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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)

TITLE: Bad Day In Cell Block "B"
By Marilyn Schnepp


This is a true story; only the names have been changed to protect the innocent...No, Strike That! ...the names are changed to protect the Guilty.

It was past midnight when the boss called on the intercom requesting assistance in the Front Office. My partner had answered the earlier request, so this was my turn.

We were working the graveyard shift at the Womens Detention Center on the 7th floor of Police Headquarters in downtown Detroit. The night shift consisted mostly of Vice Squad raids on Blind Pigs and brothels; which meant working non-stop until each female had been searched, fingerprinted and then tucked...ah, locked away for the night.

Of course there was always the common drunk or a lone Call Girl arrested for accosting and soliciting, but tonight had thankfully been slow.

As I made my way to the Front Office, I didn't hear any loud voices that usually accompany the arrival of a paddy wagon full of irate women; instead, the office seemed eerily quiet.

As I turned the corner and saw who was there, I understood the silence. Standing between two uniformed police officers was Motown's Number One Super Star, wearing a lime green negligee and high heels, with an expensive fur coat draped jauntily over her shoulders. I was in awe.

"Miss Dougherty is a witness", my boss explained as she gestured toward the young lady; "she was sent up here to be frisked for weapons, and then Homicide wants to talk to her downstairs."

"Yes Maam", I said, turning toward the young lady; "Right this way, Miss Doughterty, just follow me if you will please, and I..."

Then it happened. All hell broke loose

Suddenly she started yelling obscenities, curses spewing out of her mouth a mile a minute as she kicked, flailed and pulled away from the officers who were trying to subdue her.

"You're not putting a "*(#&%*&#)" hand on me!" she screamed in my direction.

Taken aback by this violent outburst, I backed off a couple feet... (truthfully, I wanted to run); "Now Miss Dougherty, I began calmly, "all I am going to do is pat you down. It will only take a couple of seconds, and if you act like a lady, you will be treated like a lady. Okay?"

Suddenly she hauled off and kicked me right in the knee with the pointed toe of her high heel shoe, ripping my last pair of nylons to shreds. She continued to curse and swear and I, coming from a very sheltered background, heard words that I had never heard before, didn't even know what they meant, and wondered if they were even listed in a dictionary.

So much for my first one-on-one meeting with a real live Super Star! The Queen of Soul and a winner of the coveted Grammy award.

With the help of the two police officers, my partner and I locked her in a cell until she decided to calm down and cooperate. But she wasn't quite through with us yet! She had one more trick up her sleeve.

Taking off her wig, she put it in the commode to clog it, then repeatedly kept flushing until the water had flooded the whole cell block. Officers from downstairs rushed up to turn off the main water line, and then we tried our best to keep the flooding contained to just "B" block, so as not to flood the whole floor.

As the sun came up that morning my partner and I were still mopping up the cell block. Tired, bedraggled and with my injured knee now ballooning up like a basketball, I kept trying to heed my mother's advice. "No matter how bad things seem, think of something good."

Well, I should be happy that I have a job, thankful that I can work, and grateful that my hair is on my head and not in the bottom of a commode. (Meow)

Three decades have gone by since that "Bad day in Cell BLock "B"; and yes, I know, I know! The Lord says "forgive seventy times seven", which I already have; but even after a bad scene ends - the memory still lingers on.


Blind Pig)- an after hours joint.

Footnote: A man was found dead in Miss Dougherty's home, and all those present were brought down to Police Hdqts. for questioning and for witness statements. Frisking witnesses is routine under these circumstances. However, the singing star was not involved, but just a witness.

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This article has been read 1082 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 08/03/06
OK - that is TOTALLY wild! What an experience! A great retelling of it, too - I was definitely interested from the first word to the last. And I ADORED your thankfuls!
william price08/05/06
Overall, a very exciting, real and entertaining read that sucessfully ministered its point. It just, took a while, to get, to the, exciting part. But once there, it was worth the build-up. A very accurate decription of jail life at night. There is nothing that gets your attention more than quiet/silence. "The office seemed eerily quiet."(my fav. line).
Now just being picky, I might have used a shortened version of the lead as a footnote, and placed the reasons why the "star" was in the jail, in the story, with a new lead maybe decribing the calm before the storm, or the appraoch of an oncoming, memorable storm/disturbance. And maybe used one less paragraph atleast to describe jail "background" before getting to the story. But, thats just one opinion. As far as testifying how "nights" like this at work can challenge your faith, excellent. You ministered your point well!!
It was also good the way you interjected how you/the officer felt as the events transpired. A very, very good story!!! I enjoyed it.
God Bless and be thankful your not working in corrections these days.lol
Kaylee Blake 08/07/06
Whoa...I do not want to have your job! Great retelling! Tahnks for sharing.
Virginia Gorg08/07/06
This is a hoot and a testimony that money sure cannot buy happiness. What a crazy job you have - thanks for sharing.
Rita Garcia08/08/06
Great story! I wouldn't want that job!!
Edy T Johnson 08/11/06
My first reaction: What a thankless job!
This started out in the spirit of a "Dragnet" story, in my mind. I got a big kick out of your expose of city night-life from the perspective of one of our ministering angels in uniform, trying to keep the peace for the rest of us. Thank you for this gripping story, for your service on our behalf, and for finding something to give thanks for, even with such a "thankless" job!
D. Phenes08/14/06
wow, great story had my attention all the way!
Jessica Schmit08/16/06
I wanted to leave a comment on this story eariler, but I forgot. I judged the week this story was entered and i loved it. I thought the way you wrote was so entertaining. I felt like I was watching a 1950 murder mystery show. I could see the fog, smell the mildew of the cell, only one thing tripped this story up for me. I felt your ending was rushed and kinda was thrown together. The rest of your story was very well thought out and put together in a very well constructed matter, but the ending lost points with me. It still ranked very high in my ratings, which is why I wanted to encourage you. Your creativity with this piece was a nice break in between the hours of reading. Great work and I've added you to me "Author's Tracker" list.
Amy Nicholson01/21/07
Wow! That is quite a story! Just goes to prove that things are not always as they appear. Work, indeed!