“Pierce, I'm your psych, Corliss.”
I nodded. I guess that's what the
on her headband stood for.
“Pierce, tell me why you here.”
“You read my chart, didn't you? I'm here because I was arrested.”
“Yeah, you're here on a murâ”
“It was an accident.”
She looked like she doubted me. My nostrils flared, and I pursed my lips.
“Were you abused as a kid?”
“Molested, raped, assaulted?”
“I don't want to talk about it.”
She jotted something down on a yellow pad. “Why don't you want to talk about it, Pierce?”
Why this bitch had to bring that shit up? I dug my hands in my flesh.
“Well, you have a lot of scars on your hands and forearms. Most girls who cut on themselves have had a history of sexual abuse. Did you?”
I never talked about it, and I shouldn't do it now, but maybe, just maybe I thought if I mouthed what happened, she could help me get over it because, to be honest, it was bothering me. And the more I was in that room, the less I slept and the more I was thinking about the day that man raped me.
But it wasn't just that. I couldn't help but think about all them dudes I had fucked for Black.
“Yes.” I gritted my teeth. But just as soon as it came out, shame filled me. I wanted to run out of that room and hide forever, vanish off the earth, so I didn't have to hurt no more. Mouthing it didn't do shit for the pain I was feeling inside, or the lump in my throat that I couldn't cough up and spit out.
“Tell me what happened.”
I took a deep breath. “I was on the track andâ”
“No, running cross-country,” I said sarcastically.
She licked her lips nervously. “Should you have been out there?”
“What the fuck you mean?” I was snapping because I was back there in that alley, hands on me. I shook my head and blinked rapidly.
“Pierce, you here?”
He pushed me on the concrete. I couldn't get it out of my head
“You want it here or there?”
I screamed. He shoved me to the ground.
The shit was happening in my head yet again.
I opened my eyes and saw the white bitch. “I don't wanna talk about this shit!” I rose.
“Pierce.” She grabbed my hand.
“Bitch, don't touch me. I'll fuckin' kill you!” I ran out of the office, ignoring her as she called my name, and kept running down the hall.
The next thing I knew, I was being tackled to the floor. “Man, get the fuck off me!”
They had parts of my arms and legs, and were carrying me to my room. They placed me on my bed and locked the door.
The thoughts were coming back. I jumped off the bed and beat on the doors. “Let me out!”
“When you calm down. You can't run down the hallway.”
I kept kicking, but nobody answered. I was stuck in that room staring at them white bricks.
My mind started fucking with me again, like it did in the office. After a while I didn't know if I was dreaming or awake. I saw Mama, and she said the same thing she'd said before she left us. “In other words, baby girl, life is gonna be hard as hell on you.” Then I seen my sister in bed with Caesar, saw myself fucking him.
Then the same dude was raping me. Then Caesar's brother, Angelo, was raping me.
Daddy was flipping over on the freeway over and over. It wouldn't stop!
Mama was fucking Caesar. Then Black.
The dude in the alley was chasing me again.
I rose and beat on the door again. I cried and screamed at the top of my lungs, “Somebody help me. I'm going fucking crazy. I can't be in this room!”
The girls were laughing at me, and staff didn't come down the hall to let me out.
Somebody yelled, “Punk bitch!”
“Fuck all of y'all! Y'all don't fucking know me! Y'all gonna ignore me? Fuck y'all bitch-ass staff too!”
I kicked and banged, and kicked and banged, till my feet were throbbing and my hands felt numb. Still, them images kept on coming, and dude that raped me, his voice was in my head. I could feel his hands on me and smell his odor.
I screamed again, crawled to a corner, and slid my finger across my flesh until my skin tore again. I must be going crazy.
knew for a fact that I didn't make any friends in that bitch. Even the staff hated me. I bit my bottom lip, swallowing my apology, when Ms. Clark unlocked my door.
She gave me my plate of food and said, “Eat, groom, and get dressed. You going on movement.”
“Court.” She closed and locked my door without another word. “Humph!” Like I gave a fuck. So when old girl came back down the hallway to fetch me, I showed all them just how much of a fuck I cared. As we walked up the hallway to the exit, I yelled, “Fuck all y'all bitchesâInsanes, insects East Coast, cheese toast, hoovers, pyruâFuck all y'all hoods! All y'all gang-banging dykes can kiss my ass too!” This was all stuff I heard them say.
Boy, did I get them riled up that early in the morning. They beat and kicked on their doors, calling me every name but a child of God. They wanted to get to me so bad and they couldn't. I almost felt sorry for them bitches. Almost. Shit, that was my introduction to just not giving a fuck about anything. Hell, not even my damn self.
Shit was no different when I went on to court. I had nothing to live for. Why should I act like I cared what they did with me? So I met with my public defender, and he didn't have much time to discuss shit 'cause he was a damn paper-shoveler.
I gave him nothing but a grimace.
The bailiff gave the judge a file and said, “We are about to proceed for
The judge slammed his gavel, and with it, my heart thumped against my chest so hard and loud, I heard it. But what that bailiff saidâthe people versus Cashmere Pierceâthat shit was true. Wasn't nobody in the world for me anymore. The only one that ever was, was lying dead right now.
The district attorney said, “Your Honor, we are here for the preliminary hearing of minor, Cashmere Pierce, arrested for alleged murder.”
The judge with his droopy-ass eyes was half-listening. I guess he had done his job for the day, hitting that loud-ass gavel. And Daddy's hard-earned tax dollars had kept this nigga warm at night. Supplied his fat ass with golf balls.
My public defender spoke up, “Your Honor, Ms. Pierce has never been in trouble before.”
The district attorney held up a hand, silencing my lawyer. “Counsel, according to her file, this minor has not been attending school, and there were drugs found in her system. There's a difference between never being in trouble and never being caught.”
I rolled my eyes 'cause, once again, muthafuckas were running their mouth and didn't know shit about shit.
The judge glared down at me. Should I be intimidated?
I glared right back at his old, grouchy ass. Couldn't no worse happen to me. Daddy was gone, Mama and my sister. Like I said, there was nothing on earth that I cared about, not even my own damn self.
The judge coughed up some cold, swallowed it, and cleared his throat. “Well, young lady, what have you been up to?”
“Hooking, fucking, sucking dick, taking it up the ass.” I was lying about the ass part technically, since I never let a man come through the back door except one, the dude that raped me. “I probably did you, Judge, and it was so good, I put your ass to sleep. I done the officer outside,” I said matter-of-factly.
There were whispers in the room and a couple of laughs.
My public defender looked at me with a shocked expression on his face.
“Watch your mouth in my courtroom, young lady.”
I smiled and tilted my head to one side, showing him I didn't give a damn.
“Young lady, you are facing a pretty hefty chargeâmurder. That's a huge charge for someone so young. It says here you just turned fifteen. And your sister is deceased. Do you have anything to say on your behalf before I make a decision based on the evidence?”
“Yes, sir, I do,” I said loudly. “I wanna say, Fuck the United States, George W. Bush, my public
, the court, jurors, Mama, God, Allah, the Church of Christ, the Church of Scientology, Bishop Don Juan, 'cause pimpin' is easy, but trickin' ain't. And, you, Judge, fuck your old, flabby ass.”
He turned beet-red, and his gavel swung in the air like he was gonna hit me with it. “Get her out of here now!”
The only thing I liked about going to court was my mandatory phone call. The only person I knew to call was my aunt. But her punk-ass husband seemed to answer every time it rang. I told him to tell her I had called and could only hope that he would.
They ended up putting me on the other side permanently. All them bitches wanted a piece of me. At first it was about five; now it was about twenty-five.
I had to shower and eat separately. When it was time to go to school, I had to sit it out in my room. The more I stayed in my room, the crazier I got. I wanted the fuck out of that room and the fuck out of that facility.
Over the next week I plotted an escape. I figured out the first step how to escape. In the paneling of the door, there was an opening where a bolt slid in once the door was locked. Because of the position the door opened and closed in, it appeared locked even when it wasn't. I noticed this when staff forgot to lock my door one day. The best time was when laundry came, because the exit door would be open and stayed open during this time.
The next day I took some tissue and, on my way back to the room, stuffed the opening so it looked like it was already locked. Then I waited for them to deliver the laundry. Shit, for hours I waited and stayed on my door until they came. Like clockwork I heard the knock 'cause males always had to knock before coming in. Once the staff went down, I listened for the click, and I pushed my door open and ducked down. I creeped up the hallway while the staff was signing the paper and sped past her and the dude.
I kept on running around the building, through the grass, trying to find a way out that bitch-ass establishment. I crept around the church. I saw three members of staff looking for my ass, Ms. Rino, Ms. Clark, and some muthafucka I'd never seen before.
I ran the other way past a building called North C. Nothing there. There had to be some exit I could get through, some gate I could climb.
“There her ass go!”
Shit, they were close on my heels. I took off running.
“Stop, Pierce!” It was Ms. Rino.
“Hell no!” I was kicking my legs at the air, trying to get away. Only, there was nowhere to go.
I went the opposite way again, and they got closer, to the point where they were only a few feet away from me. I faced them and kept on backing up.
“Drop, Pierce.” It was Clark.
I was so sick of her ass. “Naw, fuck this! I don't want to be here, gotdammit!” I backed up some more.
“OC warning!” Ms. Rino said.
My heart pumped. I didn't want to get pepper-sprayed. Somebody must have been creeping up on me 'cause, when I turned around, a dude tackled me to the ground, knocking the air out of me.
The dude laughed and said, “You ain't no joke, huh, Pierce?”
“Kiss my ass, you fat, black bastard!” I swung my fist and feet wildly.
I grunted when someone placed a knee on my stomach. It was Ms. Clark. Then Ms. Rino and that fat nigga pinned my legs and arms. I guess they showed me.
I screamed at the top of my lungs, “Get the hell off me!”
They pulled me to my feet, and once again dragged me back to my room.
Sunday came, and it was time for visits. Five days had passed, and I was able to behave myself. Well, except for the little incident at court. I'd cursed out the judge again, who had no choice but to kick me out when I said, “I'll piss on your old ass.”
I even scooted out of my pants, like I had many times before, to show him I flat out didn't give a fuck. The reason being, eventually when I stopped talking shit and stopped pissing off the DA, public defender, and the judge, all they gonna say was that I had to spend the rest of my life behind bars. Even if it was true, who wanted to hear that? It's like an overweight woman who knows she's overweight but would hit the roof if you called her fat. It sucks to hear your fate, so I never went in there serious.
But this Sunday I had something to look forward to. After the way I'd behaved, the staff didn't want to give me my phone call, but they did, and finally I was able to reach my aunt.
She asked briskly, “Who is it?”
Damn, her voice sounded like an angel to me. “It's me, Cashmere! I been calling you for the longest, Auntie.”
“Um-humph. How you?”
“Cool.” I wasn't, but still I said I was. I knew she knew I was locked up.
“It can be lonely in there. I'll bet you want a visit, huh?”
“Yeah, Auntie. I'm tired of being in here. It would sure help to see a familiar face. Every week the other girls here have visits and I don't. It would be so good to see you.”
Maybe some of my hope could be restored, and I would have a reason to be good. I don't think I was finding a reason to be bad. I always did the right thing before, and look where it got me. I wanted to revert back still. I just needed a reason. I needed support from family, and right now, my aunt was the only family I had left.
“What day is the visiting, Cashmere?”
“Every Sunday. Starts at one.”
“Is there anything you need?”
Hell yeah! Some ecs, flip-flops, so my feet weren't touching the dirty floor in the shower, some shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant.
“That's all you need?”
“Yeah, and you to come see me just for about fifteen minutes,” I said quickly.
“I'll be there. And I'll stay for forty minutes.”
I almost cried tears of relief.
On Sunday I paced up and down my small room. I kept hearing staff come down the hall, the clinking of doors being unlocked, and the call, “You have a visit.”
I couldn't wait till they came to my door and let me out to see my aunt. I would explain how I got in this mess and hope she would understand. I smoothed my baby hairs back off my face. I needed a trim badly. I made sure my white tee was tucked in, and I stood on my door, waiting for my aunt to arrive.
Doors opened and closed, just not mine. I stayed on my door, peeking out. Then I sat down, only to pop up on my door again when I heard the shuffle of feet. But they were on another door, not mine. Hell, they were right down the hall.
I grew impatient and banged on my door.
Ms. Clark came and asked, “What do you want?”
“What time is it?” I asked “Four.”
“Will you tell me when my visit arrives?”
When she nodded and went back down the hallway, I remained standing near my door, but no one came to get me out. My window in my door fogged up, and my legs were cramped up. I sat cross-legged in front of my door. Minors were being locked down, feet shuffled down the hallway, and I heard laughter, excited voices. Visiting was over, and my auntie didn't show.
“Fucking liar!” I pounded on the door. “You fucking lying fat bitch!”
I took my longest nail and began poking my skin. Tears popped out of my eyes, but I kept on jabbing myself till there was nothing but gaping holes staring back at me. Then I bent my fingers and slammed then into my arm with such force that blood was pouring out of me, gushing out of all of them. One cut in particular was so deep, the blood wouldn't stop flowing. And it shot out more quickly than the others too. Soon I was feeling weak, then dizzy, then weak and dizzy. I had to lay down, so I curled up on the floor. I felt myself slowly going out. Then all I saw was darkness.
There were bandages on me and I was in a hospital bed. I tried to stretch, but one of my legs couldn't. I pulled the blankets away to find it shackled to the bed. I was still in jail, I suppose. My arms were sore. I winced.
I glanced over at a woman sitting in a chair across from me. She was probably here for my ass, to make sure I didn't run away from the hospital. And once my eyes passed over her badge, I confirmed it.
Then a doctor walked in the room. “Hello, Cashmere.”
His voice was echoing in my ears.
I nodded slightly, my eyes going in and out. When I felt too weak to keep them open, I closed them.
He said, “You lost a great amount of blood, young lady. You are going to have to find some way to get your emotions out besides cutting on yourself.”
“I'm going to keep you for another twenty-four hours for observation. Then I'm going to release you back to the facility you're detained at. I'm also going to prescribe some Seroquel for you. It will help with your depression. The staff there are going to keep you under twenty-four-hour observation and keep you as a status three.”
I nodded again, too weak to talk. Then I drifted off to sleep again.
Two days later, I found myself being transported back to the juvenile hall. Getting out should have been a good break, but I was so doped up, I didn't know any better.
I was taken to a room on the other side of the hall where the status three's were. Let me explain: Status 1 is what you call standard. You could be in a room by yourself without a staff member staring in your face to make sure you didn't try to harm or possibly kill yourself. Now if you are a status three, then your crazy ass had to be isolated from the other minors, and staff sat in front of you twenty-four seven 'cause you were a danger to yourself and, sometimes, the institution. And that's what I now was. You also had to wear an ugly-looking Velcro-like jumper.
I didn't bother explaining that I had only cut myself too deep and had no intention of killing myself. But who gives a damn? So they stuffed me with meds so I would sleep, and took all my shit. I guess they figure that no one admits to trying to kill themself.
As soon as they took the handcuffs off of me, I lay on the bed and went right back to sleep. That became my salvation from all of this. Give me them meds and let me sleep.
“You can observe on Pierce. She ain't gonna give you no trouble. She'll probably sleep for the majority of the shift. All you really gotta worry about is getting relieved on time.”
I turned over in the bed, and my eyes opened just a slit, adjusting to the light. I stared at a black woman, who didn't look much older than I was. She was dark brown with some pretty brown eyes.
“Hello, Ms. Pierce. My name is Ms. Hope, and I'll be observing on you.”
I nodded, turned back over, and went right back to sleep.
I continued with the same routineâSleeping, waking to take my meds, eating, and going right back to sleep. Nothing could get better than that. Didn't have to deal with no bullshit, didn't have to feel nothing, but my breath pumping in and out of me. I still didn't bother to tell them that it wasn't a suicide attempt. I had been cutting and scratching on myself for the longest and had never went that deep before. It just happened like that. Wasn't nothing scarier than passing out, 'cause I didn't know if I was going to really wake up from that shit. Still, I didn't want nothing to fuck up what I had going now, not a gotdamn thing, and that's just the way I liked it.
For the longest, I was placed on status three, and that staff they had observing me would not shut the hell up. Every time I turned around, she was asking me if I wanted to hear a poem.
I always shrugged, hoping she'd cop an attitude and just say forget it, but she always pulled out some shit she called, prose, sonnet, haiku, and whatnot. She usually started once I woke up to eat, and I would get out of bed, grab my tray of foodâI had grown accustom to the nasty shitâstuff it down my throat. Then I would crawl right back in the bed, and she would still be rambling. I wanted to say, “Will you shut the fuck up!”
I'd be going out, and she would still be going with that bullshit.