A Wastrel’s Life: How I Got Here
From my earliest days, I wanted two things: first, to do nothing; secondly, to be fabulously wealthy. That is how I ended up here, at the Iowa Penitentiary in Fort Madison, and this is my tale of wanderings and of woe. I have been by turns a liar, a cheat, and a thief. Women have wailed upon my disappearance; I know not how many of my sons and daughters live on in the countrysides of North America, impoverished and shoeless. For those who would live by the code, “He who dies with the most toys win,” read my story and change thy ways.
My father was a raging alcoholic in the city of Carroll, Iowa, which was a decently-sized city for rural Western Iowa, with over 10,000 inhabitants. He ran a car-fixing station where he would charge the lowest amounts in town to fix axles, tires, and engines. With an eye for detail and a mechanical mind, he would take an engine apart piece by piece, then dump the contents of the box at my feet and tell me, “Put it back together.” This began when I was seven years old.
Father’s drinking caused him to be violent.