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Home is a Feeling Inside
by Fred Bosco
When I arrived in my new temporary home, all eyes were on me. Having never spent any time doing time, I was at a loss as to what was expected. My fellow inmates took turns calling out to me to see, I surmised, how confused I could get. Finally, they apparently saw I was okay to be there. They joked about my suitability as a sex object. You get a little nervous at such times.
Someone asked if I didn’t want something to eat. I told them, since I was squeamish about eating anything in jail, I would get something later. They laughed that dark, cynical, knowing laugh you hear in some circles. Finally, I partook of the feast. A chicken dinner.
I went before the judge and told him I was guilty as charged. Exposure of genitals. I stood there not sure what to do. The judge said, “Credit time served.” One week. They showed me to the door. Bam.
A week later. There is no shock quite like standing free from restraint, free to walk anywhere. But where? I sat down letting full realization wash over me. Obviously no one was rushing up to me with a bucket of fried chicken. I had to pull something together or I would die. Or maybe, since we love our euphemisms, I would just “not survive.”
The survival instinct is strong, even in one as suicidal as me. It got me off my seat and onto my feet. I dialed everyone I could think of, trying to find a leg up in the world I had left behind. I finally found a couple who said they would take me in for awhile. My mental health by that time was really shot. Having been taken off lithium, I was red-eyed and shaking. The couple was deeply wary of me and my activities.
I hatched a plan for going back to a hotel in Miami Beach and building an empire by borrowing large sums of money from all the well-to-do people I knew. By the time I walked into the hotel, five hours after setting out on foot, I was a psychotic wreck. The folks in the hotel ignored me. One desk clerk spoke to me as if he were addressing an animal: “No more here,” he said. I limped out dejected and somehow made it home by dark, a soggy and defeated grace case.
Finally I hit pay dirt. A man back in Denver trusted me enough to front me the charge for a ticket. When you are up against a stone wall, you take a thorough inventory of your state. Suddenly you are not shy about asking. If there hadn’t been someone to help me, I don’t know what would have become of me. Except to say that I probably would have died, either in jail, or out there on the street, homeless.
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