Saturday, September 24, 2016

the last book I ever read (American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, excerpt six)

from American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin:

The three SLA vehicles linked up later in the morning. DeFreeze appeared in his red-and-white van, which had the odd feature of dainty curtains on the windows. Nancy Ling was deputized to find the group a place to live, and she returned to report that she had located a house at 822 West Eighty-Fourth Street, in South Central, for the modest sum of $70 a month. When the comrades assembled there, they saw why the price was so low. Even by the modest standards of the comrades’ living conditions in San Francisco, the place was a wreck—a three-room shack with no electricity and thus no hot water, in the heart of the ghetto. Even with the big score at the bank, the comrades couldn’t help but notice the downward trajectory of their living conditions. They had gone from a comfortable suburban house in Concord, to a modest home in Daly City, to a pair of seedy apartments in San Francisco, to this hovel in Los Angeles. The dismal regression offered a vivid counterpoint to DeFreeze’s promises of imminent victory.

There was no furniture, no stove, no refrigerator, no cooking utensils. Emily Harris and Camilla Hall snuck out to a grocery store and returned with canned spinach and okra, which they attempted to flavor with another purchase, canned mackerel. The comrades who could stomach the mixture ate it cold. Patricia, her weight already below a hundred pounds, lived on crackers and Kipper Snacks, a different kind of canned fish. As in San Francisco, the black neighborhood made it difficult for anyone but DeFreeze to leave the house without drawing attention. Mostly, they stayed inside, doing their military drills and calisthenics in desultory compliance with their established custom. DeFreeze added instruction in knife fights to their daily ritual.

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