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  • Almost every photograph on my last drive was for someone. I took this one for Chris Bailey. He and I were in jail together in Kaufman County 12 years ago. An exceptional disgrace on my part as my grandfather was district attorney there for so long and my family such an active part of the community. Nevertheless, there i was, fallen from grace. And there was Chris, dropped down from Seattle.

    The first day he talked to me he was telling me that he had just had a great epiphany about Jesus' name and how J's are often H's and that Jesus was essentially He's Us. He then told me that he understood why mammon (money) was a God for so many people as life was getting hard for him with nothing on his books. He would often trade his tray of food for coffee and us fellas usually tried to help him where we could. He and i used to sit at the common table and do anagrams together. He was really quick to search for a secret meaning in things. For this and other reasons, everyone in the tank referred to him as CIA.

    The thing about Chris Bailey is that he was the stereotypical schizophrenic. How he got down south, for example. He was minding his own business in Seattle and the voices told him to drive to Texas and meet with then President Bush, who has a house or two here. Along the way, his car broke down so he traded it in for a scooter. He finally got to Texas and was passing through Forney when the voice told him to park the scooter and take off walking for 2 miles through this field. He finally reached a house and was instructed to chase the chickens around the yard and then sit in the swingset for 15 minutes. He did both. He was then told to go into the house, open up the refrigerator and eat 3 grapes. I remember 3 because he said he was still hungry and wished he could've eaten more.

    After that he took a seat at the kitchen table. He said he thought his agent in charge was on the way to meet and further instruct him. Her name was Red Something or Other. He really did think that she was coming. He really, really did.

    An hour or so later someone did arrive. It was the lady who lived there alone. She came home to find him at the table and she simply started screaming. Chris said he thought it was a joke of sorts so he said he stood up and started jumping up and down and screaming with her. If you could see Chris' mad scientist 50 year old white man salt and pepper hair, you would know why this is extra funny. The homeowner didn't think so unfortunately. She ran to a neighbors house for help and two teenage boys chased Chris Bailey down on four wheelers and hog-tied him until the cops came.

    By the time i met him he was really confused and beaten down by this whole turn of events. He kept waiting for someone to come free him and explain that he was an agent of sorts. He really thought he was doing his job and he thought he should have even been commended for being willing to travel here all the way from Seattle. That never happened, at least while i was there. I listened to him though and tried to help him make some sense of it. And i always gave him the benefit of the doubt.

    But i don't know what happened to Chris Bailey. I don't know if he got the help he needed and i don't know if that help even exists. I sure did like him though. Hell, i love that guy. I have a page of his writings stashed away somewhere and its a priceless artifact as far as im concerned.

    I get the feeling that i wont see him again but i took this photograph for him in Selma, Alabama anyway. And who knows? Maybe this broken banner was even a clue from the head agent in charge to help me find my way. If so, i hope she sent him one too, wherever he is.
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