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Prologue: Caged










(February 19, 1969)
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Caged.

I was caged.

Then, I was driven.

Driven to Cherokee.

A hazy memory of riding caged in the back of a police car.



Two shadows in the front seat, the county sheriff and a female escort.

Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” buzzing from a tinny transistor radio.

Outside, the Iowa landscape bleak:



Cloudy and cold, condensation and frost riming the windows, piles of dirty snow dotting the countryside.

I, cargo.

Destination: Cherokee’s other place, the outline on the hill.

Shifting, crossing my legs…

Please, can we stop?

Hot and steamy inside.



Shivering, my teeth rattling.

Please…I have to go!

Hear something, George?

Naw, nothin’ important.


Laughter.

Cargo has no voice.

Madness has no voice.

Listen, crazy girl…

Two voices: We have come to take you away, ha, ha…

“I’m crazy, crazy…”

Fragments, crazy-quilt impressions, acid flashbacks…

I, crazy?



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From I, Driven: a memoir of involuntary commitment ("Prologue")


© 2008-2010, by Jennifer Semple Siegel

Excerpt may not be used or copied without author’s permission.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Excerpt: Cops

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January 1969

(Hollywood)


I hear from Levi that Stoney might not come back, after all, at least any time soon.

Evidently, New York, cop wise, is super cool right now. L.A.’s too hot.

Levi’s right. When I get home from Cecil’s, two cops wait outside the pad.

“We’re looking for Stoney.”

“He’s not here.”

“May we look around your apartment?”

I might appear innocent, but I’m not stupid. “I don’t think so.”

The two cops look at each other meaningfully. “Well, you pass along to Mr. Stoney we’ve got our eye on him,” one says as he gives me his card. “If you got any information, give us a call.”


I drop the card into my coat without looking at it.

“If you cooperate, we’ll see what we can do for you.”

A threat.

“Nothing to tell.”

Please, God, please don’t let my voice doesn’t betray my terror.

“You think about it.”

After the cops leave, my knees turn to rubber. I’m lonely and sad without Stoney, and also scared shitless the cops’ll get a warrant and raid the pad. God knows what Stoney’s left stashed without my knowledge.

The cops’ll find it for sure, and I’ll get busted for possession, not Stoney.

How could he leave me in such a predicament?

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Excerpt from I, Driven: memoir of a teen’s involuntary commitment (Part I: “Going to Cherokee,” Chapter Ten)


Text copyright 2008, Jennifer Semple Siegel

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