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): Funny Little Naked Clowns


December 1968
147:00:42. On December 27, Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean. The U.S.S. Yorktown is on scene for the rescue: the astronauts on board by 12:20 p.m. (EST), the Apollo capsule by 1:20 p.m. (EST).
(Hollywood, California)
Stoney’s back. He shows me 500 tabs of STP bought from his San Francisco source. I’ve never seen so much acid at one time.

We drop some Blue Cheer–yeah, I am going to put down for good–just one more trip...

Stoney undresses; we try making love, but it just isn’t happening. On the way home, he visited some dealer friends and shot up heroin. God, I hate that stuff. How can anyone enjoy shooting up a drug that makes you stupid? Heroin addicts just lie around, drooling and slurring their words–no fun at all, human door stops, always passed out.

Once the acid kicks in, I no longer care about screwing Stoney–I’m off on my own trip, a bummer...enter the King of Schlock...Slip, slip, slip into Bobby Goldsboro hell, a world of clowns:
See the funny little clown
See him laughing as you walk by,
Everybody thinks he’s happy
Cause you never see a tear in his eye.
No one knows he’s crying,
No one knows he’s dying on the inside...


See the Funny Little Clowns (Bobby Goldsboro)


Stoney’s drug dealing friends show up; everyone’s a clown, I’m in a roomful of clowns, red cheeks and noses, white pancaked faces, all in clown costumes, with ruffles around their necks, hands, and feet. Big curled up shoes and psychedelic wigs the color of rainbows, and they’re all singing "See the Funny Little Clown," some cartwheeling all over the place, others balling up bread bags, setting them on fire, and dropping the sizzling balls to the rug.

Smoke and burning plastic fill the air.

Even the naked clowns still wear their shoes, ruffles, and wigs, even as they make love with other clowns...

I’m just a spectator.

© 2008, by Jennifer Semple Siegel

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


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