The first tearful phone call was followed by a barrage of others in which I found out that my brother had attempted to secure my release only to be told I was to stay put at least until the next morning because they were attempting to flush Tucker out. I knew that wouldn’t happen and wished they would understand that it was fruitless. I resigned myself to spending the night. One of the other ladies in the cell said she’d overheard my phone call and said she was being held for the same thing, organized crime. After we talked, we discovered that both our husbands knew each other and she knew even less than I did about what was going on. The difference between us however was that they came and got her and she got to see the judge because they’d managed to nab her husband.
The other “lady” in the tank with me was scratching her weave with the 2 fingernails left on her hand. She stared at me and said, “Honey don’t worry bout nothin. You’ll be out in the mornin, your folks’ll getcha.”
I stared at her and said, “Thank you but no one I know has enough money to get me out except the man that put me here. Who knows when I’ll get out.”
"Honey if you have to depend on a man, you're fucked. You better figure out how to do it yourself or you'll be fucked for the rest of your life. In more ways than one!!" she chuckled and scratched her head again and stared under her fingernails. I wondered what exactly she was looking for under those 2 long red fingernails.
The door opened and we were bid to come and get our supper. I don’t even remember what it was except there was an orange on the tray. I know I didn’t eat anything and the cell mate asked for my orange and I gave it freely. I started thinking, You gonna eat yo cornbreaaaadddd? I almost laughed but didn't want her to think I was making fun or had lost my shit. I pulled out my mat after that and laid down determined not to cry anymore. My cell mate followed my lead and proceeded to tell me about how she’d gone out for cigarettes and had been pulled over and arrested on an old warrant. She showed me her scars from stab wounds she’d gotten from her ex old man and regaled me with tales of domestic abuse. We both eventually fell asleep.
More phone calls from me the next morning found that one call to another back to one yielded that Tucker had come up with the money to bail me out, had sent it via carrier pigeon to the bail bondsman and that someone from that office would come and get me eventually. We were taken out of the cell long enough to see the judge where I told them I definitely wanted a lawyer and signed my arraignment papers. We were taken back and fed breakfast and Stabby Marie was let out shortly after that and I had the luxurious suite all to myself. I finally felt free enough to use the facilities in the corner blocked by the half wall and willed myself not to call my parents and run up their phone bill any further. I tried to wash my face and hands and then laid back down.
“Get your mat and come on.” She walked away as I scrambled to grab the huge mat and drag it out. The jailer droned, “Place the mat here, here are your things,” she handed me the box full of my stuff, “Go in the bathroom and get changed and hurry.”
I threw the box into the bathroom, shut the door behind me and shrugged out of the accursed striped jumpsuit. I got my bra back on and pulled my makeup bag out of my purse. I was trying desperately to look like I hadn't just been sprung from county. I scraped my hair into a twist and clipped it. I got the rest of my clothes back on in time to hear the jailer rapping on the door and calling, “Hurry up!! I have to feed and if you don’t come on, you’ll be here for 3 more hours.”
I opened the door at that moment and smiled brightly. “All ready!” I said. She stared at me expressionless, extremely unimpressed with my transformation. I signed paperwork and walked out into the lobby. I powered up my phone and saw a young man that looked like he was waiting for someone. I asked him if he was from the bond office and then got in his car with him. He asked where to and I indicated my office so that I could get my car. As we drove, I called. I called my parents. I called the rest of the people in that I knew had had a hand in the phone relay that ultimately got me released. I called to check on my kids and told them I’d be to get them shortly. Harlow said she wanted to stay put one more night, oblivious to the goings on. I assented and we arrived at my car. I thanked the young man and then got in my car and searched for my cigarettes. I lit one and inhaled so deeply I got a head rush. I kept the tears at bay and put it in gear and headed toward my son. I picked up my son and my brother didn’t have much to say and I just didn’t have any words except thank you for him. Freddy hugged me so tight and asked me what had happened. I told him not to worry about it and that I’d handle it.
“It was all those checks, wasn’t it?” He looked at me with murder in his face.
“You don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of all of this.”
“No, Mom you won’t do anything about it. You won’t do anything, you’ll just stay with him and let him do whatever he wants. You always do.”
I started crying. “Freddy you don’t know what all is involved this time. Just stay out of it and I’ll do what I need to do.”
Freddy just sat there fuming and finally said, “I’ll kill him.” My heart was filled with terror and sadness and frustration.
“You can’t do anything. I promise you, I’ll handle this. Two more months or so and you’ll be off to school and you won’t have to deal with him at all anymore.” He said nothing and stared out the window.
It never failed that he’d add fuel to the fire of my turmoil. It was just his way. I loved him and reviled him all at the same time but knew he was right. Everything he was feeling was right and I was the ultimate let down. He had no one to trust and respect and it was my fault.
We pulled into the driveway at home and I told him to feed the animals so that I could shower. I still had not called Tucker. I knew he wouldn’t be at home since he was wanted. I showered and crawled into bed. My phone rang and it was him. I debated not answering but gave in before it went to voice mail.
“Hey, baby.” His voice was tentative and filled with suck ass.
“Hi.” I said nothing else and left it to him to fill the silence.
“Are you okay?”
“How do you think I am Tucker? I spent 26 hours in county jail because of you and your bullshit. My parents know, the kids’ other grandmother knows, my brother knows, Freddy knows. No amount of your tap dancing is going to let you coming out of this looking like a shiny penny.”
“Just stay with me baby and I’ll make this all go away, I promise you. You had nothing to with it and that Ranger is just trying to ruin everything between us so you’ll turn on me.”
“Well maybe he’s not a total dumbass then.” I shot it out before I even thought about it.
His voice took on an edge then, “Maybe you should just let me handle everything baby and then you’ll be fine. I can’t clear you if you’re not with me.”
I knew then what was happening. It dawned on me as if the sun were rising on my blind stupidity. I was stuck and had to trust him to do what he’d said he’d do or I was fucked. OR I could get a lawyer and pack all this shit up and try to start over with nothing. Whatever I was going to do I felt like I had only that moment to make the decision. I was tired and broken and I had Freddy’s voice ringing in my head and I didn’t know if I’d still have a job on Monday. I finally acquiesced and said, “Okay.”
I could hear the breath whoosh out of him over the phone. He told me he was “away” for a little longer until he had the money for his own bail together so he could walk in and out of the jail. He wanted me to meet him somewhere and bring him some clothes and I suddenly felt like a gun moll. I just thought to myself, Do what he needs and get to work Monday and figure it out. I agreed once again to do what he wanted and told him it’d be the next day and that I was exhausted. He told me that was fine and that he loved me. He apologized again and told me I was “the most perfect thing in my life and that I can do anything if you’re by my side.”
All I could think was fuck you. I told him I loved him too and hung up. I rolled over in my bed and turned on the TV. I looked at the cable TV, the house, the big bathroom, the huge bedroom. I wondered if I'd still have any of this in a month, a week or a year. I thought about Stabby Marie and what she'd said about depending on a man. I wondered how long I was stuck in this life and how I’d break free. All I knew at that moment was that I would break free, I had to.