A place for a


Fighting the system – Part 2: My cell

The car arrives at the police station. I wait for one of the cops to open the door and I stand up. One of the cops authoritatively grabs my left arm. I calmly tell him that I managed to learn to walk on my own during the course of my lifetime. I slightly stutter as I say it and the cop mocks me for it.

Who cares.

We walk into the station and eyes from the many desks meet me with habituated and empty curiosity. I stare back and study them.

They bring me towards a cell and I have to put off my shoes. One of the cops pulls the cord out of my jogging pants. Classic. Am I proposed the idea of strangling myself to death with it?

Now I am encouraged to walk into the inner part of the cell that is enclosed by metal bars. I do so.

They ask if I took drugs or drank, repeatedly. I say no. I really did not. They let me breathe into an alcohol testing unit. I am clean.

An independent doctor comes to visit and check my wounds. I have one on my left arm which looks somewhat like a bite mark. Bitey cops? My face is somewhat red from being pressed against the hard concrete, too. They take pictures of me with a crappy small digital camera. I make funny faces.

I feel cared for by the doctor and I note that it is nice of them to let him inspect me. I feel inconsistent there; one moment I fight them and call them Nazis like an angry madman and the next moment I thank them for being kind. But oh well, if my gut tells me to do it, why not. I guess I do not need to satisfy the caricature of a dominant alpha male, although a part of me feels like that would be the right thing to do.

They leave me alone without handcuffs and I start shaking. I feel mild shame for the weird movements, but then I conclude that my body simply needs to release pent up energy from being overpowered before. One of the guys comes looking around the corner and notices my shaking. He makes some condescending remark that implies I am some kind of Mongo. I stay cool and explain it to him, surprisingly unmoved by the insult. Reminds me of telling the dentist to not use fluorides because of my third eye. I know this shit sounds unusual and I know it may look mad by whatever standard, but I stand behind it nonetheless. Let them think I am unaware of the way it must look to them.

After a while, another cop comes and asks for my name again. Johann Sebastian Bach. He tells me it is a crime to not tell my true name. I repeat sternly, Johann Sebastian Bach. Note here that the guy already has my driver’s license, so what is the big deal? Just more words to frighten me.

The cop says: You have grown quite fat, Johann.

I say: Yes, that is true.

Where are you from, Johann?

I think Vienna.

You are not the smartest, are you? First time someone calls me dumb. I enjoy the novelty.

He talks about the incident with me, with a mocking arrogant tone of voice. I tell him that I understand the law and his impression, but I am a proponent of individual freedom. Well: My own freedom. I do not let somebody push me around just because he wears a uniform.

I enjoy the conversation, somewhat, and ask him to stay to talk, half-seriously. He says that this conversation is too vapid for his tastes and leaves.

I lie down on the plastic mattress and observe the room and my feelings. It is an experience I somewhat wanted and yet I feel isolated and alone. This will financially ruin me. I hope I can go back home in the evening.

On the ceiling, there are carved out names of all the gangsters who were here before me. Between the bed frame and the wall, I find a folded newspaper snippet. The boats in North Germany cannot drive despite strong rain – the dry period has been too long. What a peculiar piece of information to find me at this place and time.

I sense a bit of pride in me for my rebellious behavior. I wonder how and whether to keep it up. What is the right thing to do in this situation? What stereotype must I satisfy? What is most alpha? Most gangster? I decide to rather surrender and let my gut guide me on. Playing my self.

I lie relaxedly on my back with my arms behind my head. A cop comes and commands: Lie down on your stomach with your arms on your back, we will take you to a blood test.

They still think I took drugs. Can not believe I did not. Do I behave that weirdly?

I do not like his attitude and respond: Not in the mood.

Do it or we will use force.

Still calmly looking at the ceiling, I smile and say: Sure, use force.

To each his own.

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  • This is fucking awesome.

  • Micah Geni

    hi Tom. Not so much related to your ghetto-experience :) (Aren’t the cops hilarious…stupid)

    As the song goes: you can be happy just play dumb, you can be happy just play dumb (Bloc Party: Uniform)

    Very related to your upbringing this link though, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you should. We all should. First and foremost the politicians, but they will likely be the last: