Fiction Friday – Jailhouse- If Walls Could Talk

I am a jail house. It has been this way since the first cells were walled off in the basement.


Yep, grey painted bars just like you would imagine. Well, they were an institutional green but someone layered on grey paint. There are hard smooth drips dried on my bars. The walls are cement and the windows are really narrow up at the top of the back wall. There must be a rule about having windows in jail houses.

I’ve been empty lots of times. Seldom full. Most of the people brought in end up at County Lockup if they are going to stay more than a day or so.

I’ve had two major events and one suicide.

The fellow did the well over done and preventable hanging. He just sort of slipped under the radar. He was hauled in for public drunkenness and never gave any clues that he might do it.

For a long time after that none of the officers or staff trusted anyone no matter how well adjusted they seemed to be.

On another occasion the fellows brought in a guy who was off his meds. They assumed he was drunk and he was, but off his meds sort of put him off his level. It was a Friday and late and that meant a Monday appraisal by the judge. By Sunday afternoon, the fellow had flat out gone into some kind of coma.

The ambulance isn’t ever far from the jail, they keep them in a garage over there. If you climb up and have a look out thenarrow window you can just see the edge of the door.

They came and rescued the man who had some medical issues and shouldn’t have been consuming anyway.

Seems the people who end up here are for the most part consuming things they shouldn’t.

Sometimes the head guy upstairs, not God, just a guy, will bring in a homeless person, usually men, sometimes women. He doesn’t charge them or book them and he doesn’t lock the door. He isn’t supposed to do this and if he gets caught I don’t know what will happen.

A kid came down once, I am sure he was underage and don’t know why he was put down here. He was pretty wild, wired on something and ended up gouging the heck out of his forearms and the backs of his legs on the mattress shelf. Consuming I guess.

I think when they open the new jail those opportunities for self-harm will go away.

I’ve seen my cells used to hold a lot of people who could use some good mental care but aren’t getting it.

This all started in the 80s when they closed down so many of the places that cared for these people. I don’t want to get political so I’ll leave this topic.

I had a guy in here who got nabbed for shoplifting. He was a hoot. The fellow was a comedian who did some really great stand up for the officers and the fellow in the next cell. I never saw anything like him. Why he was shoplifting I will never know. Another kind of consumption, I guess. The guys talked about him for a long time.

Being just a jail they don’t make food here. Depending on who has the watch, the prisoners get good food or fast food. There is a budget for feeding them.

One guy likes to call in pizza if he thinks the guests can keep it down. Another one uses the sub shop at the end of the block and tends to stick with the cheese-steak subs. Others opt for the fast food in a bag sort of meal. It varies. Of course all of the guests are asked if they are allergic to something and they ask more and more about any diseases like diabetes or schizophrenia.

Yes, they can ask and will ask. Some will ask kindly and others give as good as they get.

Tonight, I have a homeless woman. She is wearing a scarf around dirty hair that has matted to her head. The nice one brought her down and said he was calling in Frances to help her with a shower. He will order her some food and let her stay over till the shift ends and then he or Frances will sneak her out the back way.

Go to Fiction-Friday.comto see all of the Houses in the If Walls Could Talk Series.

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By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.