“Hey, boss! I didn’t get any toilet paper.” The 2:30 – 3:30 lockdown is imminent. And so is potentially explosive mud-butt.
“Hold your horses,” says the guard, bolting through Echo block. “I’ll get you some.”
“Thanks! The booklet says…” I trail off. He’s gone. The booklet also says I should have a pillow. Nope.
“Lockdown!” he shouts. That’s our cue to gtfo of the common area–a little hallway between a long set of bars and our individual cells. The block’s split in half, with 10 or 12 cells on each side. There’s only 3 other dudes in my half. I welcome the solitude. The two older dudes are chill, but the younger dude thinks he’s hard, or maybe he is hard. He keeps looking me up and down, wearing an indiscernible expression between “let’s fuck” and “let’s fight.” Maybe it’s both. Maybe I’m just hyper-aware of my asshole because I’ve been damning a river of shit for hours. He’s just trying to size me up, in all likelihood. I cut my own hair last night. Hopefully, it gives off that dangerous-mental-patient vibe I was going for. And Judge Joe Brown does the rest.
“What the fuck!” I yell at the TV in the guards’ passageway. “Oh, hell no! Hell no! This is unacceptable! Hell no!” This my fourth day in the Erie County Holding Center after being arrested for filming a cop. It seems cruel and unusual to now subject me to Judge Joe Fucking Brown. “Joe Goddamn Brown! Brown bob, wolf kabob roth vannage? Gefrannis booj pooch boo jujube, bear-ramage!”
The lanky older dude acts like he’s never heard that Charlie Manson quote. I may have not nailed it verbatim, but I have defintely established my possible insanity. We retreat to our beds. The doors buzz and slam shut in unison. No toilet paper for me. No bail this time. I’m here for a week. I can never hold it that long. Clenched asshole. Mud-butt subsides. Dare I nap?
“Oh, she’s not going to answer the phone,” a Holding Center guard tells Fallon, “she’s playing solitaire.” She is Maryann, the faceless bureaucrat who’d actually been quite helpful earlier. Now she was too busy to help my lawyer get me out of jail.
Fallon ran around all day between the evil City of Buffalo Judge Susan Eagan’s chambers, the Erie County Appellate Court, getting his $5,000 bail back from Monday’s debacle, and now the ECHC. Or maybe he got the runaround. Either way, on this Friday, he was the hardest workin’ lawyer in Buffalo.
Eagan’s jaw is like a pit bull’s. Angry. Clenched. She does not like Fallon. She does not like me. Fallon offers a final, forceful plea for justice–running down the long list of demonstrable “legal” bullshit in a loud, guttural stampede. He’s angry. There’s no changing the bitch’s mind. He does it for posterity. He does it for its own sake. He does it for me. “Fifteen days!” Eagan growls. I’m cuffed and led to a chair. I sit and turn to shoot Fallon a smile, but he’s already gone.
That was the plan. I go in, he gets me out. That was the plan on Monday, too, but that plan was fucked. I was never sentenced, so Fallon couldn’t file a motion to stay the sentence (pending appeal) in county court.
My trip from courtroom to jail is basically the same as it was on Monday, so I won’t recount my glacial meanderings through the Kafkaesque labyrinth–save for one decidedly different twist: there was a noticeable lack of pig-fuckers. Monday’s surly guards were gone, a friendlier mood prevailed. One guy name Halady was downright chipper. He treated us inmates with jovial respect, and he was given the same. No one disobeyed him. Everyone hopped-to. There were genuine smiles shared. (I gave the ECHC blues a hard, yet accurate, time in my last installment. And if any of you pig-fuckers read that, I’m sorry, but you’re not good at your job. Your attitude sets the tone. I get the hardass routine. A little. I do. But when you’re an asshole, you provoke hostility. It’s a vicious cycle. Basically, look at how Halady inspires easy cooperation, and maybe think about why. Just sayin’.)
The other main difference was that I actually made it upstairs this time. Echo block. Flip flops and prison orange. No pillow. No TP. As I drifted off, I was beginning to think the plan was fucked. Again. It was. A bit. The motion Fallon had prepared was not up to snuff for reasons real or imagined, so he broke out a pen and paper and drew up another on the fly (see above). I didn’t know anything about all that. I was just getting my crazy on.
“Murphy!” Eh? What? Did I shit myself?! Oh bloody–no. No horrible mess. “Murphy!”
“Yeah?!” I croak, sleepily. The first noticeable nicotine craving washes over me. “You got my goddamn TP?!”
“No, you’re free to go,” the guard says, vaguely disappointed. “Make sure you pick up all your stuff.”
I’m back in my clothes and at the desk downstairs in minutes. “You just played your get out of jail free card,” says the guard doing my paperwork.
“What does that mean?”
“Your lawyer got you released of your own recognizance.” He scratches his head. “I’ve never seen this before.”
“Never?!” I ask, fairly shocked.
“If they got a year in or something, but never with six days to go.”
“Well, that’s why I pay him the big bucks. Or he pays me. It’s a confusing financial situa–”
“Date of birth?”
And just like that, they let me out in the familiar alleyway. “RAWR!”
So the County Judge might not be a total dick. Or I’ll lose the appeal and serve out my remaining six days. After that, we sue the City of Buffalo, and that should be pretty fun.