A funny thing of mandatory doping goes on in psych wards. When the cops knocked on my door at the Rainbow Hotel down from the LA library, and barged in, cuffed and hauled me to the nut hatch… The reason is that I had paid a week in advance and not left the room, having returned from world travel and needed to hole up.

The manager called the police, I believe, because the hotel was full and he wanted the room to collect double rent. On skid row there are all sorts of tricks to generate income. The hatch they stuck me in was considered LA's finest, and as a former professional athlete I was labeled 'dangerous'.

The nurse gave me a thorazine pill to swallow that I used sleight of hand to stick it in an apple. Otherwise I could have been stuck in that place for a century doing the 'thorazine shuffle'. On thorazine there is no wiggle room for the mind to think through an escape. The California law is that one is observed during a '72 hour hold' and then evaluated by a psychiatrist to see if the patient should be held for a further period of observation or released. Fortunately, on this and two other occasions for similar reasons to confinement during my hoboing years, the evaluating shrink was a compassionate, intelligent guy. He knew that as in jails the gov't pays a stipend for three days an inmate is held, and after that it's his duty to shoo the client out to make room for the next. It was another double rent situation.

The evaluating psychiatrist asked me a few preliminary questions and I proved I was a veterinarian by telling him that his wife's poodle's gestation period was 63 days. Then he said, 'If you were me, would you let yourself out?' I answered by requesting a couple dollar bills from his wallet, and quickly memorized the serial numbers, returned the bills, and rattled off the 20 digits. He signed the release and instead of returning to settle the score with the Rainbow manager I moved on to the succeeding adventure.


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