Life is messy.

So my brother got arrested.  Let’s not worry over why; suffice to say it’s an administrative issue and one we’ll say no more about.  However, when I heard what was going on, and that his wife, who is already dealing with a newborn (and an 18 month old), was all alone and had no real clue what to do, I arranged my affairs at home and, with my wife’s blessing, jumped in the car and drove to Oregon.

For those unfamiliar with US West Coast measurements, that’s about 440 miles, or a 7.5 hour drive.  I left Sacramento at 3:30, got into Oregon around 9, hit my brother’s town at 11:20.  It’s now midnight, or just after.  What a day.

First thing I did when I got in was let my sister in law know I’m here.  Then I started hitting the websites of the county offices.  OH MY FREAKING GODS.  These people don’t make anything easy.  I look up visiting at the county jail, and you have to call between 9am and 11am the day BEFORE you want to visit.  I didn’t even know this had happened until well after that.  And all visitors have to be on an “approved” list–but how am I going to be on this list if my brother doesn’t even know I’m in the state?  So tomorrow morning I’m going to call the jail and see if I can’t sweet-talk someone, but I don’t hold out much hope.

And good luck finding the Public Defender’s office.  I might have found it, but who knows?  And the information was NOT easy to find; it may even be out of date.  So I’ll call the courthouse tomorrow.

All I know right now is that I can’t afford his bail, or I’d be down there getting him out RIGHT FUCKING NOW–except that I probably couldn’t even if I had the full amount, because everything in this state seems to close at 9.  At home Bail Bonds are open 24 hours; I see no sign of that here.  And no, I’ve never had reason to use a Bail Bondsman; I used to work in the legal field and have a tiny bit of knowledge on those things.

And of course, I’m also here to help his wife, who is freaking out, probably from a combination of post-partum hormonal imbalance (she JUST gave birth, and I know that can mess with things like crisis management) and having zero help with her kids while facing the possibility her husband could end up in jail for a while.

Anyway.  So I want to talk to the PD and see if there’s anything we can do to help my brother’s case, because he has a 1.5 year old and a newborn to take care of, let alone his wife, and also he’s my brother and I want to help him.  His wife told me today that the hearing is Thursday, but what will happen is up in the air right now.

Spring Break, my ass. But it’s family.  And Family is Family, even if you’ve only known them for an incredibly short time.  And yes, there is a tiny part of my wondering if I am doing the right thing by coming up here when I had planned to spend this week with my own daughter, who was very brave, but also very sad, when I explained there was an emergency and her auntie needed my help.

Yeah. My life, right?  On the plus side, some of this brother stuff–not the arrest so much as the having a brother part–has been percolating into my writing, and has improved a fantasy story I’ve been tooling with on the back burner.


Published by Michael R. Johnston

Father of an eighth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Fifty years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA

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