“God is my Rock, God is my Peace, God is my rock, God is my
I did eventually dose off. It wasn’t long before I was awaken by
someone else in the cell yelling, “CHOW”. I opened my eyes to a much brighter light in the cell. The little light bulb had shut off and two big florescent
light tubes turned on. I sat up, dazed, still half asleep, doing my usual routine of getting up in the morning. I put on my shoes and shirt then hopped down from my bunk. I walked out to the day
room, which was a big enough for two tables that sat six, some space between them. I noticed a stairway leading up to a second set of cells, a television that was playing some rock music, and the other detainees sitting at the tables eating cereal.
“Get your chow, they are not gonna wait forever.”
A skinny, long haired man sitting at one of the tables looking up
at me, then pointed to the door and I saw a little doorway in the center of the
door below the reflecting side of a two way mirror. In it was a plate with my
breakfast on it. I walked over and retrieved it, sat down, and (of course) ate
it. Nothing much else was said, I found out later that this first group of
people that I shared a cell block with weren’t morning people. Everyone
completed their breakfasts then went back to bed. It was 6:00 in the morning, and as everybody left me in the day room to myself, I took a moment to look around. Four cells on bottom, four on top, TV was up on a shelf about 7 feet in the air. There was a shower per floor, but the bottom was the only one with a curtain, so I assumed (correctly) that it was the only one used. I went back into my cell to find Andy getting ready to go back to sleep himself.
“If you take a towel, and wrap it around yer head like a
blindfold, the light isn’t quite as
Then he did as he had suggested I do, and went to sleep. I crawled up into my bunk, sat there for a bit, listening to the rock coming from the TV. I started to feel drowsy, so I laid down. This time, I fell asleep a little easier.
It was almost a dreamless sleep, but I was awaken the same as I
was before with a loud call for “CHOW”. It was time for lunch. Quicker this time I got up and put on my shoes and shirt, and headed out my cell. From the look of their staggering movements and sleepy eyed faces, everyone else had slept up to lunch as well. In a line and one by one, the detainees were handed their plate of food through the little doorway I mention earlier; Subs, cookies, Kool-Aid, and a fruit cup. After everyone had finished, the skinny, long haired man came up to me and introduced himself and everybody in the cell. His name was Brian, his cellmate was Jeff in cell 3, Joe and Bulb was in 2, and Andy was in 1 with me. I nodded and announced my name was SAQ. After that, everyone went about their day.
I really didn’t do much that first day, I situated my stuff in my
cell better, and then I sat back and observed the routines of the people in the
cell. It was either car shows on TV, a game of spades, people calling family and friends for any information on their cases, pacing in the cell for exercise, or sleep.
Time that week went on as if my hourglass
bottleneck was thinned, letting through just one grain at a time. I slowly got
to know the detainees better; Andy, 42, was in for a case similar to mine, he
had pissed someone off and figured making up a lie was a good plan to get rid of him. He loved WWE wrestling, collected old toys, played x-box, and loved being with his sons. Brian, 31, is a drummer, has some stuff on YouTube, loves his classic rock, and got caught with meth. Bulb, in his 30s, also in for meth, was facing some serious federal charges. Always taking showers and pacing the cell out of paranoia. Had a wife that was also in jail he often wrote to. He wasn’t too good at writing, so I had helped him write a few letters to her. Joe, also 30, became a friend in jail. He was there 2 months before I was, and is still there to this day. Not in jail for meth, but was on it when a fight between him and his girlfriend happened. He had pushed her back and she claimed he choked her, which makes it Aggravated Domestic; the charges later were dropped when the court found that his girlfriend was lying. He is now waiting prison sentencing for being on, well, close to everything while on probation. He is a cool cat though; your typical laid back stoner. He helped me cope with a lot of the shock
of being in jail. Jeff, 23, was a dude I went to school with a while back. I
don’t remember him from then, but he seemed to remember me. He was in for pulling his wife out a trailer window and threatening her with a knife. He had been to prison before, as has Brian, Bulb and Joe, but he looked at it as a free living. To him, his life was in prison. I think I prayed for him the most in
jail. He was the go to guy for questions about court and processes. He had been in the system for so long, he knew about as much as a 2nd year law school student.
It wasn’t long before my first court date came up. I didn’t meet
my lawyer then, but they explained to me that I was looking at a class 2 felony, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault. They later revised it, saying since there was no evidence of rape or any testimony of me touching any sexual organs, that I had allegedly touched her thigh while she slept, they changed my charge to Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. Either way, it still sounds bad. I was told I would be given an attorney, my attorney would be Brad Vaughn, I had a month before I would return to court, and back to jail I went. From here on out, was a waiting game. If I wanted to see or talk to my lawyer, it only happened in court. Any information I would get on anything, I got in court. So basically, any court accounts I write about, excluding my trial, happened in 9 or 10 days in a span of 7 months. All the time between that was spent sitting in a cell.
So, wait I did. It’s the only choice I had. My Step-grandfather
sent me a 100 dollar check so I could talk to my Mom on phone cards. He died while I was in jail, but I got the chance to thank him later, I’ll tell that
story when I come to it. Any one that knows me knows I am very connected to my family, our bond that has been built from the shit we had to go through
together. From living in shelters, and surviving off of food pantry lunches and
donated food, our life has been a struggle from the beginning. It made all of us stronger though, I was able to deal with being in jail easier than I think I
would of if I grew up with a silver spoon in my ass. I learned to work for what
I wanted, and to protect everything that mattered to me. My family is number one on that list, and sitting in jail, I had no power and no way to help or comfort my brother or sister. I only had a limited time with my family now. With visits and phone cards, I had only 50 minutes a week to talk to my mother, brother, and sister. 20 (if I was lucky a little more) minutes in a weekly visit with glass between us, and 10 minutes on the phone. Soon, and quickly, phone cards being $10 dollars a card for only 20 minutes, started getting expensive. So, for the sake of releasing some of the financial strain off my parents, I had to call less and less. I was being morally restricted from talking to my mother so she could pay her bills. And being put in that position killed me, I wanted to hear my family. I wanted to be reminded that there was something else outside these walls. I also wanted them to continue having the necessities that require money. It tore me apart. It doesn’t take
long to get the feeling that the world suddenly fell away leaving you in a box
alone. I only got to see the sky once a month, breath the outside air just once a month, hearing my family let me know that whenever this ended, there was life waiting for me. What killed me the most? For years I did my best to be the comfort for my family. I can be a pretty funny person, and humor is the cure for a lot of ailment that brings you down. I was my family’s strength and they were mine, and we were now separated and alone. I could do anything to help them. My mom wrote me a letter and told me that when I call, her phone don’t always get signal. Because our calls were so few now, when I call she would do everything to get to an aria with signal. She was in the store on afternoon when I called, her phone rang and she answered but the call was breaking up. If it was dropped, precious minutes were wasted. She left her cart where it was at and begin to run out of the store, and while doing that almost knocked an elderly lady down, she wanted to stop and apologize but couldn’t, she didn’t want to lose me. She told me that she felt so bad later about running into the old lady that she cried. I was not only in a position to help my family, my situation was putting unneeded strain and pain on them. It was the opposite of what I have been trying to accomplish my whole life. As a support, I. Was. Failing.
Prayer, faith in God and in my arrogant lawyer, phone calls, visits, and a little blue bible was all that was keeping my sanity together.
For a while my routine continued to repeat; get up, eat, sleep,
get up, eat, play cards, watch TV, walk around the cell, shower, go to bed, wake up the next day and repeat. It was extremely monotonous, stressful, and at times frightening. Guys in jail are so wound up tight; the smallest thing would cause them to snap. Playing cards one day, I had responded to one dude by saying “Si Senior” which doesn’t take a Spanish major to know means “yes sir”. His interpretation was a little different, and apparently insulting. He knew the Spanish phrase to mean “little boy”, and indignantly told me that I “wasn’t his little boy”. At first I thought he was just messing with me, I hadn’t and trouble from anyone yet, and figured he was just messing with me, the logic behind that thought is confusing I agree, but that’s where my mind went. I in return informed him that it didn’t mean “little boy”, that it was “yes sir”. He took what I said offensively as well, I might as well called him a dumb, ignorant, bastard son of a whore, I would of gotten the same response. He stood up and threatened to smash my glasses into my face. Still confused as to what exactly is going on, I took in a deep breath and said, “Whoa, ok… let’s just roll back a bit, and calm down, alright?” After a few “Shut the fuck ups” and “Don’t bucking talk to ME’s” he did calm down. Later that day, we went about the routine like nothing happened. It was a stupid reason to pick a fight with someone, but it stands as a perfect example of the crap that can happen in a high stress environment. After that we had no further problems.
My next court date is when I met my lawyer. He told me he didn’t see why this was taken to court, other than the messed up way the law is written which states
“In this section,
"sexual contact" means the following acts, if committed with the intent to
arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any
(1) Any touching by a person, including touching through
clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child;
(2) Any touching
of any part of the body of a child, including touching through
clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a
The “Touching of any part of the body” is what I was told, gets a lot of guys sent to prison. He said even if it was just her thigh, all the jury had to do was prove sexual intent. He also informed me that the only witnesses to this alleged touching of her thigh was just me and her. The case was a “He said/She said” case and he didn’t see much reason I wouldn’t get to go home soon. That, or course, raised my spirits a lot. If I can tell you one thing that messes with people the most in jail is false hope. I was spoon fed it from the get go. He went on to tell me that he saw it as an “easy win” and it would be another point on his “winning streak” he had going for trial cases. His confidence gave me confidence. So I went back to jail in high hopes. I thanked God for the good news, and life in a cell continued.
I’m going to end Part 3 here, I’m currently writing 4, so stay
tuned its coming soon.