April 19, 2019
“Where the fuck am I?”
Actually, I don’t even remember that. All I remember is coming to — just a bit — and then falling back into unconsciousness.
Slowly. Oh so slowly. Slowly, my mind began to process, but it was at the speed of the first MS-DOS computers. Dial-up Internet. Waiting for the page to load. “I want a cigarette.”
Like tripping on LSD, like Alice in Wonderland. The characters soon took form, and they were truly evil. It was about that time that I began to realize where I was, although I was still not sure. Who knows what the police report will say. Who knows if, like the Mueller Report, I’ll even have the right to see the whole thing?
They say that theatre is a willing suspension of disbelief. It was like that. Jail? Me? I’m just a good old-fashioned, somewhat-privileged (refer to what the article in FORTUNE called us), fun loving white boy.
They were people I’ve known. My first step dad was there. The man with the salt-and-pepper flattop haircut. My ex-wife was there. She was absolutely The third guard was an African-American who, while he bared no resemblance to anyone I’d known, was not one I’d want to mess with.
Coming to consciousness. Think, Art. Try to think. You can do this — whatever “this” is. I’m not…this.
Years before, I had a choice. She gave me a choice. From Illinois Bell in Chicago to Mountain Bell in Santa Fe, she called. We’d married ten months earlier. She was constantly traveling back to Chicago to be a “helicopter daughter” to her parents. Exact words are hard to recollect this many years later, but the bottom line was, “we’re moving to Chicago or we’re divorcing”. Answer now. No time to process. No time to sleep on it. ”What are you going to do?”
No one really liked her. I didn’t even like her by the time we married. For some in my family, it was the “Jewish” thing, although it seemed, to a lesser extent, than the “Catholic” thing, being from West Texas. Perhaps the reason Texans liked, or tolerated, Jews more so than Catholics was because of Neiman-Marcus and Sanger-Harris. There was a huge ruckus when an Uncle on my maternal side married a Catholic woman (and a Yankee from Illinois at that!) Truth be told, I was clueless. While we attended church as a “family” until leaving Abilene upon the second divorce, other than for events, I’ve not attended a church regularly, or at all. Nor only once.
Think, Art. Stand up for how you really feel. Stand up, and not for her, nor for anyone else. For you.
My cell measured about 5’ x 5’, as far as I can remember. I mean, I could stand up, but it was…small. I sat on a tiny bar, hands handcuffed behind my back and then attached to a bar so as to minimize movement. The cell was padded. I’d never been incarcerated. I didn’t know that all of these cells were not padded.
Not sure here. But think, as I became more and more coherent, beginning to realize the severity of my situation, my lips opened, my indignance came out, and, I simply refused to believe where I was, and demanded out. As if I was in charge.
I began to rant and rave about the fact that I was just a good old party boy, and, OOPS, and OK, just give me the bill, where’s the door? I “think” I also began to play the gay card. And the “my shoulder is injured-and-you’re-gonna-pay-for-the-damage-you’re-doing”! It worked — they released me from that cell. At which point I assumed I was free to go. Dude, Where’s My Car?
There was a fourth guard who, at the time, seemed to become my escort. He was less responsible for enforcement than he was to — simply being an escort from station to station. I cannot he was older than 30. For one night in El Paso, he became my shining star — and the only star that I could see.
The thought of being incarcerated. Trapped like an animal. Memories of psych wards. Mom locked up in the John J. Seeley Medical Center in Galveston, Texas for six weeks in 1967. Kicking, fighting, and screaming as she was taken to her daily shock treatments.