Rights Of Passage: First Time I Went To Jail

I cannot remember exactly where I was heading that DC night, but I do know I never got there. The officer who had strong-man arms with a stomach claimed he pulled me over because my car had a broken tail light. After narrating my every move:

Officer, my registration is in the glove dept, so I will now REACH inside for my registration that YOU asked ME for.”

I then sat patiently with my visible hands on the steering wheel, waiting on a ticket.

Five songs played when a large size all white van speeded around the opposite side of the corner parked directly across from my car. A minute later, Officer Bench Press, who was now standing outside the driver’s side door, ordered me to get out my vehicle. His words did not resonate until he started to grab my right arm and placed it behind my back, followed by my left.

I had a suspended license — news in the form of a letter that I never received at my new residence. All items inside my pockets removed along with belt, shoestrings, and the car would remain. All neighborhood activity stopped at the exact moment as the handcuffs tighten around the wrist with both arms behind my back, walking toward the white van. Big earring loop teenage girls stopped their chatter, tank top brothers paused their dice game, and an old black woman on the porch shook her head in disappointment, all while my read out loud.

The first stop was Uptown bookings right on Georgia ave where they put me inside the best jail cell that money could buy. I would remain there temporary then transported Downtown Chinatown. The Officer On Duty stated that with no prior convictions, I would only remain there for a short time; however, by midnight, the system will shut down for hours and once turned back on, does not register new arrivals until a day(s) later.

Officer On Duty: 11:43 pm

Fortunately, he saw my less than the enthusiastic expression and with pity, allowed me to use his cell phone before transport. I called my friend Adhy who I was supposed to link with later that night.

Me: “A Yo, they locking a n*** up, come get me out this mutha**** !!!

Handcuffed with no seatbelt while being transported I Ping-Pong from each corner inside the large white van with each aggressively sharp turn. Dizzy, I had no clue what direction we were heading until, at a red light, I could see the clock from the barred window. The realization humor came to mind that growing in living a non-angel type of life only to have my first trip to jail be after becoming a college grad. The irony made me laugh hysterically, annoying my armed chauffer.

Once I arrived Downtown Chinatown, they seated me next to a guy who had lost whatever fight he foolishly engaged in earlier. He had one eye that was swollen wholly closed while the other was barely hanging from its socket. My mugshot would never become a because the bright flash caused me to squint through the experience. Later I was placed with other gentlemen of the night where we all put in a single file line with the jail cells on both sides. An officer stood in front of us; his hair cornrowed backward with white of each braid.

Officer Cornrows: Might as well get comfortable gentlemen because its past midnight and nobody gives a f***!!!

Hours passed when we were fed sandwiches. Since there was little visual difference between the lettuce and green bread mold, I gave it to my cellmate. My neck hurt from the concrete pillow wall while my butt found the stainless steel bed a slight discomfort. I started to feel sick because of my refusal to listen to my body fluids and use the out-in-the-open corner toilet.

Once my name was called, I had lost all trace of time but not enthusiasm leaping out of the cell once it open. Still, with no money, belt, or shoestrings, it was explained that my belongings were still at Uptown Bookings. Officer Cornrows suggested that I show the city bus driver my new jail wrist band so they might give me a free ride.

Fortunately, Adhy was outside the building sitting in his car, waiting. The sun was shining bright representing a whole day had passed. He(Adhy) explained that he had been calling all over the city looking for me until being told where and when I would be released. After retrieving my stuff and car, Adhy took me to lunch. A young skinny, dark-skinned male waiter came to our table and after glancing at my wrist band, gave the . I sat back in the chair, exhaled, and looked at Adhy and said, Guess this sh* was bound to happen eventually, right? Adhy then while taking a sip from his drink, eyes widened and said:

Yea, n****a, the sh*t was inevitable.

Originally published at on October 22, 2019.



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J Hall

A 313 bred HU Bison multimedia culture critic. An abstract thinker who believes “You ain’t wrong when you’re right” and that his mom’s cupcakes are legendary.