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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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Excerpt--February 18, 1969: Nabbed at the Bus Station

Harley Semple, about 1972

(Downtown Sioux City)

Dee Dee slinks behind a department store column. Conspicuous in his oversized raincoat and hat with feather in brim, bumbling around like some hick private dick:

Inspector Clouseau.

Does he really believe I can’t see him? I pretend not to see him.

Sioux City (Historic 4th Street)

I slip inside the depot and buy my ticket to York, Pennsylvania. Which leaves me about $4.00--but, with Jeff’s help, I’ll get by. The bus isn’t scheduled to leave Sioux City for another 90 minutes. I try shaking him, trick him into thinking I’m not splitting yet.

As I turn to leave the station, Dee Dee blocks my way. “Absolutely not!” Dee Dee grabs my arms.

“Let go!”

He grips so tight I can’t move without pushing him to the floor.

“Let go of me, old man.” I try to break free without hurting him.

“You’re not going anywhere.”

“You just try and stop me.” Still trying to break his grip.

He squeezes more. Vise grip.

“Leave me alone!”

Damn! That asshole has no right to hold me against my will. I should just push that old man to the floor, turn tail out of Sioux City, not stopping until I cross the state line into Nebraska or even Illinois.

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

Nothing to fear, right? I’m of age, after all, and I’ve done nothing wrong.

After I tell the police about quitting LSD, weed, and Bennies, they’ll let me go. Yes?

Dee Dee releases me.

I flee to the police station, a short distance from the bus depot, Dee Dee at my heels.

The Pink Panther Trailer (with Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau)



Excerpt copyright 2008, Jennifer Semple Siegel.

Text may not be reposted or republished without permission.



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