If I Learned to Be Like Belasco

A quote about escape from Mockingbird, a 1980 sci-fi novel by Walter Tevis:

Life in prison wasn’t [so bad] and if I learned to be like Belasco I could make an easy life for myself here. There really was almost no discipline, once you learned how to avoid being beaten by the guards, just by keeping an eye out for them. Obviously, once the device of the metal bracelets had been invented, everything about running a prison had gone slack, as with so much else. There was plenty of dope, and I was used to the food and the labor. And there was TV, and Biff, my cat…

But that was only part of me. There was another, deeper part that said, “You must leave this place.” And I knew, knew even to my terror, that I had to listen to that voice.

My old programming would say, “When in doubt, forget it.” But I had to quiet that voice, too. Because it was wrong. If I was to continue to live a life that was worth the trouble of living it, I had to leave.

The Belascos among you might enjoy The Good Life for Wage Slaves, a guide to staying sane in The Trap. Get it from P+H Books or from the New Escapologist shop today. For those who’d scarper, there’s Escape Everything!


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at wringham.co.uk

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