How I Went Back to Jail

I was visiting a friend on his set. They were working on the TV series, Goliath, (Season 2)–in Glendale. There was a bit of a joke to this: I stayed with him in Glendale in the early 90s when he was getting his start; Glendale, California was a bit whitewashed at the time, with a significant Armenian presence but otherwise kind of anywhere USA, so the fact that he was shooting there, and this was where I was to meet up with him again for the first time in a year or so was a bit of a laugh.

I parked across the street and his assistant got me on a shuttle to the set. I was given headphones and set in front of a monitor. I watched while they shot the same scenes repeatedly. Sometimes my friend would improvise a bit and I enjoyed the process very much, though of course they were shooting according to which other actors were on set that day, so I couldn’t make any sense of it. The bad guy in this Season 2 was friendly with me in his brief salutation, as were all of the people working that day. I have been on other sets where I was treated like shit just for standing there. My buddy told me part of the reason everyone had been so nice to me might have been his reputation for chewing people out when they act like dicks, and their knowing I was a friend of his, but nevertheless, it was refreshing to be in a Hollywood situation that was pleasant, and as always with these things there was some very good food lying around. I think I had the last of some kind of Boston cream type dessert or another.

On break I was musing over Glendale, with the actor and his assistant: “You know, Glendale is the only place I’ve ever been arrested.”

In those couch crashing days, I would wander around and look lost all the time; I was just sort of a spacey person. When I locked my keys in that ’69 light green Chevy Malibu at a 7-Eleven, and got some help from a group of Latino guys breaking in to retrieve them, this caught the attention of the Glendale PD, and I borrowed this story for a novella of mine in the 7-Eleven collection, with no intentions of giving it back as with all real stories I “borrow” for fiction. The cops decided I was on drugs and wouldn’t hear anything different from me. I wasn’t–my pupils are wider than average, I was dehydrated because no one used to talk about hydrating in the early 90s; and you know, I was singing for a rock band and just kind of looked like drug culture. I was out of jail that same day, but only because another friend, a business owner in Glendale, called in and made a case for my upstanding citizenship.

When I mentioned this memory of Glendale, my friend’s assistant took sudden interest: “You know, this is the old jail house, where we’re shooting.” We explored a bit after that and one area in particular seemed familiar–I’m pretty sure we were able to get just around the corner from the cell where I had been held.

So not only had I made my way back to Glendale–which on a three or four day visit to Los Angeles, might be somewhere near the bottom of my list of places to spend time; maybe above some of those valley pits like San Fernando or you know, downtown–but apparently, I had found my way back to the place of my only legal apprehension. To date.

3 thoughts on “How I Went Back to Jail

  1. Fantastic story Barnaby. I remember seeing the first season of Goliath and I liked it pretty well. It’s funny that Billy Bob Thornton doesn’t want to do any more TV and yet you see him cropping up all the time. He’s a pretty decent guitarist and boy his band is awesome. I mean how could it not be? This is a really cool little vignette, but you should have fictionalized it and said that the cop busted your head or something. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of the strangest things about that day was how nothing really happened. I remember being told over and over again that my pupils had been measured as too big, and that I had cotton mouth and maybe my heart was a bit fast (probably impact of the questioning and arrest), and so they imagined I was on speed or coke. And they just seemed to be waiting for me to admit something that wasn’t the case, and I didn’t, and they couldn’t believe I wouldn’t, and they took a drug test and said they wouldn’t have the results until Monday (it was Friday), but let me go saying if the drug test came positive they would find and arrest me again.

      But yes, a good police beat down is the missing punch line to any misadventures involving the law. During the more recent visit to the old jailhouse, I did think really hard about calling his assistant and telling her I had been arrested, sent to the new jailhouse.


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