Posts from Pumpjack Press authors and contributors about culture, books, economic and social justice topics, history and more, with the occasional poem and short story.

Bonnie and Clyde: Behind the headlines—The limps

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In 1932, Clyde was serving a 14-year stretch in notorious Eastham prison in Texas for robbery and automobile theft. It was so brutal there (he was doing forced labor at the prison farm), he chopped off (or had chopped off) his left big toe and part of his second toe with an axe to get out on a medical discharge. He would walk with a limp for the remainder of his life. Ironically, he was released on parole just a few days later. 

As for Bonnie, she suffered terrible burns from battery acid after Clyde accidentally sped off a bridge that was under construction. He was going so fast, he missed the warning signs. The car flew off and crashed, and the acid from the fractured battery spilled onto her leg and ate down to the bone in some places. She had such a hard time walking after that Clyde often carried her. 

In our alt-history novels about Bonnie and Clyde, the outlaws are still dealing with these injuries. In this fictional story, the outlaw lovers didn’t die in the infamous bullet-riddled car. Instead, their deaths were faked and they were forced to work for the government, defending the working class, to atone for their crimes. Their special skills — violence and cunning — make them useful but expendable assets.