On March 19, 2013 Matt Ingebretson was called for jury duty in LA County. The following account was found in the courtroom after he was released. The writings document his time in the LA judicial system.
got called for jury duty. sitting in the waiting room. basically prison w/ wifi. an armed guard just asked me if i was a pretty baby boy
as a joke i asked if there was a waiting room for the “non-peasants.” the guard pistol-whipped me and spit in my mouth
i made my first friend. marcus. he has a family on the outside. when he left them he told his 5-year-old son that he had take care of mother
a man vomitted in the corner of the room. he was immediately shot. the other jurors are fighting over his corpse.
as the minutes pass i lose track of the concept of time. what are minutes. just vague reminders that there is no escape only death
marcus is crying now. his number was called. we embraced. i kissed his tears, told him everything would be ok. a lie
with marcus gone i have found a new companion. jed. jed hits me. but i know he means well. he’s all i have, and i him.
i refuse to eat the food. i believe it to be compromised. i am starving now. too weak to fend off jed, whose advances strengthen
someone asked my name. i told them it is #12039452. who i am is nothing. i am nothing. nothing is nothing. pain is encompassing
i no longer fear the guard. i said i forgive him. i said i love him. i said i would give myself to him. he beat me till i fell
many jurors pray. their knees bleed. infection from the refuse on the floor. i do not pray. the clouds part for no one
i cut myself with with a shiv. the shiv is me now. i am the shiv. the shiv understands pain is feeling, feeling is freedom
marcus came back. he does not recognize me. i beg him to remember. i beg. he cannot. the guard laughs. i weep. marcus looks ahead
i am shivering. and sweating. who am i. cold. i am cold. i am cold. i am cold. the woman next to me falls to the floor.
a child is here. i know not whose child it is. perhaps a guard’s. the child plays with a ball. innocence. my eyes blacken.
the guards drag out bodies. new jurors replace them. they are confused. they know not what comes. i will tell them. they will know
a juror cried out for mother. i held him. stroked his hair. he sweat, spasmed, whispered his last words: “i am childless”
my number was called. i kiss a woman next to me. we weep, express love. the guard hits me. i am gone. goodbye goodbye goodbye