The food here is better than you hear. The bread is terrible, terrible–that's true–it's the cardboard wheat bread you can buy for less than two dollars at the Grocery Outlet on Merch Street, and the beef was overcooked, but the vegetables are surprisingly palatable, the soup very good, the tuna salad I actually liked quite a bit. I'm surprised by the food and the boys, the young men. Not stupid as I thought, not all rude. One young man worked out my seating for me when we were all waiting for a check, and I couldn't get my legs through the chairs. Another young man who everyone calls Chimmy (though his name is James) gave me tips on when to use the bathroom and explained how visiting works. I won't have any visitors, I told him. The only person who would visit me is across the country and has no idea I'm here. Anyhow I'll be out in a heartbeat.
Once I'd been here an hour or so, Chimmy introduced me to Damarius. Damarius and I got to talking about music and once I told him I used to play bass guitar and piano, you should have seen his face! He asked me about a hundred questions and Chimmy patted him on the back hard once with a big grin on his face. I haven't enjoyed an afternoon so much in years. It's loud, that's true. Much too loud, I'd hate it here for that reason, and the beds would never do for my back. I'm told I need another back surgery but I've refused. One was too many.
Of course, everyone wanted to know why I was there, that was the first thing everyone asked, and I just told them the truth. I scooped up a bunch of clothes, still on the hanger, and walked right past the WalMart greeter, right out the door, as slowly as I could. Then when the police showed up, I pretended to try to walk away. I got three steps, if that, until the young police officer stopped me and sat me down. Chimmy laughed and laughed. 'Guess you can cross this off your bucket list, pops!'
I laughed too, I could feel my mouth open wider than it has in years. 'Ahaaa! That's it,' I told him. 'That's exactly what I was doing. Never been to jail and I'm 82 years old.'
Damarius grabbed his chin with a hand and said 'Damn! Ha! What's next? You know, on your list?'
I grinned at him. 'The Tijuana donkey show!'