Today is Monday, August 9, 1967.
Awakening a little past dawn, I stood up – and nearly tripped over my leg irons.
It took me a moment to process where I was and what was happening.
Oh, right. It wasn’t a bad dream. I’m in jail, in chains, and in a shitload of trouble.
Stumbling to the toilet to take a piss, I pieced together shattered memories. Somewhere through the fog of my mind, more details of my early-morning arrest came into focus above the porcelain bowl.
There I was, locked in the cell as Pitbull read me my rights, then grimly informed me I matched the description of a man who robbed the Casey’s gas station in Sheffield that night. Did I want to explain this? Did I want to tell him anything about it?
Continue reading Forlorn Hope – Part 06: It Can Always Get Worse
Today is Monday, August 8, 1967.
I’m scribbling this entry on toilet paper in a cold, dark holding cell in the Franklin County Jail in Hampton, Iowa. You see, it turns out the “town museum with the bars on the windows” I was wondering about, was actually the county jail. Built in 1880, or so they told me.
And I, a fugitive from justice, was dumb enough to park in the jail driveway. Fucking brilliant.
You see, shortly after drifting off to sleep, I was rudely awakened by a burly man in a “Correctional Officer” ballcap, rapping his nightstick on my car window. I tried to shake him off, but the message was clear – open up or else.
Uh oh. This is a problem. And where the fuck did a correctional officer come from?
Continue reading Forlorn Hope – Part 05: Things Fall Apart
Today is Monday, August 8, 1967.
So far, so good. In fact, I had a brainstorm about halfway through South Dakota – what if I changed into my uniform? It’d break the description they had of me from court, and even though I wasn’t law enforcement, what cop is even going to pull over, much less question, a man in a federal ranger outfit?
Working around the handcuffs made things just a bit awkward, but I felt comfortable, almost confident again wearing my greens. I made it all the way into Minnesota without spotting a single trooper, then turned south down Highway 65 at Albert Lea. Corn, corn, corn, and more corn – but I didn’t care about corn, I cared about cops, and there were none to see.
As I entered the one-horse burg of Sheffield about midnight, I glanced at the gas gauge – damned near E. A couple lights were still on at a Casey’s gas station, but how to pay for it? My wallet had been tapped out back around Sioux Falls.
Continue reading Forlorn Hope – Part 04: The Road Ends Here
Today is Sunday, August 7, 1967.
Blasting through empty stretches of Wyoming just after daybreak, I plotted my next move. This whole “escaped convict” thing is a little more complicated than I thought. It’s not like I regret my decision to run, but I can’t just keep running forever – my only hope is to find somewhere to run to.
Deep in my soul, a shred of conscience took the opportunity to be heard.
Come on now, you’re smarter than all this. Do you really think they won’t catch up with you? You could just pull into the nearest sheriff’s office and give yourself up, you know. End this madness now. You might still have a chance to cop a plea. Tell them you were scared, say you just snapped and went insane at the thought of going to prison. They can’t hang you for that, can they?
I briefly contemplated the thought. But my mind kept returning to what I knew awaited me at the Idaho State Penitentiary. Even if I escaped the gallows, what would I get for almost killing a cop? Another 10 to 30? Plus, what, five years for escape?
Continue reading Forlorn Hope – Part 03: Men Plan, Gods Laugh
Today is Saturday, August 6, 1967.
Long story short, I made it out of town ahead of the State Police roadblocks and over the mountains into Montana. I kept going east, trying to put as many miles between myself and Moscow as I could. In Deer Lodge, I passed the towering stone walls of the Montana State Prison – is this what my literature prof would call foreshadowing?
I was getting a bit sleepy, but getting a hotel seemed far too risky – visions of awakening to the barrels of police revolvers danced in my head. Turning off the highway somewhere south of Butte, I drove up a logging road deep into the mountains, then stopped in a disused log transfer site. Flipping on the radio, my heart skipped a beat as a news bulletin crashed through the AM static.
Daring escape from Idaho courtroom – convict on the run – deputy fights for his life.
Continue reading Forlorn Hope – Part 02: Fate’s Fetters
Today is Friday, August 5, 1967.
Three hours ago, I was a more-or-less law-abiding citizen standing in the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho, waiting for the jury to bring back a “not guilty” verdict, as my pricey lawyer had assured me they would. Now I’m a fugitive from justice speeding through the Rockies with a handcuff around one wrist and no idea what to do next.
But let’s back up. My name’s DR754, I’m 38, and earlier this summer, I returned to the University of Idaho, my alma mater, to talk to classes at the School of Forestry and recruit promising students. One evening, I had taken the opportunity to, well, make a more intimate connection with a couple of students I’d picked up cruising the college town’s infamous bar district. Once a Vandal, always a Vandal, I reasoned.
Continue reading Forlorn Hope – Part 01: Fugitive Fugue