Rockin’ down the (jail) house, overnight stay included |

Rockin’ down the (jail) house, overnight stay included

I think everyone ought to do a little time in jail, especially if it’s for a good cause.

Saturday night’s Summit-Lake Dillon Optimist Club Jailhouse Rock party started out innocently enough. Caterers served dinner and it didn’t erupt into a food fight. People drank wine and spilled just a little on the carpet. And only 30 people were locked up for misbehaving.

The event, if you’ve been living in a cave in Iraq for the past month and hadn’t heard, was a once-in-a-lifetime event for Sheriff Joe Morales. The jail was undergoing a major security system rehaul, the prisoners were holed up in the Park County hoosegow – what better excuse for a party?

The Sheriff’s Office and Optimist Club sold tickets, hired a band and a caterer, lined up a bunch of auction items and opened up the doors to the crossbar hotel.

The highlight of the evening was the jailbirds, who were locked up by “friends” and coworkers for a paltry $200. Our boss, who goes by the unfortunate nickname “Pokey-J” was thrown behind bars just so we could say Pokey was in the pokey.

Haha. We kill us.

He made me take his place by promising me four days off with pay. I donned my ever-so-sexy orange-and-white-striped jail duds and wandered off with a scratchy bedroll to pick out a jail cell.

I stayed there for a variety of reasons. Spending the night in jail, if your are, for the most part, a law-abiding citizen, would be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

They were serving food – the ultimate lure for a journalist. And staying overnight in the clink would freak out my mother and impress my daughter – always worthwhile goals. I thought I might even get a tattoo from the guys in Cellblock 2.

Throughout the night, people bid on auction items, watched “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Long Mile,” and drank wine from jail-

certified metal cups. We really had hoped to clang them against the bars of the cells, but Summit County’s jail cells doors are solid metal with a little slit of a window through which your keepers can spy on you.

If I weren’t so law-abiding, I might have been a little paranoid.

The sheriff kicked out most of the crowd at midnight, and that’s when the rest of us started turning into criminals. Not me, however. I was fast asleep.

A friend of mine (whose name I won’t divulge because she has a job for which people respect her) and I bunked together in Cellblock B, Cell 8. That was the plan, anyway, until – oh, heck, I’ll call her … “Kari” – started snoring. The guy down the hall – three cells over – had nothing on her.

So, I woke her up, and we decided to relive our childhood days and raid the refrigerator.

If Kari hadn’t been giggling so loudly, we might never have gotten caught. We thought we’d be considerate to our fellow jailmates and close all their doors. The “click” sounded a little … permanent, but we were sure someone would be able to free them in the morning, what with all that fancy new equipment the sheriff had installed!

For our efforts, only one person threw a shoe at us and another hissed at us under his breath to “Psheeeeeeet!”

At 1:30 a.m., we thought that was the most hilarious thing you could ever hear, so we went around the rest of the evening hissing “Psheeeeeet!” every time we heard a noise. Oh, we were so darn funny!

We finally found the kitchen, and the refrigerator doors were unlocked. But we heard someone shuffling around outside, so we ducked behind the stove. A woman who looked suspiciously like a true jail employee walked right by us. We peered around the corner and watched a real, live alleged criminal try to stand on one foot and fall. Stand, fall. We felt sorry for him and left.

There’s not a lot to do in the jail, and after all the wine we consumed, we weren’t quite up to playing a game of Risk. But one of the jail captains, who shall go unnamed, was so gracious as to show us where the keg of beer was hidden. He even offered to open the door to the outdoor rec area where, he said, we could stay all evening if we wanted.

Eventually, we got tired of people throwing shoes at us and wandered off to bed.

We woke up four hours later, feeling much the worse for our midnight antics and, eating our bread and gruel, wondering if we were still too intoxicated to drive home.

All in all, it was a memorable event. And I’ve got the tattoo to prove it.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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