Friday, July 11, 2003

Just been reading all my neighborhood blogs and over at L's Stream.... I received inspiration to write about MY jail experience.

When I was the office manager many moons ago at Young's Agri, we had a labor board audit once. As luck would have it, the boss had by passed some of the labor pay laws and he ended up owing money to a few employees who no longer worked for him. One such employee was, at that time, in the local jail awaiting his trial for murder. (yep, we had a strange group working there from time to time)

After making out all of the checks and finding the employees I just had to deliver that one check to the jail and get a release signed by the employee. Easy enough you'd think. Take it to the office there, let them take it to the cell, let him sign, and bring the release back to me. As my luck would have it, it wasn't exactly that simple.

At that time the county jail was in part of the 150+ year old courthouse in Helena. It was located at the back, in a part that had not been refurbished in all that time to my estimate. I went tripping into the Sheriff's office and explained what I needed to a deputy dawg in there and he sent me around back to the jail part. I had to enter a barred door at street level and walk down a flight of stairs to a musky, dingy, little entrance that opened into the even ranker, skanky, jail kitchen. After standing there for ages, some woman wearing an apron finally came down some metal, spiral stairs and ask me if I needed help. I explained what I was there for and she yelled up the stairs and an officer came down to escort me up to the cells. It was there that I balked. I told him there was no way in hell that I was going to the cells to deliver that check and begged him to please take it up and get the guy to sign the paper. He finally agreed to do this and I found a chair in the corner of the kitchen by the door and sat down to wait.

And I waited, and waited. At one point another officer came in with an amazoned sized woman with arms like a pro wrestler. I suppose she was a prisoner because he sat her down at the kitchen table about 3 ft from where I sat and uncuffed her and told her to stay there until he checked to see if the cell was ready. He was only gone for a few minutes and when he took the woman's arm to guide her up the stairs to the cells, she started screaming and crying that she was innocent and there "weren't no way that his scrawny little ass was taking her up them stairs". Looking at her size, then looking at his, I started looking for a place to crawl under in case the shit started hitting the fan. That big woman wrestled his ass ALL OVER that kitchen and I finally couldn't keep my seat for fear of them falling on me, so I went to stand beside the cook! I figured at least that way there was a table between us and them.

After about 10 minutes of this screaming and wrestling match, I saw my little officer coming down the stairs with that bit of paper that I needed. I scooted around that table, grabbed that paper out of his hand, and ran my ass up the other stairs to the door, and was out of there faster than a cat could lick his ass. I was crying and shaking so bad when I got to my car that I couldn't unlock the door for a few minutes. When I got back to the office, I slammed into Tommy's (the boss's) office and threw that paper on his desk and told him,,"YOU OWE ME HAZARD PAY!"

All the hell I got was the afternoon off though.

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