The writer recalls her past life, without family and hitching rides at truck stops—and a time in which she may have crossed paths with a serial killer:
"I had a vision of Lisa Pennal as a truck-stop Kali roaming the back lots in her denim skirt and fuzzy slippers with an ozone hole for a halo. She would be easy to dismiss. Rhoades intentionally chose women who lacked credibility. Sometimes, as with Shana Holts, the girl who had escaped in the brewery, the sense of not being credible was internalized. Lee told me that the final lines of Holts's police statement read, 'I don't see any good in filing charges. It's just going to be my word against his. If there was any evidence, I would file. I would file charges and sue him.'
"It took me a second to understand those last sentences. What evidence was she lacking? She was found running naked, screaming down a street in Houston with DNA all over her body, her head and pubic hair shaved, still with his chain around her neck. How could she lack evidence? But I thought about what she'd said—'It would just be my word against his,' which was clearly followed by the unvoiced thought: And who is going to believe me? I could easily imagine my own teenage voice whispering those same words."
PUBLISHED: Oct. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 32 minutes (8063 words)
I used to think a union started like this: You round up all the hotheads, get them in one room, and storm the castle. Which would be great if it were true because then it would only take a couple of weeks out of people's lives instead of years. First you have to build a good organizing committee. Ideally, that means getting people from all jobs and shifts, ethnicities, genders-about one person for every ten workers-so you can talk to each other in some kind of sane fashion. These were things I'd learned talking to union folks at the WTO protests and I wanted to pass them on. My plan, if you could call it one, was to get people together in a room and get out of the way. It wasn't my place to weigh in on their future. But I had to find the people who could find the right people, not just anybody who was frustrated. They had to really love their jobs and love the company because those are the only people who would stick around to make it better. All of which meant that the people I was looking for were the ones who believed in Amazon and Bezos the most. But why would they talk to me? I was a temp.
PUBLISHED: Dec. 12, 2011
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4653 words)