pearls around the neck 111
investigation on fingerprints.” At the office, they asked: “Is this your photo?” I said it was. “Let me take
your fingerprints, then…. But you’re not the one who matches the fingerprints!” They took mug shots
and everything, and I was placed under arrest. With five Asian people. It was 5 pm. It wasn’t a jail yet,
just cells.
At eight o’clock, they took us to Monahans, Texas, where the prison is, in an isolated village. The
doors opened automatically. A woman asked us to take our clothes off, all of them. They took our
fingerprints, had us open our legs, gave us a gynecological examination and gave us a uniform. Without
having the possibility to communicate with anyone.
The following day, finally, at the end of the afternoon, I was able to make a phone call. But no one, no
one could do anything for me. The charges were too serious: false fingerprints and false identity… Well
done! That’s a serious offence! So I received my punishment…
They put me in a cell with five other women. We slept there, and shared the toilet in front of everyone.
Each of these women was locked up in her own little world, they were wrapped up inside themselves
and nothing seemed to get to them. Three days passed. I was taken to another prison.
- Same welcome ritual?
Same. It was a cell with five women. The first thing I saw was a woman bathing, stark naked, the entire
body covered with sores, completely, even her face, covered. What was wrong with her? I asked the
others what her problem was. One of them answered: “Are you dumb or something? She’s a junkie, a
drug addict, completely gone… and you are really a dope!” So I thought to myself: “These women are
sick. How can anyone live here?”
They gave me a uniform and a pair of plastic sandals that I never took off, even to sleep. They stayed
with me for four months. I didn’t have a bed because there were too many of us and the jail was full. So
I slept on a mattress on the floor for four months.
- What about the other four women?
They were all whores there, or drug mules, or they’d tried to kill someone, except for me and one other
woman who didn’t have her papers either. It was horrible. No, no, no… I could never have imagined
anything like that, to speak the truth…There was this woman who prepared a penis with her bed sheet
and masturbated with it in front of everyone. I would turn the other way. These women were all sick
from drugs, from bad lives, they were crazy, hit themselves, cried, pulled their hair out screaming,
fucked together, told horrifying stories of their past in gruesome details. What could I do? Even if
I didn’t look, I could hear everything. Every night they asked for two Tylenol. The guards gave it to
them. They would open the caps as soon as the guard had left, and snort them. And at night, it was
such a mess.
I’m telling what I saw. I cried, I prayed. I asked all the dead members of my family to “Please get me out
of here!” If there hadn’t been this friend to support me and whom I supported, I would have become a
mad woman like the rest of them…
- Were the guards women?
No, they were all men, except for the warden who ran the detention center, who was a woman.
- Were there activities?
No, one hour walking outside in a small courtyard in the sun, one hour once a day. Where we spent the
day and ate, there was a TV that they would turn off when there was some ruckus or otherwise at 7pm
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