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Alchera project 17, Option #1

01.06.03 @ 20:53
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Alchera project 17, Option #1

The following is a work of fiction. It is in no way based on real people, any similiarities is pure coincidence.

As I am late with this month's project I wrote this in one sitting, so there may be a few spelling/grammer errors. If so I appologize.

Charlie Pod

Its a funny thing about jails, people, who normally wouldn't give each other the time of day in the outside world, find themselves bonding and forming friendships that in many cases last only as long as their respective sentences. In many cases it is only an illusionary bond, on who's tenouis bonds can be broken and reformed as quickly as people come and go in county lock up.

Unlike prisons where people are in for the long term, people in jail are short-termers. People in jail, not waiting trial, know they will get out. Some of us admit our guilt and take our lumps like adults, some of us claim innocent, a few of us even are, but most of us fall into the category of either "Guilty but ...." or "or "Innocent and getting a raw deal". We fell into all of these categories, we were the women of Charlie Pod.

We covered all the ages, races and social levels. Vickie the 18 year old addict who learned to smoke marijuana from her dad, and soon moved on to bigger and heavier things, now facing a choice between staying clean a year or spendingt twelve months in jail. Paula, the 30 year old mother of three with a gambling problem that lead her to write bad checks, and a mental illness that made excuses for i. , Erica, the 21 year old African American from the wrong side of town, who got caught on a spending spree with somebody else's credit cards. Laura the 35 year old single mother who lost her licence from too many speeding tickets, but kept on driving anway because taking the bus to work was too inconvienent. Kim the Native American, pregnant with her second child,who had a suspended licence and the misfortune of going up against a judge who didn't hide his prejudices. Amy the 25 year old single mother who broke parole and was serving the entirety of her one year sentence because of it. And Marlys who during delusional state while drinking threatened a cop with a broken bottle. There were more of us in our little group, but when we look back on our time, these were the key people in our group, the vocal ones, the one's everybody remembered the most when they left.

The nights were the hardest because that was when the lack of freedom and the reality of our situation really kicked in. During the day we ate in a community room and were able to watch tv, play cards or just move around and bullshit with each other. But at 10pm when lockdown came, we were each on our own in our little eight by 10 rooms, with a bed, a sink and a toilet. Books came around once a day, and rather we were readers or not everyone was eager for something to read as it made time after lockdown a lot less alone. The rules states required a light was on at all times, so if not for the clock high up in the community area we would have had no way to tell what time it was. Some of us didn't mind silence, for others of us, that was the hardest part.

Breakfast was the same every morning at 6 am. It didn't matter how you felt or if you wanted to eat, or get up. Everyone of us had to get up and come down to face a tray with the same breakfast: Cold cereal, untoasted bread, peanut butter, frozen orange juice and milk. The only variation ever was if you had corn flakes, Cheerios, or Rice Crispies. After breakfast, it was back to lockup again for an hour while the night guards changed shifts with the day guards. Then it was everybody out for cleaning time. Cleaning time was always interesting because we were not allowed to leave our cell doors open, but inorder to get in or out, we had to buzz the guards and it was one of thier least favorite things. But we endured it, as it was lightyears ahead of the old accomadations where the same size room slept three people and cleaning was a waste of time because the dirt was more sturdy than the floors. The old jail was built in the 19th century and except for the addition of plumbing and electricity it still looked like the jail in Gunsmoke reruns.

We were thrilled to be at the new jail, and if that meant mopping every morning, well so be it. After cleaning time, then we had free time, as we were minimum security, we had the most free time. Most of us just sat around watching tv, playing cards or doing puzzles. This was about as exciting as things got, except on court days. Court days were always special, it meant new faces comming in and familiar faces would say good-bye usually with promises of contacting others on the outside for us or doing other favors. For some of us it meant a chance to get out of here, for the rest of us it was just a slight more intersting day than most, but still just another day to get thru.

Otherwise the days were more or less all the same. After free time, came another lock down and head count, than came lunch and commisary, more free time, another lock down, supper, more free time, and then 10 pm and the lock down until 6 am the next morning. A few of us volunteered to take cell duty and we got to stay out and watch tv while vacumming and mopping (for the second time) the common areas.

And so the time went, one day blending into the next. No sunlight, no changing temperatures with the weather, no light and dark cycles to indicate the passage of time. We learned to either become friends or kill each other. It was easier to make friends, as it was pretty cold and lonely for anyone who chose to play outsider and not join the group. That was when the law of group dymanics kicked in to show its ugly side. We drove one poor girl to request another pod because she couldn't take us anymore. We later found out non of the other pods could tolerate her either. She tended to live in her own world and would often do things that woudl intentially anger others, and then get upset when on of us would say something. However the deal breaker was when she squealed about those in our group who had taken to adding some entertainment in the form of erotic, x rated letters which were shared with the male pod on the otherside of the wall, via a shared door they could be slid under. Others were just writing the letters to boyfriends and husbands on the outside.

The only other time our group turned nasty was when it was discovered that one of our membership had contracted lice, and as such all of us had to be deloused with foul smelling shampoo and a very fine comb. Prior to this point, we did as many women in group settings do, we would do each other's hair. As only two of us knew the art of french braiding we were more popular, however we hadn't taken the caution of keeping everyone's combs separate. All of us had been very hygienic and showered daily. The thought of lice, was enough to make even the coolest of us, loose it.

Eventually however one by one, we each returned to our lives on the outside. Some of use returned to our former ways, others of us used this as a learning experience and took care not to make the same mistake again. A few times one or two of us have seen each other on the outside, we acknowledged each other with a hello, or a knowing nod but none of us really ever discussed our situations or ever again talked to each other the same way we had during the time when we were Charlie Pod.


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In every neighborhood there is at least one house that all the neighbors gossip about. This is a diary from the woman who lives in that house. I am a single mother in her mid thirties. I live in North Dakota with my son, Warren.

I tend to be a bit of a slob, and am the opposite of a girly-girl. I am geek girl, who loves Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Buffy, Angel, action movies, science fiction, action adventure, Dr. Who, and so on and so on.

I love to write and while I don't post much fiction online anymore I would love to be a writer someday. I am also overweight, bipolar and suffer from allergy induced asthma.