Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Cruel World

Yesterday, I received word from my mom, that she was going to wire me some money.
After checking the Western Union locations online, as well as their hours of operation, I set out on a 3 mile walk to the Piggly Wiggly on Plank Road.

Property Stolen By Police

Ok, It's going to take me a week to tell the whole story of the 45 days in jail, and then I will have post about the week spent writing about the 45 days in jail, so:
I am going to post daily, while continuing to add on to the jail story until it includes everything up until being released....
I am still missing stuff

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Everyone Figured Jail (Updated 9-29)

This is the entire recapitulation of the 45 days of captivity and the side story that goes with it:
  • The Takedown
  • The Incarceration
  • 45 Days In Jail
45 Days In Jail For Smelling Like A Beer
My cellmate at E.B.R.P.P, charged with double murder...
I have to admit that I was a little uneasy at first, but,
after he told me that he didn't do it,
I slept like a baby...

And, being honest and telling the cop that, yes, I had consumed two 24 oz. Budwieser Lime-A-Rita beverages; cause I always wanted to try them...
It had crossed my mind to lie and tell officer (name and badge number to be posted after I get a copy of the arrest report, and compose a scathing indictment of he and his practices) that, no, I had not been drinking; nor smoking nor swearing, because the bible tells me not to; in fact I thought about even swearing it to be so...but, I figured that was just Satan telling me to lie to an officer of the law -I know they hate it when you do- and so, I told him that, yeah, I had drank a couple of those new Lime-A-Ritas, not bad, 8% alcohol, pretty good when they're cold.

Back To The Past...
This was Saturday night, August 11th, and it seems like 2 years ago now.
How does one recap the past 45 days in one blog entry? Very patiently.
Thursday, August 9th
I remember bumming a dollar from Howard, so I could take the bus downtown, which I did, and where I posted the previous post, when I was blogging from the park by the library, preparing to go out and make the best of a Thursday night, thinking that I had nothing to lose; when actually, I had 6 cents to lose (someone could have come by and swooped up the nickel and the penny that I had started my case out with and run off -it's the risk that the busker takes...).
I remember playing very well, very patiently and reaping the benefits of the practicing that I had been doing with the Mel Bay "Mastering The Guitar" book. The book focuses on acurately picking out the individual strings and not relying upon chance at all -solid fundamentals, is the term, I think...
I actually made 9 dollars, and it felt like a fortune, as I lay down behind the building on the corner of 8th and Main to sleep; myself still being at war with Sherman over the previous weekend, when I had told him to drop my off in Scotlandville, after the arguement over me paying more attention to a Robin Williams video than Sherman...
I got up on Friday morning, and with nobody to have to converse with and feeling like a free man, I went to the offramp of Rt. 110, where the beggars stand and hold their signs which say "homeless, anything helps, Gop Bless..." or words to that effect and in 45 minutes, amassed 17 bucks to go with the 9 bucks, for a total of 23 bucks (the math doesn't quite work out because of the matter of the purchase of a half pint of whiskey in order to insure that I got my ass out on the ramp...) and then I went to the music store and bought a new set of strings. I had broken 3 strings while out on the ramp, in what I would have to call "getting the most out of a set of strings."
Friday, August 10th
And, so it was that I went out on Friday night with a brand new set of strings, feeling pretty good about myself, at least untill the saxophone player set up about 50 feet from me and began to play. When he did this, I had to switch to the sax-friendly key of B-flat and basically improvise over what he was playing.
Soon, he was joined by a couple of other musicians, an electric bassist who had an amp and another horn player. I was then improvising over all three of them, and, despite the new set of strings I had to agree with at least a couple of people who walked by and said something like "They're drownin' you out, dude!"
The sax player, I had hung out with the week before. That was when he was drunk enough to let slip that he had made 65 bucks that night, when I had made 28 bucks. He might have felt sorry for me when he gave me the rest of his Lime-A-Rita 12 ounce cans and smoke some "mojo" synthetic weed with me. We had a great conversation and I played my guitar a bit and I felt like we had established a rapport as musicians and that we respected each other.
But then, he set up 50 feet away from me Friday night.
I finally, after making only 11 dollars, went over and stopped in front of him and simply asked "Why did you set up so close to me?"
He explained that it was the only place that he could actually play, the club managers being "funny" as they are. He said that the other guitarist (I can't even remember his name now) and he had "worked together," which I took to mean that the other guitarist joined in with him and his "band" and split some of the money.
I Lose My Religion
I made a concession and went up the street and away from the horn players, feeling like Poland when they conceded certain areas around the Balkan Peninsula to Hitler, or the British when they conceded the majority of their empire to the United States, back in 1941.
I played some more, and made a few more dollars, but not as many as I would have if I wasn't pissed off and letting my emotions resonate in my music especially during numbers such as "I hate your f**** guts, I hope you all die!" and some other songs that I was improvising.
I was wise enough or stupid enough to take a break and drink more alcohol, rather than to continue to offend people.
Upon returning from the hood store, after I walked past one particular black man along the way, who insisted that I "come here" into the bushes because "Let me ask you a question..." (something which needed to be asked in the privacy of bushes, I imagine) I noticed that the sax player and his band had called it a night. This made me think that they had made enough money on what I couldn't help thinking of as the spot which I had taken first, to call it a night.
Somehow the combination of the Lima-A-Rita, the fact that I had high hopes of using my brand new strings to advantage, and other unseen forces like the devil, had me in no mood to play music which would spread love throughout the universe.
I began to question things at a deeply spiritual level, and to doubt that, if I persisted in keeping a positive attitude that everything would work out, as it had in past situations.
I thought about the admonition to "love one another," which came from the lips of Jesus and thought to myself "What if it's all a bunch of crap?"
I felt hatred for everyone.
I put my guitar with the new strings back in the case and and said to nobody in particular "I'm not playing for you anymore, I hate your guts!. I hope you suffer and die a slow death!" It may have been the 72 ounces of Lime-A-Rita talking, in hindsight.
Part of me couldn't believe I was hearing such things come out of myself; it was as if I had been possessed. Another part of me was thinking that, since I had been attributing all of the good things that have happened in my life to divine providence as a matter of course, ever since becoming a spiritually-minded person long ago, that I was certainly putting that to the test. I knew that from experience, nothing good has ever come out of being overcome by anger and possessed by a spirit of hatred, and ranting and raving.
I also kind of knew that the times that I have worked hard to turn my attitude around and succeeded in becoming positive; I have always reaped dividends.
But, I was just too far gone. I was questioning God's existence. It really was a low point in my life from a spiritual perspective; in hindsight, of course...
I packed up my guitar and walked to the nearest trash can where I looked for almost-full bottles of beer that people sometimes set upright around them, when they don't want to drink them but don't want to waste them either. I found an almost full bottle of Corona beer with the slice of lime floating in the top of it. I assumed that someone probably discovered that they didn't like lime and beer together and decided to scuttle the whole bottle (or that they spit in it and left it there as a hate crime against Mexicans) and I guzzled the thing down, and then walked past the spot that the sax player and his band had vacated, adding some of my own saliva to it.
The Purse
I crossed the street, intending to scavenge for things. I walked along, continuing to mumble curses at God's creation.
The first cast iron bench that I came to had a purse sitting under it. It was just sitting there, and looked kind of expensive. It was kind of embroidered and small and compact a little bit bigger than a VHS cartridge...remember VHS video cartridges? Anyone??
My first thought was that I was being tempted by the devil. I had avowed my hatred towards all creatures great and small, and now the devil was giving me a chance to seal the deal. Take it! Slip it in your guitar case nonchalantly and walk off! Don't look around for anybody who might own it; don't wait around! It might be loaded with cash; you only made 11 bucks tonight; the amount of cash in this purse might make 11 bucks laughable!, said the tiny caricature of Satan that was perched over my left shoulder...
Maybe it is full of money AND a half kilo of powdered cocaine; the proceeds of drug transactions by an evil person who is destroying lives by making an addictive drug available to people; a person who deserves to lose the money! Snort a few lines as you count money!!!
The Quandry
I was in a quandry.
I was also thinking that God may have been blessing me and saying "Don't take it so hard, Daniel. You made an effort; you put on new strings and showed up early and tried to play. Don't give up on me and continue to hate my creation; here's 5,000 bucks in cash and a little powder to help improve your mood!"
It was confusing, so I decided to ignore both voices.
I stashed the purse in my guitar case, intending to go through it to see exactly what was in it, and then make further decisions based upon what I found.
I continued my walk; picking up cigarette buts and finishing mixed drinks that people who were about to get behind the wheels of automobiles had donated to the homeless, by leaving atop trash bins.
A Good "Sam" aritan
I eventually turned my steps towards Shermans apartment. He had stopped by during the night and re-extended his invitation to crash at his place, having gotten past his anger over my fascination with Robin Williams videos.
I stopped under a large overhang in front of a large building and took the purse out of my guitar case.
I opened it, as rain began to pour down, trapping me temporarily where I was.
It was tightly packed with a Sony digital expensive-looking camera, a smaller wallet-type thing, and some make-up items.
The little wallet type thing had 3 credit cards in it, not "platinum" "black" or "gold" or otherwise connotative of super affluence, but credit cards. And, a drivers licence with a picture of Samanta S- on it, and 43 dollars in cash.
Samantha was looking up at me from the phota and saying "So this is how you're gonna do me, huh? -take my credit cards and go run up a bill at the liquor store and then steal my camera so you can post "high resolution" photos to your blog there, and then use the 43 bucks to go buy crack so you can get high and then masturbate to the pictures of me and my girlfriends stored in the camera. I know how you homeless guys think!"
I looked at the picture of Samantha and at her address, which was an apartment somewhere. The pictures in her camera, and there were few of them, were of her and a few people in some restaurant. They looked like nice people. I couldn't do it. So Samantha got drunk and left her purse under a bench when she went off to puke somewhere; that doesn't mean she deserves to have her stuff stolen...
I resolved to return the camera and her credit cards and her licence and make up....but as far as the 43 dollars in cash....????
"Hi, is this Samantha? Yeah, I found your purse early this morning...everything is still in it, except the 43 dollars in cash; I couldn't find that anywhere in it..."
About that, I still wasn't sure. I had 11 dollars of my own money. 11 friggin dollars.
Or, 54 friggin dollars with Samanthas money included.
She's probably going to give it to you as a reward (the money, perverts) because she'll be so happy to get all her other stuff back, she might even give you a hundred bucks....even though you're motivation should be to do the right thing and treat her as you would want to be treated; not expecting something in return...
The rain let up, as if on cue and I dragged my tired, drunk self off to Shermans house. I knew that I should plug in my laptop as soon as I got there and try to Facebook Samantha immediately with a message, so as to assuage her vexation over the lost purse; but I was dead tired and I really wanted to sleep upon my decision over what to do.
There was a time, (not long ago) when my response would have been automatic -return it to her, and in fact I would have sat on the bench for a while in case of her return and probably not even opened it to look inside; has homelessness finally caught up with me and robbed me of my soul???

I woke up the next day around noon.
I told Sherman about the purse. He told me that if it were he, he would just return the thing.
I told him that I was going to pray over it, and I did, as I walked towards the store.
Arriving at the hood store, I saw a homeless guy in a wheelchair, whom I had seen before, who was sitting alongside a parked car and talking to the woman who was behind the wheel.
Hope Springs
I sat not far from them and drank the first of the two Lime-A-Ritas that I would eventually tell the cop about, causing him to arrest me.
The guy in the wheelchair motioned me over and I too, spoke to the lady, who was in her late twenties and had a wedding band on her hand, a hand which she held in a way so as to display the ring. Her name was Hope and she talked to me for a while and then offered me 20 dollars, asking me if I needed money.
I told her that I felt funny saying that I needed money when I was standing there drinking a Lime-A-Rita and smoking a cigarette. She still gave me the twenty dollars.
That sealed the deal and I then bent my steps towards the library, intending to find Samantha on Facebook or somewhere and tell her that I had her purse and that everything was still in it.
I didn't make it as far as the library before seeing a guy who was barefooted and playing a harmonica with a tip hat in front of him, next to a well dressed guy who was playing a new looking guitar.
They motioned me over and I was sitting there, talking to them about busking and life in general when the first cop car came and parked by us.
A cop walked over and asked the barefooted guy for ID.
Then he asked him if he were still living at the address on the ID. The barefooted man told him that he was was no longer staying there, but had moved in with some friends at an address that he was having trouble remembering.
The cop chastised him for not being able to remember his exact address, and seemed suspicious. He was holding a pad and a pen, ready to write the address down, I suppose.
The barefooted guy said "Would it help if I just said 'homeless' and you could write that down?"
The cop said that the barefooted guy was now being a smart ass. It was about 6 pm. and the sun was just setting over the Mississippi River about a mile to our west.
The cop was joined by another cop who was also white and had a shaved head. He wasn't wearing his cop hat.
He asked me for ID. He asked me if I was homeless after I told him that I had no ID.
I told him that I was homeless and he nodded his head as if to say that he had already figured that out.
The barefooted guy, who had a wild raggedy hairstyle, asked "What is this all about?"
The first cop (his cop) said "We're trying to find out what this is all about..." (a zen-like answer, I thought).
The shaved headed cop took the SSI number that I had given him, and went to his car to run it.
I told him that I had an old warrant from North Carolina and that it was going to come up because it always did; and would be doing so for another year or so until the statute of limitations runs out on it.
The warrant came up and it said "do not extradite," but the shaved headed cop told me that he was thinking of putting me on a bus and sending me up there, at his own expense, so that they could lock me up. He said "You don't contribute to society, you just sit and play music and hope someone will come by and give you some money!"
I tried to remain pleasant and was actually proud of myself for having no weapons or drugs or outstanding warrants, and for the fact that I had drank my Lime-A-Ritas out of their sight. I had taken all the precautions for staying out of jail, I was thinking to myself, as the shaved headed cop continued to call me "stupid" and to reiterate that I was a worthless member of society.

The Takedown
He then said that he could smell alcohol on me, and asked me if I had been drinking. I told him about the Lime-A-Ritas.
He walked over to the first cop and spoke to him and I heard "Well, he just admitted to drinking 24 ounces of beer..." as part of the conversation.
The shaved headed guy came back and stood by me.
By now the first cop motioned to the well dressed guy who had a new looking guitar and told him to walk a few feet down the sidewalk with him, so that hey could have a conversation out of the earshot of us homeless looking guys.
I mentioned something to the effect of the fact that I thought that they hadn't even noticed the well dressed guy because they hadn't even asked him for ID.
The shaved headed cop, at this point determined that I was being a smart ass and told me "This is what we do to smart asses," as he handcuffed me and dragged me to his car, put me in the back and slammed the door.
The Incarceration
Then, I sat in the back of the cruiser with its windows rolled up and the sunlight from across the river keeping the temperature around 90 degrees, and watched the cops start to tear through my belongings, hoping that they would finish before the oxygen in the cruiser ran out on me.
Wearing their rubber gloves so they wouldn't be exposed to any homeless-borne viruses, they began to littler the sidewalk with my precious possessions, ripping open anything that looked like it might be the hiding place for my crack cocaine or any small items which I may have stolen from the people that own homes and pay taxes on them.
The moment that I was waiting for, as I twisted my body to look out the back window and to alleviate the pressure on my wrists from the handcuffs which had been ratcheted down tightly, to prevent an escape.
The fat cop (there were 5 of them on the scene now, allowing the homeless to run rampant in all the locations where those 5 were not) suddenly stood bolt upright, holding Samanta S-----'s purse.. Within seconds there were 5 officers gathered around Samantha's purse, which had been placed on the back of one of the cruisers.
A young couple walked past me and I heard the woman say "It takes 5 of them just to..." and then the gentleman say "Shhhh, be quiet," as they were about to walk past them (don't be a smart ass).
Then, after a discussion about what I am sure was how to phrase the question in order to elicit an admission of guilt, the shaved headed cop came over, like I was waiting for him to do, and threw open the cruiser door (ahh, fresh, cool oxygen, thank you officer, you're not so bad after all!) and snarled out the question that I was waiting for him to ask (only how he was going to phrase it was in doubt) "Who's Samantha?"
Good one. I was supposed to try to lie and say "She's my girlfriend," or something. Then he could ask things like "Oh yeah, what's her last name? Where does she live?" because purse snatchers might be interested in the address so they can go there and burglarize it, should the contents of the purse look promising, but probably wont bother with memorizing the last name of their victim, so as to keep the crime at an impersonal level...
"I guess she's the owner of the purse that I found last night, which I was on my way to try to return," I said. Being honest had gotten me that far, why change horses mid-stream?
"Ha! Yeah, right!" laughed the shaved headed officer (why ask me a question if you're not going to believe the answer?) "I just pray that it was reported as a purse snatching, because now we have you on a felony!" he said, before slamming the door in my face. ...
a religious man, I thought
Then, I worked on my second oxygen ration while they stood around and one of them talked on a cellphone. They were checking to see if the purse had been reported snatched. The shaved headed cop on his knees with his hands together and his face pointed skyward while this was happening.
Eventually I was transferred to another cruiser, one with a tire sitting in the seat next to me (I wondered if the tire had been prayed over, too).
Then, the younger looking cop of the 5 got in and took his clipboard. I just started spitting out things like "5 foot ten, hazel, 145 pounds, homeless, M-c-K-E-N-N-A" and he just wrote as fast as he could...
Then, I asked him if I was "entitled" to have a Breathalyzer test done upon me, thinking that the time that it took the 5 officers who were on the taxpayers clock to arrest me was probably long enough to sober me up from the two Lime-A-Ritas. "It doesn't work that way," said the youngest looking cop.
He popped in a CD of a primitive sounding heavy metal band and bobbed his head along with the music as he drove out onto the interstate.
I was not wearing seatbelt because I believe there were none back there. I was hoping that the youngest looking cop wasn't going to ticket me for that.
Then, head bobbing, he drove along the interstate at 13 miles per hour over the speed limit, eventually with  with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on a cellphone. At least he turned the crappy music down to do this. He veered outside of his lane at least once during the ride. Aren't speeding, talking on a phone and failing to stay within marked lanes against the law? He got me to the jail miraculously and said "367 with a transport" into his radio, and then the gate opened for us. That's officer 367, for those keeping score...
I was marshaled into the booking area where I was immediately told to give them my belt. My jeans were a couple sizes too big and they slid half way down my buttocks, revealing my boxer shorts and so I fit right in with most of the other inmates being booked, at least from a fashion standpoint.
The officers in Central Booking were laughing and joking and horse-playing around with each other and seemed to be having the times of their lives. It must feel great to have a job, especially with all the overtime that I'm sure that they are getting because of the current wave of crime being perpetrated by the homeless people in Baton Rouge.