For real jail! The BIG HOUSE... The Pokie... The Slammer...
Black sticky ink smudged on all of your fingertips from the finger-printing... Metal bed hanging on the green metal wall... Sink/camode combo thingie sitting in the middle of the cell for everyone to see... Mugshot of me with raccoon eyes from tear-smeared make-up... Handcuff marks on my wrists.... Begging for my one phone call....
THAT kind of jail!!
This unfortunate chapter in my life happened when I was 18, so I figure the statute of limitations has kicked in and I can share the ugly details with you without too many negative repercussions.
It all started with.. MY MOTHER!
My mother, during this particular time, was unable to start her day without her perfectly toasted Pepperidge Farms cinnamon-raisin swirl bread coated with the thinnest veneer of fat-free margarine. There was only one store in our small city that carried Pepperidge Farms bread, and it was way on the other side of town. So whenever she ran out, I was sent to pick it up. I was fine with this, because it meant I got to cruise up and down Palmer Highway two times.
Palmer Highway was the main drag in our town. Everyone who was anyone cruised Palmer Highway.
On this particular day Mom was, once again, out of her beloved Pepperidge Farms cinnamon-raisin swirl bread, milk, and small curd cottage cheese. So I, being the wonderful and helpful daughter that I am, obediently went to the Kroger's grocery store across town to fetch these much-needed items.
At this point in history, fashion-wise, everyone carried obscenely large straw purse/bag thingies. The one I carried at the time was much like the one above, but it was woven with rainbow stripes.
This trip to the store was like most trips to the store. I gathered my items and went to wait in the unusually long express lane. I was balancing a gallon of milk, a large container of small-curd cottage cheese and the precious loaf of Pepperidge Farms cinnamon-raisin swirl bread.
I waited... the person in line in front of me was taking forever! and of course the checker had to do a price check and the milk carton was slipping!
So, I did what many other people would do. I set the large container of small-curd cottage cheese in the top of my purse.
Now... these straw purse/bag things do not zip closed. They just hang there open, and the cottage cheese was sitting on the top of my bag... hanging out by at least 4 inches as I continued to wait in line to pay for my goods. When a man came up to me and asked me to follow him. I asked why and he called the security guard over too!
Up to the tiny office we went. I wasn't even sure why I was going there. To make an even longer story shorter, they were accusing me of stealing cottage cheese???
I was standing in line! I had the money to pay for it! I didn't hide the cottage cheese! I didn't try to leave the store! I was just saving my freezing hand!
Police were called, handcuffs were involved, as was nice trip "downtown" in the back of a police car. Fingerprints and mugshots followed, and the crescendo of the event was the slamming of the metal bar doors to my 4x6 foot cell.
Of course my mother was not home OR answering her cell phone when I called her for my lone phone call. I ended up having to call some guy who I had a first date scheduled with that night to come bail me out.
Oh! on a side-note... did you know that they serve you McDonald's for lunch in the Big House? Yep, they gave me McDonald's burgers and fries while I did my time.
4 hours later, Bail was paid, Doors were unlocked, Personal belongings were returned, and I was free.
The following days included dropped charges, a letter of apology from Krogers and the security company who handles their criminals. And things went back to normal.
I went on my date. My mother felt horrible for not answering the phone. And she has her Pepperidge Farms cinnamon-raisin swirl bread.
But.. To this day, I have never returned to that Krogers store.