They have me locked up for something I didn’t do, which is lucky. If they had convicted me for the job I did pull, I’d be doing hard time somewhere real. This, I don’t know what they call this, experimental juvenile rehab or some shit, I saw an old war movie once just like this. Some Japanese general tried to brainwash these American prisoners. He didn’t tell them the war was over. He just kept them and played with their brains. The first day he got these elaborate histories of their families back home—jobs and salaries and addresses, political parties I think—then twice a day he stood them in the yard for lectures, three hours on their feet taking notes, and then quizzes before they could eat. I guess you can learn anything to get your lousy lunch. I forget how it ended. I figured, tell them the opposite of what they expect to hear, you know? See how smart they are. How my Dad was hardworking and went to church and loved my Mom and how my whole family was this loving unit and I was the only screw-up. So a year later I’m sticking to my story and every day I miss them more, this family I said I have, this Dad who takes me places and this beautiful Mom who knows about history and shit, and these twins! And I don’t know if they’ve checked, and know it’s all a lie, or what they know, so I go with it. The more they ask me, the more I keep my facts straight. I start sending cards on their birthdays. I’m making them things in shop. When they don’t visit, I cry in my bunk. I swear I would kill to have family like this.

Copyright © July 06, 2007 David Hodges

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