Raven-haired Banshees

I worked two overnight shifts at the detention centre this weekend. A constable picked me up at 3:00 a.m. As soon as I saw the detainees on screen, I took a deep breath … two fully inebriated young women.

One woman and a girl actually, as one was just a teenager.

Men can get vociferous, making loud demands, pounding on the doors. But with women, it’s different …

It’s the howling and wailing. The only time I have ever heard such sounds were in films where childbirth was depicted. Then the verbal attacks on me, which I would never repeat here. There are threats of suicide. For this, a protocol is followed with health services.

And then the anguished screams, resonating from a place of deep hurt and anger at the most primal level. Alcohol and drugs are always the triggering factor of the acts that have brought the detainees to jail.

I’ve seen tiny 100-pound women, all fingernails and hair, trying to take down two large-sized constables.

The next morning upon the release of the detainees, I accept apologies. “I am sorry if I was mean to you.”

This morning a constable drove me home after an 11 hour shift. The released detainee wore only wore a little tank top. It was cold, so he would drop her off at home on the way.

I heard a little voice from the back seat. “How was I last night? Was I really bad?”

I turned around and gave her a big smile.

“You don’t want to know,” I said.


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