A friend of mine spent a little time in jail in Carrollton, Georgia. By “a little time” I mean however long it took for his momma to come pick him up. (He had been driving on an expired license, in case you were wondering.) It was a short stint, but he was in jail long enough to witness a remarkable scene. He was in a holding cell with a young man named Russell, who was sobering up after his night of roistering had been interrupted by the police. It was just the two of them until a third criminal was brought to the cell shouting and scuffling. “I aint going back to New Mexico!” he was saying. “Don’t make me go back to New Mexico!”
They had picked him up on a parole violation. He wasn’t supposed to leave the state of New Mexico, but there he was, in Carrollton, Georgia. The officer slammed the iron door behind him, and the cell seemed very crowded all of a sudden. My friend and Russell stared at the wild-eyed probation violator. He stared back, eyeing first one, then the other of his cellmates. Then the parolee got a peculiar look as he focused on Russell. He lifted a finger and pointed at him. “Say, you’re from Whitesburg, aint you?”
“Yeah,” Russell said warily. “I’m from Whitesburg.”
“I know you,” the parolee said. “You was in my boy scout troop! I’m Billy Womack.”
Recognition dawned on Russell’s face. “Your dad was the scoutmaster, wasn’t he?”
It was a happy reunion those two had in the Carroll County jail. When my friend’s mother arrived, the former boy scouts were still reminiscing on better times.
We have a fiction-writing assignment for Audience Participation Friday this week. Write a scene in which you envision a pack meeting attended by young Russell and Billy. This should be good.