Harry Potter and the Holding Cell Scabies

Last weekend I performed at Samantha’s Stately Sunday Night Supper Club in the basement of Bethnal Green Working Mens Club. I decided to tell a story—a true story—accompanied by projected illustrations. It was the story of a night in Sherman, Texas—May 2003—when a few friends and I went to The Orphanage.

It also happens to be the true story of the night we spent in Grayson County Jail.

The police had apparently been called away from the Taco Bell drive-thru to bust us for trespassing. One of which was this lovely policewoman with the front bottom:

We learned a number of things while behind bars, including (but not limited to) the following:

•a shoe makes a decent pillow in a pinch
•prison food is surprisingly tasty (esp. the chocolate cake)
•jail doesn’t take Mastercard
•do not make eye contact with cellmates who are still drunk
•warm ups from acting class are good for relaxation
•holding time=bonding time

My badass prison name was Harry Potter. At least that’s what my cellmates called me.

No joke.

Here are a few of my fellow inmates:

Red Polo Shirt Man was a friendly sort of guy. He was wise; a sort of father of the cell. He was arrested for embezzlement. He wasn’t really wearing spurs–those would have been confiscated–this is just an artist’s representation.


Thin Man was a sickly looking guy who spent a lot of time huddled on a bench. Seeing him reminded me of something I heard once about Sherman being the meth capitol of Texas.

Singing Guy was one of my favourites, and not just because he reminded me of Coolio. He spent time making up songs and telling the guards that we didn’t deserve to be there because we had never even killed a bird. He also helpfully pointed out a female inmate who had “deep nipples”.

Supper Club was super-duper fun, with a fantastically lovely audience who was really supportive of this story’s first outing.

Mega-thanks are in order to Vera and Adrian of Saltpeter (and of course the lovely Samantha) for having me along. Also to Camille Bozzini for her powers of illustration (all the above are by her). And Daniel Johnson for lending me a projector.

And thanks to my fellow arrestees/inmates: Tiny, Nails, Laces and Piss Ant.

Strong are the bonds that are forged behind bars.

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