Houston Miller hustles to the exit door of the Bell County adult probation department, his blond ponytail flopping halfway down his back.
The 19-year-old must get to his new $8-an-hour shipping clerk job so he can pay $1,800 in fines, fees and court costs. He got busted with a pinch of pot.
“How will you pay that?” I ask when I catch up with him.
“Working Monday through Friday — and maybe overtime,” he answers.
Explaining his rush, he says, “I gotta pay $400 by the end of the month. I was under the impression that if I don’t pay, if you miss a payment, they can send you to jail for it.”
They’re not supposed to. That’s why I’m in Bell County, near the center of Texas.