I recently busted out of the joint.  The pen.  The big house.  I got sprung out by some of my friends (or should I call them “people from the outside?”).  Fortunately, I escaped and lived to tell about it.  My story wasn’t an easy one, but it’s one I’m willing to tell.

I lived a good life on the outside.  I paid my taxes, donated to charity, and even told the neighborhood girl down the street that pigtails are soooo over.  (I’m pretty sure this comment saved her from endless ridicule at school.  I’m such a giver.)

Despite my pattern of amazing behavior, I was singled out and sent to lock up without much warning.  Isn’t that always the way it goes?  My crime?   I’m not sure, although I tell myself it was an overabundance of awesome.

My story began easily enough, with an email from the local animal rescue where I volunteer.  The email said they were doing a fundraiser where they would lock up a volunteer and then ask people to pay money to get the volunteer out of confinement.

Naturally, we thought you would be perfect for this,” the email said.

Um…what?  Naturally?  What part of locking me up for hours on end was natural?  And out of all the people they could have asked to do this, why me?  And why was I such an obvious choice? The email sounded as if locking me up was the only logical conclusion one could come to when faced with this proposal.

I wasn’t sure if I should be offended or honored that I was chosen.  I decided to be flattered, and figured the shelter knew I was one of only a few people who looks good in orange, and that jumpsuit would make my eyes shine.  (I’m such an autumn!)

I responded back and said I would do it.  I would like to tell you I was intoxicated when I agreed to this plan.  I would also like to tell you I weigh 100 pounds and find nachos and processed cheese disgusting.

metal lockHowever, both statements are lies, and I’m far more embarrassed about one of them than the other.  (And seriously, what do they do to stadium cheese to make it so delicious on nachos?)

The day of my captivity I packed a few things and said goodbye to the things I loved most; my Grey Goose (she never looked so beautiful as she did that day glistening in the sunlight); my Chipotle (I waved a solemn goodbye as I drove by); and the entire first season of The League (whether you love football or not, that show is just hilarious).

I arrived at the clink, otherwise known as Brentwood Petco, and was advised of my parameters.  I would be confined in a (puppy) pen where I was required to sit on the floor for three hours.  Sheesh.

The warden, also known as the Petco manager, was a real hard ass and I knew this was going to be a rough sentence.  I asked if it would be possible for me to be in isolation, as I didn’t want to be put with a cellmate convicted of an obscure crime.

More importantly, I didn’t want to be forced to share my square meals with a cellmate.  I also wanted to find out if the meals they served in the pen were actually square in shape.

The warden couldn’t guarantee I wouldn’t have a cellmate, but he said I could have some bedding for my cell.  I immediately located the plushest dog bed I could find and deemed it mine.  The warden followed me back to the pen, opened the gate and threw me in.

Okay, so he didn’t so much “throw” me in as he did tell me in a nice voice that it was time to start, but whatever.

The metal doors slammed shut (they really just kind of hooked together nicely) and I realized I was all alone, with nothing but my thoughts (and the package of Starbust I snuck in…those suckers didn’t check me for contraband).

I began thinking about my life and where it had gone.  Had I really accomplished anything in my life (aside from high score on my Super Mario Brothers 3 Nintendo game)?

What did I really have to show for my years on Earth other than a huge amount of student loans and a DVR filled with reality TV and infomercials?

Don’t judge.  I enjoy infomercials more than I should.  Maybe I could use this time in the clink to better myself….and then I smelled food.

I looked up and saw someone walking toward my cell.  He was handsome and carrying a bag of food.  At first I thought it was a mirage, but realized quickly that it was my husband.

I was allowed a visitor!  And even better, he had food!  He approached my cell and handed me my bag of food (which was a burrito bowl from Chipotle…duh).  I was so excited to see someone from the outside that I almost didn’t molest the food.

*I said almost.  Prison didn’t change my love of Chipotle.

As I scarfed down my food, the warden came by and advised I would have a new cellmate.  I immediately asked what my new ‘mate was in for and he said it was a pretty harsh crime; peeing on the floor.

He pointed to an area just outside my cell where I saw a pool of pee.  Then I saw my new cellmate, and one look at her told me this wasn’t her first offense.  She was a repeat offender who had no problem being locked up.

Her name was Donatella and she lived a rough life.  She grew up on the streets and then lived in a foster home with other foster kids.  It was the typical story, really.

Girl is born on the streets to a litter; girl gets kicked out of the home for chewing on furniture; girl gets rescued by a local rescue group; girl goes to a foster home; girl pees on the floor and gets sent to the pen.

Donatella arrived at the pen and immediately jumped me, licking my face to see if I was friendly.  I let her lick me, but advised it was a one time thing, as I wasn’t that kind of girl.  I told her if she was looking for that, she should look to the inmate down the way who had several litters and teets that practically brushed the floor.

I quickly learned this wasn’t Donatella’s first time in the pen, as she had previously been jailed for chewing a shoe, peeing on the floor, and humping a cat.  (The last one was a bit disturbing, but I let it go because Donatella had nails that could definitely cut a bitch…literally…they could cut a female dog.)

Just as I got to know Donatella, she was snatched away from me.  Apparently someone paid her bail and she was going home with a family. I was happy for her, but sad for me, as I knew that meant I would have to live out the rest of my sentence alone.

lock and keyI stared outside the bars and wondered what the rest of my sentence held for me.  Would I be allowed yard time?   Would someone at least throw a Kong into my pen?

Eventually, I heard the warden’s keys clank and he came to my cell.  He told me my sentence was complete and I was free to go.  He unlatched my cell and immediately I smelled sweet freedom.  (It smelled a lot like Donatella’s urine puddle, but it was freedom nonetheless.)  I stood up and walked outside, taking my first gulp of fresh air (and another gulp of the Quik Trip Diet Coke my husband brought me.)

I  headed to booking (also known as the front register) and talked to the officer (cashier) about how much money was raised for my bail.  She said I raised $177.50, which would be donated to the animal rescue where I volunteer.  Not too shabby for some time in the pen.  Now I just need to find a good lawyer so I can file my wrongful imprisonment charge.  If only I knew one…

***Please remember to support your local animal rescues.  There are lots of amazing animals needing homes at local shelters.  Adopt, don’t shop.  For more information on amazing animals in the St. Louis area, check out www.strayrescue.org***