“I was 16 when I was arrested for corrupting the morals of soldiers and sailors, blocking a public doorway, and disturbing the peace.
In prison I began to grow up and learn. I learned how to pick pockets, how to open five kinds of safes, how to forge checks, how to work second story, how to boost. We’d practice there. I learned all the necessary things to spend 20 more years in different prisons. Riker’s Island was my Junior High School. Sing Sing and Dannemora State were my High Schools. The chain gang and Leavenworth were my colleges.”
These words were spoken to me by a man named Padric McGarry during an interview a number of years ago. Padric had spent 20 years in 21 prisons across American during a time when being gay meant being segregated, abused, violated in body and spirit. Born in the Bronx to an Irish mother, father unknown, he became a petty thief, a male hustler, and, as he explained, when alcohol was added to the mix, he usually ended up in jail.
Padric asked me to write his biography and I did many interviews. Sadly, he died before we could complete it. Now, years later, I’ve resurrected Padric’s life in the form of a novella to be titled POTATO EATER.
(More about Padric soon.)