I entered the holding cell on the tenth floor. There were already other prisoners in hee. They too were on their way to prison. This holding cell was filled with other anxiety filled men. Some like myself had never been to prison. While others had been on numerous occassions. They were victims of the revolving door.
For now we formed groups based more on age than race as we discussed the upcoming ride, the desire to finally get out of the despised ‘County Jail’, and for some the misfortune of going to prison. Everyone had a reason why prison was better than jail, or vis-avis. Some as simple as the desire to smoke cigarettes.
One older prisoner who had unashamedly stated this was his fourth trip to prison explained the process. He warned of the guards, prisoners, and food. He answered questions, sometimes showing concern, other times exaggerating the truth. Visibly relishing in the discomfiture of the more gullible prisoners.
The good natured conversation was swiftly brough to a close as two of the jail guards entered and gave everyone directives of where we were going. It would have been much simpler to just say “Follow Us”, but the need to express their authority forced them into unwanted long winded diatribe.
We followed them single file around the corner to the elevator. When we got on we were forced uncomfortably close to each other. It was so close I felt as if the sour body odor of others would rub off on me. In the time that it took to ride downstairs I had already begun sweating. I felt the drip run down the inside of my arm. I held my breath until th door finally opened.