Segment 34: When a Third World Came West

Segment 34: When a Third World Came West

We were on our way back from the Congress Avenue Exit and Sam was as grumpy as ever, messing with the radio and not really being satisfied with any of the songs that he was hearing on the radio.  I was keeping covered underneath the last chenille blanket we had in the car, lifting my legs up so that they could be covered up by it to stay warm.  Sam liked to keep the air conditioning on real high even though it was almost October and not as hot as it used to be back when we’d met in July, but he didn’t notice the difference. I didn’t know how fast he was going but he slowed down at some point and pulled to a stop at the shoulder.  He looked out the rearview window and stared at the cop parked behind us, walking back up to Sam’s side of the window.  I hurried to get out my insurance card and began rummaging through the glove box pretending to look for his license, a visa, a valid registration; I don’t know what else what.  But the cop asked for a whole list of things and the only thing I could provide was my insurance card, which was all I was responsible for.  Sam on the other hand looked at him empty-handed and Sam knocked his head against the back of his head rest.  The cop asked Sam to get out of the car and Sam explained some things to him and I was hoping that this would all be enough because it’d worked before.  We’d manage thus far to work our way out of trouble with a lot of talking up to.  But it didn’t work.  They handcuffed Sam and I got out listening to him yell from the cop car to me to call Dante’s to say that he wasn’t going to be into work today or tomorrow.  I caught up with the cop just in time before she’d closed the door to her car and managed to find out where they were going to be taking Sam to so that I could get him out.

Sam had a ton of quarters hidden back in the luggage carrier that he kept in our trunk and I used most of them all to call Dante’s and to find out where he was being held.  Normally I could figure out maps pretty well but I was all jumbled up in my mind and I was nervous, missing turn-off points, where I was supposed to go, and missing the exits for Titusville.  When I’d finally gotten there I drove around a dusty town, picked up some gas, and passed the space shuttle at sunset.  I parked, walked up the many steps to the jail, and sat down amongst a bunch of crying babies and yelling mothers.  In the back I found a quiet seat and counted out the $420 that Sam and I had collected from our jobs in the past few months, and then I thought.  Here it was all going to waste and I was sure, just like the last time, that we wouldn’t get all of our money back.  I bit my lip and realized that I was furious, being put in this situation again again and feeling like I was supposed to come up with an answer for how to get us out of this one.  I must have been there an hour trying to come up with something to do before I stepped up to the cashier’s desk, waited in line, and asked her what I was supposed to do.  She told me that they needed $500 in cash, which was more than I had, and that they were closing in a half an hour.  I didn’t have enough money in my bank account to get out eighty more dollars and I sure as heck couldn’t call anyone who would bail me out for this second or third or fourth time.  I packed up my things, zipped up my purse, and walked out the double glass doors to the parking lot which was growing darker by the minute.

I was eating dinner at the granite coffee table, cereal and apples and listening to Sade on the radio when my parents came into the dark house.  I didn’t really keep any lights on in general I didn’t make any efforts to leave any on especially tonight. I spooned more of my chunky cereal that had gotten mushy from me spooning it back and forth in the milk so many times.  My mother put down her jacket across the back of the dining room chair and began undoing the back of her necklace as she walked into her room.  She didn’t see me so I said “hello” when she turned on the light on her bed stand.  She and Jim came out to ask how my night was and I asked about theirs, they’d gone to the theater to see a play with their two favorite lesbian friends and I asked about the couples’ daughter who was in middle school, who I used to babysit.  They asked me what was up and I told them and I said that I was done with Sam, that they could count on me for that, and that I was done with making any more mistakes.  I told them that I missed college, that I wanted to see Dr. Deetrum again, and that I needed help setting up a bank account because I had $420 to put in it.  My mother sat down cross legged, leaned back with her hands against the carpet and my step-father piped up about all the things he’d been concerned about with Sam for the past few months, how Sam had avoided them, how Sam had been despondent and how Sam had acted untrustworthy.  And I agreed to all of it.

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