"Therefore," continued Judge Fether, "I hereby sentence you, Donald William Shunn the Second, to a fine of two thousand dollars, which fine must be paid from money you have earned yourself, and to one day in jail, retroactive. Case closed."
Judge Fether left the courtroom. I was escorted by the bailiff through the door at the back of the courtroom and into jail.
I was ecstatic. One day, retroactive. That meant that the time I had already served counted toward my sentence. That meant that, once the paperwork was complete, I would be free.
The paperwork, it turned out, took four hours to process.
In the meantime, all I had to do was wait. I was not locked up in a cell. I sat on a bench in the same reception area where I had waited two days earlier for my turn to see the free legal counsel. Other inmates were lounging and loitering all around memostly long-haired types with bad shaves and worse clothing. I could see only one other fellow in a suita businessman who looked very rumpled. He sat across the foyer from me with his head in his hands. I figured he had been arrested for drunkenness or some morals charge. He looked pretty thoroughly miserable.
I was not exactly miserable, but I was impatient to get out, and once again I felt far more conspicuous than I would have liked to have been. The milling inmates frequently looked at me with hostility, and I wondered if the guards would do anything to save me if some of them decided to beat me up.
Two rather scruffy and dangerous-looking fellows sat at the far end of the bench from me. After eyeing me for a few minutes, the nearer of the two leaned over with a smile and said, "How you doin'?"
"Fine," I said. "Just waiting to get out of here."
"What're you in for?"
I shrugged. A little white lie didn't seem out of order at this point. "Hijacking."
"No way," the fellow said, eyes widening. "What did you do?"
"I called in a bomb threat on an airplane."
"Oh, hey, you're the guy that's been on the news!"
I smiled and nodded. "That's right."
"Oh, man," he said, as excited as if he had just met his favorite sports hero. "I can't believe it. This is so great." He nudged his companion. "Hey, man," he said to his friend, "you gotta meet this fella over here. This is the guy who blows up planes."
The second man leaned forward to look past his friend. I got the distinct impression that he was on something.
"Hey," I said casually, by way of greeting.
"You're that guy, eh?" he asked.
"Cool," he said, and it sounded like he meant it.
Forget the bail hearing. This was my finest moment in custody.
I was a celebrity.