Our in-laws have a habit of getting court dates scheduled during our visitation time with the Girls. We went to court to argue the date set for mediation. It was rainy then, so of course the only parking available would be on the roof of the parking garage. As we unbuckled Ed called back, “You don’t have your knife on you, right?”
“Already took it out,” I announced proudly.
Danielle, Edward’s personal assistant, said, “He was talking to me, he knows I always have a knife on me.”
“Actually, I accidentally brought mine in last time.”
“Maybe he was talking to the both of us.”
Bailey stormed ahead through the rain, determined to get under cover. Alice planned on hiding under cover until everyone made it to the elevator, and then she’d run. I hobbled under Danielle’s umbrella, as Edward prowled indifferently. I looked at the brown drops that rolled down the umbrella over my head. “Ugh, look at the run-off.”
“That’s oil,” Danielle explained. “I don’t question the cleanliness of anything that comes out of my Jeep.” We hurried to the courthouse, chatting about why we don’t have umbrellas as we dump our things on the conveyor belt at the security checkpoint. Our conversation was interrupted.
“WHO THE F*** HAS THIS BRIEFCASE?!”
I heard my husband answer, “That’s mine, why-” The other security guard dragged him to the side and scanned over him. I couldn’t see the first one behind the machine. “Oh, I didn’t know that was in there, you can throw that away!” Danielle bowed her head and mumbled something about peanut butter and jelly. I saw them lay his camping knife on the table and stretch a measuring tape over it. I had a flashback of Springbreak when I went camping with the family, and Edward proudly wore his knife on his belt, explaining to us how his knife fit the legal limit. Now they had him pressed against the wall and were handcuffing him, and he expressed his confusion. He explained that he had no idea it was in there, that he went on a two week camping trip and only used that knife to spread peanut butter and jelly, and that they could throw it away. I was getting confused now, but Danielle was being so calm about the situation I couldn’t help but remain light hearted and even chuckle, a little out of confidence and knowing my husband was good and innocent and everything would be fine and a little because of the irony of the situation itself. My in-laws are going to hear that he brought a knife to court, my father in-law will think it was meant for him, and we’re still going to win this case hands-down because their perspective is so screwed up. I wondered, though. My husband is so careful, how did his camping knife get in his briefcase? He would have left it in his backpack if he had forgotten to unpack. And he doesn’t lock his briefcase, either.
Alice had to defend herself in court. We each considered the benefits of her standing up to her father, who hid behind his attorney. He looked around at us and I met his eyes. Bailey and I were just ‘women on the side’ to him, and he gave us no further acknowledgement than that. I noticed that he greyed faster than the president, and his hair matched his suit now. “Who are all these people?” the judge gestured to us. There were a few simultaneous answers and a majority sounded like “his wives”, despite that we agreed not to use that term in court since we can’t legally all be married. The judge simply said, “Oh, okay.”
Danielle piped up defensively, “Oh no, I’m just his PA.”
I stared at Alice’s father, wondering what his face would look like if I told him, “They blame my @$$#0l3 father for me being in this relationship. What does that say about you?”
Since this judge was different from the one who set the date for the mediation, he didn’t want to change the appointment time. Alice’s father did a double fist in the air, and then put his hands together to praise God. I raised my eyebrow at him, and thought back to some verses I knew, like the one where God says not to delight when your enemies are down, or the Lord may see and turn his anger on you. I also meditated on the story of Daniel in the den of lions we read earlier today before going to court, and prayed that where they were taking my husband the Lord would shut the mouths of those lions. Immediately after court I came down with a sickness and announced that I needed a nap while we waited to hear where in the process Edward was and when and how we were getting him out.
I drifted in and out of consciousness until two in the morning. I was standing near the bedroom door when it opened and the second our eyes met our arms were wrapped around each other and my face was buried in the crook of his neck, taking in the smell of the jail that clung to his beard. Then he sat on the bed and we gathered around him like children waiting for a story, eyes full of melancholy longing. He told us the deplorable state of the jail, the attitudes of the wardens, the filthiness, his small ‘meal’ comprised of whatever scraps they had left over, and one of the prisoner’s oozing wound that received minimal treatment. Leave it to my husband to get arrested and decide he wants to be on the state assembly because of it. He planned on writing another letter to the congressman about how the criminals were treated. Meanwhile, he described the social structure behind bars. He introduced himself by his first name to the inmates. Then he caught on that only the gang leaders went by their first name, the others had dumb nicknames in English and Spanish. Within an hour the leader of the white supremacists approached him and invited him to join them for breakfast. “I’ll be out by breakfast,” he assured them, but agreed to take him up on his offer if he was still there. One of the inmates more or less offered to be his b!tc#. Apparently, wearing a fitted orange suit also means you’re a leader- the baggier, the lower in the hierarchy.
“No one can figure you out. You either came out of a rock band or you’re a cannibal.”
“What’s with your hair?” they asked him, pointing to his high bun he usually did with his hair when he got bored.
“I’m growing it out for kids with cancer.” He learned that guys in a biker gang will wear high buns to fit their hair in their helmet.
“You got any ink?”
“Don’t want to be identified, huh?” If you don’t want to be identified, it’s because you’re an assassin, he discovered. Telling them he was in there for having an illegal weapon in a courthouse only fed into his reputation as an assassin-biker-gang-leader-cannibal/rocker.
Eventually Gary came clean and said that he saw the camping knife out where his sisters could reach it, and for safe keeping put it in his father’s briefcase and locked it. All the same, Ed will be getting a hold of the congressman in regards to how inhumanely our prisoners are being treated. Now on top of everything we have another court case to keep track of, but I guess that keeps me from getting bored.