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Show, Don't Tell

By , Bethlehem, PA

“This actually isn’t real” I tried to tell myself “This is some ‘Beyond Scared Straight’ program, I know it.”


Comforting myself only made it worse. As I stared at the dried spit bubbling in the August heat in the
Back of that police cruiser, I knew it was the real deal; As much as I tried to tell myself it wasn’t.


My father took me to the station 20 minutes prior to the ‘Drive of Shame’ as I liked to call it. The officer
Escorting me attempted to make small talk, and I tried my best to show her I wasn’t the kid that my
Actions showed that I was, thinking it would get me out of the inevitable. We arrived, and the gate
Opened and straight to Intake I went. The cold, dull walls seemingly mocked me “You’re going to rot
In here” they seemed to say. As I was strip searched and given the typical inmate smock, I was escorted
To my detention pod. “DP2 You are cleared for entry” boomed a voice through the speaker, each door
Had to be unlocked manually through the control room, that watched every single move of ours. I was
Placed in the pod of kidnappers, rapists, murderers, and arsonists. I strode in with a blood thirsty look
On my face, which prompted each inmate to look towards the floor, or the book they were reading.
I glanced around, the walls were as white as my knuckles from clenching my fists, there in the middle sat
Chairs that were as dark blue as the dusk sky, right before a sunset; A sunset that I knew I wouldn’t be
Seeing for a while. “Six pages of rules, single spaced, both sides must be completed. You cannot leave
Your cell until these are completed.” We could only leave our cell for ten minute reading breaks out on
Pod, twice a day. As I was pushed into my cell, I looked at what was there. A porcelain bed and desk that
Were as pink as a newborn baby, and a chair that was as metal as the band “Slipknot.” On the
Uncomfortable porcelain “bed” sat a forest green yoga mat, which we were expected to sleep on. I sat
Down on the cell bed, and no more than two minutes later, a tall guard who was as dark as the night
Sky, screamed “GET UP OFF THAT BED NOW, SIT AT YOUR DESK OR YOU WILL BE CONSEQUENCED.”


His voice bellowed throughout the entire pod, which made me feel embarrassed. If anyone else were to
Speak to me like that, other than my parents, it would be an entirely different story; but I had my human
rights stripped from me. I was like a dog, treated with no sense of respect or dignity, although I didn’t
deserve those rights. We were forced to sit at our desks and face the ghostly white walls for ten hours a
day, no turning, no laying our heads down, no putting our feet up. We were expected to stare and do
nothing else. A previous inmate had smeared feces on the walls of my cell, like some kind of savage
animal. I needed to go home, I had already served ten days in a detox facility and got out the day I was
taken to juvie. No stopping home, no “passing Go”, no collecting $200; and no “get out of jail free” card
either. I was missing my home and freedom like a child missing its blanket, I was feeling nauseous. 
“No talking to other inmates or guards, no nonverbal communication, no laughing, singing, dancing,
Making musical beats with your hands and no gang signs” a guard screamed to me. These rules felt like
I was in jail or something.. Oh wait, I was.

 

While I was scribbling away at the 12 pages of rules, the clock Struck six O’clock and it was time to eat; oh boy, I would’ve preferred to starve. My first meal was Chicken with green fuzz on the top, and jet black on the inside, the smell was pungent and foul. I gulped Down water until I was full that night. The lack of communication was driving me insane, the silence was
So concrete you could slice it with a knife; you could feel the agony and silence. It was finally time where
We could sit on our beds the lights went out like a candle in a strong breeze, and I was stuck in the dark
With my thoughts. We were given juice an hour before, and a bucket to dump our unfinished juice; I
Actually witnessed them pour the unfinished juice back into the pail to be served for the next day, that
Was the last time I drank juice. We had to have our hands behind our back and intertwined at the
Fingers at all times, with strip searches every other day.

 

My thoughts echoed in my head like a gunshot
In a stuffy room. My mind racing as fast as the prized horse in a gambling pit. I knew where my actions
Led me, I knew if I continued these childish shenanigans they would lead me someplace worse, and I
Promised myself and God that I would change my sinful ways and become the boy my parents want me
To be. I served a twenty one day sentence, and I’m never looking back.


 




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