Twisted Tale: Corrupt Detroit Lawyer Tries to Escape Prison

here once was an infamous lawyer who ruled over the city of Detroit. I know what you're thinking: "Well, which one?" So infamous this lawyer was that I could almost guarantee you'd wince if I revealed his name.

He was tall, about 5-foot-10 or so, and cut a man's-man figure. He had a naturally brilliant wit, devilishly handsome good looks, and he was paid just as handsomely by his long list of clients-notorious killers, thieves and other creatures of ill repute.

After all, he was the best defense lawyer around. And for the right price, he could get you "off the hook" for anything. He never broke the law. He was above it! And he bent it whichever way fit his clients.

Well, the day finally came when this handsome lawyer was caught. Trapped! And with insurmountable evidence against him, the lawyer was quickly tried and sentenced to prison in Jackson, Michigan.

However, at this prison, he was among old friends. The inmates knew the lawyer's reputation very well and together they relished in tales of how he helped so many escape time in the clink. But now it was the lawyer's turn to fly the coop.

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He was determined to get out of jail. So, determined that within weeks of beginning his sentence he made friends with a man by the name of Sam. And Sam was very special.

Sure, the lawyer indulged other inmates. He helped finagle the law so that some would get shorter sentences and others got out entirely. And in turn, he wanted their confidence and protection, though admittedly, he wouldn't need it long because of Sam.

Sam had been a prisoner in Jackson for a long time. Too long. So long that he was able to go outside the prison unescorted-out, then in, then out and back again-at all hours of the day.

He was the opposite of the lawyer, of course. He couldn't read. He was slow moving, talking and his eyes and hair were gray with age. His daily schedule, it seemed, revolved around the steady "ring!" of the prison bell.

"What do you do here?" the lawyer asked him one day.

"I make caskets for the ones who die," Sam answered. "When the bell rings, I go get the bodies, put them in the casket, take them outside, cover them with a little dirt, then the morning crew finishes the job." Suddenly it all made sense to the lawyer. He heard the ring continuously since the day he arrived to the prison. "Excellent!" he thought and then he began conspiring his escape.

The plan was simple. He would ride out to the graveyard in one of the coffins and escape unnoticed. Sam wasn't so sure about the plan. After all, he was told his parole was coming soon. But the lawyer was determined.

They formed an unlikely friendship, the lawyer and Sam. And each day, Sam repeatedly went over the steps of his prison duties at the lawyer's request, and the lawyer would read Sam's daily mail for him in return.

One day, a letter arrived that said Sam was soon to be released. His wife was dying and she asked for the mercy of the courts to see her husband one last time. It would have been bittersweet news for Sam, as he wanted to see his wife so badly. But the lawyer, having read the letter first, told Sam that his wife had died and he had missed the funeral. Like I said, the lawyer was determined.

The next day, Sam agreed to the lawyer's plan and the opportunity to escape came at midnight. The bell rang as usual, only this time the lawyer was waiting in the darkness at the prison loading dock to make his escape. He heard slow moving footsteps that could only be Sam's, and the drag of a casket. When the steps slinked away, the lawyer quietly slipped inside the coffin with a cold corpse and closed the lid with a "click." The lawyer was practically free.

Everything happened as Sam said. He felt the casket loaded, lifted then lowered. He heard voices, then the routine wash of shallow dirt on the lid and then silence. Complete, still silence. It was all as planned. Sam would be out to graveyard soon to let him out once the coast was clear (he was so slow!), and all he had to do was wait.

Feeling around for his cigarette lighter, the lawyer flicked it on to see which one of his old friends had taken the easy way out of prison by death. The lawyer turned and saw SAM! The wait was over, as was the lawyer's life.

Amy Jackson has been telling stories for more than 40 years as a trained musician in piano and harp. And what makes a good song and story goes hand-in-hand, she says. "Anything that makes the reader feel. It's not always good. It's not always bad. It's just life." Each Sunday, Jackson can be heard playing the piano at Second Baptist Church of Detroit.

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