Chapter 17: Truth Is Dangerous
In twelve days I was changed from one jail to another jail.and each time I was transferred from one jailer to another jailer the same message was whispered - “Do everything, but be careful; it has to be indirect.” I was wondering what they wanted to do - and what they wanted to do so indirectly that the world should not know - but it was not long before I came to understand what they meant by “doing it indirectly.”
The first night in jail I was given a steel bench, without any mattress. They knew my back is in a bad condition, that I could not lie down on that steel bench. Neither can I sit the whole night; they would not supply even a pillow just to support my back. They refused - “That’s all you can get.”
The whole night I was sitting. Sleeping was out of the question. Sitting was difficult; my back was hurting tremendously. And in the morning when they took me to the court.I have never seen such driving.
I am myself a reckless driver. In my whole life I have committed only two crimes, and those were speeding. But it was not speeding, it was a totally new kind of driving. The US marshal himself was driving. He would drive the car at full speed, beyond the limits, and then suddenly stop for no reason at all, just to give me a jerk. My hands were cuffed, my legs were chained - and they had instructions where to put a chain on my waist, exactly where my back is giving me the trouble. And this would happen each five minutes: suddenly fast, suddenly stopping, just to give as much pain to my back as possible. And nobody could say, “You are harming him.”
I just said to the marshal, “You are a unique driver - but remember, I enjoyed the whole drive.” And he took me for almost one hour. I thought perhaps this was the distance from the jail to the court. The court was underneath the jail: the jail was on the upper story and the court was on the lower story. There was no need of any car, I had just to go in an elevator, and it was not even one minute’s distance. This one-hour tour was just to give me as much pain as possible, to break the vertebrae of the backbone.
The marshal had to leave for some other work, so when the court was finished his assistant simply took me by the elevator to the jail. Then I came to know that that one-hour drive was simply a device; there was no need. When I saw him I told him, “You take a real interest in the health of your prisoners. That one-hour, open-air drive, and with such a unique way of driving - I will remember it.”