day #5 I'm moved from the cell into a pod, a dormitory-like
facility in the new section of the jail which houses about
a hundred "gentlemen," as the Deputies call us. The jail
has five pods. F-pod, about the size and eeriness of a
crop circle, is two levels with a circular guard tower
in the center elevated about six feet above ground, allowing
the Deputies to observe the goings-on of the inmates.
We are in "housing units," open four-man cubicles with
bunk beds on the exterior of the circle. No bars in F-pod,
just a steel door.
can move around the pod freely most of the day. A chin-up
bar and treadmill for workouts. A ping-pong table. Lots
of chess games, dominoes, checkers, Monopoly. The food
isn't great, but you can't expect sushi in the slammer.
We're all outfitted in orange pants, orange sweatshirts,
orange socks, orange undies, walking around and around
in circles like zombies.
I circle around I ponder the word 'pod.' I recall a 1950's
sci-fi flick about pod people. I've forgotten if the pod
people were the good guys or the bad guys. Was that film
Night of the Living Dead?
like many nights with the living dead in here. All of
us are in various states of depression, if not outright
pathological. Take Maggothead, for example. He's in the
restroom with a rolled-up towel awaiting the arrival of
ferocious maggots assembled under the shower drain. From
this submerged army an occasional maggot slips up through
the drain, only to fall victim to the swatting of a vigilant
never seen a maggot in the shower, but Maggothead assures
me this is the case, and furthermore he will file a complaint
at the state health department in order to override city
health officials who have cut a deal with the jailers
to keep F-pod infested with an exotic assortment of bacteria.
"In jail, I'm
struck by an obvious truth: life has meaning."
around 25, stocky, thinning hair, has small brown eyes
in dark pouches which see a sick-making conspiracy directed
at all people in jail. I don't know if he's crazy or just
angry. But all of us in orange are wigged out. My mind
turns to jelly not knowing how deep the prosecutor in
the D.A.'s office is going to jam me. She's got me by
the balls, and I knew it would be a she, and so is the
judge, and if that isn't retribution against a pimp I
don't know what is.
convinced this ball-busting prosecutor is the San Francisco
chairperson of the progressive/feminist organization Against
the Penis and a devoted fan of Andrea Dworkin. Oh man,
she's going to build up her case with a pile of damning
facts so high, Alcatraz will be reopened solely for the
pimp in the pod. And the judge, Wonder Woman 2 in a black
cape, will override every motion, plea and objection from
my lawyer, Marty Steinberg, then smash that gavel down
and send me off to the rock.
confident Steinberg will put up a good defense--I picked
him out of the phone book on the basis he does not run
an advertisement for himself--but at this moment he's
not very encouraging: "Doing some time now will help.
Be patient. Wait and see."
patient. How? I've never tried heroin, but right now I'd
like a bucko shot of smack. Let that warm bath of China
White wash over me, send me down, down, down into the
calm, serene void where emptiness reigns and the only
thing I want out of life is to float in an endless sea
of blood, pumping away into this pimp's bag of flesh.
I can't do that, my mind swings in the opposite direction.
In jail, I'm struck by an obvious truth: life has meaning.
For those of us who live on the edge, who concluded long
ago we are but specks of sand in some cosmic non-plan,
the loss of freedom jettisons existential nausea, and
life on the outside with all its tortured angst looks