Author – Shoeless guy
The three pals had been hitching across America for two weeks on their month long vacation. They where heading west on Route 66, their last ride, an old gentleman in an even older car had dropped them off at a crossroads off the main highway. There wasn’t a lot of traffic and the day was getting old and the three 25 year olds where getting hungry. After half an hour a police car pulled up and asked them why and where they where going. Jack had answered the officers questions while Andy and Jake stared at the dark clouds heading in their direction. “It will be dark soon and there is a storm heading this way” said the officer. Jack asked if there was a motel nearby. “No and there is not a lot of traffic on this route” said the police officer. “I’d be failing in my duty of care to leave you here, get in the car and I’ll take you to the police office where you can stay the night” he said. They placed their bags in the car trunk and clambered into the back seat. After 30 minutes they pulled up outside an old single storey building that had a small sign saying Sheriff. The officer got out and left the three young men in the car and entered the building. They tried letting themselves out but couldn’t as the rear seating area was enclosed by caging and no release locks on the door. “Feel like we are prisoners” said Jake’ they laughed. The office returned to the vehicle and opened the door and let them out. They grabbed their bags from the trunk and followed the officer through the front door of the Sheriff’s Office. “You can sleep in the jailhouse tonight, the cells already have a prisoner so we’ll need to take your valuables and possessions for safe keeping. If he finds out you’re not genuine prisoners it could be awkward so you’ll need to pretend you are, even to the officers whilst your in there”. “I’m not sure about this” said Andy feeling uncomfortable about being in a cell. “You’ll be fine, just keep your heads down and morning will be here before you know it” said the officer. They went to the desk which said ‘processing’ they emptied their pockets and placed their valuables including their cell phones into their bags and handed the bags to the officer who placed them in a room behind the desk. The officer filled out some paperwork and asked the guys to sign. “Disclaimers” said the officer. They followed the officer down a corridor into another large room with old fashioned style jail cells that looked like cages, like in an old western movie.
Andy and Jake entered one jail cell and Jack had another cell to himself. They stood inside the cells and the officer locked the doors, the feeling of being locked inside a jail cell without escape was overwhelming. One last thing said the officer “Take off your shoes”. “What!” shouted Jack. “Prisoners are not allowed shoes in the cells” said the officer. “We are not really…” said Jack stopping himself mid sentence remembering what he was told earlier. “Take off your shoes” repeated the officer. Andy and Jake undid their laces and handed their athletic shoes through the bars of the cell leaving their socked feet touching the cold stone floor. Jack just stared at the officer in defiance. “I’ll be back to deal with you” said the officer as he left with Andy and Jakes Nike’s. The office returned “Are you going to hand over your shoes or do I have to use this” said the officer whilst pointing a taser gun at Jack. “you’re not having my shoes” said Jack. He warned Jack again and told him to lie on the floor and place his hands behind his back. Andy shouted at Jack ‘Just do as he says Jack’ we don’t want to cause any trouble Officer” “Get on the floor” shouted the officer and this time Jack obeyed. He layed face down and placed his hands behind his back, the cell door opened and the officer knelt down and placed handcuffs on Jacks wrists. He then got out a set of ankle cuffs and placed one end around Jacks left ankle and threaded the other end half way up the cage bars and pulled which lifted Jacks ankle in the air he then locked the other cuff around Jacks right ankle. This left Jack handcuffed on the floor with his feet up in the air. The officer proceeded to remove Jacks Reebok shoes leaving a pair of damp smelly black socked feet dangling from chains. The officer left the cell locking the door. He said to Jack “If you had just complied like your friends you would not be in your predicament. If your a good boy I’ll let you down” He left carrying Jacks Reebok athletic shoes.
In the next cell to Jack, the real prisoner started laughing, he was about 35 years old and drunk. “Are you stupid” he said to Jack. Jack said nothing as he laid handcuffed with his feet dangling from the cell bars. The drunk prisoner could reach through the bars and grabbed Jack and pulled him over towards him. “Have you any cigarettes as he tried searching through Jacks pockets. “Let go of him, they took all our stuff” shouted Andy at the drunk guy. The drunk grabbed Jacks dangling feet and shouted “ticklish”. “Get off my feet” shouted Jack as he started giggling like a child. After five minutes the drunk got bored and let go of Jacks feet and laid down in his cell and fell asleep.
Another five minutes passed and the officer returned, he opened Jacks cell and entered, he removed the cuffs from Jacks ankles and let his legs fall to the floor, he left the cell and locked it. He told Jack to stand up and walk backwards towards the cell door where he released Jacks handcuffs through the cell door. When the night duty officer gets here you’ll get some food.
They sat in the cell whispering in order to not awake the drunk in the next cell. “I want to leave” said Jack, “This wasn’t a good idea, I cannot believe we are in jail without our cell phones and shoes, tortured by a jailer and my feet abused by a drunk” The door opened and a teenager was escorted to the adjoining cell to the drunk. The officer removed his cuffs and shoes and locked the cell. The teenager lifted his gray socked feet off the cold floor and placed them on the bench and put his head between his knees and sobbed. The new officer carried the redundant cuffs and teenagers shoes towards the doorway when Jake shouted to him “We need to leave, we made a mistake coming here, can we have our bags and shoes back so we can phone a cab and leave”. The new officer just laughed “Yeah, everyone makes a mistake coming to this hotel you’re prisoners god damn it” and proceeded to leave. They looked at each and feared that things were not quite what they seemed.
They fell asleep without food.
Alternative ending ‘A’
The next morning they woke up to the sound of a cell door being opened by another officer, not their cell doors but the drunk next to Jack. “Wake up Jones, it’s time to leave” as the officer threw Jones’ boots on the floor next to him. He woke up and pulled his boots on and mumbled “cannot believe i’m here again” as he followed the officer out. The guys where fully awake and hungry, “we’ll be out shortly” said Andy “We’ll get some food and hitch a lift back to the highway”. The officer returned carrying a pair of shoes, not any of the guys shoes but the teenagers, his cell was opened and the teen put on his shoes and followed the officer out. They where left alone for 30 minutes when the officer returned not carrying their shoes but coffee, he handed them through the cell bars. “Drink these guys” he said, “We need to leave” said Jake. “Prisoners don’t decide when to leave” said the officer “Your paperwork is incomplete, we need to wait for Officer Burke to come on duty to sort it out. “How long” said Jack. “Late afternoon” said the officer. “We’re not real prisoners” shouted the guys. “Yeah yeah, that’s what they all say” said the officer as he left them in their locked cells shoeless and desperate to leave. Six hours later a familiar face appeared carrying their athletic shoes, Officer Burke opened the cell doors and gave them to the guys to put on. “Sorry guys, I had a long night, overslept and totally forgot about your overnight stay. I apologise to you for the brutal behaviour chaining your feet up in the cell but I couldn’t let you speak to me like that near other prisoners, my mistake for not confiscating your shoes before entering the cells”. They where given their bags back and Officer Burke gave them a ride back to the highway. They sat on the side of the road bewildered at what had just happened over the last 24 hours. Now they where in the same position as a day earlier, no traffic, dusk approaching but they took their chances hitching than spending another night at the hospitality of the local police department.
Alternative ending ‘B’
The next morning they woke up to the sound of a cell door opening, more prisoners entering another cell, shoeless but no cuffs, two men in their early twenties. The drunk woke up, “Where am I” he said. Jack told him he’s in jail. “What” said the now sober drunk. “Do you not remember tickling my feet, you where quite drunk” said Jack. “I don’t remember anything after being offered a bed for the night from a police officer who gave me a bottle of water after missing my bus yesterday, I don’t drink alcohol” he said. The teenager in the next cell mentioned that an officer pulled over and accused him of breaking a store window and arrested him, “He wouldn’t let me contact my parents and brought me here, took away my cell phone and shoes and locked me up”. The new guys in the end cell looked horrified after listening to everyones stories for being incarcarated including Jack, Jake and Andy’s explanation. “We where told to accompany the officer here as we looked similar to a description of some felons who are wanted for jumping bail. He said we’re not arrested but need to keep us in a cell until our identification could be verified, they took our cell phones and shoes for safety”. Jack said “How on earth can seven men be duped into handing over their possessions and allowing their shoes to be confiscated and being locked up against their will”. They all started banging on the cell bars demanding to be let out. In walked an officer who told them they would be leaving shortly but not with their liberty!
Which ending do you prefer?