Guilty As Charged

It should come as a surprise to no one that I’d like to do a little time.

behindbars

I’m not talking about Rikers Island or anything. A medium-security outfit is more my speed. I’d say minimum–for the simple fact that the other felons and I could watch Golden Girls in the evening–but I’m not overly interested in special treatment.

What I am interested in is approximately six months of food from a mess hall, push-ups, writing, reflection and time in the yard.

Would I miss my loved ones? Absolutely. Would I long for tex-mex and sushi? Without a doubt. But would my new svelte physique and School of Hard Knocks degree make up for all that? I think you and I both know the answer to that.

I won’t pretend to know from where this longing comes. Perhaps I come from a long line of crooks. But I can no longer turn a blind eye to my desire to be confined–i.e. comforted–by an 8×10’ space.

If I played my cards right, I wouldn’t miss Christmas or summer. In fact, if I got locked up in January and released in June, I could parade my banging new body at a Fourth of July BBQ. Barring any disciplinary action for unavoidable altercations–which are most often caused by a barter gone awry–this is a plausible timeline.

I know it would be hard on my family–hearing the jury read the verdict. But I hope they would feel better when they looked up through their teary eyes and saw me looking like Surprise Party Sue, biting my jumpsuit to mask my elation.

sps

In the same way some people read books about Tuscany and daydream of vacationing there in the autumn, I see movies about prison or read novels where someone has to do some time, and my mind soars at the possibility of six months in lock-up—where the only real decision I have to make is which gang to join. Although that’s really not a decision, because I already know I’ll join the one that break dances.

I’m also oddly at peace with the fact that I’ll become a smoker. I know I can quit when I’m out and it’s no longer a form of currency. Sure, I’ll miss the nicotine and I’ll occasionally reach towards my shoulder for a pack of smokes, but I’ll steadfastly stick to my resolve to only smoke on special occasions, like an NSYNC reunion tour.

In daydreaming of the opportunity to be put away for awhile, I’ve realized something slightly troublesome. I think I sort of want to get my ass kicked. I don’t want any fractures or damage to my retina, but I wouldn’t mind a black eye and busted lip. I’ll be on the ground after getting whipped–gravel embedded in my skin–and I’ll touch the back of my knuckle to my lip. Seeing the transfer of red will prompt me to spit out a mouthful of blood like a bonafide welter weight. I’ll look up at Big Roz, my assailant, and say, “Nice left hook.” She’ll see I’m not so bad and stick out her hand to help me up. This will not go unnoticed by the inmates or the throng of guards rushing in to stop the madness. In just under five minutes, my street cred will shoot through the roof. I’ll have a chipped tooth and Big Roz’s gangster arm flung around my shoulder. Win-win.

I could be mistaken, but I feel like I would become a guard favorite. If not for my adherence to all rules, then my willingness to attack my chores with a fervor not often seen in the female prison ranks. I’d find my daily work assignments refreshing in their simplicity–favoring a directive of “wax all floors” over “create compelling copy to drive our core customer to the store.”

I believe the favor of the guards would garner me a few extra phone calls per week and the occasional cherry sucker, slipped through the rails. Rawls, my favorite guard–for our shared loathing of the UCONN Huskies–would know cherry was my favorite, but that any red flavor would do.

I’ve never heard that prison food is fantastic, but I’ve always liked things like oatmeal and cream of wheat. So if what I imagine is correct, and porridge is their best offering, I’ll be delighted. If, on the other hand, I’m served less filling things like stuffed bell peppers, I’ll lean on my guard comrades to supplement my diet with late night Twinkies.

Some might worry that the partiality of the guards will put me in harm’s ways with the other ne’er-do-wells. But I assure you, most of them won’t be too keen on jumping the only girl in the yard who can do one-arm push-ups with a Marlboro Light dangling from her lips. And that’s just the reality of life at the correctional facility–as inmate number 455319.

I foresee a time–maybe a few weeks into my sentence–when I’ll get a tattoo. If I opt out of permanently inking my inmate number along my collarbone, I’ll go with something a fellow criminal draws for me. Her graffiti on the Brooklyn Bridge may have been frowned upon by city officials, but her brilliance will be treasured as an eternal impression on my forearm. I’ll tell her the illustration needs to include a cross, a hummingbird and a serrano pepper. I am certain she’ll create something appropriate and tasteful.

The friends I’ll make in the clink won’t–at first blush–seem to be the ones that will endure. First, we’ll simply share snacks and trade smokes, but in time, we’ll promise to name our children after one another. When the time comes to part, I’ll promise the girls I’ll write–and I will.

One of the best parts about my time in the pokey will be the cool nickname the girls give me. I think it’ll be Ace or Quickswitch–the latter for reasons no one on the outside will ever be privy. It’s how I’ll sign my letters to them. I’m already seeing a prominent “Q” with the remainder illegible. This will lead them to calling me “Q” once I’m away. “Hey yo! I got a letter from Q!” Just hearing the gang say this in my head will make me want to go back.

But I won’t. I’ll never return to my criminal ways. At most (and this is but a pipe dream) I’ll speak to seemingly normal, well-balanced citizens about their latent desires to spend time in the pen. We’ll discuss Orange Is The New Black, the pros and cons of life behind bars, and—because I’m not a dream crusher—the benefits of prepping for some “totally and completely unforeseen time away.”

I’d love for you to join me on Facebook and Twitter … we could toss around some ideas to get you locked up.

0 thoughts on “Guilty As Charged

  1. I would also like to join the breakdancing gang. Or at least beg you to teach me the moves after you’re out. I’ll wear a red bandana tied to my forearm and learn that move where you helicopter one leg around while jumping over it with another. But really, you are infinitely clever and I love this!!!

    1. Jennifer, if you can finagle your way into the slammer with me, you can definitely join my break-dancing gang … if you learn to beat-box. Thanks JB 🙂

  2. Do I say “this is my favorite one” every time you post? Because if so, I lied. THIS is my favorite. Mostly because you’ve helped me realize I wouldn’t mind a light sentence in the slam. Just enough to toughen, tone and gain wisdom to take back to the outside. A few Parliament Lights and routine push-ups would only improve my character.

    1. Trix, you can say every post is your fave and I won’t get tired of hearing it! And you know … that I know … that you want to do a little time. I have the emails to prove it;)

  3. It is now official – someone MUST have dropped you on your head when you were a child. It wasn’t me because I was too tired to lift you in the first place. I am going to ask your mother if she did. Oh, what the heck! It’s too late now! Keep the blogs coming and I’ll try to decide what type of therapy should be first on the list. You make your old daddy laugh. Thank you!

    1. I would not be surprised if I was dropped on my head. Not at all. But as long as you’re laughing, it’s worth it 🙂

    1. HAHA! Just because I can mimic a smoker doesn’t mean I want to actually do it. I mean, unless it’s when I’m doing time, of course. Glad you LOL’d 🙂

  4. Again, I snorted! Loved it!! Congrats on being chosen as a feature by Freshly Pressed!! Way to go “Q”!!

  5. I really need to quit reading this at work. My asst. is going to think I’m having a little too much fun with all the laughing I’m doing! 🙂

  6. Hilarious. For some reason, I too have a fascination with prison shows. Don’t know that I would actually want to spend time there, but having nothing to do but work out, write, and read fascinatingly obscure books would be nice. Don’t forget the chance to get your law degree and study in the (curiously well-stocked) prison library!

  7. This is too funny! And I have to tell you that I worked as a Corrections Officer for 8 years! I can honestly say that I never met anyone who WANTED to be there. But I think you just gave me inspiration to write about some of the inmates I have dealt with. Thanks for this story.

  8. Yes!!! I believe anyone can benefit from some prison time, including myself, only my prison is hospital. With a full time very demanding job, very little vacation time, 2 pregnancies, a couple of falls and one broken hand in the course of less 3.5 years hospitalization to me is a family/solo mini vacation. I once caught myself referring to the hospital as a “hotel”. I recommend isolation, if possible. Try it next time.

  9. And then Big Roz, who’s got fifteen more years to serve and about 2 or 3 to live, tells you where she put the money that has never been found by the police 😉 ‘Cause you’re getting out and you will send a half of it to her brother. And you’re the only one who won’t cheat on that )

  10. I’ve had this fantasy. But then I find myself losing patience after waiting 15 minutes to have my prescription filled and I know I’d crack in prison like an egg in an ADHD toddler’s hand.

  11. Great humor here. I hope you can find a less traumatizing (for your family) than the 8×10 enclosure so that your soul can be soothed. Writers can be a troubled lot, what with all the story ideas scraping across our brains!

  12. HAHAHA!! I know exactly how you feel. I have refused to get a flu shot this season hoping to contract one so I’ll be down for awhile. Apparently it will be the only way to get a break! I enjoyed the read.

  13. Howabout 6 months as a nanny to my 4 year old and 2 year old girls? About the same treatment? Time in the yard can still be the highlight although it may be a different usage of the term ‘mess hall’. Cute Post Anna!

  14. Funny post, and all considered, not a bad idea. Wonder if they’d accept volunteer inmates? You wouldn’t have to commit the crime; you’d just be there as a role model for the hard core inmates that hate waxing floor or curl their lips up at cream of wheat.

    When you incorporate your Writer’s boot camp program, add me to the mailing list.

    PS: I was dropped on my head as a baby. My sister did it.

  15. So, I’m sitting in my office, smiling. Some co-workers think I really love my job, but in actuality, I’ve just read this post. Great stuff. I just dont think Marloboro lights will go over well. Marlboro reds adds much more cred !

  16. I heard that prison food is very unhealthy. Have you heard the story of the obese prisoner who fought the death penalty soley on his size? His argument was that he could not fit into the execution chair because of the fattening prison food.

  17. Incredibly funny post! I’m a defense lawyer. You sound like an easy client, so give me a call and we’ll go over which crimes will get you in for about six. I hope your sense of smell isn’t sensitive. Jails and inmates stink. Before you do your time, you may want to prepare by not brushing your teeth, taking a shower or washing your clothes for about a week. Same goes for the people living under your roof. Jail visits are not the most exciting part of my work, and I gotta say that I’m never so happy to hear that click of the door when I leave. Your funny fantasy is like my worst nightmare! Thank you…I’ll be smiling the next few jail visits I have to do!

  18. I would love just not to have to pick out a different outfit everyday for work. My freshly cleaned orange pantsuit would match the beads in my cornrow braids. (A secret wish of mine).

    Funny Story and unique wish!

  19. I, too, want to get locked up. But not for six months, eight months or any months. I want to go through the electric execution and experience it all. I want the execution to have errors which would result in me not dying, but experiencing the pain nevertheless. But I don’t care, because I was born with the tendency to not care.

  20. Now you just have to decide on the fun crime to commit. Shoplifting? Prostitution? Forging checks? Don’t forget that your crime will give you street cred inside, so pick wisely… 🙂

    1. Oh man, you make a good point. Maybe just mistaken identity or something – so I don’t have to actually commit a crime?

  21. Congrat’s on getting Freshed Pressed.

    If you have ever been locked up you would never pine to be locked up or to think it to be fantasized about it in any way shape form or manner. It is an ugly thing, and the people you meet are not going to be on your christmas list for sure.

    The loss of freedom is one of the most horrific experiences in life, other than say, death. It is a long way from Orlando and Fantasy Land. It is real and it is not to be enjoyed.

    No matter how you shade it dear … It is not much fun.

    DS

  22. Oh, yes! I came up with this solution too when I was trying to work out a way to study for a PhD while having kids and various other responsibilities in the world outside. I reckoned they’d force me to do it as part of my rehabilitation program. Clearly ldsrr91 and Andreas Moser will put me straight on that. Really enjoyed this post.

  23. OMG! I have this same fantasy. Prison life seems so appealing when you consider the routine, lack of responsibility and amazing bod that can be achieved in a short amount of time. What’s so bad about it — three meals, a roof over your head, a few menial chores, and the time to just think about yourself. It’s like college without all the pressure. LOL!!
    I’m so glad I read this post!!
    Anna, you’re such a gifted writer. I like someone who can articulate my own thoughts better than I can. You may be my new favorite blogger!! haha!
    Lisa

    1. See? We don’t ask for much in a prison stint. The basics—that’s all we daydream about, right?

      Ha 🙂 So glad you enjoyed this one!! Thank you mucho.

  24. You are a wonderful NUT! –> “In daydreaming of this opportunity to be put away for awhile, I’ve realized something slightly troublesome. I think I sort of want to get my ass kicked.”

    BWAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

    1. Beth, you quote that like you’ve never thought about wanting to get your ass kicked … in prison. Never? Never ever ever?

      HA! Yeah, it’s just me. I’ve come to accept that this isn’t exactly a universal desire among my circle. But after admitting it, a few have offered to do it for me—more than I expected. But I’m adamant … it has to be in the yard or mess hall, while in the clink. Period.

      Now you see why my aunt wrote me a concerned email? 😉

      Thank you for reading!!!!! 🙂

  25. On behalf of my husband, Peppermeister, I just have to ask, why serrano? (Not because I don’t like them, but because I need deets.)

    This is an amazing post. I hope one day we meet. Either in jail or at that ‘NSync reunion concert.

    1. Jules, I picked the serrano because of its superior taste/heat combination. It’s a bit hotter than a jalapeno as a rule, which is good … but less hot than a habanero (which is prob my fave but not for the masses). I like their lean shape, even heat distribution and grilling properties with fajitas 🙂

      Laughing. Ohhh, jail! Let’s totes meet in jail! I’m so excited!!! 😉

  26. This is hilarious but all I can think of is Piper in Orange is the new black and how it doesn’t sound like fun at all! But that’s probably because I dislike adventures and trying new things. 🙂