I wanted to get out of there. I wanted to go home and have my friends and my school and my parents and my life back.
I wanted to be able to go where I wanted to go, not be stuck pacing and pacing and pacing.
They took my passwords for my USB keys next.
Those held some interesting messages I'd downloaded from one online discussion group or another, some chat transcripts, things where people had helped me out with some of the knowledge I needed to do the things I did.
There was nothing on there you couldn't find with Google, of course, but I didn't think that would count in my favor.
I got exercise again that afternoon, and this time there were others in the yard when I got there, four other guys and two women, of all ages and racial backgrounds.
I guess lots of people were doing things to earn their "privileges."
They gave me half an hour, and I tried to make conversation with the most normal-seeming of the other prisoners, a black guy about my age with a short afro.
But when I introduced myself and stuck my hand out, he cut his eyes toward the cameras mounted ominously in the corners of the yard and kept walking without ever changing his facial expression.
But then, just before they called my name and brought me back into the building, the door opened and out came — Vanessa! I'd never been more glad to see a friendly face.
She looked tired and grumpy, but not hurt, and when she saw me, she shouted my name and ran to me. We hugged each other hard and I realized I was shaking.
Then I realized she was shaking, too.
"Are you OK?" she said, holding me at arms' length.
"I'm OK," I said. "They told me they'd let me go if I gave them my passwords."
"They keep asking me questions about you and Darryl."
There was a voice blaring over the loudspeaker, shouting at us to stop talking, to walk, but we ignored it.
"Answer them," I said, instantly. "Anything they ask, answer them.
If it'll get you out."
"How are Darryl and Jolu?"
"I haven't seen them."
The door banged open and four big guards boiled out. Two took me and two took Vanessa.
They forced me to the ground and turned my head away from Vanessa, though I heard her getting the same treatment. Plastic cuffs went around my wrists and then I was yanked to my feet and brought back to my cell.
No dinner came that night. No breakfast came the next morning.
No one came and brought me to the interrogation room to extract more of my secrets. The plastic cuffs didn't come off, and my shoulders burned, then ached, then went numb, then burned again.
I lost all feeling in my hands.
I had to pee.
I couldn't undo my pants. I really, really had to pee.
I pissed myself.
They came for me after that, once the hot piss had cooled and gone clammy, making my already filthy jeans stick to my legs.
They came for me and walked me down the long hall lined with doors, each door with its own bar code, each bar code a prisoner like me. They walked me down the corridor and brought me to the interrogation room and it was like a different planet when I entered there, a world where things were normal, where everything didn't reek of urine.
I felt so dirty and ashamed, and all those feelings of deserving what I got came back to me.
Severe haircut lady was already sitting.
She was perfect: coifed and with just a little makeup. I smelled her hair stuff.
She wrinkled her nose at me. I felt the shame rise in me.
"Well, you've been a very naughty boy, haven't you? Aren't you a filthy thing?"
Shame. I looked down at the table.
I couldn't bear to look up. I wanted to tell her my email password and get gone.
"What did you and your friend talk about in the yard?"
I barked a laugh at the table. "I told her to answer your questions.
I told her to cooperate."
"So do you give the orders?"
I felt the blood sing in my ears. "Oh come on," I said.
"We play a game together, it's called Harajuku Fun Madness. I'm the team captain.
We're not terrorists, we're high school students. I don't give her orders.
I told her that we needed to be honest with you so that we could clear up any suspicion and get out of here."
She didn't say anything for a moment.
"How is Darryl?" I said.
"Darryl. You picked us up together.
My friend. Someone had stabbed him in the Powell Street BART. That's why we were up on the surface.
To get him help."
"I'm sure he's fine, then," she said.
My stomach knotted and I almost threw up.
"You don't know? You haven't got him here?"
"Who we have here and who we don't have here is not something we're going to discuss with you, ever. That's not something you're going to know.
Marcus, you've seen what happens when you don't cooperate with us. You've seen what happens when you disobey our orders.
You've been a little cooperative, and it's gotten you almost to the point where you might go free again. If you want to make that possibility into a reality, you'll stick to answering my questions."
I didn't say anything.
"You're learning, that's good. Now, your email passwords, please."
I was ready for this.
I gave them everything: server address, login, password. This didn't matter.
I didn't keep any email on my server. I downloaded it all and kept it on my laptop at home, which downloaded and deleted my mail from the server every sixty seconds.
They wouldn't get anything out of my mail — it got cleared off the server and stored on my laptop at home.
Back to the cell, but they cut loose my hands and they gave me a shower and a pair of orange prison pants to wear.
They were too big for me and hung down low on my hips, like a Mexican gang-kid in the Mission. That's where the baggy-pants-down-your-ass look comes from you know that? From prison.
I tell you what, it's less fun when it's not a fashion statement.
They took away my jeans, and I spent another day in the cell.
The walls were scratched cement over a steel grid. You could tell, because the steel was rusting in the salt air, and the grid shone through the green paint in red-orange.
My parents were out that window, somewhere.
They came for me again the next day.
"We've been reading your mail for a day now. We changed the password so that your home computer couldn't fetch it."
Well, of course they had.
I would have done the same, now that I thought of it.
"We have enough on you now to put you away for a very long time, Marcus.
Your possession of these articles —" she gestured at all my little gizmos — "and the data we recovered from your phone and memory sticks, as well as the subversive material we'd no doubt find if we raided your house and took your computer.