The Elmo Files

The saga of would-be liberal crusader and ex-con James "Elmo" Spaulding proves that anyone can get a second chance in America. And a third. And maybe even a fourth.

He admits his chances for court redemption are slim and wonders whether it's wise to talk about these things with a reporter. Yet he maintains that, whether or not his voting rights are restored, his true redemption has already happened -- at Eglin. He now denounces beliefs he used to champion, striving to obliterate his former self.

The answering machine calls this MANSA's "corporate headquarters"
Preston
The answering machine calls this MANSA's "corporate headquarters"

But some things remain the same. Spaulding is still a salesman at heart; he's simply traded his get-rich-quick scheme for a political pitch. And as a salesman, Spaulding knows guilt and innocence don't matter that much in marketing. In the long run, the deal breaker is this: "When you look back on your life," he wonders, "does it seem tacky?"

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