I went to jail for skateboarding, and all I got was this sweet mug shot
At around 3:30 a.m., another detainee and I were finally escorted to our cell, C-115, in C Block. This is where I would spend some real hard time...almost ten hours' worth.
That gave me plenty of time to chat with my cellmate, Brandon. He inquired what I was in for, then quieted down as I made my bed with two sheets and a single blanket that seemed better suited for a museum display that would show people what General Jeffrey Amherst gave to the American Indians at Fort Pitt. Seriously, the blanket smelled like mothballs and was as ragged as an old sweater. I finally fell asleep, but was soon awakened by the sound of doors unlocking: Chow time.
After that, I fell back asleep -- but was soon awakened by the call for 8 a.m. court. That was the time listed on my paperwork, but apparently that note didn't make it to the sheriff overseeing C-Block. Instead, I had to wait two more hours until 10 a.m. court. While I waited, I walked around my cell singing what parts I could remember from Les Miserables -- mostly "Look Down" and "Stars" -- and tried to find a connection to "prisoner 24601." The closest thing I had was my booking number, 126442, so I changed the lyrics and commenced singing my sorrows through the eyes of Victor Hugo's famous characters.
Finally I was called to the 10 a.m. court along with a large group of people I perceived to be real criminals. Shirts tucked, we walked down to the observation room, where we would be judged through thick panes of glass by family and friends as well as Judge James Breese. (It was here that I realized how important my vote is during the election of judges.)
After a few females who were arrested for solicitation and a few guys who were charged with open containers in public, domestic violence and more people-on-people crimes, I was called to the microphone.
"For the charges of skateboarding on the 16th Street Mall and interference with police business, how do you plead?" Judge Breese asked.
"Guilty, Your Honor." I replied.
"Are you making this decision out of your own free will, with a clear mind, and not on any medications or drugs?"
I really wanted to say "I wish!" But instead, I just responded "Yes, Your Honor."
"Is there anything you would like to say in your defense?" he asked.
You bet. As I explained the background around the interference charge, the judge read the first few lines of notes outlining how I had defied the police officers' requests, and that I was not following their orders. Then the judge said those magic words: "Time served."
I was instructed to leave the room, given a lunch, and sent back to my cell to eat it. What could be in the paper bag? I was thinking a sandwich of sorts, but the bread turned out to be a cross between sweaty gym socks and the cheapest possible flour-yeast-water concoction; between the slices was a piece of pink, processed indigestion. I took two bites and trashed the rest, then slugged the 3.5 ounces of milk provided -- in one gulp.
After that, we finally got communal time -- which was good, because I was bored of doing pushups and situps and singing my altered lyrics to Les Miserables. Instead, I shot some hoops with a young lad named Brandon, who had a mean sky hook. I also played chess with a guy named Dave, and then with Brandon. I won both games, but both opponents put up a good fight. We were ordered back to our cells around 1:20 p.m. I took a nap until I was called -- time to go.
At this point, it was four hours after the judge had uttered those precious words, "time served."
What a waste of time.
From our archives: "You'll be stir-crazy after spending the night in Denver's new jail."