Checking in at the Crowbar Hotel

Checking in at the Crowbar Hotel

by Gary Delanoeye


Publisher Summerland Publishing

Published in Literature & Fiction/Literary, Literature & Fiction/Contemporary, Education & Reference/Schools & Teaching, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

Checking in at the Crowbar Hotel lets you check in without being arrested! The Crowbar Hotel, popular slang for juvenile jail is a cultural phenomenon characterized by the resourcefulness, language and rituals of its members. Kids at the Crowbar create, endure and survive. Some do these better than others; just like the rest of us!

Sample Chapter

It is something not often spoken of seriously and, as this is a work of fiction, some seriousness may be missing from the pages that follow. But, this thing, kids and young adults locked up in jail, is quite real, and ultimately quite tragic. But along the way, between awareness and tragedy, there is a great deal of humanity, pathos, complexity and even humor. It is these things that occupy the walls of the Crowbar Hotel and are captured herein.

Soon, you will meet Sammy. Sammy could be anyone of thousands of kids born into a world of urban poverty, drug addiction and neglect. Used and abused at home, such children hide from stoned and violent adults who often grew up the same way themselves. School isn’t too important, especially when there is a need for petty thefts, drug trafficking, welfare dodges and the demands of social workers, parole agents and alas, gangs.

It is a great day that goes unnoticed as such when kids like Sammy come to jail and go to school; when they eat well and sleep clean and safe. From this, perhaps even opportunity and transformation can take hold, providing that teachers and others nurture the process.

There is another phenomenon at the Crowbar Hotel too. What about the kids who have never had much school, became successful in their own way, and then get arrested and wind up in jail? Let’s say that a very pretty girl, maybe two, drift into the oldest profession… at age 13, did well for a few years and then re-entered school as high school seniors with sixth grade skills? Having done so well, as they certainly thought they had, how can a high school teacher sell the virtues of education as the ticket to a good life? Not usually easy!

And what about kids who regard the Crowbar Hotel as if it were some sort of spa with bars? It isn’t even a matter of escaping the cruel realities of the road, but a practical matter with annoying prerequisites; in order to gain entrance to the spa one had to go out and get himself arrested! For a high school teacher charged with the taskofspreading literacy, such students imply many motivational challenges! After all, these kids, two in particular who emerge often in the pages that follow, really did want sort of a spa treatment! They wanted a few months of steady meals, a clean and warm place to sleep, enforced sobriety and some medical attention. Going to school could be endured, if needed, to gain the other perks.

Perhaps the shortest distance between awareness and tragedy, the most obvious and stunning, is the plight of many a girl beset by emotional baggage and vulnerable to the deceits of older men. These older men understand the utility of such girls very well. Such girls can be lured into crime with only the illusion of love or respect. Such girls, if arrested and sent to the Crowbar Hotel will do minimum time compared to what the adult male might have to do in prison. And, because such girls are blinded by the love they think they are getting, they are loath to squeal on their men.

As these girls get used to their new surroundings at the Crowbar Hotel, the boyfriend is long gone, sometimes with the booty realized from the last crime. Demoralized from this realization, some girls just give up and give in to a life without esteem and without hope. Such a girl, if in a former life was even an average student, may rediscover her potential in school and even find a better way. But it is a tough thing for a teacher to till such sterile and dormant ground in the context of a high school classroom.

So, many a teacher at the Crowbar Hotel start out with the skills they have in the 3 Rs and find out that the prerequisites include oceans of compassion, patience and more than the rudiments of psychology. Some teachers can do this well and some become burned out by those damned kids and just move on.

Yes… they are damned indeed, by the circumstances of their lives, most of them, and the Crowbar Hotel can do little about it other than provide a brief respite and a peek at an alien lifestyle. But for some … “Sclerotic, rusty and unused gears in Sammy’s mind creaked a bit, and then creaked a little more. And then in the middle of the night with a full moon pouring in through the bars and painting dark shadowy stripes on his cell walls, shadows of the bars that contained him, the gears completed their first full turn ever. An embryonic plan had hatched and had started to grow inside Sammy…just a little.”

Welcome to the Crowbar Hotel!


Excerpted from "Checking in at the Crowbar Hotel" by Gary Delanoeye. Copyright © 2015 by Gary Delanoeye. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Gary Delanoeye

Gary Delanoeye

First of all, I am a teacher! I really liked the challenging adolescents who were a part of my career. Never a dull moment, and always... I learned new things about their lives, their cunning and even the humanity that motivated them, even while they were locked up.

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