Sunday, November 13, 2005

In My Element

Doing a Graveyard-shift overtime in booking. It feels like coming home.

We moved several years ago to a wonderful house. The house, which we call either "Baraka" or "Blackberry Manor" was very far from booking and relatively close to our medium-security facility. I gave up Max and booking for a half hour of commute, traded boredom for an extra hour a day with my family. It's a good trade and I don't regret it...but...

Overtime tonight in the old place with my old crew. Arresting officers calling for assistance in getting a big tweaker with martial arts experience out of the car; a drunk on the counter wanting to go off; warrant arrest in the lobby; on the edge of running out of beds, juggling count; computer searches to find out exactly where a sex offender has to go to register... all in the first 90 minutes.

The walls stink. Concentrated fresh inmate smells a lot like the reptile house at the zoo. It's the smell of many, many people- dirty people with the adrenaline sweat of fear and anger. There's an intermittent pounding from from people on drugs (most of whom wisely chose not to fight when officers were present) pounding on the doors of their cells and screaming insults, threats and challenges.

This is a good crew, this is my old crew and they smile at the threats and let the screamers tire themselves out. Then they'll go in and talk. We probably won't have to use any force tonight, but if we do, that's okay, too. This is my crew and any force will be quick, decisive and controlled. No injuries on either side.

The crew is carrying me a bit tonight. Some of the paperwork has changed and my knee made an ugly popping noise in jujutsu this morning. It's sore but I can walk and hide the limp.

It feels like home. I feel better and more alive here than I do anywhere except maybe on the mat.

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