He shook his head. “Wish I could believe that. You seem like a nice girl. Shame about your birthday.”
“What do you mean?”
“If you were a juvenile, this’d probably be nothing. You wouldn’t even spend the night in jail. You’re looking at a week in county, sad to say. Pretty little thing like you, they’ll smell you coming a mile away.”
I tightened up on myself and whimpered.
“Where are we going?” I managed, as he pulled out onto the road.
He didn’t answer me, he just drove. We were out in the sticks a little bit, so there wasn’t much around. I expected a police station, but he pulled off at the old, empty weigh station instead, driving down the truck lane and stopping next to the squat, ugly building next to the truck scale. He got out, opened the door, and took my arm. I was pulled unsteadily to my feet and shook my head, trying got get some loose strands of hair out of my eyes. He led me to the front door, and everything was painted a sickly yellow by buzzing bug lights as he opened it and pushed me inside, and flicked on the lights. The inside was empty, all the desks abandoned. He led me by the arm to one of them and sat me down on it. I scooted back until I felt like I was no longer likely to fall and waited while he took a slow walk around the room, closing the blinds.
“What is this?” I said. “Why did you bring me here?”
He patted me on the head, and I wormed out from under his hand.
“Like I said, sweetie, you’ll be charged as an adult. Possession with intent to distribute.”
“I’m not a drug dealer!” I squeaked.
He sighed. “Not how it works, baby cakes. You have enough to sell, that’s intent to distribute, and it adds to your sentence. The only thing worse would’ve been if you had a firearm in the car. Then you’d be looking at federal time on top of the state.”
I couldn’t take it anymore. The tears burst out all at once, followed by a sob.
“Please,” I begged, “I can’t go to jail!”
“Prison,” he said. “You’d go to prison. Medium security, probably, but don’t let that fool you. You’d be marked as someone’s property by the end of your first day.”
“W-what would they do with me?”
He shrugged. “Depends on who you end up with. Sometimes they just make you eat their pussy, but some of them like to hurt girls like you. Makes them feel better about being ugly toads in prison for the rest of their lives.”
I shook my head. “This is a mistake. That weed isn’t mine. I swear to God.”
He sighed again, sounding almost fatherly. “Possession is nine-tenths of the law. It was in your car, it’s yours.”
“One of my friends must have dropped it,” I said.
I bit my lip. I couldn’t tell on Michelle.
“See?” he said. “The judge is not going to hear that. It’s not like people put it on the dashboard for all the world to see. Do you know how many times we here ‘it isn’t mine, I swear’?”
I looked down. “A lot, I guess.”
“So we’re in a bit of a pickle here. By the way, my name is Officer Franks, but you can call me Jack. Okay?”
“Now, here’s how this can work.” He rolled up a chair, and sat on it backwards. “You do something for me, I do something for you. Quid pro quo, you know?”