Before going forward in this part, I would like to express that anonymity is very important to me. Therefore, although this story is absolutely true, names and certain details will be changed in this chapter to protect the less-then innocent. And with that being mentioned, I will go forward and say one could have suggested to me that I should thank my lucky stars for what I have. But I would have never seen it.
I recall a night out, and out of a group of friends, all of us high, all of us looking as bad as could be, and someone walked up to me with a small pamphlet and said, “Here. It looks like you could use this more than anyone else.”
The little booklet was about finding God and getting clean and all that jazz—but that wasn’t for me. I shrugged it off. Besides, what would anyone else know about me or living my life?
I recall seeing the literature and there was a brief pause in my mind; as if maybe I should read more, but no, whatever the message was, it wasn’t for me.
There were other times like this where I was found in bad shape by people from the town and they offered their kindness.
I was even told by a woman that pulled me from sleeping in the bushes that “God loves me,” to which I argued, “No he doesn’t.” and started yelling at her, “Nobody loves me!”
There was however, a piece of me that wanted to get away. I wanted to get away from my friends and my life. I wanted to be better and be happy.
I used to imagine me shaking hands with some of the people I would buddy around with and simply walking off, never to return again.
Then of course, there were the so-called friends that I secretly hated, but needed, and in those conditions, there was no handshake or pleasant farewell—there was just me leaving and walking away.
I wanted be free. I really did. I wanted to be clean too. I just didn’t think I could do it.
And there was a strange placement with my trust; whereas someone could come along with the best intentions, looking to help, looking to show me a better way of life, or interested in listening to what I had to say—but no way would I listen to them. No way would I have even so much as give them a minute of my time. I was a firm believer in the acronym D.T.A. “Don’t trust anyone!”
Meanwhile, at the drug spots and with the dealers, I would trust someone to put poison in a bag for me. And I trusted that bag. I trusted this over anything else. I took that bag so that I could transfer the contents into my bloodstream and be one step closer to dying alive.
I wasn’t about to trust anyone else with my secrets. I would never trust someone enough to be vulnerable and weak or to believe in them or their help—yet, at the same time, I trusted people that would literally go through my pockets if I died right there in front of them.
The summer was coming to an end. More and more, I could feel the pressure building up. However, and on a positive note, there were some happier times in my home. The Old Man decided to buy a boat, which was nice, and which was something we could share together. He was really trying to reach me but unfortunately, I was unreachable.
One day, The Old Man suggested I go to the boat and hang out there with some of my friends but I didn’t want to do it.
I knew something was going to happen. I knew something awful was about to take place. I also knew my friends could not be trusted, nor could I be trusted. Yet still, sometimes fate has a way of unraveling right before your eyes—as if we are falling in slow motion and nothing we can do or say will stop the fall.
I knew what was happening. I knew I was falling. I just couldn’t sop myself.
Of course, I wish we never went to the boatyard. I wish we never stepped foot into the marina. I wish there was no beer on the boat and I wish my friends and I didn’t drink it, take the boat out, park it back in the wrong slip—and I wish I never trashed the marina—I wish I didn’t trash the boat and humiliate my family—and above all things, which I knew for certain, I wish I didn’t trash the last connection between myself and The Old Man. The truth is I was dead and I knew it.
We had to leave and get away from the boatyard before someone came and took us away. And of all fears, this was my biggest fear.
I was afraid of being locked up and taken away from my habit. I was always scared someone was going to come between me and the only thing that made sense to me, which was the high, which was the only way I knew how to suspend the thoughts in my head, to euthanize and silence the ongoing concerns, to find a sense of peace, and to climb up into my soft little cocoon which I called euphoria, to leave the atmosphere, and be high in a total sense of weightless seclusion.
We were a group of four, which will remain mostly unnamed. We had to run but we split up to not be caught. However, I am not sure why or where we split up. I just recall myself walking towards my hometown, quickly, and trying to get up some money to make a trip into Brooklyn.
I was feeling extremely needy at that point. Aside from my usual need to be high—I was also aware that I had just destroyed the last thread between my family and me.
I knew this was a leap of faith from the Old Man. I knew this was him trying to extend an olive branch and say he was proud—or hey, “You worked for this too, kid!”
But rather than take the branch, I burned it alive and right before my family’s eyes. I destroyed everything—or at least, so it seemed.
My friend, who I will name as Mike, walked with the idea of stealing to get money. Then again, we still needed a ride and a car. We need something of good value because if I was going to go down in flames, then I would need to be engulfed in those flames.
I wished I could have walked away. I wish I would have never stepped out of my house that day. I wish I never stood at the stop sign near a side street. I wished I never picked up the large stone and then . . .
The idea was simple. I was to wait for someone weak enough to overcome. I waited for someone to drive up and the idea was to open their door, reach in, crash the stone into the driver’s face until unconscious, jump in, take the car, head to Brooklyn to get my high, leave the driver for dead, and then face the firing squad or come what may.
This was the last Sunday in August. Even now, decades later, I can see this event in my mind’s eye as clear as I can see anything.
A woman pulled up. She was a young woman. Pretty. She was buxom, sweet looking and with eyes as blue as the sky. She had freckles, like a pretty Irishwoman.
She pulled up to the stop sign and I approached her car. I chose her because I could see that her car door was unlocked. I opened the door and reached in, grabbed the girl by the throat and then I cocked back with the heavy stone in my right hand.
I can still see her look of fear. I can still hear her cry, “What do you want?” and I paused, not in fear, nor did I paused in concern for her—but in all honesty, I paused at myself and the coldness of my soul, because yes, at that moment; I was capable of and about to commit murder.
Fortunately, however, I was not in too much of an advantage. She swung at me in my moment of delay, which was a split second, and then she drove off as fast as she could—to which I screamed at her, “Bitch,” and then rifled the stone through the back window of her car.
And like I said, I can still see it all. I can still see her old car, a blue Duster in good condition, the corner of my suburban quiet, friendly surrounding, and me, evil as anything.
She took care of the old car. She took care of herself too—probably led a good honest life as well, and for no fault of her own, all of this was about to be taken away.
We ran back to town after this. I stopped at home to get a few things but the Old Man wasn’t around. I told Mom there was something wrong with the boat and then ran out the door before word came home about the boatyard. I ran to head over to find some people at the park on Prospect. Along the way, I broke into a deli with Mike, which availed us nothing more than 9 cigarette lighters and maybe a pack of cigarettes. There were others with us but Mike and I were the only two that went in.
I was too drunk to consider the fact that stores empty their cash registers at night when they close. So there was nothing much to take.
And then we ran.
We ran through the streets and there was a helicopter chasing us. We split up. Some people went right and some went left. I went left and yet, there was a piece of me saying maybe I should leave or get away now. But again, fate was unfolding and there was no way for me to stop it.
We got to the park at Prospect when several police cars raced up. Two officers pulled up and tossed us against the tall wrought iron fence that lined the park’s parking lot and property. The police cars multiplied quickly and this became a spectacle.
A witness drove by in the backseat of a passing car. There were lights shining on us. I could see someone in the backseat of the car with a blanket wrapped around them so that we could not and would not see their face.
They took me and Mike and let everyone else go. Meanwhile, this created a lot of attention. The swirling lights drew onlookers and neighbors came out from their homes. All the kids from the park, some were my friends and some where my enemies, but either way, it seemed like everyone from the town was watching me go down in flames.
And hell, if was going to go then I would have to make a statement. If I was going to make a statement and if this was going to be the last they saw of me then I would have to punctuate this in some unforgettable way.
Two officers escorted me to the car. I was handcuffed. I was heading towards the backseat. Everyone across the street was watching me. There was noise from passing cars on the street. There was noise from the police radios but to me there was an eerie silence to the moment which chills my skin.
As the officer on my right leaned forward to open the car door and then returned to my side to escort me with the officer on my left into the back of the squad car, I decided to make my statement here.
I leaned back on both of them, lifted my feet up and shoved the door to their police car shut and told them, “My Mother told me never to get in a car with strangers.”
In all of my life, I have done some painful things. I have done stupid things. In this case, this idea was both painful and stupid.
I took the mild beating and they shoved me in. I had no idea what was about to happen. I had no idea what to expect. I just knew whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good.