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Now what?


As the military truck left the station I kept asking myself, what are you gonna do Cantina? What are you gonna do now? The morning seemed tranquil through the barred bus window. People went on about their business as usual. The bitter smell of onion sweat sat beside me like a prisoner. Like a cellmate. Once inside the holding cell I met an African girl named Smile. And so she did. She smiled about everything. She was the first one to sit beside me and ask my name. Hi, I’m Smile. Your name? Shaula, I said. I couldn’t stand myself right then. I felt so sorry for myself, if I saw myself on the street, I’d kick my own ass. Smile was kind and pretty, she looked like she just came from the salon, she was so well dressed. I asked her if she had just been arrested, No, she said smiling. Of course. I have been here 6 months. Wow. Jail does a body good girl. You look fantastic. She smiled again. I look like shit and I’ve just been to the holding cells so far. She sported a red pashmina and some slender jeans. Her nails were done, her eyebrows waxed and she smelled like jasmine. What was going on? Was I being taken to a resort of sorts? Anyway, Smile asked me what I was arrested for. I said, nothing. I’m innocent. It’s complicated. I wasn’t about to get into the whole numeric list bullshit. Only I get arrested halfway around the world for a bunch of virtual numbers. Bullshit. Shit. Anyway, she went on and smiled again and said; Oh you’re innocent too? Welcome. We’re all innocent in here! I’m not sure if she was being sarcastic, as her smile was so fucking genuine, I couldn’t tell. I was being serious. I didn’t fucking do anything. That bitter bitch Evergreen, and her cronies, did me in. Bitch. But you can’t really trust anyone in jail. I mean, they’re in jail. You know what I mean? So I opted for the easy answer, It’s complicated Smile, it’s just complicated. She went on and believed me with no reservations. How else could a person called Smile possibly react? Anyway, I walked into the prison area and innocently asked what seemed to be a fat Indian man, “What's in there?” He replied in a strikingly feminine sweet voice, Prisoners. Oh. Yeah. I’m in prison aren’t I? I realized I was inside now. Dr. Bhavna with her manly looks and feminine ways took one look at me and came closer, she was fat, kind and innocent. “Hi.” She said warmly. “And you are here for stealing right?” How the hell did she know what I was accused of? I honestly had no idea what I was there for exactly, as my "charges" were never read to me or discussed entirely. I was confused and astonished, I was actually in an indian jail and I was in for stealing? The following hours were spent figuring out where I was gonna spend my next 12 hours at, was I gonna be locked up with 80 Indian inmates, or was I gonna be put in a smaller cell in a safer environment? I asked Bhavna, "Where is the "Foreigner" area. It was supposed to be like a VIP room or something. Separated from general population, this is what I was told. And there's a phone so I can make phone calls yes? " She stared at me kindly and suddenly burst out in laughter and started rambling on in Hindi. Aaaaaajajajajahahaha Tike tike,, mukty jonji nutty wahtsa...blah blah.... Everyone around me started laughing and pointing. I mean, I knew I was funny but I didn't think I had said anything funny in a long while. Yes, Cantina they're laughing at you. Gen pop it is baby. get used to it. So I was thrown in to a cell with about 79 Indian women. We all were given a space on the floor defined by the width of our blankets. I was given an aluminum plate and a cup. A blanket that smelled like dust and a plastic spoon. No forks or knives, not even a spork. I spent almost the entire night trying to understand why all my "cellmates" were surrounding me touching my hair, caressing my hand, hugging me. It got weird. Like I was some weird Toltec idol. Until toltec idol could hold no more her eyes open. I fell asleep and went into my new favorite place, Dreamland. I woke up smiling, who knows what I was dreaming about but it was pleasant.....until I woke up to Indian women screaming and pulling each other's hair in a fight. Oh yeah man. My first jail fight, live! Suddenly, in the midst of the fighting the guard came up to the cell door and banged her bamboo stick on the bars making an unbearable sound that broke the monkey fighting that was going on. It was weird. I felt like I was in a movie or a zoo. Anyway, up to the gate came my savior, I didn't know her but Smile, my beautiful African friend had told my new African friend "Fatima" about my whereabouts. Apparently Fatima knew about the monkey cell and their weird obsession with toltec idols so she decided to come get me out of there and put me in a safer place. That same day I was put in a smaller cell with 2 Chinese roommates. I call them Roommates, Hui and Wei. One of them barely spoke English and the other one barely spoke Mandarin. We were in for quite a ride. Hui was from China and was studying college in Paris, she was arrested in new Delhi for traveling with a person who had a fake visa and passport, Wei. They were kind of like Fuckme and Fuckyou from the Austin Powers movies. Wei, whom had gotten a fake visa so she could get to her cousin in Paris who was a cook, had no idea how grave of a siuation she had gotten herself into. She was confident they’d be out in a jiffy. Not the case. Convicton for fake paperwork was easy three years and she had a fake visa AND passport. They were fucked, and so was I. I had no proof of what I was arguing being true. It was all digital talk in an analog world. The file, the numeric list, the cut list…they were all lost causes. I had been put in jail beause some Indian assholes with too much money and power had nothing better to do with their lives, that was the truth.