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Meanwhile, the government is trying to seize the $2 million in legal fees the McCorkles paid to Bailey. Chantal served McCorkle with divorce papers, but he returned them to her with Biblical sayings written all over them.
Uhlmann hasn't had any luck sending out blind queries on the book and is working her connections to get a book deal. She has written three unpublished novels that taught her "how not to write." Chantal's story, however, seems like something that could garner its author attention and status.
But Uhlmann gets irked at the suggestion that she would pursue the book for any reason other than getting Chantal released.
"The goal in all this is to get Chantal out of jail -- period," Uhlmann says.
Once she got mired in Chantal's case, Uhlmann knew she would be consumed by it. Much of her day is spent on Chantal. She goes to her yoga class, comes home and starts working on the book, or on writing for the new Web site www.freechantal.com. Then Chantal will call, and the women will talk for 15 minutes, at $20 a call. Then it's back to reading Chantal's diaries and writing.
"Now, I'm having her work on this so she can be totally engaged in it, and I feel like I'm becoming her so I can use her words and use her point of view and not have it be my autobiography as I think Chantal should see it."
But being Chantal feels miserable.
"She's freezing cold all the time, because she's very thin," Uhlmann shudders. "She has sores inside of her mouth; her skin's broken out from the lack of vitamins. Many times she lives by taking two pieces of white bread, putting butter on it, and putting potato chips on it and making a potato-chip sandwich. She ends up with green eggs frequently, and she hasn't had a piece of fresh fruit in over three weeks. She's allowed outside for a total of three times a week for one hour each time. But they make the hour be at 6 o'clock in the morning ... and the uniforms are really flimsy. There's cold, loneliness, and boredom."
At night, Uhlmann reads McCorkle's journals again before sleeping, and they give her "the most horrendous" dreams.
"I know a lot of my dreams are me being her. I hear the noise, I feel the fluorescent light and the cold. I wake up cold a lot because she's so darn cold. I just have to shake myself out of it. If it weren't for my yoga I'd go nuts."
But Uhlmann has felt that same kind of cold in more than just her dreams. In 1968, Uhlmann was a 19-year-old hippie with a business designing one-of-a-kind outfits for rock stars and celebrities like Goldie Hawn, Janice Joplin, The Rolling Stones, and Jefferson Starship. She moved from San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district to Ibiza, Spain, and on a trip to Beirut to buy Syrian bedspreads and cloth for robes, Uhlmann was arrested at the airport and thrown in prison. Her crime: being listed in the address book of an American celebrity for whom she designed clothes and who had become involved in the international drug and weapons trade.
Uhlmann had no idea what was going to happen to her. She was told to keep her mouth shut or she would be killed. She was thrown in a basement dungeon with rancid water up to her thighs, with feces and water rats. For a week straight, she was tortured, beaten on the bottom of her bare feet with a sand-filled hose until her arches were destroyed. Soldiers tried to rape her, and she watched the man who ran the prison smash a newborn baby's head against a wall because it wouldn't stop crying. After two years, prison officials released her with an apology -- but no explanation. Uhlmann says the country had been on the edge of a civil war, and the political upheaval contributed to her detainment.