From the moment of arrest onward you are an actor in a play that all the other actors have rehearsed hundreds of times before, and you don't even have a script. I learned this when I was tossed into the can in DeKalb County, Missouri.

It was a sheet-iron stall about 10 feet square with 8 guys in there, all young. It was hot, despite a couple of fans, and the guys smoked a lot. The guys were all dressed in shorts. Two young black guys had matching scars on their abdomens. Well, nearly matching: one's went from below his waist up to his sternum and hung a left; the other's continued up over the ribs toward the throat. They had been hitchhiking, they said, and got picked up by a vehicle that turned out to be stolen.

Ordinarily, I might not have believed them, but after what happened to me I'd believe anything.

© 1997,98 Henry Kingman

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