She applied the Page 69 Test to this work and reported the following:
Page 69 is page one of the chapter showing Jane as a nine-year-old long before she goes on to commit the crimes that will put her in a mental hospital, causing one to wonder: is this the turning point where her life pivoted for worse? My answer: yes.Read an excerpt of Janeology and read more about this author at her website or visit her blog.
This chapter was originally a short story, written in my quest to be a voyeur to the day in the life of a criminal. The question was: Are bad people born or made?
Here, Jane has recently been abandoned by her mother after a botched shoplifting attempt where her mother left her to take the rap. Her mother sped away and later died. Now, sitting in a holding cell, Jane overhears the officers.
Texas – 1976
The blue Buick had come to a stop five miles from the Texas-Mexico border. There were two survivors, both sitting in the front. Apparently they had picked up a hitchhiker. That was the one in the backseat, the one they said hurt my mother. The others didn’t have to go to the hospital. Not a scratch.
I sit in a jail room and try to overhear more while the lady cop makes phone calls. The other officers drink coffee and talk about me. I guess they think I can’t hear them, but I can.
“The kid must be upset,” I hear one of them say. “We’re waiting for her father to come and get her. A Samuel Downing of Del Rio. He didn’t sound too happy about having to get her.”
I hear another officer say that some of the blue vinyl had stuck to the dead man’s face and peeled off when they got him out.
“He was done for, plain and simple,” someone said. “An eye for an eye and all that jazz. Justice on earth or on a piece of toast.”
I wish I had a piece of paper to write down what he said. I want to remember “justice on a piece of toast.”
Jane continues to relate her life to the lady cop throughout this chapter. As she describes her life with her mother, relating things she’s too young to know, she reveals herself as both child-like and worldly at once, a trait she will carry forever. By the end of the chapter, her primary concern is not that of her own well-being, but of what has become of her cat, Gene, and who will feed him if she doesn’t go home right away. And one can understand why. You really want to get that cat for her! You wonder if it would have made a difference in her ability to parent her own children later on. Of course, only Jane could answer that truthfully. I know I’d like to ask her.
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