Jul 23 09 8:15pm
Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 4)
I’m sat in a fast-food lounge at London’s Euston Railway Station. I’m facing a row of vendors staffed with fresh-faced minimum wagers: Burger King, Harry Ramsden’s, Delice de France Pattisserie Boulangerie… There are no empty tables. Most of the occupants – an international crowd – are chatting amongst themselves or into cell phones. The rest are staring up at small departures and arrivals screens hanging from the ceiling. I am inhaling the smells of French fries, tomato ketchup, coffee and milk shakes, but I am not hungry because I had a mountain of rice and veggie curry before I set off over an hour ago.
“At Platform 2 the 20:33 service to Wolverhampton is now boarding.” A female BBC-quality voice keeps making such announcements.
Outside of the lounge is the main waiting area, about the size of a warehouse with over a thousand people stood facing a row of massive timetable screens, and an almost-movie-theatre-sized screen playing Sky News complete with an electronic ticker tape.
Over hamburgers and fries, the conversation between the two businessmen on the table next to me is heating up. They are gesticulating with their hands, flailing their pinstripes, hurling Cockney twang as if on the verge of fisticuffs. Their table is the only one the homeless young lad selling The Big Issue is skipping.
Today is the last day of the English school year. I have only done one talk on drugs and prison so far. And I only got that due to a cancellation. The lack of work is due to my talk only being advertised so close to the end of the school year. The feedback on the one talk I did was good, and I’m pleased to report that I’ve already got two bookings for the next term. Let’s hope my calendar fills up before September comes around.
My agent and I are in the final stages of fine-tuning my jail memoir. He intends to begin shopping it to publishers in September. So after years of perseverance – including emotional ups and downs ranging from delusions of grandeur to utter disbelief that I’d ever make it – it looks as if I’m finally near the finishing line.
The English version is going to be titled Green Baloney and Pink Boxers: Surviving America’s Toughest Jail, and the American version, Green Bologna and Pink Boxers: Surviving Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Jail.
When I get a publishing deal, the publisher’s editor will probably want to tweak the manuscript a final time before it hits the bookstores.
As the jail memoir only covers my 26 months in Arpaio’s pokey, my agent has suggested I write about the periods before my arrest and after my sentencing hearing as separate volumes.
Flap-flap-flap… The wings of a pigeon just rustled by my right ear. In here! This place has a roof, so it must have snuck in through one of the doors. It’s homing in on some fries abandoned by a Chinese family.
“At Platform 7 the 21:07 service to Liverpool is now boarding.” That’s my train to Runcorn, so I must get going. I’m en route to my parents’ house for a month, to be joined by Kathi from Germany who’s flying in next Tuesday.
I’ll endeavour to locate the Max-Zucchini series while I’m there. I suspect it’s been hidden from me in the attic as my parents don’t approve of the content. I’ll post the next instalment of Central Unit soon, and I must say how impressed I am with Warrior’s writing development – we have a star in the making right there. I’m also going to try something new by way of posting the story of Smiling John in back to back instalments. Smiling John is Xena’s friend who was on America’s Most Wanted and Arizona’s death row.
Click here for Dawn of a New Adventure (Part 3)
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Shaun P. Attwood