Born a Coen Brothers Movie

Sabra Boyd
12 min readNov 16, 2021

A story of tragicomic omens, stolen identity, and finding where you belong

Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter in “Raising Arizona”

The bank teller glanced up from her computer screen and laughed nervously, “You don’t look like a man.” I felt the blood drain from my face, my heart pulsing in my ears.

“Does it say,” I drew in a breath and whispered my father’s name. Her smile dropped. In my rush to deposit a check before a chemistry class, I had forgotten my bank card at the youth homeless shelter where I slept the night before. The teller reassured me that she could easily look up my account with my social security number and photo ID. But my SSN had pulled up accounts linked to my dad’s name in the bank’s database.

She cradled the phone to her ear, “Let me just call my manager. Can you take a seat over there? A banker will be right over to speak with you.”

I watched the spinning glass door and the security guard watched me. I didn’t know what I should say to the banker. Hello, I am not a man. Hello, I am not my father. Or should I be more specific and say something like: My father stole my identity from age 5 to age 12 and committed tax fraud with my social security number, a debt for which I am on a payment plan with the IRS because despite faxing copies of my birth certificate and ID from a homeless youth shelter, I can’t seem to prove to IRS agents that I am not Richie Rich, that my father registered me as the CEO of what I suspect was his money laundering business when I was in kindergarten. You know, like Tony Soprano if he had stolen his kids’ identities.

My face grew hot with embarrassment as I watched the bankers whispering across the marble lobby. They huddled around the teller’s computer screen and every so often, one of them looked up to stare at me. I took deep breaths and tried not to think about how late I was for my chemistry quiz. Listening to the echoing staccato of stilettos, watching people with normal lives, standing in normal lines, filling out normal deposit slips, I realized that it didn’t matter how much I accomplished, whether I passed my chemistry class, or how far away I lived. I would never escape the tendril clutches of my eccentrically violent family.

Sabra Boyd

Sabra is a child trafficking survivor who is seeking an agent for her true crime memoir | The Glass Castle x The Godfather |