From the February 1974 magazine.

Jail Visit

I can tell my own story of how it was, and then the laugh's on me

SO THE GUY'S in this cell and there's soda-pop cans on the concrete floor. The bare John is over next to the wall. The guy's T-shirt is kinda crummy, but his hair is combed. He's nervous. He's calling me "sir," and I'm just in clean jeans and an open-necked shirt. The other caller with me--Bill--is sitting on the bed with the recovering drunk, and I'm squatting against the wall and my legs are getting cramped, so I slip to the floor and sit up against the wall.

This drunk's eyes show he's hurting, hurting bad, and I want to put my arm around him and tell him it's all right. But I don't. I know that's the last thing I want to show this guy openly. I've got to get it to him without him knowing it--that I care. I've got to save his pride. He may learn to lose it if he ever gets the program, but he needs his pride now to get him by, get him past this time when he's on the edge of going to pieces like a shorted dynamo spinning faster and faster and faster until everything flies out of it, all the soldering that's holding it together, and then the big pieces.

-- S. M.

Safford, Arizona

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