I don’t do well in tight places. Am I claustrophobic? Perhaps just a bit. I do remember about fifteen years ago I had an MRI. I’ve been told that the technology for these contraptions have been much improved, but when I underwent this procedure, there was barely six inches between my nose and the “roof” of that cylindrical torture chamber. I can tell you I was absolutely terrified.
When researching for my latest novel, Brought To You By The Color Drab, I asked the kindly probation officer (whom I had located to interview), to show me the cells in the juvenile detention center.
I know these officers have busy schedules, but he agreed to give me the tour. I was amazed at how austere (drab?) the cell was. As I stepped inside, the probation officer asked, “Do you want me to shut the door?”
Can you guess my answer? It was a vehement “NO.” And I quickly stepped outside the cell. It was a ghastly thought—the idea of being shut in that small space.
Enduring the Sally Port
Years ago, I was involved in prison ministry. When we went in to visit, they have what’s called a “sally port.” The definition: a secure, controlled entryway to a fortification or prison.
The officer unlocks a gate and leads the group into a small enclosure. Then that gate is locked behind us. They wait a few minutes. Then they unlock the gate at the opposite end of the enclosure and we file out and enter into the main prison area.
No matter how many times I went in, I never got used to the sound of that gate “slamming” behind us. My heart rate went up, my hands got all sweaty, and my stomach did flip flops.
Easy and Extremely Difficult
The scene where my main character, Race, spends the night in the slammer was both easy and extremely difficult for me to write. Easy because I so related with that horrific feeling of being shut in; and extremely difficult because I so related with that horrific feeling of being shut in—if you get my drift.
Uncle Dutch Says, “Don’t ever Come Here”
Prison/jail/detention, whatever, is not a nice place. It’s no wonder Uncle Dutch told Race, “Don’t ever come here!”
Who’s Uncle Dutch? Well, you’ll just have to read Brought To You By The Color Drab to find out!
If Brought To You By The Color Drab sounds fascinating to you, take a minute and download the first two chapters right here!