by Brian A. Wilkins
This day corresponds with Tuesday, August 5. For the complete list of “55 Days In Maricopa County Jail” entries, click here.
I had prepared several assignments for Walter to complete today and a de-facto script as far as what I would say to that public defender if/when I got ahold of him on the phone. I had gotten to the point where I could tell what time it was in the morning by the position of these narrow beams of sunlight that made it through to the cell each morning. 6 a.m. had come and gone and the doors had not opened yet; then 7 a.m.; then 8 a.m. I remember Mario telling me something about being on “lockdown” and I assumed (correctly) this is what was going on. Some sort of incident either happened in another cell block or something happened in this cell block that required several guards to handle. They would also “lockdown” to punish everyone when someone blatantly broke rules (though there were no written rules to speak of). This edition of “lockdown” came one day after I saw a bag of marijuana come out of a guy’s ass, so I assume people were smoking, D.O.’s smelled it, and locked the pod down. Plus the next day, “Marty” and the wood guy were gone, so I assume they “rolled them up” (moved them to different cellblocks or put them in solitary confinement) for their deeds.
Since the cell was right by the visiting rooms, I knew that even though the block was on lockdown, they were still allowing visitors. I was SO hoping “Anne” had gotten my letter and would show up to see me. I needed to see a pleasant face, a re-assuring smile, and just feel like a loved human being again. This is all I had been looking forward too since I handed that D.O. the letter to mail. The day would turn out to be one of the most depressing thus far. Not only did “Anne” not show up, but I had to lie on that bunk, only about 5 feet from my celly moving his bowels (twice), did not get clean “stripes” because of lockdown, which meant wearing the same dirty, funky clothes for two weeks. The only remedy to this is showering at least twice daily, but on “lockdown,” that opportunity is not afforded to you. At “chow” times, they opened this tiny slot in the metal doors and slide your “food” into it.
There seemed to be an abundance of insecure, power-drunken D.O.’s that day too. Usually when head counts were done while on lockdown, as long as you put that little pink bracelet with your name and picture on it in the window, they simply looked at it and checked you off. But on this day, this incredible douche bag would walk by each cell, pound on the door like he was hammering a nail into the wall and try to get you to crack and say something to him. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM…”I NEED TO SEE YOUR FACE!!!” he’d yell. All I could do is wonder how many times that guy got de-pantsed or how many wedgies he got in high school. He was fat and goofy-looking, so I assume several.
The Rev, who was next door, tried to add some comedy to the day for everyone, yelling things like “let me out of here!! let me out of here!!” Chino kept throwing his “fishing line” towards the cell, asking me to tie Starburst and/or Sour patch Kids to it. But the reality was, when you have that much time to just lay there and think, court on Monday solely occupied my mind. I thought about “Anne” and why she hasn’t come to visit. I thought about what my life would be like if I married Nikki in the 1990s. I thought what if I just kept working at Clear Channel. None of this would have happened.
I never, EVER thought I would be in this place for this long. I would have began an online Arabic 201 class at Rio Salado College today; one of the 5 courses I still needed to graduate from ASU. Everyday an event like this passed without my participation made everything all the more painful and depressing. I started to realize several more of these would inevitably follow.