“Come here, Sanchez,” Lewinsky said, gesturing me back into his cell. 

“I'm speaking to you as a camarade and as a vieux légionnaire. Don't break out tonight. As you know, the jail warden has been good to us. He gives us free time and occasionally a bottle of pinard. If you, a jeune légionnaire break out while he's on duty, you'll land him in la merde. If we allow you to break out, we, too, will be landing him in la merde. The capitaine will strip him of his rank and our remaining days here will be liquid hell. If you do try to break out tonight, sure as hell, you better hope that they don't catch you and throw you back in here with us.” 

I was summoned to the poste de sécurité that afternoon and ordered to face the wall without moving or muttering a single syllable. For five hours, every single move I made was carefully monitored. Considering that in the past prisoners were commonly pistol-whipped, this was a light form of psychological punishment.       

“Legion too tough for you?” the PMs taunted me. “You came to the Legion naked, with one hand covering your balls and the other your ass. We clothed you, fed you, taught you French, and made you into a fine-tuned killing machine. Is this how you pay us back?”       

Hours later, the capitaine came in with five PMs.       

“But where am I going? You're not taking me back to the REG, are you?” I protested. "You can't!" 

“We're going home, Johnny.”