TOP ONLINE NOVEL TWIN TOWERS COUNTY JAIL STORY OF STAR CROSSED LOVE GONE BAD!

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

REAL LIFE AT COUNTY JAIL TWIN TOWERS LOCKED UNIVERSE THE NOVEL BY LESLIE SIEGEL!

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LESLIE SIEGEL LOCKED UNIVERSE LIFE AT TWIN TOWERS COUNTY JAIL LOS ANGELES CA!

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TWIN TOWERS COUNTY JAIL LOCKED UNIVERSE NOVEL!

We reached County in record time. There wasn’t any traffic to delay my arrival. The building entrance was ominously scary. Everything had a gray color and looked menacing. They drove to the gate and it swung open invitingly. I walked out into the darkness and was sent right to processing.

I was led to a chair and told to sit, handcuffs still adorning my very bruised wrists. I was then told to stand by a window where a big fat black officer ordered me to hold out my hand. He scribbled in magic marker some letters I didn’t understand, which immediately reminded me of the tattooed numbers of Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust.

The officers that brought me in, prepared to leave, but not before the dark haired woman cop came over to me. She stared at me sitting on the chair as I asked her for the umpteenth time if she thought things would be okay for me.

She reflected a moment, probably debating whether to say anything at all, but replied, “You look like a woman who has gone through a lot and in the end I think you’ll be okay. You’re strong and just got off track. Take care, don’t worry, everything will be okay for you, I know it.” With that last comment the officers left.

Afterwards everything happened a bit faster. I was led to a room and told to disrobe and put on the two-piece County clothes. I quickly donned the jail clothing and before long I was in the County color of dark blue, even having to put on the ugly white sneaker shoes. I was taken to the next phase, which was much slower. By this time it was way passed 11:00 PM and I was losing hope and very scared. I had never been to County Jail before.

My mind whirled with visions of dropping the soap as I was led down a long florescent lit hallway and into a large elevator to a holding cell where there were at least 25 other woman waiting. I was afraid to look at anyone too long once the guards locked me in with them.

They all seemed like girls that would slit my throat in an instant, at least at that time. Female deputies were immediately inside barking orders. Some acknowledged women who had already been through the system like old friends at a party. Except this was not a festive occasion. They asked us to straddle the steel bench and look ahead, no talking, of course, which was fine with me. I made sure I was at the end where no one was behind me. We sat a bit longer, a few of the women recognizing each other from other stints in the slammer.

I spotted a short girl with scars all over her face. She spoke with a deep criminal voice and I didn’t want her noticing me watching. I overheard her talking to another tall gal about what to say during the medical evaluation.

“You say that you’re very sick and taking all sorts of pills, plus you hear voices,” said the menacing looking woman.

I took that to heart and realized that it might be easier on me if I did the same to some extent. I took account of my surroundings as the shock wore off a bit.
After waiting there for what seemed hours, one deputy led us single file, our right shoulders always close to the wall.

I noticed a blue stripe running to the horizon of the endless hallway, and I did my best to stay in line. I began whispering a tune that shored my fate, “My life is over, my life is done… My life’s over, this is it…”

I sang it over and over as we walked, hands in pockets, heads down. A short, crass-looking blond woman in front of me turned around and whispered, “No, your life isn’t over!”

I still sang it over and over. She seemed to get pissed off and told me to shut up. I did, until we reached a large freight elevator. I could hear other deputies joking, their voices echoing like boys taking a shower after a victory football game. I began crying again, until the same woman turned around and gave me a gaze that shut me up.

“Look,” she said at a hissing whisper, “Your life is not over. Just cool out. It’ll be okay, you’ll see.”

How could I believe her? It all took on this surreal feeling as the elevator went up. I felt a bit claustrophobic, but knew I had to get a grip. My mind flew to my times with Albert, and I tried to put myself back in the security of his room and arms, but to no avail. I was on the verge of panic when TJ’s stone cold face rose in my mind like a full moon during Halloween.

We were led out of the elevator and told to walk with hands in pockets, no talking, keeping our right shoulders to the wall the whole time. I noticed repetition was a big part of the jail system, probably instilling order among these chaotic, wayward women housed here. I had long given up the notion that any second someone would pop out and say it was all a gag, maybe a new t.v. show, but that never happened.

They deposited us into yet another holding tank with more women of all races, sizes, shapes and ages. Once settled in the ugly room with the open toilet I could not imagine using, girls began chatting loudly. Some paced, most slept on the concrete floor, and others sat together exchanging stories of why they were in. That seemed to be the question of the hour.

I didn’t want to draw attention to myself while assessing my surroundings more closely. To the left there were two very overweight tough looking black women sitting together talking. One lay down and didn’t care that her butt crack was showing. I stared mesmerized, taking a long hard look at her ugly, spotted body. The woman’s face was pitted and scarred. I marveled at how they both were so manly looking. In fact, I would notice many mannish looking gals, some even sporting stubble of a beard. They looked like a tough bunch, but there I was immersed in them.

Memories of Albert surfaced easily and I wept knowing that whatever we had and were growing with was now dashed into the sewer. I thought of TJ, who was the one that put me in here because of it. I ran the arrest at Albert’s house over and over in my mind, wondering why I admitted wrongdoing. If I hadn’t answered the tall officer, maybe they would have let me go and I'd be in a safe room via Albert’s father, not in a dirty jail. I cursed TJ and myself for letting it get this far. Here I was in jail for being with another man. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel as more women were added to the already overcrowded holding cell.

Finally, I started walking the perimeter of the room really looking at people. I seemed to start to accept my fate and didn’t see them as dangerous as first thought. They all looked like they’d done a lot of bad things.

“Yes, I did what I did, but don’t think it was warranted that I be thrown in jail,” I whispered to myself. I still hadn’t spoken to anyone directly as feelings of crushing depression over took my soul. In a span of hours I had lost my boyfriend and, my lover all because of my best friend.

My thoughts kept flying back to the good times I shared with Albert, TJ and Krista, which was normal. In Albert’s case, I felt like Juliet being wrenched away from Romeo, except I knew I couldn’t kill myself, nor would he. In fact, I got the impression that this incident would plunge Albert back into the reclusive, lonely, solitary man he was when I first met him.

He had one friend I knew about with the exception of a few cousins on the outskirts that Albert told me about vaguely. He didn’t have a normal social life and spent most of his free time partying, going to Grateful Dead concerts and hanging in his room building speaker components. His seemingly only friend Benny lived with his parents in a house not more than two blocks from Albert. I imagined TJ gloating and angry and doubted things would ever be the same in any area. Things spelled the end of my reactivated, long time friendship with Krista obviously.

I walked to the corner, sat down in lotus position and actually began doing a little Yoga. That’s when I noticed other ladies looking at me strangely, so I exercised and stretched, trying to feel better, like I wasn’t scared of them.

“Hey, Blondie,” yelled the big fat black girl. “What’s that you’re doing over there?
It’s making me nervous.” Her companion, a boyish looking black gal had fallen asleep with her head smashed between the others butt. She cracked open one eye, not even moving. It looked weird, and brought visions of lesbians attacking me in the night. She couldn’t take her steel dark gray one off of me as I did more Yoga contortions in my corner. Finally she turned her head, readjusted herself and went back to sleep.
More time passed. I wandered over to another corner and sat quietly crying and looking sad. Next to me there was a pretty, longhaired comely girl, who looked no more than 18. She turned to me and asked, “Hey, you want to talk about it?”

I gladly accepted her offer and began telling her what happened. She listened attentively and couldn’t believe TJ had the nerve to go so far, but he had, and there I was in County Jail ready to be put in a cell. She told me what went down with her, that her boyfriend had put her in jail for attacking him during an argument. She was so sweet looking and pure faced. It was hard to believe she had done anything wrong. It was then I noticed the other women drawing their attentions to us, wanting to hear more about my story again. So, I related the tale again, more women gathering closer at rapt attention, some asking poignant questions about both Albert and TJ. It was then I realized that I could take the situation and make it better for me by playing the role of the storyteller, which I was always very good at.

Out of the blue, another idea hit me! I asked the young gal if she’d like me to read her palm. She said okay and I took her delicate hand in mine and began reading her palm. I guessed a lot about her and she was amazed as were a lot of the girls forming a small ring around us. Before long many others wanted their palms read. I suddenly noticed that this also would be a good outlet as well. Even the big fat black girl wanted her palm read. She pushed at her sleeping comrade to wake up and move over, making room for me to sit down. Rather than hesitate, I took a seat beside her, even feeling the slight body warmth of her friend radiating out of the cement block ledge, like a phantom still sleeping.

I had read everybody’s palm in less than an hour. I was getting better with each new hand. It was interesting for me to see trends in the lines, especially the Line of Mentality, which represented the written word, things in black and white and legalities of their pending cases. It would seem the trend with women in there was a visible “X” in the middle of the palm above the Line of Mentality. I said it represented their outcome.

One girl even wanted me to show her how to sit in lotus position. I sat on the cement floor and began twisting myself up in all directions, even taking my legs and putting them behind my neck, something I’d been doing since I was 3 years old. They were all amazed and started cheering me on madly. It was a good distraction. Others wanted me to read their hands, which I did like an assembly line. There never seemed to be a shortage of palms, as I would find out. Many wanted to hear my story about Albert and TJ again, and I was getting a nice pace going with it, remembering all sorts of small details about what I experienced with Albert, TJ’s demeanor and an assortment of other things I had forgotten due to my shock in being arrested. It doesn’t compare, but could be paralleled to the pain a mother feels giving birth, which is soon forgotten after the baby is born. Strangely, Krista fell into the role of midwife, the Deliverer. Unfortunately, the whole episode would turn my life upside down, and now I was in a real Locked Universe.

Talking about the incident and reading their palms coupled with the Yoga helped calm me and put an almost human touch to things. I even started pursuing the girl with the scars on her face so I could read her palm. She declined saying, “That’s okay, Blondie, I know I’m dying…”

Others convinced her finally. She sat with me as I read her small, delicate, blotchy, dish-panned digits. I could see the lines of concern and illness, as well as other things that came to me in a flash. I also told her other things I couldn’t possibly know and she was amazed. It was a tool I would use over and over in that place.

After I read her palm she directly cued me in on how to get sent to medical evaluation rather than straight to General Population.

“You just play everything up,” she said.

“Just like you’re doing?” I asked.

“Hey, all my conditions are serious,” she answered without hesitation, raising her voice for all to hear, then suddenly coming close to my ear, her voice becoming a throaty whisper. “They’re listening,” she said, pointing to a two way intercom speaker.

I took her advice to heart. She had red dyed hair and other than the scars, upon closer inspection, her face was smooth and unblemished. Her beady eyes showed criminal hardship. The woman claimed to have every sickness and condition known to mankind, and was on all sorts of drugs, prescription or otherwise. She was quite vocal about it as she pranced and preened around the cell to anyone who would listen.

“I guess the question of the hour here is ‘What did you do?’”

“All I did was rob a 7-11,” She said, wanting to hear my story, which I told in greater detail, with most of the crowd leaning in to hear again.

“I know, you were with your boyfriend, right?” I asked her, actually feeling the vibe that she was with her boyfriend. My hunch was correct. She was totally amazed, as were those around me.

“Well, I sure was with my man,” she screamed like winning a Wheel of Fortune round. She looked around at everyone edging in to hear. “And I never told her that,” she yelled at the top of her lungs. “You’ve got the gift, Girl!”

There seemed to be no limit to my story and the energy I put in to telling it. As I told it again, I could feel they easily identified with me and put my own fears to rest about my stay at County. Some of the old timers came up and explained things to me. They didn’t candy coat it for me, but said I didn’t have much to fear from inmates as much as the deputies. At that moment, I felt like a character from the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome!

“Those deputies can really mess with you,” said one lady with the most beautiful flowing blond hair and piercing blue eyes I had ever seen.

“Why are you here?” I asked, grabbing her palm on instinct.

“I have an anger management problem. I’m raging all the time and on medication,” she said honestly, pulling away from me only to be able to talk with her hands. “I’ve been here many times for my anger. I’ve beaten up countless family members and friends for no reason,” she said matter-of-factly. Rage was written in the lines of her palm when I finally captured her flailing hand in my own and read it.

It was way past 2:00 AM in the morning when the deputies came and separated us into smaller groups. I was put in a smaller holding cell with some of the women I’d read palms for. I felt an immediate identification with the others like I’d known them and had met them at some function. We were wearing the same garb, the dark blue County outfits with white boat shoe sneakers and socks. In a funny twist, it united us in our plights.

I was put in with the first gal I had spoken to, as well as a few others, including the rage girl, whom I was starting to like. Some new faces heard that I read palms (news traveled fast in that place) and wanted theirs read, which I did. It passed the time. I noticed a nice strawberry blond girl with clown-like lips watching me and laughing at everything I said while launching into a barrage of jokes, becoming a real clown myself. I sat on the floor and rolled up into my lotus ball, which made everyone in there laugh hysterically. They tried to do it with little success. For the first time I was actually feeling better about myself. I’d brought a little joy to others and might have found a new calling. I entertained those ladies for over an hour, until a deputy came and brought us to med evaluation. I knew what to say in there, thanks to Scarface.

We were finally led to the next phase. In a large brightly lit room with desks and chairs they told us to take a seat. We waited until our names were called. I noticed that the girls they put me with in the smaller holding cell were still by my side, as if they’d grouped us accordingly. My name was called and as the jail nurse behind the desk cleared her computer I saw Ms. Scarface getting her evaluation. I heard her rattle off all her ailments and drugs. “Yes, I’m taking Valium, Wellbutren, Sulfa drugs, I have Cancer of the stomach, I hear voices all the time, and I’m taking steroids, plus Codeine-5, Morphine…!" I couldn’t believe all the drugs and symptoms she had, most probably trumped up and bogus, like my own situation with TJ. But the nurse jotted it all down like she’d heard it all before.

When my evaluator asked me, I went into my rap. “I’m on Disability from the State for anxiety and panic disorders.” I showed her my fingers, which at that moment looked like I had arthritis. “I take medicine for this too,” I said, holding out my fingers, making them shake a little just to drive home the point.

“What are you taking for the anxiety?” She asked.

“I take Ativan and can’t be in any enclosed areas or I’d have an attack,” I answered.
She rattled off the usual questions. “Do you hear voices? Do you have thoughts about killing yourself? Do you have thoughts about killing anyone?” The last one through me for a loop and I almost answered otherwise, but didn’t in my moment of clarity. Krista and TJ came to mind of course.

I didn’t want to take it too far, just get assigned to a medical section, thinking it would be better for me. She jotted down all my ‘no’ answers.

“Am I okay, and is it safe here?” I asked shakily.

She just looked at me, her bored expression giving me no real answer, like she’d heard it all before.

After the med evaluation they led us to a group of poorly constructed partitioned offices and said to sit tight, which we did. I finally got into to see an older lady who did more evaluating, asking me a load of new head questions. I asked if I was safe, and she said yes. I started telling her my case background like a love story and why I was really there. She didn’t seem fazed, but I joked a bit through my tears and could just see a hint of a smile crossing her lips.

It was then I asked her to say something in her evaluation about Albert and I, which she did. She wrote one sentence and turned her computer screen around so I could read it. “Inmate hopes she gets back together with Albert when this is all over!”

Through my tears of loss and gratefulness I asked if she wanted her palm read, but she declined. That ended, and I was led back outside to the holding area where they split us into smaller groups. I found that most of the women I was brought in with were smiling at me wanting to talk more about my story with Albert & TJ and how it related to my case. The deputies seemed adamant about making us shut up and move quickly though.

By 4:00 a.m. I couldn’t believe that 12 hours earlier I was sitting in Albert’s room ready to go into bliss-land. I wondered what he was doing now, probably traumatized and hiding his head under the pillow like he used to do when things got too much for him toward the end of our 5 months together. He must have been affected, but at the time I thought our love would and could conquer all. Apparently, it hadn’t though. I imagine his parents were laying into him big time, and the scene popped into my brain, as clearly as I was starting to read palms. I could actually see their lips moving in unison yelling at poor Albert, who was now a casualty, a Romeo bleeding.
We were all led back to the elevator and to the 3rd floor. They told us to take a mat, a blanket and a sheet and follow them. They marched us through several sleeping quarters and finally into a large space they called a day room. There were steel tables and chairs and the lights were very bright. We had to sleep on the floor and so I placed my mat in the middle and prepared my bed with no pillow. It was almost 4:30 a.m. when I laid down and looked up at the ceiling tracing all the pipes and ducts running along the wall like counting sheep. I doubt I’d sleep and needed an Ativan, but knew I’d get nothing, which was the least of my problems. Thoughts of Albert filtered into my mind, as I knew they would. It was becoming so painful to not know what happened, yet sense the inevitable as I lay awake, sleeping a few snatches at a time.

I thought back to yet another letter Albert had written me and cried quietly:

Thank you for being my friend! It is so rare in my life. I was wishing for years to meet someone like you. I love that you live so close, and transcendently we have so much in common. I wish I could be a bridge for you in your trials and survival. I love that you are an evolving spirit in your own right, and I think I can learn a lot from you. I can image us having enormous fun and mystic experiences that could rival Adam and Eve, but we have a lot of work to do on our paths. I can see you have that higher wisdom which knows the difference between the finite and infinite. So I say to you that I am entrusted to myself to be such a guide to all life save my own temporal limitations. Temporal limitations are tough! For example: Your DNA scares me, and makes me think I would not wish to have children with you and since I wish to have children one day, that precludes as getting married, and since you need a husband to share experiences to survive, I need to cut you free of any expectations of me supporting you. However, I can also imagine that if we truly become soul mates, I could bare the risk someday and marry you. Until then, let’s just be the best of friends, even if in secret. Love Albert

At 5:30 a.m., the day room they put us in took on a whole new aura. A stern deputy came on the loud speaker and announced a new day of counting and lockdowns! Women were stirring and cell doors were unlocking all around me, the ominous sound filling the echoing, stale, re-circulated air. I had barely slept 30 minutes when two deputies entered the “pod” as the sleeping quarters were named. They announced breakfast after rousing and counting all of us, plus looking at our wristbands. Luckily, I’d made friends with the girls with me and after a breakfast of cold cereal, cold hard boiled eggs, milk and orange juice, we were led out into the corridor and marched to the medical section where recovering addicts, pregnant and suicide watch women resided, some in cells, most in triple decker bunk beds in the day room, some even sleeping on the floor with only the thin pad and county blanket for comfort.

The jail was overcrowded, but neat and clean for what it was. We walked single file again, right shoulder to the wall, hands in pockets, heads bowed. A door unlocked and there I was in Pod 242 B. Other women were meandering around after count, and idly stared at us, the new comers. Some sat on their bunks reading. Others took showers or sat with their bunkmates chatting. As I walked in, I spotted all colors, shapes and sizes brushing their teeth, brushing their hair, and other activities. I saw the red and black signs that read “Suicide Watch”, “Bites”, “Spits”, “415 Med Obsv.” The women looked a bit menacing but there were placid looks as well. Some even looked like men! It was not General Population, but rather a medical evaluation section.

We were assigned bunks in the day room for the time being. I took a top bunk to the back of the pod. There wasn’t much to it. All I had was a thin pad, a county blanket and a sheet, plus one towel and a nightgown. I was given a plastic bag with soap, deodorant and the like, but no toothbrush yet. I already smelled like slight B.O., something I never experienced much.

The medical pod was two stories, glass cells lining up and down toward the back. The day room served as quarters for many, even some pregnant women sleeping on the floor. Mostly there were heroin addicts on methadone, crack addicts “kicking” as they called it. I would soon become used to the daily grind, and even in most cases becoming desensitized to it. It didn’t take long after witnessing so many seizures and actually getting involved with helping them through it, for the episodes to become hearsay and routine. We all got settled, and it was all the women that were in the smaller holding cell with me from that evening. They smiled at me, waiting patiently for me to take the stage and make them laugh, which is what pattern we all fell into.

Payphones lined the walls, but were turned off, as well as the t.v. against the wall. The pod was neat and clean, not grimy, as I had expected. The walls were all glass for observation. Male and female deputies walked in and out of the pod regularly. We were being watched day and night.

I sat on my bunk morosely at first, which was normal for most. All I could think about was how this mess had escalated and how unnecessary it really was. Or was it? I prayed to God silently and cried to myself. God must have answered my prayers because before I knew it people were coming over and introducing themselves, some re-introducing their selves from the evening palm readings in the last holding cell. The raging blond with pretty hair was there, as well as the clown-faced woman who still laughed at everything I said even from across the room.

I climbed off the bunk finally, and sat at one of the steel tables. An overweight, white lady who looked like someone’s mother was reading a romance novel and I asked to sit down. She obliged and started talking to me explaining the daily activity going on around me. Soon another bouncy, blond gal sauntered up and was introduced as Bev. One of the girls in the holding cell with me said I read palms, so I started reading a few, Carole (the woman reading the novel) first. I got her M.O. down pat and she was amazed as well as a few of the others in earshot.

Bev and I bonded the very second we met. She was tall and blond and actually reminded me of my cousin. Long blond hair, oval face, blue eyes, kind demeanor and very up for where we were. I liked Bev and Carole right on the spot. It turned out that Bev was the girlfriend of a well-known D.J. on the local rock station. She was in on her third DUI. Carole was caught shoplifting and had been there a few days ahead of me. She had a family and a daughter, but had to do her time. She was very overweight and I could see bedsores on her elbows and arms from sleeping in the rickety bunk bed with only a pad.

Bev had a huge cold sore on her lip and kept trying to hide it as she talked a mile a minute. More people started noticing how I was … very animated and up for someone in jail. A few asked if I was on something. I denied it, but don’t think they believed me. The truth was that I was still up from my partying with Krista.

I started noticing others in the pod. There was a woman trying to kick drugs and was on methadone. She could barely talk, but others seemed to understand her. There were groups of gals milling together. Blacks, Whites, Latinos, gang members (mostly 18th Street). Everyone sat together in groups, but we all were in there for something. Even Scarface was on the row. Every time I spotted her, she seemed less mean looking, just a girl down on her luck. I doubted she even had half of what she said was wrong with her.

There were even women sleeping on the floor under the stairs of the day room, that’s how overcrowded it was in County. Ironically, when I returned to my bunk another gal had pushed my stuff aside to the lower bunk. “I wanted the top bunk, and you left!” dictated the blond.

I didn’t argue and moved my stuff to another side of the pod to a middle bunk. I noticed bruises on my legs from trying to get comfortable the evening before, and doing that first bit of Yoga on the cement floor of the first holding cell. I had little bruises on my arms and wrists from the obvious. I was still wearing the same jump suit from the night before, and hadn’t gotten any courage up to take a shower in the one shower stall that surprisingly afforded privacy. But by lunchtime I had begun to make friends and flowed easily through the various cliques around the pod.

I read palms, and started giving soothing massages to the various girls kicking drugs. Afterwards, I took a nice long lukewarm shower and felt better.

Under the stairs was the Latino click of girls, gang bangers kicking mostly heroine, shooting speed and crack. It didn’t take long for it to get around that I gave good palm and wonderful back rubs.

“Blondie, Blondie, come here,” cried one gang girl named China. It was tattooed on her forehead. Her face was heavily pitted from acne and the like. She had tattoos of tears on her face, as well as a small ‘18th’ under her left eye. She wanted me to read her palm, which I did. It had several ‘X’s’ representing her cases on the Mentality Line, as well as ‘concern’ lines around her Lifeline. I was getting so good at reading that I started to feel this confidence rising in me, and get hunches on people. When I read China’s palm she almost jumped out of her skin with its accuracy. “You are really good, Blondie!” she praised while reclining on her bed.

I began to massage her gently. Her back felt smooth and oily. In fact, I noticed that no matter what their faces looked like (scarred or otherwise), their backs were blemish free for some reason. I asked her to hold out her needle-scarred arms and began trying to send positive energy into her by gently focused my mind’s eye on each bruise from her needlework and imagined a cool white light infusing healing vibes. A new understanding and knowledge of where to rub and how to do it rose up in me. I really began to feel that I was making a difference. I rubbed China for a long time and she told me she was in for trespassing. I’m sure it was more than that judging from her arms, face and palm. She kept asking over and over if her case would be settled and she’d be set free. I said she would be if she kept her head cool. She seemed to be the type that got angry and wanted extra attention though. I picked that up and used it to my advantage while reading her palm.

Next to China was another gal kicking drugs. She too had the lizard look to her. I went to her bunk where she lay in agony of withdrawal. I turned her over and noticed that her back was smooth and feminine, unlike her face, which showed, like China’s, her addiction and pain. The girl was not well. She barely could get off the bottom bunk. She had the body of a praying mantis. The woman was tall and gangly and in definite pain from her ordeal. I would spend many sleepless nights rubbing her and helping her get to the bathroom.

While I sat with the girl, China got jealous and called out to me from her bed on the floor. “Blondie, Blondie, read my palm again, please!” She always said my name twice. By the late afternoon I was feeling comfortable moving from bunk to bunk. I concentrated on reading the palms, and rubbing backs. I, of course, obliged China and read her other palm. Others crowded around wondering and asking if two palms were different.

“The right palm is a cross reference,” I said knowingly. I held up both of China’s palms, she seemed to enjoy the attention. “It confirms information I read from the other palm.” Some nodded with understanding, other’s pretended to know.

Not everyone in the pod was open to palm reading. A few other Latino girls began calling me “Voodoo Woman”. I explained that it was all in fun. “Do you go to the movies?” I asked. Most said yes. “Well, think of it as a movie of your life!” I said, trying to keep my voice hypnotic and calm. “Think of it as a road map of your life,” I stated, feeling like David Carradine in the t.v. series Kung Fu. Everyone cracked up and the tension of the moment passed.

I hadn’t really gone to the bathroom much, and knew I had to take care of business. Thank God there was one bathroom enclosed. I used it a few times, trying to relax and pee at least. As far as the other business, I didn’t want to rush that. I knew I was irregular, but it would pass. I’d not eaten much for breakfast, and lunch wasn’t much better fare. It consisted of stale baloney sandwiches, fake fruit juice and a cookie. By dinner, the only hot meal of the day, my voice was becoming hoarse and dry. Drinking the water was like sipping out of the toilet, but I had no choice.

I was losing my voice and at times became overwhelmed that I was actually in jail, put there by TJ. Of course I was thinking about Albert constantly, and what was in his head. Between palm readings and massages I tried calling him, but his machine was turned off and remained so throughout my ordeal and beyond. I also wondered what had happened to Krista. Did she go home back home, or had she simply left our house and spent the rest of her ill-fated vacation with her friends in Hollywood? I’m sure my questions would be answered. For now I had to sit tight and be strong. But I kept fretting about Albert.

“Hey, you were arrested in front of his parents, for God-sakes,” said Bev as we lounged around goofing on things around the pod after I’d told her the whole saga.
“It made him go back to his recluse state and block out everything you guys experienced together,” said Carole. She had listened well, and got Albert’s personality down pat.

I was crestfallen, but determined to see this out.

“Have you tried the other guy, TJ?” asked Bev.

“Once or twice, but he isn’t accepting my collect calls,” I said.

I had also been calling my sister, who always accepted my jailhouse collect calls. She told me that she was in touch with my cousin and between the two of them, would get me out. Thanks to my friend Jeanette, everyone concerned had been notified. I begged and cried for them to bail me out. They were doing the best they could under the circumstances though. For the time being I was stuck, but the good news was that they were going to be hiring an attorney, thanks to Jeanette again. She had already recommended the lawyer to me months ago.

“Hey, why are you in a psych ward? What’s that about?” asked my sister. “They think you’re crazy!”

“Good, I’m better off here,” I said, glad I’d taken Scarface’s advice.

“Hey, what’s it like in there? Are you safe?” She asked conversationally. Of course, by now I knew I was pretty safe for the time being. “Is it like that show Oz on HBO?”

Sis had a good life, lived in a lovely home and had been working things out with her family. Albert represented more carnage in the wake of my downtrodden life.

“I just can’t believe Albert has totally abandoned me and shut off his feelings,” I said to Carole, but it seemed he had. I cried for him, tried to reach out mentally like we did before all this, but to no avail. “I’m not feeling him any longer.” I remembered calling him in my mind many evenings after TJ had gone to bed, and before I knew it, he’d call leaving his signature one ring.

“He’s basically ‘shut-down’ on you,” Carole said wisely.

“But it’s extremely hard for me to turn-off,” I admitted. Albert lucked out and had the emotional responses of both male and female. We’d often discuss things like that in great length. “It wasn’t just the physical attraction I miss, but also his mental aura. I’d gotten used to roaming up to his house and being there with him,” I said. “I miss how we used to talk to each other in our heads. I’d call out to him, and he’d answer!”

I thought of another letter he’d written and things seemed to come more into focus:
I know God is watching us through our relationship. You said once that you know God has something very important for you to do in your life. I also have such a feeling. Since our thoughts evolve, God is manifest. My contemplation and actions through life take over a fundamental spiritual realism that is transcendent to my personal will. If you already have a boyfriend or whatever, it is okay with me, as long as I don’t mess things up for you. In other words, I don’t want to own you. Your survival comes first. I hope my honesty does not preclude our relationship that you have been so open with me about right from the beginning! I feel I can do nothing otherwise. In our relationship you don’t even have to be present for our love to grow. For our love stands as I stand in evolution! The mind is above the heart -- The spirit above both. Our relationship is below them only redeemed through the spirit, thus is our work in life!

I began telling the story to anyone that would listen, which was just about everyone. There was always a new ear to tell. By my second night in jail I had almost 50 women listening to my story of the saga of Albert & TJ. It was interesting, and every time I told it, I remembered some vague memory of a time I spent with Albert. It was starting to sound like a movie to me as well as a good outlet for hours of idle boredom.

There was always a newcomer to the pod. They were always directed to me for a palm reading and that always led to the story of how TJ put me in jail for straying to Albert and carrying on with him for 5 months, but because of my best friend Krista, it had all come crashing down like in a Jack and Jill fairytale gone awry.

“Albert and I shared something very special, maybe too special. We didn’t realize TJ would go so far to end it,” I said, felt like Conan the Barbarian when he loses his true love to a snake arrow. I told the whole story from beginning to end. There was always a stream of new women in the pod and everyone wanted to hear about it.

Afterwards, like Oprah, we’d have a question and answer section about Albert and TJ. Then it transformed into shouting matches, some saying I’d end up with one or the other, but mostly women shouting that they hope I’d end up with Albert. One smoldering-looking Spanish gal standing in the wings with her arms folded disapprovingly said I wouldn’t end up with either. That caused a crescendo of girl’s yelling voices into overdrive. There were even a few shouts for all of us to “shut up about it!”

I told the story over and over again, actually getting things down in my mind better because of the repetition. Small details started floating to my conscience. Instead of Albert having something precious in his room, I was now resigned to the fact that it was happening, so I continued to read palms throughout the day and evening, even reading China’s palm for the 6th time.

Dinner came and went. I tried Albert over and over, but no luck. I did reach my sister, who for the first time in years was actually taking my call every time, ringing up a phone bill to the tune of $500. Dina always wanted to hear gory details of grit and Lesbian fights, but that’s not what was going on with me and the other girls. After talking to my sister, I did tons of crying until the woman who stole my bunk came over and put her arm around me and consoled.

Could you read my palm?” She asked hopefully. I looked at her face and noticed she had niceness to it, a far cry from the scowling lady who stole my bunk.

“Why are you here?” I asked while taking her little hand in mine.

“Can’t you tell me?” She smiled brightly, showing crooked, but clean teeth.

“Doesn’t work that way,” I shot back, sounding like a professional.

“I’d just taken a hit from a crack pipe in my room when the cops were banging on the door,” she explained easily. “They caught me red handed, and could smell it.”

“Yes, I see that conflict,” I said. “And the neighbor called, right?”

“Yes,” she answered in amazement.

“You don’t get along with him, do you?”

“Nope, I don’t! You’re right, Blondie! He called the cops!” She stared at me hypnotically. “I can’t believe you picked up on that!”

After reading her palm and blowing her mind, I told her my story again and she smiled brightly, “See, I told you your life wasn’t over!” It turned out that she was the same girl that was walking in front of me when first taken in. Her face had changed 3 times, and I felt like she was a comrade now, even though she pulled a power play with the top bunk. I let it pass easily and we became friends, often talking in the hallway and at the steel tables. It was amazing how she’d transformed. Of course I told her about my own saga, a very familiar and fun story in the pod.

We actually began a small jogging routine up and down the steel stairs around the second landing, and back down to the bottom over and over until we were exhausted and the stale, re-circulated air had gotten the best of us.

She had also overheard me talking to a few girls in the larger holding cell the night before. As we talked in the day room, the raging girl with the beautiful long blond hair walked up and joined us. Even in jail her hair was in perfect order. She was really striking and I told her she’d make a great model. In fact, we were to share a few incidents in the next few days that would bond us, and it was so hard for me to believe she was violent, but she was … but never to me. She already had a few confrontations with other girls in the pod, and would eventually be transferred to a 24-hour lock down cell on the end of the row on the second landing.

“You know, I’ve been thinking,” she said, plopping down on the empty round seat beside me and putting her long arms around me. “If I were you, I’d get someone to beat the crap out of TJ when you get out of here!” She said plainly, seeming to want the job in an underlying way. “It’s hard to believe he’d do that over some other guy. And what’s with Albert? He hasn’t even tried to visit or contact you!” She seemed to get angry with them, and wouldn’t doubt she could do some serious damage to them.

“Well, it’s not that easy. They both probably have reasons,” I said while sipping stale tap water out of a milk carton. I thought of the arrest, and just how far TJ had gone. Albert’s baby face hovered in my mind constantly, as well as the sweet relationship, clandestine or not, that we shared. I recalled so many moments that my heart was ready to break in two, especially over the fact that Albert had shut down on me. It was hard to grapple with, plus thinking on TJ’s anger over all this, it was all so overwhelming to deal with.

“Honestly, at the time, I really did see a future with Albert,” I said to her.
“TJ and your friend Krista did this, so just hold on,” she answered, grabbing my hands in her own and squeezing tightly. A lot of women were hoping everything worked out for me in the dismal County Jail. My status in there made it somewhat bearable though, which was some consolation for me.

“In the back of my mind I know how Albert is. His life is sedate and rent free, an easy high paying lab job examining women’s pap smears and cultures,” I said to the girls, who cracked up and screeched with delight, my timing and statement perfect. I told them how he was so easygoing and quiet, but had this funny humor, plus how we’d talk for hours about the mind and why people did what they did, even about our experiments in restaurants when we made others do things with our collective minds thinking as one.

Other memories surfaced and I shared them with my crowd. I could imagine Albert turning off completely, but how could he turn away from the wonderful memories that assaulted my mind? I couldn’t fathom him washing away those great, magical, electric times we shared our ‘white light’ with each other and those around us, but he had. However things turned out, I would always treasure the months I spent with him, no matter how cruel it was to TJ, or how bad things looked on paper. I felt a deep, deep love blossoming between us, but TJ had somehow stolen the power and dashed everything in a burning hellacious fireball, and I had let him do it! I knew that both Albert and I were reeling from the blows TJ branded on us. I doubt either of us would be the same from the experience, but it did happen, and was unfolding right before our eyes. At least I did have a cheering section developing. I imagined Albert was hiding behind his mother’s apron strings and that virtually no one knew about what had happened. I surmised that the more people that were told, the more he would withdraw, actually blocking out what we had together more easily.

They hung on my every breath as I described days of walking through the park with this man, a bit zonked from our partying, driving up to San Francisco two times to see the Grateful Dead, running wild around Glendale trying to avoid TJ, or just hanging in his bedroom holding each other all night in the dark and laughing at stupid things that came to us. Our favorite game was sitting under the covers in total darkness trying to guess numbers we were thinking of, childish on it’s own, but so wonderful when it was followed by a barrage of soft kisses and caresses, amidst the flicker of softly lit candles in temple holders reflecting against the ceiling. A few of the girls swooned at that point in my story.

For hours, sometimes we’d hang out at the Chinese buffet just eating, kissing and making out. On occasion we’d really head up to Jeanette’s hippy pad in Tujunga Canyon, where she’d let us hang out alone while she’d run errands. We’d spend hours in Jeanette’s cool canopy bed holding each other, making love and just laughing kid-like.

The girls loved to hear it all, even the times I was with TJ. I had distanced myself from him easily, but not securely. “He’d gotten into the habit of following me when I left the house to meet up at Albert’s parent’s home,” I explained to the crowd of women listening intently.

“You should have taken more precautions,” said Bev.

“But my pull to be with this new, quiet, stimulating man was crowding out everything
I should have done in protecting myself from TJ,” I answered eloquently, which set off mumbled conversations all around me.

“Man, that TJ really pimped you, Blondie,” said one black girl lounging against the back wall of the pod. “And why did that other guy even live with his parents? He’s grown, right?”

“Yes, but that’s what it was,” I answered, continuing to tell my saga. “By the first trip to San Francisco in October, it was getting increasingly difficult to get away safely. I would hop a bus going in the opposite direction and ride 4 miles out of my way on my bike just to be with Albert. At the time, it was my haven, he was my heaven, and when I was with him, my life was like a cocoon of secure bliss, hiding from the world safely in his ‘nook’. It was very attractive to me. His parents seemed to turn a blind eye to it as well, probably enabling him, the 7th son, for years.”

“Yes, I can see that, Blondie. But his mother didn’t like you from the get-go. That’s her baby, her last child.”

“He said he’d been in trouble with them before, mostly about partying. He’d been thrown out of 3 prep schools because of that, and bordered on the edge of brilliance. His concepts were a bit Sativa- soaked, but made sense,” I related easily to the crowd.

As I sat in the jail talking to my new friends, I thought about all the notes he’d leave his parents via his bathroom, most saying he was skipping being with them, or not going to work, which started to bother me, especially one day when he refused to leave his room until his Uncle Curtis, his mother’s brother, left.

“On many occasions whenever Uncle Curtis was visiting or sitting in the family driveway, Albert wouldn’t leave if Jerry Garcia rose from the dead and was standing naked outside his door!” I said. The room broke out in serious laughing over that last statement.

“Who the hell is Jerry Garcia?” asked one sweet looking boyish black girl.
Thank God I had many palms to read, and my family was accepting my collect jailhouse calls, even doing the illegal 3-way connection, which was against the rules. One inmate, a recovering speed addict with a sales charge, said all you had to do was blow into the phone when it connected. It worked like a charm.

I thought about how everyone was looking at me on the outside. Family was family, true blood relations that should come to your aid because of that stigma, plus the Jewish guilt factor in full swing too. I knew that probably by this time even TJ was feeling blue about what he’d put into motion, even if I did have charges ringing in the New Year like flashing neon!

I did notice that after I told my story that first evening the majority of them were swinging toward Albert and I, and he would pop out of his fragile, recluse stationery mode he was currently in and step up to the stage to save me. Unfortunately, as the second day kicked in at the jail, it looked like that was not to be the case. But I held onto the hope and memories I shared with Albert, and the shear fact that he would allow them to carry him through like I was trying to do, making it a happy ending love story.

As I told my epic, we were always stumped as to what would happen, and that is what made it so stimulating to discuss. After all, we were the most bored humans on earth and didn’t all walks of life like a happy ending or a good mystery?

We also had our distractions. Every now and then a certain handsome deputy we nicknamed “Butt Boy” would saunter in and do a count, which paused talk in there. Sometimes he’d walk in every 10 minutes just to wander around to the various groups of girls lounging in the day room and on the landings. It was a medical observation pod, so that was typical to see guards there. We knew they were watching us closely. But the women liked this particular deputy because he posed for them and enjoyed it. I could tell that right away.

He was in great shape and not hard to look at. I began trying to throw my mind at him, making him do simple gestures. I shared my experiment with a few of the girls in our pod. Bev got a kick out of it and we’d spend a lot of time staring out the large windows at Mr. Handsome with the closely cropped hair, decked out in full deputy regalia! A few others picked up on our cue. They began watching and waiting to see it happen. At first it was very subtle, then it kicked in full swing. We were all amazed.

One morning he had wandered in 4 consecutive times and by that time I had made him trip on the stairs, turn around and smile, stop in mid step and even say certain sentences that amazed the other inmates watching me. I don’t consider it a magical thing, because from reading all the palms and getting notions on people from that, I believe a new perspective was growing in me. I was able to actually predict what he would do partly.

“Hey,” piped up Bev as we sat in the pod discussing Albert and TJ and any new thoughts on the matter, as well as any memories. “…Maybe we can think all together and make Butt Boy unlock the door and let us go free!”

We all laughed loudly, knowing that it couldn’t happen.

As he followed our thought patterns, and actually did what we thought him to do, the women would “ohhh and ahhh” every time. It was during these moments I didn’t feel like a jail inmate, but just with a group of women like myself at a retreat.
Soon we all would gather in a circle and think deeply of that deputy, actually making him appear out of nowhere and come toward the pod. But his own strong will made him turn around one morning and never enter our pod again after that incident.

After that, Butt Boy resigned himself to posing in front of the computer by the watch station, which was situated right in the center view of our pod, for all to see out of the glass walls where our beds were aligned row by row. Every now and then he’d sneak a glance our way, pretending the vibes we were throwing out at him didn’t bother him. This was done in silence, because whenever the deputies entered our pod everyone would stop talking and almost be at attention. In the beginning I was talking to Carole when they walked in and singled me out as I was in mid sentence when a certain mean female deputy asked me to step down from the second landing where I was standing, just about to read a palm.

I was wearing my jail shoes which I’d fashioned into sliding shoes by putting my big size 10 feet on top of the tongue of the flimsy sneakers. I could slide around unhampered and it was easy on my feet. As I was coming down the steps trying to slip into my shoes, I fell, but recovered, showing my flexibility.

“Hey, it’s the Pretzel Girl,” said one female deputy. Other deputies chuckled loudly. I laughed, easily joining in on their joke until they stared sternly at me. “What did you do to get in here?” She asked scrutinizing me up and down, which was their way. My naturally curly blond hair made me look younger than 40 years old. The dark blue jail suit actually complimented my look, especially my coloring. I definitely stood out. “You don’t even look like you belong in here, Pretzel Girl! So what did you do, and I can’t wait to hear,” she said, already looking bored.

I walked slowly forward, hands in pockets, head held high. “I’m not sure,” I whispered.

“What, I didn’t hear you,” she commanded easily. “What?”

“I’m not guilty!” I stated, not even daring to mention my Albert and TJ story. Obviously, they saw me doing my Yoga and it had been a joke amongst them. Who knew what other information they had on me?

“That’s what they all say,” she answered. “Well,” she added, putting hands on hips. “… Maybe some time in a cell will shut you up from now on when a deputy enters the pod. Get your stuff and lockdown in cell 7.”

“Listen, I’m on Disability from the State from severe anxiety and panic attacks, and I’ve not had any meds for it,” I explained, my voice low and shaky due to the bad re-circulated air and the trauma of the day before.

“I don’t care about that, you’re here now. This is jail! Get moving or I’ll tack on more time, maybe a full week in lockdown! And while I’m at it, I think I’ll check your records…”

I grabbed my property and walked up the landing to cell 7, slowly stopping at the door, not going in right away.

“Go on,” screamed the deputy, uncaring that I was starting to whimper. “In, or more time, you make the choice.” She got on her walk-talkie and radioed the watch house outside the pod and gave my booking number.

You could have dropped a pin and heard it in that pod. In the background I saw all the faces I’d read palms for and they registered pain there. Most gloated when someone was sent out of the day room and into the small cells lining the walls and landings away from the groups of ladies littering the day room. But these women were not gloating. They truly liked and wanted me to stay with them. I brought them up like no one else had.

I was told to shut the door. It clicked solidly. I walked to the top bunk and noticed someone sleeping in the bed below. As I was putting my stuff on the bunk I began to cry and carry on. I was panicking and no one cared. I began pacing and screaming and couldn’t breathe. Just as the tears blinded me and I was going into a black panic, hands reached out and held me closely. It was the blond rage girl enveloping me in her strong shoulders and pressing me against the smooth cool strands of her wonderful hair. That morning she had gotten into a verbal tussle with the girl who stole my bunk, so was put in here. She pushed the two-way intercom that all cells had, and was screaming at them. “Hey, she’s having a severe panic attack! You’ve got to let her out, please…” If the situation weren’t so serious, it would almost be comical. The whole jail environment revolved around closed in space.

I held onto her tightly and prayed to God for them to let me out. I know the girls downstairs wanted the same and were pulling for me as well. I could feel their silent prayers. I cried harder and held onto the girl tightly until we heard a click and I ran from the room. “Get your stuff!” cried the deputy. “…before I change my mind.”

I was relieved and grabbed my stuff and gave the blond a tight quiet hug. She smiled at me through her own tears, which had nothing to do with her being locked in alone. It was a rare thing that just happened. Usually when a deputy makes a decision like that, it sticks and nothing would change it, even if I were suffocating to my death.

After that incident, I noticed that the Boy Butt thought sessions suddenly turned into Bible reading and group prayer. I would always remember those moments. The whole pod got together before count. There would usually be 40 of us standing around at the table in the middle and holding hands. One Latino woman Kicker actually pregnant with twins would lead us with readings from the Bible and go around trying to make us talk in “Tongues”. Tears ran down my face and the goose flesh rose on my arms as I prayed along with them at an even pace. Trustees, as they were called, the ones who worked outside the pod, and had special privileges, stared at us in awe from the outer receiving area, not moving from their spots in the outside hallway. It was an amazing thing to watch. I didn’t talk in Tongues but the Latino woman did come up to me and hold my head way back.

She even knocked on my forehead, which made me think I was! What a wonderful, exhilarating secure feeling you feel with other women in the same boat as you. A bond formed from all the palm reading and massage therapy I was giving the Addicts and Kickers in the pod. Even the praying mantis girl was with us holding hands. I was the only inmate that seemed to be able to cross groups. I was starting to feel welcome among them all – The Latino girls, the older white ladies, and groups of black girls, who actually took me under their wing when I was moved to ‘General Population’.

We prayed every night like that for 20 minutes, the deputies even delaying their 15-minute count until we finished. Then I’d read palms and give more massages, plus do my Yoga contortions in front of 50 women, who quickly became used to seeing me do it. I was literally rolling myself up in a ball and twisting my body in the air, doing head stands and sitting upside down in lotus. Even our guards would soon allow me to do these things unhampered. It was a rare thing and many in the pod came over and told me so. Word of me was spreading to other pods on the floor as well.

One day while in line for a med evaluation two women from another section came to me and asked me to read their palms, which I obliged right there in line. As usual, my readings were accurate and true. I was secretly amazed at myself. One girl clapped her hand to her open, amazed looking mouth and backed away in awe. I was also starting to receive little notes that said “thank you” for the palm readings in the holding cell last night.

In between reading palms, the massages and the like, I talked of my situation. Many heard the many stories of my adventures sneaking away with Albert for 5 months behind my boyfriend of 10 year’s back! They identified with why Albert shut his machine off, and said they were sure he was thinking of me daily, but didn’t want to upset his parents or the balance of his life any further. Also, the pain must have been hard for him to deal with from what I explained to them about his personality. It was more than that, and it started to bother me and distress my soul that he had turned his machine and himself off to me. I was thinking of him mostly in that dark, dank place and he’d not had the decency to at least be a man and let me know what was happening in his head.

Yet another letter he rattled off to me came clear now:

I see things strong in you. You have an inner strength, and duality of spirit that is aware and actively self-evolving. It is a bit confused, but you harbor great love in there. Too much love to hold on to alone – so it becomes grounded. Always Albert

But I took solace when many girls did say it was traumatic for him, especially the way I described Albert … quiet, reserved, a virtual recluse except for his best friend Benny down the street! He talked of the mind and the 4 quadrants of the brain, which I explained to the women listening to me all around the pod. The man had a head talk better than sex. But soon, months down the line, that too would fall into place for us and we would spend many nights of blissful passion together. At the time he infused my soul with such a fire and passion of wanting.

But jail life went on, and the days began to pass slowly. There was little or no access to a clock or real mirror. My nights were virtually sleepless into my 3rd day. I still couldn’t believe this was all happening. It was impossible to get any real shut-eye in the steel bunk no matter what I did. More bruises appeared on my back and legs. The nights were the hardest and I sometimes asked my new comrades in crime how much a body could take with no sleep as I was doing.

“Oh, you’d be surprised,” said Carole one morning as we munched our breakfast.

“The body can take a lot. Don’t worry, you’ll sleep eventually. Look at me,” she said, pointing to her large frame, bedsores and all. She was a very nice lady and had always talked to me when I went to her bunk to chat. She was very positive and knew everything about what I was going through and why. I had told her privately and she’d sat in listening intently when I told my story one late evening to everyone in the pod.

One evening on my 3rd night in jail I first noticed a large Ethiopian woman locked in a cell by herself. Magnetic red and black signs read “415 Med. Obvs”, “Bites”, “Spits”!

“What’s 415 Med Obvs?” I asked one black girl also watching the Amazon lady locked away from everyone by herself. She wore a yellow jump suit and looked like a huge man standing there ready to pounce.

“She goes into attack mode whenever a deputy walks by…that’s 415. In fact, she tries to attack anyone walking by. You don’t want to mess with her, Blondie.”
I watched the girl behind the locked cell. Our eyes met, but not in a bad way. She must have been watching me, because most told me she was an observer and knew what was going on. She’d spend hours just standing as close to the glass door as possible. On occasion a deputy would walk by on count and she’d go nuts trying to break the door down. She’d go through a temper tantrum of spitting and clawing and throwing things around her cell.

Next to her was a meek looking gal on “Suicide Watch”, as her magnetic sign stated. I walked by a few times and she was crying and screaming, sometimes pulling at her hair and scratching her body with her jagged, bitten fingernails. I could see her face clearly behind the glass. She had been crying and carrying on and was sweaty looking, washed out and wearing a blue prison gown rather than the garb the rest of us wore, including the 3 pregnant women housed with me.

On the 3rd night, I as usual wasn’t sleeping and was just one bunk away from the girl kicking on methadone. Sometimes she’d bolt upright, bump her head and start talking in her sleep. I couldn’t sleep so dragged my mat and bedding to the floor and passed the “Suicide Watch” girl, next door to Amazon Lady. There was a large pylon that would hide me. I started doing Yoga like crazy which gave me energy. As I was doing the Yoga, and stretching myself into a pretzel again, no one bothered me. I, by chance, looked over to the girl on suicide watch. I moved my mat right up to her glass cell and knocked. She had been looking the other way, definitely not asleep, because I had heard her carrying on and crying the past 2 nights, no one helping her or coming to her aid.

She turned and began frowning at me sitting by her door, waving me away easily, and squealing loudly. Instead of leaving or teasing her, I began doing the Yoga, rolling myself up into a ball right in front of her eyes. She sat up curiously looking out at me, but her whimpering stopped. I had her attention, that was for sure. I began rolling over and asking her questions whispered under her door. I made it a point to overdo my body gestures when I’d crawl up to the door crack and talk to her.

“What’s up in there? “Hey, want to see me bark like a dog?” I nimbly jumped into lotus upside down, rolled up to the cell door and barked like a dog. “Hey, did you realize that the door has been unlocked all this time…? Try it. Open the door for me!” For a split second I could see the urge in her bright blue eyes to come to the door and see if it indeed open, which it wasn’t.

She began chuckling lightly, still a bit wary of my intentions, but definitely distractedly interested and responding to what I was doing. I definitely had her full attention all the same. For almost 2 hours I entertained her by the door, only stopping long enough for the guard to come through and count us. As soon as he left, which took about 2 minutes, I’d be back at her door doing the funniest antics I could think of to make her laugh. Suddenly, I stood up and took her ‘Suicide Watch’ sign down and wrapped it around my own neck and pointed to it like I was hanging myself with it. “What’s this all about, Lady?” I asked sarcastically, pretending to be a deputy reprimanding her, hands on hips like I had seen them do many times. I smiled at her. She laughed crazily and had to sit down because of her giggling jag. The girl was laughing so hard and was getting out of breath as I pretended to be guarding her. I marched back and forth playing policeman, even imitating certain guards whose personalities stood out.

Boldly I went over to Amazon Woman’s cell door and took down her “Bites” sign and showed it to the other girl. “I’m going to switch signs and see if they notice, is that okay with you?” I asked her, going into my under the door whispering-dog-mode. I put the sign on her door for a moment. We both cracked up and she cautiously came a bit closer to the window of the cell door. She reminded me then of Wendy from Peter Pan.

I put her sign upside down and started pacing in front of her door like I was a husband waiting for his wife to deliver their first baby. I told her as much as I paced and paced, suddenly going into Yoga mode right before her eyes. I had been doing the stretching exercises as much as possible in the pod and realized I’d not been out of the room in days. She laughed at every thing I said and every antic I did, even a corny Jackie Gleason to the Moon, Alice number, which reminded me vaguely of Albert. She became my captive audience. In fact, everyone in this joint had become so as well. Maybe it was my sense of survival, maybe I really cared. All I knew was I had found a new calling. Maybe when I got out of jail I could look into some sort of physical therapy, helping patients get over injuries and such. I knew I could do it and I’d prove it again and again as the days passed in County.

Little did I notice at the time, but Amazon Woman was up watching what I was doing with the girl on suicide watch. She stared openly into the dim hallway from her cell door, as always. She resembled a sad clown, not a violent girl at all, at least to me at the time. I went over to her door and cautiously sat down in lotus position. She looked back at me, but didn’t move to scare me or go crazy. I started jumping back and forth and grabbed her 415 sign and put it upside down on her door. I said, “Are you going to get in trouble for that?” She smiled brightly and nodded her head back and forth. She ominously pointed to me and wrote an invisible “T” against the cell door. I turned the sign back.

Next I grabbed the “Spits” sign and held it up and took some water I had by my pad and began squirting it easily from my two front teeth. I became a fountain and got up on one knee and made a stream of water shoot 20 feet. She didn’t hesitate to smile brightly, which was a rare thing for her.

“Hey, I could change this to “Sizzler”!” I pulled the sign down and pointed cartoonishly. She laughed again and squatted down to watch. I grabbed the “Bites” sign and said, “I could make this ‘Bidder’ I pantomimed placing bets at the racetrack and then pretending I’d won and was collecting my funds. Amazingly, she got the jokes and just stood there listening and watching me do my thing. I didn’t miss a beat and became good at gesturing jokes. I interchanged between both women until I had them literally rolling in their cells.

It was then I noticed a few girls in the pod watching from their bunks. They were perplexed, but interested and some were sitting up and openly gawking. I doubted they were sleeping any better than I was, so I continued with my circus show for the two cell girls with others watching in the dim lighted pod.

I tried to keep the jokes coming and was getting carried away and obsessed with thinking up something new to say to them. I was getting just a tad bit overwrought, but did more Yoga to soothe my soul. The girl on suicide watch no longer was crying and cowering in her bed, nor scratching her eyes out, or threatening to do it. Instead she was mimicking my moves. I kept using my hand gestures and whispering under her door, which added to the fun. She began following my lead; even doing a finger movement thing with me for a good 15 minutes, almost like the silent act the Marx Brother Harpo did with Lucille Ball.

Amazon Woman also got my attention as she sat on the floor of her lonely cell and tried to put her legs behind her back like I could do. She got as far as her ear when I heard the familiar click of the lock, signaling the deputies count walk through our pod. I quickly ran to my pad and lay down pretending to be sleeping. I could feel the wind of the guard passing me. I cracked one eye and saw him look in at both girls I was working with. Both smiled at him as he causally stared inside. In fact, he looked twice just to be sure and shook his head when he spotted Ms. Suicide Watch sitting on her bed in a half lotus position trying to push herself up straight. He spotted Amazon Woman on the floor in lotus position trying to put one leg over her neck. He left without a back glance, but shook his head as if he’d seen it all.

The weekend passed uneventful, more of the same routine. I was surprised at how accustom I was becoming to County. Other than not sleeping, I was coping quite well, making friends and moving through all color lines. I especially enjoyed the massages I was giving to the girls. It never became sexual, and it was surprising to me. Talking to my sister, and listening to her questions conjured up all sorts of sick things, but they never happened to me. Reading everyone and anyone’s palm helped elevate my status there as well.

The evening before I was to go to court, they brought in a very young, pretty white girl. Everyone took her under their wing because she seemed so innocent. The girl was in for shooting up speed and was 3 months pregnant. She was only 18 and had a very feminine high-pitched voice that sounded like a little girl. As everyone pawed over her and played with her hair, I just became a bit jealous until someone suggested I read her palm, which I did. As they played with her smooth, brown, silky hair, I finished her palm and joined them. She didn’t seem to mind everyone’s hands stroking her hair and scalp. A lot of those woman had a motherly intuition and they were giving her everything they had. She seemed to enjoy it all, even when I started rubbing her back. A day later she was released as everyone waved goodbye like she was leaving on the Titanic.

I was also learning how to be when the deputies were around. We all found out who the nice ones were and who the real baddies were, which was most of them. One particular nice female deputy seemed more like a first grade teacher because of the way she treated us. The male guards were mostly aloof. You did have some like Butt Boy who would slightly fraternize with us, usually asking what we did and if it was worth it. It was the way they asked us that drove the point of it all. I noticed that the whole flow of the jail revolved around demeaning us to such a degree in every possible way, no matter how small. I would see the scenario time and time again during my stint there.

I would soon find this out when I made my first court appearance. It was Tuesday morning around 3:30 a.m. when my name was announced for court. I hadn’t been sleeping anyways, so I rose from my bunk and got ready. There wasn’t much to do except take a Mexican bath, quickly arrange my hair with my fingers, brush my teeth and wait for breakfast.

Breakfast was the usual cereal, milk, hardboiled eggs and juice. I had learned to eat as much as I could, even though it was sub-fare! I had been in there since Friday evening … 4 days! But I was keeping my spirits up with the prayer sessions, palm reading and massage therapy that were growing popular around me. I sat eating with a few others who were going to court from our pod. We made small talk and woke ourselves up.

I recognized and knew every single person in that pod, even the new faces. Sometimes they’d try to fool me into thinking I’d not read their palm and I would play along, but give the same interpretation as I’d first given. I even started understanding the woman on methadone, Anna. I also found out she was the same age as myself – 40. It was hard to believe. From day one she never got it out of her mind that I had a 9-year-old child with TJ, so I shouldn’t leave him, even though he put me in jail and was the cause of all this pain.

“You have a child with this man, you can’t leave him. You gotta’ work it out,” she bantered, almost looking like she was talking into space. She wasn’t though. She was talking to me! No convincing whatsoever changed her stance on it. She really believed I had a child with TJ, which was ridiculous.

After breakfast we were all led out and walked single file to a receiving area before getting to the holding cells downstairs. From there we would board a black and white jail bus and head to court, but that was hours from now. Once we departed from the freight elevator it was pure chaos in the multiple court holding cells downstairs. As I passed the various areas, women were recognizing me and calling out “Blondie, read my palm! There she is, the Palm Lady!” Women screamed from all corners.

Hands of all colors and sizes waved furiously trying to get my attention. I felt like Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator as I walked down the long hallway to one of the many multiple holding cells. If the deputies noticed, they didn’t say a word. As long as I didn’t talk and kept my hands in my pockets that were now shredding, I was okay. I also, for the first time in there, thought about what Herb might have thought of all this. We reached my holding area and they deposited me and another Spanish girl in with at least 75 others waiting there for the buses. Long benches lined the walls and women were doing the usual things.

A group of Latinos called out for me. I ended up reading their palms like clockwork. I’d gotten quite good at making a big production out of each reading. As I read one woman’s smooth, deep lined palm in English, it was interpreted into Spanish many times over all around me. My voice was very weak and it was hard to talk over the noise in the room. A few times I had to drink water from the fountain situated beside the open toilet, which I actually tried to use, but with little success.

Other girls saw me from across the room and wanted me to read their palms. The clown-faced girl who laughed at everything I said was there with some new friends. I read their palms. Then talk of the Albert and TJ situation arose and I re-told the story to all that would listen. The Spanish girls edged in and the same gal interpreted my love story that had become so very popular, even in another language. As I told the story and heard it coming back at me in Spanish, it sounded even more fiery and intense than in English. I would catch the names “Albert” and “TJ” frequently mentioned, then a barrage of words strung together excitedly. It was truly fascinating and I took note. I also realized that there were many dialects of Spanish, different words meaning the same, but put in a certain way.

Finally, after waiting for almost two hours, the deputies came and marched us out into the hallway. We were handcuffed and chained according to what court we were going to. I ended up chained to an older Mexican lady whose husband had put her in over domestic violence. It was amazing to me how many women were in there for that.

We boarded the bus and took a seat in the front. Men were caged in the back. They wore orange or yellow jump suits, and stared at us curiously, but we pretended to ignore them. We rode the bus headed down the 110 freeway, stopping first at Van Nuys to deposit a few guys.

The woman I was chained up with and I struck up an avid conversation. She didn’t mind talking like most did. It was a good idea to keep to yourself in jail, but that was not the case with me, because I needed to reach out to others, I thrived on it. It was no different with this lady. She seemed very nurturing and spoke good, clear English. She understood me as I explained what the lines meant on her palm. I also told her of my plight and she said God would lead me to the right man. I said that I saw them dropping the case and she would go free and be clear.

We got close being chained to each other. Even when we finally reached the courthouse and were led into a small men’s bathroom converted into a holding cell with a broken payphone in it, she and I talked about everything under the sun. We prayed together and cried together, sharing our pain. She didn’t think her husband would follow through with the case either. I wished the same for my situation, but knew mine was a bit more complicated.

It was 7:30 a.m. and we weren’t due in court until 3:00 that afternoon. We had a long time to chat and comfort each other. By 12:00 noon they opened the door and handed us baloney sandwiches and an orange. I tried to eat, but couldn’t. I did Yoga for a bit and continually tried the broken phone. It was frustrating.

Finally, at around 1PM the steel door opened and my comrade was told that her case was dropped. She clapped her hands to her mouth and jumped for joy like a beauty queen winning the contest. I was genuinely happy for her. I asked about my case and the bald officer stared me down coldly. “We’re prosecuting you to the full extent of the law, Lady.”

I almost cringed, but refrained. They shut the door again. The lady and I hugged tightly. She wrote down her phone number, took my booking number and waited eagerly to be released, which would happen soon. She promised to put $20 in my account so I’d have money. She never did, but wished me well and said that God will make everything okay with my case. I had enjoyed my time with her. She gave me added strength to go on and face the music. They came for her 30 minutes later and she was gone out of my life.

The next time they came for me, it was to appear in court on some building charges and counts! When they put me in a locked cage by the courtroom and my public defender came to me, she read everything, including TJ’s statement, and the arrest up at Albert’s house, which still stung me like 100 queen bees hitting at once. In all the 5 days of my jail time, I still had not made any contact with him. I begged my sister to call his parents and explain and see what the feeling was, and she did call, but her answer back to me was vague and unfulfilling. I just wasn’t ready to face the fact that Albert had abandoned me and wasn’t able or willing to deal with it all. It saddened me. It made me feel hopeless and down. I was so upset that I took the poem I had labored over all week and ripped it up in that holding cell bathroom, flushing it down the toilet in little pieces. I had come to a turning point about what was going to happen with Albert and me. It didn’t look good. I misjudged him greatly and should have known. But we always cling onto something we cannot have and that’s what I was doing. It was still something that got me through and very good conversation with the inmates I was housed with.
They had to call in a court psychologist to deal with me, because I was manic and upset about the multiple counts pending on me. My public defender thought it best to call the woman in. She sat with me trying to assess my sanity and insisted that I needed Paxil or Lithium. I declined so when she left I was alone except for one male inmate in the next cage waiting to see his public defender. I had heard the public defender say the guy broke his probation and has to answer to that. I looked at the guy and started talking to him and ended up reading his palm right there in the courtroom. He was so amazed at what I saw that it took awhile for him to put his hand down afterwards.
Soon my public defender returned and I was led into the courtroom. She first tried to reduce my bail, which had zoomed up to $186,000! That went down to $40,000 right on the spot. I was also pleading not guilty to 9 counts (even though it was 30 and rising). Everything happened in a matter of seconds, and I was put back into the holding cell to await return to Twin Towers. My house was literally 5 blocks from where I sat, and I had to go back to County. I wished to be free. It all seemed pointless and cruel. I didn’t murder anyone. I remembered what one deputy said to me a few days earlier in the pod when I made that statement.
“Hey, you take a chance. You were caught. You do the crime, you do the time! But I have to say something to you. I looked you up and you were good, really, really good, Lady,” he said to me while doing his count a bit slower just to talk to me for a minute, which a lot of the deputies did on occasion. I was an oddity in the pod, some offbeat character.
I didn’t feel good that he said I was good at whatever he thought I did. He probably meant that I was good because I got away with it for a long period of time, at least in his mind. I spared him the love story version and he continued his walk, or posing, depending on how you looked at it.
* * *
Hannibal Lector Lives In The Locked Universe
I was back in the holding cell, even trying the telephone again. No luck. I started pacing and began to cry loudly. I also talked to myself, trying to calm down. Tears sprung from my eyes easily, as they had in the past 4 days. I was even starting to realize that things would never be the same with Albert and I. He was too weak, and not the man I thought he was or could be. TJ had the power ball and wouldn’t let go.
Suddenly, I became angry with myself, and decided to stop crying and whining. I said out loud, “Okay, you are going to stop this crying and carrying on. Be Hannibal Lector, not a sniffing dog with its tail between her legs!” I started marching around and chanting, “I am Hannibal Lector, the Criminal of Love!” I actually became the persona of Hannibal Lector, trying to feel what he felt, re-directing my anger and pain at the situation. My crying stopped, my sadness went away for a while. I was Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love!” I said as much out loud. I paced like he would have, talked like he would have and even tried thinking like him if he was in my shoes.
It worked a little too well though. Before I knew it, the iron door was swung open and an officer stood there with 4 pairs of handcuffs and brand new chains. Instead of crying to him, I said, “Hello Officer, I’m Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love. No more crying or whining for this girl!”
“Okay Hannibal, let’s go. Turn around,” he stated, easily catching on to my ruse.
He began putting the handcuffs on and linking the chain through them and making me turn around a few times so that the chain held me in place. “Why are you doing this?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“For being a smart-aleck,” he whispered simply.
I was led out into the hallway chained up like a murderer I was acting like. As I walked behind the court deputy, I mirrored what I thought Hannibal might have been thinking. Playing it out to the hilt, I boarded the bus and took a seat really feeling like the part, but it made me braver and more sarcastic. No more crying escaped my lips that still yearned for Albert’s full ones.
The transport pulled out after picking up some male passengers. As the bus rolled down the freeway, the setting sun made for a nice landscape. I began rapping, “Woo, woo, I’m the Criminal of Love, yes I am!” A few curses were hurled my way from the back, but were ignored. “Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love, yeah, yeah,” I crooned over and over until even the driver put the soft rock music that had been playing at full throttle to drown me out.
I was Hannibal until we pulled into the jail and they led me out and removed the handcuffs and chains. I had bruises on bruises, but was gaining a whole new understanding of this system and all its workings, people and events. As usual they put me back in a holding cell where we’d sit for hours until after dinner. This time almost half the room knew who I was and greeted me kindly and openly. I couldn’t believe it. I was becoming a celebrity in the County Jail. It was nothing to joke about my situation, it was indeed serious, but my status there was definitely not run-of-the-mill or normal. God placed me here for a reason and I was learning so much about people and myself, plus what drives us all. I was learning to be humble and quiet, especially when authority was present, mainly the deputies. I knew then that it was a mistake to play Hannibal Lector, but the deed had been done, and it made for new conversation.
I entertained the girls in the holding cell doing my normal things, easily putting on a small circus show with the Yoga moves I had been practicing every day and sleepless night in the pod. The excitement was furious with screaming women making a tight circle around me like crazed banshees whenever I did a new move or contortion. I learned to work the crowd, and just fell short of putting out my shoe for donations. After we calmed down I spent the rest of the time reading palms again, plus relating my Hannibal Lector story.
One big black woman came over and wanted her palm read. I noticed she was coughing and wheezing. She said she was sick, but they wouldn’t send her to the nurse. All of a sudden, one girl is talking about staging a fake fall for the cougher. Before I realized it, plans were being made and I was contributing with ideas about how to handle things. When all was in place, we called the deputy to the door right after the lady pretended to fall down and hit her head on the concrete floor.
A male and female deputy entered as the girl lay on the floor groaning and holding her head. Everyone was screaming, “Look, look she fell, she’s hurt, she needs the nurse to come!” They didn’t do anything at first, probably sensing it was faked. But after everyone started piping in their concerns they called the nurse.
When she arrived she said, “I am the wrong nurse. You have to call the correct one for this woman’s pod.” As the nurse slowly closed in on the girl, I whispered to a comrade to watch and I’d try and make the nurse slip with my collective mind!
I concentrated on it, and suddenly the nurse slipped slightly, but didn’t fall. Everything got quiet for a second, and then they quickly assisted the fallen inmate out. Many in that holding cell were amazed that I made the nurse slip. I tried to tell a few others, but by that time everyone was restless and not in the mood to deal with it. Another 30 minutes passed and the door opened. They put the fallen lady back and she was as good as new when they gave her some cough medicine for the cold and some pill for pain. She was holding an ice pack half-heartedly to her head. We all had a good laugh over it as they finally led us all out and into the hallway.
We were led down the same path as always. As we entered the checkpoint for riding the elevator up to our pods, they stopped us and lined us all up for a strip search. By this time I was used to the barking orders and sarcastic banter of the deputies.
“Besides,” I thought as a female deputy ordered us to take our clothes off and face the wall. “…I am Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love.” For some reason, having to do the strip search didn’t daunt me as much as it might have in the beginning. I was drawing from a whole new power source. TJ might have the power ball, but I had an unlimited supply of a fresh energy, even if I was usually the one giving the reading or massage. I felt this stored up strength growing in me, even though I knew we’d missed dinner and probably wouldn’t get much, maybe another baloney sandwich.
There I stood in my underwear. I had stopped wearing my bra after awhile. It almost sounded too complicated. I was the only one not wearing one. As I stood there facing the wall fending off the shame, my mind flashed back to another evening.
I returned from Albert’s from a particularly good day with him as a whole. I breezed through the door, and as usual, TJ was waiting up for me, having been stewing about being left alone since 6AM that morning.
I came in and started getting undressed and had taken to wearing the most unflattering bedclothes. I found myself falling into the pattern of not getting fully undressed in front of TJ, but would rather use the bathroom. As I got ready for bed, TJ sat there with a scowl on his face, while questioning where I’d been and with whom! I used the same old, tired “I was at Jeanette’s house” line, which was wearing thin by this time. I also didn’t want TJ to notice the fresh bruises on either side of my thighs, left there by an unruly beach chair ride Albert and I had experienced.
In my underwear I went into the bathroom and relieved myself in the dark. Suddenly, I spotted something lying on the bathroom floor, almost glowing in the darkness! It was a used condom! At first glance, I froze, startled by it, half thinking that it could be TJ’s. But, no, it wasn’t! I finally reached down and threw it in the toilet, vigorously flushing a few times. I watched amazed as it spun around and around, taking its sweet time, finally disappearing. For a few more seconds I stood there transfixed, trying to get my wits. It was a combination of fearful relief mixed with an almost comical Karma.
I was pulled out of my reverie when the deputy started asking us questions as the search progressed to removing the underwear and standing there naked. I sneaked a quick peek at the other ladies standing there with me in all our hidden shame. I thought of the Jews during the Holocaust and felt what they went through. I thought of Albert with a heavy heart. I had made the conclusion as another deputy directed us to turn around and lift up our breasts, then bend over and grab our vaginas from the back and cough, that Albert had backed off for good, the pull and power of his mother just too strong to fight. They made us cough several times, then walked by and sprayed deodorizer in a stream. I actually got through it easily until they told us to turn around. We were all still naked when one deputy asked a girl what her pod number was and she said 262-C. Suddenly, she approached me and asked where I was supposed to be. I answered 262-B and she moved on. We slowly were ordered in a specific pattern to put our clothes back on. My first strip search was complete. I didn’t shed a tear this time. As I dressed in that open hallway among dozens of others, I had a very sharp memory of my time with Albert again…
He was the last, their baby, and I didn’t put it passed him that he had some emotional problems whirling around his brain. Several health problems surfaced, Asthma and Sleep Apnea among others. His right wrist was broken and painful to him. He was vague about how it had happened. He’d had heavy dental work done, and was also mysterious about that and the strange long-winded medications I found stashed around his room weren’t comforting. I didn’t miss the small scar near the eye that sometimes resembled a ‘cat wink’ when it closed slowly every now and then. But I didn’t care. I wanted to be with him no matter what was wrong with him, or what the repercussions would be down the line. He just made me feel so good. I don’t know exactly why, but it may have been a combination of our loneliness and chemistry that threw the trump card.
But there was a certain paranoia he emulated in regards to his parents and family right from the start, and I was seeing it in full force now. He had a fierce almost crazed desire to preserve and protect his privacy, which probably contributed to his already heavy paranoia. His room reflected this and was virtually sealed off from the rest of the house. He even had a carbon-ionized fan that re-circulated the air. He had a thing about it and even used it at the medical lab he had worked at for the past few years. My ears would actually pop when I opened the door to his bathroom.
Peeing in his bathroom was like trying to relieve yourself in a speeding aircraft experiencing heavy turbulence, because I could hear his parents talking in the kitchen, their shrilly voices shooting out like jet engines, totally closing off my bladder. There was also another door leading to the outer home where his parent’s quarters were. Sometimes I’d open Albert’s sealed portal and spot the other door wide open to his parent’s domain like a cavern. I would have to tiptoe over to it, sometimes naked, and quietly close it. They knew we were there, even heard us many times when things got a little out of control. I sensed his father thinking, “That’s my boy!” But his mother was a whole different ball game. She was probably saying, “Oh, she’s taking away my little boy, that Pariah!” She was suspicious of me, I could tell right away when I had dinner with them. God knows I’d not told his parents or him for that matter, the whole story about me.
The memories faded as we were led on down the hallway and into the elevator. They called 262, and I left the elevator with a bunch of women. I got into 262 B only to find that it wasn’t my pod, nor even in the vicinity of where I was, which was 242-C. The deputies played with my head and told me to go to the watch window and ask. I did, and was told to wait. I sat on the steps, hands in pockets, head down, trying not to make a spectacle of myself. I had to contain my panic rising, but nicely inquired to a passing guard that I was in the wrong pod. He went in the watch house and directed me to the window.
“Hold out your arm,” he said, un-sympathetic to me. I did as I was told. Finally he told me where I was supposed to be. I was led down another hallway. After a few twists and turns, I was deposited into the correct pod. I was relieved and it seemed everyone was happy to see me. They ran up to me in bunches and asked about my court appearance. I explained it to so many people that my voice was failing from the strain of so much conversation at once. Everyone seemed concerned. Bev ran up to me like a play partner in the recess yard and grabbed my hand, pulling me over to some new girls sitting at the middle table. “They want palm readings!”
I obliged everyone, and one girl even gave me a bag of carrots (like gold in there), one of the many food hoardings done at the facility. Another offered me an orange drink and still another gave me her baloney sandwich, which I accepted. I ended up giving the sandwich away, but ate the rest with relish.
Right before count, I recounted my court antics to everyone, even filling in the new ones of past details. Most knew and were told right away when they arrived, and I was at court. It was obvious that I was missed terribly. I relayed and imitated me in my Hannibal Lector mode. A few comrades advised against doing that again. “They will mess with you, that’s probably why during the strip search the deputy let you slip by with the wrong pod number,” said one gal listening. ‘
China was sleeping in her usual place under the stairs and she called for me. The gangbanger didn’t even have to get up because of all the clamor my arrival from court caused. I came to her bed and lay down next to her. I was used to doing that with no hesitation with the girls now. I didn’t ever change clothes, so it was no sweat. In the dim light she was smiling, happy to see me. “Read my palm, Blondie! Tell me if my case will go okay?” She begged, her usual pattern since I was put in County.
I told her the same as always, that if she played it cool she’d be okay. In the back of my mind I knew the girl would probably be released then go right back to her old habits of shooting drugs and gang banging. But by my 5th day in jail, I felt I made a difference in their lives, even if only for a short time. That is the way it is for all people you touch in your lifetime. You come into their little closed worlds and chances are they won’t forget you no matter how hard they chose to block it out. I was learning that some people had the ability to shut the world out, like Albert had closed the door on ours.
I actually tucked China in like a mother would a daughter. I folded her blanket around her, taking her head in my hands and kissing China on the cheek. “Go to sleep now, Little One,” I said softly, trying to sound Latin. “Poor Presida.” I stroked her needle-marked arms with my fingers, again infusing healing energies, or at least put on a good show trying. She actually fell asleep soundly and I left her pad.
It would be her last slumber in the med ward. The very next morning the deputies walked in and asked for a volunteer to move into dreaded Cell 7. No one wanted the honors, so they picked China. The girl immediately refused and asked if she could stay, but I could tell they were trying to weed out the overcrowding.
“Get your stuff and move now,” said the blond deputy sternly.
“Please, Deputy, I don’t want to go,” China pleaded her lizard like, beady eyes darting here and there, anywhere but at Cell 7.
Everyone had frozen in place. “Listen, you have 24 hours before release, so you’d best go in now, or risk 2-11,” said the deputy, speaking of solitary confinement where you got nothing but a County blanket in a dimly lit cell with only a toilet and sink for company. China had gotten used to a special human contact thanks to me! The woman wasn’t about to give that up easily. The guards knew she was getting a bit too comfortable in the pod and wanted her to break her down.
China didn’t move, doing more pleading, trying to get them to change their stance, which they wouldn’t. In the end the deputies escorted her up the landing stairs to Cell 7, and had to practically throw her inside. She was also out of uniform (a definite no-no), wearing a thin, pale yellow County nightgown rather than the two-piece pants and shirt.
Once inside, China began crying and carrying on. Suddenly she fell to the floor and had a seizure, which the deputies surmised to be a faked one. It was. They finally went in and dragged her out.
“That’s it, Girlfriend!” Said one deputy, the word “Girlfriend” conjuring up bad memories about how I ended up here and who caused it to be so blown out of proportion. Her jealousy about Albert and I brought us literally to our knees! After all, Krista was the one who introduced TJ and I ten years earlier. It was ironic that she became the catalyst for what was happening now.
At that moment, Krista, in my mind, reminded me of a gasoline wick against a Bic lighter. I doubted I’d ever forgive her for what she’d done, telling TJ about Albert and I in the manner she had. Yes, what we were doing was wrong, and I was atoning hopefully. But because of her, I lost Albert and what we building, no matter how fragile Albert’s mind was or became because of this. He was always very skittish and nervous normally, so I could understand how this incident would bug him out so drastically. I just didn’t realize how far he would go to insulate himself from the pain of separation and the reality of what happened because of our togetherness. Shell-shocked would more appropriately describe him at this point.
On the other hand, I had hurt TJ deeply. That was obvious. If perhaps I had returned to the house in the first place with Krista, maybe I could have turned myself in, rather than becoming a sitting duck for arrest like I had up at Albert’s house in front of his parents.
“… It’s 2-11 for you, Girlfriend!” Screamed another deputy, eerily using the same term, as I thought about my demise more clearly. They took China out of the pod and handcuffed her to a table where she sat for hours in silence. Then, just as quickly, she disappeared from my life when they led her away to solitary. I never saw her again. I was beginning to get the same impression with Albert. Day by day, his collective mind reclused and withdrew. I felt his pulse fading by the hour. I sat for a while trying to collectively throw my thoughts out to China, but she never responded and maybe subconsciously I didn’t want her to turn around. I might have been going through the motions just to have something to focus on besides my demise, and how Krista caused it. I was growing tired of dwelling on the fact that Albert would welcome me with open arms. It was unfortunate that the events happened as they did, but certainly not worth shutting down totally like Albert was doing. I kept wondering and voicing whether he could be that selfish, that he could shut out what we had and shared together. It wasn’t just a fling, or so I thought at the time. Because of the way things fell into place, it looked like a fling on paper, in black and white! That was indeed sad and unfortunate for both Albert and I, maybe even for TJ in the end.
After China’s turbulent departure things leveled off at the pod, and I began to accept my fate. If I remained calm, it would work out.
After my court appearance I realized I needed a private attorney. Through my friend Jeanette, my family got in touch with an attorney. I knew right then and there when my family immediately came to my aid, that I was totally blessed by God.
I also believe that God allowed me to be placed in County Jail for a reason. I was finding a deep-seated calling to help people, and I really was doing just that. I doubt it has happened to anyone like it did to me here. At times I was comfortable with being in jail. I did start to feel this weird safe feeling at times, but just as easy, the deputies always found a way to bring you on home toward despair, which surfaced with the depression of the reality of being in jail. It’s like they barely snuff you out, make you humble, make you think before you speak or during. They were very strict about everyone being quiet when they walked in, but it depended on the mood and who it was guarding us.
I was approaching my 5th day in jail. My nights were usually non-slumber, but entertaining all the same. Amazon Lady was always watching through her glass door, but they soon moved the suicide watch gal out. As she was being led out, she wouldn’t look at me directly. I could see her turn her head very fast whenever I tried to make eye contact with her as we all sat in the pod waiting for lunch to be served. I was sitting with Bev and Carole.
“I heard what you were doing with her,” said Carole, her nose buried in her latest novel. “…I think it’s great,” she said motherly. She was a very nice woman with children of her own, and she was easy to talk to. The woman listened, and it made you want to hear her story, which wasn’t much prettier than my own, minus the chaotic romance slant to mine.
“Yeah, it’s really neat how you were doing all that Yoga stuff!” Piped in Bev, her usual bouncy self coming through like clockwork. I think she was taking some heavy meds. In fact, everyone in the pod was taking something but me.
Scarface came up to me one afternoon and matter-of-factly asked if I’d gotten my Ativan yet. But I’d had no luck securing not even an aspirin from the nurse, who quickly nosed her way to my name, always coming up blank. I’d gone 5 days without anything! I wasn’t sleeping more than a wink, but felt energized and alive otherwise. I was doing lots of Yoga, actually making up my own moves and stances, which worked well for me. Reading palms always thrived, and not one day went by that I didn’t have a new person’s hand in my own.
I was still massaging the same addicts as I always did. Every night I went from bunk to bunk rubbing energy and positive electricity from me to them. I got so much out of doing it that it transferred energy to me and stored it for functioning without sleep. Although I rarely got a massage myself, it didn’t matter. I was gaining so much from the experience, but wanted it to end. I’d accepted my trumped up charges with more dignity than if this happened 10 years ago!
On the 5th night in County, as usual, I couldn’t sleep and just tossed and turned, bringing more bruises to my back and legs. Playing Hannibal Lector in Court didn’t help my wrists, which had several bumps and small lacerations.
I got up and did my Yoga, which helped ease the restlessness I felt from being confined. I didn’t want to go back to that thin pad, which I kept on the floor near the pylon. I went to the table and sat there wrapped in my County blanket. I looked around the room at the girls I had come to know well. I spotted the Latino girl who was pregnant with twins, and had been leading the prayer circle sessions. She slept soundly in her bottom bunk. I spied others who I had become close with.
It was then I noticed the blond rage woman sitting up on her top bunk staring at me. She looked half asleep, but jumped down and joined me at the table after using the bathroom. We chatted quietly about the usual things I brought up in there. She told me a few more stories of reeking havoc with her anger. I still couldn’t believe she got that way, but on many occasions in the past 5 days I had seen her go wild, almost to a point where she’d use physical violence. At times, she reminded me of a cat protecting its territory, showing its claws and hissing something awful. Now she sat across from me in the dim lit day room, her voice barely a whisper, a rumpled, sleepy expression on her smooth, unblemished face. I liked the sound of it, the way she pushed the words out with her tongue, trying to be very quiet. She emphasized her “t’s”, and I enjoyed the clicking sound they created in the stale air. I was noticing a lot in County, little things about people I’d not recognized nor thought about much.
But this evening she was tame and sleepy eyed. All of a sudden, as we were sitting there, the locks clicked, signaling the guard passing through.
“Hey, when the deputy comes in, pretend you’re sleeping right here at the table,” I instructed.
“Are you crazy, they won’t fall for that,” she whispered, every ‘t’ intact and clicking musically.
“Just try it…Come on, quick, he’s coming in!”
As he came in and down the stairs we pretended to be sleeping sitting up at the table, which almost made me laugh out loud when the deputy passed us and said nothing. Ms. Rage was amazed, and couldn’t get over that kind of collective mind power, which is what it was.
“Man, that was wild,” she said, smiling at me with perfect teeth.
We talked for another 20 minutes until we heard the click again. Like clockwork, in came the guard. Again, we pretended to be asleep, both of us going out of our way to pantomime snoring and sleep movements. I cracked an eye cautiously looking over at Ms. Rage. She even slipped in a few shakes like she was dreaming deeply. We both almost laughed by the 4th time a deputy came in. It wasn’t always the same guard, but the results were apparent. Not one of them told us to get to bed, or move from the table area. It was fun trying things like that, and this was no exception. It seemed to work well. In the end, we were both rolling around on the floor laughing afterwards.
The next morning she got up and began relating our sleep trick to everyone.
“I doubt you would have gotten away with that if there were more women in here or if we were in General Population,” said the Latino girl with twins.
“You should have seen us last night,” said Ms. Anger, her rage re-directing itself into excitement over a new method. “The guards passed us at least 4 times and they never said a word. We pretended we were sleeping right there at the table!”
“It was so wild,” I piped in, proud of myself for the deception. “It was like in Star Wars when Obi-Wan passed the storm troopers. ‘You are going to let us pass’ ‘Yes, we will let you pass.’ ‘You will not come after us’ ‘We will not come after you!” Use the Force,” I said, laughing and jumping around with her, feeling like a schoolgirl.
Bev joined in on the fun, probably wishing it had been her with me last night. She and I were becoming really good friends. The sweet blond had even offered her guesthouse in North Hollywood for me to stay in when I got out. She had me memorize her phone number, but whenever I called it, there was never any answer. She had to go to Orange County Jail to serve some more time on her DUI’s and such. I liked her very much and hoped I’d see her on the outside, which I doubted would happen. In fact, I didn’t know where I’d end up when I got out.
By now, I was receiving Albert’s message loud and clear. It seemed that he’d beaten me to the punch and sent a collective scared, fragile one to me, and that is why I ended up destroying the poem I wrote. I think it was appropriate where it ended up --- flushed down the men’s toilet at the Glendale Courthouse. It looked as though my fairytale with him had come to an end, and it was sobering when you had to deal with that stuck in the County Jail. At times the notion about Albert came crashing down on me, crushing the life out of my heart and soul. I couldn’t believe he had gone this far and destroyed everything I thought we shared. I sensed a delicate, shallow, selfish little boy named Albert out there, and just wished I had come to conclusions months earlier. I didn’t and that was how it was. I was caught up in it because I’d not shared and tasted such a passion and love for a person in such a short amount of time.
On my 6th day in jail, there was a new diversion besides Butt Boy and making him do our will. In the afternoon in the middle of our lunch the deputies brought in a skinny, frantic light skinned mulatto looking woman. They put her in where the suicide watch girl was next to Amazon Lady. As soon as she was deposited they slapped on a red and black Med Observation sign and left the girl to her own babblings, which set off her neighbor. Amazon Lady was pacing and seemed very angry. She even threw a few things at her door, something she’d stopped doing days ago.
As soon as they left everyone turned their attentions to the girl in the cell. She was the latest show for us as I read more palms and did a few quick massages around the room to the ‘regulars’. The woman was screaming and stamping her feet. “Hey, hey, let me out! I didn’t do anything,” she bantered loudly for anyone to hear.
Bev walked up to the cell like a clown. “What did you do?” She screamed almost comically.
“I was sitting in my pod and some girl came over and pinched my tit,” said the girl doing a hovering, shaky gesture by her chest. “Now I’m here! Please, please, give me back my stuff! Please!” She became totally hysterical and was screaming at the top of her lungs, her voice echoing strangely against the walls of her cell. Everyone crowded around my table waiting for me to do some crazy, magical mind thing.
“What’s your name,” screamed Bev again taking the lead.
“Casey,” said the chaotic girl in the cell. “Hey, hey, I need my stuff! I wasn’t doing anything… Let me out of here! Please, please, I need my stuff!” She cried over and over again. It became non-stop. “Can’t you tell them?”
“Who?” Asked Bev.
“The deputies! I want my stuff. I didn’t do anything,” screamed Casey. “That girl pinched my tit,” cried the woman, again grabbing at her chest.
I came up close to her cell. Casey was very skinny and wild-eyed. When she opened her mouth to scream, I noticed she only had one front tooth, everything else just raw gums, the lower half of her bridge bleeding a bit. She was kicking drugs obviously and was freaking out by the minute.
“Please, please, I want my stuff back! Can you get them to give me my stuff back? Please, help me!” Casey grabbed her head and started screaming at the top of her lungs. She was a mad woman, a possessed soul hooked on and off speed or meth, or both, maybe more! And watching her up close was almost grotesque in all its gritty connotations. Even through the glass I could smell her excretion and rabid delusions.
I retreated back to the table, not wanting the deputies to catch me lingering there too long by the cell door. A few of us found that out when they tried communicating or teasing Amazon Lady, who stood like a statue as close to her cell door as was allowed. She’d continued to attack deputies when they passed, but she’d stopped with all of us and was actually communicating more on a human level, at least before Casey was put next door to her.
Casey was getting really out of hand by the first hour. She was shouting hysterical rantings! We knew her M.O. after the first 2 hours. It was the same over and over with her, until I got an idea. I told the girls with me that I was going to try and calm Casey down by collective mind throwing as I had done with Butt Boy. I sat on the tabletop and began chanting slowly over and over, “Calm down Casey, calm down Casey, calm down Casey!” I made it constant and noticed after the first 30 seconds that it was working a little! Others in the pod who witnessed this called out to others and before I knew it, everyone was watching me collectively calm down Casey with my soothing, but forceful mind meld. I threw my thoughts out to her and just kept doing it until she was first down to a dull roar, then a few seconds of clarity, finally she’d sit on the bottom bunk and even used the bathroom. As soon as I’d stop or my attention was diverted with other thoughts of how Albert and I used to do this all the time, Casey would fall right back into the loud, obnoxious woman, screaming and shouting about her stuff and her tit!
By late afternoon, after listening on and off to the crazy woman, I began blocking it out. Suddenly, my name was called over the loudspeaker, something that could mean anything from an early release to total lockdown for some offbeat offense. I held my breath as I tucked in my shirt, put my shoes on right (not the gliders I’d made them into) and put my hands deep in my tattered pockets. The lock sounded and I opened the main door and stood in the hallway. The cold, fresh air in the hallway somewhat revived me. The stale, re-circulated air in the pod was starting to make me feel pressed and lethargic. At times I’d get very tired in the early mornings after breakfast. The air and a combination of other factors produced something almost akin cabin fever mixed with being a bit stir crazy.
I was just a bit nervous while being led by a deputy to a table and told to sit tight. Soon, a lovely, dark haired woman came and sat down, plugging in her laptop. She worked at the prison placing inmates in the right spots, and it was time for me to be evaluated for placement into ‘GP’, General Population! I tried to feign some form of further psychological illness, but failed badly. I mentioned not having any meds since I arrived, not being able to sleep.
“I just need something to help me sleep!” I begged, trying to make my point clear. Casey’s one tooth face appeared in my mind, then Hannibal Lector’s, and I didn’t think the woman fell for it, because soon they were lining us all up against the wall and breaking down the pod, moving people in and out after they called a few others out for the same reasons as myself.
It was an endless drone, but I had to adhere, or risk going crazy. We grabbed our bedding and soaps and were led out single file, hands in pockets to the outer hallway. For about 1 hour we waited by the stairs and by that time I was actually shivering from the drafty air. It reminded me of when Albert and I went to the second Grateful Dead concert and it was freezing on our way into the music hall. We had held onto each other closely and shared warmth and kisses, easily chasing away the frigid air around us.
Now all I had was Carole, who was sitting in front of me. I tried several times to engage her in conversation. She was like a calming clam and with good reason. We were all being moved to GP and that was that. Bev was in court and I doubted I’d see her again soon.
Finally they split us into two groups. I saw the clown faced girl smiling at me and pointing to her palm and laughing. We passed each other and grasp hands, and for a split second I was back at the concert with Albert, safe and happy.
“I’m going to miss you Blondie,” she said, her lips so defined and clown-like. I liked her very much and felt just a bit sad that we were parting ways. But being at County had hardened me somewhat. I was learning something about myself and other people. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in jail, not a Grateful Dead concert. What Albert and I shared was becoming celluloid and past tense. The only reality was that I was in the County Jail.
We went through the same routine, walking single file, right shoulders to the wall, hands in pockets, no talking. The deputies led us around barking orders, sometimes pulling someone out of line for the slightest infraction.
As they marched us into the elevator I remembered that the night before I’d been standing with the Latino girl who was pregnant with twins. Twice that evening she’d started having slight contractions and fell on the landing. I grabbed her, and realized just how heavy someone could be in that condition. The girl also was a Kicker, and it was hard to believe she’d carry her babies to term. We picked her up, with me trying to revive her. I wasn’t scared, and wanted to help her badly. I was ready to deliver the twins myself right there on the floor of the landing. This was more than reading a palm or a rub down. This was cold, stark reality. The deputies stood there not helping, but allowing other inmates to assist like they were doing with us. I surmised from the guard’s body language that they thought most women were faking incidents like that because it was coming close to cleaning out the medical pod.
That evening Anna had a seizure in my arms! It felt so strange to experience her body shaking and her face contorting into all shapes and expressions. This wasn’t far away and blurry, like a quick look at an auto accident when you’re speeding down the 134 freeway at 60 miles an hour. This was close up, in focus and sharp. So much so that I could smell the woman’s stale breath, as well as feel the sweaty pulse of her body. It was surreal, but like a naked truth settling in your brain. I remember grabbing her face and screaming at her to come back, and she did, her body calming down in my arms. Even if these girls were faking, it felt pretty intense up close and personal like I was getting. When she came out of it, the woman said plainly, “Remember, you have a child with TJ, so you have to go back to him, Blondie!”
As the elevator made its way up to the 6th floor, I thought about how I helped the Praying Mantis Kicker to the bathroom so she could vomit and pee. Out of all the girls, it seemed hardest on her. My last night in there, as I was giving her a backrub, she turned to me and said, “I wish I’d not wasted my life on drugs! You’re still young and have a chance. You don’t belong here, Blondie!” She said weakly. “I think you can do a lot of great things with people on the outside.” She was right. “Everyone likes you,” she added. It seemed everything was an effort for her to do. She was tall and lanky, and once could have been a striking woman, but looked more like a dying lizard. I liked her and didn’t mind helping, not caring I might even contract something. I was actually leaving it in God’s hands about that aspect. I sometimes felt like Florence Nightingale meets Florence Henderson in there! Sometimes I even felt like Evangelista, an insignificant, little known saint who nursed Lepers and those with the Black Plague back to health in the late 1600’s.
But the pregnant girls were the worst to see. You do begin to view them as more human and not so criminal as they were misdirected in life.
I also looked at myself and how I was dealing with the pressures of County. I became more tolerant and accepting of things happening around me, even the snarling and fighting that was cropping up lately. Helping women through seizures, rubbing the Kicker’s backs, reading anyone’s palm no matter what group they belonged to, was teaching me many things!
Toward the end of my stay in the med pod, I noticed they had moved in a skinny looking Latino girl. She immediately started fighting with everyone, including Rage Girl and a number of others in the pod. No one liked her and avoided her. She ended up sleeping on the floor with just a sheet, no blanket far from anyone. One morning I crawled over to her bed and tried talking to her. On closer inspection I noticed dozens of needle scars on her neck, arms and face. “Can I read your palm?” I asked her.
“No, I don’t want no palm readings,” she said stiffly. She seemed to curl up closer to the back wall when I sat down next to her on the thin pad.
“I just wanted you to know that God told me everything will be okay with you in here. No one wants to fight,” I said, feeling like Laura Ingalls from Little House on The Prairie. “Grab my hands,” I asked her.
She took my hands gingerly, not really wanting to deal with my nice gesture. “I really don’t give a damn,” she said stoically. “And why the hell are you so damn friendly?”
“I don’t know. I just feel open. I can give you a massage.”
“No thanks,” she answered, half withdrawing, but still holding my hands. “Listen, I want to sleep, will you go away now?” She pulled herself free and turned her body away from me. As she turned over, I could see more scarring from her needle and drug use.
It made me think that my case and plight were bubblegum and hair ribbons compared to the 3 girls I had seen. Like those others, this one would probably lose hers to a miscarriage.
We were led down the same type of hallway, but the blue stripe running along the right side was green. I wasn’t as scared as when first brought here and just wanted to get through this ordeal. I had my tools of palm reading and massage, so doubted any big problems would arise in another pod, even when I started doing my daily Yoga contortions without shame as I had been doing.
As we were walked down to our new location I had strong memories of being with Albert.
* * *
Our days began very early and ended sometimes way passed midnight. I’d ride my bike up there after TJ went to work or left to do errands. It took 5 minutes to reach Albert’s house, and I’d gotten to a point where I could actually ride the whole steep hill without stopping. We’d spend the day doing our thing, being together until night fell. Usually he’d walk me all the way back. Sometimes I’d have TJ’s car and we’d stand by the car holding each other tightly and kissing like mad, just so reluctant to let go and say good night. It was almost as if every time we had to part, we might have known deep down inside that our being together would be short and cut off eventually.
* * *
I still couldn’t believe I was here in jail for that. I had to hold myself fast because tears were trying to break out and it made my eyes sting.
We stopped at 261 B & C. They told us to go inside and bed down. I walked through my assigned pod and found no beds, so somehow wandered into Pod C by accident. I found a bunk immediately and settled in. It was early afternoon and new girls were milling around their pod.
A boyish, tall, black girl strode up to me. “Hey, you’re the Palm Lady! Read my palm,” she said loudly, flouncing on my bed.
Everyone in the pod turned and realized who I was. Others ran up wanting their palms read. “We’ve heard about you, Girl,” said one white woman that looked like a man, even having the stubble of a beard growing. Everyone became very friendly and I was brought around to the various groups and introduced. Believe it or not, many remembered seeing me in the holding cells when first arriving, plus going and coming back from court.
Some were playing cards, others relaxed on their bunks, others locked up in the cells lining the walls. The first thing I did was to seriously use the single enclosed bathroom, which was a small blessing. Next I put my towel on the line with dozens of other ones for a shower. Some girls tried to switch it, but a group of black girls stepped in on my behalf. I took a hot shower quickly, the stall pleasantly clean and usable. As I did my thing, I noticed how much this showerhead looked remarkably like the one in Albert’s bathroom. I remembered that whenever I took a shower, someone in his household would turn the hot water full blast making my shower turn into an ice bath. I thought it was his mother at first, but Albert said it was the maid trying to mess with us almost like the deputies did here.
I put on my same jail attire as I’d had all week. But I felt refreshed and returned to the day room to read palms and chat with the girls before dinner. I even told my story to these girls, most not interested, but still others riveted. They hoped it would work out for me. I know they meant it as I sat on my bunk chowing down on a hot meal of chicken patties and veggies.
There was another girl they called China, but this one looked Chinese and was pretty in a jailhouse sort of way. She sat on the ‘bearded lady’s’ bed and was making tweezers out of the elastic string in the jail pants. She deftly twisted the strand around and around, than looped it a few times, easily running the whole contraption over the chin of the other gal. I looked closely and it removed the hairs like magic. China even did my eyebrows and I was amazed how that string worked. It was ingenious and I was blown away by how survival and luxury went hand and hand. I was to see other tricks as I went along in County.
Dinner was brought in by a group of Trustees, one looking like a man through and through. I would always wonder about the girl nicknamed Slim serving our food, which she really enjoyed doing. I don’t know what she did, but on many occasions I called her “Sir” by accident. She took immediate offense. I tried to apologize, but failed badly when I called her Sir again! She really looked like a tall version of
Snoop Doggie Dog! I’m sure a lot of new inmates made the same mistake with her. I thought about the first time I’d mistaken her for a guy, when they were bringing us into the pod area and I had to go to the bathroom. I was led to an outer hallway where there was an open commode. She stood in the vicinity and I asked her to leave.
“I don’t want to pee in front of a man,” I said stupidly.
“I ain’t no man, Bitch!” She snarled.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize,” I tried lamely to relay, only digging myself deeper. Unfortunately, Slim also was in charge of doling out the sheets and blankets, and I was given inferior bedding for the first few days, obviously her punishment for me. I was learning so much in this place. It made you stop and think, be humble and hold your tongue and head low. I even called her Sir the very next day when she served breakfast to us. By that time I was already in a new pod. The deputies came in around 11PM after I was secure in pod C. I only had one incident when I went into an open Cell 15 thinking Carole was in there for some reason. I walked in and out, but soon after I got a tongue lashing from one particular older black woman. She ran the pod like a taskmaster and clucked like a mother hen, scolding me in front of everyone. A few came to my aid immediately, saying I was new and didn’t know. They began showing me the ropes. “Blondie, never go into anybody’s cell when they weren’t there,” said one petite black girl.
“Especially after they told you there wasn’t any girl named Carole in there,” said yet another savior.
Now I was in another pod because my name wasn’t called during the count and that was cause for some concern among the deputies that evening. “I think you’re in the wrong pod,” said the deputy.
“Get your stuff and get up,” barked another guard.
I obliged in seconds, not caring at the moment that I was going to yet another strange bunk, plus not being as nervous after spending time in the med ward. I was led out and into the first pod that I’d entered and left when I saw no bunks.
“Find a bunk, or bed down on the floor…” The deputy looked at me with disdain and slammed the cell door a bit harder than necessary. I saw an empty second level bunk and took it. It didn’t take long, after I settled down, for a lean looking black girl to saunter over to my bunk and ask to read her palm. “I heard you was really accurate and good at this,” she said, easily parking herself on my bed like we were at a slumber party.
As I read her palm another girl came over and sat down on my bed, then another, until even the girl on the top bunk came down and asked me up to her bed to read her palm. Her name was Ivy and I immediately saw a childhood illness in her lifeline. She said she’d had Leukemia and I was amazed. She hid her astonishment and went back to bed.
Everyone settled down except two young black girls. They talked back and forth until early morning. I, of course, hardly slept at all. I tried the Yoga, but a female deputy’s booming voice blared over the P.A. system, “Woman in pod B, whatever you are doing, stop it pronto and get back to your bunk!”
The next morning breakfast was served the usual time, 5:30 a.m. Before we ate an older black woman people nicknamed Mrs. Williams read The Lord’s Prayer, as she would do every morning, which helped my sagging morale as well as everyone else’s. Everyone in the pod wanted to sit with me, and I was reunited with a few old friends, and a lot of new ones. I found out that Ivy was the Trustee (inmates who had a lot of time on their hands and were classified as ‘trustworthy’ by the deputies that choose them) of the pod and only 18 years old. She wasn’t very friendly to me this morning, a far cry from the nice woman from the evening. It must have been the fact that I was growing popular in this pod just like in the others, as was becoming quite apparent as the day progressed. People were clamoring to talk to me, have me read their palms, which I was quite good at. I would consider myself an expert on reading inmate palms, girls incarcerated and downtrodden in many cases. Each palm had the same pattern of indicators that I picked up and used to my advantage.
I noticed that Carole was there, as well as the girl in the holding cell that had first talked to me. There were new faces, especially amongst the black girl’s clique, which would come to my rescue many times taking me under their wing like the others did. I got lucky, a lot of the girls in that group were in the med ward, so knew me and how I was. There was also an even mix of Latinos in this pod, which could cause a lot of friction.
The majority of the Mexicans were gang members. I tried not to cross them. In the beginning, they wouldn't have any part of my palm reading. “No, No, Diablo, Diablo,” said one dyed blond girl with tattoos all over her body. Her hair was taking on a ‘Heather Locklear’ color to it and she tried to hide that by pulling her hair over the ever-darkening roots.
By late evening I realized that I had been placed in a good pod, suited to my personality. It was evenly mixed between races, temperaments and crimes. There wasn’t any riff-raff like Amazon Lady, Casey or Rage Girl lingering in the shadows.
The last I’d seen of Amazon Lady was when they led her out of the cell for the first time in a week to take her to court. She was calm and didn’t attack anyone. But I noticed when she the large woman wouldn’t meet my eyes when they led her out. That would always puzzle me. It reminded me of how things were on movie sets where you worked along side people for weeks at a time, grew to actually know and like them, pinpoint their idiosyncrasies and then move on to the next film. This was no movie. It was the way of things in there.
I was introduced to a little woman nicknamed Gumby, whom everyone thought was a pain. She ignored the fact that they thought of her as such. The woman had a farting problem, hers having a very distinctive aroma. Everyone knew it was her, and when you’d confront her, she’d deny or ignore you. She tried making friends with anyone, easily mirroring me, even asking if anyone wanted their palms read. Most didn’t enjoy having her sit at their table or talk on their bunks. Every now and then she would say some stupid thing and the whole pod got on her case screaming and pushing her aside. Seconds later, a heavy odor sifted through the room as she fluttered here and there, not even acknowledging that she supplied it.
A day after that, another girl was put in. Everyone nicknamed her Cleo, because she resembled the Egyptian Queen with her straight black hair, dark features and small, petite body. I would spend many hours with her discussing Albert and TJ, and we’d made up a funny joke about whether Albert thinks of me ever.
“Of course he does! Whenever something comes on t.v. and it reminds him of you, his mind goes ‘click-click-click-click!” She said nicely. Every time we’d pass each other in the pod, she’s say, “click, click, click, click”, which made me laugh.
Gumby and Cleo and I got along well until the end when they put us in a cell together. Gumby snored loudly and when Cleo’s meds wore off, she’d go a little crazy, and even our signature “click-click-click-click” didn’t bring her out of her funk. I was starting to set off both them, especially when I whined about Albert or how the air vent was so loud. Gumby took many meds too and if we tried waking her up before count, she’d be a crabby mess. People in our pod came up and asked how I could be in the same cell with those two. They were gaining a bad rep in there for outbursts and backstabbing. It became a bit scary when both women would plopped themselves down next to me when I was sitting in the day room, bringing the wrath of the other girls. There were parts of them I truly liked, and both were in for Alcohol abuse. We did have a lot of laughs together, and in the end, both were released while I was at court, so I never said goodbye to them.
There was always some new person that caught my attention. A Spanish girl was brought to our pod for fighting in her own. She was short with dark straight hair and a very cute face. She was brought in screaming and violent, so they put her in one of the cells on the second landing all by herself. First she was throwing things around, tearing up her bedding and banging on the door. She did it all day and through most of the evening. I was sitting in the day room when I heard this beautiful voice rising above the din of the usual noises there. I followed the voice up to the second landing and couldn’t believe it when I saw the unruly Spanish girl standing in the middle of her cell crooning her heart out. Her voice sounded pure and sweet and seemed to take her away from her predicament. It was amazing to see the change in her from the wild banshee yelling and carrying on. Suddenly, the light dimmed in her cell giving the whole scene ambiance. Her pure voice carried out into the hallway and down into the pod.
“Hey, you’re really good,” I said to her through the glass cell door. “Keep singing, I like it!”
She continued, even doing a song from The Lion King. The girl knew all the words and kept up most of the evening and late into the night. No one told her to shut up or pipe down, not even the deputies doing their count. It was the first night I had actually gotten some quality sleep due to her soothing voice. The next morning they moved her out.
This pod had the standard payphones and t.v. Every day, if the pods were well behaved we had longer phone and t.v. privileges. I was always dialing up some family member, and was making progress with securing the lawyer for my case. Once the lawyer made contact with my sister, things rolled along. Contact was made to my cousin and soon the attorney was on the case looking into things pro-bona, which was something he never did. He’d made an exception due to the way things were presented to him by my family, and Jeanette. I was grateful and blessed.
Along with that I was reading palms like clockwork, as well as telling this new group about my saga with Albert and TJ. It wasn’t easy keeping my sanity where those men were concerned. I’d tried dialing both, neither responding nor accepting my collect jail calls. I felt devastation rising in me, but had to quell it, so I told everyone that wanted to hear my story from beginning to end again.
I had become quite good at telling the sad, dark romantic saga. It had so many twists and turns. Soon sides were taken as to which man I’d end up with, or if I’d end up with either of them. Once I told the tale, some hearing it for the 3rd time, the other girls would mull over everything and give feedback. A prostitute nicknamed ‘Chocolate’ especially enjoyed hearing about it. It was obvious that I was holding fast to the idea that Albert would be the one, even though the odds were stacked against us. At this point he was still very fearful and fragile. My sister had called his parents and inquired for me, and always the response was vague and far away. I just didn’t understand why Albert couldn’t turn his machine on. It saddened me, but made for good conversation and debate in County with my new pod members.
I noticed that I wasn’t liked by everyone in the pod. There was a group of girls led by an Oriental woman with the longest braid I’d ever seen. Her nickname was “Hapy”, but she looked anything but, especially with the missing 'p'. She looked totally like a ‘dude’ and walked around bumping into me on purpose, probably her testing pattern. She hung with a group of heavily tattooed Latino girls. Tattoos in prison green that read “Wack” “Chica” and “Joe”. At first I was a bit nervous, but I stood my ground well and still grew popular, still having the most attention showered on me, even with a few incidents that could have sealed my fate in there if it were not for the black women’s group charging in to save me.
It seemed minor at the time, but Ivy brought a big bag of oranges in and I asked for one. She said “no” flat out. When she left I took an orange off her bed. She called me on it, but I was saved by Chocolate, who would come to my rescue many times. Another incident my 2nd night in the pod almost ruined things. I had noticed the girl above me on the top bunk had pulled off her bedding, so I assumed she’d left. She hadn’t, but I didn’t realized until I took her towel and nightgown and rolled it in my own towel as a pillow. It seemed innocent enough until she came in and asked about it. I got up and stuffed the evidence in my bedding. As soon as I left she pulled it out and made a ruckus. Ivy jumped to the occasion and was screaming along with her click of girls. But the black ladies saved me again. I was amazed as things turned as soon as they stepped up one by one and spoke out for me, making everything diffuse. I apologized profusely, swearing to learn my place from this experience. Everyone backed off. I followed the black girls into Cell 10, where I would end up time after time sitting with them talking about little memories I had about being with Albert. Talking with them about those memories helped bolster me as well as them.
“Hey, at least you had good times and happy memories…” Said one girl.
“And good sex,” chimed in Nicole, another light skinned black girl sharing the same cell.
“I think you’ll end up with Albert,” said a black woman named Marsha, whom I told the whole saga to in greater detail. She might have well been with Albert and I on our fantastic adventure that had come so abruptly to an end.
I missed him and couldn’t lie about that. Marsha noticed this and started comforting me about him. There was nothing that could be done about it, and by the time I got out, I had a feeling it would be too late. Albert was meek and I was learning that he was a total coward and could easily block out anything just to save his own pathetic world.
I hadn’t figured out why I got such crummy bedding until I remembered Slim. I spotted Her Manliness outside the pod going through fresh bedding that was piled all around her. When I came to get mine, she handed me half a bloodied sheet, a frayed blanket and pants too small for me to wear. I took the items and returned to the pod feeling more akin to ‘Turn the other cheek’ mode. I showed a few girls in the pod my bedding, even joked about it, trying to make a light situation out of it. I also showed Ivy, who could care less at the moment, even though I wore the sheet like a toga.
“Hey, you are the Trustee in here, so I’m coming to you about this,” I said, trying to instill some empowerment in the young girl. She reminded me of a female Humpty-Dumpty and didn’t have any eyebrows due to her childhood Leukemia.
She seemed a bit perplexed and was just figuring out that the pecking order power in being our Trustee was high. “You’re like a representative for us,” I said impassioned, like it meant a lot. She must have taken it to heart, because the very next day she got me a good sheet and blanket, plus an extra pad. From then on we had a nice peace, even after the few incidents that almost sealed my fate as a stupid jail pigeon.
By my 3rd day in the second pod, I had made friends with everyone but Hapy’s click. They continued to eye me across the room with menace. Sometimes when I was talking, they’d mimic my voice and prance around laughing. It unnerved me a little bit, and I had faint visions of them coming to me in the night and doing something, but I didn’t sleep anyways, so I’d always be ready if they did try, which they never attempted.
On my 3rd night in that pod I could not sleep, as usual, so I started with the Yoga. It was then I looked across the pod and spotted a girl named Rachel. She was pregnant, but still wanted to sleep on the top bunk. I watched her sitting on her pad. She had a small package of bandages and medical creams spread around her. It was the first time I’d noticed her pattern as she lifted her right leg up and unwrapped the gauze hiding her ankle. I rose up and walked slowly over to her. She didn’t protest my presence as she threw the gauze aside and held her leg with her hands. I looked closer and spotted a boil the size of a pineapple where her ankle would have been.
“How did you get that,” I asked, amazed at it.
“Shooting speed,” she said simply. The girl squeezed the medical salve out of the small tubes and spread it over the horrible abscess. “This is what you get when you don’t give a damn, but to feel that rush. I just didn’t care then, and this is what I get,” she said, looking at me intently. “You don’t belong here, Blondie. Don’t ever get like this,” she said, pointing to the wound she now began dressing in heavy gauze.
I watched in fascination as she nursed her leg with care and precision. I placed my hand on her arm and she didn’t pull away. “You’re okay, Blondie,” she said, grabbing my arm and squeezing. “A lot of people in here think you’re crazy, but I like you.”
“Thanks, Rachel.” We hugged tightly and I went back to my pad.
A few minutes later they called those going to court. Ivy, Mrs. Williams and another older black woman sat at one of the tables and I joined them. We prayed and then quietly talked. By then I was much more subdued and let others around me take the conversation. It paid off in this instance, because Ivy brought cups of steaming sweet tea, a rare treat in there, especially anyone willing to share with you. Ivy slid over a small cup of piping tea for me, which was a good gesture. She had noticed the way I had changed, and appreciated the way I didn’t rat her out for the sheet incident.
We all sat there sipping our hot drinks.
“You’ve calmed down a lot, Blondie,” said Mrs. Williams, looking up for a moment from reading her scriptures and doing her artwork to stare at me.
“She was hyper,” said the older black woman. “You were on something, weren’t you, Blondie?” Asked the well-worn woman.
“I wasn’t. It’s a natural energy,” I said.
“Say what you want, but we all know you were flying on something,” said the woman. “I was in the med pod with you.”
I still denied it, and they moved to something else. I sat there listening to their stories, which were not pretty and were mostly drug related. The older woman’s husband was also in jail. They were living in their car by the end, but used to deal drugs and have nice things until someone ratted them out. It went down hill from there for the lady. I ended up sitting with them until the son made an orange impression on the walls, and others started to rouse.
I fell into a nice group of black women. Most of them read from the Bible. I was also sketching about my pending case, and started quizzing the girls in there about it. Every now and then I’d be sitting at the table when some familiar face led me to another new face to chat about the case. It was something to occupy everybody’s time, and this issue was no exception.
“Blondie, she did the same thing as you did, and wants to talk to you,” said a tall woman in for cashing a forged check at Walmart.
A short, dark-haired white girl stood before me in the slightly dimmer of cells. I looked around the cell, which they had made very cozy in odd ways. They’d taken their hoarded supply of Kotex pads and covered the bright lights above. Soap had been melted and combined with the fiber of the pads broken open and mixed with toothpaste to be placed on the vent that spit re-circulated air like a jet engine taking off over your bunk. It was just another reason why I wasn’t sleeping, plus the sound of flushing toilets was enough to drive you mad. The commodes flushing power went above and beyond the call of duty, sounding more like hovering helicopters at close range than a latrine.
“Is this your first time?” Asked the girl as I sat on her bunk. She offered me a cookie, a rare gift in that place.
“Yes,” I answered, tearing into that cookie with a vengeance.
“Well, I could get 5 years because I cashed a check and spent the money. Did you?”
“No!” I sipped water from a milk carton.
“So nothing’s outstanding? You didn’t spend anything? You didn’t do what he says you were?” She asked.
“Yes, that’s all there is to it, except I was cheating with a neighbor. You have to understand that my boyfriend of 10 years found out I was running around on him with another guy,” I admitted, wishing these women were my judge and jury.
“I know, I know. I heard you talking about it. Man, what a story,” she said.
“So, what’s going to happen?”
“I think your boyfriend TJ did you wrong,” she stated, actually knowing his name when I’d not even met her. “Why is he doing you like that?”
“Well, isn’t it obvious?”
“You didn’t do what he’s charging, and what those charges are? You just messed around on him!”
“I was fooling around and when he found out, the guy just went a little crazy!”
“Then you should be okay. Make sure you tell them all the details. But I think this really sounds like your boyfriend TJ is out to get you because of what you did with this other guy,” she said, seeming all knowing. “I heard that other guy ducked out on you when things got weird,” she said. “Was it worth it?”
“Yes, you are right. That guy did fall out on me, but that’s the way he reacted. And, well, in some way, yes, it was worth it,” I said honestly. I thought about Albert, and wondered if he’d totally blocked everything out. How could he have? I was devastated and desperate to make contact with him and ask.
“Then you don’t need to be with Albert,” she admitted easily as we sat on her bed. “In fact, you should contact TJ and suck up to him, say you’re sorry and if he’ll let you come back. That way he’ll drop the charges,” she said easily.
“No way, I’m not going to do that,” I said.
“That’s what most figure, but if you did play TJ, than it might be better for you in the end,” she said. “He’ll think you’re coming back and he’ll drop everything. You know he only did this because he wants you back, right?”
“I can’t imagine doing that,” I stated.
“Might be the only thing to get you off in the end,” she said simply. “You might even get to see that other guy again and ask him what’s up!”
“I guess it’s something to think about,” I said as she handed me a full carton of fruit juice.
It was then I noticed how items in here were utilized. I saw this girl’s older cellmate tearing apart the Tampax pads, and at first thought she was making the vent paste, which worked wonderfully. I watched as I gulped the juice as she sat the table deftly ripping open the soft pads, removing a small amount of the fiber, then taking the outer thin paper padding and rolling it into a secure, usable tampon. It reminded me of that famous 'I Love Lucy' episode where Lucy is hiding in Cuba and sneaks into a cigar-making factory. She’s sitting at a table rolling a huge stogy, which is what this scene called up in my mind as I finished off the welcome sweet-laced liquid.
As I stared out of the cell window, I spotted Mrs. Williams calmly sitting at the table. Many times I’d watch mesmerized as Mrs. Williams spread out all her magazine clippings and newspapers, with nothing but a pencil and no eraser. She was making colorful paper by wetting the colored newspaper and softly, but deftly rubbing against it, she created a colorful rainbow on the drab prison issued pad.
Toward the end of my stint there, I’d sit intently watching her do her design work. She began writing Bible verses on them and handing the little pieces of colored paper to me. I began saving them and reading the passages out loud.
I saw another strange looking black girl make a mistake in her letter. It would have been one of many others she’d make, because she only had one eye. The girl was down right ugly and strange looking and even had stubble of beard growing. Her bad eye was only a socket with just a little bit of white showing. It also looked watering and infected. With her good eye she stared intently at her Bible and was occasionally stopping to jot down passages on the back of a paper bag. I watched her from my table. She reached down and pulled off her prison sneaker and used the tip of it to erase quite nicely. I would use it myself at times. It came in handy on many occasions.
At that moment there was a strange knock at the wall and a note slipped through a small crack between the cell door and the wall. Everyone looked at me when someone in the pod on the other side made a strange whistle call.
I slowly got off the girl’s bunk in the cell and made a slow move for the note sticking in the crack on the first landing cell door. It was for me. I grabbed it and scurried back to my table to read it. It was written in pencil on a piece of prison issued paper.
“Hi Blondie, I’m very happy for you and wish you luck with your case. I am in desperate need of a palm reading because today I got some really bad upsetting news and really need to know what is going to become of it. I have children and need to be at home with them, not here. Kimi

I read the note over and over and finally stuffed it in my only water cup, which was breaking at the seams from other notes I was starting to get, call them fan letters of sorts. There were scrawled booking numbers, Bible verses, telephone numbers, names. Unfortunately, once in a while during a strip search, the deputies would usually tear the notes out and destroy them right in your face. I was sorry I’d not kept better care to hide them.
Free At Last, Free At Last, Oh My God I’m Free At Last
It was a miracle, but everything fell into place after one more day. I went to court for a second time, but the case had been moved to Burbank, of all places.
I was chained to a young gang banger girl that was up for assault and weapons charges. She was only 19 years old. The girl was tall with long straight strawberry blond hair cascading down her back. Actually, she was truly beautiful and had a graceful voice and a classic look to her.
We were put in the holding cell at the Burbank Courthouse. There was another girl in there already. She was caught high on speed, and had the coolest leather jacket and boots I’d seen in a long time. We all sat there talking and I even did a bit of Yoga and read their palms. Soon the guard brought us lunch and we sat talking about everything that came to mind in a place like that. After lunch they came and retrieved the blond girl for court. She was going to Twin Towers after her appearance, they said to her as they clamped on a County bracelet. She was a bit outraged, but ended up adhering and not putting up much of a fuss.
She fell asleep in the corner for the rest of the day while the gang girl read to me out of a Method Acting book she had brought. I was amazed and lulled by her voice, which was soothing and interesting, especially since she was talking in an English accent to perfection. I shut my eyes and drifted in and out of sleep as the girl read for over an hour. Sometimes I awoke and squinted at the offbeat girl, making her resemble Jane Seymour in some period-themed t.v. mini-series on CBS.
Amazingly, I had a clear dream: I was waiting in a restaurant for Albert’s father to show up. He finally does show up and sits down across from me in a chair. In the background I see live fish in tanks behind him. I’m looking past him at the fish as the dream fades and I wake up in the cell.
It was the only dream I had with people. All my dreams were of empty spaces and places, and I had yet to even see Albert or TJ in my dreams.
My friend was still reading from the book in that steady, beautiful, coffered English accent. It was amazing to hear her, especially in light of where she came from. I enjoyed having her there, and for the moment, being a hardcore gang-banger didn’t bother me.
When I awoke, she told she’d been thinking about my romantic triangle that I had told her from beginning to end when we first arrived. She said that even though Albert drew away, she was sure he was the man for me. Maybe not now, but after everything calmed down. “I’ll just bet TJ wants to beat the hell out of Albert.”
“I’m sure you are guessing right,” I answered, knowing full well that one of the reasons Albert was staying away was because of the fear and embarrassment of being caught with his pants down and his pipe full, plus the fact that TJ probably wanted to beat the living tar out of the man, but had held back at the house when I was first arrested!
I told her more of my saga, leaving nothing out as I made toilet paper balls with water and slammed them up against the ceiling. She really was pushing me to be with Albert, but I think by this time I knew better. As I began scrawling Albert’s name all over the jail cell, she gave up on that, and spent the rest of our time making collect calls to her ‘Homeboys’.
“Hey, how do I get into the gang?” I asked while reclining against the concrete wall on the floor of the cell, as she spoke to one particular guy she kept referring to as ‘Rabbit’.
“Well, there’s two ways,” she explained easily, not even losing her English accent, which made her explanation sound strange and surreal. “You’ve got to get beaten up by the gang. Afterwards, if you survive, you’re in,” She explained easily. “Right Rabbit?” She asked the man on the other end.
“And the second?” I asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
“Or, you let them all have sex with you!” She took a bow, her hair flying through the air creating static electricity.
“All of them?”
“Yes, every one of them,” she said smiling.
“Even Rabbit?” I asked, smiling back brightly.
“Rules are rules,” she shot back, but not that happy about the thought.
“Which way did you chose?”
”Hmmm, you know,” she said, her smile even wider, her cheeks flaming even redder. “Hey, remember my initiation?” She asked into to the phone.
In the end, she wished me well and gave me her booking number so I could let her know what happened with Albert and TJ. In the next instant the door opened and my name was called for court. I met with my attorney first in a small cubicle beside the courtroom where he told me TJ was seated. He ran everything down to me, and we were pleading no contest, plus asking for 3 years probation.
“We’ve had a little breakthrough in the case,” he said, looking like your typical attorney.
“Great.”
“TJ made a statement at the last minute that’s going to overturn the all the counts except 1, but you may have to do a little more time,” he explained.
“Okay.”
We spoke about what I was to say and he said not to even look as TJ when I was presented in court. It was a bit unsettling to know the man would be in the courtroom. I was a bit scared and didn’t want to do anymore time. I’d learned my lesson and knew what I did. I couldn’t imagine having to do State time on this trumped up mess.
I was led into the courtroom, which cooled my flushed skin. For someone who had been in jail for almost 2 ½ weeks, I didn’t look that bad. I kept my eyes toward the judge, a nice older lady who smiled at me as I entered and took a seat.
The D.A. was present, but I didn’t look at the gentleman talking to the judge. My attorney said a few words and rendered sentence. When all was done and said, with even a little sidebar joke when the D.A. asked me directly if I understood and I said, “Yes, your honor!”
“I am not ‘Your Honor’,” said the D.A. with a hint of humor. “…She is,” he said, referring the judge and pointing to her cartoonishly. A few in the court laughed lightly.
The judge asked TJ if all was in order.
“Yes, Your Honor,” he said, his deep, booming voice through the courtroom. It was just slightly imposing when I heard it. I still looked at the judge and made no move to make eye contact with TJ, who said his full name when the judge asked him.
The sentence was just as my attorney said it would be, except I would have to do a little more time. But I would be free soon, that was for sure. I was deposited back in the holding cell where the two girls still sat. I was happy to see my 18th Street ‘cellie’. She was on the pay telephone talking to Rabbit, and had gotten just a bit distant since I came back from court, except she took time out to braid my wonderfully vibrant curly hair into many smaller ones. Then, all too soon, the door was opened and we were shuffled to the bus and chained back up together for the trip back to Twin Towers.
The Gang Girl and I sat side by side on the bus, which was chock full of male inmates who were making quite a ruckus over us. As the bus pulled out I was engaging all of them in animated conversation as the bus drove down Glendale Avenue.
We started the ride off by teasing the new girl about her fate at Twin Towers. She had never been in jail before and seemed a bit scared. Her big blue eyes were worrisome and watery as we explained good-naturedly about what the process would be. After freaking her out a bit, and making each laugh at our antics, we settled in for the ride.
“Hey, driver,” I yelled good-naturedly. “Stop, I live 1 block from here.” I pointed to Concord.
I noticed one of the male inmates in a small cage beside us had potato chips. I was starved and talked him into feeding me chips through the cage bars. It got to be very interesting as I bent down on all fours when he’d slip a small chip through the cage and I would chomp down on it like a dog. Everyone there got a kick out of it and kept cracking up. It was really like a party, and for a split second I made everyone, including myself forget we were on our way back to Twin Towers or that we had committed any crimes at all.
Everyone was screaming and carrying on because my mate and I were egging them on. We even held each other intimately and pretended to be girlfriends for real when someone guy in back yelled, “Kiss each other!” I took her in my arms and stroked her long flowing hair and kissed her full on the lips. Most of them went totally wild and before we knew it we were on the freeway getting closer to County. I was still being fed a few loose chips from the same caged inmate. Others were discussing what they did and why they were there, my chained friend and I included. I even did a bit of Yoga. People in there were freaking out of their handcuffs when I took my legs and put them over my head. We were all laughing and it didn’t even feel dirty or sexual, maybe a tinge, but definitely funny.
I had to keep my spirits up so I became the clown of the bus for a hot second. The full scope of what could have went down and where I could have been sent was setting in, and I was not looking forward to the strip search, and wished they had just released me from Burbank. Here I was on my way back to the jail. At least I’d be able to say goodbye to my friends in the pod and let them know the outcome.
“What did they tell you?” I asked my comrade chained to me once things started calming down on the bus. She wasn’t as friendly as before and sat solemnly, even ignoring the guy she’d slipped her booking number too earlier.
“I could get 25 years to life,” she said, just slightly huffing over it.
I wish she’d said it in her English accent, which would have made the blow easier, almost like she was still reading from that Method Acting book. She got quieter the closer we got to the jail, even telling me to shut up a few times when I started explaining to the girl in front of us more about what will happen when she gets to County.
“I’m sorry,” I said, putting my hand on her shoulder to comfort. It stirred a few in the back, but we didn’t take it to a higher level because of the grave circumstances. Her bail was way over $100,000.00 and she was looking at a lot of time. I saw she was crying, her little clear, thin tears rolling down her classic looking cheeks.
“I’m glad things worked out for you. So your old boyfriend came through and the other guy bailed on you,” she said, not even meeting my eyes, but letting me flick away some of the tears. “I think we know who has the real balls in this story,” she added.
“It looks that way,” I answered, my heart feeling sad and sick over how things seemed to be headed. And now I was going back to County even though things were going to be dropped. By this time I’d gotten pretty strong though. Soon I would be released.
Once back at County, we were taken through the usual rigors of the strip search and I barely blinked before it was over. The deputy asked me where my pod was and I answered correctly, even calling her ‘sir’ by accident.
It all went down hill in my pod when I’d raced excitedly inside, hands in pockets, a smile on my face telling all. It had gone well for the Palm Reading Lady in court. I told the story over and over to every group in the joint. By then, I’d made friends (from reading their palms) with Hapy’s click of girls, which seemed to be the worst group of girls. It did put a strain on my allies, but in the end even they understood and allowed it to bloom toward the end.
I was to be released. At the last minute there was a miracle! TJ ended up making a statement and they dropped all 82 bogus counts 1, which was indeed a blessing. The D.A. probably realized at the midnight hour, that this was nothing more than a trumped up love spat.
As I moved and sat at every table in the place, little knit-picky fights started breaking out around me. I finally settled in with Marsha and her clan, with a few new hanger-ons, who were rooting for me too. But my impending release caused a bit of underlying unrest in the pod of mixed girls. As I went around and hugged some of the older girls I’d met, I realized the impression left by a good soul like myself who actually found her calling in jail. It was not all for naught.
“Mama,” I called to one Latino woman who once saved me from Ivy and her cronies. “I’m going to miss you,” I said, going up to her bunk where she was wrapped in a County blanket.
“God bless you, Blondie! You’ve really learned a lot in here,” she said, grabbing me and hugging me close to her ample bosom. “Don’t forget God and continue praying and reading the Bible. You are very special,” she said while stroking my curly hair. We’d grown close in two weeks, closer than most in there.
I’d also made friends with a few others I called Mama. I hugged them as well, and they in turn held me close. It was a genuine feeling and I felt that some of these girls were like my mothers and sisters. Jail had not been fully what I’d expected. In some ways, I’d learned so much, and it didn’t even feel like jail all the time.
As I was wolfing down my 3rd baloney sandwich and handful of carrots, a fight broke out over a small bag of coffee that had been accidentally thrown out by Gail, who had just found out she would be serving 2 years for growing marijuana. The Heather Locklear, 18th Gang girl in for kidnapping her boyfriend with some of her Homies actually jumped Gail and started pounding on her head. It was the first real physical violence I’d seen at the facility and I was shocked. Other than Amazon Lady’s antics in the med ward, I’d not seen a lot.
Some new fights start breaking out all around me so the deputies put a quick end of our party. A day before they delivered their weekly canteen orders of candy, chips, dip, etc. It was a once a week deal, and if you had money in your account, than you could order to your hearts content. Coffee had been lifted from someone’s package, and they had even pilfered what little I ordered when my attorney popped $25.00 in the account. I was in heaven. But now they were fighting, and I was actually being locked down and it felt serious. They locked me in with two Spanish girls, one being a full fledged 18th Streeter. The girl actually had a full color tattoo of her husband on her back, but was all banged up and bruised. The other girl had eaten my candy when I was at court. She looked like she could use a good meal. She didn’t speak (or she pretended not to speak) English well.
We were locked in for hours as the deputies played weird rap music through the p.a. system and kept us waiting for count until way after midnight. At first when they locked us up, a tall, handsome deputy rushed to my cell door and tried to say I was involved in starting all the fights. They must have observed me going from table to table, almost looking like an ‘insighter’, when in reality I was saying good bye and reading the last of the palms in the pod. God must have shined on me, because one of my Mamas in the day room directed him to the next cell, saying that Blondie had nothing to do with it. At the last second he moved away from the cell door and continued on where they’d locked up Heather Locklear! She was immediately removed and taken outside the pod.
It went from bad to worse as I tried to keep the girls in my cell up so when they came to count us, we’d be by the door as ordered. But the deputies never came and we all became edgy, me included. I whined and kept getting a little tickle in my throat, until Ms. Gang Banger tried to say I was doing it on purpose. I argued with her and for the first time believed I might have been in danger. She was totally turned off to me as she lay in the bottom bunk once occupied by a girl they nicknamed Gumby. She began threatening to beat my face in if I kept up my noise. I was truly getting on this woman’s nerves. I watched her as she lay on her back. She had butterfly stitches to close a wound above her eyebrow. Her arms were full of bumps and scratches from when the cops threw her down. Finally they counted us and the other girls fell asleep in record time.
Before I knew it, the lights were on and a deputy’s voice was blaring over my intercom to pay attention. “Roll it up, roll it up, you’re being released!”
I jumped up and down screaming and shouting. “Oh thank you, thank you. I love you!”
“No, we were only kidding, you are not being released, get back to your bunk!” Said the sarcastic voice back at me.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, actually putting my hands in my pockets and bowing my head, ready to go back to the dining room table I’d been trying to sleep on.
“Wait a minute, stop,” said the same female voice. “We’ll let you go. Roll it up!”
“Oh, really?”
“Nah, it’s not time. Forget it, you are not going free today,” boomed out another deputy’s voice.
As I walked dejectedly back to my bunk, the voice boomed again as clear as day, “No, we were really joking with you, Pretzel Lady. You are free to go. You’re being released. Roll it up!”
All of a sudden, like a ray of sunshine after a tropical storm, the door clicked open and I grabbed all my things and hightailed to the landing. I was whooping it up and screaming with happiness. Everyone started cheering me on and I went from bunk to bunk hugging anyone who reached out to me. I had become so close with those girls, even the bad ones in the end.
After saying my goodbyes and shoulder cries, I went to the cell door and it clicked open. I pushed it too hard, making the contraption slam against the wall loudly, which made me think they’d keep me in for the small infraction. I had seen it done, but this time they didn’t. I ran down to the watch room, shirt tucked in, hands in pockets, head down, feeling like one of the slaves from The Ten Commandants. I was checked through 10 minutes later and kept turning around to wave at my comrades in pod B. All of them waved back at me. I could see their ghostly shapes moving up and down on their bunks, some of their faces pressed against the window. I would actually miss many of them and had collected a few phone numbers. Before I turned around, I noticed Hapy on her feet in her cell waving frantically at me, smiling a wide wicked grin, her Oriental features more defined. I was amazed, and waved back at her.
As I was led with a few others to the receiving area I passed a strange pod and heard a heavy bang on the window! It was Scarface, of all people. She looked like a little girl staring back at me in a picture window, not the menacing lady I’d seen when I first was brought in. I couldn’t believe the transformation as I waved back and mouthed that I was being released. She actually jumped up and down, then stopped and said deadpan, “I don’t want to ever see you back here again!” With that she turned away from me and strode back into the dim lit pod she called home.
We were slowly de-processed, but it took a lot of hours. I was grouped with 3 other women, one being a 300-pound, black-haired monster. She had a heavy, deep voice with a hint of Spanish accent, and she hated me from the moment I fell in line with her in the hallway. I was chatting with the other younger girl about what we were going to do when we got out. The other girl recognized me as the Palm Lady, and I promised to read hers as soon as we got to the holding cell.
The big girl kept telling me to shut up and stop talking, and I defied her all the way. By the time they led us out of the dressing room, and we were in our own clothes again, I had bugged her to my close extinction by her standards. She was very angry and kept cursing me out and threatening me. Her friend, another fat girl, was more open to conversation. So was the other girl with us.
There was another girl put in with us, a weird black girl wearing a parker like she was straight from New York City. She said they’d picked her up for drugs and she looked pretty messed up lying there on the ledge of the holding cell with propped up county uniforms as her pillow. There had been a toilet flood and water had seeped into some of her pillow, but she didn’t seem to care and lounged back like it was her bedroom, even with dirty water spots creeping up the lapels of her oversized jacket. I paced and talked to the girls that wanted to, which was everyone but the fat monster, who announced she was going to take a crap, and proceeded to do her thing right there, uncaring of who watched. By that time, I had become used to this sort of thing and just accepted it. Soon I’d be free, so I read Ms. New York’s palm. Her hand was well worn, the lines cutting deeply into the skin, almost like tattoos. She reminded me of an African statue of deep mahogany brown burnished wood. I enjoyed reading her hand, which was in direct contrast to her crime.
As the fat woman did her thing, I looked out the cell window and spotted a male inmate being processed across the hallway. I got his attention and pushed my tongue against the window of our cell door. He spotted me and smiled back, doing the same action. The fat monster saw me do this. After she was done and flushed the jet toilet, she came over to the window, banged on it, and pulled up her shirt, exposing her ample bosom. She took one of them and held it up against the window for the same inmate to see. The woman turned and sneered at me, laughing at her friend, quite proud of herself.
A minute later the deputies came to get us, calling out our names loudly, telling us to step out of the cell. When they didn’t call her name, she said, “What about me?”
“No, you stay here,” said one female deputy holding up her hand.
“We saw what you did. You’re staying right here,” said another deputy as they filed the rest of us out before the fat one could protest. The heavy cell door was slammed shut in her face.
“That’s what happens when you get smart,” they warned us as we made our way down the hallway, away from the holding cells.
“What’s going to happen to her?” I whispered to her friend as we walked.
“They’ll delay her release for a few hours. I didn’t want to say a thing. I want out of here. The heck with her,” said the girl, who didn’t even have a decent shirt to wear. Her skimpy one was stained with her own blood. It was ripped almost to shreds. When we got to the property section, an officer behind the desk took pity, giving her a better shirt to wear, and that suited her much more. We were all just so grateful to be set free.
My brother is a property officer at another county jail back east, and now I got a full scope of what his job entailed as they told us to follow the hallway to a small window and show the property officer your booking bracelet. Once you showed it and got your property, he cut the manacle off. It was like being at the dry cleaners as he pushed a button and everything was moving like on a conveyor belt. Your property came up amongst literally thousands of other parcels, and he’d hand it to you with your purse.
I couldn’t imagine, as I retrieved my property, how my brother could do such a job for such a long period of time, almost 20 years! He did not know I had been arrested and I’d not talked to him or my older brother in years. It was just another ironic piece of the pie I had to endure.
Finally, we entered the last phase in our release and I thanked God that the guards hadn’t seen my tongue antics in the holding cell. We lined up single file at this huge blue door. Before that stage, a young, attractive dark haired female deputy stopped me. “Hey, don’t I know you? What do you do for a living?” She asked me as we stood in the last part of the jail facility before freedom rang through.
“I’m a writer, but I’ve done some movie work,” I stated nervously.
She looked at my booking picture lying on the table and I realized why she’d noticed me. I was smiling brightly into the camera and the mug shot would have made an excellent photo resume. She stared from my picture to me and shook her head. “Get out of here Girlfriend, and I don’t want to see any of you back here!” She said, using that one word that made my heart deflate thinking about the demise of Albert and I.
Suddenly, the big blue door popped open and we literally ran like madwomen out the door to the front lobby, where we were free. I hugged the girls and we went on our way out the front doors of the jail. It was 4:30 a.m. It felt weird being in the outside air, which was brisk, but welcome.
As I walked out of the jail, I had to make a decision and had just been released after almost 3 weeks in County.
Now I was finally outside the jail walls and all I could think of was one thing as I raced down the dark downtown streets. It was 4:30 am as I ran across Cesar Chavez Blvd. A strange car pulled up. There was a black man sitting in it and he shouted to me as I ran across the street. “Hey, Baby, I got your transpo right here…hey, don’t be scared, don’t run!”
I did run, with all my breath until my lungs began to burn. I jaunted on, not stopping until I reached the gates of Union Station and ducked inside the safety of its walls, which, by now was crowded with early commuters. I bought a ticket to Glendale and only had 3 minutes to catch the Metro Link. I ran down the long hallway that led to the tracks and just made it onboard within seconds, not even out of breath. I ducked in a bathroom on the train and cleaned up as best a person could.
They had given me back my same clothes, unwashed. I looked at my image staring back at me in the mirror, something I’d not had access to in a long time. My hair had been jail braided by my gang chum in the holding cell the afternoon before. It still held tightly, giving me a rebellious looking glint to my flushed face. My eyes looked a little beady and hardened, but I was determined to try and get up to Albert’s house before he left like clockwork for his lab job.
The train rode smoothly as I took my seat and stared out the picture window trying to emulate the few other passengers sitting sporadically throughout the plush car. It wasn’t long before the train pulled into the station, and I then boarded a local bus, which took me as far as Bond and Glen Road, 10 blocks from my Ground Zero target.
I sprinted up to Kensington Road, blindly running towards his house, not thinking of how I must have looked at that moment – desperate and a bit bedraggled. As I ran, it was already apparent in the recesses of my mind that he didn’t want to see me, but I raced onward, passing street after street, the clock ticking toward the time he usually left for work. The man was always a stickler.
I finally reached ‘our corner’, the same corner we’d exchanged long goodbye kisses in the now passed midnight darkness with only the full, bright moon witnessing us in our passionate action. The very same spot where I felt he was the soldier being sent away to war every time our lips parted, when in reality it was me who had been sent instead, but unfortunately we would both become casualties of it. I stood a moment in reflection, my heart twisted, already knowing the outcome, already sensing the end. I also remembered a wonderful letter he’d sent me, and that gave me just a little bit more strength and hope.
I am absolutely in love with you. I loved our day. I love being with you. I can see myself buying a house so we could live together. I am serious - I feel like a true friend with you, and the infinite magic is just waiting for us like eggs on a lawn outside our door (on an Easter morning - wet with dew). The spiritual glimpses I caught of our Chi really impress me. I am just dying to be with you in so many ways, each one new like one's first pony ride. Your leg felt so good. I really was surprised after that. Thank you for making my day!!!! I wish we could curl up together in bed and feel each other's warm breaths on a cold night, under the covers like kids with flashlights and toys. I wish you were here right now. I dream of you without closing my eyes. My life force draws out from its body and my heart pounds irregularly - just to inch closer to bathe in your flow. I am drawn to your whirlwind, sucked into your black hole, consumed by your presence, and still, I stand at your alter with a cornucopia of life. I also loved the hugs!!!!! Sorry I got scared tonight. I hid in Brand Park till after 8PM. See you Friday? Love Albert




Living The Locked Universe Live - 10 Years Before
It was my 30th birthday on Sunday, August 15th. I was with an 80-year-old songwriter who wrote the most unforgettable tune, and had been with him 2 years. We’d met at a Jewish singles party at MGM studios. The half-century gap between us didn’t faze, and only added our offbeat relationship.
We started with a few intimate dinners in Century City then ballooned into full-blown luxury trips to distant places at the drop of a hat. His mind was quick-witted and freethinking, which is what first drew me. He lived, acted and seemed younger than his 8-decade status. There was a certain, distinct down-home romanticism swirling around us. And sometimes I’d have to stop and ponder that we were a half a century apart.
Before long we became fully involved. He persuaded me to quit several part time jobs I had secured. Herb was fun, energetic and generous, so I didn’t hesitate. From that moment, I remained free to be at his beckoned call, and I invited it and him into my world. In a strange way, we were both so much alike, and in many ways we both felt we’d met before, in another life.
In two years we’d traveled so much, been all over the place, nationally and abroad. When we traveled to New York City I got a chance to see my old friends from elementary school when my family lived at the UN Plaza across the street from the United Nations. Lots of room service in 4-star hotels, as well as multi-coursed dinners in fancy dining rooms were regular faire. Mexico was a blast even though I became ill, the hotel doctor having to administer shots of Valium. Later on that afternoon I sat dazed and sedated at a bull fight next door to our hotel, where I watched a matador get maimed. Almost getting raped by a cab driver didn’t help matters there either. Europe was interesting, especially when I went off by myself with my guitar and sang in the subways of London. Nothing would top his son’s health seminars in Kauai, Hawaii, which were stimulating, especially when we stayed up all night watching television footage of Hurricane Andrew when it hit my family’s state. Even visiting them in Palm Beach, Florida wasn’t too bad. We stayed up all night analyzing their funny quirks, talking quietly about my mother’s reaction to us, meaning our age difference. We giggled like little children as he held me close and interpreted the vivid dreams I’d been having on that particular trip, which he was quite good at, being a huge disciple of, and totally into Drs. Freud and Casey.
He had also written a musical about his hero Sigmund, and many of his published songs reflected it subtly also. He would sing them to me in whispery tones, like a father singing his little baby to sleep. In his original play he envisioned black actor Lou Gossett Jr. playing Freud in a dream sequence that the good doctor was having. I had always dreamed very lucid when we traveled. The images were so detailed and intricate, the dream plot so thick and full, that Herb would listen, a fascinated expression spreading out along his clown-like, round, not so wrinkled face as I related the clear images to him in the darkness. Later on at dinner in an elaborate hotel restaurant he summed it all up in his own old Brooklynite Jewish way.
“I was thinking about your dreams,” he said seriously. “They make a lot of sense. You could write good fiction,” he joked.
His father was a tailor from the Old Country. Herb would always refer to his mother as his rock, his alter ego, and confidante. That also was silently written, almost cryptically, in many of his published works. Herb also played violin and showed me a picture of him as a little boy of 8 years old in a photo of his music class in elementary school in Brooklyn, NY, circa 1922. He asked me to pick him out of the full class of youngsters, some like Herb destined for notoriety. I scanned over each similar boy in the class, finally catching a glimpse of a sweet faced, smiling boy, the only boy to be wearing a patch on his jacket. The rest of the kids were not wearing a jacket or school emblem. Herb seemed to be proud of that fact, and certainly pointed it out to me most pointedly.
Herb had a beach house in Malibu right on the Ocean. He also purchased a condo in Westwood when his re-mastered song went to #1. We’d shuttle between the two homes, which was a lot of fun, especially when he was mistaken for Burgess Meredith who played villainous Penguin on the Sixties t.v. series Batman, whom he resembled greatly. People would saunter up to us in restaurants and all over the mall begging autographs, even asking him to do the Penguin’s signature waddle and evil quack, which Herb had actually mastered with perfection. We both loved and invited the attention it afforded us. The man was turning out to be a riot. We’d done similar things like pretending to be a foreign couple that couldn’t speak English and striking up conversations with strangers in airports. Once we even convinced his oldest son that we’d taken an African dialect class and could speak it quite fluently. Then one evening, after a particularly side splitting joke fest over the phone, he would say something that would change everything we were about. Things between us would never be the same.
The two of us had been all over the world, but our recent trip to Victoria Island in Canada had been most depressing for me for the first time in our time together. He was moody and had been falling into that pattern of late. Diagnosed with Cancer put a damper on any romantic notions that once floated around us. Instead of finding our fun relationship relaxed and light, it changed, and I saw it first hand when I walked into our private train compartment and saw him shooting up Amgen, a drug that was being tested on him for future use in stimulating the body to produce more red blood cells during Chemotherapy. It was $5,000 for a month’s supply. I stood in the doorway as the train bumped and creaked onward up the Pacific Coast, watching transfixed as he was about to stick the needle in one of his already bruised thighs.
I was concerned for him, and didn’t want the man to be alone for more than a few minutes. He’d become high strung, overly sarcastic and ambiguous, traits that replaced his once flowery sense of humor and good-natured punning. I began to miss the old Herb I’d encountered by chance at MGM, but was ending up with an empty shell of a man that was once so full of love and life. He had also become prone to falling down, thinking he was still a young man. Already he’d cracked his elbow and tripped while trying to play tennis with Vince Van Patten and Kirk Kerkorian at his club in Malibu.
But when he’d taken me out to dinner for my 30th birthday, the day before, I was miserable when the waitress brought out a stale cupcake with one candle sticking out, ice cream melting like the tears forming in the back of my eyes. I had become very unhappy with the old guy. He’d been going for Chemo treatments for weeks, which left his usual jovial mood in tatters. When people approached us to get their dose of Penguin, he’d turn his back, sneering at them, driving everyone away. It became isolating and suffocating, but I stuck it out because I truly cared about him. I knew it was the Cancer talking, so I tolerated the typical mood swings and sharp barbs thrown at me. He just wanted to live, and he would try anything to do this. But even all the sudden royalty checks that began rolling in could stave off the fact that Herb was slowly succumbing to Cancer.
I tried conjuring up good time memories we had shared for two years as the restaurant crowd sang a weak Happy Birthday, Herb replacing the words with a child’s mean verse. “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you … phew … you look like a monkey, and you smell like one too!” The old coot pinched his nose, making a horrible face, resembling the little imp he was becoming of late. I remained patient and simply smiled brightly back at him across the table. It was easy to see why he was acting this way. He was very intricately wired-in, having written many semi-famous ditties. Unfortunately, when illness struck, he became even more dated, which made him close off to people, especially other famous musicians that were constantly clamoring to meet him. He’d call them “Wanna’-be amateurs that had no business being in music industry!”
I excused myself to the ladies room and cried my eyes out uncontrollably, which was a first for me since I’d been with Herb. That man was impossible and it seemed his mind had been declining, which brought on the low feelings. And through all that he made a feeble attempt as saving our once fun loving intimacy, but by this time it was hard to ignore the sores forming on his face and wrists from the treatments. His sourpuss attitude was increasing due to the fact that the old relic was losing his hearing from the Chemo, a virtual death sentence for his vast musical creativity. His doctor put him on steroids, which made his face puffy and red. Our relationship was turning into, and reminded me of the fussiness and demeanor of Truman Capote. Overblown excuses started coming into my mind as to why I couldn’t be with this composer of hundreds of songs during the heyday of the Jazz greats and the McCarthy Era of the early 1950’s. At first it was a learning experience that had bloomed into something much more for both of us. I was just starting to reach his core when he shut down and became a 3-mile Island.
And I most certainly wasn’t looking forward to our 3rd trip to Hawaii, where I would be stuck with him for 10 days. Not a very fun-filled vision as I bawled in the bathroom stall at the restaurant down the street from his Westwood condo. Our two other trips to the Islands were for health seminars conducted by his oldest son who was a professor and respected professor at a highly regarded university up North. He also had another son involved in the New Age Arts. A third son had dropped out of sight during the height of the Vietnam War. Herb insisted he was dead, but I felt the man was still alive somewhere close.
A mother and daughter came in interrupting my memories. I heard the child say, “Mommy, there’s a girl crying in there!”
“Shhh, don’t be rude,” shot back the mom.
“But why is she crying?”
‘Because I’m miserable with the one I’m with, and want someone to love again,’ I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs. It was harder now that he was fighting for his life. The old man had become isolated and bitterly angry, only feeding on the energy of a woman like me, who wasn’t a dime a dozen by no means. I wasn’t a regular prototype and neither was he, yet the man began treating me poorly and with more distain, which I blamed on the obvious.
At that moment I doubted anyone would ever believe I was actually with the man who wrote one of the most romantic songs in the universe, which was really penned about his mother. It had also been revealed that other songs he wrote were masked-masterpieces about Mama, a woman of the Old Country who stood behind him, and encouraged him while his father, who didn’t speak any English, stayed in the background. He was a plain and simple Mama’s Boy until tragedy struck one summer during the height of the Red Scare of the 1950’s when Herb had decided to move to Mexico to protest the blacklisting going on. His brother wanted to visit and persuaded Herb to let their mother stay behind to watch his brother’s 3 young sons, which turned out to be a total disaster. The youngest had wandered too close to the pool and fell in. Herb’s mother, who couldn’t even swim, dived in after the little boy, but they both drowned. Herb never truly got over the incident, and it always drove a wedge between him and his family, even bleeding over to Herb’s own 3 sons.
It was devastating what Herb went through, but I prayed to God in that bathroom to send me someone to be happy with. Soon after the incident, Herb penned his hit song, which reflected the love he held for his mother and never would forget.
The last few months had turned into excruciating overnight trips to Santa Barbara, stiff dinners at Sizzler and boring plays at off Hollywood theaters when we were in town. New York had been visited 3 times to huddle with his publisher, who was compiling a compilation of his songs along side silent movie great Charlie Chaplin. He’d been asked to write lyrics for an instrumental tune the silent movie great composed, which he was attempting to do like Beethoven! But his ego was over compensating for hearing loss from the Chemo treatments, and more times than not he’d be yelling at me incessantly, saying that I broke his concentration, even though I wrote and sang music too, coming from a musical family background, actually having some raw talent worth dealing with.
One bright morning at the Westwood abode, after I had found him in the all white living room tinkering on the piano and actually coming up with words the turn of the century song, I sang and played my original tunes for him. Herb liked the energy and witty words, promising to look into publishing them for me. “Hey, they weren’t half bad,” he complimented, seeming genuine at that time.
Then, one week later his mood had changed. “You’re an amateur and you always will be,” he sneered. We were staying in a luxury room at the New York Hilton as I impulsively strummed a few of my original tunes.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said in that distinctive Brooklyn accent that used to invoke such charming notions. Now he sounded more like Bugs Bunny talking to Elmer Fudd’s wife. “When I visit my publisher, you stay here. I don’t want to be embarrassed.” He’d done another one of his ‘about-face-turn-arounds’ and it hurt. The man wasn’t in my corner any longer even though he was taking care of me money-wise and had promised to introduce me to his long time publisher. His light joking and charm were slowly turning to stabbing wit and jagged jaded barbs, which I attributed to the fact that he was sick.
I ended up spending the day playing guitar in Central Park while he went on his own. Later that afternoon, we met at the room and he was all pumped up, so decided right then and there that we were going to walk 15 blocks to the Songwriters Guild of America to sign me up with that figure-head dinosaur organization, which wouldn’t serve me much seeing as I didn’t have any songs published.
After I dried my tears and composed myself, I walked back to the table in the restaurant and dropped my ready-made excuse about having movie extra work for the next few days. Herb seemed to accept it as we left the restaurant to go back to his sprawling condo on posh Wilshire Blvd.
Herb had become very grumpy and jealous of my energies, youth and health. I realized it after we began the 6-block walk back to his place. For the first time, our ages played into the mix in a bad way. I noticed as he huffed and puffed, having to stop along the way to rest. Everything had changed in Herb when he had jokingly told me over the phone that fateful evening that they’d found the dreaded disease. Ever since then, his combativeness made the man un-fun to be with, even though he had the world at his fingertips, especially when he sold his famous romantic tune’s trademark to a well known cosmetic company, which added $7,000,000 to his already gut busting bank coffers. It showed when he’d call me out of the blue, telling me to pack my bags for another spur of the moment trip to God knows where!
Depression hit me the next morning, as it always did lately, this time because of the disastrous birthday dinner. My real birthday would be spent in social self-banishment drying fruit in the dehydrator, solitary insulation for my sad heart. I began the process when my phone rang the next morning. It was my best friend Krista, interrupting my plans to hole myself up in my apartment in Beverly Hills, where I’d been living for the past 8 years.
“Hey, Girlfriend, what’s up?” She asked, her voice always perky and electric. I had known the blond bass player for two years and we were the best of friends.
“Nothing,” I said. “Just making dried fruit.”
“But, it’s your birthday!” She sounded aghast.
“So what?” I said dejectedly. “Herb didn’t treat me so nicely yesterday and I’m depressed about it! He’s changed so much and I miss the old Herb, the one that was fun to be with.”
“Yeah, I remember, Girlfriend,” she consoled. “Well, I’ve got good news. I have someone new for you to meet!”
“No way, Krista!” She was looking out for me and probably had only good intentions. I didn’t know if I was capable of meeting someone. It meant the realm of letting skeletons out of the closet and having to get to know or adhere to someone else, a whole new face and body looking at my own face and body!
“Oh, come on, the guy is really nice. Believe it or not, he’s a lot like you,” she said, trying to coax me out of my hole. “He’s really cute,” she added. “I don’t know why I never introduced you guys before,” she said.
“I don’t want to meet anyone right now,” I protested, wanting to stay in my wallowing sewer.
“But this is different. His name’s TJ and he’s so much like you. I think you’ll dig him.” Of late, my friend was coaxing me out from under Herb’s clutches, and she was succeeding. She always had that knack.
“You’re repeating yourself,” I said. “No way, Krista.” I was adamant about the issue, but she was persistent. “I don’t want to meet anyone now!”
“Now who’s repeating?” She said in friendly, good-natured smugness.
“Don’t get cocky, Girlfriend,” I said, sounding like a black girl.
We talked a bit longer then hung up, but she called back 5 minutes later with the same rap. “Come on, Girlfriend, just meet him. Chris and I will come pick you up and we’re going to the beach,” she baited, trying to lure me out. The girl had her charms, and they worked their magic on me.
“No, please no, Krista!” I said, sticking to my guns, wanting to deal with only one man at a time.
“Okay, I get it,” she said, pretending to give in. “I’ll see you soon though.”
“No Krista!”
“Happy birthday Girlfriend.”
I continued to dry fruit and feel bad for myself for the next hour when there was a knock. There was Krista and her boyfriend standing in my doorway. They came inside and sat down in my Beverly Hills bohemian hippy pad, and fit the rock and roll couple living in Hollywood to a tee.
“Girlfriend, TJ is downstairs waiting for us, so I thought I’d try again to get you to come along too,” said the bouncy blond. Her boyfriend Chris was by her side, quiet and internal as always. “Chris, tell her!”
“He’s really nice and has the same energy as you,” said Krista’s boyfriend as his dark eyes became fixated on an Indian war bonnet I’d picked up in Montana years ago hanging up on the wall near a photo of the famous Apache war chief Geronimo. In fact, the whole apartment was done up in a sort of hippy Southwestern, Indian appeal. A handmade Indian weaving loom sat in the corner with a half finished blanket pattern still strung in, long since given up on. Posters and pictures dotted the eggshell painted walls of the one bedroom abode actually in Beverly Hills, CA, literally 1 block from famed Rodeo Drive.
“I think you guys would get along great. I know how unhappy you are, so at least meet him,” begged Krista as she stared out the picture window on the second floor. She had been my friend since the all girl band let me go and hired her as their new bass player. She had soon moved on when meeting Chris, wanting to do her own music projects, which the girl was doing with the longhaired musician.
“Okay, I’ll meet him,” I said, caving in, not really wanting to.
I changed my clothes in record time, wearing stockings with shorts and a tee shirt with Picasso’s --- Woman’s-Face-Turns-Into-Penis, portrait, a bit unorthodox considering the circumstances. We went downstairs. There was a dark blue snazzy truck parked in front of my apartment building. We all got in. TJ was in the driver’s seat.
At that time his hair was long and naturally curly, almost past his shoulders, like mine. He was in a rock band and it showed in his demeanor and personality right away. I sat in the back seat as Krista made introductions. We headed for the beach. Krista and I went into our usual humorous joking and carrying on banter as TJ drove the big blue truck on the freeway toward the beach.
He was built well, his face symmetrical like an actor’s. His personality was almost like a little boy cracking jokes during science class. So far we seemed to be getting along great as we drove along easily. I didn’t feel any real sparks for him at first, and remained neutral. His long curly blond hair was blowing in the wind as he lit up a cigarette. For some strange reason I sat in back with Chris. There was also a very cute dog named Bubba, who sat between us as I scratched his ears and rubbed his head. The dog and I bonded right on the spot, which was a very good sign.
Krista and I talked about Herb. I was telling her how depressing it had become lately with him. We talked on and on about it, until TJ piped up finally. “Hey, today’s your birthday! Don’t be such a ‘Bummer Chick’,” he said. The nickname fit, but wasn’t said in a mean way, more of a joking little boy mode.
We all laughed as TJ began cracking jokes. It was when we stared at each other in the rearview mirror that I realized he was kind of cute. His deep blue eyes complimented him. He was tall and handsome. One could feel the high energy coming off him. TJ had a knack for nicknames and had named Chris ‘Mudbone’, perfect for the shy guitar player. Krista was ‘Fisty’, which had a meaning all its own.
We finally got to Leo Carrillo Beach near Malibu. The 4 of us hung out exploring the caves and swam for hours. I was talking to TJ on the sand and it turned out we felt some attraction there. He was a bit of a tease, but I could live with that. The man actually got a kick out of the fact that I was wearing stockings at the beach and he was totally refreshing for me since I’d been entangled in the cobwebs of Herb. In fact, in a very subtle way, TJ reminded me of a young version of Herb and his Cancer demon. I immediately felt a deep down desire to introduce the two men.
We partied together on the beach, even going on our own down the shore. He, at the time, seemed like a nice person, and at that moment I was glad Krista had set this up. Could this be the answer to my prayers in the restaurant bathroom? Time would tell.
“Hey, how would you like to go to a Malibu beach house?” I asked out of the blue while we stood on the shore watching the tide rush in. We had been at the beach most of the day, but the sun was making its slow sliding descent.
“How?” TJ asked, showing interest. He looked me up and down, assessing my body and clothing. “Hey, is that a dick on your tee shirt?”
“It’s a Picasso, and yes, when you look at it a long time, the woman’s face turns into a penis,” I explained. We both cracked up.
“That’s pretty weird, but different,” he said, taking a drag from his almost spent Merit. His eyes kept roaming from me to the Picasso on my tee shirt to my tan colored stockings. He had a ton of nervous energy and we made a nice match. I was starting to feel something, but not sexual right away. It was another sort of bond, which was a good thing, because that spelled ‘long-term’. Again, I had the strange vision that I wanted to introduce Herb to TJ…
At that moment, an old Jewish couple walked by. They glanced over at TJ and me and stopped to chat. “You two look like such a nice couple, almost like brother and sister,” said the woman. As our relationship progressed, we would get that sibling line almost every time. It became eerie after a few months.
“We just met today,” I said. But I had felt we’d known each other longer than a few hours.
“Well, isn’t that nice,” said the man. “We’ve been married 50 years, got hitched right at the height of World War II,” he bantered on.
“You two remind me of us when we were young. I have a good feel about you guys,” she said almost mysteriously, as the couple left.
“It’s funny, but I always get along with older people,” I said, watching the nice people fade out of my life.
“Me too,” said TJ. It was then I noticed how very striking and good-looking the man was. He was tanned by the sun and stood 6 foot 2, slightly resembling Kurt Russell, the actor. And we did complement each other. As we stood on the shore, I mused on the fact that I’d rather be mistaken being with a Kurt Russell look-a-like than Penguin’s granddaughter!
“Hey, I think you’ll really dig the Malibu beach house!” I said excitedly. Krista filled him in on everything, including the numerous times she and I would party all night there. The key was in my possession and I knew Herb would stay close to the Westwood penthouse due to his treatments at UCLA. Another woman Herb had hired, supposedly a Polish model, lived at the Malibu beach house, but Herb rarely came to the house on the beach when his Cancer reared its ugly head. She had the job of taking him to and from his treatments.
Krista and Chris were lounging in the sun. We roused and told them of the plan to go to the house in Malibu. Of course they were ecstatic, both of them having been to the place many times. Krista snapped a few pictures of us all and we headed back to the truck where we’d left Bubba standing guard in the back seat next to a sign that read ’NO DOGS’. As soon as the German Shepard-Lab mix saw us, he went nuts.
“Is that your dog?” I asked TJ, my curiosity about this man high as he let the animal out to roam for a while before we took off.
“No, he’s my friend Steve’s. I would find out later that he’d nicknamed his friend ‘Onion’ because of the shape of the guy’s head and baldness. “It’s his truck too. He let me keep it for a few days while they went to Mississippi,” he added. His friends had gone down south to visit family. It sounded like another world to me, a very inviting escape from the isolation possibly?
We all got into the truck, our conversation light and humorous the whole way down Pacific Coast Highway. It was a beautiful day and my birthday was turning into a more positive light. I was glad, at that point, that Krista introduced me to TJ. I watched him as he capably drove the large work truck. Every now and then he’d light up a cigarette and rattle off some joke, while stealing a stare at me through the rear view mirror. He really was nice looking, and seemed very much like someone it was time to meet.
It was then that Chris spoke up. “Hey, you guys have met before,” he said.
“Where?” We both asked in unison.
“It was about 2 years ago at the Troubadour,” he offered.
“Yes, I remember that!” I recalled. “I was handing out condoms for an advertising agency and I came up to you and Chris.
“You asked me if I wanted one, and I said ‘No, I have my own’,” he conjured up like it was yesterday.
“I remember it,” I acknowledged, vaguely recalling the moment, even what he was wearing that night – white shirt with a leather vest over it, with a neat blues hat atop his head, with a smirk on his handsome features. It was an amazing association. I actually do remember the short encounter clearly. “I guess we were meant to meet!”
I had been with Herb for almost 2 years, and in that time, especially recently, he’d become very cruel and biting toward me, especially when we traveled. In less than a week we were jetting off to our 3rd trip to Hawaii, and were booked into a fine luxury hotel for 10 days, this time not attending his son’s high-class health seminar, but just going on our own. I hadn’t even mentioned it yet to anyone.
“What do you do for a living, TJ?” I asked the curly headed 6 foot 3, blue-eyed Adonis, trying to forget about the 6-hour flight to the Island with Herb.
“I’m an electrician,” he said.
“You look like an electrician,” I joked.
“He plays guitar too,” revealed Krista. She sat in the front seat wearing very mod sunglasses, smiling widely at us, playing the true role of matchmaker.
“I’m in a band called Nemesis. In fact, we have a gig next week in West Covina,” he said.
“What do you play?” I asked.
“Lead guitar and vocals, all original music. It’s basically Blues Rock,” he bantered easily.
“Yeah, we’re playing that night too,” said Chris, speaking of the band he and Krista had formed. It was called Wormhole, and they had been rehearsing for weeks.
“Well great,” I said. “I’ll be there for sure, and I’ll videotape it.”
Everyone got really excited at that point as we came to Malibu city limits. We were all talking at once about several subjects as we approached Herb’s beach house off Pacific Coast Highway.
“The house was tucked between two others like it,” I said easily becoming tour guide! “It’s actually three stories.”
“We like to think of this as the creative flowing living room!”
“Feel the ocean pouring its waves underneath us?” I asked TJ, sounding like an old sage.
“You can feel it in the floorboards,” remarked TJ.
“It’s cozy, done up in mostly burgundies and dark reds, very old male,” I said. To the right, by the pantry was a baby grand piano with recording equipment set up. In the kitchen there was a bulletin board with an age old, long forgotten message to Aimee. It read: “…Water the plants!” TJ went right up to Herb’s Platinum record of his song hanging on the wall.
“Wow, who is this guy?”
“He’s a famous songwriter,” said Krista, coming up to me and slapping me 5 on instinct.
“Is he your boyfriend?” Asked TJ casually, walking up to the framed achievement.
“Well, lately, no,” I admitted. “He’s been acting kind of mean to me. It’s the chemo he’s getting for his Cancer. He hasn’t been very nice to be around.”
We ambled around the place. Every floor and room had a balcony that faced the wide-open gleaming Pacific Ocean. It was decorated very art deco, almost retro because of the fake ‘Picasso’ paintings on the walls.
TJ walked up to a masterpiece on the wall, “Is this real?”
“What do you think, dummy!” I said good naturedly.
“Fake.”
“I remembered how Herb and I would tell people they were real just to mess with them, actually test them.”
TJ quickly spotted one in particular and pointed oddly at my tee shirt, then gallantly back at this painting. “Hey,” he said smiling. We both cracked up as I gave them the grand tour. We went upstairs to the second floor of the two-bedroom retreat far from the city, tucked away in Malibu.
I opened the girl Aimee’s bedroom door and was immediately assailed by her feminine odor and perfume. It was pleasing and comforting, but more so knowing she wasn’t around. The 6-foot aspiring Uma Thurman model/actress look-a-like from Poland was suspicious of me, maybe a bit threatened by my strong personality, which was understandable.
I took them into Herb’s room, which was done up in pastel blues and greens. The songwriter’s room also had its own memorable odor, and standing there now brought it all back to me. We’d spend many days at the house when I’d first met him. He was even writing some new material, which didn’t even come close to his big hit and never would. He even attempted giving me piano lessons and I had happy memories of us playing the ivories. We both had the perfect fingers, me more so, seeing as my mother was a concert pianist. I felt a trite sad while reflecting on those fun days with Herb, but quickly lost my melancholy mood when TJ told another one of his funny jokes.
Finally, we ended up on the top floor, a small study leading out to the roof that we climbed a spiral staircase to get to. Krista snapped more photos of all of us. It was turning out to be a memorable day as I stood with TJ on the railing looking out at the ocean.
“This is totally cool,” he said, looking down at my stocking clad legs, his eyes becoming riveted on my tee shirt and all its symbolism. I hadn’t realized the significance of it all. I always seemed to do things impulsively, not giving myself credit for any feminine charms I possessed.
“This is really great,” I agreed as Krista snapped a shot of TJ and I together with the ocean behind us.
There was something exciting and different going on. It was a nice change from the norm for me. I found myself always dodging Herb lately, and I felt slightly guilty. I’d since been doing movie work, and had been working a few part time jobs on the side again, no longer feeling comfortable being solely supported by Herb.
“I’d love to meet that songwriter,” said TJ. “I could fix this place up great for him. I do carpentry too,” he offered as we made our way back down to the second floor via the spiral staircase.
“Wow, that’s great,” I said, happy that this guy had a trade and was capable of making money. I had a feeling we’d be seeing more of each other as time went on.
All of us stayed at the house for some time. We ended up back downstairs in the living room playing the piano and even the 6-string guitar leaning up against the wall. TJ was quite good, easily maneuvering the guitar strings with his long, strong looking fingers. He bent the strings into clear, tangy blues-tinged notes. The man could play anything from The Beach Boys to Ozzy Osborne and I was very impressed with his own original song repertoire as well.
Afterwards, out on the first floor balcony TJ said he was hungry so rustled up some Mushroom soup and sat down at the outdoor table and ate while we chatted lightly, finishing off the moment with a cigarette. He put his dish back in the kitchen, even washing it. We fed the seagulls bread and chips right out of our hands, laughing the whole time. He had brought me up from a dark mood. In a silent moment on the balcony, as the sun was setting, we stared at each other and ended up in a hug. We held tightly, just holding each other for a few minutes. It felt good being in his arms and was a drastic change from what I was used to. I wasn’t cringing like when Herb reached out for me. TJ was a strapping man, well built with sparkling blue eyes. But there was a defensive side to this man as well, and as time went on, I wanted to find out everything about him.
I was finding in the short time I knew him that we had a lot in common. We both liked to talk and were true jokesters. We both played music, liked The Simpsons cartoon and a number of other things. I was, for the first time in almost two years, enjoying a ‘first date’.
I had an amazing, uplifting feeling as we drove in the truck back to my apartment in Beverly Hills. We were all laughing and joking around, and I felt much closer to this man TJ as we pulled up to my place. I hugged Krista and Chris and jumped out. TJ got out as well and came up to me.
“I’m glad we met like this,” I said, looking up at him in the waning dusk.
“Yeah, this is really okay,” he said, all of a sudden becoming a little shy. “And so are you,” he added. We were quiet for a second then came together in a flaming lip kiss that took his breath away.
“Thank you so much, TJ. I gave you my number, so call me soon, okay?”
“I’ll call you tomorrow. Maybe we can do something.”
He left me standing there and got back in the cab. “That was some kiss,” he said to no one in particular. Krista’s hearty laugh stained the warm night air. I smiled and walked up the steps of my apartment feeling light as a feather, looking forward to seeing him again.
There was always a part of me that didn’t have the confidence that I was worth calling, so I didn’t really expect him to phone like clockwork. He did though, and I laid in bed early the next morning talking to him.
“Hey there Bummer Chick, how did you sleep?” He asked me in that deep, sexy voice he had. The man could sing as well as play blues guitar with the best of them. He had all the ingredients I needed and wanted in someone. Being with a man in his eighties had closed me off socially, especially now that Herb was losing his hearing.
“Pretty good, but to be honest, I didn’t go to bed until really late. I was excited and happy we met!” I hadn’t planned on meeting any new men, especially in light of my situation, so meeting TJ was a blessing.
“Did you want to do something today?” He asked.
“What did you have in mind?”
“Have you ever been up to Forest Lawn? I used to work there doing their lighting and know where a lot of famous graves are located,” he suggested.
“To tell the truth, TJ, that sounds right up my alley.” I had always liked going to the cemetery, and Forest Lawn sounded like the perfect choice. I could put to bed many dying ghosts of my life, and that is why I think I like going to the cemetery. He also suggested some other scenic stops, and maybe even lunch.
We talked a bit longer and decided to meet at his house around 11AM. I hung up with him and started my process. I had already told Herb about my impending movie work for before we were to fly to Hawaii for 10 days. It was Monday and I had the whole week to be with this new person that had literally dropped into my life.
I called Herb, but made no real progress trying to talk nicely. I was slowly becoming impatient and punchy when I spoke to him over the phone, so it wasn’t any surprise that he said my voice sounded coarse like a man’s. He could barely hear me and Aimee was in the background trying to get his attention. I often wondered what the deal was between Herb and Aimee. I sometimes wondered how far she went.
“You know I can’t hear you. Your diction is terrible,” Herb shouted into the phone. “You sound so coarse, like a man,” he said like clockwork! The man could be downright insulting and repetitive, his jokes becoming more and more lead-laden.
“Herb, I have movie work all week, remember?”
“What? I don’t understand. Talk to Aimee,” he said, handing the phone to the girl.
“Hello?” She still had a slight Polish accent and it complimented her.
“Hi, Aimee.”
“Yes.” She usually spoke to me in one-word sentences, and this was no different.
“Could you tell Herb that I have movie work all week and that I’ll call him later tonight when I get home.”
“Okay,” she said. “We’re going to the beach house after I take him for his treatment.”
“Does he want me to meet him down there?” I asked. Just because he’d gotten crotchety was no excuse for me not to still care about his well-being. The fact was that I truly loved Herb, but he was driving me away daily because of his surliness of late.
“No,” she answered.
I hung up with her and continued getting ready for my date with TJ. It had been a long time since I’d done something like this. By this time, being with Herb made me repress, so when we went out on the town, I’d dress down, not caring about my appearance. Now I took care with it, wanting to look better.
TJ had invited me to his house where he lived with his mother, so I drove my Mustang to him. I never went to his town, a small community a few miles outside of Los Angeles. At one time it was home to Rednecks and Neo-Nazi groups, which had given way to mostly Armenians and the like. I drove the 405 to the 101, which brought me to the 134 freeway. It was a bit of a haul from Beverly Hills, but totally worth the effort. It was new territory for me, and I was totally excited.
I drove down his street and finally found the little two-bedroom home nestled between new condos and apartment houses. It was very quaint and neat. I knocked on the door, which was open. TJ came into the living room and invited me in. I walked into the abode and sat at the dining room table with him. He lit a Merit and offered me a drag, which I took.
After giving me a grand tour of the house he lived in with his mother, who was at work as an office manager for a chemical company, he took me outside to the nice sized yard out back. It was a nice warm day and the sun reflected off the Concord grape vines growing against an age-old shed. He kept a garden of tomatoes, cucumbers and many other vegetables, including carrots and even cabbage and hot peppers in many variations. We sat around for a bit, then headed to the big blue truck he’d been babysitting along with Onion’s dog Bubba. Forest Lawn was just a stone’s throw from the quaint looking old two bedroom bungalow.
We drove the scenic route along San Fernando Road, which resembled something I like to call ‘Industrialized Suburbia’. Factories, railroad yards, train tracks that ran all the way to the horizon whizzed by as we drove in the truck to the cemetery, which ironically held the resting place of the singer that made Herb’s song signature!
Little residential pockets were nestled away on cute little tree-lined streets. Every now and then a train would pass us. I was always fascinated by them and hypnotized when the engines would chug by. It reminded me of my past life in the Old West as an Indian warrior named Perico, one of Geronimo’s Apache cousins! Herb also had a song relating to trains, which when broken down, was a cryptic version about his mother. Once verse says: I miss Mama’s apple pie… Which is cryptic for I miss mother’s close loving!
Forest Lawn’s big black gates were flung wide open. It almost looked like a golf course, and probably would have made a good one. Everything was green and grassy knolls and there was a certain peacefulness and relief in the air. We drove all the way to the top and parked by a mausoleum. TJ led the way inside, and seemed to really know where we were going.
“I did all the lighting around here,” he bragged as we made our way to the center of the building. “Do you know that there’s like 14 levels of this place? You wouldn’t believe what’s down there,” he said, pointing at the floor.
“What?” I asked eagerly.
“I don’t think you want to know,” he said seriously. “It’s really creepy. Some people were Devil worshippers, but they had the money, so they’re down there.”
We stopped in the widening hallway and were the only ones there. The first crypt I spotted was the singer. I stared at it and was in a bit of awe knowing whom I was with and what he’d written! I went up to the crypt and screamed ‘hello’ out loud, which wasn’t really the best thing to do, but TJ didn’t seem effected by it. He stood there smiling at my antics. It was obvious that he liked me, and was starting to really enjoy my company.
He led me around the building, pointing out various movie star graves. We stopped at Gracie Allen-Burns’ slot. I felt like she was really there in some form. In fact, I felt very connected to every person he took me to, including Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. Even when we passed Walt Disney, I felt this weird connection, like I was meant to be where I was, as if it were some grand story to be weaved and told. At Jean Harlowe’s grave we shared a cigarette. I felt dizzy and light headed as we embraced, even sharing a mannequin like kiss, which at the time seemed endearing, but wasn’t. We had actually squeezed a little romance out of the cemetery and it was amazing to me.
I couldn’t believe how well TJ knew his way around the place. We walked from building to building, even getting into a golden key area. He showed me where Lucille Ball was buried. It was just an aging plaque on the wall next to her mother and father.
TJ had actually witnessed Lucille Ball’s cremation, and was wiring up that particular room the same evening as she was made into ashes. He just happened to be there on that night and no one objected to his silent presence as he installed lighting in the crematorium chamber. It is a process, from what the man explained to me as we made our way back down to San Fernando.
It was classified as our ‘second date’, and really was uplifting and fun, even though we’d spent the day at a graveyard. We’d gone to a few other historic points around the area, sharing a nice lunch at a famous burger stand in Burbank. For some reason it didn’t bother me. I was happy for his company. He was my age, and had as much energy going for himself as I did at that time. He played in a working band, and would soon bring me on those excursions, which I was looking forward to.
That afternoon we drove back to my apartment and spent the day hanging around. We sat in my living room watching old videos of bands I played in, as well as videotaped our own rising fun. He played my acoustic guitar and bonded with my cat Berlin right away. It was a fun day and I didn’t want it to end. Night fell too quickly, but TJ remained at my place. We went to the grocery store and bought dinner. He cooked it up for us, a real kitchen hound if you ever saw one.
As we sat at the kitchen table eating steak and potatoes, I realized that I didn’t want him to go home. “Hey, why don’t you spend the night?”
“Are you sure?” He asked while wolfing down the last of the veggies.
“Yes, I am,” I said.
“Okay,” he answered simply.
My passion was on the rise and I couldn’t wait to shut out the lights. We finally settled in my bedroom and watched t.v. for a bit. During Jay Leno we found each other’s lips and began the magic dance of the ages. He felt good against me as we simulated love making for a while. When we finally began making love, I felt released and free, loving the feel of this person as we moved in unison. Afterwards, he lit a cigarette and we shared it in bed, but he soon became distant after his release which actually took a long time for him to achieve! I didn’t realize it then, but TJ was to easily become high maintenance, but I was still falling for him. Anything, anyone to rescue me from Herb’s clutches!
In the quietness of the moment, I said as gently as I could, “I’m leaving for Hawaii in a few days with Herb.” It sounded like a romance novel, whispered in the darkness as I tried to lay my head on his well-shaped chest. He slightly moved and my head rolled onto a pillow.
“Guess you have to do what you have to do,” he said non-commitally.
“It’s been planned for weeks. I can’t get out of it,” I lamented, drawing closer to him. For some strange reason he had a tee shirt on and socks, which became his trademark, and really mystified me. It made me want to put a tee shirt and underwear on afterwards. It was awkward, but no one was a perfect human, so I accepted it, even though I was starting to feel a bit self conscious and just a bit ashamed of showing my ample body. TJ made it that way, but at the time I just went along with it and thought my good will and niceness would charm him and maybe he’d change and lighten up and not be so anal, as he would become in the future.
“It sounds like fun though. Wish I could go,” he said.
“I know, that would be so great! It would be nice to go there with someone like you,” I answered honestly. “I really don’t want to go, but I have to.”
“That’s okay,” he said, not drawing closer to me, but rather turning his back unromantically toward my face.
“Thanks for being so good about this. I never expected to meet you,” I whispered.
“I didn’t either,” he said blandly in the darkness.
“We’ll just have to make the best of it. I’ll send you postcards,” I said, taking a small drag off his almost spent cigarette. We fell asleep in the same bed, but side by side. It felt good to have a man next to me as I lay there thinking about Herb and all I’d experienced with him. During the night TJ roused me, but we only simulated making love again, which surprised me and left me with confused emotions. By the time I was turned on, TJ had fallen back asleep and I found myself laying there all hot and bothered, so I just played with myself and released and went to sleep. It was like sex was a reflex with him. At the time, I could handle it. It was more stimulating than what I had with Herb or anyone in a long time for that matter.
The next morning we went to breakfast and I drove him back to his house. I still hadn’t met his mother so we hung around his house until she finally made an appearance and cooked up a nice old English treat of chicken and mashed potatoes. It was to mark a Last Supper of sorts, a new beginning.

* * *

FORWARD 10 YEARS
LIVING AN ALMOST UNLOCKED LIVE UNIVERSE

It began like an article straight out of a cheap dime novel, right around mid- August, around the time of my 40th birthday. I went to the grocery store in my neighborhood, having no real thought or desire of meeting anyone new there, even though my 10-year relationship with TJ seemed to be crumbling day by day.
I drove over to the grocer from my job at a telemarketing firm nearby to the neighborhood market I’d been frequenting for years since I’d moved in with TJ. He had lived with his mother there for 6 years, and before that his sister lived there with her husband. A lot of people were on their lunch breaks and were milling around as I made my way to the check out counter. That’s where I met Him. I had no idea that my life would drastically change, hurling me into a Live, but Locked Universe with almost no escape.
Albert was wearing thick sunglasses and allowed me to go in front of him. He was medium height with short dark brown hair, a dimple to die for, a bit overweight, actually resembling a pudgy John Cusack in some ways, believe it or not. His mind waves shot out at me, which was what caught my attention right away. I felt totally open to our future eclectic beauty right away. That coupled with his quiet, reserved demeanor wasn’t to be ignored, and was appealing to me, giving him an air of mystery. I noticed his most striking features after he’d removed his signature thick sunglasses, revealing the most beautiful hazel eyes. It was as if he stepped off the boat from heaven.
How could I have known then that this male stranger I met casually in the market would entwine himself into my life, turning it upside down? New relationships like ours can be deceiving, looking tame and tactful on the outside, especially with the smell of infidelity welcoming us in for the very first time.
But there was no denying that there was an immediate attraction, a pull toward one another. We talked while taking care of our purchases at the market, only for a moment or two, but enough to spark interest before I had to get back to my job a few blocks away. As hoped, he stopped me outside in the parking lot. We chatted and realized that there was something akin to electricity between us, something I hadn’t felt in 10 years and seemed to be dead to TJ and me. As we made our way to our cars, which ironically were parked next to each other, he handed me his phone number on a receipt. I promised to call, not really wanting to leave him to go back to the relationship that had become my growing hell. I had the strongest urge to hug him, but refrained. That night when I closed my eyes all I could see was his beautiful hazels staring back at me like a stark plastic photo negative. No coaxing on TJ’s part would rouse me from my side of the bed, nor would he be able to pry me away for the next 5 months!
There was so much to what Albert and I experienced after our fateful meeting at the grocery store a week after my birthday. Things between us began to light the skies above even more quickly than when I’d met TJ ten years prior on my birthday when I was with Herb, who was long dead by now. Eventually I had introduced them, both taking a liking to each other, Herb even remarking that TJ resembled his long lost son, who ironically we found out committed suicide by jumping in front of a train after a big court battle began when Herb had actually left TJ $100,000 and a 40 foot boat!
In that time, the relationship between TJ and I became sexually one sided. I’d been conditioned to ‘turn-off’ to any intimacy he tried igniting, except when I was pressured, which was usually the case. It had become a “let’s get this over already” with me. And the day Herb passed away a few years earlier after I met TJ, Aimee had called and asked for TJ. In fact, they had become very close in those few years. Herb had left TJ $100,000 in his will, but by the time I’d met Albert, the monies were spent and long gone. TJ had become a tyrant, sometimes a brute, especially sexually. He was rough and tumble, more prone to watching porn and constantly asking me to talk dirty to him, really down and dirty, which I found repulsive after 10 years of adhering to it, like a dutiful wife!
So when I’d met Albert, he immediately felt wonderful to touch, kiss or just talk to and relate with on many levels because of his mellower personality. He seemed a lonely man living the solitary life of a self-philosopher and I was empty inside from my own rough relationship. I needed and sorely missed an essential ingredient to sex and love … fluff! I needed the pomp and fluff of it all! I had to have romance and warmth, which were things TJ didn’t have high marks for, especially as we progressed into our ten year relationship. For the first time I was with someone like Albert, it was less demanding for me as we took each other to another world and back again in so many ways. Such intense feelings grew and coursed through both of us. I might have gravitated in this direction when TJ’s fun, joking attitude gave way to the controlling, insensitive man he became as we marched forward toward our tenure. In all our ten years together, I had never cheated on him, nor had thoughts of fooling around with the neighbors! I never put myself in the position, and if the situation arose, which it occasionally did in ten years, I would snuff it out before it could begin.
But after meeting Albert, in a short period of 5 months, he and I grew quite close in all ways, even closer than I felt to TJ in 10 years! It made me truly see what TJ and I had become. I saw a new beautiful light surrounding Albert and I. It was there, because we always acknowledged it, as did others in our vicinity. Whether it was to a restaurant, a park or a concert, everyone noticed us. When we went to eateries, waitresses paid extra attention to the couple sitting in a booth holding hands and staring intently at each other. I’d never shown or received such a public display of affection and felt open and good doing it. At the time it felt totally genuine and very refreshing from what I was used to. What I shared with TJ became so very rough around the edges leaving literal paper cuts. What I didn’t know then, that I read much later down the road was that Aries’ like Albert seemed to fall for someone who was already involved with someone else! I fit the bill on that one.
Although Albert was 35, he lived with his parents for some strange reason, in a beautiful Colonial American home with a pool and rambling rooms up the hill from where I resided with TJ. I should have seen the signs then, but was just too languidly dazed over the new feelings flowing through me from the moment Albert and I met.
Albert’s house was only 3 blocks from my own, so it became an easy, comfortable jaunt for me to be with him when we began seeing each other regularly. Usually I rode my one speed bike up. Other times I’d use TJ’s car. Still other instances I’d just walk up there, or be so brazen that I’d tell Albert to pick me up on the corner.
I’d even bundled up the nerve to wait for TJ to fall asleep around midnight. By this time he’d become used to my pattern of transferring myself into the living room and sleeping on the lumpy old couch. I’d feign sleep for awhile. Then I’d get up, call Albert and walk up to see him. I’d even made fake bedding, feeling like Herman Munster in a long ago Munsters t.v. series plot when he was sneaking away and leaving a pail and mop head rolled in blankets to conceal his hasty departure. His wife Lily suddenly one evening awoke and thought he was having an affair and rushed to follow him. I heard the canned audience laughter in my head as I made my way up to Albert and the security of his cozy little bedroom in his parent’s house.
There was no doubt about it, I loved being with him even when we were simply hanging out in his room doing nothing, just enjoying each other’s company. His room and several other rendezvous points around town became our haunts. I had been very unhappy with TJ for many years, but couldn’t seem to break away from him. Whether it be a powerful hold he had on me, or just that I was afraid of his angry repercussions, I couldn’t detach myself. In the end, neither could I break it off with Albert, a man who delivered me from my rising sexual misery and high tension that had grown between TJ and I.
I could see it in one of the first letters Albert had written me. It flowed from him like a new mink coat and truly touched me.
I fell asleep and woke up at 10:00PM. Sorry I didn't come over. I can see why you reacted the way you did. My honesty can easily be misunderstood as saying more then I mean. Please read this and help me decide if I am just using reason to cover myself. For me, (being celibate for 10 years and having only two serious relationships before), I see sexuality as the lower end on the spectrum of spirituality. People meld spiritually and even sexually without knowing it (in the conscious mind). The degree of connection and the spectrum it is in seems to characterize a relationship. I believe in a hippie universe, combined with a Puritan spiritual approach to ethics (just as one needs both right and left brain perspectives to balance life). I connected with you (from the beginning at Ralphs) at the peak of my spiritual spectrum (my God self -where in reflection God speaks to me). My life shines from there! This is my Puritan center. All that gets into that light becomes as born into that world. This is my hippie domain of ethics. Some love is universal, some love is absolute. Love that flows from the God center is absolute (like the infinite world). Love that flows from lower spectrums is universal and relative (like the finite world). Some see all or none (as in the finite world). But more accurately, there is all and some (as in the infinite world). As above so below, drop the intensity of our relationship at its spectrum, into the lower spheres and you get wicked magic. As the man learns to control the lower (faster spinning - farther out from the center) spectrum, so too can he maintain the higher more centered perspective. The world (being finite) is full of temptations (to be drawn out from the center -infinite). The relationship is so new I have no thoughts about it really. Just maybe I have a hold-out of maleness in me that wants to unite with anything that shines of life. Yes I admit it, I want to have spectacular orgies and spin and love with communities of life. But that is the hippie in me. The Puritan in me wants a nurturing home with new life. I see you (potentially) as cradling with me that absolute love which flows from our centers and creates new life. I have never led a swinging life style. Who knows, I might hate it (It’s just that I feel so strongly for life and connection). I admit I spend most my days fantasizing about sex and masturbating, but that is probably only because I have been denied connection for so long. And your idea about chasing the dragon, if I understand it correct, seems potentially correct. Let's talk it over. Have you ever had an interesting sexual experience? Am I wrong in my beliefs? Let’s see every day as a learning process, not just of the world, but of our infinite natures. I love you. Just read your e-mail -I feel Soooo Goooood !!!! Come over if you feel safe walking the streets. Or call and I will get you ---Yes call -I want you so bad! Wait, that is very dangerous with TJ, so lets not. Love Albert.

Both our laughs were full and jolly, and we were constantly cracking each other up, smiling brightly and chuckling loudly. It was obvious we were falling for each other more and more as we progressed from the market. I did not tell Albert that I was with TJ, and had been living with him for 10 years right off the bat. I told him gently, after he’d asked me candidly, I didn’t leave out any gory details about TJ and I. When out of the blue Albert had casually asked me (as if he already had the sixth sense to know) about TJ and I, it would be two weeks after we’d met that I’d filled him in on everything. Albert seemed like a fragile individual where you had to let him in slowly or scare a man like that away like sneezing before he the butterfly is about to land on your shoulder. When I’d first met Albert, I told him that I lived with TJ’s sister Loren, and that TJ was always coming around, but finally, after two weeks, I came clean to Albert.
In all that time, I’d never met anyone, nor done anything close to what was coming for Albert and I! At times I felt he was a delicate leaf floating down My raging river. We would lose control and I had never cheated on my boyfriend TJ in the past, so why now with Albert?
The other relationship with TJ steadied at 10 years on the meter and wasn’t going great. It left me with a stunted sexual drive where at first there was so much promise. TJ slowly became a bit manic in other ways, and on many occasions lost a very important part of any relationship … being sentimental about intimacy. I soon realized he was like that due to his own upbringing riddled with abuse in all its ugly forms. I would find out soon after moving in with him ten years ago that the man harbored a temper and could be provoked easily. He’d done a stint in the Army, ranking all the way up to Sergeant, which made TJ into a very ‘tough love’ sort of guy, as I was to find out later.
It was the first time in the history of my relationship with TJ that I began a pattern of sneaking up to Albert’s house, hanging with him partying and just being together with someone else. It was like a mini-vacation time for me, even if it was deceiving to TJ. My relationship with The Boy Up The Hill blossomed; more like mushroomed into more and more each time we got together, and I wouldn’t put it passed the fact that Albert and I were running around like virtual spies, which added extra intrigue and excitement to what we were doing, especially in his eyes. Mama’s Boys were prone to leaning over to the wicked, forbidden side, but I felt comfortable around him, enjoyed keeping company with him, even for the first time in literally years loving the intimacy a man and woman shared. For a long time I’d not enjoyed it much with TJ, and was so unhappy lately. It always seemed like I wanted to get away from him and the ‘act’. More often than not I found myself trying to detach myself physically from TJ. Our relationship had grown quite stale, cold and a bit one-sided.
I had met Albert at the local grocery store on a whim and hadn’t expected the potential it had for pure infidelity coupled with storybook romance, as his letter to me reflected. I should have picked up on his mortal fear, but just couldn’t see it, or ignored it.
I feel magical around you, but I need my morals as well. I could have lost it (my mind) when TJ asked how long I knew your friend Jeanette. We need to be strictly friends. I think we could still have the exact same kind of fun together (including TJ whenever). I will probably struggle, and fear, and contemplate, in silence frequently, over my feelings for you. But I need to know that I am not doing anything wrong. I love you quite a bit. And our relationship will radiate light. People will know our truth. Friends are allowed to love each other, but where is the line? Do you know what I hope for? That TJ is your brother, and you are just using him as a shield from men. Then when things are right between us, we could become lovers, without hurting TJ. But until I can openly love you, I will not. I played guitar last night till dawn with my friend Benny. I wish the four of us could jam some time. I am still thinking about you all the time. I miss you and hope we can get together somehow, soon. Sorry I didn't call, I was hung over, and needed to think things out between us. I hope we can be friends for life. Love Albert

At the time, from the moment we met, I felt so good being with this man, and couldn’t stay away. We were always holding hands, sharing so much closeness, filling in the loneliness for each other.
So for the time being we were together and made every moment count! Sometimes we would just kiss for hours, nothing else. The times we danced together cheek to cheek in his room reminded me of the old World War II scenario of the soldier and his sweetheart at a social dance. We’d hold each other tightly and were just having such a ball getting into each other that both of us got carelessly stupid, easily underestimating TJ’s resolve to catch us and put an end to it.
Mostly we were hanging out in his room, going to eat and taking hikes, as well as going to the movies and excursions to San Francisco to see The Grateful Dead, not activities I was doing with TJ, where days of renting movies at Blockbuster strung together like the links of a ball and chain. Albert was nuts about The Grateful Dead even though the lead singer Jerry Garcia had passed on years before and the remaining band was now called The Other Ones.
We actually managed to sneak off to San Francisco twice under the premise that I was heading to my cousin’s cabin in Ojai. She didn’t really have one, but it sounded reasonable at the time seeing as she was a doctor and they did those things. Those two trips were fantastic and we spent the whole time kissing and making out in a corner like high schoolers all through the concert. In fact, I felt like I had gained back my high school years, even though I was totally unpopular, unhappy, teased and picked on for years by the kids then.
He’d even mentioned the concert and his fears about TJ in another one of his flowing, flowery letters to me.
I am glad you wrote me back and want to meet again soon. I hope it is O.K. Tomorrow is good for dinner - I'll meet you at Marie Calendar’s at 6:00? Or should I come by and order in some Numero Uno pizza and TJ can join us? I got two tickets for Shoreline in San Francisco on Sunday, Oct 27. SUNDAY's LINEUP is going to be as follows: Neil Young, James Taylor, Jack Johnson, Ryan Adams, Thom Yorke, Tenacious D, The Other Ones (really the Grateful Dead), Vanessa Carlton, Plus... special guests to be announced. I hope all is well... Does TJ feel better about me?

Those trips made up for everything, including my growing guilt over what I was doing to TJ. But with Albert I felt like we were at a dance 24 hours a day holding each other close and swaying to the music, feeling like the 1940’s couple that meets there, everyone disappearing when they touch and move slowly to the music with the crystal ball spinning above.
The make-out passion had started innocently enough. We were sitting in his room looking at something on his computer when we began to slowly kiss and nuzzle each other. That quickly turned more passionate and distinct and before we knew what was happening, the both of us were moving against each other vying for release, which came for both of us like a sudden tidal wave even though we were fully clothed. We held each other long after. He was sweating and breathing very heavy, almost wheezing. He broke free of me just long enough to grab his atomizer for his asthma. He took a long drag from the canister, which had a top on it and sounded off a long mournful horn sound, like an elephant in the jungle!
We actually became voyeurs when the truck drivers would whiz by us on both San Francisco excursions. Both of us willingly attracted a lot of attention driving up to Oakland one afternoon while holding each other and making such a spectacle of ourselves that the truckers radioed ahead to the others up the highway, who were all ready to stare at us when we passed their rigs as they honked their approval of our actions. I’ll admit it wasn’t the best thing to be doing, but it was so invigorating and when we laughed it brought us to another world. At the time it felt as if our hearts were always full when we were together. But in the end, because of the way the relationship with Albert was culminated, it was destined to crash and burn eventually, especially sneaking off like we were doing. The free-spirited feelings gave way to more sneaky tactics to be together, and in the end, that may have driven the relationship over the brink.
Little did I know then that TJ became very suspicious and began following me when I left our house. One particular day I couldn’t wait to get with Albert, who resided a stone’s throw from our own little place.
I rode my bike up steep streets thinking only of Albert and not the consequences of wanting to be with him. TJ followed in his Camry. When I was just reaching the street where Albert’s only friend Benny lived, TJ came driving around the corner and yelled out the window, “You’re busted!” I froze in my tracks and tried playing it off, pretending not to hear or see him at first.
Finally I circled his car with my one speed girl’s bike. “I’m going to work. There’s a new bus route up here,” I stated, trying not to stammer or lose my cool.
“There’s no bus stop up here, come on, you’re busted!” He didn’t believe me. But he did drive away again for some odd reason.
I was vigilant and continued up to Albert’s house, trying to throw off my growing panic at not being able to see him or having to spend the day fending off TJ, who came around the corner again and said the same thing - - - “Busted again! Okay, what’s going on?” He asked, his arm leaning out of the open window. “Are you going over to that guy Albert’s house?”
“No! I told you, I’m taking a different route. I don’t like to take the same way every time!” I was so desperate to reach my destination that I didn’t care whether TJ saw me dive into some bushes when he drove away a third time. It was at that opportune moment when TJ turned on Pacific that I high-tailed to Albert’s house.
I was out of breath and had to sit down on the bed.
“TJ nabbed me, but I got away,” I said, breathing heavy, face sweaty, having a slight urge to try Albert’s asthma buster machine.
Albert got a scared look in his beautiful eyes. “What are we going to do? Do you think he followed you here?”
“No, he went down Pacific,” I answered as Albert sat on the bed and we put our arms around each other out of habit by now.
After kissing passionately for a few minutes I pulled away for a moment. “I’m going to call him!” My voice was filled with resolve.
“Oh God, do you think that’s a good idea?” Albert went to his shuttered window and cautiously looked out into the empty driveway, something he was prone to doing and I had gotten used to.
I went to the telephone inside the closet by the bathroom and nervously dialed TJ’s number. It was easy to get up the gall to call him from Albert’s and ante up. “Yes, I’m at Albert’s, but I’m leaving shortly for work,” I said into TJ’s answering machine, knowing full well he was still out looking for me. I hoped that he wouldn’t try and come to the house.
Again, Albert and I got to spend the day together, but from then on we were both scared and traumatized that TJ’s wrath would eventually reach us. We holed up in his room for the rest of the afternoon and evening making love, partying and having long drawn out conversations about the 4 quadrants of the brain, plus taking time out to sneak away to an obscure restaurant for a bite to eat. Soon it was time for me to ride my bike back down and face the music with TJ. We left his room after surveying the driveway through his window as had been done throughout the day with him.
It was a clear night, a bit brisk while walking down the hill slowly. We reluctantly reached my drop-off point by the high school and embraced, holding each other for a long time. Every now and then his hand would brush my curly locks and we’d practically crush each other. Our lips always met in the middle of all this, easily roaming up and down our necks. Goose bumps rose on my cool skin, and a sweet liquid held fast below. Our breathing was rapid and almost frantic. He just felt so good against me, and I wanted to melt into his chest cavity and stay there as we moved against each other creating an incredible friction and wanting for each other!
In all my years, I’d never experienced anything like what I did with Albert, except maybe my college flame Brad, but that was 20 years ago. I would never forget the feelings I felt when we were together. It was powerful and intense, especially when we were kissing and close physically. There was also a mental stimulation as if we made love in our minds just as fiercely as in our reality.
A special bond formed between Albert and me, especially when we got more into the intimacy that comes with a relationship of our type, no matter where or how we met. Holding hands, kissing, cuddling even making love multiple times a day was the norm for us, things TJ had never given much thought to in the last few years. It was pure heaven and opened me up like a baby rose after a 10-year Nuclear winter.
Albert’s letter to me summed things up nicely.
I have read your letters several times... It makes me feel like I am talking to you (all warm and fuzzy inside). I have been bored and sleepy most of the day. I wish you could walk over and sleep here tonight. I have all the pay channels on cable TV. We could turn on the surround sound and eat popcorn. I bought a picture of Janis Joplin today. The picture looks like it was taken 200 years ago. Janis looks just like you in it. You can have it for your collages. I need to get the USB cord from my Mom to transfer the pictures from the camera. I should have them on a CD by tomorrow.

Many times when TJ wanted to get intimate with me throughout the 5 months, and actually before, I would pretend sickness or tiredness, and he asked outright on many occasions if I was fooling around or had met someone else. Toward the end of the 5 months he even asked outright if Albert was the culprit, which I always downplayed, usually hinting that my best friend Jeanette’s Lesbian neighbors were influencing me, seeing as I was spending so much time over there, when in reality I was using that as an excuse. It got so real that I began to actually see these two old non-existent Lesbians that lived next door to Jeanette in Tujunga Canyon where she had a house up a long winding driveway. TJ was only half buying the explanation, and had a feeling I was with someone else. Now it was happening and I was stuck in the denial muck with no way out. That was a mistake, as I would soon find out.
But it would be almost to the date Albert and I met that everything caught up with us finally. Our time was growing short and we didn’t realize that our last few precious hours together were approaching like the sound of far off cannons. That particular day, like many others, we couldn’t wait to be in each other’s arms. I could feel it when I knocked on his door, setting yet another pattern of our hearts and bodies coming together in fiery passion.
He was in his room as usual. If you could read the fly on the wall’s brain, it was obvious we seemed like a happy, normal duo, and it showed all over our rosy faces as we lounged on his bed talking.
When I was with Albert, thoughts of my other relationship with TJ fell to the wayside. TJ could be crude in the ways of foreplay, as compared to Albert’s gentle, almost soothing, passive nature. It was easy to melt like butter into Albert’s arms than stiffen like alcohol-dunked wood in TJ’s. It made me dread intimacy with him, and all its fixings spread out like a dried-up turkey dinner. But my views would change with the sudden and fiery appearance of the 35-year-old man who still lived with his parents, saying he’d not had a serious girlfriend in 10 years! I believed him, and cherished the fact. That’s probably what attracted me to him in the first place. Time and time again we’d come together and got closer, more intimate, more relaxed around each other, especially in his room.
His space was small, but became quite cozy in our months together. It was once occupied by one of his 4 sisters who had long since married and moved on. Where at first there was no real warmth to the room, toward our latter months together it registered a true love that brewed between us. We were constantly trying to make it better, him moving furniture around like a madman. We’d added little touches that couldn’t have gone unnoticed by him when I reluctantly had to leave, returning to my own house down the hill.
Before I walked in, Albert had freshly downloaded some new photos of us. We took tons of pictures everywhere. Many of those shots should have been in a photo magazine. We both looked so happy and free, and many of the photos reflected our true selves and feelings. I felt transformed, empowered and beautiful with him, as we sat together gazing at the photos on his computer that fateful afternoon. We looked wonderful, like a couple of old souls together. We enjoyed holding each other until gentle caresses suddenly turned explosive and we’d end up rolling around on his bed for hours, whispering “I love you” in each others ears, moving together over and over until we were spent and sated, just like a romance novel stuck in a foreplay jag or make-out mode.
I’m sure TJ sensed what was happening. My whole demeanor changed when I met Albert. It was apparent by the lightheaded high-schoolish attitude I was exhibiting from wanting a man and being wanted back just as fiercely. My face took on a taunt, beautiful rosy appeal. You could see the twinkle in my eyes and more. Everyone, not just TJ noticed this. People around me, including neighbors, family, friends and strangers in stores also took note. I was constantly stopped on the street and told I looked different, very healthy and up. I felt more energized and confident than I’d ever felt in my life. Albert felt it and saw it too. The question was: How long could things go on like this before the bottom dropped out from under us?
I wasn’t answering that question as Albert and I prepared to go into bliss mode after looking at our photos. He put them on the automatic slide version on the computer and darkened the room. We quickly ambled over to the bed and lay down.
Albert always paid attention to who was coming and going in the driveway, but for some reason didn’t react when a car door slammed harder than normal outside his window. I knew his parents were in, so didn’t think on it too much and figured it was just his Uncle Curtis, who Albert avoided like the plague whenever the man would drive in. As we kissed and held hands, there was a harsh knock at his door. It was his father.
“Can you two please come into the living room right away,” his father asked seriously.
“Is there a problem, Dad?” asked Albert. Very rarely would his parents ever disturb us, but this time something was wrong.
“Yes, a big problem!” His dad’s usual jovial face was pressed with strain.
We both headed for the living room that I’d only been in once before. His mother was sitting on a plush chair crying her eyes out, her usual makeup dripping down along with her tears, totally out of character for her. This time she wasn’t waiting with curious crossed arms to embrace the new girlfriend of her baby boy, the 7th child, and wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. Albert and I sat stiffly in a loveseat, his father sat on another chair. The scene made my stomach churn and my already dry mouth was going even dryer by the millisecond.
“A man claiming to be your husband TJ knocked on the door and knew you were here with our son,” his mother said between racking sobs still not looking at me. “He wanted to warn us that you’d stolen checks, credit cards and monies from him, and that Albert was with you, his wife, carrying on for the last 5 months! He wanted to warn us.” She spit it out with dignity, still not meeting my steady gaze. “Have you done all those horrible things?” She asked between wracking sobs, she seemed to almost want to believe what TJ had said.
As we sat in the tastefully decorated living room, usually the Forbidden Zone with Albert, it had finally come to this: Sitting together facing his staunch parents as we were forced to watch Our Rome burn, TJ playing the role of Emperor Nero.
This was a far cry from my first visit with his parents, which seemed worlds away now! I sat there silently at first, as if I was witnessing our crashing and burning from afar, easily slipping into a memory of a calmer first encounter with his parents.
* * *
…By chance, I found myself standing at Albert’s door before he’d returned from work one October evening, two months into our relationship. I had never met his parents, so I turned toward the main door and knocked lightly. Albert’s mother answered and invited me in. I had a chance to make my feelings known about being with her son. I could tell she felt uncomfortable, maybe somewhat wary, but cordial, even when Albert came in the door looking nervous, knowing I was there when he specifically stressed that we meet in his room. The man looked as though he was about to have a coronary right there on the spot. He held himself together while staring transfixed for a moment at his mother and I sitting in the living room chatting like old friends. Albert seemed even more quieter than usual, especially for him when he finally joined us. The man looked downright hot under the collar, his rosy cheeks giving him an almost cherub baby look, but the infant was teething and fussy. It was about time I did this, so he had to sit there and grit himself through what seemed to be torture for him, watching his mother and lover interact with each other.
I could tell right away that Albert felt totally freaked out that I had made the contact with his mom. We’d known each other since August and he’d not once asked if I’d like to meet his parents. That should have been another indicator of things to come. Again, I was so blind and carelessly happy, not realizing the full scope of Albert’s mental aggravation and emotional strain when it came to his personal life with his parents.
But on this particular evening, even with Albert’s panicky-ness, I ended up being invited for dinner. Soon Albert’s father walked in the door. It didn’t take long for me to melt him. The older man seemed very pleased that his son was happy.
“My son didn’t tell me he had something ‘precious’ in his bedroom,” piped up Albert’s father.
Both Albert and I blushed deeply. Albert was a virtual recluse and didn’t seem to have any friends except Benny, whom he’d known since early childhood, and who lived down the street. I would see a million pictures of them as little boys in the Scouts.
We sat in the kitchen just like the characters from “That 70’s Show”, talking and eating. When Albert’s father broke out the red wine I knew I was in with him. But Albert’s mother was a whole other realm. Albert would always be a Mama’s Boy through and through, and that too would be our downfall in the end. Because the relationship didn’t start in a wholesome manner, it was doomed. I didn’t think she liked me too much anyways. But his father did. I could sense it. There had been many times when Albert and I were in his room, his parents obviously having to hear our ruckus. Maybe it bothered his mother, but his dad seemed to take it in stride, even leaving a big paper bag full of condoms for us by the bathroom door. It was comical at the time and we got a huge laugh from it. Albert’s dad was a retired gynecologist and his mom worked with the Girl Scout Council and many causes, belonging to many formal organizations.
During dinner I told his parents how much I loved being with their son and how happy we were. They quizzed me the usual questions, which I answered honestly. My mother was an opera singer/concert pianist, father was a lace designer, brother worked as a property officer for a county jail, and sister was a housewife living a good life in Florida where they were all based now. It was a fun dinner and we ended up talking for hours, even decorating a pumpkin for Halloween. Afterwards, Albert and I hung out in his room dancing slowly in a tight circle to The Grateful Dead.
Then afterwards, very late at night we’d do my absolute favorite thing when I slept over, TJ thinking I was at my friend Jeanette’s house in Tujunga Canyon. -- Albert and I would sneak into the neat kitchen and pour over leftovers and watch TV. I loved those times when I sat wrapped in one of his blankets while he cooked up something for us.
His parents always seemed to respect his space and never came downstairs even though our banter must have reached their ears upstairs. Those times procured a beautiful peace in us that was truly rare.
* * *
Now his parents sat right in on us as our blissful coupling came undone to reveal a true, full-blown tragedy unfolding, which probably would never afford their youngest son another chance to bring a special, but misguided girl in their home again.
“First of all, he’s not my husband,” I countered as steady as I could. “He’s lying, I didn’t do the other things he’s claiming either. You have to believe me,” I begged. “Please!” I put my head in my hands and wept openly. “I love being with your son, but you just have to understand my side of the story here,” I pleaded.
Albert’s dad said. “TJ told us there is a warrant out for your arrest, and that you had been living with him as his wife still! Is that true?”
I denied all of the trumped up charges. Albert didn’t say a word and just sat there pale-faced, sweaty-looking and scared, like he was going to wet his pants at any second. As we sat immobilized, sharp memories of our past 5 months flashed before my eyes, like right before dying in a plane crash.
One of his letters to me flashed in my trampled mind as I sat frozen:
Pain is a multi-sourced thing -- one of which is not bad. Pain directs awareness of spirit, and spirit heals. Of all the things in the world (finite things), each causes pain in loss. The good feelings from finite things are fleeting. But to feel the pain is a healing process. It shows you what is eternal in you and what is contingent --- to work from your center when all else is burned off in a clarity of vision that can direct your life to less painful waters.

Now our genuine flare was turning to yellow-bellied fearful pain in a matter of minutes, as I continued denying everything to his parents that TJ had told them. “I don’t know how things got so out of hand,” I said, crying in my lap. “And I don’t know why TJ is doing this!”
As I looked over at Albert to get some support, there was a steady knock at the door. He got up this time and answered it to find TJ angrily standing there with an amp Albert had lent him to play his electric guitar with. It was one of a lot of little tokens Albert brought down to us out of his vast supply of ‘things’. Unfortunately, it was another bullet for TJ’s smoking gun, and he’d let off another shot, point blank range in our faces.
I was dumbfounded, shocked and reeling from this. TJ repeated everything again … “Hey, Albert, thanks for sleeping with my wife for 5 months, here’s your amp!” He also repeated the charges and warned of the impending appearance of the police to arrest me.
“I didn’t know!” Croaked the paralyzed Albert, trying to save himself from his parents and hold the heavy musical equipment in his arms. He had an amazed look on his face, the wonderment of being spared a punch in the face and a swift kick in the balls. TJ looked like the sort that would take it that far, but restrained himself. For a split second, when Albert’s hysterical mother looked up, I could sense she wanted to give her son a slap across his smooth, baby face and I wouldn’t put it passed her that she wanted to side slap me upside my head too.
“I respected you as a friend, Albert. I let you into my house and this is what you do? I was even giving him guitar lessons,” he said to no parent in particular. “I think you’re partying way too much, but I thought I’d come up here and warn you about the situation here with us! I’m not kidding about the police. They’re coming up to arrest her,” said TJ with a cutting calm resolve in his deep voice. With that last comment, TJ simply left like a mad hornet.
I still couldn’t believe TJ had called the police and put in a report on me. It seemed so overblown, like a bad 1920’s radio show.
As TJ left again, my blood ran cold as I stared over at the scared little man sitting next to me. For the first time since we’d met, I felt a stranger beside me and knew this spelled the end of Albert and me.
It was devastating to be sitting there in the hot seat and thinking back to the first time we’d set eyes on each other. My mind flashed back to that time, trying to escape the madness growing like fungus on bathroom tile.
* * *
In the back of my mind I thought about him and let a week swing by, but didn’t call. One day at my job, the receptionist approached my desk and said there was a cute guy waiting to see me out front. I walked outside, my heart beating. It was him, Mr. Grocery Store Boy, standing there wearing his standard dark shades, covering his sensitive eyes. We took a quick walk and chatted until my manager, a black guy who wanted to date me, came outside, shooed him away and made me come back in. I had the heaviest urge to kiss Albert right then and there, but refrained. Later on, of course he told me he had the same thoughts.
It was one day after seeing him at my job. I was, ironically, in the bank making deposits when he spotted me walking by. He was waiting on line. Right then and there we hugged tightly and I felt urges I’d not experienced in years. I remember distinctly that everything faded away and went dark as I hugged him in the bank. We walked down the street together to a café and had coffee and chatted for hours, plus made plans to get together again soon. Later, months down the line, he told me that he felt something as well. It also turned out that our cars were again parked next to each other. It was no fluke that we were to meet.
* * *
I was pulled out of my flashback and thrust back into the black hole that had formed from our void as we sat in the living room feeling like members of the Spanish Inquisition, except Mel Brooks wasn’t going to be popping out of the closet dancing in the aisles. We watched our past flow out like blood from a deep puncture wound. I sat there in the living room feeling like Guinevere when the king caught her with Sir Lancelot. I was deeply weeping, tears flowing down my now cold, clammy cheeks. “All I wanted was to get away from TJ. I’ve been trying for months now!” I pleaded to Albert’s parents.
“So, what are you going to do now?” asked Albert’s father.
Again, I denied all charges. His father suggested I call an attorney, but I was rooted to the chair and didn’t go for the phone, even though I had contacted a lawyer months ago when the threat of this seemed remote. It was on the insistence of my friend Jeanette who gave me his name and number. He had said that if TJ did try something like attempting prosecution, that I should call right away, but I didn’t.
His mother continued her tirade. “Do you think he’ll come back?” She cried, not once looking up at me sitting there like petrified wood.
Albert’s parents were scared and wanted to know the story between all of us. His mother was crying hysterically and it was turning into a nightmare. I was crying too and denying. My mouth was so dry that white stuff was caking up on the sides of my lips. Rabid guilt at its finest, at least in their eyes.
TJ was not the romantic type, nor the nurturer like Albert had become. Little by little, as our time stretched out before us, I was falling head over heels in love with being with Albert, not caring what TJ thought or was doing about it. Both of us were finding out harshly and plainly that we should have paid more attention and not have been so lackadaisical. Obviously, TJ had been planning things to fall in his favor and had timed everything to perfection as he welded his power ball with near precision.
As the large grandfather clock ticked loudly, I flashed back to the time Albert actually came over to our house under the pretense of friendship with TJ, seeing as they were both musicians and had a lot in common. Many times Albert would show up to jam party music with us. TJ is an excellent musician and was actually teaching Albert to play.
As time went on, it became increasingly difficult to pull the wall over TJ’s eyes. At first it was easy to have Albert there and pretend there was nothing growing between us. But as the months flew by and Albert and I consummated our relationship, it became difficult to hide our feelings for each other when he was at my house. The passion Albert and I shared behind closed doors was ripping at the seams and pouring down the hill into my declining life with TJ.
One particular evening Albert and TJ were playing bass and guitar respectively. TJ’s back was turned as Albert and I stared at each other longingly, our eyes locked in dreamy reflection. TJ noticed and commented on it after Albert left for his house up the street.
“Hey, what’s with you and that guy?” TJ asked me later in the evening.
“Nothing, he’s just a friend, that’s all.”
“Well, I think he likes you, and I don’t like any other guy looking at you that way,” stated TJ. “So, what’s going on between you?” He asked again.
TJ could be very harsh and blunt. His features would actually change as his anger rose. His deep aqua eyes would turn slate blue and crinkle up, almost like an old Korean woman’s. His face would pale, taking his handsome profile from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in a matter of seconds. He wasn’t passive, and had way too much sexual drive and tons of testosterone from that Scottish/English background. That mixture was starting to spell disaster for me. I didn’t like living in it, and it became much more apparent how tolerant I had become of it over the years, especially when I met Albert. My eyes were open, but I was pretty much still stuck.
By TJ’s second angry, but well placed visit, Albert’s parents became alarmed and it could have spelled a positive turning point for me in getting away from him, but unfortunately, that was not to happen. My tainted Karma would not allow it.
“Well, I’m calling the police just in case TJ returns a third time,” said his father. As the man got up to make the call, his wife increased her wailing and carrying on. Albert still hadn’t uttered one word in defense or support. He just sat there like a statue staring straight ahead like the little boy caught doing wrong already retreating into his shell after being caught masturbating by his mother, who sat in the corner crying uncontrollably. It made for a very dramatic scene.
As we waited for the cops, I still couldn’t quite fathom that TJ had turned me in like he did. I knew in the back of my mind that my best friend Krista, who was visiting me from Little Rock Arkansas, must have told him everything, leaving nothing to his imagination, which was running wild right now. He was going on emotional impulse. I had hurt him deeply and he must have been as shell-shocked as I had when he showed up at Albert’s door.
As I sat there in all my jittery misery, my mind flew to thoughts that Krista was indeed the catalyst that destroyed Albert and I. She put a 12-year friendship with me aside and went to TJ out of jealousy, telling him where I was, whom I was with and that sealed our fate.
* * *
Krista had been staying with TJ and I for a few days. She’d come from Arkansas, and had been living there working in a Psychology clinic of all places. She was and still is a party girl, and I always remembered good times with her of sneaking into studio lots, setting up fake interviews with William Shatner and Lemmie from the rock group Motorhead, running wild during the Hollywood Christmas parade, then climbing up Cahuenga Pass shirtless and sweaty to watch the fireworks for free from the Bowl. I didn’t realize then what was to come and how she would be connected.
I had thought on several occasions of canceling her trip out here, but didn’t. Maybe I should have, but maybe it was meant to be. A wake up call of sorts. She arrived like clockwork at LAX on time, still good looking after almost 7 years. Amazingly, the blond had made friends with a mother of a famous agent at ICM. She was all bubbly and even introduced me to them in the baggage area as TJ sullenly waited for us, easily emanating his down mode. He knew by then that something wasn’t right. Being with him in that airport was sheer punishment, punishment that I probably deserved for my growing indiscretion with Albert.
Krista had known all about what was going on. I had briefed her over the phone weeks before. She seemed to take it in stride, but things changed when she arrived and got settled at our house.
I could tell right away that she didn’t like Albert from the moment they met, two days later, on Christmas Eve. She especially resented the fact that we were showing way too much physical attraction that we were totally in love with each other, always hugging, kissing and carrying on all over the place. In the end, she told TJ as much, not leaving out any small detail, probably making it sound more kinky than amorous. I should have seen the writing on the wall, but I didn’t, being so caught up with my budding life with Albert. It was becoming a rare drug being together, so we were both literally drowning in each other’s aura and light.
The first warning lights flashed when Krista and I had been out partying in Hollywood all night. We stopped at an old friend’s house where I called Albert to meet us there. Krista didn’t want to stay because the friend, a stewardess with a well-known airline, and heavy metal drummer whom we’d known for 12 years, wasn’t home yet. I had already called Albert and wanted to meet there and then all three of us were going out. TJ was home and I had told him that morning on Krista’s insistence, that it was over between us and that I was leaving him for good, which was maybe something I should have done long ago, but didn’t have the guts. Actually, it was too little too late, as I was to find out shortly.
All of a sudden, when the partying wore a little thin, Krista got very quiet and you could see it in her eyes as her pupils shrank to normal. I didn’t quite see it because I was so full of Albert and wanting to be with him so badly, almost like withdrawal from a the drugs Krista and I were using. We went for breakfast and I left a note for him. But when we returned, the girl’s roommate didn’t want us there and threw us out. After he left, on my insistence, we came back and I climbed over the fence, wanting to wait for Albert inside. Krista was totally against it. I should have adhered to her wishes, but was just so manic about being with Albert, and making sure we were here for his arrival.
“Hey, I came to visit you, not Albert!” She said his name like a virus. “I’m sick of the way you are acting about him.” She didn’t want me to be with him until she left in 7 days. At the time, I couldn’t imagine it. She couldn’t deter me. “Come on, let’s go back now, Girlfriend…I love you so much,” she said, her long, delicate bass playing hands reaching out to me sitting on the makeshift couch in the musty, dust-ridden garage. I took one of them in my own, which was clammy and nervous. I kept glancing around to see if Albert had come in yet.
She jerked her hand away. “See, see, I told you! All you think about is Him,” she screamed in frustration. She got up and began pacing. “Albert, Albert, Albert, Albert, Albert!” She yelled, throwing her hands up in the air, sounding like a stuttering school girl. “I think we should leave now and go back home to TJ’s.”
I didn’t answer and again looked toward the garage door longingly.
She breathed a ragged sigh and I saw it in her eyes again, betrayal at its finest, the last straw. We had already partied all night and were still feeling the effects. She and I had talked non-stop all night and had a ball reminiscing about our old days. After partying for hours we went to where the screwy girl parked her rental, but it had been towed away.
We were zonked beyond repair, and I knew what to do and who to call. Krista’s friend’s mother gave us a lift to the tow yard around midnight. As we drove, all I wanted to do was be with Albert. This situation was starting to feel like a bad ‘c’ movie. As we drove to the tow yard in Hollywood, we were snapping pictures of everything. We were laughing and slapping each other five and having a really fun time under the circumstances. Krista said with her big blue eyes, “See, you can still have fun without Albert!”
At the tow yard we snapped pictures of the police getting the car, us paying the monies, and an assortment of other zany things. It was one of the best times I ever had with Krista, and the last. She got her car back and we stayed up all night until the next morning.
So now we sat there in that garage waiting for Albert to show up and Krista wasn’t happy about it. Finally, my Prince Charming arrived and it was obvious we were happy to see each other. We sat in the garage for a bit, all three of us. Albert and I started our usual hugging and kissing routine, as was our norm. We had been together for 5 months, and had fallen into that pattern, somehow forgetting others around us as we necked to our hearts content, not caring who was watching.
Suddenly, Krista decided she didn’t want to be with us and asked to go back to TJ’s house. I was crestfallen. She wanted me to drive with her there, and Albert ended up driving to his house alone. As Krista and I drove away, I made a comment that I should have driven with Albert because he might be upset, seeing as I’d not seen him in two days.
That was what set into motion the next stage. Krista and I drove back to Glendale and she was very upset and screaming at me. “I really think you should wait to see Albert until after I leave, Girlfriend,” she said as we drew closer to my drop off point.
“I disagree, Krista. You know I really want to be with him for just a few hours,” I said while staring longingly out the passenger window. “I’ll be back down to the house afterwards.”
“What will I say to TJ?”
“Say I went to Jeanette’s for a bit and will be home in a few hours,” I suggested easily, becoming a bit restless, wanting to get out of the car and run to my other world.
“Girlfriend, just cancel Albert and come with me. He’ll understand.”
“I don’t want to,” I fired back stubbornly. After all I was stupidly in love with being with the man, or so I thought at that time.
“Krista, the last thing I want is to see TJ after telling him I was leaving him this morning,” I defended. “Remember, you were the mediator and talked me into telling him in the first place.”
“I know, but he’ll understand. You can say you made a mistake and we can all forget it and have a good time. Albert will understand once you explain it after I go next week!”
Little did I realize then that TJ had already gone to the police and gotten a warrant for my arrest! He had also been listening in to my phone calls and knew what was happening from that.
As we got closer to Albert’s house on Kensington Road above where I lived with TJ, Krista still insisted I come with her and cancel out Albert. I stuck to my guns and wouldn’t budge.
“You’re not going to tell TJ about this, are you?” I said, sensing her motives and thoughts.
“Girlfriend, I love you. I wouldn’t do that to you!” She insisted.
I should have simply told Albert the situation and left with Krista. The outcome would have been much different than it was going to end up if I had left with the girl. “Please try and understand, Krista. I want to be with Albert so badly!”
“But Girlfriend, I just don’t know who you are anymore and I’m disappointed in you,” she said honestly. We were still in the residue effects of the drug too. I could feel it coursing through my body making me sweaty, jumpy and whiny.
Finally we hugged and her last words to me were, “I love you Girlfriend!” The word ‘Girlfriend’ would echo in my brain reverberating back and forth like Wyle Coyote falling off a cliff. I got out and ran to Albert’s, not even chancing to look back at Krista as she gunned her engine and screeched her tires, evidence of how upset she really was.
* * *
Thoughts of Krista and the damage she’d wielded faded from my brain when there was a harsh knock at the door. Two police officers walked in to Albert’s house. The female had her pad ready, the male asking the questions. They began quizzing us more about TJ and what his motives were, making it seem like a routine domestic dispute, which they put in their report. At first I thought I was off the hook and TJ was just trying to scare me about them arresting me. They were about to leave and Albert’s father offered to at first take us all out for dinner to discuss this, and then to secure a safe room for me when another officer walked in. He asked me to come on the porch to be questioned.
I went with them. The tall, menacing cop asked the questions as the two others stood ready. He told me they’d spoken to my husband TJ and if what he said was true, did I have his checkbook in my possession.
The tall officer stood there holding his shirt pocket like he was recording everything. I was in stunned shock. “Do you have what your boyfriend says you have? And don’t lie to me, Lady!”
I was scared, but answered with a meek “Yes”. They asked me to turn around and put my hands behind my back. I was getting arrested at my lover’s house right in front of him and his parents. I wished it were a dream, but it wasn’t. There I was getting my rights read and having steel cuffs placed on my wrists, then being dragged away to one of the three waiting police cars parked in and around Albert’s driveway.
I was crying foul, but the cops ignored it and placed me in the cruiser. I couldn’t believe it was happening but it was! TJ had brought the cops on me out of pure rage of finding out about Albert and me. Sitting in the back of the black and white crying hysterically, I howled and proclaimed my innocence. In the back of my mind I thought they would help me, but Albert and his parents never came out again. The male cop exited the beautiful home carrying my purse. Right now, I was in the doghouse and didn’t see a light at the end of this love tunnel. At that moment I felt like a photo of ‘Bruce the pit-bull dog’ who had gone mad and mauled 3 people before he was unceremoniously hauled away to await extermination. His picture haunted local newspapers when it was found that he was living at an upscale location still running around free!
I wanted to wake up from the horrible dream we had become, but no luck. The black and whites still stood parked on Kensington in front of Albert’s house, which had become a haven of love for me. As the sun set a brilliant orange I sat with bruising wrists and a sad heart. I was crying uncontrollably, but to no avail. No one came to my aid; no one tried to speak in my behalf. I began cursing TJ to no end. Just as I felt the funny urge to ‘bark’ to add some silliness to the situation as darkness fell, the cops came to the car and got in. As we drove to the Glendale jail, I asked them what was going on and what the mood was in the house.
The male cop turned to me and said, “Lady, if I were you, I’d never go back to the house again. And your boyfriend Albert, or whatever he is to you, has a lot of growing up to do!”
His answer to me dashed any hopes I’d held, as my mind flew to our first date. For a while I let my mind wander to save it from a total mental melt down as I sat in the police car trying to get comfortable. All I could see through my tears and agony was that image of me being hauled out of Albert’s life forever in handcuffs.
* * *
To Live Or Not To Live In The Locked Universe?
Again, my mind had wandered as we drove onward in the police cruiser. When the cop told me his comment about never going back to the house, the officer abruptly turned away from me as we drove down Kensington. I cried and whined that it was all a mistake and all this was TJ’s wrath over me being with another guy. They didn’t listen to me and even were joking with each other about other things, easily blocking out my whimpers and whines.
I kept asking lots of questions about my fate. At first they didn’t answer me, but then they seemed to soften just a bit and let me know what was going to happen. It didn’t look good for me at all. I was going to jail on trumped-up charges. TJ had actually gone ahead and gotten me incarcerated. The charges were a separate issue from being with Albert, but they seemed to mesh and become one.
It was dark when the cops drove into the jail. I tried to calm down and not make a spectacle of myself. This didn’t look good for me at all. My purse was filled with things that suddenly turned into hard evidence they were going to use to prosecute me. It was a sad day indeed. In one swoop I’d lost everything, including Albert and my freedom.
It seemed to take forever to book and search me this time. The cops took their time going through my purse and even joked that it was time to clean it out. It was stuffed full of things.
They pulled out all the stops, searching me thoroughly a few times just to make sure and for intimidation sake. They took a mug shot of me smiling brightly into the camera, something no one would do in my situation, but I had. Afterwards they fingerprinted and processed me. That’s when they noticed my hands. I had been born with only two knuckles on each of my fingers and toes, which afforded me a lot of typing talent and added flexibility. My mother had the same thing, and could have been an accomplished concert pianist. A few officers crowded around the prints and shook their heads strangely.
“Well, we won’t ever have a problem identifying your prints, Lady,” said Officer Adler, a huge black policeman.
Two hours had passed quickly and I was wondering what was going on at Albert’s house, whether they’d bail me out or what. They didn’t. In fact, that night after I left a few messages on Albert’s machine, he turned it off.
They put me in a holding cell and I was allowed to make local calls. I called Jeanette first, giving her every number I knew of family and friends. She felt terrible about it. “See, see, I told you this would happen,” she said in her thick New York Jewish accent. “I warned you that TJ would stoop this low to destroy what you and Albert shared. You know I begged Albert to get you a place somewhere, to get you out and away from TJ, and he didn’t listen,” she said on the edge of hysteria. She promised to call those numbers and did reach some folks, including the lawyer she’d gotten me.
After two years of not speaking with my younger sister for some stupid email letter writing with her ex husband, I did reach her. She immediately came to my aid and checked into things. I asked her about bailing me out, but my bail was $20,000 and rising by the minute. It would seem that there were several pending counts on me hanging low ceiling. Jeanette, thank God, had reached my cousin (who was a doctor and lived here in California) and sister, so between them the wheels began turning.
In the interim, Officer Adler, the policeman on duty, found a prescription for Ativan, an anti anxiety drug I was taking. He asked me about it, and I said I was on Disability from the State for a panic disorder.
“What is this for?” he asked me, holding out the bottle of Ativan.
I told him, “If I don’t take it, there could be problems that aren’t very pretty. “ I thought it would get me off, but it only worsened things.
“Oh, I didn’t know that. We’re not allowed to give any medication, so hold out your left hand,” he instructed casually, and proceeded to clamp on a County Jail wristband with my name and now familiar booking number. I was going to County Jail because of the medication aspect and my condition. I frantically called my sister again begging her to bail me out before they sent me to County. She looked into it, and it seemed as though I was going after all.
“As usual, you had to open your big mouth,” she said. It brought me back to when we were kids and she’d say the same thing after I’d said too much to my father about what we’d done that day.
I hadn’t used the bathroom since I was with Krista that afternoon. I begged them to let me out to use one. They brought me into the cell area and I, for the first time, had to use the open toilet out in the open. It was hard to pee, but I managed to do a little, which brought some relief to me. They had locked me in the small dirty cell and I wanted to get out and make more phone calls. The policewoman who dropped me in there didn’t come back for almost 30 minutes. I started crying loudly until another woman in the adjoining cell said to stop that she was trying to sleep. This was the beginning of a jail stint for me. Finally, after my tirade, the female officer casually came back and led to back to the other cell.
I made one last call to my sister who had gotten more info on what was going on with me. She was surprised they were sending me to a psych evaluation and that I was basically nuts, or something akin. No bail would be paid, and by that time Officer Adler was growing tired of my crying and carrying on over the phone and in general. I was going to County whether I liked it or not. They shut the phone off and prepared me to be transported. By this time it was passed 10:00 pm. My hopes were dashed. I had called TJ a few times and he screamed into the phone that he knew everything and didn’t care they were sending me downtown up the river. He also called me a few other things that weren’t flattering.
The two cops that brought me in were at the door ready to take me to County … The Twin Towers as the facility was called. It almost sounded like a resort, but of course, it wasn’t. They led me out of the holding area and outside in the darkness. I kept asking what was going on and they told me, as if I didn’t know. As we drove on the 110 freeway toward the immense jail facility I kept asking if I’d be safe, to which they said I would be. They told me it would go better if I calmed down. I did somewhat, and began telling them the saga of why I was there, that just because I fell in love with someone else, my boyfriend of 10 years got me arrested. They didn’t respond.
We reached County in record time. There wasn’t any traffic to delay my arrival. The building entrance was ominously scary. Everything had a gray color and looked menacing. They drove to the gate and it swung open invitingly. I walked out into the darkness and was sent right to processing. I was led to a chair and told to sit, handcuffs still adorning my very bruised wrists. I was then told to stand by a window where a big fat black officer ordered me to hold out my hand. He scribbled in magic marker some letters I didn’t understand, which immediately reminded me of the tattooed numbers of Jewish prisoners during the Holocaust.
The officers that brought me in, prepared to leave, but not before the dark haired woman cop came over to me. She stared at me sitting on the chair as I asked her for the umpteenth time if she thought things would be okay for me.
She reflected a moment, probably debating whether to say anything at all, but replied, “You look like a woman who has gone through a lot and in the end I think you’ll be okay. You’re strong and just got off track. Take care, don’t worry, everything will be okay for you, I know it.” With that last comment the officers left.
Afterwards everything happened a bit faster. I was led to a room and told to disrobe and put on the two-piece County clothes. I quickly donned the jail clothing and before long I was in the County color of dark blue, even having to put on the ugly white sneaker shoes. I was taken to the next phase, which was much slower. By this time it was way passed 11:00 PM and I was losing hope and very scared. I had never been to County Jail before.
My mind whirled with visions of dropping the soap as I was led down a long florescent lit hallway and into a large elevator to a holding cell where there were at least 25 other woman waiting. I was afraid to look at anyone too long once the guards locked me in with them. They all seemed like girls that would slit my throat in an instant, at least at that time. Female deputies were immediately inside barking orders. Some acknowledged women who had already been through the system like old friends at a party. Except this was not a festive occasion. They asked us to straddle the steel bench and look ahead, no talking, of course, which was fine with me. I made sure I was at the end where no one was behind me. We sat a bit longer, a few of the women recognizing each other from other stints in the slammer.
I spotted a short girl with scars all over her face. She spoke with a deep criminal voice and I didn’t want her noticing me watching. I overheard her talking to another tall gal about what to say during the medical evaluation.
“You say that you’re very sick and taking all sorts of pills, plus you hear voices,” said the menacing looking woman.
I took that to heart and realized that it might be easier on me if I did the same to some extent. I took account of my surroundings as the shock wore off a bit.
After waiting there for what seemed hours, one deputy led us single file, our right shoulders always close to the wall. I noticed a blue stripe running to the horizon of the endless hallway, and I did my best to stay in line. I began whispering a tune that shored my fate, “My life is over, my life is done… My life’s over, this is it…”
I sang it over and over as we walked, hands in pockets, heads down. A short, crass-looking blond woman in front of me turned around and whispered, “No, your life isn’t over!” I still sang it over and over. She seemed to get pissed off and told me to shut up. I did, until we reached a large freight elevator. I could hear other deputies joking, their voices echoing like boys taking a shower after a victory football game. I began crying again, until the same woman turned around and gave me a gaze that shut me up.
“Look,” she said at a hissing whisper, “Your life is not over. Just cool out. It’ll be okay, you’ll see.”
How could I believe her? It all took on this surreal feeling as the elevator went up. I felt a bit claustrophobic, but knew I had to get a grip. My mind flew to my times with Albert, and I tried to put myself back in the security of his room and arms, but to no avail. I was on the verge of panic when TJ’s stone cold face rose in my mind like a full moon during Halloween.
We were led out of the elevator and told to walk with hands in pockets, no talking, keeping our right shoulders to the wall the whole time. I noticed repetition was a big part of the jail system, probably instilling order among these chaotic, wayward women housed here. I had long given up the notion that any second someone would pop out and say it was all a gag, maybe a new t.v. show, but that never happened.
They deposited us into yet another holding tank with more women of all races, sizes, shapes and ages. Once settled in the ugly room with the open toilet I could not imagine using, girls began chatting loudly. Some paced, most slept on the concrete floor, and others sat together exchanging stories of why they were in. That seemed to be the question of the hour.
I didn’t want to draw attention to myself while assessing my surroundings more closely. To the left there were two very overweight tough looking black women sitting together talking. One lay down and didn’t care that her butt crack was showing. I stared mesmerized, taking a long hard look at her ugly, spotted body. The woman’s face was pitted and scarred. I marveled at how they both were so manly looking. In fact, I would notice many mannish looking gals, some even sporting stubble of a beard. They looked like a tough bunch, but there I was immersed in them.
Memories of Albert surfaced easily and I wept knowing that whatever we had and were growing with was now dashed into the sewer. I thought of TJ, who was the one that put me in here because of it. I ran the arrest at Albert’s house over and over in my mind, wondering why I admitted wrongdoing. If I hadn’t answered the tall officer, maybe they would have let me go and I'd be in a safe room via Albert’s father, not in a dirty jail. I cursed TJ and myself for letting it get this far. Here I was in jail for being with another man. I saw no light at the end of the tunnel as more women were added to the already overcrowded holding cell.
Finally, I started walking the perimeter of the room really looking at people. I seemed to start to accept my fate and didn’t see them as dangerous as first thought. They all looked like they’d done a lot of bad things.
“Yes, I did what I did, but don’t think it was warranted that I be thrown in jail,” I whispered to myself. I still hadn’t spoken to anyone directly as feelings of crushing depression over took my soul. In a span of hours I had lost my boyfriend and, my lover all because of my best friend.
My thoughts kept flying back to the good times I shared with Albert, TJ and Krista, which was normal. In Albert’s case, I felt like Juliet being wrenched away from Romeo, except I knew I couldn’t kill myself, nor would he. In fact, I got the impression that this incident would plunge Albert back into the reclusive, lonely, solitary man he was when I first met him.
He had one friend I knew about with the exception of a few cousins on the outskirts that Albert told me about vaguely. He didn’t have a normal social life and spent most of his free time partying, going to Grateful Dead concerts and hanging in his room building speaker components. His seemingly only friend Benny lived with his parents in a house not more than two blocks from Albert. I imagined TJ gloating and angry and doubted things would ever be the same in any area. Things spelled the end of my reactivated, long time friendship with Krista obviously.
I walked to the corner, sat down in lotus position and actually began doing a little Yoga. That’s when I noticed other ladies looking at me strangely, so I exercised and stretched, trying to feel better, like I wasn’t scared of them.
“Hey, Blondie,” yelled the big fat black girl. “What’s that you’re doing over there? It’s making me nervous.” Her companion, a boyish looking black gal had fallen asleep with her head smashed between the others butt. She cracked open one eye, not even moving. It looked weird, and brought visions of lesbians attacking me in the night. She couldn’t take her steel dark gray one off of me as I did more Yoga contortions in my corner. Finally she turned her head, readjusted herself and went back to sleep.
More time passed. I wandered over to another corner and sat quietly crying and looking sad. Next to me there was a pretty, longhaired comely girl, who looked no more than 18. She turned to me and asked, “Hey, you want to talk about it?”
I gladly accepted her offer and began telling her what happened. She listened attentively and couldn’t believe TJ had the nerve to go so far, but he had, and there I was in County Jail ready to be put in a cell. She told me what went down with her, that her boyfriend had put her in jail for attacking him during an argument. She was so sweet looking and pure faced. It was hard to believe she had done anything wrong. It was then I noticed the other women drawing their attentions to us, wanting to hear more about my story again. So, I related the tale again, more women gathering closer at rapt attention, some asking poignant questions about both Albert and TJ. It was then I realized that I could take the situation and make it better for me by playing the role of the storyteller, which I was always very good at.
Out of the blue, another idea hit me! I asked the young gal if she’d like me to read her palm. She said okay and I took her delicate hand in mine and began reading her palm. I guessed a lot about her and she was amazed as were a lot of the girls forming a small ring around us. Before long many others wanted their palms read. I suddenly noticed that this also would be a good outlet as well. Even the big fat black girl wanted her palm read. She pushed at her sleeping comrade to wake up and move over, making room for me to sit down. Rather than hesitate, I took a seat beside her, even feeling the slight body warmth of her friend radiating out of the cement block ledge, like a phantom still sleeping.
I had read everybody’s palm in less than an hour. I was getting better with each new hand. It was interesting for me to see trends in the lines, especially the Line of Mentality, which represented the written word, things in black and white and legalities of their pending cases. It would seem the trend with women in there was a visible “X” in the middle of the palm above the Line of Mentality. I said it represented their outcome.
One girl even wanted me to show her how to sit in lotus position. I sat on the cement floor and began twisting myself up in all directions, even taking my legs and putting them behind my neck, something I’d been doing since I was 3 years old. They were all amazed and started cheering me on madly. It was a good distraction. Others wanted me to read their hands, which I did like an assembly line. There never seemed to be a shortage of palms, as I would find out. Many wanted to hear my story about Albert and TJ again, and I was getting a nice pace going with it, remembering all sorts of small details about what I experienced with Albert, TJ’s demeanor and an assortment of other things I had forgotten due to my shock in being arrested. It doesn’t compare, but could be paralleled to the pain a mother feels giving birth, which is soon forgotten after the baby is born. Strangely, Krista fell into the role of midwife, the Deliverer. Unfortunately, the whole episode would turn my life upside down, and now I was in a real Locked Universe.
Talking about the incident and reading their palms coupled with the Yoga helped calm me and put an almost human touch to things. I even started pursuing the girl with the scars on her face so I could read her palm. She declined saying, “That’s okay, Blondie, I know I’m dying…”
Others convinced her finally. She sat with me as I read her small, delicate, blotchy, dish-panned digits. I could see the lines of concern and illness, as well as other things that came to me in a flash. I also told her other things I couldn’t possibly know and she was amazed. It was a tool I would use over and over in that place.
After I read her palm she directly cued me in on how to get sent to medical evaluation rather than straight to General Population.
“You just play everything up,” she said.
“Just like you’re doing?” I asked.
“Hey, all my conditions are serious,” she answered without hesitation, raising her voice for all to hear, then suddenly coming close to my ear, her voice becoming a throaty whisper. “They’re listening,” she said, pointing to a two way intercom speaker.
I took her advice to heart. She had red dyed hair and other than the scars, upon closer inspection, her face was smooth and unblemished. Her beady eyes showed criminal hardship. The woman claimed to have every sickness and condition known to mankind, and was on all sorts of drugs, prescription or otherwise. She was quite vocal about it as she pranced and preened around the cell to anyone who would listen.
“I guess the question of the hour here is ‘What did you do?’”
“All I did was rob a 7-11,” She said, wanting to hear my story, which I told in greater detail, with most of the crowd leaning in to hear again.
“I know, you were with your boyfriend, right?” I asked her, actually feeling the vibe that she was with her boyfriend. My hunch was correct. She was totally amazed, as were those around me.
“Well, I sure was with my man,” she screamed like winning a Wheel of Fortune round. She looked around at everyone edging in to hear. “And I never told her that,” she yelled at the top of her lungs. “You’ve got the gift, Girl!”
There seemed to be no limit to my story and the energy I put in to telling it. As I told it again, I could feel they easily identified with me and put my own fears to rest about my stay at County. Some of the old timers came up and explained things to me. They didn’t candy coat it for me, but said I didn’t have much to fear from inmates as much as the deputies. At that moment, I felt like a character from the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome!
“Those deputies can really mess with you,” said one lady with the most beautiful flowing blond hair and piercing blue eyes I had ever seen.
“Why are you here?” I asked, grabbing her palm on instinct.
“I have an anger management problem. I’m raging all the time and on medication,” she said honestly, pulling away from me only to be able to talk with her hands. “I’ve been here many times for my anger. I’ve beaten up countless family members and friends for no reason,” she said matter-of-factly. Rage was written in the lines of her palm when I finally captured her flailing hand in my own and read it.
It was way past 2:00 AM in the morning when the deputies came and separated us into smaller groups. I was put in a smaller holding cell with some of the women I’d read palms for. I felt an immediate identification with the others like I’d known them and had met them at some function. We were wearing the same garb, the dark blue County outfits with white boat shoe sneakers and socks. In a funny twist, it united us in our plights.
I was put in with the first gal I had spoken to, as well as a few others, including the rage girl, whom I was starting to like. Some new faces heard that I read palms (news traveled fast in that place) and wanted theirs read, which I did. It passed the time. I noticed a nice strawberry blond girl with clown-like lips watching me and laughing at everything I said while launching into a barrage of jokes, becoming a real clown myself. I sat on the floor and rolled up into my lotus ball, which made everyone in there laugh hysterically. They tried to do it with little success. For the first time I was actually feeling better about myself. I’d brought a little joy to others and might have found a new calling. I entertained those ladies for over an hour, until a deputy came and brought us to med evaluation. I knew what to say in there, thanks to Scarface.
We were finally led to the next phase. In a large brightly lit room with desks and chairs they told us to take a seat. We waited until our names were called. I noticed that the girls they put me with in the smaller holding cell were still by my side, as if they’d grouped us accordingly. My name was called and as the jail nurse behind the desk cleared her computer I saw Ms. Scarface getting her evaluation. I heard her rattle off all her ailments and drugs. “Yes, I’m taking Valium, Wellbutren, Sulfa drugs, I have Cancer of the stomach, I hear voices all the time, and I’m taking steroids, plus Codeine-5, Morphine…!" I couldn’t believe all the drugs and symptoms she had, most probably trumped up and bogus, like my own situation with TJ. But the nurse jotted it all down like she’d heard it all before.
When my evaluator asked me, I went into my rap. “I’m on Disability from the State for anxiety and panic disorders.” I showed her my fingers, which at that moment looked like I had arthritis. “I take medicine for this too,” I said, holding out my fingers, making them shake a little just to drive home the point.
“What are you taking for the anxiety?” She asked.
“I take Ativan and can’t be in any enclosed areas or I’d have an attack,” I answered.
She rattled off the usual questions. “Do you hear voices? Do you have thoughts about killing yourself? Do you have thoughts about killing anyone?” The last one through me for a loop and I almost answered otherwise, but didn’t in my moment of clarity. Krista and TJ came to mind of course.
I didn’t want to take it too far, just get assigned to a medical section, thinking it would be better for me. She jotted down all my ‘no’ answers.
“Am I okay, and is it safe here?” I asked shakily.
She just looked at me, her bored expression giving me no real answer, like she’d heard it all before.
After the med evaluation they led us to a group of poorly constructed partitioned offices and said to sit tight, which we did. I finally got into to see an older lady who did more evaluating, asking me a load of new head questions. I asked if I was safe, and she said yes. I started telling her my case background like a love story and why I was really there. She didn’t seem fazed, but I joked a bit through my tears and could just see a hint of a smile crossing her lips.
It was then I asked her to say something in her evaluation about Albert and I, which she did. She wrote one sentence and turned her computer screen around so I could read it. “Inmate hopes she gets back together with Albert when this is all over!”
Through my tears of loss and gratefulness I asked if she wanted her palm read, but she declined. That ended, and I was led back outside to the holding area where they split us into smaller groups. I found that most of the women I was brought in with were smiling at me wanting to talk more about my story with Albert & TJ and how it related to my case. The deputies seemed adamant about making us shut up and move quickly though.
By 4:00 a.m. I couldn’t believe that 12 hours earlier I was sitting in Albert’s room ready to go into bliss-land. I wondered what he was doing now, probably traumatized and hiding his head under the pillow like he used to do when things got too much for him toward the end of our 5 months together. He must have been affected, but at the time I thought our love would and could conquer all. Apparently, it hadn’t though. I imagine his parents were laying into him big time, and the scene popped into my brain, as clearly as I was starting to read palms. I could actually see their lips moving in unison yelling at poor Albert, who was now a casualty, a Romeo bleeding.
We were all led back to the elevator and to the 3rd floor. They told us to take a mat, a blanket and a sheet and follow them. They marched us through several sleeping quarters and finally into a large space they called a day room. There were steel tables and chairs and the lights were very bright. We had to sleep on the floor and so I placed my mat in the middle and prepared my bed with no pillow. It was almost 4:30 a.m. when I laid down and looked up at the ceiling tracing all the pipes and ducts running along the wall like counting sheep. I doubt I’d sleep and needed an Ativan, but knew I’d get nothing, which was the least of my problems. Thoughts of Albert filtered into my mind, as I knew they would. It was becoming so painful to not know what happened, yet sense the inevitable as I lay awake, sleeping a few snatches at a time.
I thought back to yet another letter Albert had written me and cried quietly:
Thank you for being my friend! It is so rare in my life. I was wishing for years to meet someone like you. I love that you live so close, and transcendently we have so much in common. I wish I could be a bridge for you in your trials and survival. I love that you are an evolving spirit in your own right, and I think I can learn a lot from you. I can image us having enormous fun and mystic experiences that could rival Adam and Eve, but we have a lot of work to do on our paths. I can see you have that higher wisdom which knows the difference between the finite and infinite. So I say to you that I am entrusted to myself to be such a guide to all life save my own temporal limitations. Temporal limitations are tough! For example: Your DNA scares me, and makes me think I would not wish to have children with you and since I wish to have children one day, that precludes as getting married, and since you need a husband to share experiences to survive, I need to cut you free of any expectations of me supporting you. However, I can also imagine that if we truly become soul mates, I could bare the risk someday and marry you. Until then, let’s just be the best of friends, even if in secret. Love Albert

At 5:30 a.m., the day room they put us in took on a whole new aura. A stern deputy came on the loud speaker and announced a new day of counting and lockdowns! Women were stirring and cell doors were unlocking all around me, the ominous sound filling the echoing, stale, re-circulated air. I had barely slept 30 minutes when two deputies entered the “pod” as the sleeping quarters were named. They announced breakfast after rousing and counting all of us, plus looking at our wristbands. Luckily, I’d made friends with the girls with me and after a breakfast of cold cereal, cold hard boiled eggs, milk and orange juice, we were led out into the corridor and marched to the medical section where recovering addicts, pregnant and suicide watch women resided, some in cells, most in triple decker bunk beds in the day room, some even sleeping on the floor with only the thin pad and county blanket for comfort.
The jail was overcrowded, but neat and clean for what it was. We walked single file again, right shoulder to the wall, hands in pockets, heads bowed. A door unlocked and there I was in Pod 242 B. Other women were meandering around after count, and idly stared at us, the new comers. Some sat on their bunks reading. Others took showers or sat with their bunkmates chatting. As I walked in, I spotted all colors, shapes and sizes brushing their teeth, brushing their hair, and other activities. I saw the red and black signs that read “Suicide Watch”, “Bites”, “Spits”, “415 Med Obsv.” The women looked a bit menacing but there were placid looks as well. Some even looked like men! It was not General Population, but rather a medical evaluation section.
We were assigned bunks in the day room for the time being. I took a top bunk to the back of the pod. There wasn’t much to it. All I had was a thin pad, a county blanket and a sheet, plus one towel and a nightgown. I was given a plastic bag with soap, deodorant and the like, but no toothbrush yet. I already smelled like slight B.O., something I never experienced much.
The medical pod was two stories, glass cells lining up and down toward the back. The day room served as quarters for many, even some pregnant women sleeping on the floor. Mostly there were heroin addicts on methadone, crack addicts “kicking” as they called it. I would soon become used to the daily grind, and even in most cases becoming desensitized to it. It didn’t take long after witnessing so many seizures and actually getting involved with helping them through it, for the episodes to become hearsay and routine. We all got settled, and it was all the women that were in the smaller holding cell with me from that evening. They smiled at me, waiting patiently for me to take the stage and make them laugh, which is what pattern we all fell into.
Payphones lined the walls, but were turned off, as well as the t.v. against the wall. The pod was neat and clean, not grimy, as I had expected. The walls were all glass for observation. Male and female deputies walked in and out of the pod regularly. We were being watched day and night.
I sat on my bunk morosely at first, which was normal for most. All I could think about was how this mess had escalated and how unnecessary it really was. Or was it? I prayed to God silently and cried to myself. God must have answered my prayers because before I knew it people were coming over and introducing themselves, some re-introducing their selves from the evening palm readings in the last holding cell. The raging blond with pretty hair was there, as well as the clown-faced woman who still laughed at everything I said even from across the room.
I climbed off the bunk finally, and sat at one of the steel tables. An overweight, white lady who looked like someone’s mother was reading a romance novel and I asked to sit down. She obliged and started talking to me explaining the daily activity going on around me. Soon another bouncy, blond gal sauntered up and was introduced as Bev. One of the girls in the holding cell with me said I read palms, so I started reading a few, Carole (the woman reading the novel) first. I got her M.O. down pat and she was amazed as well as a few of the others in earshot.
Bev and I bonded the very second we met. She was tall and blond and actually reminded me of my cousin. Long blond hair, oval face, blue eyes, kind demeanor and very up for where we were. I liked Bev and Carole right on the spot. It turned out that Bev was the girlfriend of a well-known D.J. on the local rock station. She was in on her third DUI. Carole was caught shoplifting and had been there a few days ahead of me. She had a family and a daughter, but had to do her time. She was very overweight and I could see bedsores on her elbows and arms from sleeping in the rickety bunk bed with only a pad.
Bev had a huge cold sore on her lip and kept trying to hide it as she talked a mile a minute. More people started noticing how I was … very animated and up for someone in jail. A few asked if I was on something. I denied it, but don’t think they believed me. The truth was that I was still up from my partying with Krista.
I started noticing others in the pod. There was a woman trying to kick drugs and was on methadone. She could barely talk, but others seemed to understand her. There were groups of gals milling together. Blacks, Whites, Latinos, gang members (mostly 18th Street). Everyone sat together in groups, but we all were in there for something. Even Scarface was on the row. Every time I spotted her, she seemed less mean looking, just a girl down on her luck. I doubted she even had half of what she said was wrong with her.
There were even women sleeping on the floor under the stairs of the day room, that’s how overcrowded it was in County. Ironically, when I returned to my bunk another gal had pushed my stuff aside to the lower bunk. “I wanted the top bunk, and you left!” dictated the blond.
I didn’t argue and moved my stuff to another side of the pod to a middle bunk. I noticed bruises on my legs from trying to get comfortable the evening before, and doing that first bit of Yoga on the cement floor of the first holding cell. I had little bruises on my arms and wrists from the obvious. I was still wearing the same jump suit from the night before, and hadn’t gotten any courage up to take a shower in the one shower stall that surprisingly afforded privacy. But by lunchtime I had begun to make friends and flowed easily through the various cliques around the pod. I read palms, and started giving soothing massages to the various girls kicking drugs. Afterwards, I took a nice long lukewarm shower and felt better.
Under the stairs was the Latino click of girls, gang bangers kicking mostly heroine, shooting speed and crack. It didn’t take long for it to get around that I gave good palm and wonderful back rubs.
“Blondie, Blondie, come here,” cried one gang girl named China. It was tattooed on her forehead. Her face was heavily pitted from acne and the like. She had tattoos of tears on her face, as well as a small ‘18th’ under her left eye. She wanted me to read her palm, which I did. It had several ‘X’s’ representing her cases on the Mentality Line, as well as ‘concern’ lines around her Lifeline. I was getting so good at reading that I started to feel this confidence rising in me, and get hunches on people. When I read China’s palm she almost jumped out of her skin with its accuracy. “You are really good, Blondie!” she praised while reclining on her bed.
I began to massage her gently. Her back felt smooth and oily. In fact, I noticed that no matter what their faces looked like (scarred or otherwise), their backs were blemish free for some reason. I asked her to hold out her needle-scarred arms and began trying to send positive energy into her by gently focused my mind’s eye on each bruise from her needlework and imagined a cool white light infusing healing vibes. A new understanding and knowledge of where to rub and how to do it rose up in me. I really began to feel that I was making a difference. I rubbed China for a long time and she told me she was in for trespassing. I’m sure it was more than that judging from her arms, face and palm. She kept asking over and over if her case would be settled and she’d be set free. I said she would be if she kept her head cool. She seemed to be the type that got angry and wanted extra attention though. I picked that up and used it to my advantage while reading her palm.
Next to China was another gal kicking drugs. She too had the lizard look to her. I went to her bunk where she lay in agony of withdrawal. I turned her over and noticed that her back was smooth and feminine, unlike her face, which showed, like China’s, her addiction and pain. The girl was not well. She barely could get off the bottom bunk. She had the body of a praying mantis. The woman was tall and gangly and in definite pain from her ordeal. I would spend many sleepless nights rubbing her and helping her get to the bathroom.
While I sat with the girl, China got jealous and called out to me from her bed on the floor. “Blondie, Blondie, read my palm again, please!” She always said my name twice. By the late afternoon I was feeling comfortable moving from bunk to bunk. I concentrated on reading the palms, and rubbing backs. I, of course, obliged China and read her other palm. Others crowded around wondering and asking if two palms were different.
“The right palm is a cross reference,” I said knowingly. I held up both of China’s palms, she seemed to enjoy the attention. “It confirms information I read from the other palm.” Some nodded with understanding, other’s pretended to know.
Not everyone in the pod was open to palm reading. A few other Latino girls began calling me “Voodoo Woman”. I explained that it was all in fun. “Do you go to the movies?” I asked. Most said yes. “Well, think of it as a movie of your life!” I said, trying to keep my voice hypnotic and calm. “Think of it as a road map of your life,” I stated, feeling like David Carradine in the t.v. series Kung Fu. Everyone cracked up and the tension of the moment passed.
I hadn’t really gone to the bathroom much, and knew I had to take care of business. Thank God there was one bathroom enclosed. I used it a few times, trying to relax and pee at least. As far as the other business, I didn’t want to rush that. I knew I was irregular, but it would pass. I’d not eaten much for breakfast, and lunch wasn’t much better fare. It consisted of stale baloney sandwiches, fake fruit juice and a cookie. By dinner, the only hot meal of the day, my voice was becoming hoarse and dry. Drinking the water was like sipping out of the toilet, but I had no choice.
I was losing my voice and at times became overwhelmed that I was actually in jail, put there by TJ. Of course I was thinking about Albert constantly, and what was in his head. Between palm readings and massages I tried calling him, but his machine was turned off and remained so throughout my ordeal and beyond. I also wondered what had happened to Krista. Did she go home back home, or had she simply left our house and spent the rest of her ill-fated vacation with her friends in Hollywood? I’m sure my questions would be answered. For now I had to sit tight and be strong. But I kept fretting about Albert.
“Hey, you were arrested in front of his parents, for God-sakes,” said Bev as we lounged around goofing on things around the pod after I’d told her the whole saga.
“It made him go back to his recluse state and block out everything you guys experienced together,” said Carole. She had listened well, and got Albert’s personality down pat.
I was crestfallen, but determined to see this out.
“Have you tried the other guy, TJ?” asked Bev.
“Once or twice, but he isn’t accepting my collect calls,” I said.
I had also been calling my sister, who always accepted my jailhouse collect calls. She told me that she was in touch with my cousin and between the two of them, would get me out. Thanks to my friend Jeanette, everyone concerned had been notified. I begged and cried for them to bail me out. They were doing the best they could under the circumstances though. For the time being I was stuck, but the good news was that they were going to be hiring an attorney, thanks to Jeanette again. She had already recommended the lawyer to me months ago.
“Hey, why are you in a psych ward? What’s that about?” asked my sister. “They think you’re crazy!”
“Good, I’m better off here,” I said, glad I’d taken Scarface’s advice.
“Hey, what’s it like in there? Are you safe?” She asked conversationally. Of course, by now I knew I was pretty safe for the time being. “Is it like that show Oz on HBO?”
My sister had a good life in Ft. Lauderdale, lived in a lovely home and had a genius daughter and an ex she was working things out with, who managed nightclubs. For the past two years we’d not spoken because an email barrage I had with my sister’s ex husband! TJ had found that out and was pissed off because I’d written a bunch of bad things about him then, as well as nasty things about my sister. It had all backfired in my face, like this situation I was in now. I never seemed to learn. Albert represented more carnage in the wake of my downtrodden life.
“I just can’t believe Albert has totally abandoned me and shut off his feelings,” I said to Carole, but it seemed he had. I cried for him, tried to reach out mentally like we did before all this, but to no avail. “I’m not feeling him any longer.” I remembered calling him in my mind many evenings after TJ had gone to bed, and before I knew it, he’d call leaving his signature one ring.
“He’s basically ‘shut-down’ on you,” Carole said wisely.
“But it’s extremely hard for me to turn-off,” I admitted. Albert lucked out and had the emotional responses of both male and female. We’d often discuss things like that in great length. “It wasn’t just the physical attraction I miss, but also his mental aura. I’d gotten used to roaming up to his house and being there with him,” I said. “I miss how we used to talk to each other in our heads. I’d call out to him, and he’d answer!”
I thought of another letter he’d written and things seemed to come more into focus:
I know God is watching us through our relationship. You said once that you know God has something very important for you to do in your life. I also have such a feeling. Since our thoughts evolve, God is manifest. My contemplation and actions through life take over a fundamental spiritual realism that is transcendent to my personal will. If you already have a boyfriend or whatever, it is okay with me, as long as I don’t mess things up for you. In other words, I don’t want to own you. Your survival comes first. I hope my honesty does not preclude our relationship that you have been so open with me about right from the beginning! I feel I can do nothing otherwise. In our relationship you don’t even have to be present for our love to grow. For our love stands as I stand in evolution! The mind is above the heart -- The spirit above both. Our relationship is below them only redeemed through the spirit, thus is our work in life!

I began telling the story to anyone that would listen, which was just about everyone. There was always a new ear to tell. By my second night in jail I had almost 50 women listening to my story of the saga of Albert & TJ. It was interesting, and every time I told it, I remembered some vague memory of a time I spent with Albert. It was starting to sound like a movie to me as well as a good outlet for hours of idle boredom.
There was always a newcomer to the pod. They were always directed to me for a palm reading and that always led to the story of how TJ put me in jail for straying to Albert and carrying on with him for 5 months, but because of my best friend Krista, it had all come crashing down like in a Jack and Jill fairytale gone awry.
“Albert and I shared something very special, maybe too special. We didn’t realize TJ would go so far to end it,” I said, felt like Conan the Barbarian when he loses his true love to a snake arrow. I told the whole story from beginning to end. There was always a stream of new women in the pod and everyone wanted to hear about it.
Afterwards, like Oprah, we’d have a question and answer section about Albert and TJ. Then it transformed into shouting matches, some saying I’d end up with one or the other, but mostly women shouting that they hope I’d end up with Albert. One smoldering-looking Spanish gal standing in the wings with her arms folded disapprovingly said I wouldn’t end up with either. That caused a crescendo of girl’s yelling voices into overdrive. There were even a few shouts for all of us to “shut up about it!”
I told the story over and over again, actually getting things down in my mind better because of the repetition. Small details started floating to my conscience. Instead of Albert having something precious in his room, I was now resigned to the fact that it was happening, so I continued to read palms throughout the day and evening, even reading China’s palm for the 6th time.
Dinner came and went. I tried Albert over and over, but no luck. I did reach my sister, who for the first time in years was actually taking my call every time, ringing up a phone bill to the tune of $500. Dina always wanted to hear gory details of grit and Lesbian fights, but that’s not what was going on with me and the other girls. After talking to my sister, I did tons of crying until the woman who stole my bunk came over and put her arm around me and consoled.
Could you read my palm?” She asked hopefully. I looked at her face and noticed she had niceness to it, a far cry from the scowling lady who stole my bunk.
“Why are you here?” I asked while taking her little hand in mine.
“Can’t you tell me?” She smiled brightly, showing crooked, but clean teeth.
“Doesn’t work that way,” I shot back, sounding like a professional.
“I’d just taken a hit from a crack pipe in my room when the cops were banging on the door,” she explained easily. “They caught me red handed, and could smell it.”
“Yes, I see that conflict,” I said. “And the neighbor called, right?”
“Yes,” she answered in amazement.
“You don’t get along with him, do you?”
“Nope, I don’t! You’re right, Blondie! He called the cops!” She stared at me hypnotically. “I can’t believe you picked up on that!”
After reading her palm and blowing her mind, I told her my story again and she smiled brightly, “See, I told you your life wasn’t over!” It turned out that she was the same girl that was walking in front of me when first taken in. Her face had changed 3 times, and I felt like she was a comrade now, even though she pulled a power play with the top bunk. I let it pass easily and we became friends, often talking in the hallway and at the steel tables. It was amazing how she’d transformed. Of course I told her about my own saga, a very familiar and fun story in the pod.
We actually began a small jogging routine up and down the steel stairs around the second landing, and back down to the bottom over and over until we were exhausted and the stale, re-circulated air had gotten the best of us.
She had also overheard me talking to a few girls in the larger holding cell the night before. As we talked in the day room, the raging girl with the beautiful long blond hair walked up and joined us. Even in jail her hair was in perfect order. She was really striking and I told her she’d make a great model. In fact, we were to share a few incidents in the next few days that would bond us, and it was so hard for me to believe she was violent, but she was … but never to me. She already had a few confrontations with other girls in the pod, and would eventually be transferred to a 24-hour lock down cell on the end of the row on the second landing.
“You know, I’ve been thinking,” she said, plopping down on the empty round seat beside me and putting her long arms around me. “If I were you, I’d get someone to beat the crap out of TJ when you get out of here!” She said plainly, seeming to want the job in an underlying way. “It’s hard to believe he’d do that over some other guy. And what’s with Albert? He hasn’t even tried to visit or contact you!” She seemed to get angry with them, and wouldn’t doubt she could do some serious damage to them.
“Well, it’s not that easy. They both probably have reasons,” I said while sipping stale tap water out of a milk carton. I thought of the arrest, and just how far TJ had gone. Albert’s baby face hovered in my mind constantly, as well as the sweet relationship, clandestine or not, that we shared. I recalled so many moments that my heart was ready to break in two, especially over the fact that Albert had shut down on me. It was hard to grapple with, plus thinking on TJ’s anger over all this, it was all so overwhelming to deal with.
“Honestly, at the time, I really did see a future with Albert,” I said to her.
“TJ and your friend Krista did this, so just hold on,” she answered, grabbing my hands in her own and squeezing tightly. A lot of women were hoping everything worked out for me in the dismal County Jail. My status in there made it somewhat bearable though, which was some consolation for me.
“In the back of my mind I know how Albert is. His life is sedate and rent free, an easy high paying lab job examining women’s pap smears and cultures,” I said to the girls, who cracked up and screeched with delight, my timing and statement perfect. I told them how he was so easygoing and quiet, but had this funny humor, plus how we’d talk for hours about the mind and why people did what they did, even about our experiments in restaurants when we made others do things with our collective minds thinking as one.
Other memories surfaced and I shared them with my crowd. I could imagine Albert turning off completely, but how could he turn away from the wonderful memories that assaulted my mind? I couldn’t fathom him washing away those great, magical, electric times we shared our ‘white light’ with each other and those around us, but he had. However things turned out, I would always treasure the months I spent with him, no matter how cruel it was to TJ, or how bad things looked on paper. I felt a deep, deep love blossoming between us, but TJ had somehow stolen the power and dashed everything in a burning hellacious fireball, and I had let him do it! I knew that both Albert and I were reeling from the blows TJ branded on us. I doubt either of us would be the same from the experience, but it did happen, and was unfolding right before our eyes. At least I did have a cheering section developing. I imagined Albert was hiding behind his mother’s apron strings and that virtually no one knew about what had happened. I surmised that the more people that were told, the more he would withdraw, actually blocking out what we had together more easily.
They hung on my every breath as I described days of walking through the park with this man, a bit zonked from our partying, driving up to San Francisco two times to see the Grateful Dead, running wild around Glendale trying to avoid TJ, or just hanging in his bedroom holding each other all night in the dark and laughing at stupid things that came to us. Our favorite game was sitting under the covers in total darkness trying to guess numbers we were thinking of, childish on it’s own, but so wonderful when it was followed by a barrage of soft kisses and caresses, amidst the flicker of softly lit candles in temple holders reflecting against the ceiling. A few of the girls swooned at that point in my story.
For hours, sometimes we’d hang out at the Chinese buffet just eating, kissing and making out. On occasion we’d really head up to Jeanette’s hippy pad in Tujunga Canyon, where she’d let us hang out alone while she’d run errands. We’d spend hours in Jeanette’s cool canopy bed holding each other, making love and just laughing kid-like.
The girls loved to hear it all, even the times I was with TJ. I had distanced myself from him easily, but not securely. “He’d gotten into the habit of following me when I left the house to meet up at Albert’s parent’s home,” I explained to the crowd of women listening intently.
“You should have taken more precautions,” said Bev.
“But my pull to be with this new, quiet, stimulating man was crowding out everything I should have done in protecting myself from TJ,” I answered eloquently, which set off mumbled conversations all around me.
“Man, that TJ really pimped you, Blondie,” said one black girl lounging against the back wall of the pod. “And why did that other guy even live with his parents? He’s grown, right?”
“Yes, but that’s what it was,” I answered, continuing to tell my saga. “By the first trip to San Francisco in October, it was getting increasingly difficult to get away safely. I would hop a bus going in the opposite direction and ride 4 miles out of my way on my bike just to be with Albert. At the time, it was my haven, he was my heaven, and when I was with him, my life was like a cocoon of secure bliss, hiding from the world safely in his ‘nook’. It was very attractive to me. His parents seemed to turn a blind eye to it as well, probably enabling him, the 7th son, for years.”
“Yes, I can see that, Blondie. But his mother didn’t like you from the get-go. That’s her baby, her last child.”
“He said he’d been in trouble with them before, mostly about partying. He’d been thrown out of 3 prep schools because of that, and bordered on the edge of brilliance. His concepts were a bit Sativa- soaked, but made sense,” I related easily to the crowd.
As I sat in the jail talking to my new friends, I thought about all the notes he’d leave his parents via his bathroom, most saying he was skipping being with them, or not going to work, which started to bother me, especially one day when he refused to leave his room until his Uncle Curtis, his mother’s brother, left.
“On many occasions whenever Uncle Curtis was visiting or sitting in the family driveway, Albert wouldn’t leave if Jerry Garcia rose from the dead and was standing naked outside his door!” I said. The room broke out in serious laughing over that last statement.
“Who the hell is Jerry Garcia?” asked one sweet looking boyish black girl.
Thank God I had many palms to read, and my family was accepting my collect jailhouse calls, even doing the illegal 3-way connection, which was against the rules. One inmate, a recovering speed addict with a sales charge, said all you had to do was blow into the phone when it connected. It worked like a charm.
I thought about how everyone was looking at me on the outside. Family was family, true blood relations that should come to your aid because of that stigma, plus the Jewish guilt factor in full swing too. I knew that probably by this time even TJ was feeling blue about what he’d put into motion, even if I did have charges ringing in the New Year like flashing neon!
I did notice that after I told my story that first evening the majority of them were swinging toward Albert and I, and he would pop out of his fragile, recluse stationery mode he was currently in and step up to the stage to save me. Unfortunately, as the second day kicked in at the jail, it looked like that was not to be the case. But I held onto the hope and memories I shared with Albert, and the shear fact that he would allow them to carry him through like I was trying to do, making it a happy ending love story.
As I told my epic, we were always stumped as to what would happen, and that is what made it so stimulating to discuss. After all, we were the most bored humans on earth and didn’t all walks of life like a happy ending or a good mystery?
We also had our distractions. Every now and then a certain handsome deputy we nicknamed “Butt Boy” would saunter in and do a count, which paused talk in there. Sometimes he’d walk in every 10 minutes just to wander around to the various groups of girls lounging in the day room and on the landings. It was a medical observation pod, so that was typical to see guards there. We knew they were watching us closely. But the women liked this particular deputy because he posed for them and enjoyed it. I could tell that right away.
He was in great shape and not hard to look at. I began trying to throw my mind at him, making him do simple gestures. I shared my experiment with a few of the girls in our pod. Bev got a kick out of it and we’d spend a lot of time staring out the large windows at Mr. Handsome with the closely cropped hair, decked out in full deputy regalia! A few others picked up on our cue. They began watching and waiting to see it happen. At first it was very subtle, then it kicked in full swing. We were all amazed.
One morning he had wandered in 4 consecutive times and by that time I had made him trip on the stairs, turn around and smile, stop in mid step and even say certain sentences that amazed the other inmates watching me. I don’t consider it a magical thing, because from reading all the palms and getting notions on people from that, I believe a new perspective was growing in me. I was able to actually predict what he would do partly.
“Hey,” piped up Bev as we sat in the pod discussing Albert and TJ and any new thoughts on the matter, as well as any memories. “…Maybe we can think all together and make Butt Boy unlock the door and let us go free!”
We all laughed loudly, knowing that it couldn’t happen.
As he followed our thought patterns, and actually did what we thought him to do, the women would “ohhh and ahhh” every time. It was during these moments I didn’t feel like a jail inmate, but just with a group of women like myself at a retreat.
Soon we all would gather in a circle and think deeply of that deputy, actually making him appear out of nowhere and come toward the pod. But his own strong will made him turn around one morning and never enter our pod again after that incident.
After that, Butt Boy resigned himself to posing in front of the computer by the watch station, which was situated right in the center view of our pod, for all to see out of the glass walls where our beds were aligned row by row. Every now and then he’d sneak a glance our way, pretending the vibes we were throwing out at him didn’t bother him. This was done in silence, because whenever the deputies entered our pod everyone would stop talking and almost be at attention. In the beginning I was talking to Carole when they walked in and singled me out as I was in mid sentence when a certain mean female deputy asked me to step down from the second landing where I was standing, just about to read a palm.
I was wearing my jail shoes which I’d fashioned into sliding shoes by putting my big size 10 feet on top of the tongue of the flimsy sneakers. I could slide around unhampered and it was easy on my feet. As I was coming down the steps trying to slip into my shoes, I fell, but recovered, showing my flexibility.
“Hey, it’s the Pretzel Girl,” said one female deputy. Other deputies chuckled loudly. I laughed, easily joining in on their joke until they stared sternly at me. “What did you do to get in here?” She asked scrutinizing me up and down, which was their way. My naturally curly blond hair made me look younger than 40 years old. The dark blue jail suit actually complimented my look, especially my coloring. I definitely stood out. “You don’t even look like you belong in here, Pretzel Girl! So what did you do, and I can’t wait to hear,” she said, already looking bored.
I walked slowly forward, hands in pockets, head held high. “I’m not sure,” I whispered.
“What, I didn’t hear you,” she commanded easily. “What?”
“I’m not guilty!” I stated, not even daring to mention my Albert and TJ story. Obviously, they saw me doing my Yoga and it had been a joke amongst them. Who knew what other information they had on me?
“That’s what they all say,” she answered. “Well,” she added, putting hands on hips. “… Maybe some time in a cell will shut you up from now on when a deputy enters the pod. Get your stuff and lockdown in cell 7.”
“Listen, I’m on Disability from the State from severe anxiety and panic attacks, and I’ve not had any meds for it,” I explained, my voice low and shaky due to the bad re-circulated air and the trauma of the day before.
“I don’t care about that, you’re here now. This is jail! Get moving or I’ll tack on more time, maybe a full week in lockdown! And while I’m at it, I think I’ll check your records…”
I grabbed my property and walked up the landing to cell 7, slowly stopping at the door, not going in right away.
“Go on,” screamed the deputy, uncaring that I was starting to whimper. “In, or more time, you make the choice.” She got on her walk-talkie and radioed the watch house outside the pod and gave my booking number.
You could have dropped a pin and heard it in that pod. In the background I saw all the faces I’d read palms for and they registered pain there. Most gloated when someone was sent out of the day room and into the small cells lining the walls and landings away from the groups of ladies littering the day room. But these women were not gloating. They truly liked and wanted me to stay with them. I brought them up like no one else had.
I was told to shut the door. It clicked solidly. I walked to the top bunk and noticed someone sleeping in the bed below. As I was putting my stuff on the bunk I began to cry and carry on. I was panicking and no one cared. I began pacing and screaming and couldn’t breathe. Just as the tears blinded me and I was going into a black panic, hands reached out and held me closely. It was the blond rage girl enveloping me in her strong shoulders and pressing me against the smooth cool strands of her wonderful hair. That morning she had gotten into a verbal tussle with the girl who stole my bunk, so was put in here. She pushed the two-way intercom that all cells had, and was screaming at them. “Hey, she’s having a severe panic attack! You’ve got to let her out, please…” If the situation weren’t so serious, it would almost be comical. The whole jail environment revolved around closed in space.
I held onto her tightly and prayed to God for them to let me out. I know the girls downstairs wanted the same and were pulling for me as well. I could feel their silent prayers. I cried harder and held onto the girl tightly until we heard a click and I ran from the room. “Get your stuff!” cried the deputy. “…before I change my mind.”
I was relieved and grabbed my stuff and gave the blond a tight quiet hug. She smiled at me through her own tears, which had nothing to do with her being locked in alone. It was a rare thing that just happened. Usually when a deputy makes a decision like that, it sticks and nothing would change it, even if I were suffocating to my death.
After that incident, I noticed that the Boy Butt thought sessions suddenly turned into Bible reading and group prayer. I would always remember those moments. The whole pod got together before count. There would usually be 40 of us standing around at the table in the middle and holding hands. One Latino woman Kicker actually pregnant with twins would lead us with readings from the Bible and go around trying to make us talk in “Tongues”. Tears ran down my face and the goose flesh rose on my arms as I prayed along with them at an even pace. Trustees, as they were called, the ones who worked outside the pod, and had special privileges, stared at us in awe from the outer receiving area, not moving from their spots in the outside hallway. It was an amazing thing to watch. I didn’t talk in Tongues but the Latino woman did come up to me and hold my head way back. She even knocked on my forehead, which made me think I was! What a wonderful, exhilarating secure feeling you feel with other women in the same boat as you. A bond formed from all the palm reading and massage therapy I was giving the Addicts and Kickers in the pod. Even the praying mantis girl was with us holding hands. I was the only inmate that seemed to be able to cross groups. I was starting to feel welcome among them all – The Latino girls, the older white ladies, and groups of black girls, who actually took me under their wing when I was moved to ‘General Population’.
We prayed every night like that for 20 minutes, the deputies even delaying their 15-minute count until we finished. Then I’d read palms and give more massages, plus do my Yoga contortions in front of 50 women, who quickly became used to seeing me do it. I was literally rolling myself up in a ball and twisting my body in the air, doing head stands and sitting upside down in lotus. Even our guards would soon allow me to do these things unhampered. It was a rare thing and many in the pod came over and told me so. Word of me was spreading to other pods on the floor as well. One day while in line for a med evaluation two women from another section came to me and asked me to read their palms, which I obliged right there in line. As usual, my readings were accurate and true. I was secretly amazed at myself. One girl clapped her hand to her open, amazed looking mouth and backed away in awe. I was also starting to receive little notes that said “thank you” for the palm readings in the holding cell last night.
In between reading palms, the massages and the like, I talked of my situation. Many heard the many stories of my adventures sneaking away with Albert for 5 months behind my boyfriend of 10 year’s back! They identified with why Albert shut his machine off, and said they were sure he was thinking of me daily, but didn’t want to upset his parents or the balance of his life any further. Also, the pain must have been hard for him to deal with from what I explained to them about his personality. It was more than that, and it started to bother me and distress my soul that he had turned his machine and himself off to me. I was thinking of him mostly in that dark, dank place and he’d not had the decency to at least be a man and let me know what was happening in his head.
Yet another letter he rattled off to me came clear now:
I see things strong in you. You have an inner strength, and duality of spirit that is aware and actively self-evolving. It is a bit confused, but you harbor great love in there. Too much love to hold on to alone – so it becomes grounded. Always Albert

But I took solace when many girls did say it was traumatic for him, especially the way I described Albert … quiet, reserved, a virtual recluse except for his best friend Benny down the street! He talked of the mind and the 4 quadrants of the brain, which I explained to the women listening to me all around the pod. The man had a head talk better than sex. But soon, months down the line, that too would fall into place for us and we would spend many nights of blissful passion together. At the time he infused my soul with such a fire and passion of wanting.
But jail life went on, and the days began to pass slowly. There was little or no access to a clock or real mirror. My nights were virtually sleepless into my 3rd day. I still couldn’t believe this was all happening. It was impossible to get any real shut-eye in the steel bunk no matter what I did. More bruises appeared on my back and legs. The nights were the hardest and I sometimes asked my new comrades in crime how much a body could take with no sleep as I was doing.
“Oh, you’d be surprised,” said Carole one morning as we munched our breakfast.
“The body can take a lot. Don’t worry, you’ll sleep eventually. Look at me,” she said, pointing to her large frame, bedsores and all. She was a very nice lady and had always talked to me when I went to her bunk to chat. She was very positive and knew everything about what I was going through and why. I had told her privately and she’d sat in listening intently when I told my story one late evening to everyone in the pod.
One evening on my 3rd night in jail I first noticed a large Ethiopian woman locked in a cell by herself. Magnetic red and black signs read “415 Med. Obvs”, “Bites”, “Spits”!
“What’s 415 Med Obvs?” I asked one black girl also watching the Amazon lady locked away from everyone by herself. She wore a yellow jump suit and looked like a huge man standing there ready to pounce.
“She goes into attack mode whenever a deputy walks by…that’s 415. In fact, she tries to attack anyone walking by. You don’t want to mess with her, Blondie.”
I watched the girl behind the locked cell. Our eyes met, but not in a bad way. She must have been watching me, because most told me she was an observer and knew what was going on. She’d spend hours just standing as close to the glass door as possible. On occasion a deputy would walk by on count and she’d go nuts trying to break the door down. She’d go through a temper tantrum of spitting and clawing and throwing things around her cell.
Next to her was a meek looking gal on “Suicide Watch”, as her magnetic sign stated. I walked by a few times and she was crying and screaming, sometimes pulling at her hair and scratching her body with her jagged, bitten fingernails. I could see her face clearly behind the glass. She had been crying and carrying on and was sweaty looking, washed out and wearing a blue prison gown rather than the garb the rest of us wore, including the 3 pregnant women housed with me.
On the 3rd night, I as usual wasn’t sleeping and was just one bunk away from the girl kicking on methadone. Sometimes she’d bolt upright, bump her head and start talking in her sleep. I couldn’t sleep so dragged my mat and bedding to the floor and passed the “Suicide Watch” girl, next door to Amazon Lady. There was a large pylon that would hide me. I started doing Yoga like crazy which gave me energy. As I was doing the Yoga, and stretching myself into a pretzel again, no one bothered me. I, by chance, looked over to the girl on suicide watch. I moved my mat right up to her glass cell and knocked. She had been looking the other way, definitely not asleep, because I had heard her carrying on and crying the past 2 nights, no one helping her or coming to her aid.
She turned and began frowning at me sitting by her door, waving me away easily, and squealing loudly. Instead of leaving or teasing her, I began doing the Yoga, rolling myself up into a ball right in front of her eyes. She sat up curiously looking out at me, but her whimpering stopped. I had her attention, that was for sure. I began rolling over and asking her questions whispered under her door. I made it a point to overdo my body gestures when I’d crawl up to the door crack and talk to her.
“What’s up in there? “Hey, want to see me bark like a dog?” I nimbly jumped into lotus upside down, rolled up to the cell door and barked like a dog. “Hey, did you realize that the door has been unlocked all this time…? Try it. Open the door for me!” For a split second I could see the urge in her bright blue eyes to come to the door and see if it indeed open, which it wasn’t.
She began chuckling lightly, still a bit wary of my intentions, but definitely distractedly interested and responding to what I was doing. I definitely had her full attention all the same. For almost 2 hours I entertained her by the door, only stopping long enough for the guard to come through and count us. As soon as he left, which took about 2 minutes, I’d be back at her door doing the funniest antics I could think of to make her laugh. Suddenly, I stood up and took her ‘Suicide Watch’ sign down and wrapped it around my own neck and pointed to it like I was hanging myself with it. “What’s this all about, Lady?” I asked sarcastically, pretending to be a deputy reprimanding her, hands on hips like I had seen them do many times. I smiled at her. She laughed crazily and had to sit down because of her giggling jag. The girl was laughing so hard and was getting out of breath as I pretended to be guarding her. I marched back and forth playing policeman, even imitating certain guards whose personalities stood out.
Boldly I went over to Amazon Woman’s cell door and took down her “Bites” sign and showed it to the other girl. “I’m going to switch signs and see if they notice, is that okay with you?” I asked her, going into my under the door whispering-dog-mode. I put the sign on her door for a moment. We both cracked up and she cautiously came a bit closer to the window of the cell door. She reminded me then of Wendy from Peter Pan.
I put her sign upside down and started pacing in front of her door like I was a husband waiting for his wife to deliver their first baby. I told her as much as I paced and paced, suddenly going into Yoga mode right before her eyes. I had been doing the stretching exercises as much as possible in the pod and realized I’d not been out of the room in days. She laughed at every thing I said and every antic I did, even a corny Jackie Gleason to the Moon, Alice number, which reminded me vaguely of Albert. She became my captive audience. In fact, everyone in this joint had become so as well. Maybe it was my sense of survival, maybe I really cared. All I knew was I had found a new calling. Maybe when I got out of jail I could look into some sort of physical therapy, helping patients get over injuries and such. I knew I could do it and I’d prove it again and again as the days passed in County.
Little did I notice at the time, but Amazon Woman was up watching what I was doing with the girl on suicide watch. She stared openly into the dim hallway from her cell door, as always. She resembled a sad clown, not a violent girl at all, at least to me at the time. I went over to her door and cautiously sat down in lotus position. She looked back at me, but didn’t move to scare me or go crazy. I started jumping back and forth and grabbed her 415 sign and put it upside down on her door. I said, “Are you going to get in trouble for that?” She smiled brightly and nodded her head back and forth. She ominously pointed to me and wrote an invisible “T” against the cell door. I turned the sign back.
Next I grabbed the “Spits” sign and held it up and took some water I had by my pad and began squirting it easily from my two front teeth. I became a fountain and got up on one knee and made a stream of water shoot 20 feet. She didn’t hesitate to smile brightly, which was a rare thing for her.
“Hey, I could change this to “Sizzler”!” I pulled the sign down and pointed cartoonishly. She laughed again and squatted down to watch. I grabbed the “Bites” sign and said, “I could make this ‘Bidder’ I pantomimed placing bets at the racetrack and then pretending I’d won and was collecting my funds. Amazingly, she got the jokes and just stood there listening and watching me do my thing. I didn’t miss a beat and became good at gesturing jokes. I interchanged between both women until I had them literally rolling in their cells.
It was then I noticed a few girls in the pod watching from their bunks. They were perplexed, but interested and some were sitting up and openly gawking. I doubted they were sleeping any better than I was, so I continued with my circus show for the two cell girls with others watching in the dim lighted pod.
I tried to keep the jokes coming and was getting carried away and obsessed with thinking up something new to say to them. I was getting just a tad bit overwrought, but did more Yoga to soothe my soul. The girl on suicide watch no longer was crying and cowering in her bed, nor scratching her eyes out, or threatening to do it. Instead she was mimicking my moves. I kept using my hand gestures and whispering under her door, which added to the fun. She began following my lead; even doing a finger movement thing with me for a good 15 minutes, almost like the silent act the Marx Brother Harpo did with Lucille Ball.
Amazon Woman also got my attention as she sat on the floor of her lonely cell and tried to put her legs behind her back like I could do. She got as far as her ear when I heard the familiar click of the lock, signaling the deputies count walk through our pod. I quickly ran to my pad and lay down pretending to be sleeping. I could feel the wind of the guard passing me. I cracked one eye and saw him look in at both girls I was working with. Both smiled at him as he causally stared inside. In fact, he looked twice just to be sure and shook his head when he spotted Ms. Suicide Watch sitting on her bed in a half lotus position trying to push herself up straight. He spotted Amazon Woman on the floor in lotus position trying to put one leg over her neck. He left without a back glance, but shook his head as if he’d seen it all.
The weekend passed uneventful, more of the same routine. I was surprised at how accustom I was becoming to County. Other than not sleeping, I was coping quite well, making friends and moving through all color lines. I especially enjoyed the massages I was giving to the girls. It never became sexual, and it was surprising to me. Talking to my sister, and listening to her questions conjured up all sorts of sick things, but they never happened to me. Reading everyone and anyone’s palm helped elevate my status there as well.
The evening before I was to go to court, they brought in a very young, pretty white girl. Everyone took her under their wing because she seemed so innocent. The girl was in for shooting up speed and was 3 months pregnant. She was only 18 and had a very feminine high-pitched voice that sounded like a little girl. As everyone pawed over her and played with her hair, I just became a bit jealous until someone suggested I read her palm, which I did. As they played with her smooth, brown, silky hair, I finished her palm and joined them. She didn’t seem to mind everyone’s hands stroking her hair and scalp. A lot of those woman had a motherly intuition and they were giving her everything they had. She seemed to enjoy it all, even when I started rubbing her back. A day later she was released as everyone waved goodbye like she was leaving on the Titanic.
I was also learning how to be when the deputies were around. We all found out who the nice ones were and who the real baddies were, which was most of them. One particular nice female deputy seemed more like a first grade teacher because of the way she treated us. The male guards were mostly aloof. You did have some like Butt Boy who would slightly fraternize with us, usually asking what we did and if it was worth it. It was the way they asked us that drove the point of it all. I noticed that the whole flow of the jail revolved around demeaning us to such a degree in every possible way, no matter how small. I would see the scenario time and time again during my stint there.
I would soon find this out when I made my first court appearance. It was Tuesday morning around 3:30 a.m. when my name was announced for court. I hadn’t been sleeping anyways, so I rose from my bunk and got ready. There wasn’t much to do except take a Mexican bath, quickly arrange my hair with my fingers, brush my teeth and wait for breakfast.
Breakfast was the usual cereal, milk, hardboiled eggs and juice. I had learned to eat as much as I could, even though it was sub-fare! I had been in there since Friday evening … 4 days! But I was keeping my spirits up with the prayer sessions, palm reading and massage therapy that were growing popular around me. I sat eating with a few others who were going to court from our pod. We made small talk and woke ourselves up.
I recognized and knew every single person in that pod, even the new faces. Sometimes they’d try to fool me into thinking I’d not read their palm and I would play along, but give the same interpretation as I’d first given. I even started understanding the woman on methadone, Anna. I also found out she was the same age as myself – 40. It was hard to believe. From day one she never got it out of her mind that I had a 9-year-old child with TJ, so I shouldn’t leave him, even though he put me in jail and was the cause of all this pain.
“You have a child with this man, you can’t leave him. You gotta’ work it out,” she bantered, almost looking like she was talking into space. She wasn’t though. She was talking to me! No convincing whatsoever changed her stance on it. She really believed I had a child with TJ, which was ridiculous.
After breakfast we were all led out and walked single file to a receiving area before getting to the holding cells downstairs. From there we would board a black and white jail bus and head to court, but that was hours from now. Once we departed from the freight elevator it was pure chaos in the multiple court holding cells downstairs. As I passed the various areas, women were recognizing me and calling out “Blondie, read my palm! There she is, the Palm Lady!” Women screamed from all corners.
Hands of all colors and sizes waved furiously trying to get my attention. I felt like Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator as I walked down the long hallway to one of the many multiple holding cells. If the deputies noticed, they didn’t say a word. As long as I didn’t talk and kept my hands in my pockets that were now shredding, I was okay. I also, for the first time in there, thought about what Herb might have thought of all this. We reached my holding area and they deposited me and another Spanish girl in with at least 75 others waiting there for the buses. Long benches lined the walls and women were doing the usual things.
A group of Latinos called out for me. I ended up reading their palms like clockwork. I’d gotten quite good at making a big production out of each reading. As I read one woman’s smooth, deep lined palm in English, it was interpreted into Spanish many times over all around me. My voice was very weak and it was hard to talk over the noise in the room. A few times I had to drink water from the fountain situated beside the open toilet, which I actually tried to use, but with little success.
Other girls saw me from across the room and wanted me to read their palms. The clown-faced girl who laughed at everything I said was there with some new friends. I read their palms. Then talk of the Albert and TJ situation arose and I re-told the story to all that would listen. The Spanish girls edged in and the same gal interpreted my love story that had become so very popular, even in another language. As I told the story and heard it coming back at me in Spanish, it sounded even more fiery and intense than in English. I would catch the names “Albert” and “TJ” frequently mentioned, then a barrage of words strung together excitedly. It was truly fascinating and I took note. I also realized that there were many dialects of Spanish, different words meaning the same, but put in a certain way.
Finally, after waiting for almost two hours, the deputies came and marched us out into the hallway. We were handcuffed and chained according to what court we were going to. I ended up chained to an older Mexican lady whose husband had put her in over domestic violence. It was amazing to me how many women were in there for that.
We boarded the bus and took a seat in the front. Men were caged in the back. They wore orange or yellow jump suits, and stared at us curiously, but we pretended to ignore them. We rode the bus headed down the 110 freeway, stopping first at Van Nuys to deposit a few guys.
The woman I was chained up with and I struck up an avid conversation. She didn’t mind talking like most did. It was a good idea to keep to yourself in jail, but that was not the case with me, because I needed to reach out to others, I thrived on it. It was no different with this lady. She seemed very nurturing and spoke good, clear English. She understood me as I explained what the lines meant on her palm. I also told her of my plight and she said God would lead me to the right man. I said that I saw them dropping the case and she would go free and be clear.
We got close being chained to each other. Even when we finally reached the courthouse and were led into a small men’s bathroom converted into a holding cell with a broken payphone in it, she and I talked about everything under the sun. We prayed together and cried together, sharing our pain. She didn’t think her husband would follow through with the case either. I wished the same for my situation, but knew mine was a bit more complicated.
It was 7:30 a.m. and we weren’t due in court until 3:00 that afternoon. We had a long time to chat and comfort each other. By 12:00 noon they opened the door and handed us baloney sandwiches and an orange. I tried to eat, but couldn’t. I did Yoga for a bit and continually tried the broken phone. It was frustrating.
Finally, at around 1PM the steel door opened and my comrade was told that her case was dropped. She clapped her hands to her mouth and jumped for joy like a beauty queen winning the contest. I was genuinely happy for her. I asked about my case and the bald officer stared me down coldly. “We’re prosecuting you to the full extent of the law, Lady.”
I almost cringed, but refrained. They shut the door again. The lady and I hugged tightly. She wrote down her phone number, took my booking number and waited eagerly to be released, which would happen soon. She promised to put $20 in my account so I’d have money. She never did, but wished me well and said that God will make everything okay with my case. I had enjoyed my time with her. She gave me added strength to go on and face the music. They came for her 30 minutes later and she was gone out of my life.
The next time they came for me, it was to appear in court on some building charges and counts! When they put me in a locked cage by the courtroom and my public defender came to me, she read everything, including TJ’s statement, and the arrest up at Albert’s house, which still stung me like 100 queen bees hitting at once. In all the 5 days of my jail time, I still had not made any contact with him. I begged my sister to call his parents and explain and see what the feeling was, and she did call, but her answer back to me was vague and unfulfilling. I just wasn’t ready to face the fact that Albert had abandoned me and wasn’t able or willing to deal with it all. It saddened me. It made me feel hopeless and down. I was so upset that I took the poem I had labored over all week and ripped it up in that holding cell bathroom, flushing it down the toilet in little pieces. I had come to a turning point about what was going to happen with Albert and me. It didn’t look good. I misjudged him greatly and should have known. But we always cling onto something we cannot have and that’s what I was doing. It was still something that got me through and very good conversation with the inmates I was housed with.
They had to call in a court psychologist to deal with me, because I was manic and upset about the multiple counts pending on me. My public defender thought it best to call the woman in. She sat with me trying to assess my sanity and insisted that I needed Paxil or Lithium. I declined so when she left I was alone except for one male inmate in the next cage waiting to see his public defender. I had heard the public defender say the guy broke his probation and has to answer to that. I looked at the guy and started talking to him and ended up reading his palm right there in the courtroom. He was so amazed at what I saw that it took awhile for him to put his hand down afterwards.
Soon my public defender returned and I was led into the courtroom. She first tried to reduce my bail, which had zoomed up to $186,000! That went down to $40,000 right on the spot. I was also pleading not guilty to 9 counts (even though it was 30 and rising). Everything happened in a matter of seconds, and I was put back into the holding cell to await return to Twin Towers. My house was literally 5 blocks from where I sat, and I had to go back to County. I wished to be free. It all seemed pointless and cruel. I didn’t murder anyone. I remembered what one deputy said to me a few days earlier in the pod when I made that statement.
“Hey, you take a chance. You were caught. You do the crime, you do the time! But I have to say something to you. I looked you up and you were good, really, really good, Lady,” he said to me while doing his count a bit slower just to talk to me for a minute, which a lot of the deputies did on occasion. I was an oddity in the pod, some offbeat character.
I didn’t feel good that he said I was good at whatever he thought I did. He probably meant that I was good because I got away with it for a long period of time, at least in his mind. I spared him the love story version and he continued his walk, or posing, depending on how you looked at it.
* * *
Hannibal Lector Lives In The Locked Universe
I was back in the holding cell, even trying the telephone again. No luck. I started pacing and began to cry loudly. I also talked to myself, trying to calm down. Tears sprung from my eyes easily, as they had in the past 4 days. I was even starting to realize that things would never be the same with Albert and I. He was too weak, and not the man I thought he was or could be. TJ had the power ball and wouldn’t let go.
Suddenly, I became angry with myself, and decided to stop crying and whining. I said out loud, “Okay, you are going to stop this crying and carrying on. Be Hannibal Lector, not a sniffing dog with its tail between her legs!” I started marching around and chanting, “I am Hannibal Lector, the Criminal of Love!” I actually became the persona of Hannibal Lector, trying to feel what he felt, re-directing my anger and pain at the situation. My crying stopped, my sadness went away for a while. I was Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love!” I said as much out loud. I paced like he would have, talked like he would have and even tried thinking like him if he was in my shoes.
It worked a little too well though. Before I knew it, the iron door was swung open and an officer stood there with 4 pairs of handcuffs and brand new chains. Instead of crying to him, I said, “Hello Officer, I’m Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love. No more crying or whining for this girl!”
“Okay Hannibal, let’s go. Turn around,” he stated, easily catching on to my ruse.
He began putting the handcuffs on and linking the chain through them and making me turn around a few times so that the chain held me in place. “Why are you doing this?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“For being a smart-aleck,” he whispered simply.
I was led out into the hallway chained up like a murderer I was acting like. As I walked behind the court deputy, I mirrored what I thought Hannibal might have been thinking. Playing it out to the hilt, I boarded the bus and took a seat really feeling like the part, but it made me braver and more sarcastic. No more crying escaped my lips that still yearned for Albert’s full ones.
The transport pulled out after picking up some male passengers. As the bus rolled down the freeway, the setting sun made for a nice landscape. I began rapping, “Woo, woo, I’m the Criminal of Love, yes I am!” A few curses were hurled my way from the back, but were ignored. “Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love, yeah, yeah,” I crooned over and over until even the driver put the soft rock music that had been playing at full throttle to drown me out.
I was Hannibal until we pulled into the jail and they led me out and removed the handcuffs and chains. I had bruises on bruises, but was gaining a whole new understanding of this system and all its workings, people and events. As usual they put me back in a holding cell where we’d sit for hours until after dinner. This time almost half the room knew who I was and greeted me kindly and openly. I couldn’t believe it. I was becoming a celebrity in the County Jail. It was nothing to joke about my situation, it was indeed serious, but my status there was definitely not run-of-the-mill or normal. God placed me here for a reason and I was learning so much about people and myself, plus what drives us all. I was learning to be humble and quiet, especially when authority was present, mainly the deputies. I knew then that it was a mistake to play Hannibal Lector, but the deed had been done, and it made for new conversation.
I entertained the girls in the holding cell doing my normal things, easily putting on a small circus show with the Yoga moves I had been practicing every day and sleepless night in the pod. The excitement was furious with screaming women making a tight circle around me like crazed banshees whenever I did a new move or contortion. I learned to work the crowd, and just fell short of putting out my shoe for donations. After we calmed down I spent the rest of the time reading palms again, plus relating my Hannibal Lector story.
One big black woman came over and wanted her palm read. I noticed she was coughing and wheezing. She said she was sick, but they wouldn’t send her to the nurse. All of a sudden, one girl is talking about staging a fake fall for the cougher. Before I realized it, plans were being made and I was contributing with ideas about how to handle things. When all was in place, we called the deputy to the door right after the lady pretended to fall down and hit her head on the concrete floor.
A male and female deputy entered as the girl lay on the floor groaning and holding her head. Everyone was screaming, “Look, look she fell, she’s hurt, she needs the nurse to come!” They didn’t do anything at first, probably sensing it was faked. But after everyone started piping in their concerns they called the nurse.
When she arrived she said, “I am the wrong nurse. You have to call the correct one for this woman’s pod.” As the nurse slowly closed in on the girl, I whispered to a comrade to watch and I’d try and make the nurse slip with my collective mind!
I concentrated on it, and suddenly the nurse slipped slightly, but didn’t fall. Everything got quiet for a second, and then they quickly assisted the fallen inmate out. Many in that holding cell were amazed that I made the nurse slip. I tried to tell a few others, but by that time everyone was restless and not in the mood to deal with it. Another 30 minutes passed and the door opened. They put the fallen lady back and she was as good as new when they gave her some cough medicine for the cold and some pill for pain. She was holding an ice pack half-heartedly to her head. We all had a good laugh over it as they finally led us all out and into the hallway.
We were led down the same path as always. As we entered the checkpoint for riding the elevator up to our pods, they stopped us and lined us all up for a strip search. By this time I was used to the barking orders and sarcastic banter of the deputies.
“Besides,” I thought as a female deputy ordered us to take our clothes off and face the wall. “…I am Hannibal Lector, Criminal of Love.” For some reason, having to do the strip search didn’t daunt me as much as it might have in the beginning. I was drawing from a whole new power source. TJ might have the power ball, but I had an unlimited supply of a fresh energy, even if I was usually the one giving the reading or massage. I felt this stored up strength growing in me, even though I knew we’d missed dinner and probably wouldn’t get much, maybe another baloney sandwich.
There I stood in my underwear. I had stopped wearing my bra after awhile. It almost sounded too complicated. I was the only one not wearing one. As I stood there facing the wall fending off the shame, my mind flashed back to another evening.
I returned from Albert’s from a particularly good day with him as a whole. I breezed through the door, and as usual, TJ was waiting up for me, having been stewing about being left alone since 6AM that morning.
I came in and started getting undressed and had taken to wearing the most unflattering bedclothes. I found myself falling into the pattern of not getting fully undressed in front of TJ, but would rather use the bathroom. As I got ready for bed, TJ sat there with a scowl on his face, while questioning where I’d been and with whom! I used the same old, tired “I was at Jeanette’s house” line, which was wearing thin by this time. I also didn’t want TJ to notice the fresh bruises on either side of my thighs, left there by an unruly beach chair ride Albert and I had experienced.
In my underwear I went into the bathroom and relieved myself in the dark. Suddenly, I spotted something lying on the bathroom floor, almost glowing in the darkness! It was a used condom! At first glance, I froze, startled by it, half thinking that it could be TJ’s. But, no, it wasn’t! I finally reached down and threw it in the toilet, vigorously flushing a few times. I watched amazed as it spun around and around, taking its sweet time, finally disappearing. For a few more seconds I stood there transfixed, trying to get my wits. It was a combination of fearful relief mixed with an almost comical Karma.
I was pulled out of my reverie when the deputy started asking us questions as the search progressed to removing the underwear and standing there naked. I sneaked a quick peek at the other ladies standing there with me in all our hidden shame. I thought of the Jews during the Holocaust and felt what they went through. I thought of Albert with a heavy heart. I had made the conclusion as another deputy directed us to turn around and lift up our breasts, then bend over and grab our vaginas from the back and cough, that Albert had backed off for good, the pull and power of his mother just too strong to fight. They made us cough several times, then walked by and sprayed deodorizer in a stream. I actually got through it easily until they told us to turn around. We were all still naked when one deputy asked a girl what her pod number was and she said 262-C. Suddenly, she approached me and asked where I was supposed to be. I answered 262-B and she moved on. We slowly were ordered in a specific pattern to put our clothes back on. My first strip search was complete. I didn’t shed a tear this time. As I dressed in that open hallway among dozens of others, I had a very sharp memory of my time with Albert again…
He was the last, their baby, and I didn’t put it passed him that he had some emotional problems whirling around his brain. Several health problems surfaced, Asthma and Sleep Apnea among others. His right wrist was broken and painful to him. He was vague about how it had happened. He’d had heavy dental work done, and was also mysterious about that and the strange long-winded medications I found stashed around his room weren’t comforting. I didn’t miss the small scar near the eye that sometimes resembled a ‘cat wink’ when it closed slowly every now and then. But I didn’t care. I wanted to be with him no matter what was wrong with him, or what the repercussions would be down the line. He just made me feel so good. I don’t know exactly why, but it may have been a combination of our loneliness and chemistry that threw the trump card.
But there was a certain paranoia he emulated in regards to his parents and family right from the start, and I was seeing it in full force now. He had a fierce almost crazed desire to preserve and protect his privacy, which probably contributed to his already heavy paranoia. His room reflected this and was virtually sealed off from the rest of the house. He even had a carbon-ionized fan that re-circulated the air. He had a thing about it and even used it at the medical lab he had worked at for the past few years. My ears would actually pop when I opened the door to his bathroom.
Peeing in his bathroom was like trying to relieve yourself in a speeding aircraft experiencing heavy turbulence, because I could hear his parents talking in the kitchen, their shrilly voices shooting out like jet engines, totally closing off my bladder. There was also another door leading to the outer home where his parent’s quarters were. Sometimes I’d open Albert’s sealed portal and spot the other door wide open to his parent’s domain like a cavern. I would have to tiptoe over to it, sometimes naked, and quietly close it. They knew we were there, even heard us many times when things got a little out of control. I sensed his father thinking, “That’s my boy!” But his mother was a whole different ball game. She was probably saying, “Oh, she’s taking away my little boy, that Pariah!” She was suspicious of me, I could tell right away when I had dinner with them. God knows I’d not told his parents or him for that matter, the whole story about me.
The memories faded as we were led on down the hallway and into the elevator. They called 262, and I left the elevator with a bunch of women. I got into 262 B only to find that it wasn’t my pod, nor even in the vicinity of where I was, which was 242-C. The deputies played with my head and told me to go to the watch window and ask. I did, and was told to wait. I sat on the steps, hands in pockets, head down, trying not to make a spectacle of myself. I had to contain my panic rising, but nicely inquired to a passing guard that I was in the wrong pod. He went in the watch house and directed me to the window.
“Hold out your arm,” he said, un-sympathetic to me. I did as I was told. Finally he told me where I was supposed to be. I was led down another hallway. After a few twists and turns, I was deposited into the correct pod. I was relieved and it seemed everyone was happy to see me. They ran up to me in bunches and asked about my court appearance. I explained it to so many people that my voice was failing from the strain of so much conversation at once. Everyone seemed concerned. Bev ran up to me like a play partner in the recess yard and grabbed my hand, pulling me over to some new girls sitting at the middle table. “They want palm readings!”
I obliged everyone, and one girl even gave me a bag of carrots (like gold in there), one of the many food hoardings done at the facility. Another offered me an orange drink and still another gave me her baloney sandwich, which I accepted. I ended up giving the sandwich away, but ate the rest with relish.
Right before count, I recounted my court antics to everyone, even filling in the new ones of past details. Most knew and were told right away when they arrived, and I was at court. It was obvious that I was missed terribly. I relayed and imitated me in my Hannibal Lector mode. A few comrades advised against doing that again. “They will mess with you, that’s probably why during the strip search the deputy let you slip by with the wrong pod number,” said one gal listening. ‘
China was sleeping in her usual place under the stairs and she called for me. The gangbanger didn’t even have to get up because of all the clamor my arrival from court caused. I came to her bed and lay down next to her. I was used to doing that with no hesitation with the girls now. I didn’t ever change clothes, so it was no sweat. In the dim light she was smiling, happy to see me. “Read my palm, Blondie! Tell me if my case will go okay?” She begged, her usual pattern since I was put in County.
I told her the same as always, that if she played it cool she’d be okay. In the back of my mind I knew the girl would probably be released then go right back to her old habits of shooting drugs and gang banging. But by my 5th day in jail, I felt I made a difference in their lives, even if only for a short time. That is the way it is for all people you touch in your lifetime. You come into their little closed worlds and chances are they won’t forget you no matter how hard they chose to block it out. I was learning that some people had the ability to shut the world out, like Albert had closed the door on ours.
I actually tucked China in like a mother would a daughter. I folded her blanket around her, taking her head in my hands and kissing China on the cheek. “Go to sleep now, Little One,” I said softly, trying to sound Latin. “Poor Presida.” I stroked her needle-marked arms with my fingers, again infusing healing energies, or at least put on a good show trying. She actually fell asleep soundly and I left her pad.
It would be her last slumber in the med ward. The very next morning the deputies walked in and asked for a volunteer to move into dreaded Cell 7. No one wanted the honors, so they picked China. The girl immediately refused and asked if she could stay, but I could tell they were trying to weed out the overcrowding.
“Get your stuff and move now,” said the blond deputy sternly.
“Please, Deputy, I don’t want to go,” China pleaded her lizard like, beady eyes darting here and there, anywhere but at Cell 7.
Everyone had frozen in place. “Listen, you have 24 hours before release, so you’d best go in now, or risk 2-11,” said the deputy, speaking of solitary confinement where you got nothing but a County blanket in a dimly lit cell with only a toilet and sink for company. China had gotten used to a special human contact thanks to me! The woman wasn’t about to give that up easily. The guards knew she was getting a bit too comfortable in the pod and wanted her to break her down.
China didn’t move, doing more pleading, trying to get them to change their stance, which they wouldn’t. In the end the deputies escorted her up the landing stairs to Cell 7, and had to practically throw her inside. She was also out of uniform (a definite no-no), wearing a thin, pale yellow County nightgown rather than the two-piece pants and shirt.
Once inside, China began crying and carrying on. Suddenly she fell to the floor and had a seizure, which the deputies surmised to be a faked one. It was. They finally went in and dragged her out.
“That’s it, Girlfriend!” Said one deputy, the word “Girlfriend” conjuring up bad memories about how I ended up here and who caused it to be so blown out of proportion. Her jealousy about Albert and I brought us literally to our knees! After all, Krista was the one who introduced TJ and I ten years earlier. It was ironic that she became the catalyst for what was happening now.
At that moment, Krista, in my mind, reminded me of a gasoline wick against a Bic lighter. I doubted I’d ever forgive her for what she’d done, telling TJ about Albert and I in the manner she had. Yes, what we were doing was wrong, and I was atoning hopefully. But because of her, I lost Albert and what we building, no matter how fragile Albert’s mind was or became because of this. He was always very skittish and nervous normally, so I could understand how this incident would bug him out so drastically. I just didn’t realize how far he would go to insulate himself from the pain of separation and the reality of what happened because of our togetherness. Shell-shocked would more appropriately describe him at this point.
On the other hand, I had hurt TJ deeply. That was obvious. If perhaps I had returned to the house in the first place with Krista, maybe I could have turned myself in, rather than becoming a sitting duck for arrest like I had up at Albert’s house in front of his parents.
“… It’s 2-11 for you, Girlfriend!” Screamed another deputy, eerily using the same term, as I thought about my demise more clearly. They took China out of the pod and handcuffed her to a table where she sat for hours in silence. Then, just as quickly, she disappeared from my life when they led her away to solitary. I never saw her again. I was beginning to get the same impression with Albert. Day by day, his collective mind reclused and withdrew. I felt his pulse fading by the hour. I sat for a while trying to collectively throw my thoughts out to China, but she never responded and maybe subconsciously I didn’t want her to turn around. I might have been going through the motions just to have something to focus on besides my demise, and how Krista caused it. I was growing tired of dwelling on the fact that Albert would welcome me with open arms. It was unfortunate that the events happened as they did, but certainly not worth shutting down totally like Albert was doing. I kept wondering and voicing whether he could be that selfish, that he could shut out what we had and shared together. It wasn’t just a fling, or so I thought at the time. Because of the way things fell into place, it looked like a fling on paper, in black and white! That was indeed sad and unfortunate for both Albert and I, maybe even for TJ in the end.
After China’s turbulent departure things leveled off at the pod, and I began to accept my fate. If I remained calm, it would work out.
After my court appearance I realized I needed a private attorney. Through my friend Jeanette, my family got in touch with an attorney. I knew right then and there when my family immediately came to my aid, that I was totally blessed by God.
I also believe that God allowed me to be placed in County Jail for a reason. I was finding a deep-seated calling to help people, and I really was doing just that. I doubt it has happened to anyone like it did to me here. At times I was comfortable with being in jail. I did start to feel this weird safe feeling at times, but just as easy, the deputies always found a way to bring you on home toward despair, which surfaced with the depression of the reality of being in jail. It’s like they barely snuff you out, make you humble, make you think before you speak or during. They were very strict about everyone being quiet when they walked in, but it depended on the mood and who it was guarding us.
I was approaching my 5th day in jail. My nights were usually non-slumber, but entertaining all the same. Amazon Lady was always watching through her glass door, but they soon moved the suicide watch gal out. As she was being led out, she wouldn’t look at me directly. I could see her turn her head very fast whenever I tried to make eye contact with her as we all sat in the pod waiting for lunch to be served. I was sitting with Bev and Carole.
“I heard what you were doing with her,” said Carole, her nose buried in her latest novel. “…I think it’s great,” she said motherly. She was a very nice woman with children of her own, and she was easy to talk to. The woman listened, and it made you want to hear her story, which wasn’t much prettier than my own, minus the chaotic romance slant to mine.
“Yeah, it’s really neat how you were doing all that Yoga stuff!” Piped in Bev, her usual bouncy self coming through like clockwork. I think she was taking some heavy meds. In fact, everyone in the pod was taking something but me.
Scarface came up to me one afternoon and matter-of-factly asked if I’d gotten my Ativan yet. But I’d had no luck securing not even an aspirin from the nurse, who quickly nosed her way to my name, always coming up blank. I’d gone 5 days without anything! I wasn’t sleeping more than a wink, but felt energized and alive otherwise. I was doing lots of Yoga, actually making up my own moves and stances, which worked well for me. Reading palms always thrived, and not one day went by that I didn’t have a new person’s hand in my own.
I was still massaging the same addicts as I always did. Every night I went from bunk to bunk rubbing energy and positive electricity from me to them. I got so much out of doing it that it transferred energy to me and stored it for functioning without sleep. Although I rarely got a massage myself, it didn’t matter. I was gaining so much from the experience, but wanted it to end. I’d accepted my trumped up charges with more dignity than if this happened 10 years ago!
On the 5th night in County, as usual, I couldn’t sleep and just tossed and turned, bringing more bruises to my back and legs. Playing Hannibal Lector in Court didn’t help my wrists, which had several bumps and small lacerations.
I got up and did my Yoga, which helped ease the restlessness I felt from being confined. I didn’t want to go back to that thin pad, which I kept on the floor near the pylon. I went to the table and sat there wrapped in my County blanket. I looked around the room at the girls I had come to know well. I spotted the Latino girl who was pregnant with twins, and had been leading the prayer circle sessions. She slept soundly in her bottom bunk. I spied others who I had become close with.
It was then I noticed the blond rage woman sitting up on her top bunk staring at me. She looked half asleep, but jumped down and joined me at the table after using the bathroom. We chatted quietly about the usual things I brought up in there. She told me a few more stories of reeking havoc with her anger. I still couldn’t believe she got that way, but on many occasions in the past 5 days I had seen her go wild, almost to a point where she’d use physical violence. At times, she reminded me of a cat protecting its territory, showing its claws and hissing something awful. Now she sat across from me in the dim lit day room, her voice barely a whisper, a rumpled, sleepy expression on her smooth, unblemished face. I liked the sound of it, the way she pushed the words out with her tongue, trying to be very quiet. She emphasized her “t’s”, and I enjoyed the clicking sound they created in the stale air. I was noticing a lot in County, little things about people I’d not recognized nor thought about much.
But this evening she was tame and sleepy eyed. All of a sudden, as we were sitting there, the locks clicked, signaling the guard passing through.
“Hey, when the deputy comes in, pretend you’re sleeping right here at the table,” I instructed.
“Are you crazy, they won’t fall for that,” she whispered, every ‘t’ intact and clicking musically.
“Just try it…Come on, quick, he’s coming in!”
As he came in and down the stairs we pretended to be sleeping sitting up at the table, which almost made me laugh out loud when the deputy passed us and said nothing. Ms. Rage was amazed, and couldn’t get over that kind of collective mind power, which is what it was.
“Man, that was wild,” she said, smiling at me with perfect teeth.
We talked for another 20 minutes until we heard the click again. Like clockwork, in came the guard. Again, we pretended to be asleep, both of us going out of our way to pantomime snoring and sleep movements. I cracked an eye cautiously looking over at Ms. Rage. She even slipped in a few shakes like she was dreaming deeply. We both almost laughed by the 4th time a deputy came in. It wasn’t always the same guard, but the results were apparent. Not one of them told us to get to bed, or move from the table area. It was fun trying things like that, and this was no exception. It seemed to work well. In the end, we were both rolling around on the floor laughing afterwards.
The next morning she got up and began relating our sleep trick to everyone.
“I doubt you would have gotten away with that if there were more women in here or if we were in General Population,” said the Latino girl with twins.
“You should have seen us last night,” said Ms. Anger, her rage re-directing itself into excitement over a new method. “The guards passed us at least 4 times and they never said a word. We pretended we were sleeping right there at the table!”
“It was so wild,” I piped in, proud of myself for the deception. “It was like in Star Wars when Obi-Wan passed the storm troopers. ‘You are going to let us pass’ ‘Yes, we will let you pass.’ ‘You will not come after us’ ‘We will not come after you!” Use the Force,” I said, laughing and jumping around with her, feeling like a schoolgirl.
Bev joined in on the fun, probably wishing it had been her with me last night. She and I were becoming really good friends. The sweet blond had even offered her guesthouse in North Hollywood for me to stay in when I got out. She had me memorize her phone number, but whenever I called it, there was never any answer. She had to go to Orange County Jail to serve some more time on her DUI’s and such. I liked her very much and hoped I’d see her on the outside, which I doubted would happen. In fact, I didn’t know where I’d end up when I got out.
By now, I was receiving Albert’s message loud and clear. It seemed that he’d beaten me to the punch and sent a collective scared, fragile one to me, and that is why I ended up destroying the poem I wrote. I think it was appropriate where it ended up --- flushed down the men’s toilet at the Glendale Courthouse. It looked as though my fairytale with him had come to an end, and it was sobering when you had to deal with that stuck in the County Jail. At times the notion about Albert came crashing down on me, crushing the life out of my heart and soul. I couldn’t believe he had gone this far and destroyed everything I thought we shared. I sensed a delicate, shallow, selfish little boy named Albert out there, and just wished I had come to conclusions months earlier. I didn’t and that was how it was. I was caught up in it because I’d not shared and tasted such a passion and love for a person in such a short amount of time.
On my 6th day in jail, there was a new diversion besides Butt Boy and making him do our will. In the afternoon in the middle of our lunch the deputies brought in a skinny, frantic light skinned mulatto looking woman. They put her in where the suicide watch girl was next to Amazon Lady. As soon as she was deposited they slapped on a red and black Med Observation sign and left the girl to her own babblings, which set off her neighbor. Amazon Lady was pacing and seemed very angry. She even threw a few things at her door, something she’d stopped doing days ago.
As soon as they left everyone turned their attentions to the girl in the cell. She was the latest show for us as I read more palms and did a few quick massages around the room to the ‘regulars’. The woman was screaming and stamping her feet. “Hey, hey, let me out! I didn’t do anything,” she bantered loudly for anyone to hear.
Bev walked up to the cell like a clown. “What did you do?” She screamed almost comically.
“I was sitting in my pod and some girl came over and pinched my tit,” said the girl doing a hovering, shaky gesture by her chest. “Now I’m here! Please, please, give me back my stuff! Please!” She became totally hysterical and was screaming at the top of her lungs, her voice echoing strangely against the walls of her cell. Everyone crowded around my table waiting for me to do some crazy, magical mind thing.
“What’s your name,” screamed Bev again taking the lead.
“Casey,” said the chaotic girl in the cell. “Hey, hey, I need my stuff! I wasn’t doing anything… Let me out of here! Please, please, I need my stuff!” She cried over and over again. It became non-stop. “Can’t you tell them?”
“Who?” Asked Bev.
“The deputies! I want my stuff. I didn’t do anything,” screamed Casey. “That girl pinched my tit,” cried the woman, again grabbing at her chest.
I came up close to her cell. Casey was very skinny and wild-eyed. When she opened her mouth to scream, I noticed she only had one front tooth, everything else just raw gums, the lower half of her bridge bleeding a bit. She was kicking drugs obviously and was freaking out by the minute.
“Please, please, I want my stuff back! Can you get them to give me my stuff back? Please, help me!” Casey grabbed her head and started screaming at the top of her lungs. She was a mad woman, a possessed soul hooked on and off speed or meth, or both, maybe more! And watching her up close was almost grotesque in all its gritty connotations. Even through the glass I could smell her excretion and rabid delusions.
I retreated back to the table, not wanting the deputies to catch me lingering there too long by the cell door. A few of us found that out when they tried communicating or teasing Amazon Lady, who stood like a statue as close to her cell door as was allowed. She’d continued to attack deputies when they passed, but she’d stopped with all of us and was actually communicating more on a human level, at least before Casey was put next door to her.
Casey was getting really out of hand by the first hour. She was shouting hysterical rantings! We knew her M.O. after the first 2 hours. It was the same over and over with her, until I got an idea. I told the girls with me that I was going to try and calm Casey down by collective mind throwing as I had done with Butt Boy. I sat on the tabletop and began chanting slowly over and over, “Calm down Casey, calm down Casey, calm down Casey!” I made it constant and noticed after the first 30 seconds that it was working a little! Others in the pod who witnessed this called out to others and before I knew it, everyone was watching me collectively calm down Casey with my soothing, but forceful mind meld. I threw my thoughts out to her and just kept doing it until she was first down to a dull roar, then a few seconds of clarity, finally she’d sit on the bottom bunk and even used the bathroom. As soon as I’d stop or my attention was diverted with other thoughts of how Albert and I used to do this all the time, Casey would fall right back into the loud, obnoxious woman, screaming and shouting about her stuff and her tit!
By late afternoon, after listening on and off to the crazy woman, I began blocking it out. Suddenly, my name was called over the loudspeaker, something that could mean anything from an early release to total lockdown for some offbeat offense. I held my breath as I tucked in my shirt, put my shoes on right (not the gliders I’d made them into) and put my hands deep in my tattered pockets. The lock sounded and I opened the main door and stood in the hallway. The cold, fresh air in the hallway somewhat revived me. The stale, re-circulated air in the pod was starting to make me feel pressed and lethargic. At times I’d get very tired in the early mornings after breakfast. The air and a combination of other factors produced something almost akin cabin fever mixed with being a bit stir crazy.
I was just a bit nervous while being led by a deputy to a table and told to sit tight. Soon, a lovely, dark haired woman came and sat down, plugging in her laptop. She worked at the prison placing inmates in the right spots, and it was time for me to be evaluated for placement into ‘GP’, General Population! I tried to feign some form of further psychological illness, but failed badly. I mentioned not having any meds since I arrived, not being able to sleep.
“I just need something to help me sleep!” I begged, trying to make my point clear. Casey’s one tooth face appeared in my mind, then Hannibal Lector’s, and I didn’t think the woman fell for it, because soon they were lining us all up against the wall and breaking down the pod, moving people in and out after they called a few others out for the same reasons as myself.
It was an endless drone, but I had to adhere, or risk going crazy. We grabbed our bedding and soaps and were led out single file, hands in pockets to the outer hallway. For about 1 hour we waited by the stairs and by that time I was actually shivering from the drafty air. It reminded me of when Albert and I went to the second Grateful Dead concert and it was freezing on our way into the music hall. We had held onto each other closely and shared warmth and kisses, easily chasing away the frigid air around us.
Now all I had was Carole, who was sitting in front of me. I tried several times to engage her in conversation. She was like a calming clam and with good reason. We were all being moved to GP and that was that. Bev was in court and I doubted I’d see her again soon.
Finally they split us into two groups. I saw the clown faced girl smiling at me and pointing to her palm and laughing. We passed each other and grasp hands, and for a split second I was back at the concert with Albert, safe and happy.
“I’m going to miss you Blondie,” she said, her lips so defined and clown-like. I liked her very much and felt just a bit sad that we were parting ways. But being at County had hardened me somewhat. I was learning something about myself and other people. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in jail, not a Grateful Dead concert. What Albert and I shared was becoming celluloid and past tense. The only reality was that I was in the County Jail.
We went through the same routine, walking single file, right shoulders to the wall, hands in pockets, no talking. The deputies led us around barking orders, sometimes pulling someone out of line for the slightest infraction.
As they marched us into the elevator I remembered that the night before I’d been standing with the Latino girl who was pregnant with twins. Twice that evening she’d started having slight contractions and fell on the landing. I grabbed her, and realized just how heavy someone could be in that condition. The girl also was a Kicker, and it was hard to believe she’d carry her babies to term. We picked her up, with me trying to revive her. I wasn’t scared, and wanted to help her badly. I was ready to deliver the twins myself right there on the floor of the landing. This was more than reading a palm or a rub down. This was cold, stark reality. The deputies stood there not helping, but allowing other inmates to assist like they were doing with us. I surmised from the guard’s body language that they thought most women were faking incidents like that because it was coming close to cleaning out the medical pod.
That evening Anna had a seizure in my arms! It felt so strange to experience her body shaking and her face contorting into all shapes and expressions. This wasn’t far away and blurry, like a quick look at an auto accident when you’re speeding down the 134 freeway at 60 miles an hour. This was close up, in focus and sharp. So much so that I could smell the woman’s stale breath, as well as feel the sweaty pulse of her body. It was surreal, but like a naked truth settling in your brain. I remember grabbing her face and screaming at her to come back, and she did, her body calming down in my arms. Even if these girls were faking, it felt pretty intense up close and personal like I was getting. When she came out of it, the woman said plainly, “Remember, you have a child with TJ, so you have to go back to him, Blondie!”
As the elevator made its way up to the 6th floor, I thought about how I helped the Praying Mantis Kicker to the bathroom so she could vomit and pee. Out of all the girls, it seemed hardest on her. My last night in there, as I was giving her a backrub, she turned to me and said, “I wish I’d not wasted my life on drugs! You’re still young and have a chance. You don’t belong here, Blondie!” She said weakly. “I think you can do a lot of great things with people on the outside.” She was right. “Everyone likes you,” she added. It seemed everything was an effort for her to do. She was tall and lanky, and once could have been a striking woman, but looked more like a dying lizard. I liked her and didn’t mind helping, not caring I might even contract something. I was actually leaving it in God’s hands about that aspect. I sometimes felt like Florence Nightingale meets Florence Henderson in there! Sometimes I even felt like Evangelista, an insignificant, little known saint who nursed Lepers and those with the Black Plague back to health in the late 1600’s.
But the pregnant girls were the worst to see. You do begin to view them as more human and not so criminal as they were misdirected in life.
I also looked at myself and how I was dealing with the pressures of County. I became more tolerant and accepting of things happening around me, even the snarling and fighting that was cropping up lately. Helping women through seizures, rubbing the Kicker’s backs, reading anyone’s palm no matter what group they belonged to, was teaching me many things!
Toward the end of my stay in the med pod, I noticed they had moved in a skinny looking Latino girl. She immediately started fighting with everyone, including Rage Girl and a number of others in the pod. No one liked her and avoided her. She ended up sleeping on the floor with just a sheet, no blanket far from anyone. One morning I crawled over to her bed and tried talking to her. On closer inspection I noticed dozens of needle scars on her neck, arms and face. “Can I read your palm?” I asked her.
“No, I don’t want no palm readings,” she said stiffly. She seemed to curl up closer to the back wall when I sat down next to her on the thin pad.
“I just wanted you to know that God told me everything will be okay with you in here. No one wants to fight,” I said, feeling like Laura Ingalls from Little House on The Prairie. “Grab my hands,” I asked her.
She took my hands gingerly, not really wanting to deal with my nice gesture. “I really don’t give a damn,” she said stoically. “And why the hell are you so damn friendly?”
“I don’t know. I just feel open. I can give you a massage.”
“No thanks,” she answered, half withdrawing, but still holding my hands. “Listen, I want to sleep, will you go away now?” She pulled herself free and turned her body away from me. As she turned over, I could see more scarring from her needle and drug use.
It made me think that my case and plight were bubblegum and hair ribbons compared to the 3 girls I had seen. Like those others, this one would probably lose hers to a miscarriage.
We were led down the same type of hallway, but the blue stripe running along the right side was green. I wasn’t as scared as when first brought here and just wanted to get through this ordeal. I had my tools of palm reading and massage, so doubted any big problems would arise in another pod, even when I started doing my daily Yoga contortions without shame as I had been doing.
As we were walked down to our new location I had strong memories of being with Albert.
* * *
Our days began very early and ended sometimes way passed midnight. I’d ride my bike up there after TJ went to work or left to do errands. It took 5 minutes to reach Albert’s house, and I’d gotten to a point where I could actually ride the whole steep hill without stopping. We’d spend the day doing our thing, being together until night fell. Usually he’d walk me all the way back. Sometimes I’d have TJ’s car and we’d stand by the car holding each other tightly and kissing like mad, just so reluctant to let go and say good night. It was almost as if every time we had to part, we might have known deep down inside that our being together would be short and cut off eventually.
* * *
I still couldn’t believe I was here in jail for that. I had to hold myself fast because tears were trying to break out and it made my eyes sting.
We stopped at 261 B & C. They told us to go inside and bed down. I walked through my assigned pod and found no beds, so somehow wandered into Pod C by accident. I found a bunk immediately and settled in. It was early afternoon and new girls were milling around their pod.
A boyish, tall, black girl strode up to me. “Hey, you’re the Palm Lady! Read my palm,” she said loudly, flouncing on my bed.
Everyone in the pod turned and realized who I was. Others ran up wanting their palms read. “We’ve heard about you, Girl,” said one white woman that looked like a man, even having the stubble of a beard growing. Everyone became very friendly and I was brought around to the various groups and introduced. Believe it or not, many remembered seeing me in the holding cells when first arriving, plus going and coming back from court.
Some were playing cards, others relaxed on their bunks, others locked up in the cells lining the walls. The first thing I did was to seriously use the single enclosed bathroom, which was a small blessing. Next I put my towel on the line with dozens of other ones for a shower. Some girls tried to switch it, but a group of black girls stepped in on my behalf. I took a hot shower quickly, the stall pleasantly clean and usable. As I did my thing, I noticed how much this showerhead looked remarkably like the one in Albert’s bathroom. I remembered that whenever I took a shower, someone in his household would turn the hot water full blast making my shower turn into an ice bath. I thought it was his mother at first, but Albert said it was the maid trying to mess with us almost like the deputies did here.
I put on my same jail attire as I’d had all week. But I felt refreshed and returned to the day room to read palms and chat with the girls before dinner. I even told my story to these girls, most not interested, but still others riveted. They hoped it would work out for me. I know they meant it as I sat on my bunk chowing down on a hot meal of chicken patties and veggies.
There was another girl they called China, but this one looked Chinese and was pretty in a jailhouse sort of way. She sat on the ‘bearded lady’s’ bed and was making tweezers out of the elastic string in the jail pants. She deftly twisted the strand around and around, than looped it a few times, easily running the whole contraption over the chin of the other gal. I looked closely and it removed the hairs like magic. China even did my eyebrows and I was amazed how that string worked. It was ingenious and I was blown away by how survival and luxury went hand and hand. I was to see other tricks as I went along in County.
Dinner was brought in by a group of Trustees, one looking like a man through and through. I would always wonder about the girl nicknamed Slim serving our food, which she really enjoyed doing. I don’t know what she did, but on many occasions I called her “Sir” by accident. She took immediate offense. I tried to apologize, but failed badly when I called her Sir again! She really looked like a tall version of
Snoop Doggie Dog! I’m sure a lot of new inmates made the same mistake with her. I thought about the first time I’d mistaken her for a guy, when they were bringing us into the pod area and I had to go to the bathroom. I was led to an outer hallway where there was an open commode. She stood in the vicinity and I asked her to leave.
“I don’t want to pee in front of a man,” I said stupidly.
“I ain’t no man, Bitch!” She snarled.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize,” I tried lamely to relay, only digging myself deeper. Unfortunately, Slim also was in charge of doling out the sheets and blankets, and I was given inferior bedding for the first few days, obviously her punishment for me. I was learning so much in this place. It made you stop and think, be humble and hold your tongue and head low. I even called her Sir the very next day when she served breakfast to us. By that time I was already in a new pod. The deputies came in around 11PM after I was secure in pod C. I only had one incident when I went into an open Cell 15 thinking Carole was in there for some reason. I walked in and out, but soon after I got a tongue lashing from one particular older black woman. She ran the pod like a taskmaster and clucked like a mother hen, scolding me in front of everyone. A few came to my aid immediately, saying I was new and didn’t know. They began showing me the ropes. “Blondie, never go into anybody’s cell when they weren’t there,” said one petite black girl.
“Especially after they told you there wasn’t any girl named Carole in there,” said yet another savior.
Now I was in another pod because my name wasn’t called during the count and that was cause for some concern among the deputies that evening. “I think you’re in the wrong pod,” said the deputy.
“Get your stuff and get up,” barked another guard.
I obliged in seconds, not caring at the moment that I was going to yet another strange bunk, plus not being as nervous after spending time in the med ward. I was led out and into the first pod that I’d entered and left when I saw no bunks.
“Find a bunk, or bed down on the floor…” The deputy looked at me with disdain and slammed the cell door a bit harder than necessary. I saw an empty second level bunk and took it. It didn’t take long, after I settled down, for a lean looking black girl to saunter over to my bunk and ask to read her palm. “I heard you was really accurate and good at this,” she said, easily parking herself on my bed like we were at a slumber party.
As I read her palm another girl came over and sat down on my bed, then another, until even the girl on the top bunk came down and asked me up to her bed to read her palm. Her name was Ivy and I immediately saw a childhood illness in her lifeline. She said she’d had Leukemia and I was amazed. She hid her astonishment and went back to bed.
Everyone settled down except two young black girls. They talked back and forth until early morning. I, of course, hardly slept at all. I tried the Yoga, but a female deputy’s booming voice blared over the P.A. system, “Woman in pod B, whatever you are doing, stop it pronto and get back to your bunk!”
The next morning breakfast was served the usual time, 5:30 a.m. Before we ate an older black woman people nicknamed Mrs. Williams read The Lord’s Prayer, as she would do every morning, which helped my sagging morale as well as everyone else’s. Everyone in the pod wanted to sit with me, and I was reunited with a few old friends, and a lot of new ones. I found out that Ivy was the Trustee (inmates who had a lot of time on their hands and were classified as ‘trustworthy’ by the deputies that choose them) of the pod and only 18 years old. She wasn’t very friendly to me this morning, a far cry from the nice woman from the evening. It must have been the fact that I was growing popular in this pod just like in the others, as was becoming quite apparent as the day progressed. People were clamoring to talk to me, have me read their palms, which I was quite good at. I would consider myself an expert on reading inmate palms, girls incarcerated and downtrodden in many cases. Each palm had the same pattern of indicators that I picked up and used to my advantage.
I noticed that Carole was there, as well as the girl in the holding cell that had first talked to me. There were new faces, especially amongst the black girl’s clique, which would come to my rescue many times taking me under their wing like the others did. I got lucky, a lot of the girls in that group were in the med ward, so knew me and how I was. There was also an even mix of Latinos in this pod, which could cause a lot of friction.
The majority of the Mexicans were gang members. I tried not to cross them. In the beginning, they wouldn't have any part of my palm reading. “No, No, Diablo, Diablo,” said one dyed blond girl with tattoos all over her body. Her hair was taking on a ‘Heather Locklear’ color to it and she tried to hide that by pulling her hair over the ever-darkening roots.
By late evening I realized that I had been placed in a good pod, suited to my personality. It was evenly mixed between races, temperaments and crimes. There wasn’t any riff-raff like Amazon Lady, Casey or Rage Girl lingering in the shadows.
The last I’d seen of Amazon Lady was when they led her out of the cell for the first time in a week to take her to court. She was calm and didn’t attack anyone. But I noticed when she the large woman wouldn’t meet my eyes when they led her out. That would always puzzle me. It reminded me of how things were on movie sets where you worked along side people for weeks at a time, grew to actually know and like them, pinpoint their idiosyncrasies and then move on to the next film. This was no movie. It was the way of things in there.
I was introduced to a little woman nicknamed Gumby, whom everyone thought was a pain. She ignored the fact that they thought of her as such. The woman had a farting problem, hers having a very distinctive aroma. Everyone knew it was her, and when you’d confront her, she’d deny or ignore you. She tried making friends with anyone, easily mirroring me, even asking if anyone wanted their palms read. Most didn’t enjoy having her sit at their table or talk on their bunks. Every now and then she would say some stupid thing and the whole pod got on her case screaming and pushing her aside. Seconds later, a heavy odor sifted through the room as she fluttered here and there, not even acknowledging that she supplied it.
A day after that, another girl was put in. Everyone nicknamed her Cleo, because she resembled the Egyptian Queen with her straight black hair, dark features and small, petite body. I would spend many hours with her discussing Albert and TJ, and we’d made up a funny joke about whether Albert thinks of me ever.
“Of course he does! Whenever something comes on t.v. and it reminds him of you, his mind goes ‘click-click-click-click!” She said nicely. Every time we’d pass each other in the pod, she’s say, “click, click, click, click”, which made me laugh.
Gumby and Cleo and I got along well until the end when they put us in a cell together. Gumby snored loudly and when Cleo’s meds wore off, she’d go a little crazy, and even our signature “click-click-click-click” didn’t bring her out of her funk. I was starting to set off both them, especially when I whined about Albert or how the air vent was so loud. Gumby took many meds too and if we tried waking her up before count, she’d be a crabby mess. People in our pod came up and asked how I could be in the same cell with those two. They were gaining a bad rep in there for outbursts and backstabbing. It became a bit scary when both women would plopped themselves down next to me when I was sitting in the day room, bringing the wrath of the other girls. There were parts of them I truly liked, and both were in for Alcohol abuse. We did have a lot of laughs together, and in the end, both were released while I was at court, so I never said goodbye to them.
There was always some new person that caught my attention. A Spanish girl was brought to our pod for fighting in her own. She was short with dark straight hair and a very cute face. She was brought in screaming and violent, so they put her in one of the cells on the second landing all by herself. First she was throwing things around, tearing up her bedding and banging on the door. She did it all day and through most of the evening. I was sitting in the day room when I heard this beautiful voice rising above the din of the usual noises there. I followed the voice up to the second landing and couldn’t believe it when I saw the unruly Spanish girl standing in the middle of her cell crooning her heart out. Her voice sounded pure and sweet and seemed to take her away from her predicament. It was amazing to see the change in her from the wild banshee yelling and carrying on. Suddenly, the light dimmed in her cell giving the whole scene ambiance. Her pure voice carried out into the hallway and down into the pod.
“Hey, you’re really good,” I said to her through the glass cell door. “Keep singing, I like it!”
She continued, even doing a song from The Lion King. The girl knew all the words and kept up most of the evening and late into the night. No one told her to shut up or pipe down, not even the deputies doing their count. It was the first night I had actually gotten some quality sleep due to her soothing voice. The next morning they moved her out.
This pod had the standard payphones and t.v. Every day, if the pods were well behaved we had longer phone and t.v. privileges. I was always dialing up some family member, and was making progress with securing the lawyer for my case. Once the lawyer made contact with my sister, things rolled along. Contact was made to my cousin and soon the attorney was on the case looking into things pro-bona, which was something he never did. He’d made an exception due to the way things were presented to him by my family, and Jeanette. I was grateful and blessed.
Along with that I was reading palms like clockwork, as well as telling this new group about my saga with Albert and TJ. It wasn’t easy keeping my sanity where those men were concerned. I’d tried dialing both, neither responding nor accepting my collect jail calls. I felt devastation rising in me, but had to quell it, so I told everyone that wanted to hear my story from beginning to end again.
I had become quite good at telling the sad, dark romantic saga. It had so many twists and turns. Soon sides were taken as to which man I’d end up with, or if I’d end up with either of them. Once I told the tale, some hearing it for the 3rd time, the other girls would mull over everything and give feedback. A prostitute nicknamed ‘Chocolate’ especially enjoyed hearing about it. It was obvious that I was holding fast to the idea that Albert would be the one, even though the odds were stacked against us. At this point he was still very fearful and fragile. My sister had called his parents and inquired for me, and always the response was vague and far away. I just didn’t understand why Albert couldn’t turn his machine on. It saddened me, but made for good conversation and debate in County with my new pod members.
I noticed that I wasn’t liked by everyone in the pod. There was a group of girls led by an Oriental woman with the longest braid I’d ever seen. Her nickname was “Hapy”, but she looked anything but, especially with the missing 'p'. She looked totally like a ‘dude’ and walked around bumping into me on purpose, probably her testing pattern. She hung with a group of heavily tattooed Latino girls. Tattoos in prison green that read “Wack” “Chica” and “Joe”. At first I was a bit nervous, but I stood my ground well and still grew popular, still having the most attention showered on me, even with a few incidents that could have sealed my fate in there if it were not for the black women’s group charging in to save me.
It seemed minor at the time, but Ivy brought a big bag of oranges in and I asked for one. She said “no” flat out. When she left I took an orange off her bed. She called me on it, but I was saved by Chocolate, who would come to my rescue many times. Another incident my 2nd night in the pod almost ruined things. I had noticed the girl above me on the top bunk had pulled off her bedding, so I assumed she’d left. She hadn’t, but I didn’t realized until I took her towel and nightgown and rolled it in my own towel as a pillow. It seemed innocent enough until she came in and asked about it. I got up and stuffed the evidence in my bedding. As soon as I left she pulled it out and made a ruckus. Ivy jumped to the occasion and was screaming along with her click of girls. But the black ladies saved me again. I was amazed as things turned as soon as they stepped up one by one and spoke out for me, making everything diffuse. I apologized profusely, swearing to learn my place from this experience. Everyone backed off. I followed the black girls into Cell 10, where I would end up time after time sitting with them talking about little memories I had about being with Albert. Talking with them about those memories helped bolster me as well as them.
“Hey, at least you had good times and happy memories…” Said one girl.
“And good sex,” chimed in Nicole, another light skinned black girl sharing the same cell.
“I think you’ll end up with Albert,” said a black woman named Marsha, whom I told the whole saga to in greater detail. She might have well been with Albert and I on our fantastic adventure that had come so abruptly to an end.
I missed him and couldn’t lie about that. Marsha noticed this and started comforting me about him. There was nothing that could be done about it, and by the time I got out, I had a feeling it would be too late. Albert was meek and I was learning that he was a total coward and could easily block out anything just to save his own pathetic world.
I hadn’t figured out why I got such crummy bedding until I remembered Slim. I spotted Her Manliness outside the pod going through fresh bedding that was piled all around her. When I came to get mine, she handed me half a bloodied sheet, a frayed blanket and pants too small for me to wear. I took the items and returned to the pod feeling more akin to ‘Turn the other cheek’ mode. I showed a few girls in the pod my bedding, even joked about it, trying to make a light situation out of it. I also showed Ivy, who could care less at the moment, even though I wore the sheet like a toga.
“Hey, you are the Trustee in here, so I’m coming to you about this,” I said, trying to instill some empowerment in the young girl. She reminded me of a female Humpty-Dumpty and didn’t have any eyebrows due to her childhood Leukemia.
She seemed a bit perplexed and was just figuring out that the pecking order power in being our Trustee was high. “You’re like a representative for us,” I said impassioned, like it meant a lot. She must have taken it to heart, because the very next day she got me a good sheet and blanket, plus an extra pad. From then on we had a nice peace, even after the few incidents that almost sealed my fate as a stupid jail pigeon.
By my 3rd day in the second pod, I had made friends with everyone but Hapy’s click. They continued to eye me across the room with menace. Sometimes when I was talking, they’d mimic my voice and prance around laughing. It unnerved me a little bit, and I had faint visions of them coming to me in the night and doing something, but I didn’t sleep anyways, so I’d always be ready if they did try, which they never attempted.
On my 3rd night in that pod I could not sleep, as usual, so I started with the Yoga. It was then I looked across the pod and spotted a girl named Rachel. She was pregnant, but still wanted to sleep on the top bunk. I watched her sitting on her pad. She had a small package of bandages and medical creams spread around her. It was the first time I’d noticed her pattern as she lifted her right leg up and unwrapped the gauze hiding her ankle. I rose up and walked slowly over to her. She didn’t protest my presence as she threw the gauze aside and held her leg with her hands. I looked closer and spotted a boil the size of a pineapple where her ankle would have been.
“How did you get that,” I asked, amazed at it.
“Shooting speed,” she said simply. The girl squeezed the medical salve out of the small tubes and spread it over the horrible abscess. “This is what you get when you don’t give a damn, but to feel that rush. I just didn’t care then, and this is what I get,” she said, looking at me intently. “You don’t belong here, Blondie. Don’t ever get like this,” she said, pointing to the wound she now began dressing in heavy gauze.
I watched in fascination as she nursed her leg with care and precision. I placed my hand on her arm and she didn’t pull away. “You’re okay, Blondie,” she said, grabbing my arm and squeezing. “A lot of people in here think you’re crazy, but I like you.”
“Thanks, Rachel.” We hugged tightly and I went back to my pad.
A few minutes later they called those going to court. Ivy, Mrs. Williams and another older black woman sat at one of the tables and I joined them. We prayed and then quietly talked. By then I was much more subdued and let others around me take the conversation. It paid off in this instance, because Ivy brought cups of steaming sweet tea, a rare treat in there, especially anyone willing to share with you. Ivy slid over a small cup of piping tea for me, which was a good gesture. She had noticed the way I had changed, and appreciated the way I didn’t rat her out for the sheet incident.
We all sat there sipping our hot drinks.
“You’ve calmed down a lot, Blondie,” said Mrs. Williams, looking up for a moment from reading her scriptures and doing her artwork to stare at me.
“She was hyper,” said the older black woman. “You were on something, weren’t you, Blondie?” Asked the well-worn woman.
“I wasn’t. It’s a natural energy,” I said.
“Say what you want, but we all know you were flying on something,” said the woman. “I was in the med pod with you.”
I still denied it, and they moved to something else. I sat there listening to their stories, which were not pretty and were mostly drug related. The older woman’s husband was also in jail. They were living in their car by the end, but used to deal drugs and have nice things until someone ratted them out. It went down hill from there for the lady. I ended up sitting with them until the son made an orange impression on the walls, and others started to rouse.
I fell into a nice group of black women. Most of them read from the Bible. I was also sketching about my pending case, and started quizzing the girls in there about it. Every now and then I’d be sitting at the table when some familiar face led me to another new face to chat about the case. It was something to occupy everybody’s time, and this issue was no exception.
“Blondie, she did the same thing as you did, and wants to talk to you,” said a tall woman in for cashing a forged check at Walmart.
A short, dark-haired white girl stood before me in the slightly dimmer of cells. I looked around the cell, which they had made very cozy in odd ways. They’d taken their hoarded supply of Kotex pads and covered the bright lights above. Soap had been melted and combined with the fiber of the pads broken open and mixed with toothpaste to be placed on the vent that spit re-circulated air like a jet engine taking off over your bunk. It was just another reason why I wasn’t sleeping, plus the sound of flushing toilets was enough to drive you mad. The commodes flushing power went above and beyond the call of duty, sounding more like hovering helicopters at close range than a latrine.
“Is this your first time?” Asked the girl as I sat on her bunk. She offered me a cookie, a rare gift in that place.
“Yes,” I answered, tearing into that cookie with a vengeance.
“Well, I could get 5 years because I cashed a check and spent the money. Did you?”
“No!” I sipped water from a milk carton.
“So nothing’s outstanding? You didn’t spend anything? You didn’t do what he says you were?” She asked.
“Yes, that’s all there is to it, except I was cheating with a neighbor. You have to understand that my boyfriend of 10 years found out I was running around on him with another guy,” I admitted, wishing these women were my judge and jury.
“I know, I know. I heard you talking about it. Man, what a story,” she said.
“So, what’s going to happen?”
“I think your boyfriend TJ did you wrong,” she stated, actually knowing his name when I’d not even met her. “Why is he doing you like that?”
“Well, isn’t it obvious?”
“You didn’t do what he’s charging, and what those charges are? You just messed around on him!”
“I was fooling around and when he found out, the guy just went a little crazy!”
“Then you should be okay. Make sure you tell them all the details. But I think this really sounds like your boyfriend TJ is out to get you because of what you did with this other guy,” she said, seeming all knowing. “I heard that other guy ducked out on you when things got weird,” she said. “Was it worth it?”
“Yes, you are right. That guy did fall out on me, but that’s the way he reacted. And, well, in some way, yes, it was worth it,” I said honestly. I thought about Albert, and wondered if he’d totally blocked everything out. How could he have? I was devastated and desperate to make contact with him and ask.
“Then you don’t need to be with Albert,” she admitted easily as we sat on her bed. “In fact, you should contact TJ and suck up to him, say you’re sorry and if he’ll let you come back. That way he’ll drop the charges,” she said easily.
“No way, I’m not going to do that,” I said.
“That’s what most figure, but if you did play TJ, than it might be better for you in the end,” she said. “He’ll think you’re coming back and he’ll drop everything. You know he only did this because he wants you back, right?”
“I can’t imagine doing that,” I stated.
“Might be the only thing to get you off in the end,” she said simply. “You might even get to see that other guy again and ask him what’s up!”
“I guess it’s something to think about,” I said as she handed me a full carton of fruit juice.
It was then I noticed how items in here were utilized. I saw this girl’s older cellmate tearing apart the Tampax pads, and at first thought she was making the vent paste, which worked wonderfully. I watched as I gulped the juice as she sat the table deftly ripping open the soft pads, removing a small amount of the fiber, then taking the outer thin paper padding and rolling it into a secure, usable tampon. It reminded me of that famous 'I Love Lucy' episode where Lucy is hiding in Cuba and sneaks into a cigar-making factory. She’s sitting at a table rolling a huge stogy, which is what this scene called up in my mind as I finished off the welcome sweet-laced liquid.
As I stared out of the cell window, I spotted Mrs. Williams calmly sitting at the table. Many times I’d watch mesmerized as Mrs. Williams spread out all her magazine clippings and newspapers, with nothing but a pencil and no eraser. She was making colorful paper by wetting the colored newspaper and softly, but deftly rubbing against it, she created a colorful rainbow on the drab prison issued pad.
Toward the end of my stint there, I’d sit intently watching her do her design work. She began writing Bible verses on them and handing the little pieces of colored paper to me. I began saving them and reading the passages out loud.
I saw another strange looking black girl make a mistake in her letter. It would have been one of many others she’d make, because she only had one eye. The girl was down right ugly and strange looking and even had stubble of beard growing. Her bad eye was only a socket with just a little bit of white showing. It also looked watering and infected. With her good eye she stared intently at her Bible and was occasionally stopping to jot down passages on the back of a paper bag. I watched her from my table. She reached down and pulled off her prison sneaker and used the tip of it to erase quite nicely. I would use it myself at times. It came in handy on many occasions.
At that moment there was a strange knock at the wall and a note slipped through a small crack between the cell door and the wall. Everyone looked at me when someone in the pod on the other side made a strange whistle call.
I slowly got off the girl’s bunk in the cell and made a slow move for the note sticking in the crack on the first landing cell door. It was for me. I grabbed it and scurried back to my table to read it. It was written in pencil on a piece of prison issued paper.
“Hi Blondie, I’m very happy for you and wish you luck with your case. I am in desperate need of a palm reading because today I got some really bad upsetting news and really need to know what is going to become of it. I have children and need to be at home with them, not here. Kimi

I read the note over and over and finally stuffed it in my only water cup, which was breaking at the seams from other notes I was starting to get, call them fan letters of sorts. There were scrawled booking numbers, Bible verses, telephone numbers, names. Unfortunately, once in a while during a strip search, the deputies would usually tear the notes out and destroy them right in your face. I was sorry I’d not kept better care to hide them.
Free At Last, Free At Last, Oh My God I’m Free At Last
It was a miracle, but everything fell into place after one more day. I went to court for a second time, but the case had been moved to Burbank, of all places.
I was chained to a young gang banger girl that was up for assault and weapons charges. She was only 19 years old. The girl was tall with long straight strawberry blond hair cascading down her back. Actually, she was truly beautiful and had a graceful voice and a classic look to her.
We were put in the holding cell at the Burbank Courthouse. There was another girl in there already. She was caught high on speed, and had the coolest leather jacket and boots I’d seen in a long time. We all sat there talking and I even did a bit of Yoga and read their palms. Soon the guard brought us lunch and we sat talking about everything that came to mind in a place like that. After lunch they came and retrieved the blond girl for court. She was going to Twin Towers after her appearance, they said to her as they clamped on a County bracelet. She was a bit outraged, but ended up adhering and not putting up much of a fuss.
She fell asleep in the corner for the rest of the day while the gang girl read to me out of a Method Acting book she had brought. I was amazed and lulled by her voice, which was soothing and interesting, especially since she was talking in an English accent to perfection. I shut my eyes and drifted in and out of sleep as the girl read for over an hour. Sometimes I awoke and squinted at the offbeat girl, making her resemble Jane Seymour in some period-themed t.v. mini-series on CBS.
Amazingly, I had a clear dream: I was waiting in a restaurant for Albert’s father to show up. He finally does show up and sits down across from me in a chair. In the background I see live fish in tanks behind him. I’m looking past him at the fish as the dream fades and I wake up in the cell.
It was the only dream I had with people. All my dreams were of empty spaces and places, and I had yet to even see Albert or TJ in my dreams.
My friend was still reading from the book in that steady, beautiful, coffered English accent. It was amazing to hear her, especially in light of where she came from. I enjoyed having her there, and for the moment, being a hardcore gang-banger didn’t bother me.
When I awoke, she told she’d been thinking about my romantic triangle that I had told her from beginning to end when we first arrived. She said that even though Albert drew away, she was sure he was the man for me. Maybe not now, but after everything calmed down. “I’ll just bet TJ wants to beat the hell out of Albert.”
“I’m sure you are guessing right,” I answered, knowing full well that one of the reasons Albert was staying away was because of the fear and embarrassment of being caught with his pants down and his pipe full, plus the fact that TJ probably wanted to beat the living tar out of the man, but had held back at the house when I was first arrested!
I told her more of my saga, leaving nothing out as I made toilet paper balls with water and slammed them up against the ceiling. She really was pushing me to be with Albert, but I think by this time I knew better. As I began scrawling Albert’s name all over the jail cell, she gave up on that, and spent the rest of our time making collect calls to her ‘Homeboys’.
“Hey, how do I get into the gang?” I asked while reclining against the concrete wall on the floor of the cell, as she spoke to one particular guy she kept referring to as ‘Rabbit’.
“Well, there’s two ways,” she explained easily, not even losing her English accent, which made her explanation sound strange and surreal. “You’ve got to get beaten up by the gang. Afterwards, if you survive, you’re in,” She explained easily. “Right Rabbit?” She asked the man on the other end.
“And the second?” I asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
“Or, you let them all have sex with you!” She took a bow, her hair flying through the air creating static electricity.
“All of them?”
“Yes, every one of them,” she said smiling.
“Even Rabbit?” I asked, smiling back brightly.
“Rules are rules,” she shot back, but not that happy about the thought.
“Which way did you chose?”
”Hmmm, you know,” she said, her smile even wider, her cheeks flaming even redder. “Hey, remember my initiation?” She asked into to the phone.
In the end, she wished me well and gave me her booking number so I could let her know what happened with Albert and TJ. In the next instant the door opened and my name was called for court. I met with my attorney first in a small cubicle beside the courtroom where he told me TJ was seated. He ran everything down to me, and we were pleading no contest, plus asking for 3 years probation.
“We’ve had a little breakthrough in the case,” he said, looking like your typical attorney.
“Great.”
“TJ made a statement at the last minute that’s going to overturn the all the counts except 1, but you may have to do a little more time,” he explained.
“Okay.”
We spoke about what I was to say and he said not to even look as TJ when I was presented in court. It was a bit unsettling to know the man would be in the courtroom. I was a bit scared and didn’t want to do anymore time. I’d learned my lesson and knew what I did. I couldn’t imagine having to do State time on this trumped up mess.
I was led into the courtroom, which cooled my flushed skin. For someone who had been in jail for almost 2 ½ weeks, I didn’t look that bad. I kept my eyes toward the judge, a nice older lady who smiled at me as I entered and took a seat.
The D.A. was present, but I didn’t look at the gentleman talking to the judge. My attorney said a few words and rendered sentence. When all was done and said, with even a little sidebar joke when the D.A. asked me directly if I understood and I said, “Yes, your honor!”
“I am not ‘Your Honor’,” said the D.A. with a hint of humor. “…She is,” he said, referring the judge and pointing to her cartoonishly. A few in the court laughed lightly.
The judge asked TJ if all was in order.
“Yes, Your Honor,” he said, his deep, booming voice through the courtroom. It was just slightly imposing when I heard it. I still looked at the judge and made no move to make eye contact with TJ, who said his full name when the judge asked him.
The sentence was just as my attorney said it would be, except I would have to do a little more time. But I would be free soon, that was for sure. I was deposited back in the holding cell where the two girls still sat. I was happy to see my 18th Street ‘cellie’. She was on the pay telephone talking to Rabbit, and had gotten just a bit distant since I came back from court, except she took time out to braid my wonderfully vibrant curly hair into many smaller ones. Then, all too soon, the door was opened and we were shuffled to the bus and chained back up together for the trip back to Twin Towers.
The Gang Girl and I sat side by side on the bus, which was chock full of male inmates who were making quite a ruckus over us. As the bus pulled out I was engaging all of them in animated conversation as the bus drove down Glendale Avenue.
We started the ride off by teasing the new girl about her fate at Twin Towers. She had never been in jail before and seemed a bit scared. Her big blue eyes were worrisome and watery as we explained good-naturedly about what the process would be. After freaking her out a bit, and making each laugh at our antics, we settled in for the ride.
“Hey, driver,” I yelled good-naturedly. “Stop, I live 1 block from here.” I pointed to Concord.
I noticed one of the male inmates in a small cage beside us had potato chips. I was starved and talked him into feeding me chips through the cage bars. It got to be very interesting as I bent down on all fours when he’d slip a small chip through the cage and I would chomp down on it like a dog. Everyone there got a kick out of it and kept cracking up. It was really like a party, and for a split second I made everyone, including myself forget we were on our way back to Twin Towers or that we had committed any crimes at all.
Everyone was screaming and carrying on because my mate and I were egging them on. We even held each other intimately and pretended to be girlfriends for real when someone guy in back yelled, “Kiss each other!” I took her in my arms and stroked her long flowing hair and kissed her full on the lips. Most of them went totally wild and before we knew it we were on the freeway getting closer to County. I was still being fed a few loose chips from the same caged inmate. Others were discussing what they did and why they were there, my chained friend and I included. I even did a bit of Yoga. People in there were freaking out of their handcuffs when I took my legs and put them over my head. We were all laughing and it didn’t even feel dirty or sexual, maybe a tinge, but definitely funny.
I had to keep my spirits up so I became the clown of the bus for a hot second. The full scope of what could have went down and where I could have been sent was setting in, and I was not looking forward to the strip search, and wished they had just released me from Burbank. Here I was on my way back to the jail. At least I’d be able to say goodbye to my friends in the pod and let them know the outcome.
“What did they tell you?” I asked my comrade chained to me once things started calming down on the bus. She wasn’t as friendly as before and sat solemnly, even ignoring the guy she’d slipped her booking number too earlier.
“I could get 25 years to life,” she said, just slightly huffing over it.
I wish she’d said it in her English accent, which would have made the blow easier, almost like she was still reading from that Method Acting book. She got quieter the closer we got to the jail, even telling me to shut up a few times when I started explaining to the girl in front of us more about what will happen when she gets to County.
“I’m sorry,” I said, putting my hand on her shoulder to comfort. It stirred a few in the back, but we didn’t take it to a higher level because of the grave circumstances. Her bail was way over $100,000.00 and she was looking at a lot of time. I saw she was crying, her little clear, thin tears rolling down her classic looking cheeks.
“I’m glad things worked out for you. So your old boyfriend came through and the other guy bailed on you,” she said, not even meeting my eyes, but letting me flick away some of the tears. “I think we know who has the real balls in this story,” she added.
“It looks that way,” I answered, my heart feeling sad and sick over how things seemed to be headed. And now I was going back to County even though things were going to be dropped. By this time I’d gotten pretty strong though. Soon I would be released.
Once back at County, we were taken through the usual rigors of the strip search and I barely blinked before it was over. The deputy asked me where my pod was and I answered correctly, even calling her ‘sir’ by accident.
It all went down hill in my pod when I’d raced excitedly inside, hands in pockets, a smile on my face telling all. It had gone well for the Palm Reading Lady in court. I told the story over and over to every group in the joint. By then, I’d made friends (from reading their palms) with Hapy’s click of girls, which seemed to be the worst group of girls. It did put a strain on my allies, but in the end even they understood and allowed it to bloom toward the end.
I was to be released. At the last minute there was a miracle! TJ ended up making a statement and they dropped all 82 bogus counts 1, which was indeed a blessing. The D.A. probably realized at the midnight hour, that this was nothing more than a trumped up love spat.
As I moved and sat at every table in the place, little knit-picky fights started breaking out around me. I finally settled in with Marsha and her clan, with a few new hanger-ons, who were rooting for me too. But my impending release caused a bit of underlying unrest in the pod of mixed girls. As I went around and hugged some of the older girls I’d met, I realized the impression left by a good soul like myself who actually found her calling in jail. It was not all for naught.
“Mama,” I called to one Latino woman who once saved me from Ivy and her cronies. “I’m going to miss you,” I said, going up to her bunk where she was wrapped in a County blanket.
“God bless you, Blondie! You’ve really learned a lot in here,” she said, grabbing me and hugging me close to her ample bosom. “Don’t forget God and continue praying and reading the Bible. You are very special,” she said while stroking my curly hair. We’d grown close in two weeks, closer than most in there.
I’d also made friends with a few others I called Mama. I hugged them as well, and they in turn held me close. It was a genuine feeling and I felt that some of these girls were like my mothers and sisters. Jail had not been fully what I’d expected. In some ways, I’d learned so much, and it didn’t even feel like jail all the time.
As I was wolfing down my 3rd baloney sandwich and handful of carrots, a fight broke out over a small bag of coffee that had been accidentally thrown out by Gail, who had just found out she would be serving 2 years for growing marijuana. The Heather Locklear, 18th Gang girl in for kidnapping her boyfriend with some of her Homies actually jumped Gail and started pounding on her head. It was the first real physical violence I’d seen at the facility and I was shocked. Other than Amazon Lady’s antics in the med ward, I’d not seen a lot.
Some new fights start breaking out all around me so the deputies put a quick end of our party. A day before they delivered their weekly canteen orders of candy, chips, dip, etc. It was a once a week deal, and if you had money in your account, than you could order to your hearts content. Coffee had been lifted from someone’s package, and they had even pilfered what little I ordered when my attorney popped $25.00 in the account. I was in heaven. But now they were fighting, and I was actually being locked down and it felt serious. They locked me in with two Spanish girls, one being a full fledged 18th Streeter. The girl actually had a full color tattoo of her husband on her back, but was all banged up and bruised. The other girl had eaten my candy when I was at court. She looked like she could use a good meal. She didn’t speak (or she pretended not to speak) English well.
We were locked in for hours as the deputies played weird rap music through the p.a. system and kept us waiting for count until way after midnight. At first when they locked us up, a tall, handsome deputy rushed to my cell door and tried to say I was involved in starting all the fights. They must have observed me going from table to table, almost looking like an ‘insighter’, when in reality I was saying good bye and reading the last of the palms in the pod. God must have shined on me, because one of my Mamas in the day room directed him to the next cell, saying that Blondie had nothing to do with it. At the last second he moved away from the cell door and continued on where they’d locked up Heather Locklear! She was immediately removed and taken outside the pod.
It went from bad to worse as I tried to keep the girls in my cell up so when they came to count us, we’d be by the door as ordered. But the deputies never came and we all became edgy, me included. I whined and kept getting a little tickle in my throat, until Ms. Gang Banger tried to say I was doing it on purpose. I argued with her and for the first time believed I might have been in danger. She was totally turned off to me as she lay in the bottom bunk once occupied by a girl they nicknamed Gumby. She began threatening to beat my face in if I kept up my noise. I was truly getting on this woman’s nerves. I watched her as she lay on her back. She had butterfly stitches to close a wound above her eyebrow. Her arms were full of bumps and scratches from when the cops threw her down. Finally they counted us and the other girls fell asleep in record time.
Before I knew it, the lights were on and a deputy’s voice was blaring over my intercom to pay attention. “Roll it up, roll it up, you’re being released!”
I jumped up and down screaming and shouting. “Oh thank you, thank you. I love you!”
“No, we were only kidding, you are not being released, get back to your bunk!” Said the sarcastic voice back at me.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, actually putting my hands in my pockets and bowing my head, ready to go back to the dining room table I’d been trying to sleep on.
“Wait a minute, stop,” said the same female voice. “We’ll let you go. Roll it up!”
“Oh, really?”
“Nah, it’s not time. Forget it, you are not going free today,” boomed out another deputy’s voice.
As I walked dejectedly back to my bunk, the voice boomed again as clear as day, “No, we were really joking with you, Pretzel Lady. You are free to go. You’re being released. Roll it up!”
All of a sudden, like a ray of sunshine after a tropical storm, the door clicked open and I grabbed all my things and hightailed to the landing. I was whooping it up and screaming with happiness. Everyone started cheering me on and I went from bunk to bunk hugging anyone who reached out to me. I had become so close with those girls, even the bad ones in the end.
After saying my goodbyes and shoulder cries, I went to the cell door and it clicked open. I pushed it too hard, making the contraption slam against the wall loudly, which made me think they’d keep me in for the small infraction. I had seen it done, but this time they didn’t. I ran down to the watch room, shirt tucked in, hands in pockets, head down, feeling like one of the slaves from The Ten Commandants. I was checked through 10 minutes later and kept turning around to wave at my comrades in pod B. All of them waved back at me. I could see their ghostly shapes moving up and down on their bunks, some of their faces pressed against the window. I would actually miss many of them and had collected a few phone numbers. Before I turned around, I noticed Hapy on her feet in her cell waving frantically at me, smiling a wide wicked grin, her Oriental features more defined. I was amazed, and waved back at her.
As I was led with a few others to the receiving area I passed a strange pod and heard a heavy bang on the window! It was Scarface, of all people. She looked like a little girl staring back at me in a picture window, not the menacing lady I’d seen when I first was brought in. I couldn’t believe the transformation as I waved back and mouthed that I was being released. She actually jumped up and down, then stopped and said deadpan, “I don’t want to ever see you back here again!” With that she turned away from me and strode back into the dim lit pod she called home.
We were slowly de-processed, but it took a lot of hours. I was grouped with 3 other women, one being a 300-pound, black-haired monster. She had a heavy, deep voice with a hint of Spanish accent, and she hated me from the moment I fell in line with her in the hallway. I was chatting with the other younger girl about what we were going to do when we got out. The other girl recognized me as the Palm Lady, and I promised to read hers as soon as we got to the holding cell.
The big girl kept telling me to shut up and stop talking, and I defied her all the way. By the time they led us out of the dressing room, and we were in our own clothes again, I had bugged her to my close extinction by her standards. She was very angry and kept cursing me out and threatening me. Her friend, another fat girl, was more open to conversation. So was the other girl with us.
There was another girl put in with us, a weird black girl wearing a parker like she was straight from New York City. She said they’d picked her up for drugs and she looked pretty messed up lying there on the ledge of the holding cell with propped up county uniforms as her pillow. There had been a toilet flood and water had seeped into some of her pillow, but she didn’t seem to care and lounged back like it was her bedroom, even with dirty water spots creeping up the lapels of her oversized jacket. I paced and talked to the girls that wanted to, which was everyone but the fat monster, who announced she was going to take a crap, and proceeded to do her thing right there, uncaring of who watched. By that time, I had become used to this sort of thing and just accepted it. Soon I’d be free, so I read Ms. New York’s palm. Her hand was well worn, the lines cutting deeply into the skin, almost like tattoos. She reminded me of an African statue of deep mahogany brown burnished wood. I enjoyed reading her hand, which was in direct contrast to her crime.
As the fat woman did her thing, I looked out the cell window and spotted a male inmate being processed across the hallway. I got his attention and pushed my tongue against the window of our cell door. He spotted me and smiled back, doing the same action. The fat monster saw me do this. After she was done and flushed the jet toilet, she came over to the window, banged on it, and pulled up her shirt, exposing her ample bosom. She took one of them and held it up against the window for the same inmate to see. The woman turned and sneered at me, laughing at her friend, quite proud of herself.
A minute later the deputies came to get us, calling out our names loudly, telling us to step out of the cell. When they didn’t call her name, she said, “What about me?”
“No, you stay here,” said one female deputy holding up her hand.
“We saw what you did. You’re staying right here,” said another deputy as they filed the rest of us out before the fat one could protest. The heavy cell door was slammed shut in her face.
“That’s what happens when you get smart,” they warned us as we made our way down the hallway, away from the holding cells.
“What’s going to happen to her?” I whispered to her friend as we walked.
“They’ll delay her release for a few hours. I didn’t want to say a thing. I want out of here. The heck with her,” said the girl, who didn’t even have a decent shirt to wear. Her skimpy one was stained with her own blood. It was ripped almost to shreds. When we got to the property section, an officer behind the desk took pity, giving her a better shirt to wear, and that suited her much more. We were all just so grateful to be set free.
My brother is a property officer at another county jail back east, and now I got a full scope of what his job entailed as they told us to follow the hallway to a small window and show the property officer your booking bracelet. Once you showed it and got your property, he cut the manacle off. It was like being at the dry cleaners as he pushed a button and everything was moving like on a conveyor belt. Your property came up amongst literally thousands of other parcels, and he’d hand it to you with your purse.
I couldn’t imagine, as I retrieved my property, how my brother could do such a job for such a long period of time, almost 20 years! He did not know I had been arrested and I’d not talked to him or my older brother in years. It was just another ironic piece of the pie I had to endure.
Finally, we entered the last phase in our release and I thanked God that the guards hadn’t seen my tongue antics in the holding cell. We lined up single file at this huge blue door. Before that stage, a young, attractive dark haired female deputy stopped me. “Hey, don’t I know you? What do you do for a living?” She asked me as we stood in the last part of the jail facility before freedom rang through.
“I’m a writer, but I’ve done some movie work,” I stated nervously.
She looked at my booking picture lying on the table and I realized why she’d noticed me. I was smiling brightly into the camera and the mug shot would have made an excellent photo resume. She stared from my picture to me and shook her head. “Get out of here Girlfriend, and I don’t want to see any of you back here!” She said, using that one word that made my heart deflate thinking about the demise of Albert and I.
Suddenly, the big blue door popped open and we literally ran like madwomen out the door to the front lobby, where we were free. I hugged the girls and we went on our way out the front doors of the jail. It was 4:30 a.m. It felt weird being in the outside air, which was brisk, but welcome.
As I walked out of the jail, I had to make a decision and had just been released after almost 3 weeks in County.
Now I was finally outside the jail walls and all I could think of was one thing as I raced down the dark downtown streets. It was 4:30 am as I ran across Cesar Chavez Blvd. A strange car pulled up. There was a black man sitting in it and he shouted to me as I ran across the street. “Hey, Baby, I got your transpo right here…hey, don’t be scared, don’t run!”
I did run, with all my breath until my lungs began to burn. I jaunted on, not stopping until I reached the gates of Union Station and ducked inside the safety of its walls, which, by now was crowded with early commuters. I bought a ticket to Glendale and only had 3 minutes to catch the Metro Link. I ran down the long hallway that led to the tracks and just made it onboard within seconds, not even out of breath. I ducked in a bathroom on the train and cleaned up as best a person could.
They had given me back my same clothes, unwashed. I looked at my image staring back at me in the mirror, something I’d not had access to in a long time. My hair had been jail braided by my gang chum in the holding cell the afternoon before. It still held tightly, giving me a rebellious looking glint to my flushed face. My eyes looked a little beady and hardened, but I was determined to try and get up to Albert’s house before he left like clockwork for his lab job.
The train rode smoothly as I took my seat and stared out the picture window trying to emulate the few other passengers sitting sporadically throughout the plush car. It wasn’t long before the train pulled into the station, and I then boarded a local bus, which took me as far as Bond and Glen Road, 10 blocks from my Ground Zero target.
I sprinted up to Kensington Road, blindly running towards his house, not thinking of how I must have looked at that moment – desperate and a bit bedraggled. As I ran, it was already apparent in the recesses of my mind that he didn’t want to see me, but I raced onward, passing street after street, the clock ticking toward the time he usually left for work. The man was always a stickler.
I finally reached ‘our corner’, the same corner we’d exchanged long goodbye kisses in the now passed midnight darkness with only the full, bright moon witnessing us in our passionate action. The very same spot where I felt he was the soldier being sent away to war every time our lips parted, when in reality it was me who had been sent instead, but unfortunately we would both become casualties of it. I stood a moment in reflection, my heart twisted, already knowing the outcome, already sensing the end. I also remembered a wonderful letter he’d sent me, and that gave me just a little bit more strength and hope.
I am absolutely in love with you. I loved our day. I love being with you. I can see myself buying a house so we could live together. I am serious - I feel like a true friend with you, and the infinite magic is just waiting for us like eggs on a lawn outside our door (on an Easter morning - wet with dew). The spiritual glimpses I caught of our Chi really impress me. I am just dying to be with you in so many ways, each one new like one's first pony ride. Your leg felt so good. I really was surprised after that. Thank you for making my day!!!! I wish we could curl up together in bed and feel each other's warm breaths on a cold night, under the covers like kids with flashlights and toys. I wish you were here right now. I dream of you without closing my eyes. My life force draws out from its body and my heart pounds irregularly - just to inch closer to bathe in your flow. I am drawn to your whirlwind, sucked into your black hole, consumed by your presence, and still, I stand at your alter with a cornucopia of life. I also loved the hugs!!!!! Sorry I got scared tonight. I hid in Brand Park till after 8PM. See you Friday? Love Albert

I had to stop and catch my breath, which was ragged and short while gazing longingly for a moment at the familiar driveway, stopping only to catch my wind and stare at the house, nothing amiss, nothing out of place, as if time never passed. It would be interesting to see if I acted like nothing was wrong, and pretended to be making one of my usual visits. It was a funny notion and would never come to fruition as I strode evenly toward his door and knocked softly a few times. He didn’t answer though. I knocked a few more times with no success. It was just as I thought. I paused a moment and lifted my left palm up, easily spotting the “X” above my own Heart Line signaling the disastrous ending to this Romeo and Juliet story. I even half-tried the doorknob, which didn’t budge either. It was just another one of his silent answers to my asking why.
I turned toward the main door and rang the bell boldly. Albert’s mother came to the window and from the sour expression on her face. She wasn’t as inviting as the first time. But the woman wasn’t as upset as she was the second time, the night of the arrest. She screamed at me to get away and waved her arms in exasperation. I looked at her through the window noticing her face, which was devoid of any makeup, making her look like an old hag, certainly not the smiling Mama’s boy Mama that had greeted me months earlier. The bags under her eyes seemed to reflect my own heavy baggage in the situation.
“Please, let me explain…please open the door!” I screamed frantically, all of a sudden feeling like Casey in the med ward cell. I caught my reflection in the door glass standing there in the same clothes I was arrested in, wearing tiny jail braids, my curls also making quite an impression, as if I had a lot of time on my hands. “Can’t you at least hear my side of the story?” I tried unsuccessfully to get her to at least open the door, but I didn’t want any more trouble. God knows I brought enough on this family to last them a lifetime.
I had my answer and began to weep as I walked slowly back up the driveway and around the corner to Pacific. I walked down the steep street hoping against hope that I’d see Albert coming out after me, or even going to his car for work, but it didn’t happen.
As I cried and walked back dejectedly and beaten, I passed the street where Albert’s best friend Benny lived. It was a long shot, but I was hoping that Benny would be there. I dried my tears and continued to draw from the reserve energies I’d built up in jail doing the Yoga.
The family dog Cody at first barked and growled when I approached the driveway, but quickly recognized me when I pushed the gate open as I had on many occasions when Albert and I went to Benny’s.
Benny also had a great job and lived with his parents, but had a ‘functioning alcoholic’ existence, so I didn’t know how much real help I’d get from Albert’s childhood pal. I slowly walked down his driveway until I came to the main house. His Camero was parked on the street, so I opened the gate and walked downstairs toward his door, which was wide open, as it always was. I had half expected it to be bolted and double locked.
Immediately, memories of ‘our place’ rang deep in my heart, which was breaking in pieces the closer I got to the main room. Albert’s guitar, bass and rig sat in the corner of the room, looking lonely and dusty. I missed him so much, but it would seem he was dealing with his emotions in a worse way than I had first anticipated. Obviously the man had blocked out everything about us, and was much more messed up about it than I thought, probably thinking I used him to get TJ jealous. I recalled times toward the end when he’d ask if I really liked him, almost as if he didn’t believe all the amoré between us any longer.
Benny’s space was very down-home and hippy-cozy, but a fine sheen of dust covered everything. When he was 12, the shy guy dragged his bed down to the cellar and basically, since then, had built a room around himself over the years. He was well ensconced there.
His mother traced family histories, and you could see it stuffed along the shelves of Benny’s quarters. It could almost be a pack rats dream, seeing as nothing, especially on paper, could be thrown out. I remember one particular evening when I’d gone over there with Albert. I spied an old antique looking box. Inside were well preserved Boy Scout ribbons, little toys and things a boy puts away and gives to his future generations. It was turn-of-the-Century, and I spent hours pouring over the contents while sitting in my usual recliner in front of the rigs and television. I had read somewhere that these boxes, if intact, can be worth thousands of dollars. This one was totally intact and complete.
Albert was playing bass to the Grateful Dead, but he didn’t seem to have the playing talent to really sound good and was worlds away from TJ in that arena.
Benny would usually be laid back and sitting in his favorite stool while Albert and I pawed all over each other, sometimes for hours holed up in Benny’s bathroom, which had become our love den. I had enjoyed my time over there and have fruitful memories, and always would. But I’d forgotten in all our ardor that Benny might have resented the fact that Albert and I would be so into each other, basically blocking out the rest of the world while we lived in, and for our own. In fact, Benny could be almost classified as a Krista version for Albert. It was selfish and obviously we’d paid the price.
Albert and I had spent a lot of time at Benny’s house, mostly sneaking into the bathroom together. Inside those tiled walls we’d crack up with laughter over little things while holding each other tightly. There was a lot of holding, hugging and nudging between us when we were at Benny’s. I longed for those evenings, they were sharp in my mind and represented a place where I could languish in Albert’s pudgy arms forgetting about the world, not ever being pressed or controlled on a dime. In our world it was always given freely and willingly. I’m sure there could have been a better way to handle things by the time control was lost, but we were both immature in this area, he more so than I had first anticipated.
Now it was a little after 7:30 a.m. when I walked into Benny’s dusty quarters in the basement of his parent’s house. As I suspected, he was dead asleep, not having to get to his MIS job for an insurance company that he’d held for 12 years until 10AM. He was a drinker, usually staying up very late, so I didn’t know what his mood would be like. The guy was very quiet, totally ‘internal dialogue’ until he had 2 or 3 vodka screwdrivers in his system. I liked him, but since the whole episode turned upside down on his best friend and me, I surmised that he really deep down inside didn’t want to see Albert and I together again. I could feel the vibe as soon as I walked into his bedroom and spotted him in the dimness entangled in the same dark blue sheets as always. From the looks of it when he finally roused a bit and focused in on me standing there, he was suffering from a ‘jealous man thing’, which could be interpreted in several ways. He was quiet and soft-spoken, but certainly prone to wishing the negative on us. And I would not put it passed them that they might have even been a lot closer than just simple boyhood friends. I was starting to believe anything was possible, including basic loyalties and where they lay.
“Benny, are you up?” I called out into the bedroom to the left of the bathroom, which I stared at longer than necessary. Even our love bathroom resembled the state of Albert’s bass and guitar. “Benny, I don’t mean to bother you, but can I talk to you please?”
He lay sprawled out on his bed wrapped in that blue sheet. He acknowledged me and tried to fully wake up, and finally did, but wasn’t spending a lot of words or explanations as to why Albert was playing the hide and seek game with me. I think we both knew why after I relayed my experience with Albert’s mother earlier. The bleary-eyed man seemed to sympathize, but still didn’t have any solutions by the time he used ‘our’ bathroom and came back out. He sat at his stool in front of his computer and lit a Camel. I begged one from him and sat in my usual spot, slowly smoking the cigarette, the first in almost 3 weeks.
“What happened? Why didn’t Albert try to contact me?” I sounded whiny and desperate as I took long, heavy drags off the Camel.
“I don’t know. At first he didn’t believe you were in jail because your friend called and I erased the message,” he relayed. “First we thought she said you were staying with her and were out,” he said lamely. “You know Albert! I told him he should have tried to get your side of this, but he didn’t. It might also have something to do with TJ. I think Albert is really scared right now!”
“So the past 5 months are forgotten? Nothing meant anything to him now?” I was crushed, but stronger than I thought. “I can understand his fear of TJ, but did he have to be such a weenie about it?” I stared full on at Benny and felt light-headed from the tobacco rush.
“I really don’t know,” he said, his eyes cast down at the floor. “I guess at first he talked about you a lot for about a week, then he didn’t talk about it at all anymore.”
I began to cry, tears springing into my eyes. “I know a lot of his actions are because of his mother!” I discussed everything with Benny, who always lent a listening ear. I told him some of the adventures I had in jail, as well as other tidbits about my future with Albert, which didn’t look very bright anymore! In the end, I must have shocked him with my jail stories and thoughts about Albert and I. It seemed he had no other friends but Albert in his life, and had virtually no contact with his parents, who lived upstairs and were barely visible, so I should have known then, but was desperate, even if it meant becoming part of the ‘feeding frenzy’ everyone concerned was on.
“Could you call Albert’s job and say there’s an emergency?”
“I guess,” said Benny. But I could tell he didn’t really want to get that involved.
I dialed Albert’s work number, knowing it by heart and gave the cell phone to Benny. In a second he asked for Albert, then said thanks and hung up. “He’s not in today!”
I didn’t believe Benny, and his guilty eyes wavered up against my own knowing ones! We hung out a bit more and chatted, him trying to give me his spin on things. I made a few calls, used the bathroom I’d clung to Albert in as we lived our Live Universe, which had become a ’Locked Universe’!
I actually called my cousin and put her and Benny on with her. They spoke briefly and it got down to the fact that Albert and I were finished for the time being. “Basically, Albert told me they were broken up, and that’s all I know,” said Benny into his cell phone. There wasn’t much else to say except to hand the phone back to me. It had seemed easier for him to say that to her than to me. I chatted with my cousin and made arrangements to come to her home in Manhattan Beach where I could stay a few days.
I hung up and turned to Benny, thanking him for his help. I hugged him closely, none of the passion of Albert and I coming through for us. I knew now it was basic chemistry that threw people together. There was nothing more for me to do but hope Benny told Albert what I had said and wanted. It was 50 – 50 that Benny would be as impassioned as I had been. Chances were high that Albert wouldn’t even respond to the heartfelt note I’d left at Benny’s. I hugged Benny one more time. He was very tall, and looked like something out of the Sixties, but alcohol was getting the best of him. You could see it in his eyes and the way his hair was thinning out and how he tried to hide it.
At the last second he offered to drive me anywhere I wanted to go, so I asked if he’d drive me to the police station so I could pick up my property. He didn’t blink an eye, only nodded and said he would.
We drove in his snazzy car and didn’t talk much. I asked him to drive by Albert’s place one more time, just to see. He did. Nothing came of it. We didn’t spot a thing, not even Albert’s car. It was very tragic. We made one final swoop then continued down Pacific to Brand.
As we drove passed the driveway one last time, I was feeling very sad, but still had energy even though I’d chain-smoked 4 Camels. I felt lightheaded and dry mouthed. Benny pulled up to the Glendale Police Dept. I got out and thanked him again. He drove off and I was headed for the police station to get some of my property back.
As I was making calls in a Ralphs parking lot, an old friend of mine spied me as she walked by. I was talking to TJ on the pay phone and we were yelling and snarling at each other. It was really bad and I was screaming like a madwoman at him.
I told her the whole ugly story and she offered to take me to her house where I could make any phone calls I needed. I called my attorney first, who advised I take a police escort to TJ’s house to get my stuff and Disability check. I checked in with my probation officer and made plans to visit him in a few hours. Connie agreed to take me to where I needed to go. First stop was TJ’s to pick up the check, then the check cashing place.
We drove slowly to my old house and pulled up about ½ a block from the house. There was a man standing on the lawn. He looked like an uncover policeman. I approached carefully ready to identify myself to this good-looking officer I didn’t recognize. As I got closer, I opened my mouth to ask for TJ when I realized it was TJ standing there. He’d cut his hair very short and looked almost decent for someone who put me in jail.
“I have your check inside,” he said calmly, his blue eyes watery and shaky. I followed him into our house and immediately he started crying like a baby. I followed him into the bedroom, which was devoid of anything of mine. My collages and paintings had been removed and all my stuff was pushed in a corner in boxes in the living room.
We faced each other and both started crying like babies until we were in each other’s arms and holding each other tightly. I felt his sweat, but it wasn’t a mean sweat … it was more akin to a scared-of-losing-something-dear sweat! He looked at me and just cried and hiccupped every now and then between trying to get a hold of his jagged emotions.
“Let’s pray,” he said simply. He walked over to his nightstand and pulled out a Bible. “I’ve changed and have been giving my life to God, and doing a lot of praying…” The man looked totally serious and driven.
“Okay, let’s pray then,” I said, totally in shock at what I found here. TJ seemed different. He admitted everything about himself to me, saying he was wrong and should have been more attentive and nurturing, things that Albert had given to me, despite the way things were there, and how he basically abandoned me right from the beginning of my jail stint.
Now here was TJ, the man I’d ran away from, standing there looking not triumphant, but more forlorn. “So, what are you going to do now?” He asked.
“I don’t know.” I didn’t have many options. I still had to go and cash the check and see my probation officer. I stared at him intently. At that moment, maybe we deserved a second chance at something. It would be extremely hard dealing with all the issues that came between us because of my tryst with Albert.
It was so strange being there. The strong feeling of wanting to run as fast as I could rose up in, but something also rooted me to the spot. I saw my 20-year-old cat Berlin jump down from the window and ran to pick him up, holding him in my arms crying hysterically. TJ came up behind and comforted lightly. I did notice a subtle difference in the usually hardened man. TJ was hurting and human like I was and was crying again before I left in Connie’s car. From the street Connie saw us hug tightly. I didn’t like the expression on her face when I got back in.
“You’re going to get back with him, aren’t you?” She asked sternly.
“You should have seen it, Connie! He took out the Bible and we prayed together for the first time ever!” My face was flushed and I was breathing fast.
“I hope you are not going to move back with him,” she admonished.
“It’s okay, Connie, I’m not getting back with him. I just liked the way he was acting. It seems he’s changed because of it. Maybe God has his reasons. I don’t know….”
“I think you should get out and start your own life. Isn’t that why you wanted to get away from him in the first place? Remember, I knew you long before you met Albert. You would always talk about how you wanted to get away from TJ, but couldn’t. Now you can,” she said wisely.
A fear rose up in me. I know how TJ could be. I still saw blood in his eye over what I’d done and whom I done it with. Albert only lived up the street with only a football field to protect him. I could tell by looking at TJ that he’d be quite capable of doing some serious damage and wouldn’t hesitate.
Suddenly, as I drove with Connie down Brand again, headed to the check-cashing place, she stopped the car and told me to get out because she remembered some important non-existent errand she had to do. She could sense that I was considering going back to TJ after all that man had done to me, and all I’d thrown at him. She shook her head at me and words were not necessary. I exited the car and headed for the bus stop.
I rode the 180 all the way to the probation office. It turned out that I met with an assistant and had to come back tomorrow. I gave my info and left there, heading back to Glendale, via the 180 to Brand. I cashed my check finally, bought a few phone cards and a pack of cigarettes. I called my cousin, who was expecting me at her home in Manhattan Beach, where she was going to let me stay. I declined her offer, and said I was staying with Connie and her husband. I hung up and dialed TJ’s number. He answered and came and got me.
I stood on the curb by the check cashing place, it’s florescent lighting making everything look seamy and grit-flecked, even as I lit my cigarette and smoked it deeply while munching on potato chips and sipping heavily from a bottle of Coca-Cola. I felt hardcore standing there, but soon TJ’s white Camry pulled into the driveway and I was back with him.
He seemed kinder, more aware of not scaring me. He was a man with a high level temper that I know he had trouble controlling throughout the 5 months of my ’bliss’ and his ‘piss’. As it became harder for me to maintain my world, it was harder still for TJ to escape the pain our actions did, whether they be his or mine.
We drove back to our house on Stocker Street via Central, and pulled into the all too familiar driveway. My still un-running car was parked way down in the driveway and the face of our diligent neighbor Wayne still poked his face from the chair he’d parked himself up on the balcony where his family managed the building next door.
I walked into the house quickly. All my property was in a corner of the living room in a neatly stacked pile. He hadn’t thrown it out. The cat was in its usual spot in the bedroom in back. Everything looked neat and clean. He’d even managed to pay the rent all by himself, no thanks to me. The man had painted the whole house single handedly. Rooms reflected tones of browns, which suited the mood and circumstances. It even matched all my paintings and collages that were now stacked and covered almost waiting for burial. A lot of positives would come out of this, that I was sure of. I was already feeling them strongly.
It was on a whim that I picked up the phone and dialed Benny’s cell phone. He picked up on the third ring and simply said, “He’s here now!”
I hung up my heart beating a mile a minute. I just had to get up to him. At that moment, TJ came back inside. He’d been next door borrowing some movies.
“Hey, I feel so free that I want to drive to 7-11,” I said, trying to make my voice steady and calm. “Can I?”
TJ looked at me from across the room with some suspicion, but actually relented and tossed me the keys to his Camry parked in our driveway. I grabbed them and headed for the door. I easily sat in TJ’s neat car and drove toward Glenoaks. I took Highland directly to Benny’s house feeling very nervous, but safely parked by the curb. It was dark by then as I made my way to Benny’s quarters. I could hear two voices as I walked into the music room and saw Albert standing in the corner. My brain felt like it was ready to explode as I ran across the room trying to get to Albert, who had the most frightened expression on his baby-cheeked face, like the image of a deer in bright headlights before its life is snuffed out by your car.
He ran passed me. “Don’t come near me,” he yelled. “You’re evil…Get away from me!” He zipped out the door.
“Wait, Albert, please just hear my side of the story!” I ran out after him.
He’d brought along his dog Chipper, and as I ran toward him, the faithful pup’s leash got entangled in my leg and I almost fell to the pavement.
“We’ve broken up. I don’t want to see you anymore,” he screamed, on the verge of tears himself. The man I thought would welcome me back didn’t wait for my answer, but rather made a mad dash sprint to his car parked on the street. In a flash, he was gone into the night, as if he was never there.
I cried into the steering wheel as Benny came running out. “What happened?”
“He drove away like we never existed,” I screamed. “How can he do this to me, Benny?” I asked, looking at the tall man standing by TJ’s car.
He had no answer for me as I gunned the engine and blasted the radio. “Well, the hell with him then,” I shouted into the night. I took off to 7-11, Benny’s image fading as fast as Albert’s had. I continued on to the store then back to my house on Stocker where TJ had been restlessly waiting for me. I saw his pacing figure in our front yard as I drove into the driveway and got out of the car casually.
“What took you so long? Did you go to see Him?” TJ stood on the sidewalk, feet spread apart, arms in front of him, resembling the cops that guarded me in jail.
“What? Are you kidding? I just was talking to the guy at 7-11 and got caught up, that’s all,” I said.
“I hope so,” he answered as we went into the house.
We ended up sitting on the bed and talking most of the night. Some of it got a bit heated when open talk of intimate details of what Albert and I were doing for 5 months popped up. I ended up guzzling half a bottle of red wine and was pretty darn drunk, so was open, maybe too close for comfort. We got through it.
“Oh, didn’t I tell you? Remember when my mom dated this guy named Curtis when you first met me?” Asked TJ, not taking his baby blues from my wavering brown ones.
“So what are you saying?” My mind was swimming in red wine.
“Well, it’s the same Curtis as in Albert’s Uncle Curtis!”
TJ saw the surprise and shock register in my eyes. “I don’t believe it!”
“Well, believe it, Sister,” he shot back. “Curtis and my mother were together for 10 years. My family used to go swimming up at Albert’s house, and Albert even had a crush on my sister!” TJ stood there, hands on hips, a bit of fury escaping his chiseled features. He was still a very handsome man, and had even taken off weight. He looked leaner and less meaner as I spent time with him.
“I can’t believe that. Unreal!” I stated, while looking off into space and thinking of the times Albert and I wouldn’t leave his room until Uncle Curtis, his mother’s brother, left the premises. It would seem true though, or how else would TJ know that info? God put out weird interferences and messages. The connection here was unreal and very hard to swallow. I remembered so well how many times Albert would be frozen in his tracks and didn’t budge until his Uncle Curtis drove away. Out of all the families in the world, it still connected me straight back to TJ!
When I was first arrested, TJ had contacted his family, filling them all in on the gory details, including the trumped up charges against me. When he mentioned whom I was carrying on with, his mother knew who it was and couldn’t believe it, nor could his sister!
“You mean that little troublemaker?” Asked his mother, who had known and associated with Albert’s mother when the woman went through tumor surgery many years ago, way before TJ and I had met. TJ’s mother even visited Albert’s mom in the hospital back then. “I can’t believe that. My God. Curtis’s nephew was always in trouble back then. I just can’t believe it!”
It was ominous and totally off the wall, but totally true.
“I’ll even take you over to Curtis’s place tomorrow,” offered TJ. “He only lives up the street here on Stocker.”
“Okay,” I agreed, still not truly believing the by-chance things that fate throws in your way, especially if you are going about things in a bad and wrong way. The Karmic forces were always at work weaving their magic or fate.
As promised, the next day TJ and I walked to Curtis’s apartment down the street from our house. As we walked, we chatted about the usual things, the conversation easily shifting to Albert. Like Cancer, we were going through the various stages, and were only in the vague acceptance stage.
We walked up our very familiar streets headed to Curtis’s like we’d done it every day of our lives. The air was a bit warm, but I had felt wonderful being free. All last night I kept getting up and walking around, checking the refrigerator, walking in and out of unlocked doors and even used the bathroom several times with ease. I was so grateful to be out.
TJ’s willingness to try working it out with me was even more of a curve ball for me to deal with. I felt torn and guilty. He did put me away over the checks, granted. But something inside me wanted to try to at least give it one last shot with him. It’s all we could cling on to and do. The world was becoming a violent place and people reacted to it on their own levels, as we would find out down the road.
As we walked toward Curtis’s, I thought about everything. I sneaked a look
toward where Albert’s house still stood, and imagined he was pretty shaken from all this. I knew that TJ and I were. Everyone deals with things in their own way. Eventually God shows you by allowing certain things to fall into place finally. It’s not easy going back to the 10-year relationship, but a snap to jump ship to a 5-month fairytale.
Believe it or not, I did gain certain things from being with a passive person. I shared intermittent times of a peaceful bliss with someone else for a while. When TJ shattered that thin bond of serenity, it was like breaking a fine antique bowl made a thousand years ago. There was no way any glue or potion would fix that breakage, especially if the pieces ended up being too delicate or fragile to hold together, which was the case with Albert. Besides, I was picking up that the man was trying to pass himself off once again as ‘the good boy’.
On the other hand, TJ was more like a piece of tough rubber that bent in the wind, then snapped back to attention. He was and always would be a tough love sort of guy. He craved sex all along, but I couldn’t feel it as intensely as I did with another who was now lost to me. I still had a problem with it as TJ and I progressed with working it out. Nothing was perfect, but by the 3rd week of me living back with him, things remained stable.
I had contacted my cousin and had enrolled in the volunteer program at a local university, and was in the process of working for her mood disorder clinic. That was progressing nicely. And I wanted to eventually enroll in a physical therapy course at the school and work on that for a career.
A few days after I was released, I contacted Marsha, the girl I knew in jail. She worked for the County counseling drug addicts, and was happy to hear from me. We made plans for her to come over. She showed up and I introduced her to TJ. She adored him and said so as we sang and played guitar. For the first time I felt up and good. Seeing Marsha, talking of our ordeal and putting closure on it helped me immensely. She brought me right up, and TJ liked her as well.
She spent many hours with us that afternoon smoking cigarettes, eating fish and, talking about the girls in the jail and how I interacted with them. She confirmed my stories that hundreds of women knew TJ’s name and wanted to know the outcome.
She kept saying how happy she was that I’d ended up with TJ. I flashed back when we were in jail and I came into her cell as usual to discuss things with the even-tempered lady with the Jamaican accent.
“Hey, Blondie, I had a premonition that you wouldn’t end up being with Albert. That man showed his true colors,” she said while lying on her bunk back at County.
Her roommate agreed. “Yeah, I’ve been thinking the same thing, Blondie,” said Nicole from her own bunk across from Marsha. They had moved Chocolate in a few days prior and she sat high up on her bunk listening.
“No, you need to get Albert back, Blondie,” said Chocolate, who was in for prostitution. “That TJ is no good for you. He ain’t your type anyways,” she said honestly. The woman looked like a little boy, no more than 15, but I liked her personality. She could be brutally honest at times, as I found out.
Marsha interrupted, “No, no, she’s going to end up back with TJ, I can feel it!”
For the moment, Marsha had predicted right, because there I was back with the man. It was a surprise to me as anyone as I slowly walked with TJ over to Curtis’s, about the same distance from our house as Albert’s house was, but in the other direction. I felt surrounded!
TJ rang the buzzer and after the third ring, Curtis actually answered and let us up. We rode the small elegant elevator up to Curtis’s place, which I found to be neat as a pin, nothing out of place, almost like a lonely boringness. In fact, TJ said that he’d gone there many times years before, that Curtis was like a father to him in many ways back then.
Albert’s mother’s older brother let us in and directed us to the neat couch. We sat down nervously. He seemed a very kind looking man, and spoke very softly, making every word count. It was hard to read him. He was good at holding his emotions at bay. I got the distinct feeling that he was shocked about the whole thing when we finished telling him the whole story of the affair between his nephew and I, especially by TJ and I being in the same room together. Uncle Curtis’s face was blank, almost poker-faced. After all, TJ said he was a corporate lawyer and it was hard to read those guys.
After telling him what was going on and how it happened, I broke down and cried a bit. TJ put in his 2 cents as well. He wanted to make sure that Curtis warned Albert’s family about any impending action by the authorities. But I could tell right away that Curtis was a very passive man, a quiet drinker of sorts, almost like Benny was. I doubted he would even mention much to his sister, who already is totally traumatized by it, not just because her son’s supposed girlfriend was arrested at their home, but more because her neighbors saw it all. And if he did tell her, I doubt he’d let on to us. It was a confusing web of family value craziness.
“And I hope you get together with my mom again,” said TJ. “I’ll give you her number,” he offered.
I couldn’t imagine (and I didn’t know why TJ did) Curtis ever calling TJ’s mother for a date, or them rekindling their relationship from 10 years ago, especially in light of what happened between his nephew and I. Also, the main attraction for those two were that they were drinking partners. Curtis had since been sober for years and it showed on his lanky frame and quiet demeanor. Family was thicker than liquor in this instance, and right now, or ever, I couldn’t see the union between TJ’s mother and Albert’s Uncle Curtis!
Afterward, TJ drove us to IHOP, the hostess seating us in the same booth as when I was with Uncle Curtis’s nephew! It was, at first, awkward until I noticed large fish in tanks all around the wall. It brought me back to the only dream I had in County of meeting Albert’s dad there. Now I realized what it meant. The fish represented the old symbol of when Christians in Roman times worshipped in secret. Albert’s dad represented God. When we were first seated, I realized what the cosmos were trying to say. In fact, IHOP seemed almost cryptic for INRI – Son of God. So I needed to pray for guidance …
I turned it all around in my mind like a clothes spinning in a washer/dryer. It was hard dealing with the associations that fate threw in there at you, especially if you are doing the wrong things to achieve it, which is what Albert and I did. I decided to let fate drive me along. I would give it a second chance with TJ and I. I would make an all out effort.
We began a simple pattern after that. I had spent a few days at my cousins house, gotten sloshed there, then one more time back at home, which ended abruptly. We’d spend long hours lying on the bed talking and discussing a lot of issues that burned between us, most being Albert and how we were going to pay bills and such. No one knew we were together, and thought I was just coming in and out to get things and mail.
At first, it was almost unbearable to be back in that neighborhood, especially in light of where everyone lived and was situated. We were all close by each other, and I could feel the collective vibes of the anger and ridicule, plus the painful feelings of separation and depression. People would call and leave messages on TJ’s machine that weren't very pretty.
Once Albert’s Uncle Curtis (and TJ’s mother’s old boyfriend) found out about everything when TJ and I visited with him, the man had called TJ’s mother who already knew the details via her son when I was first thrown in jail. She called her daughter, who called TJ demanding to know if he and I were back together.
“No, no, we’re not back together and she is not staying here. She’s staying with some friends and her cousin,” TJ lied, as I stood by listening, feeling embarrassed and down. “She just comes to get her stuff and mail, that’s it.”
“What’s all this with Curtis and mom?” Asked TJ’s sister, who was studying to be a nurse. In fact, her whole family was involved in that industry, just like my own. One day, when it all blew over, I’d tell her how the experience had made me re-evaluate my own career goals, which were now pointed toward the healthcare industry with my notions of becoming a physical therapist, and the fact that I was about to start working at for my cousin’s clinic.
It was just complicated Karma that Uncle Curtis became involved in this saga. That was how God and the forces worked. It was a lesson. We created the path and God created the classroom, allowing certain patterns to fall into place while I messed up my own life. But not everything bad came of all this. I really felt more grown up and stronger because of it, even if I was hurt, and it was painful, and I did hurt others in the process of Albert’s and my selfish implacable abandonment. We would pay the price and were already feeling the crunch. I’m sure that the Man Up The Hill was suffering and paying for our foolishness, which is what it felt like now. His life could not have remained the same after such an upheaval, plus the traumatizing arrest that ended our ‘thing’.
TJ calmed his sister, but I could tell she was very angry and knew something was up between he and I. Her sibling senses were in full swing. I felt awkward and depressed about everything as TJ hung up with her questioning ringing in our ears!
I guess we both had to be strong to endure all that was coming. Besides having to deal with family on both sides, TJ and I had to deal with our own issues about the matter, which was becoming the butt of all our frustrations. There never seemed to be any real closure on it, just that I was out of jail, back with him. We were giving it another shot while Albert shrank away into oblivion!
At times we found it very difficult to erase what I’d done. Then there were the rare moments where TJ and I could actually joke about Albert and my jail demise because of it. It was actually healthy in some odd way, the way we dealt with all the pain associated with my transgression.
Mornings were the worst. We argued and became very verbal about things and I’m sure the neighbors were getting another ear full. Most of our neighbors knew about what had happened, including the check fiasco. At first it was hard for me to even show my face outside, but eventually I waded out into the neighborhood, sometimes taking long brisk walks with TJ when things got stifling between us. Many times we found ourselves adjusting to new habits and old judgments about our relationship, which TJ wanted to salvage.
Our money situation was borderline critical, but we were hanging in there as best as we could, with TJ actually paying the rent two months in a row without my half. Now that I was a full-fledged felon, restitution had to be made as well to the courts, my attorney and other debts that arose from my jail stint. Through all of it though, I found that TJ did seem different. He didn’t want to lose me, but had taken a pretty precarious walk on the tightrope when he’d confirmed my affair, plus what Krista had lit to his already flaming ego. At the same time, in the end, when the D.A. probably wanted me as an example, TJ had caved on some counts, which helped speed up the process of my release. In a sad almost sick way, I deserved it to some extent. Maybe not all of it, because I had been left with numbness in my right big toe due to the hard concrete floors and the flimsy sneakers they made us all wear at the jail. Other than that, I was in pretty good shape having taken off at least 15 pounds.
I felt stronger in some ways too, feeling more apt to throw off the depression that enveloped me at times during the long days when TJ went to work and I was left alone. He said he’d have to learn to trust me again.
One day when TJ went to his painting job in Pasadena on a Sunday, I showered, dressed and headed up to Benny’s again. I knew it was futile, but walked the 3 blocks anyways. It was 9:00 a.m. when I walked into Benny’s room, everything the same as the last time. He was fast asleep as usual. It had been a few weeks since my last visit when Albert ran away from me.
“Benny, it’s me again,” I said, walking calmly over to his bed.
He didn’t answer me and I could tell right away that the guy didn’t really want me standing there at all.
“Benny?”
“Umm,” he uttered tiredly. “Hey, hi,” he said groggily.
“Have you seen Albert since he ran away from me?”
“Ahhh, yeah, I guess.”
“What do you mean, you guess?”
He put the sheet over his head.
“God, Benny, please be honest with me! What’s the story here?” I was frantic wanting his help to bring us back together, which didn’t look like it would happen.
“…6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years,” he said cryptically.
“What?”
“He doesn’t want to see you anymore … not 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years!”
“Oh,” I said sadly. “Why?”
Benny let out a ragged breath of slight frustration. He obviously didn’t want to be the one to tell me this news. “Look, you know how Albert is,” he said.
“I thought I did! Isn’t there any chance for us?”
Benny looked at me guiltily and shook his head. “I don’t think there is,” he answered. He got up and did his usual tasks, parking himself on the stool by his computer and lighting up a Camel.
“Is it alright if I stay a little bit?”
“I guess,” he uttered.
I sat in my usual seat and grabbed Albert’s guitar. “I wrote some new songs about it. Want to hear them?”
“Sure.”
I began tuning up and played a few new songs on the subject. I sang from the heart, not caring who heard.
Benny never reacted to them really and seemed to be playing the role of the silent perpetrator to the hilt, which I picked up on right away. I was pretty sure he hadn’t said much to Albert about what I told him. At that moment, as I finished the 3rd song I’d written about the situation, I felt like the little monkey with the organ grinder when he finishes his dancing and jumping, but no one in the small captive audience watching made a move to put money in the till. But I played it off grandly, trying to smile brightly and make Benny laugh, which I did succeed in doing by the 2nd hour I’d been there.
Benny disappeared into the other room and made himself his usual vodka and orange juice rocket fuel. He sat back down and drank it, even going back in to make yet another mix that seemed like more of an elixir than strong alcoholic spirits. By his third glass, I saw a subtle change in him. I would be talking and he started finishing off all my sentences, which is something I’d never noticed about Albert’s friend. I started to feel more welcome and up because of Benny’s mood change, which I attributed to the alcohol he was consuming like water. Suddenly, a huge plastered look came into his face. He grinned almost mockingly. “I shouldn’t really tell you this, but Albert wrote a poem the other night and I typed it up.”
My heart began beating quickly. “Oh, Benny, can I see it?”
“Well, I don’t know if I should…”
I jumped up and got on my hands and knees. “Please, Benny, oh please! I’ve got to see it!”
“It’s not very flattering, but it’s really good,” he said.
“Okay, let me read it!”
He hesitated for a fraction of a second, shook his head clear, his face going into that huge liquor grin. “Okay, here it is,” he said, easily pressing one button, Albert’s poem appearing like a phantom. Benny got up and let me sit down. The words on the screen were bright and electric as I read each line carefully. It was a question poem, every sentence asking some deep-seated 2nd brain quadrant query as to why I was so selfish and evil. After reading it a few times, I began typing my responses to the questions Albert wrote. I knew he’d not want to read it, and maybe would only glance at it, because I was learning that this man was very good at closing off and retreating into his own values and world.
One particular verse comes strong in my mind … he compared me to droplets of water falling on a heated up frying pan, how the water hits the hot steel and jumps into the fire. Benny seemed to become more finely ‘Tuned’, as in 'Looney', and began writing his own lines in bright red beneath my answers to Albert’s questions in the poem. Through all our rambunctious fun, I couldn’t get Benny to give me a copy, nor email it to me at some point. Although the piece wasn’t flattering to me or what we had together, I still considered it a small brush against Albert.
As the afternoon progressed, Benny seemed more open to me staying. We just sat around joking about things, constantly going back to the poem, which had ballooned into an interesting path. But, at a certain moment, I could actually feel TJ’s collective mind throwing out a 4th quadrant vibe. He had returned from work and I knew I had to get back down to the house. Right in the middle of a light jam we were having on the bass and guitar, plus trying to put the words to the poem to music, I stopped.
“Benny, I have to get back.”
He was jumping up and down still plucking the out of tune bass erratically. “Wow, I wish you would stay!”
I wanted to stay as well, but knew for two reasons I could not. One was the fact that I was with TJ again. The second reason was the fact that I didn’t really want to go through any more rejection from Albert like what happened that night. And I most certainly didn’t want to hurt either man any further either. It was so painful all-round, but brought me back to his letter to me about pain, worlds away from his latest creation, which was angry like a little boy who finds out Santa Claus isn’t real and he’d been writing to him for months before Christmas. In fact, our whole scenario ended around that time, and here we were passed a New Year that I had thought would ring in some greater things for Albert and I.
“I’ll see you around, Benny,” I said. I reached out to him and we hugged loosely. He had become slowly thrashed, which made Benny more open to things. I knew then that if I was to move on with my life, that I couldn’t continue going up to his house with the thread of hope that Albert was going to welcome me with open arms. I made a solemn promise to God that from then on I wouldn’t come up any longer.
“Hey, you should stay. Albert is going to be here soon,” said Benny, easily hopping the last ‘feeding frenzy’ train like the rest of his and Albert’s family had.
“I don’t think it’s such a great idea! I know how he feels now. Nothing is going to change that. Both you and I know it, Albert knows it, everyone is stacked against us ever blooming again!” I said strongly. My emotions were on the rise and I put on my sunglasses to hide the tears forming painfully.
“Oh, one more thing! Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but… No, I can’t,” said Benny mysteriously.
“What? Don’t play games, what is it?”
“Okay, where do people go to get away from it all?”
“The nut house?” I said.
“No. Where do they go to escape?”
“What are you getting at, Benny? This is silly.”
He continued playing the guessing game until it dawned on me. “Oh, his parents are going on vacation!”
“Right! They’re going to the Artic Circle for a month, but are worried about the situation with Albert and you, so they’re having Albert’s cousin stay with up there, seeing as her mom works at the high school,” explained Benny.
It was the most he’d said in one paragraph. The Artic Circle sounded like a short exile in their minds to cleanse themselves of something. I was amazed and very hurt over all of it. It should have been easy to get to Albert once I was out of jail! I wasn’t the one that sent the police up to his house, nor invited TJ to do his thing. I might have well been just as deep into the dark about it as Albert was.
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m just saying that his cousin is only staying there until they get back, but she has class on Tuesday nights, so if you wanted too, that might be a good time for you to go up and see Albert!” He smiled almost evil-like, and I could see the trickster he was and could still be.
“I can’t believe you think I’d do that! I’m not. It’s stupid and immature. Albert showed me in many ways how he felt. His actions speak loudly!”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” said Benny.
“Bye-bye Benny, I have to go live my life. Take care.” I walked away and down the hill back to my house.
The very next day I did something strange and stupid. TJ left for work. It was Monday morning and I was restless. I ended up walking up to Benny’s house after he’d long left for his job. I noticed no cars in the driveway and Cody wasn’t in sight, so I walked down to Benny’s room and looked around, even having thoughts of getting a copy of the poem.
It felt strange standing there easily feeling the ghosts and phantoms, even the families that Benny’s mom researched day in and day out, pointing their wicked fingers my way. I spotted a book on the table about Vampires, which was obviously Albert’s. I recognized his handwriting immediately. He’d written something on the inside cover to the extent that I was a vampire and evil! It hurt like the silver stake punched through a vampire’s heart, and I couldn’t believe he’d taken our beautiful ‘thing’ and tainted it so much just to escape the very pain he said was good for the Spirit! How weak he really was! Unfortunately, my love still burned for what we had and lost. There was another book on the collective mind’s 4 quadrants he read like a manual. He was even reading it waiting for me for our first date. The day before I had scribbled messages from me to him inside and on the cover. That book was thrust under some newspapers and clutter, like he couldn’t face reality. I swore right then and there that this was the last time, and I had to make the keen decision to never come back. I wasn’t wanted, and could feel that from Benny when he said that his mother and Albert’s had been talking about what was going on and what had happened, and it wasn’t good. I got the distinct impression that I wasn’t welcome by any of them, even when Benny’s father strode into the room in the midst of putting the finishing touches on the poem the day before.
His dad had always been cordial and open to me. That man was a tinker-type and had various carpentry projects around their property, even a small 1940’s guesthouse he was rebuilding. I had hinted many times to him before Albert and I were wrenched away from each other that I was looking for a place, but the older man never took the bait, nor did Benny. I had to face facts that I was now shunned from all of them, and out of concern and love, I decided to back off and work out my life. I left the house and have since never returned.
The university and clinic were 2 buses and a subway away from our house. I began working for my cousin, as planned. It was my second chance at a real career down the road and I enjoyed walking around Westwood with more of a purpose. I can’t say I didn’t think about Albert and our many adventures together as I rode the bus down Wilshire Blvd. to campus. But what we had was now ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’. Call it a lark. It happened and I did enjoy our times and moments.
At the lowest points in the mornings, I cried over the whole fiasco. Even TJ cried at times. He was very angry about it, and it showed in his daily activity. Talking about it sometimes cooled the fervor, then other moments it aggravated our more subdued arguments, seeing as what I did was now in the open and past tense.
TJ was making a serious effort to forgive me. He was saying, “I love you” more often than not, and it usually took me by surprise. It was the first time since I’d met him ten years prior that he’d been so attentive and kind to me over such a long period of time, but everyone did have their breaking points, and I sometimes saw his blazing a trail causing a far off forest fire. It was hard to tell at times if he was burning out the pain, or still hot about what I did, or that he was simply raging on Albert himself.
We tried hard to disengage with the situation and put it to bed, sometimes succeeding, but would find it creeping in through the cracks we were trying shore up in our own relationship. When I had first come back from County and TJ had gone back to work, a true first test evolved when I’d walked up the street to play my guitar by the school, literally 2 blocks from Albert’s house. I played for about an hour then walked back to our own house around the corner. The closest I got was a blocked collective mind throw, almost like with Butt Boy toward the end at County. There was no answer from Albert, so I stared longingly toward his house in the hills.
As I was just walking down Stocker and turning into our house, I heard the familiar break squeaks and knew TJ had driven in behind me, had seen me walking away from that intersection. I turned and saw the expression on his face, which had gone into its Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde pastiness. He stared at me like the deputies at the jail did when they were ready to start breaking you down.
“It’s not what you think, TJ,” I said as he climbed out of his car, not once taking his hardened eyes off me. I had been staying away from Albert and Benny’s for weeks now, so I had nothing to fear here.
“You know, this morning I drove away thinking things were okay here, and now I see this,” he said. The man didn’t seem to blow his top though. He remained calm, holding himself in check and under control. “I had some ugly flashbacks when I realized it was you. It didn’t even look like you for a second,” he admitted, bringing me back to when I’d first come home to pick up my checks and I hadn’t recognized him, thinking the man was an uncover cop. In fact, lately, he had started to resemble a cop now that his hair was short and he was exercising more and eating less.
“It’s a test from God,” I stated, walking with him into our house. “I wasn’t with Him, I swear to you,” I said, referring to Albert.
He turned to me as the door swung open and said simply, almost softly, “Let’s pray.”
We went immediately to the bedroom where he took the Bible off his shelf and laid it on the bed, as had been our ritual since I’d come back. He led the prayer, usually keeping it sort and contrite. I’d never remember seeing him like this. When he was done praying for us there were tears in his eyes. He was crying. “I love you so much,” he uttered, wanting to take me in his arms.
Those same mixed feelings of sadness, guilt and loss penetrated my senses. It was very hard in both our corners, but I could see he was trying very hard to change his stance and views on the new ‘us’. He said so himself, he was a bear, but this time around more like an apologetic Winnie The Pooh, rather than a California Grizzly having it’s hibernation cycle disturbed.
I also noticed that TJ was starting to do push-ups, increasing the number daily. There was something so manly about it, that I sometimes had to turn away from him. He had tons of pent up sexual energy and only wished that I’d take advantage of it, and not be such a ‘cold fish’ about it. I always had a problem with the level of our intimacy interests, his being very high, mine very low libido, this even present before I had even set eyes on Albert Up The Hill.
TJ was just getting back into the mindset of working steady again, and had secured several construction jobs, one actually slated in for an LAPD officer, which blew my mind in its timing. TJ was coming home with stories of how the officer and his family had taken a liking to him, even inviting him to dinner after working there. Sometimes TJ and the officer would sit and drink coffee between breaks in the building he was doing up there. Good Karma was being spread out like compost to a harvest garden, and it looked like it was TJ’s doing.
He’d been working for the cop making decent monies. Exactly one month from my release from County, I was sitting at home relaxing and preparing to start working for my cousin, a doctor at the University when I received a frantic call from TJ from the policeman’s home in Pasadena where the man had been putting in $350 days, working sometimes 10 hours.
“Hi TJ, what’s up,” I said, trying to sound calm and even tempered. It was one of the first days I was able to put what happened on the back burner and get down to the business of moving on with life without Albert. TJ was calling me from the cop’s living room!
“When I left this afternoon, I saw ‘Fat Boy’ driving by our house,” he said evenly, but with venom to his voice. “He was driving some other vehicle and there was a girl in the car with him, a pretty, young blond.”
My mind froze. TJ & I didn’t need this from some goof ball that played games and ran away like Fat Boy had. It showed that the cosmic forces were at work when you started pulling away from an influence. I had heard through Benny when I went up there weeks ago that Albert’s parents were leaving for the Artic Circle. They had moved in Albert’s young cousin, and that was who was in the car with him when TJ spotted them.
“So what did you do?” I asked, almost dreading the answer.
“I saw him and made a U-turn when he passed our house. So I followed him up our street. He was just about to turn left on Pacific when I pulled up beside him,” explained TJ. “He was laughing and talking to this girl.”
“His cousin,” I said.
“How do you know that?” Asked TJ suspiciously.
“Benny told me a long time ago. She’s staying there while Albert’s parents are at the Artic Circle. His aunt is a teacher at the school and I guess they want to keep an eye on him…who knows! So what, you saw him! Are you sure it was him?” I asked, trying to play it down.
“It was him. He turned around and saw me. I don’t think he recognized me right away because of my hair, but when he did, he put his hands on the wheel and started to shake. He looked pretty worried. I’m 90% sure it was him,” said TJ.
“I hope you aren’t mistaken. It doesn’t sound like Fat Boy at all, especially him driving some other car,” I revealed. By now it was easy to discuss things with TJ. We were moving into the acceptance stage, but as when something traumatic happens to someone like TJ of this nature, there were bound to be false sightings, ghosts and 4th dimensional phantoms of Albert running around town. There was never any formal closure or confrontation, just a severing of all ties concerned, like someone who died suddenly and is left wandering between Earth and Heaven.
“Hey, I think it’s time you let it go,” TJ said when he got home from work. “You don’t sound like you’re letting Him go!”
“Him who?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“Fat Boy!”
“I have let it go,” I defended weakly.
“I wonder sometimes.” He took a drag from his cigarette.
“You’re the one who saw him, and then called me about it!”
“It was just weird how I was just pulling out of the driveway and he drove by,” he said.
“I guess it’s another test from God, like when you saw me walking back with my guitar,” I said. “Where did you think I went?” I asked rhetorically, already knowing his thoughts.
“Well, what do you expect? I’ve been through hell with you in the last 5 months. While you were running around having fun with Fat Boy, I was here having to deal with it all,” he admitted.
“I know, I know, and I’m so sorry about that. It’s not easy dealing with the pain, but I’m trying,” I said truthfully, not wanting him to think I orchestrated Albert’s little drive-by. It was easy to realize that the Man Up The Hill had simply blocked everything out like it never happened, and now that his parents were away, he’d gotten bolder, if it was him at all. I tried consoling TJ about it, but no explaining or begging would change his mind from the bad influences and conditioned thoughts he was probably being subjected to.
But it wasn’t to end there. After almost a month of no sightings of Fat Boy, he showed up again the next day. TJ and I had driven to Pasadena to visit with my probation officer. We had a leisurely lunch, ran errands then returned back to our house. Our neighbors, Wayne and Steve, 2 brothers who lived next door, shouted from their balcony like guards on the parapets. They reminded me of some of the guys from F-Troop, standing around and watching out. They were both very overweight and it was almost comical.
“He was here,” cried Wayne, excitedly pointing up in the direction of where Fat Boy lived. “The guy walked by your house, stopped and then kept walking.”
Steve was just pulling in from picking his 2 kids up from school. “Yeah, Wayne called me over and I yelled, ‘Hey Albert,’ and he turned around. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and brown slacks!”
“Are you sure it was him?” I asked.
“Yes, we’re sure. I’d know him anywhere,” said Wayne genuinely. “When Steve called his name, they guy turned around looking a little paranoid.”
We all stood out in the pouring rain as other neighbors curiously looked out their windows and stared. When TJ came outside and joined us, it got tense when they asked if he could open a metal grate that was stuck in the ground. TJ picked up tire iron and tried to pry open the grate, but it wouldn’t budge.
“Steve, do you think TJ is making a bigger deal out of what happened than necessary?” I asked, speaking of my fling with Albert.
At first he didn’t answer. Then, “I know I’d be mad as hell,” he said noncommittally.
TJ was like an angry bee, holding the tire iron tightly in his strong hands. He’d been working out and muscles showed through his thin tee shirt. The rain poured down on us like cats and dogs.
“Well, you were the one that brought him around and had sex with him,” blurted out TJ.
“Oh, thanks a lot, TJ, that’s really a nice thing to say in front of our neighbors,” I said, feeling wounded and beaten.
Steve came around and put his arm around me trying to console. I still felt ashamed and actually a little lonely standing there in my new clothes. Since everything had crumbled and burned, I’d managed to take off 15 pounds and was wearing the low rider pants that were popular with Britney Spears. My Air Force tee shirt was tight around my middle and breasts. I wore heavy stylish shoes and looked okay considering what I was going through with TJ trying to work out our relationship.
It was a mean thing to say, but later he’d apologized and begged my forgiveness, even shedding half a tear, but catching himself. Lately, I’d noticed that TJ would have made an excellent actor, so I didn’t doubt some of his crying jags were alligator- driven.
We sat in our bedroom discussing it, until I began to cry. I even cried up toward Albert’s house in the hills above us, only a football field separating us…. I cried like I’d lost my lover in a tragic car accident, which I felt like I had with Albert. I cried like there was no tomorrow until I heard TJ’s footsteps and I consoled myself before he came back. He had went next door and came back with Steve, who again consoled me, and said not to worry. There was genuineness to his concern, but it was laced with a slight humorous admonishment. He was married with 2 children, his brother living with them next door. They managed the building, had second jobs and generally lived normally for a family from Tennessee. He finally left and I stopped crying.
We sat up most of the night watching TV, even a renting a movie, which paralleled our life and present circumstances. I did notice, since I’d been back, that the television would be in sync with our own lives, especially during this time. I don’t know how to explain it without seeming crazy, but we’d be in the bedroom talking about everything when a TV show would come on, reflecting a similar situation we’d be discussing, which probably meant that the whole world was going through the same thing, and it showed in trends, movies, TV shows and the like. It was a mixture of both.
After the second sighting of Albert, my now lost lover, I stayed inside holed up in front of the computer doing some writing and reflecting. I had been writing this novel for weeks, and at times it bothered TJ. Everyone had his or her own degrees of tolerance, and God knows I’d stretched TJ’s to the ultimate limit, which is the experience God wants us to learn. We both were gaining so much insight, and who knows where things would lead.
TJ had even gone out and bought me a box of Valentine candy with a nice card and presented it to me early in the morning. He’d admitted that he’d seen the rental ads for apartments I’d picked up a few days earlier. He became worried, and wanted me to understand and continue to work things out with him and seemed like a little lost boy at times, almost reading my thoughts.
It was touching, but it did cause a riff early in the a.m. before he left for the cop’s place when he went through my purse and found the ads. It angered me, but he kept himself in check. He didn’t think I was going to get over Fat Boy at times, then other times he became a football coach giving me the old pep talk telling me to let Him go. That is what was different about being back with TJ. He didn’t want to be hurt again. A lot of times we’d forget what the other person felt during the indiscretion. Well, TJ certainly pleaded his case excellently, and might have even made a great private detective. He certainly fooled me when I first had come back and saw him standing on the sidewalk.
Our past wasn’t the yellow brick road, but 10 years wasn’t something to throw away either. War was approaching, and I’d noticed that in the news there was a lot of focus on infidelity, even new reality shows exposing the dirty deed on national television. One night we did catch ‘Cheaters’, which brought me back to a funny flashback when I was running to be with Albert up the hill.
I had planned to meet Albert up at his house one afternoon. Before I left, TJ and I got into an argument, with him chasing me out the door. As I gratefully rode away at top speed, he’d thrown a Bible at me. I looked around quickly, saw the holy book flapping through the air like a black crow, and landing just beyond my path, it’s pages open and blowing in the wind. I continued on at breakneck speed until I came almost up to the Ralphs that Albert and I had met in. I was out of breath and looked around, expecting to see TJ coming up Stocker in his car with blood in his eye.
As I came up to the corner, 4 blocks from our house a ‘Cheetos’ potato chip truck passed by. The driver spotted me, curls flying, rosy cheeked and a bit desperate looking.
The guy stuck his head out the large truck window. “Do you know where Dorothy Street is?” He asked. Amazingly, that was Benny’s street.
I rolled my bike over to his truck and smiled handsomely. My face was flushed, my heart was beating fast. “Yes, I know where it is, can you give me a lift?” I asked, looking nervously over my shoulder, half expecting TJ to be after me.
“Sure, let me help you with your bike,” he offered, jumping down from the truck. He grabbed my bike with one hand and put it in the back. “You look like your running away from something. Are you in trouble?”
“No, of course not!”
He wasn’t a bad looking man. His dark straight hair and classic face made him easy to look at.
“Where ya’ going?”
“I’m going to a friend’s house up on Kensington,” I said.
He drove up Stocker and we chatted. He liked my energy, which was sifting around crazily. I was on my way up to see Albert driving in a ‘Cheetos’ truck, which was ironic, almost prolific.
Suddenly he drove into a bank parking lot and turned around. My high, giddy energy was affecting him, so he began driving over all the speed bumps and cement parking blocks, which made it rain Cheetos and Fritos bags in the truck. We started cracking up as he left the parking lot and headed up Mountain to Kensington. We chatted about everything, but I didn’t say I was meeting someone, and running away from my boyfriend.
He drove up Kensington and I had to laugh at the incident when he said I couldn’t leave the truck until I gave him a hug, which I did. He gave me his pager and said to call. It was fun driving up to Albert’s, easily feeling like a spy on the run. When we reached Kensington, the driver helped me with my bike and began following me. We chatted as we drove side by side, laughing and joking about it. Finally, he turned on his street and was out of my life as I made my way to Albert, where I told him the story. We had a long laugh about it, but in the end, it was a sign.
Locked Out Of The Live Universe Living Back Home
It was no fluke or wandering mishap about what had happened between us, nor that I had strayed to another person. But here we were still together two months after he’d had me jailed.
My short time at County was still very real to me. I would not soon forget the things that happened to me, nor the women I’d met inside those walls, but I was slowly learning to actually forgive the man who put me there, and for good reason. When I’d first gotten out, in the end I had no real place I could go to and feel comfortable. Believe it or not, I felt comfortable at the Stocker house, even though it was within 3 blocks of Albert’s house, and that TJ was prone to moodiness and bad temper spats. He could put a pot of coffee away in an hour and smoked a lot more than he should, but at least he didn’t indulge in alcohol, but was more like a mean Smokey the Bear type.
TJ had another sighting of Albert. “He’s the man that broke my heart,” lamented TJ, with a tinge of anger. He looked at me, a look of disgust crossing his still handsome face. “I still don’t understand how you could have done that!”
I had no answer and thought it best to remain quiet. We’d had a few early morning blowouts with him taking down all my paintings and trinkets and placing them back in the corner of the living room, where a lot of my personal effects were being stored under a white blanket, resembling Jane Doe at the morgue!
Memories assailed me at all points and locations. Walking up Pacific conjured up images of someone watching us in the shadows, which was unnerving and made me a bit spastic. What could I do? It had happened. Thoughts in my own head floated around about Albert, but they were slowly fading away as very distant slices of another world. I had put in a fabulous 4 months with Albert, but had eventually landed right back with TJ again. What I shared with the other guy was becoming nothing more than a fading dream induced by too much partying and not working a full time job, nor having any real career goals except stupid pipe dreams. I had been pulled back down to Earth abruptly, and was lucky I was a strong individual to have survived that, which I did and would.
I was fighting depression about the whole affair. It was still painful, but more manageable as time passed. It had been weeks since I’d laid eyes on Fat Boy for the last time on the night of my release up at Benny’s, but TJ had seen him a few times. I’m sure the man was getting his life back in order and calming down somewhat. I know I was. It wasn’t easy. At first, I still felt the pull of the passed months drawing me to sometimes gaze up the hill and wonder what drove a person to be so closed and regretful. I was remorseful because I’d hurt TJ terribly. TJ understood why I had done the dirty deed. We were coming to terms with it. He didn’t want to alone, nor meet someone else at this point and was trying to recapture some of the charm of our beginnings, 10 years prior. That is somewhat of a track record.
He wasn’t an easy man to live with, but we were managing better than in the beginning. Recently we’d started recording music together. As we sat in a recording studio in Hollywood, off La Brea, I watched him from across the room as he laid down guitar tracks. He’d aged a bit, and had a lot of pain etched in his face. In certain lighting he looked sad and tired, but a real trooper. He’d fought for me and won. Albert was down for the count and here we were still together.
At times it was excruciating dealing with the guilt and the loss and what had been actually done. Someone had told me that through pain the spirit becomes stronger, and I felt that in TJ and myself. We actually were trying to lead a somewhat normal life for us. It wasn’t as suffocating as what drove me away, but gave way to more even keel through the Amazon River. It could be rough going one second, then as tame as little kittens the next turn. A balance could be achieved.
LIVING THE LIVE UNIVERSE LOCKED WITH LEW
In the midst of everything that had happened, on a whim I did something very impulsive and bold! I had been out and working downtown for a computer company, off of Disability and cleaning things up nicely. By that moment I knew that it wasn’t going to work out for TJ and I. I also began accepting the raw, cold fact that Albert wasn’t budging and had made his decision and feelings clear. I was also volunteering for the University, thanks to my cousin, who had rallied to my side, even trying to find me a place, a safe haven away from TJ!
I went to Yahoo search and typed in FREE SINGLES LISTINGS. An internet company called Dream Mates popped up so I went with them and filled out an original profile and placed the ad Monday, March 25, in the morning. By late that afternoon I had heard from Lew, a stage director who received my profile in his paid mailbox. He answered right away and went on a hunch. The hunch paid off and my passage away from TJ was getting closer with each new email I received from Lew.
He sounded very sweet and down to earth, and I felt a strange pull toward him. It was ironic that the only other reply I received from that profile was from an Albert Arnold, 80 year old retiree from California! Lew would say later on when we were more settled with each other that it was my profile of what I was looking for in a man that caught his attention:
As for what type of special man I am seeking, I wrote plainly ... He should be down to earth and not so full of testosterone that all he thinks about is ONE thing! He should be sensitive and funny; no bad tempers for this gal! I think you get the idea, hey? When I get home I will email you my picture! I look like Janis Joplin and people always stop me on the street and say that, but I'm much more attractive than she was, and I do not do heavy drinking or drugs! I have naturally curly hair and a very nice, giving disposition as you will find out! I would love to talk to you over the phone and will try to call you soon. Wow, I cannot get over the fact that I placed that ad yesterday and already you have responded, and I didn't even put a picture up yet. It's amazing. I look forward to talking to you, plus opening up the lines of communications. Thanks for writing! Be well and sane until we meet, okay?

He wrote back with a vengeance:

You made my day! That special guy you describe is me!
Like you, I too am very much on the artistic side. As
a stage director, I'm known for my down to earth manner. Because I never loose my temper, actors want to work with me again and again, and have. That smile on my photo is for the inside as well. I have a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" currently playing, and on April 14 I start rehearsing Clifford Odets' "The Country Girl" which will go on in the NOHO Theatre District in North Hollywood. Funny thing. The play I will be writing takes place in the 1940's! Let me tell you about my special girl. But I don't have to. Your profile was my description! I'm not feeding you a line here. (I'm very honest). As you say, time will tell. If possible, PLEASE LETS TALK TONIGHT. ANYTIME AFTER 6PM. I'LL BE HOME ALL NIGHT. I REALLY LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING TO YOU. THANK YOU FOR WRITING! TALK TO YOU SOON.....
Lew
I answered just as feverishly, our feelings growing with each new posting:
Oh Lew: Thanks again for that letter below. You don't even know the half of things, Lord! I can't believe how prolific your letter is! I'm really dying to meet you. I too was whistling around my office as well! I love your letters and I love the fact that we've met in an odd way. Since you work in Century City (wow, my fav. city), maybe we can meet for coffee or something soon. I do go to the University a few times a week, so pass through CC. I wrote a song about Century City! I'm so jazzed we've connected and it's wonderful. Just don't want to get all hepped up for a letdown, but you just sound so nice, exactly what I was looking for, hopefully. I will write you later on and answer your letter more fully! You are a dream come true for me so far. Can't wait to pursue this and you...haha ... poet and don't know it! Glad you liked my picture and Wood concept. As a famous comic once said, "Kid, I've got a million of 'em!" Looking forward to writing you again soon and hearing from you too! HAHA. I'm giddy and happy. You've made my day ten-fold... Thanks. I will email you later and send some photos of my art. By the way, many years ago I was with the songwriter who wrote the most romantic song in the universe and we traveled all over the world so I've been to every art place on Earth ... We've got a lot to talk about. You are a blessing from God and I Hope things work out for us! Be well and stay calm, at least for now ... haha.

He wrote openly and with such feeling. I was getting hooked and taken with it all:
YOU ARE A BLESSING FROM GOD TOO! MORE THEN YOU KNOW. I AM
SOOOOOOO DYING TO MEET YOU! I AM HOME NOW, SO IF YOU SHOULD FEEL LIKE CALLING, PLEASE DO. IF NOT, I UNDERSTAND. YOU TOO ARE A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME. IF SOMEONE WERE TO ASK ME TO DESCRIBE MY DREAM GIRL, IT WOULD BE YOUR PROFILE! HOW OFTEN DOES THIS HAPPEN! I DON'T WANT TO GET ALL HEPPED UP FOR A LETDOWN, BUT YOU KNOW SOMETHING? THERE REALLY ISN'T THAT MUCH HERE FOR A LETDOWN! I KNOW BOTH OF US PROBABLY HAVE DATING HORROR STORIES, BUT TO ME THERE IS A SPECIAL FEELING HERE, A SPECIAL CONNECTION. IT'S KIND OF NEW TO ME, AFTER ALL, HOW MANY TIMES DOES A GUY READ THE PROFILE OF HIS DREAM GIRL? I'M STILL ON THIS WONDERFUL HIGH! I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THOSE PICTURES. TALK SOON... A VERY HIGH LEW

YOU ARE ONE FANTASTIC GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I AM SO LUCKY THAT YOU CAME INTO MY LIFE! I CAN'T TELL YOU THE JOY I'M GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW. I HAD THE BEST TIME TONIGHT! AND THE GREAT THING IS, WE'LL DO IT AGAIN TOMORROW NIGHT! AND MANY NIGHTS, AND DAYS.....I LIKE YOU A LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOODNIGHT, SLEEP WELL. TALK TO YOU TOMORROW. THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL EVENING! A VERY HAPPY LEW P.S. NO MORE DREAMMATES. MY PROFILE IS HISTORY. AFTER ALL, WHEN YOU GOT THE BEST...
I would answer within minutes of receiving his mail, a new infusion in my dismal, depressing rebirth with TJ. I felt as if I was hanging on a limb, waiting to be saved by the fleeing birdie…



Oh Lew: You are the best. Thanks for putting up with my Cheap Dime Novel Life! I was wrong last night! That wasn't TJ's car, I was just a bit freaked out and lost it, especially telling you my saga. If you can just hang tight, I'm sure everything will work out for me and us! I had a wonderful time with you at the play and in general. I felt like that cast really respects you. I also felt that play was screaming out at me, and I had such a deeper meaning of things. I'm sorry I had to sort of ruin a perfect evening with my admission about what happened to me! You are a strong person to have continued sitting there! Especially telling me you were falling in love with me even after I told you what happened. I guess we go through things for a reason. I've called your cell phone and left 2 messages. I plan to meet you on Ventura and Laurel Canyon at around 1-ish. I will call you on cell phone when I'm at Laurel, okay? Looking forward to Sunday and thanks for being honest and revealing your true feelings for me! I hope you don't mind my tactics here in regards to the way I plan things about meeting. I think you do understand why after I explained to you what happened to me! The experience has left me very paranoid and almost manic about it. It's very, very rare to meet someone like you after such an experience as I went through. When we drove up to my drop off point last night, I may have just gotten emotional because of it, because it brought back very painful memories of those times. I didn't and don't want to lose you so soon in the game, and I most certainly don't want anyone else ruining our chances at finding each other and happiness, especially in light of the way things are in the world now. Some men, like TJ, don't want to let go, and they just latch on, not allowing me to fully get away and on my own. Look at what I have to deal with here, with all the people who live around here that were involved in it. God, it's just sick, but I'm coping and doing the best I can to get away from here, which I will do! Also, meeting
the Guy up the hill and going through what I thought was love, and then being pulled away by the man of 10 years, then meeting you!!!! ... Wow, we have the true potential to be soul mates! It's just extremely hard for me because of what I went through. I've had to change my whole life because of it. I feel stuck in this void having to live here, and still be open and vulnerable to all of it! That is why I must play it safe with you, and thus is the reason for meeting you on your turf and not having you come here. Also, don't be upset with this, but I don't really want to go to the play Sunday, and would feel more comfortable spending the day with you and then making it an early evening! It's only because I'm just a bit emotionally wrought because when everything crashed in my world, it was because of the late evenings I was spending with that guy up the hill. I'm just a little traumatized by it and I hope you can understand. I'm so looking forward to our future evenings together, but too many strung together unsettles me just a bit. I will, of course, explain more to you in person tomorrow. I am bringing my guitar, Wood album and a few other surprises. We have the whole day Sunday, and I just don't want you to fret over me not wanting to go to the play. I heard you say that you sometimes went by yourself, so maybe you can scalp the other ticket like they do at Dead concerts ...
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... I can imagine you lurking around and looking for some pigeon. HAHA. Anyhow, let me know your thoughts and don't let this deter us from the future, which has good potential to be bright. God, thanks so much for coming into my life. You are such a blessing for me. I enjoy our time together very much.
It was amazing how we began to meet and fall for each other so easily. He was almost 10 years older than I. As Albert was the complete opposite realm of TJ, Lew was the opposite polarized version of a bit of many men in my life, including my father and brothers!
His barrage of fresh, loving emails bolstered my confidence that I was worth it, and it made me so strong in making the right moves to get away from TJ. I came clean with Lew and explained everything, but that did not deter us in wanting to be with each other. Like with Albert, I began seeing Lew on the sly, and it brought back strong memories of being with the guy up the hill. But Lew was so individual and different that I began to crave his company and his arms.
It felt strange to work part time downtown, bus it to the University, then meet Lew after work for dinner and a movie. He had such a vast knowledge and collection of DVD movies and we’d sit for hours in his living room in Valley Village watching foreign films by Truffaut
After a few weeks of that, I didn’t want to be away from him. He knew my situation and circumstances and even knew about my stint in County, as well as my fling with Albert and its consequences. His letters were fierce and fun, sounding true as gold like his heart:
WOW! You made my day twice in a row! And as for your photo, all I can say is WOW, BEAUTIFUL ON THE INSIDE, AND THE OUTSIDE! And yes, one does have to be careful in this Crazy world. My "pay the rent" job is for an investment banking firm in Century City. I'm Hospitality. I'm the only one that is. I make sure all is set up for meetings, and keep the kitchens and coffee machines up to date. At one time, I made a living directing. But, with the economy the way it is, it stopped being a living. Someday it will be again. I was Director-In-Residence for The Queen Mary Dinner Playhouse. I lived on the boat for two years. When that folded, rather then move back in with the folks, I went the nine to five route. But, I never gave up my passion. I LOVE ART! This last weekend, I had to take care of some family business in Las Vegas. While There, I stopped and saw The Andy Warhol Collection. It was amazing! What a life! I also saw The Wynn Art Collection. There is so much I want to talk to you about! I have the feeling there won't be a communication problem with us. Felt so happy after reading your letter, I was walking around the office whistling! I think we were meant to meet. I feel I could talk to you for hours. "Where The Woods Were" sounds amazing! I can't WAIT to see your art work! All in good time…Well, I'm going back to whistling now. Talk to you later! A very happy, Lew
Good morning! You don't know how much I wanted to write you last night after my last letter, but I didn't want you to think me too "pushy". I respect you being cautious and careful. But God, I WANT TO MEET YOU!!!!!!!!! I've been thinking of YOU a lot since we connected, and I do mean CONNECTED! POW! Your artwork is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! I'm not just saying that. In all my shows, as director, art always plays an important part. Five years ago, I directed the musical "Fiorello". It took place over a thirty year period from around 1912 - 1945 in New York City. What the set designer and I came up with was to do the show on one set using platforms. No lack-outs. Our backdrops were a series of large flats. My designer took pictures from old photos of New York, blew them up, and transferred them on to the flat. The result was fantastic. Looking at your art reminded me of that. What an artist you are! Where were you for "Fiorello"? But, you're here now!!!! I could write you the whole day! On my way home today, I'll be stopping by the Theatre to brush-up a scene with my "Mikado" leads before performances start again tomorrow. Then, I'm headed home. If you want to call, anytime after 6pm. I REALLY WANT TO PERSUE THIS. THIS SEEMS SOOOOOOO RIGHT! I CANT WAIT TO TALK TO YOU, TO MEET YOU, TO
PERSUE "US"! Have a fantastic day! (I'm whistling again)!
Talk to you soon! Lew
Yes, Good morning, Kate! I can't stop thinking about you! I'm a very happy man right now. It looks like this will be another day of "clockwatching" 'till we meet at 4:30. It might be easier for you to meet in Century City. We could meet outside Gelson's or if you have a spot where you want me to meet you let me know. We could grab a bite in Century City before going to the Theatre. I SIMPLY CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE YOU AGAIN! Have a wonderful day! I'll call you at work around 10am.(Neil from Houlihan, Lokey). Talk to you then... Lew
HEY YOU, ANOTHER GREAT EVENING! Don't forget to e-mail your phone number. Sleep tight! A HAPPY Lew

Hello! YOU are the best! As for the play tomorrow night, that's secondary, it's material. YOU are real. You mean more to me then a play! WE are the important thing right now. I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU TOMORROW! I
hope you had a great day today! I'll see you in the morning. Remember, you are my priorty, not a play. Yes, we do have the potential to be soulmates. I
feel that too. And our future looks very bright. Always remember, you will be number one with me. You will be very wanted, very needed, and very loved! That's the truth. Thank God, you came into my life! Have a great evening! TO US!
Lew
Hey! Where did the day go? I already can't wait to see you again! Sleep well, Honey! What a wonderful day! We are going to have MANY of those!
I'M SO LUCKY! A HAPPY Lew
I'm "clockwatching" again! I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU! I watched "Red Dragon" tonight. I started to laugh when Hannibal Lector was bound up, thinking of your story. Talk to you in the a.m. See you in front of The Geffen aroung 4:30. I care for you soooo much, AND IS IT EVER GROWING! You are a special lady. Sleep well, honey. Your clockwatcher, Lew

Yes, Good morning! As I was driving down Beverly Glen, on my way to work this morning, the sun was just rising, a beautiful sunrise, and I was thinking of you. I felt so at peace. So happy. You are magical!
I'm counting the seconds 'till I see you. Have a wonderful day!
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX Lew
I feel fantastic! You are soooooooooo the one! I can't wait to see your guitar. To hear your music. I'm looking sooooooooo forward to seeing you
again! I'll call you around 10. Kate, you are the best thing that has EVER happened to me. It's great to know that at the end of this work day, I'll be looking in your eyes. Have a great day. I LOVE YOU! Lew
My Dear,
BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You are a true artist. You are a true talent. It meant so much to me to experiance your music. I want to hear more! We are together. I am here for you. My phone line is open 24/7 for you. You are needed, and you are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO LOVED!!!!! I AM THE HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH!
THANK GOD FOR YOU! Sleep well, I LOVE YOU.
Lew

Good morning, my wonderful! Just a thought. When
you finish downtown, how about taking a bus to Century
City and joining me for lunch? Maybe there is a bus to
Glendale from here. As always, I can't wait to see you
again! I'll call you around 10. Have a great day! It's
wonderful to wake up smiling! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lew
I LOVE YOU...I LOVE YOU...I LOVE YOU...I LOVE YOU!!!!
(How's that for repetition)? I can't wait to see you! I'm counting the seconds! Lew
I feel the same way, Darling. I'm sitting at my desk,
thinking of you and how lucky I am to have found you!
HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY HOW SPECIAL YOU ARE? HAVE I
TOLD YOU LATELY HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU? NOW AND 4-EVER!!!
CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU! Back to clockwatching...
A "VERY MUCH IN LOVE WITH HIS KATE", Lew
There is no limit to the love I feel for you.
I melt in your arms.
Your touch is Nirvana.
You are the closest thing to Heaven.
You are my girlfriend.
You are my friend.
You are my lover.
YOU ARE MY SOUL-MATE.
And no TJ'S, bad letters from New York, or Festers,
will ever change that.
I LOVE YOU!
Lew
I'M COUNTING THE SECONDS! YOU ARE THE LOVE OF MY
LIFE! I made the reservations for Anna's for 7:30. We
can catch a 3:30 showing of "The Big Wind". I'll get
the tickets at lunch. See you in the lobby at 3. I
CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOU! GOD, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX
Lew

Darling,
I LOVE YOU, AND MISS YOU, AND CAN'T WAIT 'TILL 4:30! You will be away from TJ SOON. You will know when it is right. It sounds like it's getting close! GOOD FOR BERLIN! IT'S YOUR LOVE THAT KEEPS HIM GOING. IT'S YOUR LOVE THAT KEEPS ME GOING. I CAN'T SEE LIFE WITHOUT YOU! In regards to Barbie, that was no test. She found out more info from her Doctor, that pointed to you being right. THESE GIRLS LOVE YOU!!!!! So, don't worry about that. I told Dorothia how we met, and she almost
cried! I almost cried telling her! By the way, my
Landlord exepts Cats. He himself is a catperson. So,
whatever is decided, Berlin will have a home. KATE, I
AM SO MUCH IN LOVE WITH YOU! I KNOW I SAY THIS ALOT,
BUT SINCE I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU MY WHOLE LIFE, AND
HAVE FOUND YOU, I HAVE TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME! THAT
COULD TAKE A LIFETIME...THERE IS SUCH A WARMTH THAT
COMES OVER ME THINKING OF YOU! I LOVE YOU, KATE. I
NEED YOU, BABY. YOU ARE TRULY THE LIGHT AT THE END OF
THE TUNNEL. YOU ARE EVERYTHING TO ME, MY DARLING.
SEE YOU IN A LITTLE WHILE!(YIPEEEEEEEEEEE)!!!!!!!!!!!!
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Lew

YOU ARE THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, MY DARLING. Judith Kranz
novels aren't this happy. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SEE YOU LATER! Yeah, Yeah, yeah!!XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Lew

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MIKE THOMSON'S NUMBERS ARE: (818)846-4718 HIS CELL IS: (818)919-4906. HE IS PLANNING TO BE AT YOUR PLACE BY 10:30AM TOMORROW.(YIPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!).
I NEVER GOT THAT NAP. I WAS AT PETCO FOR AN HOUR
SHOPPING FOR BERLIN. I'VE GOT THE AUTOMATIC LITTER
BOX, DOUBLE BOWLS, A BRUSH, A SMALL BAG OF SCIENCE
DIET SENIOR, ARM AND HAMMER CAT LITTER, CHICKEN
TREATS, AND A HANDMADE PET BUDDIES BED. HE SHOULD FEEL
VERY WELCOME! I'M COUNTING THE SECONDS! I LOVE YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH! BE SURE TO NOTICE IF YOUR BEING FOLLOWED WHEN YOU LEAVE. IF SO, YOU'LL KNOW WHAT TO DO. BUT HOPEFULLY, IT WON'T COME TO THAT. SEE YOU TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU, KATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LEW

Of course, I answered him back with as much gusto as he did. We were actually falling for each other for real, not phoney or forced, nor manic, yet still hidden from TJ. I was careful, but blooming new love.

Diddo for you. Thanks sooooooo much. i LOVE YOU SO
MUCH DARLING. Can't wait until tomorrow. This nightmare is about over. TJ is playing the marytar (duh, spelling!) and even made pasta, which I'm afraid to eat. Who knows what's going through his head. We are so close to my defection from this 24 hour erection (and I know that hurts). HAHA. I'm trying hard not to be smug to TJ. He’s up and down, but mostly down. Monies have been exchanged and we are on our way, baby. Love you. I'll call mike. Write if
you can.

TRY NOT TO EAT THE PASTA!
I LOVE YOU, BABY! IT WON'T BE LONG NOW!
LEW
DARLING:
There are no words that can properly discribe how much
I love you. Any moods, any bad feelings melt away with
you here. Thinking about you brings such joy to my
heart. You truly are everything to me.
I LOVE YOU, KATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lew
I understand, my darling. I won't be so distant
watching TV. Please remember this is the first time
someone has pointed this out to me, and to quote a
famous idiot; "I didn't knooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww"!
The TV is material. YOU ARE THE REAL THING. YOU ARE MY
EVERYTHING. I will always be honest with you. I CAN'T
WAIT TO SEE YOU! Each time something has happened in
our relationship, we are able to confront it, and
openly talk about it. Most important, we can state our
feelings. This brings us even closer. I DO UNDERSTAND,
HONEY. There will be no more problems in this area. I
can't even grasp the conseption of spending all those
years with a creature like TJ. THOSE DAYS ARE
OVER!!!!! THANK YOU FOR BEING YOUR WONDERFUL, HONEST,
SELF. Together, we are learning the true meaning of
"Relationship". THANK YOU FOR BEING YOU, KATE. YOU ARE
MY SUN IN THE MORNING, YOU ARE MY MOONLIGHT AT NIGHT.
YOU ARE PURE JOY IN MY LIFE. NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE
THAT.
I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See 'ya later, Baby.
XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Lew

My Dearest Lew:
Please don't want to get into bad patterns and have you doing things you don't want to do. It leads to bull and phony ways, which falls into resentment and I don't want that at all! You've got to tell me the straight honest truth, especially if sex is in the mix. I enjoy being with you in that way and don't want you pretending to want to or have me satisfied when you tired and want to sleep. And don't delay going to bed because you have to face the fact that maybe you are
tired pand want to sleep right away. Let's don't play games and if I feel like rubbing your back or feet, I will, only if I feel like it, not because I have to, just to please you! We don't want to start bargaining for love and attention like we did last night when you wanted to watch that Atlas thing and I wanted David Letterman. It's dumb and leads to so much bad feelings. So let's try and respect each other and don't be so darn distant when you are watching t.v. If it gets too much, I can go into the bedroom and work on my computer or whatever.... I love you so much, and don't be mad I'm breaching this. Please understand. I love you loads and can't wait to see you later.

NOVELIST LOCKED UNIVERSE LESLIE SIEGEL AUTHOR an action adventure age and as audio band baseball best big books british business camardella canada catholic children chinese christian christianity church comedy comic crime detective divine drama dramatic easy education english entertainment family fantasy fast film fun games gay god golden health history horror humphrey indie japan jesus language law learn life live love media money movie movies music mystery new news nostalgia of office old otr podcast prayer psychjourney radio review rock school scifi second sermon sex space spanish stories suspense tales talk technology the thriller time tom travel tv uk video vintage western westerns women world writing

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Pascale Ogier
Passions Soap Opera
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Pat Harrington, Jr.
Patricia Arquette
Patricia Clarkson
Patricia Hayes
Patricia Morison
Patricia Richardson
Patricia Routledge
Patricia Velasquez
Patrick Bergin
Patrick Cargill
Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Dewaere
Patrick Duffy
Patrick Macnee
Patrick Stewart loves to read locked Universe
Patrick Swayze
Patrick Tango Hunter
Patrick Troughton
Patsy Byrne
Patsy Kelly
Patsy Kensit
Patsy Ruth Miller
Patty Duke would like Leslie Siegel's novels
Patty McCormack
Paul Carpenter
Paul Eddington
Paul Gross
Paul Guilfoyle
Paul Henreid
Paul Hogan
Paul Lukas
Paul Lynde
Paul McCartney
Paul McCrane
Paul McGann
Paul Muni
Paul Newman
Paul Petersen
Paul Reiser
Paul Reubens
Paul Robeson
Paul Rudd
Paul Sanderson
Paul Schrier
Paul Scofield
Paul Sorvino
Paul Walker
Paul Wall
Paul Winfield
Paula Abdul
Paula Devicq
Paula Garces
Paula Patton
Paula Prentiss
Paula Raymond
Paula Wagner
Paulette Goddard
Pauley Perrette
Paulina Flores
Paulina Rubio
Pauline Frederick
Paz Vega
Pearl Bailey dead but loving locked universe by leslie siegel
Pearl Jam
Pearl White
Pedro Armendariz
Pedro de Cordoba
Peg Entwistle
Peg Phillips
Peggie Castle
Peggy Ann Garner
Peggy Cass
Peggy Cummins
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lipton has same birthday as Leslie Siegel August 15!
Peggy Mount
Peggy Ryan
Penelope Ann Miller
Penelope Cruz
Penelope Dudley Ward
Penelope Keith
Penny Johnson Jerald
Penny Marshall waved to Leslie Siegel in a parade in NYC
Penny Singleton
Peppino De Filippo
Peri Gilpin
Pernilla August
Perry King
Persian music
Pete Doherty
Pete Duel
Peter Boyle
Peter Cook
Peter Coyote looked at Leslie Siegel on the set of Heart Breakers
Peter Cushing
Peter Davison
Peter Falk
Peter Finch
Peter Firth
Peter Fonda
Peter Frampton Music
Peter Gallagher
Peter Greene
Peter Lawford
Peter Lorre
Peter McKenzie
Peter O'Toole
Peter Palmer
Peter Petrelli
Peter Scolari
Peter Sellers
Peter Strauss
Peter Tork
Petra Nemcova
Petula Clark
Peyton Wright
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Phil Collins
Phil Foster
Phil Hartman
Phil Lesh Music
Phil Spector Trial
Philippe Noiret
Phoebe Cates
Phylicia Rashad
Phyllis Calvert
Phyllis Diller
Phyllis Haver
Phyllis Kirk
Phyllis Smith
Phyllis Thaxter
Pia Zadora
picking up women
Pier Angeli
Pierce Brosnan would read locked universe by Leslie Siegel
Pierre Fresnay
Pilar Montenegro
Pin-up girls
Pink Floyd
Pink Martini Music
Piper Laurie
Piper Perabo
Pippa Haywood
Pirates of the Caribbean - At Worlds End
Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest
Places to find song lyrics
Planet Katie
Planet Mandy
Planet Summer
Plasma Televisions
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Playboy Playmate Shannon James
Playboy Special Edition
Playstation 3
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Pointer Sisters Music
Pokemon
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Priscilla Presley
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Priyanka Chopra
Progressive rock
Project Runway
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punk
Punk rock
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Pussycat Dolls
Q'Orianka Kilcher
Queen discography
Quentin Tarantino leslie siegel have a lot of common things like novels and story!
Qui-Gon Jinn
R. Kelly
Rachael Leigh Cook
Rachel Bilson
Rachel Luttrell
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Rachel Perry
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Ralph Fiennes
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Rambo IV
Rammstein
Ramuparudo
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Randy Quaid
Randy Savage
Rangiku Matsumoto
Rani Mukherjee
Rap Battles
Rap Music
Raquel Welch
Rascal Flatts Music
Raven Riley
Raven-Symone
Ray Barrett
Ray Bolger leslie siegel used name Ray for her novel!
Ray Bradbury
Ray Charles
Ray Liotta
Ray Milland
Ray Romano
Ray Walston
Ray Wise
Ray-J Norwood
Raymond Burr
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Regina King
Reika Hashimoto
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Ricardo Montalban
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Richard Arlen
Richard Attenborough
Richard Barthelmess
Richard Basehart
Richard Belzer
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Richard Beymer
Richard Boone
Richard Carlson
Richard Chamberlain
Richard Chevolleau
Richard Conte
Richard Crenna
Richard Cromwell
Richard Deacon
Richard Dean Anderson
Richard Dix
Richard Dreyfuss
Richard E. Grant
Richard Farnsworth
Richard Gere
Richard Greene
Richard Hammond
Richard Harris
Richard Jaeckel
Richard Jenkins
Richard Karn
Richard Kiley
Richard Milstein
Richard Moll
Richard Mulligan
Richard Pryor
Richard Quine
Richard Roundtree
Richard Sanders
Richard Schiff
Richard Simmons
Richard Todd
Richard Vernon
Richard Widmark
Richie Sambora
Rick Rubin
Rick Schroder
Ricki Lake
Ricky Gervais
Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin Music
Rimi Sen
Rinko Kikuchi
Rip Torn
Rita Gam
Rita Hayworth
Rita Johnson
Rita Moreno
Rita Tushingham
Rita Wilson
River Phoenix
Riya Sen
Roald Dahl
Rob Lowe
Rob Morrow
Rob Reiner
Robbie Coltrane
Robbie Williams
Robby Benson
Robert Alda
Robert Ayres
Robert Beatty
Robert Beltran
Robert Benchley
Robert Bentley
Robert Burns
Robert Carlyle
Robert Carradine
Robert Conrad
Robert Culp
Robert Cummings
Robert David Hall
Robert De Niro
Robert Donat
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Duvall
Robert Floyd
Robert Fuller
Robert Glenister
Robert Goulet
Robert Guillaume
Robert Harron
Robert Hays
Robert Ito
Robert Leeshock
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Robert Mitchum
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Robert Morse
Robert Redford
Robert Stack
Robert Towne
Robert Urich
Robert Vaughn
Robert Wagner
Robert Young
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PEREZ HILTON MAY BE BLOGGER QUEEN BUT LESLIE SIEGEL IS BETTER!

PerezHilton.com - Hollywood's Most-Hated Web Site!

E-mail Perez@PerezHilton.com

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For All You Pervs
Filed under: Anglophilia > Lily Allen > Oops!
Lily Allen bares all!
The singer gets exotic in Thailand, on vacation with some friends.
See the uncensored boobage….after the jump.
Image via Mr. Paparazzi
New Couple Alert!
Filed under Exclusives Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone is dating talk show host Craig Ferguson, PerezHilton.com can exclusively reveal.

The pair have been quietly dating for a few weeks now.

“Sharon likes funny, neurotic men,” a friend of the crazy actress tells us. “She used to date Garry Shandling. Her and Craig are a perfect match.”

Good luck to them!

America Loves Beckhams
Filed under: Anglophilia > Yummy Yummy Screw > Zportz > David Beckham

David Beckham worked his body out on the soccer field Monday afternoon.

The new LA Galaxy star gave a few good stretches, which he needs. David may not play his first (exhibition) game against Chelsea on Saturday due to an ankle injury.

Get better soon Becks!

America Hates Posh
Filed under: Anglophilia > Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham’s one-hour NBC special bombed in the ratings!

The Monday night airing of Coming To America barely garnered 4 million viewers, getting beat by a REPEAT of Wife Swap.

Ouch!!

Separated At The Forrest
Filed under: Separated At Birth > Tara Reid

Left: Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. Right: Tara Reid’s wonky stomach.

Permalink / 56 comments (RSS) »

Back To Black
Filed under: Kelly Osbourne

After going pink last month, Kelly Osbourne has dyed her hair a darker color.

The rock offspring debuted her new ‘do in Beverly Hills on Monday.

U like???

Quote Of The Day

Filed under: TV News > Quote of the Day > Isaiah Washington

“He deserves a second chance. He knows he came this close to losing his career.”

NBC co-chairman Marc Graboff speaking to television critics about his network’s decision to hire Isaiah Washington

Are You Sick Of Them Yet???
Filed under: Anglophilia > Victoria Beckham > David Beckham

David and Victoria Beckham met up with old Spice pal Mel B on Monday night.

The Brits had din din at the Little Red Door restaurant in Beverly Hills, looking very fashionable yet surly. The pair drove in their new custom Bentley, which probably cost more than we make all year.

Speaking of the Beckhams….

Did you catch Posh’s show last night?

What’d you think?????

Wanna Party With Britney???
Britney Spears

She may have gone to three different rehab facilities this year, but that hasn’t stopped Britney Spears from hitting the party scene and it hasn’t stopped clubs from booking her to make appearances.

The mother of two has just signed on to host the opening of the new LAX club at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas on August 31st.

Britney’s last paid appearance in Vegas was a disaster! She infamously “passed out” while hosting Pure’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

We hope things go more smoothly for Spears this time. Oh, who are we kidding?

We home this trailer trash passes out again or marries some other loser. We wouldn’t expect anything less from Britney!

Allegra Comes Out To Play
Filed under: Fashion Smashion > Donatella Versace

Donatella Versace’s daughter Allegra, who has suffered a years-long battle with anorexia, made a rare public appearance in Milan on Monday. And it seems like the poor little girl is still not doing well.

The whole Versace clan came out to La Scala to attend a memorial celebration for the late Gianni Versace, who passed away ten years ago this summer.

We hope Allegra is taking care of herself and getting the help she needs!

A Whore In Sheep’s Clothing
Filed under: Vanessa Minnillo > Nick Lachey

Ever since she was let go from MTV and Entertainment Tonight, Vanessa Minnillo’s been keeping busy….

What has she been doing, besides having sex with Nick Lachey in public? Not much!

On Monday, the party girl and her pop singer boyfriend made their first public appearance since their latest picture scandal, Minnillo’s second in as many months.

The pair attended the opening of the Atelier residential towers in New York City.

Hey, if the acting thing doesn’t work out, at least Vanessa can always pose for the cover of Maxim again. Something to aspire to!

[Image via Marion Curtis/StarPix.]

Permalink / 102 comments (RSS) »

Didn’t She Get This Fixed???
Filed under: Icky Icky Poo > Tara Reid > Knifestyles

Terror alert! Tara Reid has hit the beach.

The cosmetically altered actress was frolicking in the waves of Malibu on Monday, showing off that sexy summer body.

Isn’t her stomach cute?

It’s winking at you!

It’s A Good Day!
Filed under: Anglophilia > Music Minute

Like Christmas, today is one of our favorite days of the year. The Mercury Prize nominees were announced this morning in London!

Since their inception in 1992, the annual Mercury Music Prize awards have set out to reward the best in British music, regardless of genre or style. An independent panel of judges (music industry experts, journalists, record company bosses and the like) selects twelve ‘Albums Of The Year’, before choosing one and announcing the overall winner on the night of the Mercury Music Show.

A few years ago, the U.S. started their own equivalent with the Shortlist Awards.

Some of our favoritest people in the world were nominated today, and we’d like to highlight a few.

Miz Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black is definitely the front runner. If you haven’t heard Rehab yet, then we don’t know where you’ve been living.

Fionn Regan (pictured above) was nominated for The End of History, featuring the exquisite Be Good or Be Gone.

The wonderfully cooky Bat For Lashes got a nod for her Fur And Gold. If you haven’t yet, then definitely check out What’s A Girl To Do.

And, the feel-good New Young Pony Club were also nominated for their super fun Fantastic Playroom. Try and not dance to Ice Cream. It’s been out for a while, but it’s still the song of the summer!

Has He Lost The Plot Again?
Filed under: Wacky, Tacky & True

He’s coco for Coco Puffs!

Dave Chappelle may not be well again. PerezHilton.com reader Erin was listening to the “Elliot in the Morning” show on DC 101 in our nation’s capital today and they took some phone calls about funny man Dave Chapelle.

Apparently he was in Prince William County hospital in the area some time this past weekend.

The first call came from a drunk who was also there and reported seeing him. The second call came from a cop who said he was in the hospital, had escaped, and then been picked back up by the police. The 3rd call said he had been there under another name, but that they weren’t sure if he was still there.

This all sounds far too crazy to be true. Which means it must be true!

Right?

Filed under: TV News > Fill In The Blank > Elizabitch Hasselbeck

I love The View’s Elizabitch Hasselbeck because _______.

Muzik Is The Answer
Filed under: Personally Perez > Music Minute

This is one of the biggest honours we’ve ever received - so much so that we had to add the extra ‘u’ in honour!

Blender magazine has just named Perezito to their “Powergeek 25″ list.

Beyond rad!!!!

“The Powergeek 25” ranks the 25 most powerful and influential people in the web music business.

Says Blender editor-in-chief Craig Marks, “Music fans spend much of their day, if not their life, sitting in front of their computer, discovering and downloading music. But just who are the behind-the-scenes players who shape those experiences? Today’s power brokers no longer work in the steel-and-glass towers of the traditional record business; instead, they’re tech geeks, bedroom bloggers and Silicon Valley visionaries.”

Pete Wentz came in at #25. Apple’s Steve Jobs landed the coveted #1 spot and Peepeerez came in comfortably in the middle at lucky #13.

If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Come Back
Filed under: Baby Blabber > Katie Holmes

Katie Holmes took some time to enjoy the view in Manhattan with daughter, Alien Cruise, on Monday.

The pair hit up tony eatery Pastis and Holmes later attended the New York City premiere of fellow Scientologist John Travolta’s new gay film, Hairspray.

That little Suri is growing up so fast. She sure is adorable, but there’s something terribly creepy about her too. Admit it.

She’s like the scary little girl from the Poltergeist movies!

How old is she? Two or two hundred???

The Greater The Cushion, The Better The Pushin’
Filed under: Old People

Attention chubby chasers! Have beer, make Batman happy.

A luscious and corpulent Val Kilmer chowed down at the Rainbow in West Hollywood this past weekend.

Would you still hit it?

Love On The Strip
Filed under: Courtney Love

Word on the street is that Courtney Love is playing another not-so-secret show, this time in Los Angeles. Tuesday night, July 17th, at The Roxy.

Live through that!

Separated By A Lawsuit
Filed under: Separated At Birth > Gwen Stefani > Fashion Smashion

Left: a bag from Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers line. Right: a Forever 21 knockoff.

Fighting The Brave Fight
Filed under: Inspiration

Diagnosed with terminal cancer and no longer undergoing treatment, Tammy Faye Baker’s life is in God’s hands.

The spiritual woman just posted this new message on her official website, and we felt compelled to share her inspiring words.

July 16, 2007

My Dear Friends,

It has been such a long time since I’ve written and I am so sorry for the long delay. I have been in bed for almost a year now. I have times when I feel good and times when I feel really bad. But, I have learned one thing about feelings. They have NOTHING TO DO WITH FAITH IN GOD!! He is the SAME yesterday, today and forever. He NEVER changes. That is what the Bible says and God’s word does not lie EVER!

There have been many days when I felt so terrible with my back and stomach, that I have hardly been able to breath. I cry out to the Lord knowing that many of you are praying for me. In spite of it all, I get dressed and go out to eat. I may only be able to eat one bite, or sometimes ten bites, but I swallow each bite in “faith believing”. There are MANY times it doesn’t stay with me long at all, but I keep trying and HE helps me.

My daughter is here a lot of the times to give me my medications and to make sure I don’t forget. When I got sick, she literally moved in and gave me hugs and kisses that are so needful during this period of ones life. She said, “I want to take care of my Mom”. I gave her the last couple weeks off to go home and spend time with her children, James and John. They are well taken care of while Sissy is gone. My girlfriend, Deborah has been staying with me for the past 3 weeks. We have been friends for thirty years, so we know each other well! She gave Tammy Sue some much needed rest and she has taken up where Sissy left off. She will be here for two more weeks. How grateful I am to have such strong, loving, support around me. Then of course, there is my wonderful husband! We moved from Charlotte, N.C. to Kansas City, Missouri. He came here every weekend to build me a new house and when I got here, it was ready to move into, bed and all!! They had it beautiful and it is the most beautiful home I have ever seen. He has wanted to build me a house for 13 years, and I finally let him! His children and grandchildren have come every weekend to visit us, and it is so much fun! Someone I cannot forget is a friend named Daina. She worked so hard, I thought she was going to get sick. Bless her heart. I have to have help eating, bathing, doing my hair, taking my medicine, and help just getting comfortable, which is really hard for me to do.

I try really hard to eat and keep the food down, but sometimes, it is like my throat would just shut down on me, and the food comes right back up. So through all the prayers, I have finally gained some weight. I have gone from 60 pounds, to 65, for which I am very thankful.

I ask in great humbleness that you pray that I will be able to eat without it coming back up. I crave hamburgers and french fries with LOTS of ketchup! When I can eat that again, it will be a day of victory!

In closing, I want you to know that I am praying for you and your loved ones and I am believing God for complete healing. God is a healer of EVERYTHING!

I will let you know when I get to eat my hamburger! HA!

Love,
Tammy Faye”

Dina Lohan…Coming To Television!
Filed under: Dina Lohan

Finally! FINALLY!!!

The moment we’ve been waiting for is about to arrive. The craziest bitch of the overbearing stage mothers, Dina Lohan, is coming to TV.

The hard-pAArtying mom is working on a show with the E! channel.

The Soup host Joel McHale revealed that tidbit during an interview with the Kidd Chris radio show in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon.

McHale also said that the network regularly tries to censor him, demanding him to go easy on certain celebs and not satirize them so severely. Such a demand was recently made of Dina Lohan, he said.

Click here to listen to a podcast of Joel’s interview.

We can’t wait for Dina’s show. That’s going to be such a trainwreck!

If You Are Easily Offended…..
Filed under: If You Are Easily Offended.....

Not So Fashionable
Filed under: Exclusives! > Gwen Stefani > Fashion Smashion

Gwen Stefani is mad…..suing mad!

The singer and designer has filed a lawsuit against retail chain Forever 21, PerezHilton.com has learned.

In the suit, filed in Los Angeles, Stefani claims that Forever 21 has stolen designs from her Harajku Lovers and L.A.M.B. clothing lines.

Being fashionable can get quite ugly!

If You Are Easily Offended…..
Filed under: If You Are Easily Offended.....

Then do not CLICK HERE!


Eww!

Fat Elvis Brandon Davis poses with unlucky PerezHilton.com reader Vanessa in Miami Beach this past weekend.

We hope she made fun of him after she asked for this pic!



Posted: July 16, 2007 at 6:48 pm


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276 comments to “If You Are Easily Offended…..” (RSS feed)
#1 - meggers says:


yay
#2 - meggers says:


yay i said!
#3 - movie reviews says:


He looks like a young George Hamilton.
spoilerfree.blogspot.com
#4 - dani says:


ew
#5 - srh says:


first!
#6 - Mrs.NWC says:


Who the hell is Brandon Davis?
#7 - Lizzy says:


First? And he is extremely greasy.
#8 - Jennifer says:


When did he get so fat? Maybe its that time of the month for him.
#9 - meghan says:


ughhh
#10 - invalidreality.wordpress.com says:


he really needs to do something with that shiny, greasy skin of his…it’s just…i almost just lost my dinner there for a second
#11 - andrea says:


first
#12 - LaLaNYC says:


Wow, i never realized just how greasy he is. i hope that girl took a shower afterwards.
#13 - Kinky Tink says:


Ick nasty! He needs to take a bath!
#14 - Lynne says:


ew
#15 - Nicole says:


….who is he??
#16 - sexy sadie says:


Looks like she visited the wax museum.
#17 - Arich says:


Nice!
#18 - katsu says:


who is he? and what has he done for this world?
#19 - andsuddenly.com says:


i smell BACON
#20 - Sean says:


ew brandon is so nasty
#21 - ashley says:


eww he is so gross!
BOO LOVES LONDON
#22 - Caretha Jean says:


he looks like a young fat Marlon Brando.
#23 - lysherz says:


FAT ELVIS. i love it.
#24 - pink927 says:


Dont know him.
#25 - chheze says:


crotch rot.
#26 - kypre says:


fat elvis, indeed.
and no, i’m not first, so i’m not going to moronically type OMG first!!! like the rest of you.
#27 - Just_Me says:


WHO??????……LOL
#28 - Blurt Hurt says:


“Fat Elvis”? Isn’t that what Michael K calls him? Try to be original Pigez. It’ll help with your sagging credibility. Don’t know about your sagging ass though.
#29 - J says:


Ewww that’s one greasy man.
#30 - hahaha says:


HE LOOKS BETTER THEN YOUR FAT NASTY ASS
AND THAT’S SAYING SOMETHING
#31 - Lili says:


Elvis is alive……and totally sunburnt and dipped in vat off grease
#32 - Loady Smurf says:


Why do people even cover this slime bag, he is/does nothing. Who cares? Stop mentioning him, maybe his greazy ass will just go away.
#33 - Banana Sandwich says:


Definately Fat Elvis.
#34 - perASS hilton says:


ur fat and ugly
and u look like shit
ey i ey i o
and when u shit all the toilets back up
ey i ey i o
ur so gay omg
ey i ey i o
#35 - Stephany says:


Ew he gets nastier and nastier every time I see him….
#36 - Jesse says:


XDDD
#37 - toasted taste better says:


you would think if you are rich you can afford to bathe. But i guess not in his case…right! He is so greasy, he doesn’t need any lubricant. I guess this is want happens when you don’t have the idle Paris Hilton to run around and do mischief with.
#38 - Biddie says:


He does look like his mouth is full of crap. He is SOOO Fugly! It must be nice being Famous for nothing.
#39 - ME! says:


Ewwww, does he know they make those oil absorbing sheets for your face??? Well maybe they just won’t cut the mustard. Did she slip away from the oil slick puddling around her?
#40 - Jen says:


Why the fuck is he SOOOOOOOOOOOOO red? What fuckin drug does that to a bitch??
#41 - rachel says:


is no one else bothered by that girls half white boob hanging out?
#42 - Michelle says:


Why hasn’t anyone called this yet? I am disappointed in Perez! Brandon looks like Fat Elvis in the 70’s! Put a pair of Elvis glasses on the guy and they could be twins.
#43 - becks says:


more than embarrassed for him..
more than embarrassed.
#44 - Southwind says:


He looks just like elvis with thats shitty hair do.
#45 - Barb says:


So who is this dude anyways and why should anyone care about him?
#46 - me! says:


i think he si hot, a little greasy but hot… (he definitely has a a big dick) hahaha
#47 - your not me says:


ewwwww!!!!! wth! looks so weird! i can’t even imagine how he smells like…he is the one looking lika a firecrotch!
#48 - Terra says:


he reminds me of the fat Elvis!
#49 - Keren says:


ewwwww, he’s so nasty. He’s not far behind Gummi
#50 - sassy says:


Perez- I heart you- but Brandon is a hot mother f-er!
#51 - ladida says:


ok everyone, stop insulting Elvis, please…
#52 - sara says:


HAHA FAT ELVIS!!!
Brandon Davis is a poopoo crotch.
#53 - perk says:


Why is his shirt unbottoned down like that - looks like a fat 70s porn star. I’m thinking Ron Jeremy vs. Elvis. At least Elvis was still hot when he was fatter. This guy is disgusting.
#54 - y says:


CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHY HIS ALWAYS SO GREASY ?
CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHY HIS ALWAYS SO GREASY ?
CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHY HIS ALWAYS SO GREASY ?
CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHY HIS ALWAYS SO GREASY ?
#55 - thoroughlymodernmle says:


omg he does look like a fat Elvis!
#56 - Kinky Tink says:


He looks like marlon brando and ron jeremy’s love child
#57 - emiyl says:


He’s sexy
#58 - Dolce says:


I personally think he is georgeous!! He does look a little like Elvis, but Elvis was Hot when he was young and so is Brandon!!!
#59 - james t says:


at first i thought the girl was the celebrity, who the hell is that troll guy
#60 - JEM75 says:


What a looser! Is kid serious?! Button up that shirt!!! NOONE wants to see it!
#61 - WOW says:


Give that boy a towel! He is dripping!
#62 - RHSC says:


He looks like the fat version of Elvis, only fatter and with no talent.
#63 - josie says:


hahahahah you’r so funny pez, loves always
#64 - lala says:


omg why does anyone waste pictures on this guy?? Every time I see him it makes me gag a little perhaps it can be a new diet….keep a picture of him in my pocket and then when I want to eat a cookie I’ll look at him!!!
#65 - erica says:


brandon davis who?
#66 - sunnyjade says:


he looks like he’s holding a wad of cum in his mouth
#67 - Amanda says:


Gosh, he is SO freakin disguisting. He looks like he’s ooozing sweat all the time. “Invest in a hanky, BD.” And the open shirt??? BLUAAA grossss!!! Does BD stand for “Blubber Dysfunction”?
#68 - Jason says:


Gross! He is so f’n ugly!!!
#69 - shaneequa says:


Only ever one bucket of KFC away from turning in to Gummi…
#70 - Chewie says:


i love me some Greasy Bear!
#71 - Evelyn says:


mmmm I’d so pee on his face! haha
#72 - me says:


over tanned fat elvis.
#73 - evon says:


Okay, he is a little shiny, but I have to confess that I think he’s really good looking!! I love his lips and his hair. Less tan, less shine, and he’s a keeper!
#74 - Sacramento, CA says:


Perez, next time you see Fat Elvis (
#75 - Abel says:


:0 she’s my friend’s sister
#76 - huh? says:


What a waste of my time who cares about that dumbass!
#77 - Sacramento, CA says:


Perez, next time you see Fat Elvis (LMAO!) roamin the streets of LA, mijo do me a favor and take away his lifetime supply of Tres Flores, youknowwhati’msayin, youknowwhati’msayin…
Every time I see this fool I want to sing, “Just let yo soul glooooo babeeee!!!!!!!!! (breathy ending) SOUL GLO….”
#78 - blastedmomma says:


His chest hair looks like nasty pubes. Yuck!
#79 - loves2eat says:


hahahaa..!!! Perez you are such a BITCH. I love it!
#80 - missyd says:


Nothing special….
#81 - mooshu says:


he is made up of 30% trans fat and 70% manteca. he is greaserific.
#82 - evelyn says:


finally someone else refers to him as Fat Elvis too
love you PEREZ!!!!!
#83 - Nova11 says:


Arrrgh…sooo greasy….i mean, come on Brandon “whoever you are” Davis…get a clue!! The chest hair….ewww, no….button that back up please. You could be good looking…maybe….if you like showered or something. and PLEASE DO NOT INSULT ELVIS!!!! This turd looks nothing like him and never will…..
#84 - laura says:


He looks like a wax statue.
(If you like Perez, you may also like WWW.FUNNYCELEBRITY.BLOGSPOT.COM)
#85 - Danita says:


Oh my God, is that chest-hair glued on or what?!
#86 - Alison says:


He DOES look like fat jumpsuit Elvis!!! Hahahahah
#87 - Jenna says:


Kinda looks like Elvis rolled in bacon grease!!!
#88 - lisa says:


fat elvis reincarnated!
#89 - tashh says:


hes extremely greasy.
and red.
why?
does anyone know???
ITS WEIRD!
#90 - gossipmonger says:


OH FUCKING HELL!! SOMEBODY SAVE THAT POOR GIRL FROM THAT GREASE SLICK!!! ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER!!! IT NEEDS TO BE CONTAINED!!!
#91 - kat says:


Thanks I just threw up a little in my mouth
#92 - Dolce_jav says:


HE IS SOOOO HOT!!!!!
#93 - Terese says:


ALl I know this bastard for is because he called Lindsay a fire crotch and Paris Hilton was laughing along side him. Maybe he is the one who gave Paris herpes. He is fat. A fat cow. Greasy too– *shuffer* - *gag*…. Exactly what has he done for this world?
#94 - jeannie says:


he looks like elvis!
you know she loved it
#95 - heather devane says:


ahaha, he really is a fat elvis.
#96 - mj says:


does he just scream douchebag or what
#97 - Liz says:


Damn he is still so UGLY!
#98 - Mama Moore says:


Even greasy bear wouldnt have me. Im a loser. Wont somebody please help me??
#99 - Sarah says:


I don’t know what the big fuss is about this guy. I think he is not only completely ugly, but he looks like he’s a huge nasty grease ball. I don’t see why people want to hang out with him. Not only that, but he is terribly offensive to woman. THUMBS DOWN TO THIS NASTY ASS!
#100 - LAUREN says:


SHE IS SOOOOOOOO HOTT!!! I HEART YOU BIAAAA
#101 - shaneequa says:


FYI people, this is Perez’s personal vendetta because Brandon Davis’ brother had the audacity to slag him off for the giant orange caterpillar he really is.
#102 - Lezlie says:


he looks like elvis…. not cute young elvis… but fat, old, desperate, pill poppin, fried food lovin elvis.
#103 - Julee says:


The love child of marlon brando and liza manelli
#104 - E! says:


…same stupid zoolander pose…is his hair always greasy or is he just always sweating? Brandon needs a stylist and he needs one STAT!
#105 - scarlet says:


Isn’t he one of Paris Hilton’s dogs? Except a lot greasier! Yuck…go take a shower you sicko! hahaha
#106 - ego says:


Hey number 22, you must be blind or something.
Marlon Brando was sexy and in a completely different league!
Please never make that comparison again.
Thanks,
ego
Brando-Lover
#107 - diana says:


I LOVE YOU PEREZ!!!
#108 - 126girrrl says:


why would she want a picture with him?? i cant even LOOK at him. he needs clean and clear daily cleansing pads A S A PPP
#109 - Lindsey says:


I actually find him very attractive!
#110 - megdunks says:


I think he is hot too, I hate the pube chest hair but I still can’t help it…
#111 - ann says:


Elvis
#112 - cynic says:


he is so gross looking…
#113 - erin says:


REVOLTING. you have to be a seriously fucked up golddigger to get with that
#114 - luv says:


What a fucking pig.
#115 - drumrollboy says:


who the hell is brandon davis? why is he even famous? is just because he called lindsay lohan fire crotch?
#116 - Leslie says:


I am so with you on this one. Every time I look at a picture of this greasy asshole I want to vomit. Why do people find him appealing? All the money in the world does not buy class. Obviously.
#117 - Rodney says:


He is such an ugly chut. Who would want to get with him anyway ? Remember people his check bounced for like $10,000 lol.
#118 - SuziQ says:


He should at the very least take a bath. He always looks so dirty.
#119 - marissa says:


this is what an inside out whale looks like. without all the shrimp.
#120 - Sarah says:


Is that the guy that calls Lindsey Lohan a fire crotch? lmao Wow what a douche.
#121 - Amanda says:


He is disgusting.
#122 - singinglj1987 says:


uggh! he’s trying to smile but he looks like he needs to take a dump. Dear god just shave your scragly chest hair.
#123 - Triple L says:


Am I the only one who thinks he looks like a younger, bloated Elvis?
#124 - BUFFY BOY says:


So how long before this big fat greasy loser commits suicide. I don’t think he has much shelve life.
#125 - 007jazz says:


fat elvis
#126 - Sonia says:


She is super hot. He’s not!
#127 - venus says:


poor girl! i imagine his hair smells like year old tuna. does he think sucking his cheeks in makes him look leaner? nice touch on the open shirt. *snicker*snort*
#128 - .ray.* says:


omg and ppl actually think hes hot!ewww!
#129 - sarah says:


I dont know what your talking about..
hes SEXY.
#130 - *JENNA* says:


He’s so nasty and greasy but I must say that the HOT girl next to him sure makes him look better.
#131 - Giselle says:


Marlo Brando in the making.
#132 - marita says:


perez,
por favor!!! no mas de esta cerrrrrdo. esto me hizo muy mal.
#133 - E Roberto says:


He sweats Astroglide
#134 - Annie Jo says:


Hes just sweaty. Eww.
#135 - t wolf says:


hey brandon! get a job!
#136 - Sophie California says:


Oh come on! I bet they slept together a couple of hours after this photo was taken! Brandon’s not all that bad. Has anyone actually seen his older brother Jason “Gummi Bear”…? What a fat ugly bastard he really is!!
#137 - cellwell says:


god he’s hideous. what is his role in hollywood?
#138 - kate says:


I think he is handsome. Unfortunate photograph perhaps but still obviously good bone structure. And you, Perez, have little room to talk about people’s weight. And you, too, have very good bone structure. There’s an answer in her somewhere.
#139 - asshole says:


ew he needs to soak in a hot bath for about 3 weeks.
#140 - bill says:


i think this guy is such an asshole. what he needs is a good beating.
#141 - dolce_jav says:


HE´S THE HOTTEST GUY EVER… I WANNA DO HIM
#142 - NiChOlE RiChie says:


its amazing how much prettier the perez hilton reader is than this boy, i just looked at this picture before i read the caption and said ” how does this hideous rich asshole get that little cutie? i can understand crabcrotch hilton, . . but, . . ohhhh she doesnt know him it makes sense noW!
#143 - Misty says:


He is so fugly!!! Why the hell is he getting attention? He needs to get a beat down so the plastic surgery might make him look better. Yuck!!
#144 - Cooney says:


Well, Perez, you do have very attractive readers! It was gracious of her to stand so near him…I hope she didn’t have to suffer too long!
#145 - whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa says:


what is he famous for again? oh yeah calling lindsay lohan a firecrotch. BRANDON DAVIS IS AM AWESOME PERSON AND HAS CONTIBUTED MUCH GOOD FOR SOCIETY, . . TO POOP ON
#146 - blind says:


DISGUSTO!!!!!!!! HE IS SO GROSS!!!!! WHY IS HE STILL ALIVE???
#147 - Sharon - Australia says:


Who is he trying to be Elvis? Oh my I have never laughed so much in my life, that is a classic photo.
#148 - fifi says:


ew to the curly chest hairs
must be paris hiltons pubes.
#149 - mrs.dwezzy says:


ew he is lyk a fat lard.
hes so damn ugly.
buh dhat girl plz stop.
#150 - Stuey says:


YAY! Maybe that will shut his dumbass up for once.
#151 - TwoSnapsBlonde says:


He’s kind of hot.
#152 - Karrie says:


I’m NOT impressed!!! Someone give him some translucent powder… he’s WAY too shiny!
#153 - C says:


That is am an insult to Elvis!
#154 - C says:


That is an insult to Elvis!
#155 - the unwanted says:


LOL this is funny
i just watched this thing about Victoria Beckham and i saw the part about you and me n my sister were like SHES SUCH A BITCH!!! your so funny lol keep it up
#156 - Ron M says:


Nice dimples, man-tard!
#157 - sunshyn says:


I’ll wax his chest for free.
#158 - emgee says:


I don’t care what people say. Brandon Davis is an ADONIS> This Mothoeffer is fine!!!!!
#159 - Jessica says:


Haaaaaaaaa, he does look like Elvis, in a disturbingly greasy way.
#160 - BiggaB says:


FIRECROTCH! Lol Brandon Davis is an idiot.
#161 - JET says:


DUDE IS FUUUGLY!!
#162 - lala says:


who is this looser!
#163 - lala says:


he is soo hot ….not!
#164 - loly says:


is he donald trump’s son
#165 - Kolourfulkate says:


He’s like an almost fat Elvis!
#166 - Amy says:


PEREZ! why do you even waste your time putting this fool on your blog? he’s disgusting to look at, and no one cares about him. Victoria Beckham is another one, who cares about her?!
#167 - ~Tonz~ says:


ew hes sooo ugly y does anyone care about him he does nothing for no one!
#168 - Parisite says:


He looks like his balls would stink.
#169 - Ashley says:


eww i hate this guy!! hes soooo gross!!! lindsay looks like an angel compared to him! he is a loser and his family have done nothing to this world but help hike the gas prices up!!!! dickhead!! if anyone is confused he’s the heir to the Davis Petroleum Oil Company
#170 - MAUR says:


WATZ UP WITH HIS MOUTH??? IS HE TRYING 2 LOOK LIKE ‘THE DONALD”??? THAT’S 1 GREASY DUDE!!!!
#171 - Elvis says:


Yeah so this is what he is famou for: The oil-heir grandson of the late Marvin Davis. Just like the rest of the sleazy heir children walking around without morals.
#172 - Erina says:


So basically this fucker head …. is making people poor. Next time you se this dick head at a bar — snatch his drink away an tell him that you paid for it-not him because it was our money that bought it. Fucking piece of slime.
#173 - ZLGC says:


ew he really is greasy.
#174 - heidi says:


brandon@thegym.com
#175 - ms says:


HIDEOUS
#176 - Lola says:


He comes from a long line of crooks and nobody can stand him.
#177 - co*ksucker says:


Yummmmy!! I wanna suck dem balls. I think he’s super sexy.. nice furry chest. And lick those ripe, sweaty armpits!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
#178 - HOT says:


he’s just so fuckin nasty in every possible way.
look at that beautiful orangey-magenta skin, greasy like french fries, that covers his gorgeous, fatass, hairy frame, which encompasses a no-heart, spoiled, dirty son of a bitch.
yep.
#179 - Ginger says:


He looks like a slightly less bloated of Elvis in his later days…what is up with the constant sweaty look? And button the f’n shirt already!
#180 - Tree Trunk says:


Lets face it, the dude is a scumbag, but he looks kind of fly there.
#181 - JAZZ says:


hahahah too much bronzer and solarium for bandon!
#182 - Eileen says:


perez, THIS IS IMPORTANT. I may be one of your biggest fans… i looove you making fun of avril but you need to put that energy into the fug duff sisters.
#183 - Clarissa says:


god did he get fat.
#184 - elldee says:


he shouldn’t even get face time…..I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought he looked like a bloated Elvis…..
#185 - Jayne says:


test
#186 - samantha says:


No wonder his nick name is fat elvis and by the way who the hell is Brandon Davis
#187 - Miss Me says:


if he took a bath MAYBE i´d let him do me!
#188 - la la lohan says:


yeah… well he would be even fatter like his brother if he didn’t do all that blow….the tan is hot
#189 - Marquee says:


Fat elvis can loosen up his lips unless he’s going to play the trombone.
#190 - Laur says:


So… can someone remind me WHY this fugtart is getting media attention at ALL? He’s one of those guys that loves attention, good or bad.
#191 - expartegirl says:


what’s wrong with me??? I think he looks…good.
I’ve grossed myself out.
#192 - RAFAEL says:


WTF!!! theres enough grease on his face to fry chicken…..
#193 - jennifer says:


she better hold on tight, one quick move and she might get swept away in an avalanche of grease…eeeewww he’s sticky..
#194 - yennop says:


His parents cut him off cause he is a coke head. Tough love…slimy bastard.
#195 - linz says:


ew he is way gross…..
#196 - TMack says:


Oh Lawd!
#197 - ravit says:


he is gay?
#198 - Kortnee says:


Eww. Greasy + Chest hair = Too much.
#199 - yep says:


RAFAEL that was funny about frying chicken!!! i’m still laughing at that. and amazingly i am sober!
#200 - Tristan Unsworth says:


WTF?! Are you on DRUGS, you little fairy, Perez? What’s w/ the caption? WTF (who the fuck) is Brandon Davis? WTF is that chick? WTF am I here?
#201 - loribitch says:


Does somthin’ smell???
#202 - Meg xx says:


ew he looks liek hes abwt to suffocate in his own sweat.. totally gross
#203 - Laura says:


He should stick to drugs, at least he would be skinnier.
#204 - COCO says:


A friend of mine was in Miami Beach behind Brandon’s car. . Brandon was getting in and something felt out of his pocket, but he didn’t notice .My friend to called him but he left in the car. so what a guy to do? He pick up $100 bill. That night he had a delicious meal in the name of Brandon, ja ja ja…..
#205 - JEZABEL says:


You all realize that he is the fat elvis right?
#206 - Marcel says:


Is he black?
#207 - Cherdy says:


He looks like Elvis….
#208 - Leslie says:


You know, he USED to be attractive. Has he taken a shower in the past….week? STOP EATING BRANDON!
#209 - dottie says:


why is he always so shiny?
#210 - PEREZ NEVER SAID HE WASN'T FAT says:


Money shots: Brandon Davis before washing his face, washing his face, and after washing his face.
Love you, Mario!
xoxoxo
#211 - Rash Manly says:


Brandon looks like he just swallowed something from a bus station bathroom after making ten bucks.
Rash Manly therashreport.com
#212 - TEKILA says:


HE LOOKS LIKE SAM CISNEROS
#213 - wgh120 says:


BRandon Davis is the biggest douche, he was on some soap show and b movies. His grandfather was a billionaire oil tycoon, he is the one who called Lindsay Lohan poor because she was only worth 7 mil. No one in Hollywood likes this dude, his parents recently stopped doling out the $ and hes on the Z-list. Hes so obnoxious he probably asked that chick to blow him after that pic was taken.
#214 - ker says:


eww. what a fag
#215 - JoeyOh says:


Guillotine !!
#216 - jmac22 says:


brandon davis is such a hottie! u all just wish u had a chance to get with it
#217 - sarah herself says:


why is he so shiny all the time!!! i just don’t understand it.
#218 - unknown says:


he’s the ugliest piece of shit i’ve ever seen
it’s like he rubbed whale fat from his ass all over his face and hair
#219 - ggrraacciiee says:


hahaha i thought i was the only one who thought he looked like the fat elvis.. great
#220 - melissa says:


sweet chest hair
#221 - D. says:


I got some advice for la Brandon. Stock up on oil-blotting tissue papers like those from Clinique or Shiseido. That face looks like an oil slick. Ick!
#222 - amie says:


maybe he is on drugs….?!!! isnt sweatiness and general greasiness a symptom of meth addiction? Coke addiction?
What a loser anyway…!!!!!
#223 - kristina says:


more like fat albert
#224 - HAYWOOD says:


he is trying to look like Elvis, in his FAT days !
#225 - emily says:


i dont understand… is it cos im british??
#226 - Delilah says:


my friend fucked him….. i cried wen she told me b/c she committed a sin(sleeping with pathetic ugly men)
#227 - rebecca says:


i think he is hot
#228 - rive gauche says:


Brandon’s mother should hire an A-list image consultant. Marl my words, with a makeover and a bit of sensitivity training this guy could be a brunette Becks.
#229 - Rachsmo says:


Brandon looks so unattractive, i find it sad for those people who finds him sexy.. i mean.. come on.. eeeeew!
#230 - debbie says:


what does this baffoon do all day? He clubs it up at night… I’m sure he’s got oodles of maids (and cooks of course!) So why is he so gross and out of shape? Doesn’t this slob have any hobbies? sheesh………………..
#231 - sexy says:


He’s fuh’in hot…haters.
#232 - Lisa says:


Okay…so if Brandon Davis is so broke, don’t you think he could go to Vegas and impersonate ELVIS PRESLEY for some cash! Hunka Hunka Greasey Love!
#233 - energie_on says:


Well look at the positive at least there’ll be no fumbling around looking for lube.
#234 - BadKitty says:


He looks like a chubby greasy pervert to me…………….ahahahahah
#235 - fionalicious says:


que ascooo!!!
Mario! stop saying Fat Elvis, elvis was a gorgeous man ajajajajaj, i mean even if later on he got fat it’s still an insult to say this greeeeeessssssssssyyyyyyy BASTARD looks like him
#236 - TrapitosSucios.com says:


Daamn he’s greasy.. If there is a place he should avoid is Miami beach, the beach makes your face greasier than normal.. Dumb Nut.. Go back and scrub your face w some brillo pad or something!!
Visita mi blog para chismes latinos www.trapitossucios.com
#237 - LOLA says:


eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewww!!!!!!
WHY does he keep making those weird mouth gestures, not sexy, NOT sexy at ALL!!!
#238 - CoZoHo in t-dot says:


He is soooooo GROSS!!! If you weren’t making fun of him I’d ask that you spare us from upchucking our breakfast at the site of him!!!
#239 - Erin says:


What a Grease Ball!!!! He so discusting looking!!
#240 - beau7iful23 says:


Ugh He’s Soooooooo FUGLY!!!!!!
#241 - Ace says:


Wow, he’s so ugly I can’t belive Mushy Fartone dated him…. god who could stand to look at him?
#242 - Autumn says:


Whats with the taco meat chest hair ewww Fire Chest!
#243 - taryn says:


She is so much better looking than him
#244 - Josefine says:


hahah, fat Elvis.
#245 - amanda says:


there is nothing even remotely attractive about him… what a greasy loser!
#246 - meekah says:


elvis lives!
#247 - Cori says:


This guy is totally fugs! How could me make fun of LL? He’s a greased monkey looking mother fer. He looks like he smells like shit. Who is he anyway? like i really dont have any idea, his claim to fame is calling some one fire crotch? thats the first i ever heard of him. Can someone tell me who he is pleasE???
#248 - hannah says:


Fat Elvis did what 2 u
#249 - Shane says:


YIKES
he is suck a fat greasy fuck, could it be kharma?
#250 - Melissa says:


I wonder if he will start charging for photo’s now that his daddy has cut him off! I guess Lindsey’s meger millions are more than what he has, who’s laughing now!
#251 - sugarpuss says:


I bet he has a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich in his pocket! yummy!!!
#252 - Brian says:


He is such a fat piece of shit!
#253 - Mel says:


Sweaty
#254 - Joe says:


Who is he?
#255 - AddictedtoPerez says:


Is it just me or does he look an awful lot like Elvis in the “fat” years?
#256 - Noemi seduisant says:


he is famous for what?
#257 - nak attack says:


HAs Greasy Bear ever heard of blotting papers?
#258 - Eliann says:


He looks like a bloated, greasy lobster…
#259 - mr.luke says:


why is he so red????
is that even slightly natural?
#260 - Jean Marc says:


I would do him, I like a man with a little chunk to him… If he was really cut off by his family, let him know he can crash at our place in Miami Beach!
#261 - ashley says:


Who would ever wanna touch his greasy ass?????
#262 - mishmash says:


I knew elvis presley was still alive!!! Only instead of older he strangley got younger…and greasier! Still stuck in his fat days though…
#263 - Katie says:


he looks like a burnt potato ship
#264 - texasangel says:


This is so funny, I saw a picture of this guy over the weekend and had my husband come look at it, I thought he looks like an older,fat, Elvis, he didn’t see it! So thanks Perez for validating that for me! By the way, who is this guy exactly?
#265 - Heather says:


Who is Brandon Davis??
#266 - amanda says:


I thought the same thing-he does look like Elvis. Esp. if young Elvis was suddently morphed into old/fat/greasy Elvis in his twenties.
#267 - JJ says:


He looks like Elvis in a sweaty, greasy way
#268 - katrina says:


yeah this guy thinks he is really way hotter than he is, , words of advice …Dont reproduce.
#269 - jenny says:


nasty.
#270 - IKilled007 says:


Vanessa is a cutie.
#271 - Meow says:


OH the next rehab case … uggh see money doesnt buy u class
#272 - Nicole says:


This guy looks like a damn drag queen, he has nasty chest hair (who the hell likes chest hair) if you a are fat, gay looking, ball of grease you should consider taking the chest hair off to at least have less insults coming your way. YUCK! LOSER!!
#273 - Sheena says:


HAHAHAHA he does look like FAT Elvis l laughed my ass off when i saw this! Perez you rock!
#274 - Lydia says:


what a c*nt…He needs to be shipped to some far away country ..
#275 - meg says:


he is old and disgusting
#276 - Brandon Sucks It says:


Ummm.. Brandon Davis Please read this becasue hopefully when you do you will let out that Fart and stop clinching your but cheeks so tight! Your lips look so glued together it will take more then that for you to hold onto all that farty air you are full of. Poor Girl in the pic, she may have thought you were a Celebrity, Don’t blame her for being Naive. The Overdosed Spray Tan May have set of thef light bulb in her head that said ” F-A-M-O-U-S Person! NOOOOOOOOOOTTTTT! Be nice You Hollywood Freak Show! Misha Fartone sucks a Fat One Too.. Perezito..

4 comments:

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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