One day when he was annoyed with me, my brother decided to call the police. I was about five years old and I was so scared because in my mind, a call to the police was a definite ticket to jail.
“Stunnedandstunted has been bad, can you please take her to jail?”, my brother said. He handed the phone over to me and I was crying.
“Please don’t take me to jail!”, I begged the police officer. He was most likely annoyed at being taken away from his actual work and had very little patience for childish drama. He paused for a moment and then said, “Tell your brother that if he ever makes a prank call like this again and wastes our time, he will be the one who ends up in jail!”
He hung up and I felt relieved. I had escaped jail. I probably went to play with my dolls after that.
As kids we were obsessed with the fear of going to jail. It’s not like anyone we knew was in jail but we had a strange next door neighbour who loved to call the police whenever one of us did something like made too much noise or walked on her grass. Seeing the police outside her place or our’s was never anything shocking. We weren’t even bad kids and the police obviously couldn’t do anything except placate the neighbour and go on their way.
One day I was playing with two of my siblings and we decided it would be funny to throw things into the grumpy neighbour’s yard. Of course this annoyed her so she got her husband to talk to us. He was equally fed up with her drama and told us to go over and apologise or else she would call the police. We were once again convinced we were going to jail or juvenile detention so we decided to make it look like we were really upset. I was able to cry and the others wet their faces. Our father took us next door and we pouted our lips, looked down at the ground and apologised. It worked, the police were never called that time.