Several weeks ago I was taken to jail. Now, before you get busy baking me a cake with a file in it, this was as a visitor and not for an extended stay. As a note, however, should this come up in the future and you already have your apron on, I lean towards red velvet cake and would prefer a nail file to a metal file in case there isn’t a larcenous manicurist in the adjacent cell. I must say I did rather fancy the jumpsuits, although crossing guard orange is not a particularly good shade on me. Too bad they couldn’t come up with something perhaps slightly more fitted in, say, a deep purple or lime green.
Other than my stint in Soledad for forgetting to put the cheese in my spinach Quiche, this was pretty virgin territory for me. The only record I have acquired thus far is the number of consecutive weeks without eating pickled pigs feet, and I believe it’s being contested by a kosher vegetarian in Des Moines. A dear friend of mine has a nephew currently awaiting trial on burglary charges. Having no relatives other than my friend living in the area, his parents asked if she could pay him a visit. Our names were added to a visitors list, and I was dragged along for moral support.
The lobby area where we checked in was nearly full on our arrival. After showing several forms of I.D. and signing our names we sat next to a man with a shaved head showing maybe one square inch of visible skin lacking ink. He had accessorized his paint by numbers look with a silver chain that stretched from his belt loop, which sat about mid shin, through three earrings hooked on his right ear. In both lobes there were huge circular metal discs that looked to be infected. I made a mental note not to get behind him when going through the metal detector and to check my purse for hand sanitizer.
Not to generalize, but this was a pretty well-traveled looking group. Truthfully, the men weren’t nearly as intimidating as the women. Three young women sitting opposite us may have set an all time record for cramming the most expletives possible into a single paragraph. One girl, the most buff of the three, had apparently gotten a hell of a deal on eye makeup and in her excitement, decided to apply it all the first day. All three women were wearing what I took to be “jailhouse chic” which consisted of hoodies and pajama bottoms with furry boots. One leaned over and said something, if possible, even more disgusting then what she’d been mouthing previously. Instantly, she was rewarded with such a hearty punch on her arm that it nearly catapulted her out of her seat resulting in a reprimand from the guard. My friend and I were attempting to make ourselves invisible while only managing to find ourselves about as conspicuous as two rabbis at a Ku Klux Klan rally.
At last they instructed us to place our purses on a conveyor belt and remove all metal and place it in a dish. Ahhh, now this was looking familiar. All I needed was a carry on bag and someone on the P.A. saying “the white zone is for loading and unloading of passengers only”. We straggled towards the end of the line and when it was our turn did as we’d been instructed. My friend went through without issue and was gathering her belongings when it was my turn. Walking through the gates every bell went off. When asked, I removed my belt and walked back through. Still ringing. Damn. Moved to the side, a female officer was summoned who the male guard referred to as Wanda (her parents hit that one on the money), who wanded me so thoroughly I felt like requesting a cigarette. Once again I went through the gate, and once again it went off. Wanda approached me with arms held up, and I said “only if I lead”. Nothing. If this continued Wanda and I would have to pick out china patterns.
After much scratching of heads and hushed discussions it was determined that it was because I was wearing a bra with an underwire. Really? Am I truly the only female to ever pass through those gates who might be wearing such a strange and malevolent device? Finally establishing that despite my sinister outward appearance and penchant for deadly undergarments I was probably harmless and I was allowed into the visiting area.
The inmates were let into the area after being searched by the guards. After a wave from his aunt, a lanky kid looking to be about fourteen sauntered over to our picnic table and straddled the bench. At first glance, not a particularly pretty kid with a gaunt face riddled with acne. If someone demanded a pound of flesh, this boy didn’t have an ounce to spare. Perhaps down the road, if he continued in his chosen profession, this would work in his favor. It was hard to understand what he was saying because he chewed at his fingernails voraciously, his hand rarely leaving his mouth. Most likely he was terrified, but the bravado was what was showing through. Personally, I can’t think of much worse than losing my freedom. It’s hard for me to grasp why people jeopardize such a privilege, but we all make mistakes, some worse than others so it’s not for me to judge.
A tin of brownies from his aunt was inspected and returned to him to take back to lock up. Before long I’d be spouting things like “rolled up”, “sleeved” and “topped out” and singing “I’ve been working on a chain gang, hu, au”.
Fortunately I was allowed to leave in a timely fashion. I can’t be sure but I believe Wanda winked as I passed her desk.
I want to take a moment to thank the bloggers that have given me awards. I’ve linked to them on my sidebar. Forgive me if I didn’t do this in the beginning but I’m dumb as a brick about some of this so still learning. Please check out their sites when you get a moment, they’re all great!
1/4 cup EV olive oil
1 onion, sliced thin
6 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
4 small zucchini, sliced thin lengthwise
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
8-10 Basil leaves, chopped
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour 1/2 the olive oil in the bottom of 12″ oval baking dish or 9 x 13″. Place 1/2 of the sliced onions on bottom of pan. Next place a layer of tomatoes topped with 1/2 of the sliced garlic. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and black pepper. Top with a layer of 1/2 of the zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
Add the other 1/2 sliced tomatoes topped with remaining 1/2 sliced garlic, topped with other 1/2 zucchini. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper. Place other 1/2 sliced onions on top. Evenly distribute chopped bay leaves. Push down with hands. Pour remaining olive oil on top and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake uncovered in oven for 1 hour. Serves 4.