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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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Excerpt--February 18, 1969: "Let's See What the Police Have to Say"

Downtown Sioux City

(Sioux City)

Today, a total disaster. All because I decided it was time to get the fuck out of Sioux City now--nothing here for me anymore.

I got into a huge fight with Mo this morning about some dirty dishes I left in the sink last night. Big deal--I was going to do them this morning, but I wasn’t about to do them after that old bitch yanked me out of bed at 6:30 a.m. and called me a dirty, lazy hippie whore.

Who needs this abuse?

“I’m getting the fuck out of here,” I said, struggling into my jeans, sweater, and shoes. I grabbed a travel bag and threw in my diary from high school, all my letters from Jeff and Pam, and a change of clothes. What else did I need? In Pennsylvania, I could get a job and buy all the clothes I needed--I just wanted out of here, big time. Now.

I slammed the front door behind me and headed for the downtown bus depot to buy a one-way ticket to York.

Dee followed me, and we got into this huge fight, right in the bus station.

“Let’s see what the police have to say,” I said.

As we stepped into the police station, a short walking distance from the bus depot, I knew immediately I had made a huge mistake.

That police matron wouldn’t even listen to me; instead, she had me locked me in some tiny room while Dee Dee told a bunch of lies. They told me only one thing: tomorrow, I’m scheduled at the courthouse for some hearing to determine my sanity.

I wish I could reverse the clock.


Excerpt copyright 2008, Jennifer Semple Siegel.

Text may not be reposted or republished without permission.



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