A literary, literal tour of Walton County jail

Linda Sands

Linda Sands | Writer's musings

Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 05:46 PM.

It starts with a joke, as all good stories do.

You're reclining on your rack in P pod, the women's housing section of the Walton County Jail, reading a fairly new copy of some poorly written and even poorer edited romantic thriller whose name you hope you'll never recall. That's not the joke.

Your new cellie stands in the center of your house — one of eight open cells, designed to hold eight — you do the math. She has stripped off her jumpsuit and wears only tube socks, boxer shorts and a ratty long john top.

"What do you say to someone with two blacks eyes?" she asks, raising a brow, pausing for the punch line. "Nothing you haven't told her twice."

 The other three girls cackle and howl. You smile and nod. She goes back to stuffing her bed bug resistant plastic mattress into a handmade fitted sheet. You notice how the joke teller said her — not him. You admire her thriftiness and ingenuity, the time it must have taken her to rip, shred and tie all those knots to make her wriggle-free cocoon.

Time. It's the one thing you have a lot of in here, the single commodity that is endless. The one thing you will not be able to track until your release. There are no clocks in P pod.

Only time. Abundant, plentiful, copious. It's all the things freedom is not.

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