Dystopia is a society of human misery, squalor, disease, terror and overcrowding. It is the opposite of Utopia.
This is a book about going to prison. Mike Oulton went to prison for trying to smuggle fifteen kilos of cocaine into the United States. Ed Griffin went to prison to cause a revolution. He wanted men to write their stories and when the public discovered the horror of prison, the walls would come tumbling down.
Mike counts the years and the days until he can get back on the street; Ed numbers the converts to his revolution. One day they meet in a classroom and neither is the same again....
March, 1965: A plane bound for Atlanta, Georgia
I turned to my seat mate, Father Tom Gallagher. "Come on, Tom, let's go talk to him." I was referring to Martin Luther King who sat in the front of the plane. We were on our way to Selma to join his historic march to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama for voting rights. Doctor King was returning to his home in Atlanta after a speech in Cleveland.
"I don't know. He probably wants to rest."
"Ah, come on. Let's go."
Tom and I stood and walked to the front of the plane. "Doctor King," I said, "I just want to tell you that we really admire what you're doing in the South. We're on our way to join the march."
"Wonderful, wonderful, ah... Fathers, I presume. Catholic?"
Tom shook his hand and introduced himself and then me.
"How are you Fathers getting to the march?"
This surprised me. I expected a statement about the importance of his efforts, but instead, he asked about our travel plans. I explained how we were going from Atlanta to Selma by air, but we hadn't figured out how we'd get to the march.
"Here," he said, and wrote something on a piece of paper. "The white cab companies in Selma won't help you, but this company will. It's owned by blacks. Use my name."
We thanked him and wished him well.
"Well, God bless you, Fathers. I'm going to spend a little time with my family and I'll rejoin the march tomorrow."
We went back to our seats, impressed by a great man who bothered himself about our travel plans
Mike's Story, 1990
The yellow Datsun screeched around the corner, narrowly missing several parked cars. My foot was an extension of the accelerator. The automatic transmission of the stolen car ground away as I alternated from brake to gas.
"Slow down," screamed my friend Dallas from the passenger seat. He held on to the door as the car fishtailed around another corner.
"I can drive," I lied. "I got this."
Easter gifts for our girlfriends cluttered the back seat. Baskets of chocolate eggs and stuffed bunnies slid from side to side as the car recklessly spun its wheels around soft bends in the road.
Into a residential neighborhood we sped. Past manicured lawns and driveways with basketball hoops. These were the neighborhoods I targeted for my break-ins - the homes that I stole from to buy the goods in the back seat. This was the kind of neighborhood I had stolen the car from. The kind neighborhood that had unlocked back doors and open ground floor windows - all potential victims of my dishonest tirade.
The back end of the Datsun bumped a parked pickup truck.
Dallas's knuckles glowed white against the tan leather of the door inlay. "You should let me drive."
"One more turn," I said, and pressed down on the gas.
The hairpin turn came out of nowhere. I saw the oak tree on the front lawn, the elderly woman watering her flowers, the two young kids playing in a ditch across the street. I knew we were going too fast. I slammed my left foot down on the brake, at the same time pressing on the accelerator with my right.
"Look out!" yelled Dallas. His free hand gripped the dashboard in front of him.
I lost control of the car. The wheel jerked from my hand and the last thing I remember was how quickly the oak tree appeared in front of my face.
I crashed the car and made it out alive. That was my first trip to Juvenile Hall.