by Mike Palecek
In my first book, "KGB," one of the characters operates an underground radio station in Sioux City, Iowa.
I think part of the allure of writing fiction is that you can make things occur in the world that you want to happen.
You can place a radical radio station in downtown Sioux City, even though as you drive around the city the air is not electric but stifling.
Elana Usak is the owner, reporter, crew of Radio Free Siouxland.
Usak was my grandmother's maiden name. I never met her. She came from Prague in the very early part of the last century. She was pregnant with my father during the trip over on some big ship called the Washington. She lived in a boxcar in South Dakota for two years. I don't recall ever seeing a picture of her.
I don't know why they came over from Prague.
Or why they came out here: Ellis Island; Chicago; Verdigre, Nebraska; Winner, South Dakota.
But it must have took some kind of spirit. Wow. I guess it's up to me to imagine what she might have been like.
She employs help from a sympathetic instructor at Morningside College. She meets Paul, her starry-eyed backwoods groupie, gets thrown into the Woodbury County Jail.
She becomes part of a prisoner plot to take revenge for the killing of the poor in the invasion of Panama, the destroying of millions of American lives by the prison industry, the murder of Iraqi people in the first Gulf War, the slaughter of so many peasants in El Salvador whose crime was to try to breath the same air also coveted by Ronald Reagan and George Bush.