Thursday, August 20, 2009

You read it here first!

Remember when I told you about the county commissioner who was using community service workers as free slave labor for his own personal business? Well, it finally made the local paper - on the front page, no less.

It wasn’t a big article. Just a few paragraphs saying that “rumors have circulated” and the “matter is being investigated by an outside agency” and that neither the commissioner nor Judge Hardass could be reached for comment.

It will be at least a week before I hear anything else since the paper only comes out on Wednesdays. Hopefully, the dailies in neighboring counties will pick up the story.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Chickenfight Girl & Spenardo get Strip-Searched, Part 2

So there I was, walking down the hallway towards Officer Ratchet. She’s snapping her latex gloves and grinning at me like some moronic cat with a piehole full of canary. All I can think is How ‘bout acting like a professional, you fucking cow? Is it really necessary to enjoy this so much? But I wisely kept my mouth shut and entered the interrogation room.

The interrogation room was in the sheriff’s office. The sheriff wasn’t there. He’s rarely ever there. I think I’ve only seen him in passing two or three times. It was the first time I’d ever been in his office. I guess since the sheriff is never there, there’s never any trash to be emptied so I’d have no reason to go in there. The sheriff’s office is attached to the investigators’ office. The investigators chew tobacco and spit it into their trashcans. All the women community service workers hate cleaning the investigators’ office.

The sheriff’s office is just inside the back doors of the courthouse, first door on the left. It’s the busiest entrance/exit to the courthouse due to its proximity to the parking lot and jail. The room had a cluttered desk, two chairs and a big glass case against the wall. The only thing I remember being in the case was a box of cheap beer – Bud Light, I think. Probably confiscated at some traffic stop. The glass case didn’t really look like what I thought of as an “evidence locker.” It looked more like the beer was a trophy on display.

There were two doors. One led to the investigators’ office (which also has its own door that led to the hallway). The other was the door I came through, the one that opened to the public hallway next to the back doors of the courthouse.

The investigator, who I’ll call Johnny Law, was sitting at the desk. I sat in the second chair. Officer Ratchet stood silently a few feet away, next to what I can only assume was the evidence locker.

Johnny Law put a piece of paper in front of me. It was a consent form that needed my signature before Officer Ratchet could see my titties. It listed my right to remain silent, my right to an attorney, blah, blah, blah. Oh yeah, I could’ve refused the search. I probably could’ve also wound up back in jail wearing an orange jumpsuit. No, better to just sign the paper and get it over with. Just accept that you are a powerless pawn in Judge Hardass’ Kingdom of Justice and if they want to humiliate you, they will humiliate you one way or another. I’d rather get humiliated early and be home in time to lock up the chickens. So I signed the form.

Johnny Law asked me a bunch of questions. Name, address, occupation? I don’t really have an occupation. People ask me what I am or what I do and I’m kinda stumped. I am a lot of things and I do a lot of things but none of those things are what people expect – or want – to hear. I blurted out that I was a farmer. Johnny Law started asking me about what I raised on my farm and I could tell my answers did not impress him. I was too small-fry to be a real farmer.

From now on, I think I’m just going to tell people I’m retired. Or maybe that I'm on hiatus - which is just big-city yankee talk for mid-life crisis.

Which offices were you in today?

Did you steal the money?

Do you know who stole the money?

Do you have any money on you right now?

After exhausting his list of questions, Johnny Law exited the room, leaving me and Officer Ratchet alone for a very special episode of Tales From Community Service.

First I emptied my pockets. I pulled out a handful of latex gloves. I always carry a wad around with me when I’m doing community service. I also had a lighter and my cigarette roller case. As Officer Ratchet reached for the cigarette case I warned her to be careful because it contained loose tobacco. I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes when she clumsily spilled half the tobacco on the desk. Involuntary reflex.

Lastly, I pulled out half a dozen cigarette butts. (I may be a drunk driver but I’m no litterbug.) Since I roll my own smokes, my cigarette butts look like roaches. Nobody here under the age of 70 rolls their own cigarettes. People are fascinated with my cigarette roller. I have given dozens of demonstrations of my cigarette roller to curious CS workers during breaktime. They all want to see how it works. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m showing a Zippo to cavemen.

Somebody always has to make a comment about how easy it would be to roll joints with my little machine. I usually tell them joints are for shitty weed. Whatever they say next usually lets me know if they partake or not. Not surprising, many community service workers are pot smokers. Perhaps a tad more surprising (but not really) is that so are some of the courthouse workers.

But I digress…

I watched for Officer Ratchet’s reaction as I set the thin, filterless cigarette butts on the desk but I don’t think she even saw them.

She directed me to remove all my clothes. Everytime I took off an article of clothing, I had to hand it to her for inspection. I watched as she he pawed through each piece of clothing with her rubber-clad hands, turning sleeves inside out and checking pockets. I couldn’t decide if it was a good thing or not that I was wearing clean underwear. The power distribution in the room was way out of whack and it would’ve felt like a small victory on my part if Officer Ratchet had to get up close and personal with my dirty underwear.

She was still manhandling my panties when she barked at me to take off my shoes and socks. I silently complied but, in my head, I was thinking Give me a second, Hoss. I’m working on it. I undid the multitude of laces on my combat boots and handed them over. Then I gave her my socks to root through.

Once I was completely butt-ass nekkid and Officer Ratchet had finished looking at my laundry, she ordered me to turn completely around. I resisted the urge to pirouette. This was no time for theatrics. Once it was apparent that I didn’t have a hundred dollar bill on me, she told me to put my clothes back on.

I’d almost finished dressing when the door unexpectedly opened. It was a guy delivering some paperwork from the office across the hall. One minute earlier and he – and anyone who happened to be using the busy courthouse doors just to the right – would’ve gotten a eyeful of me doing a little spin in my birthday suit.

What the fuck kind of Barney Fifedom had I gotten trapped in? Fer chrissakes, lock the door to the public hallway! Or at least have somebody posted by the door. And why the fuck didn’t that guy knock? He works for the sheriff’s department and surely had to know what was going on that room. Where the fuck were all the lawmen that were in the hallway just before I went in?

Officer Ratchet laughed it off. “Good thing you didn’t come in her a few seconds ago.” Har-dee-fucking-har. I hurriedly re-laced my combat boots so I could get the hell out there. I was shuttled out into the hallway and out the backdoors where I was told not to come back into the courthouse until I was given the okay.

I rolled a cigarette and spied Really Fat Black Girl across the parking lot. I descended the stairs and went to hear her story.

to be continued…

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Spenardo & Chickenfight Girl Get Strip-Searched, Part 1

So far, I’ve been giving aliases to the locals I write about. That’s to protect the guilty as well as the innocent. The names may be fake but the people I write about are real. Aliases seem like a wise idea because who knows if Judge Hardass ever Googles himself?

I’ve only ever told one local that I keep a blog but she doesn’t have a computer so she’s not gonna read it. I will give her the alias Chickenfight Girl. She was arrested in the big cockfight bust this spring and we met at community service. In fact, on her first day, she and I were the only women there and I was the one to show her the ropes. She didn’t live far from me and, since my license was suspended, she ended up giving me a ride every week to the courthouse.

Even though our service is over (we both finished on the same day), we continue to hang out. She’s the only person I met through community service that I became friends with. Lots of the people I had to work with were nuts. Some were straight-up certifiably batshit insane. I hope I never see them again.

One such crazy person is Thief Girl. That’s not an alias I came up with for this blog. That’s what me and Chickenfight Girl call her. We have nicknames for many of the community service workers, simply because we don’t bother to remember their real names. Thief Girl, Fat Girl, Fat Black Girl, Really Fat Black Girl, Crazy Girl, Pregnant Girl Who Always Wears Really Low-Cut Shirts, Girl Who Looks Like She’s Thirteen, etc…

Thief Girl didn’t always used to be Thief Girl. She used to be The One Who’s Still In High School. I think she originally got community service for fighting. Back in March, on her very last day of CS, she stole a hundred dollar bill out of a purse in one of the courthouse offices. Now she’s doing community service for that.

Chickenfight Girl and I were both at the courthouse the day it happened. There were about 12 women working that day. When there’s that many women, it’s hard to stay busy all day. There’s barely enough work to keep three or four people busy, much less a dozen (though most of the women are lazy as shit and will spend half the day hiding out in the utility closet).

Chickenfight Girl and I would keep ourselves busy by spending hours in an office, supply closet or bathroom - giving it a really good (and slow) cleaning. Most CS women just empty the trash in an office but we would dust shelves, wipe off the tops of filing cabinets, clean windows, etc… Once I even unclogged a breakroom sink that maintenance couldn’t be bothered to fix (they had given the office some bullshit excuse about the plumbing being so old).

On the day Thief Girl stole the money, Chickenfight Girl & I were giving the public bathrooms a good going over - scrubbing walls & stalls that probably hadn’t seen a wet rag in years. I think the only soap that ever touched those walls was the industrial orange goo that dripped from the sinkside containers, leaving sticky skidmarks down the tile. You don’t even want to know what the underside of the mens’ urinals looked like.

After completing the upstairs bathrooms, we wandered off to individual projects. I was the midst of cleaning the jury room when I heard someone in the hall ask Chickenfight Girl where I was. I can’t remember anymore if it was Chickenfight Girl or that someone who appeared at the door, but I was told to drop what I was doing and come downstairs for an important meeting.

I saw the other CS women milling about near the bottom of the stairs, next to the investigators’ office. None of the workers knew what was going on - except Thief Girl - and nobody in a position of authority was talking - except to tell us to bring the folding chairs from the other end of the hallway, sit down and wait.

There we were: A dozen women in orange vests, sitting in a row of folding chairs against the wall – feeling like we’re in a line-up in full view of anyone and everyone who happened to be the courthouse right then. Word filtered down the line that money had been stolen. No one knew how much. One person said $11, another said $100. (I think the actual amount was $111 but I’m not sure because, even when it was all over, nobody bothered to fill us in on what really happened).

Most of the investigators and other law personnel were at one end of the line and I was second from the end at the other, Chickenfight Girl to my right and Really Fat Black Girl to my left. I assume the info we got came from women at the head of the line who overheard the investigators talking.

Apparently, they suspected a CS worker of stealing the money and Judge Hardass was bound and determined that the cash would be found before any of us left the building. We had to wait for a female officer from the jail to come over and search us.

A man stood before us and asked if there was anyone who wanted to confess now and save everybody else a lot of hassle. No one said a word.

Eventually, the female officer from the jail showed up. I will call her Officer Ratchet because she struck me as the kind of person who would root for Nurse Ratchet in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Just my luck, they chose to start at my end of the line. Really Fat Black Girl went in first while the rest of us waited in line. After about ten minutes, Officer Ratchet stepped out of the office back into the hallway. Next!

I started the long walk to Officer Ratchet, past the line of my fellow workers in folding chairs. Officer Ratchet grinned at me, playfully snapping the fingers of her freshly donned latex gloves. At least one of us was having a good time.

to be continued…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where do chickens go when they die?

Different chickens wind up in different places. Kinda depends on how they die.

If a chicken dies of unknown causes, perhaps some illness, I won't eat it. That's just common sense. Those birds usually end up in the maggot bucket (where I harvest maggots to feed to the still-living chickens) or incinerated in the firepit. The same fate usually awaits those who die before reaching eating size.

If one of my beloved favorite birds die, I won't eat it either. That's just me being a big soft girly-girl. They get buried in a little pet cemetery I started in the woods. But I have to really love the bird because it's a bitch to dig a hole in that forest floor.

Sometimes something else eats one of my chickens. The woods are full of animals that want to eat my birds - foxes, bobcats, possums, raccoons, hawks... In those cases, I may not find any remains. Perhaps a clump of feathers at the site of the attack. Those chickens wind up being shitted out on the forest floor where they help perpetuate the great circle of life. (Though, when a bird truly disappears without a trace, I prefer to think they ran off to join a traveling circus. I sleep better that way.)

But some chickens do find their way to my plate. Usually excess roosters and badly injured hens. I hate killing chickens but sometimes it must be done. And if you have to do it, it's stupid to throw away the meat.

If I kill a chicken and eat it, nothing goes to waste. Any parts I won't eat are greedily consumed by the cats. After I make stock from the bones, the cats strip them of every last trace of muscle and sinew. When my dog, Della, was still alive, she devoured the clean bones. These days, the bones are tossed into the firepit (and the ashes eventually added to the compost pile).

Any undigested food still in the bird's crop can be fed back to the other chickens. Cleaned skulls and dried feet are sent to Angela so she can turn them into art. She also gets rooster tailfeathers. The rest of the feathers were saved and set aside - until this week.

I finally sorted through and organized all the feathers I'd collected over the last couple years. It took 8 to 10 hours over the course of two days. I ended up with a garbage bag full of soft, downy feathers suitable for making either one big pillow or two smaller ones. All the feathers that didn't make the cut were used to line the hens' nests. My chickens now lay their eggs in the softest, warmest, cushiest nests in all of Dixie.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not Post #41

While I fell well short of my goal of 41 posts by my birthday on Friday, I did succeed in getting back into the swing of keeping this blog updated regularly. I'll do my best to keep it that way.

Tomorrow morning is my final court review - the last hoop I have to jump through before my life is once again my own.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Post #30 - Alabama, this is why everybody laughs at you


Bill Legion just loves Alabama. No, he's not the governor or even a native. It's all because Alabama banned his wine Cycles Gladiator, deeming the label "pornographic," and he couldn't be happier. "The publicity from this is so much greater than any wine we'd ship to Alabama," says Legion, president of Hahn Family Wines in Soledad, Calif. The Cycles Gladiator label, a replica of an 1895 French bicycle advertisement, features a fanciful image of a nude woman flying alongside a bike amid a star-filled sky. "It's absurd to think it's pornographic," Legion says, who points out the Alabama Beverage Control Board had approved the label in previous years. The control board even went so far as to ask the winery never to submit the label again, Legion says, "because it's offending people in the office." Banning things is a rich tradition in Alabama. Nearly half the state is dry, no alcohol, nada. It recently outlawed the sale of all sex toys, and interracial marriage was technically illegal until 2000.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Post #29 - Google searches crack me up

Somebody stumbled upon my blog today from a Google search using the terms "Anchorage," "Gloryhole" and "Caleb."

If any of you in back in Anchorage know a Caleb, tell him somebody in Kenai is thinking of him.

As an added bonus, the second hit in the search reveals that there's a homeless shelter/soup kitchen in Juneau named "The Glory Hole." I think I already knew that but it was great to be reminded.

Well, tomorrow I will be 41. Goodbye & good riddance, 40. You sucked.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Post #28 - And then there was one

Well, that didn't take long. Went down to Frankencoop to check on the baby chick and found it laying on the floor, in danger of being trampled. I picked it up and was going to bring it back to the house but it died in my hands before I got up the hill.

It's amazing how fast rigor mortis sets in to something that small - less than five minutes.

Post #27 - Sick chick

Another one of Big Red's chicks is acting sickly this morning. Have no idea what the problem is.

She started out with four baby chicks - the most any of my hens have successfully hatched in one sitting. If this one dies, she'll be down to just one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Post #26 - Free at last!

So I showed the supervisor all my receipts and proved that I had done my time. My debt to society is paid in full. He was even nice enough to let me clock out an hour and a half early.

That doesn't mean I'm done talking about community service though. There are still a few stories left to tell.

Big Red ended up hatching four baby chicks this weekend. Sadly, one died on Sunday and a second died today. But the other two seem like happy, healthy little peepers. Keep your fingers crossed that they turn out to be hens. I don't need no more damned roosters.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Post #25 - The end of an era

Tomorrow I go for my final day of community service. I have gathered all my receipts to prove to them that I have already completed 29 days - not 26 days like their records show.

It infuriates me how unorganized they are. The community service supervisor told me that he double checked with another court worker and her computer showed the same thing. This other court worker was the same woman who told me I could get out of piss testing a month early, leading to my showdown with the power-tripper who runs the piss-test program. She's really batting a thousand.

They've been fucking my shit up since day one. Immediately after facing Judge Hardass back in January, I met with a community service supervisor (he has since quit because he hated working with Judge Hardass) and was assigned to my first day of service. I asked him if my license was now suspended and he said yes. I asked if this meant I could not drive to community service the following week and he said that was exactly what it meant.

About a month later I got a letter from the state saying my license would be suspended effectively in the middle of February. When I mailed them back my license (if I didn't return it, I'd be hit with a $50 fine), I enclosed a letter explaining that the court suspended my license as of January 6th. They wrote back saying the court was wrong and my 90-day suspension didn't start until February 19th. So the court effectively added an extra six weeks to my suspension. I have since heard the same story from others convicted of DUIs in Randolph County.

The same supervisor also didn't say a damn thing to me about court review - the once a month clusterfuck when all community service workers & people whose fines aren't paid off yet need to show up in court. If you've been doing everything you're supposed to, you'll spend about 5 seconds in front of the judge - yet you could spend up to 3 hours waiting for your name to be called.

I only found out about court review from other CS workers. If you don't go to court review, they throw you in jail. You'd think that somebody official would tell you about that. It seems as though they are just trying to trip you up and keep you in the system as long as they can.

If I didn't have this fistful of receipts from the last 29 days, they'd be keeping me in the system for three more weeks.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Post #24 - You're in the country now, boy

If my current houseguest, Tom, had any doubts that he was deep in the country, they vanished when my neighbors dropped by in a horse-drawn covered wagon to drop off a whole barbecued deer shoulder.