Jane Chapman's life was wonderful.
After college, there was Stanford Medical School, then she and her husband David migrated to Hawaii and it was there, in paradise, that they raised an infant daughter, Lana.
One day a doctor told Jane's husband that he had prostate cancer. David was 35.
The couple packed their belongings, boarded an airplane with their six-month-old child and returned to the mainland. They settled in Prescott, Arizona.
As Jane raised her daughter, she also nursed her husband. While Lana grew day by day, step by step, David withered away. People go crazy when their life is split in half like that, perched on a precipice between horror and redemption.
But Jane Chapman did not crack; instead she helped David fight.
He had radiation treatments and still the cancer spread to his bones. Radical chemotherapy followed. Eventually David went into the hospital for an orchiectomy, a procedure in which the doctor removed his testicles. As the cancer ate away at his bones, David's own body weight collapsed against his skeleton with excruciating pain. Through it all, the person who took care of him was not some stranger in a white uniform, but his wife.
"He was very, very ill," is how Jane recalled that period during a conversation over lunch at Murphy's restaurant in Prescott last week.
Peace finally came with David nestled in Jane's arms. The struggle had lasted an incredible two and a half years.
David was 38 when he was lowered into the earth. Lana, at three, was barely old enough to understand the significance of her goodbye.
Two years later, in 1988, FBI Agent Michael Fain entered Jane Chapman's life. Perhaps 24 months seems like a long time to you, and certainly to Lana--who asked if Fain was going to be her new daddy--the period since the burial seemed an eternity; but in truth you cannot travel the path that Jane Chapman took and then, a couple of years later, wake up feeling the optimism of the shopping-mall poster that instructs teenagers and alcoholics, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."
When Jane Chapman met Michael Fain, she was as vulnerable as a human being can be. The special agent from the FBI became the first significant man in her life since she'd buried David.
Of course, Michael Fain did not come to her displaying his law enforcement credentials. Margaret "Peg" Millett, Jane's friend and co-worker, introduced him as Michael Tait.
Unbeknownst to either woman, he was sent to Prescott as an undercover agent assigned to infiltrate and bust Earth First!. Using Ron Frazier as a passport, Fain concocted a story about the two having worked together in the oil fields of Louisiana.
But the FBI's stories in Prescott were a long way from its images in mass culture. In his enormously popular trash thriller--"The number one New York Times best seller and now the movie event of the year"--author Thomas Harris persuaded America that the FBI has solved the nation's most heinous crimes through the use of psychiatry.
Harris' The Silence of the Lambs introduced us to Special-Agent-in-training Clarice Starling. Under the tutelage of Section Chief Jack Crawford, who ran the Bureau's Behavioral Science Division, Starling climbed inside the mind of the human flesh-eating genius Hannibal Lecter so she could capture a serial killer whose peculiar trademark was the flaying of victims.
In the novel, we are led to believe that the FBI of today is not the training academy of Joseph Wambaugh-style cops, out to bust ordinary criminals before a few six-packs of choir practice.
Reportedly based upon Harris' familiarity with the Bureau's actual counterpart to the book's Behavioral Science Division, the novel suggests that today's agent is more familiar with Carl Jung than Carlo Gambino. Take, for example, the following dialogue between Chief Crawford and trainee Starling:
"Crawford smiled a little. `What you do have is a double major in psychology and criminology, and how many summers working at a mental center--two?'"
"`Your counselor's license, is it current?'"
"`It's good for two more years.'"
"`What tests have you given? Minnesota Multiphasic, ever? Rorschach?'"
"`Yes, MMPI, never Rorschach,' she said. `I've done Thematic Apperseption and I've given children Bender-Gestalt.'"
"`Do you spook easily?'"
The reality of the psychology employed by Special Agent Michael Fain in Prescott was quite different from the expertise of agent-in-training Starling. Special Agent Fain crippled Jane Chapman's mental health, catapulted her into therapy and left her wondering, to this day, what the hell hit her.
"It's just so hard for me to trust anybody now," said Chapman. "I'd just as soon be alone."
Fain was taken to the annual summer gathering of Earth First!ers in 1988 by Ron Frazier. There he met Peg Millett and the two government agents drove Peg back to Arizona.