Seems an elderly gentleman has arrived in our jail by way of the local Municipal Court. 70 years old -- plus or minus -- and has exactly zero criminal or traffic record of any kind.
I look at this gentleman -- eyes clear, back straight, looking around with mild amusement -- and I ask what brings him to us. Surely community service would be a better way of dealing ...?
The old gentleman fixes me with a gray eye, and in slow drawl he says, "Son, I spent 1951 to 1953 in Korea, trying not to get my boys killed. I figure that there makes me a man grown."
I nod, cautiously, not exactly sure where this is going.
"Now I figure that since I am a full-grown adult -- and I know the risks -- whether or not I wear a seatbelt isn't the business of a bunch of panty-waisted jackasses down in Austin."
"My wife asks me to wear the damned thing -- I wear it. I'm her business. My girls ask me to wear the damned thing -- I wear it. It's their business. Everyone else needs to tend to their own knitting and leave mine alone."
"So I take this ticket to the city judge, and he asks me if I was going to plead guilty or not guilty. I say that I don't know about guilty, but I definitely wasn't wearing the damned thing that day. He asks how I'm going to pay the fine, and I tell him he'd better stick me in jail, because I wasn't going to pay someone for putting his nose off into other peoples business."
I look at the Intake officer, both of us trying not to smile.
He grins at me, "So, here I am."
I head for the Intake Sergeant to suggest that maybe some kind of accelerated time-serving might be considered. Maybe a passing of the hat, or somesuch, when I pass the GenPop tank and notice one very large, very familiar figure glaring balefully at me.
"Waldo," I say, carefully, "What's on your mind?"
Waldo the Wonder Biker sneers at me, then spits off to the side.
"He was riding down Main Street wearing a chrome Nazi helmet, dark glasses, combat boots and a smile," says the Intake corporal, contemplatively, "Seems there was stuff flapping in the breeze that God never intended to flap."
I grimace, "There's not enough brain bleach in the world to fix that ..."
He grins, "Gives 'tank-slap' a whole new meaning, don't it?"
"Oh, for -- enough! Eww!"
I look at Waldo, "You've been guinea-pigging the product again, haven't you?" My answer is an extremely eloquent extended middle finger.
Well, at least they got some clothes on him.
I find the Intake Boss, he agrees that the older gentleman doesn't need to be in Durance Vile for any longer than strictly necessary and I leave to chase down the Jail Administrator.
Twenty minutes later, I'm back with an Order of Release, scoot past the GenPop tank ... and the older gentleman is sitting on the bench, talking softly and gesturing gently.
With Waldo and two of his buddies sitting on the floor in front of the bench, listening raptly.
Huh. This is ... odd.
As I watch, another inhabitant of GenPop -- much younger, with the ingrained sneer and Bad Attitude one tends to associate with some of the Younger Criminal Element -- swaggers over to the bench currently occupied by the elderly gentleman, plants himself and drawls, "Hey, there, Old Stuff. You need to move off of my bench."
At this, Waldo raises a polite hand to the older man and says -- my paw to Freyja, I heard it with my own two ears -- "I'm sorry, Mr Frank. Excuse me for just a moment."
I'm looking at Waldo, seriously wondering if I should check him for a pod attachment point, when he lumbers to his feet, drapes a fatherly arm across the shoulders of the youngster and gently steers him to the bathroom area of the tank.
At this point I'm seriously worried about Waldo's mental status.
Then I hear a muted 'thud', followed by the Waldo's dulcet tones -- he'd make a fine rage metal front-man, would our Waldo -- gently gargling something about eye-sockets; respect; an anatomically-improbable, yet gruesomely-fascinating version of puppeteering; and courtesy in general.
Ah. That's the Waldo I know.
There's a final thud, and then Waldo steps out from the bathroom area, resumes his seat on the floor in front of the bench, and says, "I'm sorry, Mr Frank. You were saying?" And the older gentleman resumes what is obviously a riveting story.
I can't stand it. I beckon, "Hey, Waldo! Come up to the bars for a moment!" Waldo's beard contorts into his usual snarl, but he gets up and stomps over to talk.
I indicate the older gentleman, "What's up, Waldo? You feeling ok?"
He looks at me a moment. "Man, 'Dog, that old dude's been through some [deleted]. You can see it on his face. Really bad [deleted], but he doesn't let the [deleted] win. Dude like that earned respect."
Well. Hell of a thing when a burned-out biker reprobate meth-cook makes more sense than a municipal judicial system.
Not much more that I can say to that.