Saturday, January 8, 2011

First Day Out

“No drugs...”
“No, Ma'am.”
“No drinking. Is that going to be a problem?”
“No, Ma'am.”
Mrs. Lopez sat at her desk, and Bobby sat in a cold metal chair across from her. Her desk was crowded with a computer, phone, and an overflow of paperwork. A clear plastic cube held pictures of her kids in their communion outfits. As she spoke she pointed her way through some Xeroxed forms with a ball-point pen. Bobby nodded along with each point she made.
“No firearms.”
“Yes, Ma'am. Not a problem.”
“You run into anybody from the past, anybody with a record? You call me. You talk to the police, about anything, speeding ticket or anything, you call me. You get arrested, detained, whatever, you call me. You don't call me, you'll be in violation of parole and you go back to jail. You're with me?”
“Yes, Ma'am.”
“Here. Sign here.” She pointed to the Xeroxed photocopies and Bobby signed the forms.
“Listen to me,” she said, looking up at him from across the desk at him for the first time. “You get one chance, and I'm it. I've got a hundred and fifteen cases on my book, OK? I'm supposed to have sixty. So please, do not give me the opportunity to ship you back. Because I'll take it, believe me.”
“No, Ma'am. Absolutely.”
Mrs. Lopez took a second, looking over the forms one last time.
“OK. We'll see. Here...” She opened the bottom drawer of her desk and took out a disposable plastic piss-cup. “Down the hall to the right. You'll see where. Fill it up, hand it to the desk. I'll make some calls.”
Bobby took the cup.

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