Her cell was musty and cold as she laid on her hard bed. She felt cold shivers going down her back. The white almost sheer sheet that was given to her was useless because of its thin material. But she kept it on because it was colder on the outside world. The girl next door to her cell was cursing at the guards and kicking the steel door. The guard banged on her door with his flashlight and told her to shut up. The small light that came through the rectangular slot of her steel door gave her a chance to read the white brick walls. “I hate this place, Life Sucks!” the walls read. Then suddenly it was pitch black and the guard said “Lights out!” The rectangular slot on her door was shut.
“Bang, bang, bang!” This sudden noise scared Amber out of her hard bed in a panic.
“Rise and shine ladies!” said the obnoxious guard.
Amber’s steel door opened and she walked out into the bright lights. She stopped and covered her eyes with her hands because the lights were so bright.
Then she felt a sudden push along with someone saying, “Go!”
There was an emo girl behind her. Amber forced her eyes to stay open and followed the girl in front of her. They were all led to a huge shower room. Each of the girls were given a squirt of soap to wash up with.
“I hate this” Amber thought to herself, “Why can’t they have individual showers? What could we possibly do in the shower?”
A lot. She had no idea.
Every morning was the same routine. Wake up, take a three and a half minute shower, and eat cold grits. Amber hated grits.
“What in the world is a ‘Grit’,” she thought to herself. Then suddenly the showers shut off and everybody moaned.
“How the @#$% am I supposed to get this soap outa my hair!?” said one of the girls.
Amber still had soap on her face, hands and hair. But she didn’t complain. By now this was the third or forth time this had happened to her. She very casually walked into the locker room and wiped the soap off. Then she put on her inmate uniform. Careful not to fall, she slipped one foot through each leg of the grey jump suit. Before pulling it up, she put on the white t shirt that was given to her. Then she slipped each arm through her sleeve and zipped the grey jumpsuit about half way up. She put on the shoes that were given to her for the day. They were a size 9.
“These are too big,” she told the lady, “I’m a 6.”
“Too bad, deal with it,” the lady answered back.
Not feeling like arguing with the lady she walked away tripping over her too big shoes. When she reached the sink she filled her hand with supposed ‘warm’ water and splashed it on her face. Then she took more ‘warm’ water and rinsed her hair of the soap. She shivered as it went down her neck and back. Then she took a towel and dried her hair the best she could.
“Okay ladies!” said one of the group counselors, “time for breakfast.”
“Yay” said the emo girl sarcastically, “time to eat cold grits.”
There were 15 group leaders in the entire juvenile center. Each group had approximately 18 to 21 girls. Amber was in group 12. The counselors name was Greg. Obviously he couldn’t come in the locker room because he was a man. So counselor number 9, Karen had to supervise them.
“Auugg!” screamed a young voice.
“Oh suck it up. Be a man for once” said a deeper, grimmer voice.
“Men have pain too!” said the younger voice again.
“Well I guess you should have thought of that before you killed that kid” the grim voice said.
“Suck my d…”
Grabbing the teen boy by the neck he said “Hey! Watch your mouth. Besides Nick, you’ll be the one doing all the sucking, Pretty Boy” he said laughing.
“I didn’t even mean to kill that kid. I didn’t see him” said Nick.
“Right, you didn’t see a 5 foot 10 boy walking across the street. Sure, I believe you” the grim voice said.
Nick!! Watch out!!! Scuurrr!!!
“Aye boy! Snap out of it!” the grim voice said.
“O.K kid, let me just finish this last stitch and you’re free to go… well, not really.”
A flash of hate went through Nick’s eyes at that last comment made by the detention center’s male nurse.
“I’m not a man?” he thought “I’m a bigger man than you. What kind of man is a nurse?”
“Ha!” he laughed out loud “Aww!”
“Well sit still. You make it worser than it really is” said the male nurse.
Later that day…
“Hey pretty boy, wanna come out and play?” said an inmate.
“Go away” Nick said emotionless.
“Oh what’s the matter hun? You miss you’re girlfriend?”
“…” he said nothing.
“Yeah well unlike you!!” he said grabbing and pushing him against the wall, “I’ve never had the opportunity of having a girlfriend! I’ve been in and out of Juvie my whole life. And you know what else…”
“What?” said a voice from behind. The angered boy let go.
“No c’mon tell me. What else happened?” he said.
He put his head down and lowered his voice, “Nothin’ we were just…messing around.
“I’ont think my homeboy mess around wit dudes. So I advice you to leave my dude alone” he said revealing a blade in his pants.
“O.K man, just don’t do nothin’ stupid” the boy said leaving.
“Thanks Jeremy” Nick said relieved.
“Yep” Jeremy said sitting down “you gotta learn to get tougher. You can’t just walk around here like you do. You is too pretty to be in jail.”
Nick turned his head.
“No I’m serious. Dudes like you don’t belong in here. You got the blue eyes and the blonde hair. To them out there” he said lowering his voice “you look like Eva Mendez.”
Nick scoffed “But I am tough. Don’t you see these stitches over my eye?”
Jeremy scoffed. “That’s not enough. Niggaz don’t care about no stitches.”
“But that’s not fair” Nick said.
“This ain’t no game, this is real life. That pretty little six pack you got for the ladies ain’t gone do you no good in here.” Jeremy replied back.
Nick sighed, “So what am I supposed to do? Walk around like I’m all tough”
“No. Become tougher. Gain more power, more respect. So when them fags come at you again you bash’em in they face. Bet’chu they don’t mess wit’chu no more.”
That night Nick thought about what Jeremy had told him earlier that day…
“… that pretty little six pack you got for the ladies ain’t gone do you no good here.”
“Gain more power, gain more respect…”
“Respect?” he thought out loud “but how do I get more respect?”
The next day when all the inmates were let out of their cells nick went straight to the weight room skipping breakfast.
“Where is all my stuff?!”
“The stuff I came in here with. Ya know like my cell phone, ipod, mirror, lip gloss. All the essentials”
“The only essentials you have here in West Philly Juvenile Hall are these here hand cuffs. They’re even silver”
“Silver and grey, could I at least have a different colored jump suit. Like black er’something?”
She laughed, “Alisa, you got a lot to learn.” The security guard then unlocked Alisa’s cell door and told her to go inside.
“But…wait!” Alisa yelled.
“Yes Alisa” the guard said sarcastically.
“Can I call my boyfriend...please?” she said begging.
In a tired voice she finally said, “Where is he?”
“East Philly…Juvenile Cen…”
“Ooohhh A-li-sa!!” the guard said pronouncing each syllable “You know you can’t talk to other detainees!” She then slammed the door and walked away.
Alisa heard the guard saying in a disappearing voice “Lord have mercy, two peas in a pod…both in jail.”
Alisa walked near the hard bed and started to cry. “Why did I have to be so stupid? If I hadn’t have told Nick to drive faster we wouldn’t even be here.”
“Nick1 drive faster! We’re gonna be late for the biggest party of the Cen-tur-eee.” said Alisa.
“This party is fina be lame. I don’t know why I decided to go wit yall” Jeremy said aggravated.
“Because you love us and you’re the only one with a license” Amber said smiling.”
“Well shouldn’t I be driving?” Jeremy asked.
“No” Amber said.
“What if we get pulled over?” he asked again,
“Well then you know what to say. I’m sure all the police officers in Philly know your name, Jeremy Rogers” she said teasingly.
“Turn here on Hidden Valley” Alisa ordered.
Nick did as his girlfriend told him and turned down the street. Glancing at his rear view mirror he saw Alisa unbuttoning her Hollister Polo.
“Alisa what are you doing” said Amber annoyed.
“Taking my shirt off” she said as if it was normal.
“Why” Amber asked.
“Because it’s hot in here and I don’t want to have on a sweaty armpit shirt” answered Alisa.
“Well roll down the window, nobody wants to see you” Amber said.
“Speak for yourself Amb, I don’t mind at all. Maybe if Jeremy closes his mouth it’ll cool down in here” Nick said joking.
“No you close your mou…”Jeremy was interrupted.
“Nick!! Watch out!! Scuurrr!!