Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Furries Molesters and Children, Oh My!

It's Sunday afternoon. I'm in my cell with Fernando. It's getting difficult to fall asleep because I've spent so much time knocked out on my little gym mat. I'm thinking about the many interesting characters I've met while incarcerated.

The Father. He's in for a simple traffic violation and a couple warrants, much like me. He's concerned about his kids.

The Child. This kid is only 17. His record is as long as these never-ending days in jail. He's got drug charges, traffic charges, you name it. I feel a little bad for this kid.

The BAMF. For the sake of keeping this a family blog, I decided to abbreviate Bad A Mother Effer. That's what this guy thought he was. He had to have been 21 at the oldest. He walked around the common area like it was his. You would think this guy had been there the longest so he felt he deserved the most respect. He had a very confident walk and demeanor about him. Even though he tried to put up this front of "I'm a tough guy. I'm in jail." persona, I saw right thru it and saw the hurt in his eyes. To me it seemed like this guy just wanted to get out and back to his family. I wish I had talked to him a little. I could have planted a seed. The BAMF and The Child are two people I really hope I run into again. I feel like a failure as a Christian because I made no attempt whatsoever to even talk to them, let alone show them the Jesus in me.

The Molestor. I didn't catch his name. I was sitting at the metal table with three other people not really paying attention to the conversation. Just eating my disgusting hoagie. They're obviously talking about what it is that got them locked up. The official tagline of prisoners. "Say what are you in for?" Well this guy says very matter of factly with no sort of conviction or regret, "They got me for touching a kid." After I heard him say that, I waited a couple more sentences and very nonchalantly got up and went to eat my pound of bread on the floor.

The Furry. Do you watch CSI? The original. Well there's an episode about a guy who is found dead on the side of the road wearing a raccoon costume. At first glance you think he's a high school mascot. As the investigation proceeds, you discover he is a part of a subculture known as Furries. Without getting too much into the complete strangeness of this subculture, I'll just say that Furries dress up as animals and meet together and... hang out. Steven is a Furry. Him and I are talking and he mentions that he's a Furry and I make a face and then he reminds me of that particular episode of CSI. I guess I made a little bit of a face, even though I was trying not to, and he goes on the defensive saying that he's not a freak, he just really likes animals and like feeling close to someone. He tells me that Furries as a whole are very kind and gentle people who really enjoy being around other people and enjoy the closeness of another human. They just happen to dress up as animals. I'm trying my hardest not to freak out at the fact that first of all this subculture of people actually exist, but secondly that I'm actually speaking to one. I find a way to switch the subject and then bring the conversation to an end until we're told to return to our cells.

The LSD Kid. At 21 years old, this guy was spending his first time in jail. He seemed like a really good kid. He's new to the area and didn't really have too many friends. He happened to meet a group of people at a club and started hanging out with them, glad that he finally had someone to kick it with. It ends up these guys were anything but friends. They had him try LSD for the first time. He says all he did was touch a tiny pile that someone was holding and he could feel the tingle on his finger. "The rest is a blur," he says, "I don't really remember too much. I touched the powder then next thing I know it's morning and I'm on the side of the road without my shoes and all alone." I'm sitting there at the table with him and a couple other guys and he's literally starting to remember the details of the night right before our eyes. He says after he touched the powder, lights got brighter. Everything seemed more vivid. Colors are more vibrant, sounds more intense. As time went on, he started to notice his peripheral vision getting darker. Slowly, the circle of darkness around his line of sight started to grow until eventually he completly blacked out.

He wakes up on the side of the road, as I mentioned, with no shoes and no one around. "I thought I was the last person on earth. There was no one around me at all. I was so scared." He eventually sees people, but they're frozen in time. They aren't moving. They're like human statues. Once they actually do start moving, they're moving super slow and then all of the sudden super fast and finally regular speed. Even though he's around people, he says he still felt like he was the only human on earth. Eventually two cops approach him and ask him who he is and where he's from and why he doesn't have shoes.

"I don't know who I am. I from the future. I came from the past." That's what he tells them, and they very quickly start laughing at him. They arrest him and next thing you know, he's sitting at the table with us telling us the story.

I talked to him more than I talked to anyone else. I felt an instant connection with Armando, almost as if I was there to meet him. I tried my hardest to plant a seed. That's all I did though. I could have done so much more. I knew I was there to talk to him. To tell him about Jesus. To get his number and get him to church. I knew that was the whole reason for me being in there. I didn't though. I told him, "Hey if we're both out of here by Wednesday, you should come to church with me." But that's pretty much it. I didn't get his number or his email or even his myspace. Meeting Armando and not telling him more of Jesus is one of my life's greatest regrets. I constantly pray for him any time I think of him. I pray God sends someone else in his life to water the tiny little seed I planted. Pray for him. God must have something great in store for him, and I have faith that I'll see him one day soon and eventually in Heaven.

It's Monday now. I've finally adjusted to the intercom coming on and interupting my sleep to tell us it's time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At some point, The Child tried to scratch a checker board into one of the metal picnic tables but it didn't really work out too well. When Fernando and I got back to our cell, he took his mat off the bed and discovered a very unevenly scratched checkerboard on the metal frame. He spends a minute or two staring at it and I can practically hear his wheels turning. Finally he goes to the sink and grabs the tiny bar of soap and breaks in to as many pieces as he can. I sit up off the floor and start arranging my "checkers" on my side of the board and we start playing. The game must have lasted a good 45 minutes, and sadly I lost. I put up a good fight though. I spent most of the game with a really good lead. Towards the end though, I lost my groove and he totally dominated.

Monday is actually the day that I talked to Armando. It's also the day that The Furry is surprised to find out that someone bailed him out. Apparently he had already tried to call some of his out of state friends to bail him out and they called the jailhouse in an attempt to wire his bail. Sadly you must be there in person to bail someone out and Steven the Furry didn't know anyone well enough in the area to do that for him. I guess I'll never know how he ended up getting out four days early.

Tuesday morning is shower time again. I'm hoping against hope that Armando hasn't been bailed out or released yet. He's not up for the shower, since it's not mandatory, so my hopes are a little down. I wanted to get his number so I could keep in touch with him. So I could get him to church.

Sometime between breakfast and lunch, Intercom Voice comes on and tells me to go downstairs to sign some paperwork. I go down there and walk out of the cell block and ask what it is I'm signing and they tell me it's the bondman's paperwork. I make the assumption that my family found out where I was and called Floyd to bond me out. I return to my room and lay down for about 20 mins. Fernando wants to play soap checkers again so we start another game. Just as I'm about to lose again, Intercom Voice tells me to grab my mat and blanket and tells me where to put them. I'm going home.

I tell Fernando it was nice meeting him, shake his hand, and tell him God bless. I think it was Monday night after dinner that I heard him whispering prayers in Spanish. A few mins after that he asked me if I was Christian and I said yes. As I'm walking out, he tells me happy birthday and I smile and say thank you. I had a wrist band on that had my first name and last name (misspelled after spelling it three times for the cop) and birthday written on it.

After grabbing my belongings and sitting down to put my laces back on my shoes, I walk outside for the first time in almost four days and take a deep breath and put my hands in the air and say, "Thank you Jesus!"

It's a seven mile walk to the impound lot to get my car. The little paper the cop gave me didn't seem nearly that far. I start walking. I'm calling people, my mom, Rick, Pastor Danny. I'm texting people. I have over 100 text messages, twentysomething missed calls, and 6 voicemails. I wasn't able to read and listen to them all because my battery was on it's last leg. It starts raining twice while I'm walking. I had to stand in a driveway and under the lid of a dumpster to avoid getting completly soaked. Finally after one Snapple, one Lipton Brisk Iced Tea, and at least two hours, I arrive at the impound lot and get my car. $200.

I drive home and run upstairs to my dog and give her some loving. Then I run straight to the bathroom and release five hoagie sandwiches. It felt awesome. So did the proper shower. So did the freedom.

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