Sorry to have taken so long in getting back to the tale but Michelle has kept me chained in the workshop making old fashioned Christmas ornaments for every friend and family member we have EVER known! The first dozen or so miniature sleds and ornaments were fun but….after a bit
, it came to be a lot like WORK and trust me on this….work ain’t my thing these days
Oh well…..they are all done now and I’m back to doing what I do best…creative loafing!Back To The Tale….
Okay….so, when we left our tale, I had been arrested.
Well, very shortly after my apprehension, they threw my dumb ass into a jail cell which was only slightly
more comfortable than a Porta-John but not nearly
quite as sanitary. I’ve always been a bit of a germ phobic/clean freak sort of guy and I can tell you…I was shocked and appalled at my new living quarters! Man
….it was something out of the movie ‘Papillion’
. Okay, it wasn’t THAT
bad but it was pretty damned horrible.
I must have sat in that filthy cell for at least four hours that day before the jailer came into hallway and slid the key in my door.
“C’mon kid, you’re gonna have a little talk with the Captain.” He smiled as he spoke. “I wouldn’t wanna be you.”
“Trust me…I ain’t exactly all shits and giggles about being me myself right now.” I lamented.
He looked at me and laughed.
“Now THAT’S funny!” He said. “I hope you can keep your sense of humor when they send your ass out to pick turnips ten hours a day at the prison farm.”Holy Shit!!
Honestly…I was scared to death at that point.
He guided me down the hall towards a big steel door.
The jailer looked to be about forty years old. He had scars around his eyes that suggested that he had experienced more than a few rounds in the ring. I knew the look of an old boxer and he had it.
I asked him if he was fighter and he grinned.
“Oh yeah…but unfortunately, not much of a boxer.” He chuckled. “How’d you know?”
“My old man was a fighter in the Navy and I used to hang around the gym with some of the old guys.” I told him.
“Yep…I’m old and I used to fight.” He said. “Did you do it?”
“Do what?” I asked.“Did you rob all those people?”
He asked as though I was an idiot.
“No.” I said. “I didn’t rob anybody! Is that what they’re saying I did?”
He shook his big head.
“Oh yeah bubba….you’re in a whole world of shit.”
I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed.
Within minutes, I was sitting in the Captain’s office in a leather chair and eating dougnuts. I couldn’t believe it but…there I was eating my fill of pastries, drinking strong black coffee and shooting the breeze with the big jailer and a police captain who HAD to be just shy of ninety three years old!! He looked like Strom Thurmond on the day he died!
Shortly after I walked in and was escorted to chair, the captain acknowledged my presence and told me that I was welcomed to have some doughnuts and coffee. At first, I didn’t catch what he had said because the words came out sounding something like…“Gitshosell some cough ‘n sweeze son.”
( Get yourself some coffee and sweets son.)Side Note….
I translate for those of you who may be unfamiliar with an extreme low country South Carolina drawl as well as the colloquialisms of that particular area of the country.
As a matter of fact, in South Carolina, “Sweets”
are basically anything NOT
pork or rice.Back To The Tale….
The old captain watched me eat and drink coffee for a few minutes before he looked at the jailer and grinned.
“Dontcha wish you could still eat like that Delbert?” He laughed. “Ain’t nuttin’ but a young man can eat like ‘at!”
The captain introduced himself.
“Son….mah name is Cap’n Coker but you can call me ‘Yes Sir’
.” He drawled rather pleasantly. “ Ah need to get a statement from you ‘bout what happened at dat house d’other night.”
Now….I’d like to pretend that I held up to his brutal questioning in a way that Jack Baer would be envious of but let me tell you……I broke down like a Lego roller coaster!
For the next hour I recalled exactly what had actually happened before, during and after the event. Hell, you would have thought that I was questioning myself! I was absolutely honest and thorough.
The only thing that stopped my re-telling of the entire affair was the occasional interruption from Cap’n Coker or ole Delbert the jailor who apparently did double duty as a cop.
After telling my tale, the old Cap’n looked at me for awhile without speaking. I swear that he stared at me for at least three minutes before he said a word. When he finally spoke, it wasn’t me to whom his words were addressed.
“Delbert….you b’lieve dis boy?” He asked quietly.
Damned if Delbert didn’t stare at me for yet another silent three minutes or so. I was going crazy in anticipation of what the hell was going to happen next.
Finally, Delbert looked at the Cap’n and spoke softly.
“Captain….I know a couple of them folks who he was s’posed to have robbed and I tend to believe this here boy.”
I couldn’t believe my ears! I had old Delbert on MY side!
Captain Coker considered this for a moment and slapped his desk.
“Well, by God…I do b’lieve dat ah b’lieve him too.” He smiled at me. “Howevah….the fact is dat we ain’t duh judge so….lock his ass dumb ass up till we figure dis out.”
I spent the next few days in that crappy cell until finally, I went before a judge and, to this day, I can’t remember the exact details of the legalities but, it went something like this.
Most of the ‘victims’ of the alleged crimes had blown town while the few who had been found were suspected by all involved, to be absolute liars. Thankfully, no one believed their stories. HOWEVER….
Turns out, the judge had a real problem with the fact that I had taken justice into my own hands and, he said, was ‘duty bound’
to punish me. He regaled the courtroom with an elaborate speech about the value of the rule of law as opposed to ‘vigilante justice’
and proceeded to drop all the charges EXCEPT
for something I think he called ‘entering a dwelling with the intent of whuppin’ some rednecks asses ‘cause they ganged up on you the day before’
.Or something like that.
They took me back to my cell that afternoon after informing me that my sentencing hearing would take place early the next morning.
As I brooded in my cell, Delbert the jailer showed up in the company of a tiny little dude in a Navy uniform.
“Ron….this is my brother in law. He’s a U.S. Navy recruiter and you need to talk to him.” He said flatly and then turned and walked away.
I don’t remember all the details but to be honest, I was definitely ‘all ears’
after the recruiter told me that I could avoid an eighteen months sentence at a prison farm if I agreed to sign up for ‘four short years’
in Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club.
They released me the next day after I stood before the judge and signed a document declaring that I was ‘volunteering’
for active duty in the U.S. Navy as a condition of the expunging of my criminal record.
Within one week I was heading for boot camp in Orlando, Florida.
Such is the story of how I ‘joined’
I may write soon of my time in the Navy. Trust me…it WAS
eventful because as you all may have guessed…..
I didn't exactly 'fit in'
in the Navy.Until Next Time…