Checkers on the slammer floor

Carole Powell and I kept ourselves amused as we waited for hours in the cells to be heard by the magistrate – by playing checkers on the thoughtfully designed checked tiles on the floor. Our checker markers were the unused sugar packets and strawberry jam and Vegemite packets that came with the rather more-than-we-expected hot meal and milky coffee.

The police treated us with dignity and respect from the very beginning, as we of course, did them. From the very beginning (way back at 5:50am yesterday morning) it was all ‘Good mornings’ and, ‘Isn’t it chilly’, and one policeman was even quite concerned that I wasn’t wearing a beanie.  “All the heat is coming out from your head!” And I promised I’d get one for today’s blockade …

And we sang. We sang as the stars faded above us and the sun began to reveal the first glimpse of Swan Island. One lovely policeman came up to me and requested a song – “Do you know Hosannah?” Somewhere in the back of my head I knew that I did, but neither he nore I could think of the first line.

Simon was arrested, then it was Carole, then Jarrod and I were kneeling. He was on his second strike, I was on my first. Three strikes and it’s off to the paddy wagon, which to be honest wasn’t such a bad thing what with a pretty nippy wind sweeping through our bones for the past two hours!!

And we kept singing– in the cells of Bellarine Police Station at Ocean Grove, and in the cells at the Watch House at Geelong. Carole and I sang to feel connected to the guys in the cell somewhere down the corridor (and sometimes they sang back) and we sang to warm those cold, soul-less cells and to free our own spirits from that place. Who would have thought that a building that is pretty much designed to punish and supress the spirit could offer such beautiful, cathedral-like acoustics?

Our reason for being there was never far from our minds.


Written by Sharon, posted by Shane

One Comment

  1. Kels
    Posted 06/07/2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing Shazz – its great to follow how things are going for you all. Your stories are inspiring guys. You all are inspiring. Keep fighting the good fight.