"It was over," says King, "and we're standin' there naked, and a guy named Bradshaw was standin' there, too...just standin' there. I'll never forget how the kid from the National Guard got nervous. Bradshaw, he was doin' what he was told. But the kid got scared and he pulled the trigger, and there was Bradshaw's stomach running down to his crotch. Solitary? Perversions? You don't know the kind of depravity that stalks a prison!"
King looks over at a picture of his wife and kids taken on his big farm in Ohio. "That's the only place where the war stops," he says. His wife Henrietta runs the farm. "She don't go for no nonsense," he says, recalling how once his son's marks in school tailed off, and she personally shaved off all his hair.
King gets up and walks out onto the balcony. Down below, 67 floors, evening falls on the town like a dirty handkerchief. High up there, he is a long way from a 6-by-12 cell, he is a man with the power to raise $35 million in a year, the man who can deliver Muhammad Ali—for now. And then he shouts up to the sky, "If I do not perform, Mr. Rockefeller, I will not jump off your building!" Raising his hand as if he were Emperor Jones, his voice booms again, "But if the Milky Way were not within me, how should I have seen it or known it?"
A star winks back at him.
He says. Winking.