’re pretty small hills. knolls? Because hills are just small mountains) overlooking an empty baseball diamond on Lakeshore Drive.

I never actually cut my wrists. Honestly, I don’t like being touched there, or in the creases of my elbows, or the inside of my bellybutton.

I was thinking of other ways to do it. I had tried stabbing before and missed. It’s much easier on other people. When you learn anatomy, you are looking at other people. You never look at your own insides.

By the time the police had arrived I was bleeding, but all I’d accomplished in damages was reopening an old scar. This half-penny sized thing on my arm that had been a pimple or a cut or a mosquito bite or who knows what else some ages ago. I had picked the scab and when it healed over I picked it again and I continued to do so until it became a thick callous on my forearm, giving some break in the texture of my flesh.

I had finally succeeded in cutting off the callous using the serrated part of the blade to saw down until I was deep enough for blood to well. I then began to cut away the hardened flesh to make the hole bigger. That’s when the police arrived and took my knife and put me in the car which smelled like stale eggs from breakfast burritos.

At the jail, they took my belt and shoelaces in case I still had ideas about attempting to perpetuate my crimes while in a state facility. Relieved of my weaponry, I was released to the reservation of iron and concrete.

There I met my fellow criminals. Locked in here for furtive movement, J-walking, talking in an unconventional fashion, discouraging public efficiency (which they used to call protesting), they were here for muttering to themselves and asking things with excessive volume (though no statute yet has established a decibel level for questions). The worst of the bunch were piled up like Driftwood set to dry. They were guilty of misplacement which was once known as homelessness.

—No, I tried to explain, —I’m not supposed to be here. I just left my medication and my girl’s place, I got laid off and had a fight with my parents. This is all a big misunderstanding.

The guards didn’t listen. Can’t they see I’m at far greater risk here with these undesirables than back on the lake?

The blood had finally dried. It was sticky and caked in my arm hair. My eyes watered and as the tears fell, I saw that they too were red because I had touched the back of my hand to my face.

Later, I was released on a lesser charge of vandalism.

In my four and a half hours as a jailbird I decided to pick up smoking.

Another con, an older gentleman who was in on two counts of not having a purpose, approached me while I tried to sneak in a shit. I thought no one was paying attention.

He offered me a fag. I shook my head, confused because I had assumed cigarettes would be taken away at booking by the police. By the transitive law they were state property and police almost always exercised privilege in confiscating valuables such as cigarettes and bottle caps. I also didn’t want to be brought up on other charges.

—The decrease in demand and the flood of black market access has all but demolished their value, he tells me.

I took a cigarette, still squatting.

—These days they’re so afraid of talking about death, they won’t address the tobacco problem. So every time I smoke a cigarette I’m doing a little damage to government property. Each time I’m denying them a few precious minutes of work. Each drag I take is an act of rebellion. It ain’t much, but it’s what I got.

I leaned forward on my heels bringing the cigarette to his matchflame.

—They wouldn’t let me have matches, I said

—Ha! said the old man —Probably afraid you’d set your farts on fire! Waste  all that precious methane.


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