May 06

Civilian Custody


Photo courtesy of Brian Some rights reserved

Civilian Custody

On my way to be processed again, I told Thundercloud that there was a dealer who sold to me and a bunch of soldiers. We all had the intent of distribution. Not just one or two hits, we were buying in bulk.

There had to be a connection between this civilian and U.S. service members. I assured him that this was the case. He was my main dealer and before that he was Sid’s.

On my last run before the sting operation that took me down, I had introduced him to Eddie. There were others as well. He seemed very interested.

Letting him know that Red lived in Houston, Thundercloud said that would not be a problem. He would take care of all the particulars and coordinate a joint operation, and that he would be in touch.

Before leaving Jane’s house, I gave her a phone card to call my parents and let them know I turned myself in. I did not have the opportunity to talk to them and wouldn’t due to them living in Germany, and I could only make collect calls.

The Military Police escorted me off Post to the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office (VPSO) in Leesville. When I got there I was released to civilian guards.

They issued me a pair of green Army field pants and a blue denim shirt that said Inmate across the back. This is what I was going to wear while in civilian custody.

After changing into the uniform, they took me to their version of a holding cell called the drunk tank. When the solid metal door was opened I stepped in. There were two metal benches, a drain in the floor (no toilet), a dim light and a humid stench that permeated my nostrils.

The smell of sweat, urine and vomit was so strong that I wondered if it had ever been cleaned. Nausea overtook me immediately and I said “I don’t think I’m supposed to be in here.”

This cell was where they put people that were too drunk, high or dangerous to be placed in the general population. Since I was sober and cooperative, I did not know why I was placed there.

A guard shut the door and I heard the familiar metal clanking of keys and the turning of the lock sealing me in. So I sat in there for I don’t know how long. In places like these time becomes distorted.

Eventually I lay down on the bench and tried to sleep, but it was impossible with the odor. As time slowly passed, I began to feel trapped. No people, no window, no air and the walls felt like they were slowly closing in on me. No one checked on me or my situation. I was just stuck in there.

After what seemed like hours, a civilian inmate came to bring me some food. I was definitely in Louisiana! Red beans and rice and cornbread with a cup of water.

When he gave me the food through the slot I pleaded with him to send a guard to see me. He said he would see what he could do. I choked down the food but all I could taste was the stench of the cell.

A little while later the warden came to my cell. He opened the food tray and said “My name is Mr. Reesey, what do you want?”

I told him that I was a military inmate and that I did not know why I was in the drunk tank. He shut the tray door and was gone for a while, probably only a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity.

When he came back, I heard the keys again and the door opened. He said, “Come with me.”

The other military inmates had already been there for a few days and they did not have room for me in that part of the jail. So, I was placed in general population with the civilian inmates.

I was assigned to a two man cell that had two bunks and a toilet. The bunks were just metal slabs sticking out off the wall, a pillow and blanket.

The back of the cells were made of iron bars so there was no privacy. These two man cells were lined up in a row with an opening in each. If you stepped out of the cell you were in a passage that led to a larger cell with metal benches for eating and hanging out.

I stayed in my cell with a guy who didn’t seem too happy that I was sharing a cell with him.

I slept the rest of the night, but with one eye open.


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    • bb on May 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Wonderful continuation of your story. I couldn’t imaging the thoughts going through your head while you were in the isolation cell, I’m sure it would just make the anxiety worse.

      • David Mike on May 7, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Mostly, I was still pretty selfish and feeling entitled. I don’t think the gravity of the situation had sunk in yet. I felt like I deserved to be in a better cell but in all reality, I deserved nothing. I did develop anxiety issues after being in prison, but they are much more under control at this time.

    • Gina on January 16, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    This part of the story is captivating. You have told the story in such detail that I feel like I am there myself.

      • David Mike on January 17, 2015 at 7:12 am

      I have really tried to work on the details as if I were reading it in a book. I have had some help along the way with my writing since this is my first attempt at it. Thank you for reading. I think you will find that the writing gets better the further you read.

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