From the pages of
media, culture, tech
Volume 1, Issue 4
(P.O. Box 132, New York, NY 10024)
NEW YORK DIARY:
TRAUMA IN REAL LIFE
By Daniel Drennan
So in the last issue we left off where I was thrown into jail for jumping a subway turnstile because I was late for work and tired of waiting twenty minutes in line, and I am in jail without my shoe laces and my belt which were taken from me so that I would not "hang myself." And I am looking at the guys in the cell with me, and they are staring back at me in my shirt-and-tie work clothes, and I am trying to seem like I am in for homicide so they will leave me alone....So then I sit down in the back of the cell, resigned that the worst day of my life is not going to get much better.
And this one guy--who was obviously a bike messenger because he looked, with his helmet and all his padding, like what humans might look like today if they had evolved from cockroaches and not apes--is all, "Look, I gotta deliver this package! It's important!" and the police were all laughing, "You know what? We get fifty of you messengers in here every day, fifty of you at a hundred bucks a pop. Scumbags like you pay my salary" which luckily made the guy shut up. Then I am thinking that New York City--financial capital of the world and bedrock of business in America--has billions of dollars in transactions and contracts and business deals at any given point in time being schlepped around town on the backs of what might very well be a bunch of felons and petty criminals.
So then the cop who arrested me approaches the cell and says, "DRENNAN! You wanted to make a phone call!?" and I am like, "yes, please," even though I was just as freaked out about calling work and was wondering what it would mean career-wise if I never went back to work again, but at least this part was just like what happens on TV. So he points to a phone, and I call my boss, and I am standing right next to a detective at his desk who keeps giving me dirty looks. So I call and my boss answers and I go, "Hi, it's Danny," and he goes, "Danny, where are you?" and I go, "I had a bit of a problem this morning and am going to be late for work today" and he goes, "is anything wrong?" and I go, "Well, I am kind of...in jail," and he says absolutely nothing for an interminable amount of time, and then brainiac me decides to make light of it and so I go jokingly, "it's a long story, but I was late and I jumped a turnstile and I got arrested" and he goes, "oh, man" and the detective next to me starts screaming at the top of his lungs: "What the FUCK do you think this is! A fucking hotel? Get the fuck off the phone!" and there is another long pause and then my boss goes, "um...I guess you have to go," and I go, "yeah" and I hang up and go back to the jail cell. The cop who originally arrested me goes, "What did you tell him?" And I go, "I told him the truth."
And this impresses the guy, like someone who tells the truth is a total anomaly in the New York City justice system, and he goes, "Are you going to get fired?" and I go, "I don't think so" and it was like the moment in those police TV shows where the hardened New York cop shows his human side for one split second.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): zine cover.