CH. 21 «Caravans to Cuffed Hands»



When I regain consciousness I’m handcuffed to a chair in a foreign concrete corridor. I can’t see the plastic binders wound around my wrists but I can feel them cutting in to my soft skin. I smell like liquor and bile. I don’t know where I am or how I got here, but I’m speaking. I’m halfway through reciting my address to a grizzled uniform disinterestedly taking my words down on his requisite paperwork.

“It was pretty sly of you trying to sneak by me wearing a different top,” the hardened old officer snarls sarcastically, “but you didn’t fool me for a nano. You should thank your friends for bringing you back in so you could go to jail,” he finishes with palpable scorn before looking back to his tablet. At the mention of this I realize I wasn’t wearing half of my clothes anymore. Suddenly I’m wearing a collared shirt under a red Europan sweater. I begin to feel the gravity of the situation, my hands bound behind my back by a plastic band, seated in an unfamiliar place with the contents of my pockets strewn across the folding table. It’s only now that I start to wonder what happened to the past few hours, so I try to piece it together as I casually dispense personal information to the badge with a slur.

I came down from OC the day before with my friends Gerund and Dune to attend a small music festival. We’d been celebrating all of the last week Gerund had before the semester started by seeing a bunch of concerts in a row. The night before we drove to Sanctus DiVinci we’d gone to see a great show downtown. Gerund had left his tab open when we departed for the after party, so his ID and KEYring were stuck at the bar. We didn’t realize what problems this would cause for us.

The approaching Martian rush hour left no time to retrieve Gerund’s belongings from The Labrys before hitting the road to SD. It was hax having put the hotel in my name and paying for his meals, but worse for Gerund; he couldn’t buy drinks at the show. It was alright for the first evening, a friend we met in town smoked us out and there was a fridge stocked with single-use-disposable liquor.

For the second day of the music festival, with nothing left to smoke and no beer in his hand, Gerund had us buy him a handle at the corner store. The plan was to make routine trips back to the parked crawler, take a few swigs, then return to the enjoy the show. It seemed to be working for Gerund, he was enjoying himself.

Dune and I were responsible adults, though, and we’d remembered to bring our IDs. In between trips to the crawler, the two of us would purchase punch cards and take a quick tour of the beer gardens. I’d never been in a beer garden before, so I didn’t realize that alcohol was limited only to its confines…or how small the portions would be. We decided to select a stronger beer, drink as quickly as we could, and return to the company of our friends.

This was the part I had difficulty describing on my own. The officer who had been unamusedly listening to me tell my tale was finally happy to provide details for me. He filled in the blanks for most of the timeline after I’d blacked out, sometime during my second visit to the beer gardens.

As a member of the security team hired to monitor overly-intoxicated concert goers, he’d had his eye on anyone exiting and returning more inebriated. He’d noted anyone stumbling, acting rowdy or fooling around inside and outside the event sphere. Knowing how I get when I drink too much, I’m sure I caught his attention early on. Seeing me propped up by one of my friends or flailing about like a loose booster rocket, he’d personally asked me to leave and not return. I couldn’t remember this part, but he specifically warned me that if I walked back in, I’d be leaving in cuffs.

My friends had no idea what had happened when they found me waiting outside of the spherewall. They also had no idea we were still being watched by security. How could any of us had known they witnessed my friends force me to regurgitate and swapped my clothing. My friends (bless their hearts) were unwittingly walking me back into a trap. Literally; I was too drunk to walk without their assistance.

I’d almost made it through, too. But not before the long, black-clad arm of the law snatched me up. I was fit into the plastic binders that had been anxious to receive me and was told to thank my friends for sending me to jail. I’m grateful to be spared the memory of such humiliation…its just weak to have to be told about this way.

That brings me back to my presently restrained self. I’ve got complete control of my body and thoughts now, though I’m limited to a bobble-head doll range-of-motion at the moment. I’d love to be anywhere else, especially somewhere I could lay this aching head, but instead I’m giving the officer my comm number and former addresses so he can check my background. This isn’t how my weekend was supposed to go.

This’ll be the last time that I come to this city.

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PREV: CH. 20 «No Bugs»

PREV: CH. 20 «No Bugs»

NEXT: CH. 22 «Everything I’ll Miss»

NEXT: CH. 22 «Everything I’ll Miss»


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