Brandi was sitting on the edge of her bunk and I noticed her foot was tapping the ground rapidly as she waited for me to begin my story.
“When I was arrested, I was arrested at my home. I shared that home with my boyfriend, and he is a Deputy for this county.” I said. I watched as her jaw hung open as she inched closer to the edge of her bed. “I had been doing pills, everyday behind his back…..for 2 & 1/2 years. When it got really ba-” My story was interrupted by a sudden flurry of movement in the corner of my eye. I looked to my left and noticed all of the girls were running full speed back to their cells.
Our bunkies ran into the cell where Brandi and I had been seated and swiftly began making their beds, a look of horror on their faces. “What the hell is going on?” I asked, standing up and glancing down at my bed, wondering if I should fix mine up too for some reason. Brandi looked out into the day room and I watched as the realization of what was happening washed over her face.
“Um, hello? Can someone please tell me what is happening? Why is everyone freaking out.” I asked straightening the edges of my sheets. Brandi looked up at me from the floor where she was suddenly straightening out the contents of her bin and said only one word…
“Huh? Riggins? What the hell is a Riggins?”
“No one told you?!” She said
“No, can you? Please? Is my life in danger? Like, what the f*** is going on?” I asked, simultaneously confused and terrified.
Before she could answer I heard the door of the dayroom slam shut, and our entire pod fell silent. I could hear a set of keys jingling and a pair of sneakers tapping the floor as the person wearing them jogged up the stairs. I sat on the edge of my bed observing my cell mates. They were frozen in place, a look of terror on their faces – it was as if the president of the United States had just walked in and was hand selecting people to go to war.
“You nasty hoes wash your P***y’s today?!” The guard yelled from the top tier. “I know some ah ya’ll stank bitches is on day 2 of no shower witcho nasty asses.”
“Ay! Da f*** I tell you about making sure deez beds was made when I came in? Ohhhh ya’ll thought Deputy Flower was on tonight, huh? That’s why you just said f*** it and let ya shit stay messy. Well surprise motha f***ers!”
The guard was making her rounds across the top tier when she suddenly came into view across from our cell. I expected a man beast of a woman to come bounding around the corner. This lady was 5 ft 2 in. but something told me her size was irrelevant.
I watched her move quickly past the cells, analyzing the state of each one. She began jogging down the stairs and heading straight for our cell, a look of determination in her eyes. For some reason, I suddenly felt like I was about to s**t my pants.
She glanced into our cell and continued walking, but then I heard her sneakers ‘squeak’ as she stopped short and backed up. She looked in our cell again and began laughing as she unhooked her keys from her belt and opened our door.
She was laughing and shaking her head as she entered and then she stopped …and stared into my eyes with a look I can only describe as the look your mother gives you when she’s about to beat your a**.
“Well, well, well….what we got here? You must be new.” She said, talking to me. “Man that’s messed up, ya’ll didn’t give her the heads up? Ya’ll didn’t educate her bout Riggins didja?” She said, looking at my cell mates. “Well I’ll just have to introduce myself then. What’s up crack head, I’m Riggins, and I’m gonna make you wish you never stepped foot in my jail.”
She walked toward me and bumped me as she ripped the entire mat off of my bunk and threw it into the middle of the dayroom. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me, and my face began burning with embarrassment. “Ima teach you how to make your bed right. Come on.” She bounded out to the dayroom and stood with her arms crossed, waiting for me to exit my cell.
I walked over to her and stood above my mat, I wasn’t sure what exactly she wanted me to do. “So should I make my-” Before I could finish she leapt over to where I was standing and got about an inch from my face, and began screaming at the top of her lungs while looking me dead in the eyes.
“Did I mother***ing ask you to talk mother***er? No, I don’t think so. Don’t say another mother***ing word unless you want me to throw your nasty ass in lock. Now close your mouth, and make your G**damn bed, hoe.” She said, stepping back to give me room.
I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and tried with everything in me to not let them fall, to no avail. I began sobbing as I got down on my hands and knees in front of every woman in my pod and began making my bed. It was incredibly demeaning to have to get down on the floor like a child and make my bed in front of my peers. I secretly hoped she would realize that I was new here, and give me a break….. She did the opposite.
“Oh my God. Look at this. Hey ya’ll, hey! Look down here right quick. This girl over here cryin’ bout makin her damn bed.” I heard a few snickers from the women and I cringed, thinking about how I was trapped with these people for God knows how long, and now they know what a p***y I am. “This bitch here probably ain’t used to havin’ to do chores. She been too busy getting high and s***in dick on the streets to worry bout making her damn bed at home.” She leaned down and placed her hands on her knees, getting eye level with me. “Your in my house now, hoe.” She said, sneering at me.
“I would like this whiney little junkie to be an example to all ya’ll. You bitches wanna act hard out on them streets, but when your in here, you ain’t shit. Right now, I want all ya’ll to take your sheets off your bed and make them damn beds perfectly – you know how I like it- when your done, take the sheets off again and remake them. You can stop when Inmate Johnson here makes her bed right. I’ll be back to check on ya’ll in a few, don’t be comin out them cells till your done” she said walking away. I heard the women begin groaning and pulling their sheets off, cursing and talking about how they were going to beat my ass when the doors unlocked. Deputy Riggins had almost made it out and stopped. She turned back around and began walking toward me as silence once again fell upon the pod. I felt myself tense up as she leaned close to me, putting her mouth right next to my ear.
“I know what you did Johnson, Chuck is a good friend of mine. You shouldn’t have done him like that when he loved you. Best believe I’m going to make sure that while you are here, you are gonna pay for what you did.” She said, roughly patting me on the back and heading toward the door. “One more thing”- she yelled over her shoulder as she walked out of the pod-“Make sure the minute those cells unlock for you to come out, ya’ll let this girl know how much you appreciate her, for making ya’ll make your beds over and over” She laughed as the door slammed shut behind her……..