Prologue: Caged

(February 19, 1969)


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.


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?

* * * * *

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, July 7, 2008

Excerpt (Chapter 2): Dark Side


December 25, 1968

(Tenth revolution around the Moon)

Christmas Day, 89:22:34. On the far side of the Moon and out of radio contact with Houston, Apollo 8's Service Propulsion System (SPS) has been ignited to accelerate it out of lunar orbit.

At 89:34:16, radio contact has been re-established with the crew.

89:34:25. Astronaut Lovell: "Please be informed there is a Santa Claus."


Simon and Garfunkel's "Silent Night" on YouTube, by Vidiak



Far out Blue Moons.

Stoney and I don’t come down until after three–we crash for a few hours. Then, about seven, we go to Cecil’s Stand for cheeseburgers and fries.

Later we exchange presents–he gives me a jade ring and a petrified wood ashtray in psychedelic colors; I give him a blue rock. Both from The Crystal Ship. I’m not sure what he likes.

After we open our presents, we argue about his being too wild when we play. He wrestles too god damned rough sometimes, today getting me into a hammerlock and flipping me on my back. Something snaps–my back hurts like hell.

"You jerk," I say, "You could’ve broken my back."

"Shut up, bitch, stop your squawking."

We exchange more words. Don’t I have the right not to be injured?

We calm down.

"Let’s not wrestle anymore."

Stoney has an unfair advantage.

"That’s cool," he says.

I think he understands; he apologizes, anyway, promising not to be so rough. We’ll see.

The two of us look like hell. I feel like hell.

We go to bed early and make love, and rap about our acid trips.

Weird. I thought we had connected last night, but we didn’t, not really. We were on separate trips.

Stoney only remembers shooting heroin and balling.

For me, it was so much more.


© 2008, by Jennifer Semple Siegel

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


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