Seven hours into my incarceration I started sobering up, which was unfortunate. Just about the worst place in the world was in jail and sober, where the bars obstruct enough of your view for the eyes that are always watching to remain unseen but not enough to hide from them. At least I had drowned out a brief visit to the emergency room where I received a few dozen stitches and some bandages to tidy up my severed wrist from when the off duty cop tackled me onto my whiskey glass. I wanted to tear off my bandages and chew through the sutures like a freshly neutered dog. Laying next to me on the bench was a snoring drunk, one of those old men that have been in here enough times to feel comfortable enough to sleep. I envied him for his persistence, mostly because I planned to be long dead before counted as many miles as him.
The cops told me the man I hit was an off duty officer taking his daughter out for a drink on her day off from university. I guess young girls these days all dress like whores, but I wasn't sure I believed them. Cops always cover for each other. But regardless I was looking at a handful of serious charges that would probably grow by the time I saw a judge. They gave me a chance to make a phone call and I thought about giving Vanessa a ring, but I just told them to fuck off. Maybe she would assume I was screwing around on her and leave me.
I wasn't even able to finish my thought before the taller cop was opening the loud gate, causing the sleeping drunk to wake abruptly and grab my leg for balance. The cop gestured for me and I rose, expecting their unseen eyes had noticed the pinkness on my bandages and were getting me fresh dressings. It doesn't look good if a guy bleeds out in a jail cell. Too much paperwork. They didn't say a word as they cuffed me, led me through two doors, then unexpectedly took the cuffs off before turning around and leaving the room. Vanessa was there.
She drove me home in my own fucking car, crying the whole damn way. She told me she called the hospital and confirmed I was admitted to the emergency room, and threw a fit when they didn't buy her lie about being my wife and refused to give her details about me without ID. She assumed I was in jail. Lucky guess, I suppose. I asked how she got me released but she didn't give a clear answer, just assured me I didn't ever have to go back, that it was all a misunderstanding and there would be no trial. I didn't argue.
When we got home to my apartment there was a fresh bottle waiting for me, and I appreciated it. After pouring and emptying a glass I got up and turned the radio on for her. Vanessa cried and I held her in my arms until I was too drunk to feel her there.