Imagine the scene… I’m ten years old, at the beach. Santa Monica Pier. Popular with tourists and locals alike. Jim and I have fireworks. Seems like the time for some fun. We hide near the street side of the pier and start flinging lit fireworks.
The fun doesn’t last! Less than an hour later, we are stuck in two separate police cars. I clearly remember what happens next.
I’m stuffing leaky firecrackers into the cloth and plastic seat cushions of the police car back seat. The smell is of plastic and gunpowder. This 1966 Dodge Polara used by the Santa Monica Police Department is large and solid. The tires are squealing as the police car rushes toward the station. My 10-year old brain is boiling. All I can think about is how to minimize the dangerous anger of my mother and father.
It was so great coming back from visiting Tijuana and having firecrackers. It was great hearing the noise and smelling the smell and having the rush of adrenaline when setting them off. Now I am picked up by the police, and there is a rush, but not a pleasant rush. Emotions are coursing through me like a shaking and quaking earthquake. I have a huge amount of firecrackers in my pockets. I am obsessed with getting them off my body before we get to the police station.
In the police station cell, there is a new surprise. The policeman turns a huge key in a massive lock in a solid metal door. I am not prepared for how solid and impressive the door and walls to the cell turn out to be. The smell is of disinfectant and chlorine, like a hospital. The sounds are muffled through the great walls. I hear distant doors slamming, and a slow shush of the air ventilation.
I am alone with plenty of room to spread out. I touch the walls, they are like a smooth concrete and feel incredibly solid. They seem like they could last for 1000 years. I think of escaping, but there is absolutely no way. I keep looking and examining the walls, door, floor and ceiling. The ceiling is out of reach, but it does not matter. There are vents for air, but they are way to small for any human to squeeze through. The floor and walls have no holes, or openings of any kind, except the one door. I realize that no matter how healthy, athletic and flexible I might be, there is no possible way for me to escape.
I feel like crying but can’t.
I hope you enjoyed this story from my youth. A fictionalized version of this story is included in Feeling a Way.