As a Fugitive With a Fake Name, I Discovered the Real Me
I was arrested at an anti-war protest, jumped bail and went on the run. That's when my story really began.
Illustrations by Wenjia Tang
No one in my life has real names now.
In the back seat, I watch the landscape fade from day to night, back to day; endless fields of corn, listless cattle, pitch pine clambering up the Appalachians, Texaco, Dairy Queen, Jesus Saves signs, hypnotic neon arrows leading to rest, food or gas.
Up front, Nick studies our route down to Birmingham while Jack drives, keeping well within the speed limit. I just met Jack yesterday, but Jack isn’t his real name. I figure he must be ex-military, with his blond crew cut, rigid back, ropy muscles, and steely blue eyes. Sometimes Jack stutters, sometimes whole sentences come out fine.
With every mile, my former life disappears. I’m on the run, in a Mercury Marquis, traveling down to a safe house in the Deep South. Only a few months before, Nick offered me a way out of our federal trial, soon to end with long prison sentences for us both. He had radical friends that would help us escape, and I desperately wanted to escape. I c…
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