#TripleX By: Christine Zolendz & Angelisa Stone Does size really matter? Two women spin a tale of comedy and new beginnings after they wake up and find themselves in a jail cell over 3000 miles away from home. Rehashing their adventure in front of a less-than-sympathetic judge, they give a laugh-out-loud and extremely detailed story of a road trip that finds them in a ton of trouble. Battling age, weight, and their own personal demons, not only do they discover the open road and a life they misplaced somewhere in their 20s, they also find themselves. From breakups and stealing cars to blurry memories of something that might have happened in New Mexico, these two women will take you on a real journey, full of fun and, well, situations that people only write about and never really do….or do they?
Christine Zolendz & Angelisa Stone
Twitter: That awkward moment when you wake up in jail and you wonder what you did to get there. Then smile. #TripleX
A lone dimly lit light bulb sways gently from the jail cell’s ceiling. It hurts to open my eyes toward it, so I squint to try to ease the pain. A handful of loudly buzzing insects fly wildly around the dull yellow globe and just the sight causes me to scratch at my arms and neck madly. I loathe bugs. And it's like Swarmageddon above my head right now.
Pulling myself up into a sitting position, the throbbing behind my eyes turns sharp and shatters into millions of razor-tipped tiny pieces of glass. I moan as I grab my head in pounding pain. The room spins, and I fall back with a hard thud against the cold concrete wall.
I hear footsteps, heavy and impending, walking along the rough cement of the hallway. I peek through my fingers, but all I can see is the knotted hair of my cellmate, my partner in crime.
The footsteps become louder, closer. Keys are jangling. Someone is whistling, and the screech of the rusty cell door makes scorching bile burn the back of my throat. I swallow twice to keep it down.
"Stone. Zolendz. Up-and-at-'em. Going before the judge," a deep voice bellows. I hate the man instantly.
I believe I moan out some sort of unintelligible sound, but I'm not sure. Who can be sure?
The dull bulb overhead flickers and makes a sizzling sound. Damn, I'm in a place where even the bugs are killing themselves. "Come on ladies, let's go," the voice yells. It's closer now, and the body attached to it starts kicking the wooden bench I'm sitting on. I think my head is going to explode from the vibrations and violent crashes that echo through my head. "What's the matter, not willing to offer up your goods this morning?"
My head snaps up, "Excuse me?"
The man standing over me is older, in his sixties with a long gray beard. His eyes dance with laughter. "Well, Ma'am. That's what you tried to bribe us with last night when we put you in here. Your goooooooods." He kind of shimmies a little and gives a few humps into the air. I vomit a little in my mouth.
"Oh my God. Seriously? Just don't...just don't pay any attention to anything I said, okay?" I mumble my mortification.
"You mean to tell me, you'll be cancelling our hot date tonight?" he laughs, snidely, mocking me. "Come on, Darlin' the judge is waiting on you both. No harm done last night, you both were quite intoxicated."
"Oh God, I think I'm going to be sick." Slowly, I pull myself off the bench, every bone in my body screaming for a few more hours of silently sound sleep. And really, that stupid light bulb is annoying the Hell out of me; someone needs to shoot it.
"Angelisa," I whisper and shake her awake. "Come on. We have to go. A judge wants to see us."
"Blah...Ha. Ha. Very funny. Lemme sleep," Angelisa groans and swats her hand at me. It falls to her side with a loud thwack against the metal rim of the bed.
"I can't. Clear your head and think about last night. Think back. Go ahead," I urge. She doesn't. She remains motionless and silent; all but a small, low snore can be heard. "You seriously need to open your eyes right now, because we're in trouble," I hiss ominously.
Her head slowly turns toward me, eyes blinking open. They dart around the room and widen; a bubble of laughter escapes her lips. "We're in jail, aren't we?"
I smile and join in with her laughter, "We are indeed, waking up together in a jail cell."
"Damn it, I can't go to prison. You know how horrible I look in stripes," she whispers as she climbs up to her feet, grabbing onto my shoulder and using me for leverage.
"Quick," I look around the cell and laugh, "anybody got a cell phone? I wanna take a cellfie."
And we try, we really do try not to fall back down into a fit of giggles, but it's way too hard. We follow the guard down the hallway.
“Dude, I could so be a violent criminal.” Angelisa mumbles. “Shouldn’t you cuff me? Why doesn’t anyone ever want to handcuff me, Chris?” she whines.
“Ummm, she’s not violent. We swear. She’s just…just…dumb.” I explain, nudging her.
“Seriously though, how does he know I’m not packing an oozie in my girly stuff?”
“Ya know that is true. It’s kind of sexist that you don’t think we could be hiding heat?”
“Ladies, the only thing you two are trying to hide…or hide from is good old-fashioned middle age. And quite frankly, neither one of you is doing a bang-bang up job of it,” the son-of-a-slut says, pretending to shoot us.
“Is that what you do now? Shoot blanks?” Angelisa quips, exploding in laughter that spirals out of control until we’re both laughing like lunatics.
“Enough!” he shouts, trying to silence us before we enter the courtroom.
The two of us are still giggling like two immature kids being brought in front of the principal. Matted hair, mascara-streaked cheeks, and barefoot. I’m pretty sure I even have an extra tattoo somewhere.
We're sworn in; big vocabulary is used. Case numbers are brought forth, and I almost fall asleep. I’m just about to face plant into the table with exhaustion when Judge Caroline Jacobson calls both of us up to the podium. "Ms. Zolendz. Ms. Stone. Approach the bench please." She has dark tired brown eyes, the kind that are weighed down with darker brown bags beneath them. Her light blonde hair is pulled back into a tight, painful looking bun. It's streaked with gray. I want to pull out all those restraining pins. I want her to stop feeling so tight and tense behind her bench. I want her to feel free like me, like us.
Almost as if Angelisa’s reading my thoughts, she mumbles, “Man, she needs to get laid…and needs to get those roots done.” I can’t control the giggle that escapes me. The judge eyes us sternly, and you can nearly hear our mouths snap shut.
"As I hear, you both were found in the fountains of the Bellagio last night. Swimming. Naked," she chirps.
"Yes, that's true," Angelisa giggles, proudly next to me.
I nod my head in agreement, "Yeah, that certainly sounds like us—well, the new us, anyway."
The judge pinches her lips into a tight pucker. Doesn't she realize that’s exactly what makes those little wrinkles all around her mouth? She pulls out an envelope marked Prisoner Property/Currency and unfastens the clasp. I suck my lips between my teeth to stop myself from laughing, because this isn't funny—at all. But if I remember correctly, the things in the envelope are.
She slips one dainty little hand in.
Angelisa and I lean forward to watch.
Two books of matches, fifty-six dollars, a bent wedding ring, a fake moustache, a shoehorn, four glow sticks, two “Call for a good time” prostitute cards, a tube of Ben-gay, and an extra large rubbery dildo that flops on its side when she places it on her desk.
"Do you want to explain to me why two fully grown women, respected in their fields, would be caught in this situation…with these items?"
Angelisa and I look and back and forth from her to each other and back again. We both shrug.
"Well, it all started with an apple pie," I smile.
Angelisa nods next to me, "Yes, definitely. That's probably where it all started, the apple pie fiasco."
The judge leans back and draws in a long breath. She pulls her glasses off her fatigued eyes and rubs them softly with her hands. "An apple pie?"
"Yes. A forgotten apple pie. I can tell you every detail except for three or four days where I have no recollection. Both of us can, it's what we do, tell stories."
The corner of the judge's lips curl up the tiniest bit, "Come into my chambers ladies, this I have to hear."
Christine Zolendz resides in New York City, and is the author of five novels. Her first series, a paranormal romance (heavy on the romance and light on the paranormal) was published in 2012-2013 and includes Fall From Grace, Saving Grace, and Scars and Songs. Her newest series, published in 2014, includes the dark romance Brutally Beautiful and Cold-Blooded Beautiful.
Angelisa Stone is a typical Midwestern wife and mom, frazzled by parenting and housework, and overwhelmed with sports schedules, doctor appointments, and three-dimensional creative projects due "tomorrow morning." Angelisa dreams of white sandy beaches, clear-blue waters, and Midori coladas in hand, but realizes that her loving husband and four not-so-perfect children are her real dreams-come-true. Writing and reading are her passions, and she hopes (and prays with her fingers tightly crossed) that readers will find enjoyment and escape through her words and characters.