Jabari is setting up his mat in its small setting spot. He unloads his bag of clothes, linens, and toiletries onto the mat and begins to separate everything into sections.
He hears the flushing of a toilet and scans the room even more. Behind the stairs is a set of toilets and showers. He goes back to making his bed.
He tosses the two blankets and two sheets that he received in his prison kit onto the bare mattress. He looks around and notices that he wasn’t issued a pillow and shakes his head in annoyance.
As he begins to make his bed, he is accosted by another voice.
“Welcome to the Beach.” Jabari hears from behind him while tucking in his top blanket.
Jabari turns around to see Plants, an older black gentleman around 50 years old with four gold top front teeth, standing behind him. As he turns around Plants, he is leaning against the rails of a bunk bed just adjacent to him.
“Hi. My name is Jabari,” Jabari says as he extends his hand out to shake the older gentleman.
Plants begin to laugh at the sight of a handshake from Jabari, causing Jabari to become confused.
“We don’t shake hands here, young man. We give fist bumps.” Plants replies with the extension of a fist for reciprocation from Jabari.
“And we don’t use our first name here. What’s your street name?” Plants ask Jabari as he motions for Jabari to sit on the rack below his and the older gentleman sits across from him.
Jabari hesitates for a moment and looks away from the gentleman to ponder an appropriate name to give in response.
Jabari had never contemplated having a street or prison name up to this point in his life. He was white collar. His friends at his former place of employment called him Jay, but that was because some of his co-workers could not pronounce his name correctly. Now they are calling him Dixon, but that’s his last name, and that wouldn’t work.
Jabari looks back at the older gentleman.
“They call me J.D.”, Jabari says.
“What does that stand for?” The older gentleman replies.
“It stands for J-Dub. It’s a shout out to a housing project around where I grew up.”
The older gentleman nods.
“You are from the Tidewater area right?” Plants ask from Jabari, “Where do you come from?”
“Virginia Beach. Just self-surrendered this afternoon.” Jabari replies.
“Wait. Are you coming straight off the street? Man, you are a black, white collar” Plants states with a laugh.
Jabari doesn’t get the joke and becomes annoyed with the conversation. He stands and goes back to making his bunk.
“Well, at least you still got ‘The Beach’ here” Plants continues.
Jabari stops making his bunk and turns to re-engage the older gentleman.
“Anyway, why do they call this place ‘The Beach” Jabari asks.
As Plants begins to reply to Jabari’s question, a flush of one of the toilets nearby audibly enters the conversation.
Once the noise of the toilet down quietly, Plants points at the toilet area of the main floor of the building.
“It’s beachfront property brotha. You got the showers and toilets literally across from you.” Plants says with a grin on his face before pointing up to the ceiling. “Also the lights shine down here 24 hours a day like you are tanning in the sun.”
“Ah. I got it now.” Jabari says with confirmation.
Jabari glances away from Plants to see how long he has been incarcerated.
He scans the massive room looking for a clock and finds one in a corner surrounded by payphones.
The clock reads 1:45 pm.
Jabari lets out a sigh and turns back to finish making his bunk.
“You can finish that later.” Plants say popping up from his sitting spot. “Let me give you a tour.” He continues saying as he starts his walk to lead Jabari away from the bunks.