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Multnomah County Corrections

Beaverton, OR

September 27th, 2021

Sitting in front of the TV screen in the small, white-walled room as he watched the judge on the screen rifling through his file, Jim couldn’t help but blow out a breath. Looking to the camera that was broadcasting to the judge he winced inwardly as he remembered that the man on the screen could see him as well.

“Are we taking up too much of your time sir?” the judge asked. He was a mousy-looking man with a balding pate a thick pair of spectacles that rode low on his hawkish nose. Right now the dark brown eyes behind those spectacles were directed right at the camera, giving the illusion that the judge was looking right at him. He might as well been Jim supposed.

“No sir” he replied.

“I see here you’ve got only a few priors, misdemeanors all of them. I’ll be releasing you today and recommending that you remind yourself just what it would mean to gather up too many of these,” he shook Jim’s file lightly in one hand. “The law only allows me to do so much, but at this point Mr. Alain I am letting you out because I feel that there is still time for you to change your ways. I hope to never see you here again sir, and that you find something positive in your life to cling to. That will be all Mr. Alain.”

Jim nodded and said “Thank you sir” before rising to his feet, making his way back out to the gleaming white walls and hard benches of the waiting room for an officer to come and escort him back to his cell. He would be getting out soon now, but to be honest he didn’t have much to look forward to. His wife had kicked him out and given up on him, his kids wanted nothing to do with him, his friends had abandoned him, and even his distant relatives and business associates wanted absolutely no mention of him to cross their paths.

He was alone. The world didn’t care about him and it was probably for the best, as he’d never been the type to wallow in self-pity. He’d obtain the money that was his, and his belongings, and then make for the nearest liquor store. Most of them would cash a check, especially since they knew that it was likely that part of it would never leave the store. In all honesty, a part of Jim never seem to leave those stores these days.

Sitting on one of the hard benches he waited for an officer to come, listening to the ranting and ravings of those inmates that thought they were tough. One of them, a pint-sized younger man with his hair bound up in greasy dreadlocks and a thin, wispy mustache over his upper lip was talking about how he’d been sent to the hole numerous times and still kept doing what he wanted. Jim only paid him half an ear, knowing that young men like these might have been scrappers, but they were also the ones that tended to cry themselves to sleep when they went to the hole.

He’d heard enough of them to know.

(to be continued)

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