Forlorn Hope – Part 01: Fugitive Fugue

By DR754

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.

Big. Mistake.

The next morning, my erstwhile paramours were popped with dope in the dorms, and to save their own asses, they ratted me out – they told the cops I’d gotten them drunk, high, and fucked in the ass. The Moscow Police hauled me in for questioning, but I wasn’t dumb enough to say anything except “I want a lawyer.” They charged me with two counts of violating Idaho Code 18-6605 – the “infamous crime against nature,” or in plainer terms: sodomy. All they had was the word of a couple stoner students, so I walked out of the courthouse that evening on bail. But pleading out was out of the question – if I admitted to anything more serious than a traffic offense, my government career would be over.

At trial, as my lawyer had promised, cross-examination had elicited the admission that the dope was theirs and the sex was consensual – sure, we were all more than a little drunk at that point but let’s get one thing straight, I am not a rapist, for fuck’s sake. Of course, that didn’t matter so far as the law was concerned – consensual or not, sodomy is a felony in Idaho, with a minimum term of five years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life.


So I did the only thing I could think of: I got up on the stand and perjured my ass off about what we did that night. No penetration, no sodomy, you can’t trust dopers, there’s reasonable doubt, you can’t convict – at least, that was my lawyer’s closing argument. This, he told the jury, was an enlightened age where my proclivities merited psychiatric treatment, not a criminal record. The prosecutor, of course, promptly declared that I was an unrepentant pervert who not long ago would have been castrated, and that in the alternative, I should be locked away for years.

The jury began deliberating at 8 o’clock, and now their verdict was in.

“The defendant will please rise.” The berobed judge – his name was literally John Judge – handed the verdict form to the clerk, who began reading.

“In the Second Judicial District Court in and for the County of Latah, in the case of the State of Idaho versus DR754, Count one, the infamous crime against nature. We, the jury, find the defendant, DR754, guilty. Count two, the infamous crime against nature. We, the jury, find the defendant, DR754, guilty. Dated this 5th day of August, 1967, signed by the foreman.”

I jerked back as if hit with an electric shock. A murmur rolled across the courtroom. The judge looked pleased as punch.

Guilty?!?! I’m a convict? … I’m a convict.

“Is this your verdict, so say you each and so say you all?” Each juror in turn replied affirmatively.

“Very well. Members of the jury, you have rendered this state a valuable service, and for that I thank you. You are dismissed. Mr. DR754, is there anything you have to say before I pass sentence upon you?”

Objection!” my lawyer shouted. “By law, sentencing should take place no less than two days after conviction, and there’s been no pre-sentence report.”

Overruled. Given the nature of the defendant’s crimes, and the voluminous evidence which has already been presented, I have ample grounds to pass judgment immediately, and I fully intend to do so.”

I said nothing. Staring up at the bench, I felt the judge’s gaze fix me in place – just the slightest hint of a smirk betrayed his contempt for my plight. I might as well have been a garden slug, and Judge Judge was pouring salt on my shriveling body.

“Your silence speaks volumes. Mr. DR754, you have been found guilty of twice committing the infamous crime against nature – a disgusting act rightly reviled in every civilized land. Your perversions are a danger to this community and, in particular, to the young and impressionable students of our university. You returned to a place of learning and took advantage of your age and position to drag our state’s brightest scholars into the darkest gutter. You have neither shown remorse nor accepted responsibility for your actions; rather, you have attempted at every turn to debate, deflect, and deny the harms you have done. That is at an end – the jury rightly saw through your lies, and this court will now hold you accountable for your crimes. I intend your sentence to send a strong message that Idaho must and will be protected from homosexuals. You must suffer punishment which will prevent you from harming law-abiding citizens, which will deter others of your kind from plying their trade here, and which will inflict the state’s just retribution on behalf of your victims.

“As to Count 1, Idaho Code section 18-6605, the infamous crime against nature, the sentence of the court is that you be committed to the custody of the Idaho State Board of Corrections for a term of not less than five nor more than 15 years. As to Count 2, Idaho Code section 18-6605, the infamous crime against nature, the sentence of the court is that you be committed to the custody of the Idaho State Board of Corrections for a term of not less than five nor more than 15 years. These sentences shall run consecutively, for a total term of confinement of not less than ten nor more than 30 years. And I strongly urge the Board of Corrections to require that prior to release, you be evaluated for commitment to the Idaho State Hospital as a sexual deviant. Bail is revoked and the defendant is remanded to the custody of the sheriff.” He slammed his gavel down.

Thirty years in prison?!?! What the fuck?!?!

Even as my worthless shyster turned to me and said, “This is grounds for appeal, I’ll file immediately,” I felt a strong hand on my right arm and cold steel ratcheting around the wrist – the bailiff was handcuffing me! My life and future flashed before my eyes. I had been on a fast track to the top ranks of my agency. Now I was going nowhere but a cell in the Idaho State Penitentiary for the next decade or three. I’d taken a tour of the place with a psychology class back in my college days – burned into my memory were the foreboding sandstone walls; towering gray cellblocks; monotonous iron bars; sullen, hickory-striped men emptying their night buckets; and a pungent odor of sweat, excrement, and fear that lingered in my nostrils long after I’d walked out of the gates.

I’d never spent a night behind bars and I didn’t intend tonight to be the first of 11,000 or so. Did I have a choice? Maybe, but not really. Instinct took over – fight and flight.

I yanked my arm away from the surprised Latah County deputy, grasped the other handcuff around my fingers, and with all my might, slammed my steel-backed fist into the side of his head. With a wet thud, the cop collapsed to the floor. I turned and leaped over the bar, then burst through the swinging doors at the back of the courtroom into the lobby beyond. A clap of thunder and crash of shattering glass behind me made it clear I was none too soon – the other courtroom deputy was shooting to kill. My imported turbo hot rod was parked a block away, and if I made it there, I figured I could outrun the cops up Highway 12 to Lolo Pass and lose them in the Rockies.


Sprinting out of the courthouse, shoving a passing lawyer into the street, I round the corner to my ghostly gray machine. It’ll outrun anything the local cops have, but the troopers drive Interceptors.

Panting, I threw open the door, fired the engine, and jammed the shifter into Drive. But something doesn’t feel right. Or sound right. Looking down, my eyes settled on the bailiff’s handcuffs, one locked on my right wrist and the other dangling in space.

Shit. That’s gonna be a problem.

But it was a problem I’ll have to deal with later. Right now, if I’m to beat the State Police roadblocks, every second counts.

To be continued…

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