A Whole New World Part 5 Read Count : 14

Category : Blogs

Sub Category : Motivation
After an uneventful night of sleeping among the homeless men in the alley, Carl managed to catch a ride that morning from a guy who was cutting tree stumps  at parking lot of a Pizza Hut not far from where Stevie had shot at the cop. However, before they could go far, they were stopped by a police cruiser who had been alerted of the BOLO that was sent out. The officer immediately recognized Carl's face from the sketches that had been distributed widely and without any hesitation, Carl was arrested and taken to Orlando County Jail. 

The Orlando County Jail was a 5-storey building with a holding room on the ground floor that was large enough to house at least 50 people at a time. The exterior of the building looked old and weathered with discoloured walls due to years of neglect to constant exposure of salt, wind and rain. In Carl's mind, it was the perfect representation of a place to hold the rejects of society. The interior, however, was a total contrast; the walls were stark white with clean and harsh lines. Bunk beds lined the walls of the holding room and the ceiling was at least 15 feet high. He was kept in the holding room while they processed him. 

Carl felt small and frail amidst the other occupants of the holding room which made him feel very nervous and uneasy. He quietly searched for a quiet corner away from the mean looking men who looked like this wasn't their first rodeo and tried his best to make himself invisible. None of the men in there paid him any attention as they were probably too wrapped up in their own fate to care. In his quiet corner, he suddenly caught sight of one familiar face - Stevie. For a brief moment, he forgot where he was and he almost called out Stevie's name. But reality came back fast when a burly, mean looking guy planted himself not far from where he was seated. He darted a quick glance at Stevie to see if he had noticed him, but Stevie was clearly lost in his own thoughts. 

The wait to be processed took forever, it seemed. Carl fell asleep while waiting and was woken up several hours later. After he was processed, he was moved to the fifth floor. As he was led to the cell block he noticed the wall of steel bars on both sides of the hallway. He also noticed a small rectangle opening on the door of every cell where food trays were passed through. The walls outside the cells were a combination of dirty shade of green and dark gray that looked faded and gloomy, and the place smelled of a blend of bleach, chemicals and linen, which reminded him of a laundry shop where his grandfather used to work. The ambience of the place mirrored the way Carl was feeling inside - miserable and weathered. 

The cells had four bunk beds each; two bunks on each side of the cell. Right smack in the middle of each cell sat a stainless steel toilet-sink combo which was dull and grey due to years of constant use and nerve sweat. It was disgusting, to say the least. The walls of the cells were also made of solid steel with huge round rivets like buttons holding it all together. Looking at the way the cells were built, he could tell it would be impossible to beat, bang or scratch his way out of those cage-like confinements. 

Carl was put in a cell with an older white guy who was in there for an attempted murder on his wife. The man was huge; about 6' 7", 280lbs and had hands as big as dinner plates. His beard was both grey and black and he didn't look like someone Carl would want to mess with. The man completely ignored him when he entered the cell which was fine by him. He took a bunk on the opposite side of the huge man just to keep a safe distance. The bed had a 4 inch mattress, a set of sheets and a blanket. On top of the perfectly folded linen, Carl found a towel, washcloth and a little plastic bag containing a bar of soap, comb, disposable razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, a roll of toilet paper and four stamped envelopes with two sheets of writing paper in each. Looking at the items before him, reality finally sunk in. This cage was going to be his crib and the huge man was going to be his roommate. He felt like crying but he kept himself in check. This was no place to appear weak.

Carl spent two weeks in Orlando County Jail before he was taken to court for his case to be heard. In court, he felt it was his right to try to defend himself so he spoke about everything that went down at the gas station in Wabasso and came clean about the murder that took place there. The judge had to shut him up because he just wouldn't stop talking. He was told that the court was not there to talk about the crime that happened in Wabasso because it wasn't in their jurasdiction, and they were there to talk only of the crimes that took place in Orlando. The two charges that were put on him; attempted murder on a policeman, and auto-theft, were all dropped. He was released from Orlando Country Jail, only to be transported the very next day by plane to Indian River County Jail in Wabasso. 

Carl spent eleven months in Indian River County Jail before he was taken to court for his hearing where he would learn of his next fate. It was there that he had his first taste of total restriction. The day where his case was being heard, there was quite a crowd of other people outside the court chambers who were in the same boat as him, waiting to be called in. When his turn came, he was charged with armed robbery and First Degree Murder even though he wasn't the one who pulled the trigger and he was facing two Life sentences for the crimes, without the possibility of parole. 

He was dumbstruck when he heard the sentence being read. He wanted to scream in protest but he kept himself in check. He fought hard to keep the tears that were threatening to fall and tried to put up a brave front when he was crumbling inside. In his mind's eye, he could see his life passing him by and the thought of not seeing his family again, the thought of growing old in prison, made him weak in the knees. His knees buckled and even though he tried to hide it, it didn't go unnoticed by the officers of the court who took the opportunity to go for the kill. 

The State of Florida had threatened him with the death penalty; the electric chair, to weaken him to go for a plea deal. It worked. Fear made him agree to take the deal. By taking the plea deal, his sentence was changed to Life, with a minimum mandatory of 25 years for the charge of Murder In The First Degree, while the robbery charges on him were dropped as part of the "deal". This was the result of a robbery gone bad - an innocent man lost his life and Carl was about to learn a new way of life in prison.

"An eye for an eye", that's how the saying goes. An Innocent man had lost his life due to the recklessness of Carl and Stevie, and now, that life is being paid by Carl's life. No doubt, Carl would still be alive when he comes out of prison after doing his time, that is, if he survives prison life, but when you're living under all the conditions and restrictions of a prison, what quality of life do you really have?

Comments

  • Sep 04, 2020

  • The coices we make have lasting effects. I am humbled by this portrayal, Zee.

    Sep 05, 2020

  • guess nobody gets away with anything anyway, what happened to Vicky and did her dad get locked up for what has caused all of this

    Sep 06, 2020

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