Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Grand Prairie Jail Trilogy Part 1

My registration has been out since April. Texas was kind enough to send me the paperwork I needed to re-register my car at least a month before, but in true procrastinator fashion, I failed to fill it out and mail it in with the money order. I've since been pulled over twice for it being expired and given tickets.

My inspection expired with the month of August. I didn't want to take any risk of getting in anymore trouble so I went Saturday afternoon to go get my inspection. It failed with flying colors and I stopped by Auto Zone on my way home to get a few things to help it pass.

I was invited to a birthday party for Saturday night and I wanted to stop by somewhere to get a gift before hand, so as soon as my brother got home from running a couple errands, I grabbed my keys and left. I stopped to get a gift then headed out to the party. The girl the party was for gave me an address and I used Google maps on my blackberry to find the place. When I got there I noticed there was only one car outside and called her to make sure I was at the right place. Ends up the party was moved to another house on the other side of Grand Prairie. I got that address and typed it into good ol Google and started my journey over there.

I'm pulling up to a red light and I see a cop car. I'm thikning, "I can't pull up next to this cop cuz he's gonna see my expired registration and might pull me over." There was a curve to the right that I could have taken but I didn't react in time to take that turn so I slowly came to a stop next to him. Right when I did the light turned green and I took my foot off the brake and put it on the gas.

If I had half a brain I would have let the cop pull ahead of me. Unfortunately I only have about 33% of a brain and he ended up behind me. Needless to say he flashed his lights and pulled me over.

After the long wait for him to approach my car, he did the usual license/insurance thing and asked if I was aware my registration was up. He went back to his car for an eternity and I'm sitting in my car panicking like a mad man. From my rear view mirror I can see another cop car pull up and my stomach dropped down to my toes while my heart jumped up to my chest. I knew I was about to be taken in.

Both cops came to either side of my car and asked me to step out. Cop A (Officer Culbreath) asked if I knew that I had warrants in Dallas to which I replied yes and he responded by placing me under arrest.

The long wait for Culbreath to join me in the squad car was pretty bad. I'm not ashamed to say I nearly cried. However I resolved to worship the Lord instead. I whispered prayers to Him and told Him that no matter what the situation, He is and always will be worthy of my praise.

Finally Culbreath joined me in the car and we made our way to the jail house. Trying to makee the best of the situation, I small talked with Culbreath and even invited him to church as we drove past the corner of 303 and Carrier. He was polite enough to me the whole time, saying that he was only doing his job and that he hated having to take me in and he even asked what time church was in the morning.

When we got to the jailhouse, there was the long ardous process of booking me and taking my mug shot and all that wonderful junk. I was placed in a holding cell with two other Mexicans and an African American. The cell was devoid of anything but a toilet and a small sitting area made of concrete that was less than a foot off the ground. I sat down and contemplated what was happening to me. At this point it still had not registered in my mind that I was in jail.

Hours went by. Two episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air and one episode of Family Matters played in the background from the second story of the holding cell where I later found out the trustees were kept. I tried to enjoy the television that was playing, but I could not see the tv at all and anytime there was a punchline, one of the Mexicans let out a huge dramatic drunken cough that drowned out what Will or Urkel were saying. At some point they brought us a ham and cheese hoagie sandwich and a bag of chips, no drink. I hadn' eaten all day so I gobbled down as much of the bread-wich that I could. The thing was about 80% bread, 10% meat and cheese, and 10% preservatives. The chips were exteremly salty, which only emphasized the absence of a beverage.

Holding cell A1 was extremly cold. I pulled my arms into my shirt and curled in a ball and tried to fall asleep. I figured I was going to stay the whole night in there so I might as well try to sleep as much as I can in order to pass the time.

I dozed off and woke to one of the guards calling out three names, including Espinoza. I figured that was one of the Mexicans so I put my head back down. "Espinoza you comin or what?" the guard said towards me.

"Esparza?" I asked, and he said, "Yeah whatever. Get up let's go."

He told me and the other two to grab a mat and then walked us into another room with four metal picnic tables and told us to sit by the plastic bag with our name on it. Inside the bag was an orange jumpsuit and a blue blanket not unlike Linus's from Peanuts. My bag also had B13 written on it.

The guard told us to go into the one of the doors that said SH1 or SH2 and change into the jump suit. We were allowed to keep our shoes, socks, and underwear. After that, we were to go to the cell that was written on the plastic bag.

I followed his instructions to the letter and trudged my way up the flight of metal stairs and pushed open the heavy metal door to Cell B13 and walked into my shared 6 by 12 cell where I met my cell mate Fernando.

The door closed with a mentallly exagerated slam and I laid down and curled up on my mat with my blanket and settled in for my first night in jail.

To be continued...

No comments: