It had taken all day for Jack to be transferred and processed into county jail with a busload of other inmates; he'd been showered, shaved, sprayed prophylactically with lice treatment, and issued laundered and steam-pressed blues. By nightfall he found himself in a plastic bucket chair against the back wall of the TV room of Housing Unit C. A caged television blared from its wall mount in the corner and thirty-odd inmates ignored Access Hollywood, clogging a space that was smaller than most living rooms. The room was in constant motion, the noise deafening, and the air rank with body odor.
The inmates were large, muscular, pockmarked, and pierced. They had long hair, dreads, and Willie Nelson braids; one bald inmate had tattooed his skull with bright flames. Another huge inmate, a wiry blond ponytail snaking down his broad back, looked like a deranged Norse god. Jack didn't break eye contact when it was made by the inmates or the guards. He knew he was a novelty here; his photo was splashed across the tabloid on the bolted-down table, and the inmate who had piled mashed potatoes on his dinner plate that night had stopped serving to shake his hand.
'Why?' Jack had asked, astonished.
'I never met no millionaire before,' the inmate had answered.
He had been thwarted in reaching Trevor. There was an 'approved list' for calls from county jail, which contained only the inmate's attorney and one contact in the immediate family. He mulled over calling Mary and coming clean with his doubts about Trevor, but he couldn't sacrifice Paige. A commercial for Listerine came on TV, and in
time Jack realized that his thoughts had stopped with Mary, which both worried and comforted him. At the same time.