jailhouse-door-2Bill remembered.

Shortly after 10:00 PM he heard his name called out and then that magic word, bail. By 10:30 he was happily seated in the front seat of Alex’s Saab.

His bail had been set at eleven hundred dollars. Alex had to put up ten percent, in cash, and since he didn’t have that kind of money, he had to find a bail bondsman who would take a check and give him the hundred-ten dollars in cash to make the bail. As Alex told it, that was no easy feat, which was why it took so long. In fact, only one bondsman was willing to put out the money and he only did it because Alex was gainfully employed and not a kid.

Then there was the matter of understanding where Bill was and what had happened to him. Alex didn’t know Bill was arrested and only after Bill’s girlfriend Sue had phoned, concerned that Bill hadn’t come home and she hadn’t heard from him, did he start to make some calls. That was already late afternoon. The police weren’t too helpful. They were overwhelmed and not much inclined to look for Bill. Alex had to get a lawyer friend to call the police to get a definitive answer. Bill had never been given his phone call.

Alex took one look at Bill’s eye and knew Bill needed to go to the hospital. He could see his blood-soaked shirt, the blood dried now. There was blood all down the back of his shirt, so Alex looked at Bill’s head and saw Bill’s hair stiffened with dried blood.

“You need to go to the emergency room,” he said. “Don’t doze off on me.”

That was the next zoo. The ER people were working overtime. Case after case of tear gas irritation and assorted bruises were being worked on and stitches were being sewn everywhere. There was a long line and a long wait. There was no room to sit, hardly any room to stand. More than half an hour passed before they even took Bill’s information. But they did look at him, determining that he could wait.

As he waited, they rolled in a policeman laid out on a gurney. He wasn’t a city cop. He was highway patrol, State police. As it worked out, he was situated right next to where Bill stood waiting. When he saw Bill and Bill saw him, their eyes met. Obviously in severe pain, he turned his head more toward Bill. Bill saw one whole side of his face was collapsed and the outline of a brick could be seen it.

“What’s it all for?” the patrolman asked.

Bill’s heart fell. He reached down and touched the man on his wrist, a gentle touch of empathy. “I don’t know,” Bill said.

“They declared martial law,” Alex said. “They imposed a 10 PM curfew and they’re arresting anyone who breaks it.”

Bill watched as they rolled the patrolman off. He and Alex stood waiting.

When they finally got back to Alex’s house, a small group of Alex’s friends were there. They were sitting around discussing the day’s events. Bill learned the details of all that had happened. Over six hundred were arrested. He was the very first.