Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers
Edited by Jim Tushinski and Jim Van Buskirk
Now available from Harrington Park Press



by Will McNamara

April 21, 1974

     "She's a Class A con artist, that one," my father said. In disgust, he threw the Sunday Register onto the floor, as if it had tainted his fingers. He reclined in his black Naugahyde chair, the orangey tip of a cigarette dangling from his mouth. I was stretched out on the floor in front of his stocking feet, pretending to look at the comics, but listening to them. "I'll bet she planned it all along."
     "Oh, Bob," my mother said from her matching La-Z-Boy, across from him. "She's a rich girl, a co-ed. You think she wanted to be locked in a closet for fifty seven days? I'm sure she had better options."
     "Ha," he snorted. "Don't be so gullible. We're not talking about Des Moines, Iowa, here. No, sir. That's San Francisco, California. Land of fruits and nuts. I'll betcha she was caught fornicating with the Black Panthers and her father used all that Citizen Kane money to hush it up with this cockamamie kidnapping story."
     Who's Citizen Kane, I thought, and made a mental note to ask about it later. I eavesdropped for a bit longer, but they continued to repeat things I'd heard them say before. I already knew what they thought about her.

Patty Hearst/Tania

     For weeks, one of the main topics of conversation in our house and in the news was Patty Hearst. It had all started several weeks before, in early February, with her abduction. It was a Sunday night when Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was interrupted for a Special News Report. At first I thought it was going to be more boring stuff about Watergate and President Nixon with his bulldog wrinkly face, and I almost left the room. But then they started talking about a kidnapping and a newspaper heiress and California, and I was immediately hooked.