Green Country Magazine
Literary Journal

His skin would slide over itself, slither and writhe over his entire body. The bitterness of an unknown metal would work its way into his mouth and he knew he would surely die without the money to score more dope.

Dalton stood indifferent to Judge Williams’ monotonous drone about requirements: colors, drug testing, compliance of probation, and the rest of a laundry list of conditions he needed to fulfill as part of his release from the jail. He was sure he was in denial as he reflected on the events that got him there and immediately tasted regret.

Along with the sketchy choices he’d made over the last year, Dalton’s biggest regret was when he had decided to go along with Frankie to pull off a simple B&E.

          “And, as conditions of your release,” Judge Williams begins sternly,” you must check in once a month at Sierra Labs to have your blood tested, urine tested, and breath tested for ongoing monitoring for drug use. You will be given a color, and that color will be called for testing no less than once a month and no more than twice.”

However,  circumstances of this second-story work turned out to be against one of the town’s more affluent citizens who had all the right connections and a brand new state-of-the-art security system as well.

It all sounded so simple at the time. It always does when the ends justify the means and Dalton was down to his last few dollars. His skin would slide over itself,  slither and writhe over his entire body. The bitterness of an unknown metal would work its way into his mouth and he knew he would surely die without the money to score more dope.

          “You will receive an automated phone call daily with the color that is called for testing and if your color is called, you must report to Sierra Labs within their standard business hours for that day or you will be found out of compliance with your requirements for release. If you are unable to report to Sierra Labs within their scheduled business hours, you must call your probation officer and let them know.”

The racket he and Frankie attempted to pull off was one of the most common in the world of criminal hustles: burglarizing small, rural towns and fencing the booty in larger, more distant metropolis, which in this case happened to be Tulsa. Tulsa was the perfect place to fence stolen goods, especially if the loot was lifted from a small town some distance away.

          “You will state to them the color you have been assigned and the reason for why you’re not able to go for testing. If you fail to do this, you will be considered in violation of your release and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. You will be taken back to the county jail where you will serve out the remainder of your sentence.”

But the wrinkle in this last caper was using a fence in the same town as the burglary. Dalton wasn’t crazy about the idea, but the dope sickness ate at his flesh, and he cut corners he shouldn’t have. Not only was the security system’s high-resolution video enough to identify Dalton and Frankie, but the “local” fence rolled over as soon as he was questioned.

            “Mr. Dandridge, do you understand the stipulations and the consequences for failing to comply with these conditions I have presented here?” asked Judge Williams, splintering Daltons’ daydream.

        “Yeah,” replied Dalton, not really sure of the exact details the judge had been talking about. But he knew it was the same old song and dance he receives whenever his plans to score fall through. This was not his first time in lock-up and he has the attitude to prove it.

            “Mr. Dalton,” snapped Judge Williams, “The correct answer is YES! And you will address me as Your Honor!

            “Yes, Your Honor sir,” came Dalton’s cheeky reply. “I understand.”

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