In my hoboing days, when the Los Angeles cops knocked on my door at the Rainbow hotel down from the library, and barged in, cuffed and hauled me to the nut hatch… I thought to ask them in route, ‘Why?’

The reason is I had paid a week in advance at the hotel and not left the room, having returned from world travel with a need to hole up. The manager had called the police, I believe, because the hotel was full and he wanted the room to collect double rent.

On skid row there are all sorts of tricks like this to generate income, and off skid row.

The hatch they stuck me in is considered LA’s finest. After checking in, while refusing to sign the registry, I was labeled dangerous as a former professional athlete. The nurse gave me a Thorazine pill to swallow that I used sleight of hand to stick it in an apple. Otherwise I could have been stuck in that place for a decade of mandatory doping doing the ‘Thorazine shuffle’ up and down the halls like a bear in a zoo.

The California law requires that a new patient be observed during a ’72 Hour Hold’, and then is evaluated by a psychiatrist to see if the patient should be held for a further period of observation, or released. Fortunately, the evaluating shrink was a compassionate, intelligent zookeeper. He knew that, as in County Jails, the government pays a stipend for the initial three days an inmate is held, and after that it’s his duty to shoo the client out to make room for the next money maker.

The evaluating psychiatrist asked me to prove my wild claim that I was a veterinarian, and I told him his wife’s poodle’s gestation period was 63 days. Then he said, ‘If you were me, would you let yourself out?’ I answered by requesting a couple of dollar bills from his wallet, and quickly memorized the serial numbers, returned the bills, and rattled off the 20 digits. He signed the release, and pointed me to the checkout counter.

Now it was another double rent situation, because the clerk tried to get me to pay for three days lodging, that couldn’t be enforced because I hadn’t signed their register.

I escaped on a technicality, and, instead of returning to settle the score with the Rainbow Hotel manager, I got out of town on a freight train and slept in the woods.