Marilyn Green Campbell & Gerry Campbell – The Return To Jail
Day 1 The Return To Jail
It was a beautiful Thursday in September. The kind of day that makes you yearn for the outdoors. We were instead heading for jail. It was an interesting convoy as we snaked through town. Leading the procession were Gerry, Spunky and I. We were being driven By our newest bail bonds person, Gerry’s cousin Judy. Behind us was our daughter Barbara driving her big loud truck. She was followed by my in-laws John and Marion and bringing up the rear was Kim from The Cannon County Wire our local on-line link to news.
Kim had already written several stories about our situation. The longest was an interview with Barbara entitled “The Real Million Dollar Bust.” It must have been an interesting site to the prisoners standing and peering out the small windows of the top bunks. As soon as the hugging was done and the pictures were taken we headed for the door.
The happiest was Spunky our four pound Pomapoo. He was our main concern as we slowly made our way back across the country as he is Gerry‘s comfort dog and best friend and we were terrified that we would be stopped during our fugitive follies and Spunky would have to go to some lonely cell in some forgotten town in a dog pound. Spunky seemed to sense our relief. The picture that illustrated the story of our return was of Gerry, Spunky and Me, Spunky was smiling.
We entered the small waiting room of the county jail and took a seat. I sat a few minutes and decided it would be a good time to use the private bathroom in the lobby remembering the public one in the holding cell. Even with no working light or toilet paper it at least had a door and running water.
Soon someone came to separate Gerry and I and take us to the holding cells. We embraced tightly as if we knew that it would be 23 long days before we had any communication. In the hold I was alone. After thirty minutes Anna the jail administrator came around with a Commissary Order Form.
She commented that your family is very efficient. They had learned about the Commissary during our first three day stay at this facility and I am positive that this was not a skill that they had ever imagined they would have to be good at. I was very thankful as their efficiency meant that Gerry and I would get supplies the next day.
Commissary not only supplements the poor quality unappetizing food that is served but it is also an important bridge to making allies. I found out later that while I was ordering tuna, fruit rollups, coffee and chocolate Gerry was supplementing with coffee, shampoo, body wash and long underwear.
That’s my guy, more interested with his comfort and his appearance than his stomach A true musician, We both ordered a pillow. I also made sure to get paper and pencils for my Journal. I was moved to another holding cell, This one had a toilet. The toilet sat a few feet from the small window that looked out into the booking room.
Periodically the mostly male jailers would peer into the cell a fact that along with lack of decent water made me hold it for hours. The small cell had a solid metal door, concrete walls and floor and a concrete shelf that doubled as a seat or bed depending on how tired you were as there was nothing to cover the concrete if you laid down.
There was no blanket or pillow just cold hard concrete. The decorations consisted of mostly graffiti. Lots of so and so loves so and so. There was a Nazi symbol on the window, a shout out to Veracruz Mexico, the ever poetic Fuck the Law and my personal favorite “I love this place.”
It is dark by now and hours have passed. As I sit alone in the dark cell I heard Gerry’s voice. I jump up and looked out through the cell window It was around nine o’clock and Gerry was getting processed which is the first step to being put in the general population.
As he leaves the holding area and before he disappears behind the metal door separating the holding area from the rest of the jail we say goodbye through my cell door and say that we love each other while blowing kisses. It was very romantic in a Bonny and Clyde sort of way.
To break the monotony I decide to dance around the small cell while singing some songs from my Richard Simmons exercise tape. I am sure that anyone looking in came to the conclusion that I had lost my mind. Some more time passes and I am sure they have forgotten me.
I knock on the door and ask the one lady guard if I have been forgotten. She tells me that she is leaving and the next shift will process me. At this point I am looking forward to seeing the ladies in the women’s cell as I am sure there will be several still there from my last stay.
There are also books and a TV in there. I am tired of sitting alone in the dark with nothing to do but sing. I keep waiting patiently but no one comes to get me. Suddenly there is a commotion outside my door. There is a man having a seizure and they are dragging him out of the other holding cell and have him lying on the concrete between the booking desk and the row of three holding cells.
I offer to help letting the two guards know that I am a CPR and First Aide instructor. The tall guard lets me know that he was an Army Medic for five years. I watch through my window and wonder why he has not put something soft under the man’s head as he could crack it open if he seizes again. I decide that in the Army maybe knocking yourself out is their way of dealing with seizures. It does make for a much more docile patient. They finally take him to the emergency room. He is back in a very short time.
I need to let the uninsured of Cannon County know that if they need medical care they should get arrested. In 35 years working in the medical field I have never seen anyone get such fast ER treatment. I go back to the rear of the cell and lay down on the concrete slab. I have been given a one inch thick plastic mat, a small blanket and a plastic pillow with no cover. At first I am hesitant to lay on the pillow as thoughts of head lice stop me but by now I am very tired and do not care.
I am wakened from my nap by the noise coming from the booking desk. I look out to see two guys at the counter. One has corn rows, a black ball cap, a black tee shirt, and baggy camouflage pants and a cell phone hanging from the pocket. If he was on a street corner I would have stereotyped him as a drug dealer. He was the bonds man. The clean cut jock looking guy next to him was the one being bonded out.
I went back to sleep. I woke up abruptly at around 2:00 AM to the sounds of a female cursing up a storm. F- bombs were dropping profusely and the guards started yelling back. They were saying something about a chair and that she was trying to hurt herself so she could go to the hospital. The word must be out about the speedy ER service to jail patrons.
I couldn’t understand what all was said but I did hear my name mentioned. After what seemed like an eternity of screaming the guard opens my door and tells me he is going to move me to the women’s cell in general population where it is quiet. I walk out and recognize the female doing the screaming as someone I had been locked up with previously. She asked me to please scratch her nose as that was one of the things she was screaming about. She was restrained in a chair with her arms tied down
I scratched her nose and she smiled. I asked her why she was acting this way as she was not like this before. When I was here for my original three days she had taught me how to play several card games. She was very competitive but I had not seen her act like this before. She calmed down as we spoke and I told her I was going to teach her how to meditate because she needed to learn how to deal with her stress level. She agreed.
As they processed me they took my mug shots. I was hoping that my high priced make over that my daughter had bought for me when we visited Vegas would be an upgrade from my first mug shot. When Sarah asked her friend Angela who runs an upscale Vegas Casino salon to fix my hair she commented that Gerry and I needed to work on our mug shots.
After my photo shoot I picked up my mat, pillow and blanket and followed the guard down the hall. The ladies in the cell who woke up to my middle of the night arrival gave me a warm welcome as had the ones who were in the exercise pen when I had arrived the previous afternoon. I put my mat down on the floor promising to tell them stories of the month that had passed since I saw them last and of the Thousands of miles that we had traveled.
I went to sleep. I had spent 10 hours in solitary, mostly in the dark on my first day back. As I drifted off to sleep the guards came in to get the woman who had made all the noise’s belongings but I didn’t even open my eyes even though I was now in perpetual light sleeping on the floor below the constant glow of a light that never was turned off. My last memories that night were the words on the finger print machine that constantly scrolled out side my solitary cell. Welcome to the Cannon County Jail.