Chapter 2. Cracked Up! (1989)

On June 1989, I decided to look for something I had never looked for before in my life—cocaine.  I separated from Louisa in pursuit of another woman named Spring, whom I was totally infatuated.  I rented an apartment considered a bachelor’s pad, single bedroom with a fireplace.  The relationship never did go in the direction I wanted, but it afforded me ample opportunities to spend time with many other women.

As most kids growing up in the urban streets of Cleveland, in the 60’s and 70’s, I drank my share of cheap wine, smoked my share of marijuana and tried the psychedelics of LSD and hashish.  I could honestly say the only thing I’d ever been addicted to was cigarettes, and on November 27, 1978, I successfully stopped using them.  Her name was Cindy, my first wife, I met on a visit to the dentist office where she worked.  I fell in love with this woman on first sight.  I was in so much love with her, she, too being a cigarette smoker, I made a commitment to her on her birthday, and the day of my mother’s birthday and it being Thanksgiving, I would never smoke another cigarette.  I told her, I knew cigarettes ended life and I wanted to spend every minute I could with this woman, so I stopped.

Where I spent my teen-age years in Cleveland

Where I spent my teen-age years in Cleveland

It wasn’t until later, when I met a few friends who permitted me to share with them their little glass vials, or aluminum-wrapped, white powdered thrill product; but, I never really got high!  I would feel a little warm in body temperature, a pleasant feeling of my inhibitions being whisked away, but I did not feel what I thought I should have experienced.  Getting HIGH!  I wanted to see things like when I did acid.  Wanted to have the coolness as when I did marijuana, and the near passing out feeling as when I did alcohol.  I wanted all three of these feelings at once.  The white powder only made my nasal passages drain but I did feel good, but I wanted something more.

I met an older gentleman and shared my thoughts who managed to get me something with a little more kick.  “Beige Rock.”  The color was as the name, and the consistency a bit grainy.  He warned; however, after I explained how I would snort a quarter, twenty-five dollars, in each nostril, not to do the same with what he handed me.  Instead, divide it into four piles, after crushing it, making lines and do one line at a time.  I did, and it was wonderful.  I quickly did the rest for the maximum effect, announcing to myself, now I know why they use this stuff.  I have to get more!

I got into my car, a 1985 Maxima, with its three antennas in the back: telephone, citizen’s band radio and the regular car radio, and went searching for the old man.  He told me I would be back and he would be waiting, but I couldn’t find him or anyone who knew him, so I decided to go across the Hudson River to Newburgh.  Newburgh was known for its roughness, prostitutes and drugs.  This is where the infamous Tawana Brawley episode occurred.  I just had to figure out where to go.  It didn’t take me long to determine where the “wrong” neighborhood was, as oppose to the “right” neighborhood.  The wrong one is where I belonged for what I was seeking.  The right one was where I used to attend church as one of the local elders.  It would be the same street, Liberty Street, but just across the major intersection, and then drive slow.

I think driving too slow proved to be my mistake.  Instead of people coming toward me, they were looking and running, or head back in the opposite direction—quickly, looking behind themselves to see what I would do.  Liberty Street was one-way after the intersection previously mentioned, unlike the two ways where the church was.  Liberty is like that, y’know.  There is only one way to true liberty.  And, happy is the man who finds it.  But for now, I was looking for Beige Rock.  Liberty would have to wait!  Little did I know how prophetic those words would be.

It was about two in the morning and after driving around for quite awhile a young lady brave enough to approach me, indicated for me to stop.  She approached slowly, looking into the car before actually saying anything. Her first question was,

“Are you a cop?”

“No.” I responded, and asked, “Why?”

“Because everyone thinks so.  What are all those antenna’s for?  You have a police radio?  Yeah, what’s that?” pointing to my hand transmitter for the CB radio.  I reached for it, demonstrated its function.  She seemed relieved enough to come closer and lean into the window.

“So, what you lookin’ for?”

“I’m looking for something.”

“What?  You wanna date?”

I thought she was a prostitute, but wasn’t sure.  When I was eighteen, a friend of mine and I drove to New York City and went to where the girls advertised their wares.  You could tell most of them were models, or had to be.  They were beautiful.  The fur coats in the winter time and the fur jackets in the summer!  Or at least, it seemed that way.  But in this part of the world, that recognition trait wasn’t there.  She was dressed normally as anyone would be.  Must not be that good.  The New York City girls charged $150.

“How much?”

“For what?”

“You know, a date, like you said.”  I wondered if she really was one now.

“Twenty.”  My suspensions were confirmed.  She wasn’t that good!

“Well, actually, I’m looking for something else.”

“What?”

“Beige Rock.”

“What’s that?”

Now, I was disappointed.  All this driving to get to Newburgh, then driving around until someone would approach me and I end up with someone who not only was a poor prostitute but an ignorant one at that!

“You know, cocaine.”  I tried to educate her.

“Naw, none of that here.  You wanna try something else?”

“What?”

“Take me to my room.”

Where I first did crack cocaine and later would live after being fired from IBM

Where I first did crack cocaine and later would live after being fired from IBM

I motioned for her to come on and we drove to a local motel hang-out on Broadway.  Once inside, Rose, as she told me her name was, took out of her purse a ragged, burnt cylinder-shaped piece of glass which had something black stuffed at one end.  She opened up another small container and put a small white pebble on the tip and asked me if I ever done this before.  I hadn’t.  I didn’t know anything about this stuff.  She asked if I heard of Crack before.  So, this was Crack!  I heard about it in the news, but never seen it.  In fact, never knew anyone who did till now.

Rose explained the technique to smoking Crack.  I held the glass to my lips and inhaled the smoke and held it in my lungs until she said to exhale out slowly from my nose.  I held the smoke and felt a little silly first, like kids holding their breath to see who could hold it the longest, when I began to feel light-headed.  No, not light-headed, pleasant.  She told me to let the smoke go, and upon its release, I closed my eyes experiencing the most pleasant feeling ever in my life.  In my head I thought, “I’m addicted,” not really understanding the full ramifications of that statement.  Immediately, I opened my eyes, looked at Rose and began taking off my shirt.  I wanted the other part of the previous conversation.  This stuff made me feel like I could do it.  She smiled, realizing its affect on me and quickly said, “You like it, huh?”

“Yeah, come on…”

“That’s it.  I don’t have anymore.  We can go get some more and come back.”

“Cool, let’s go.”

I gave Rose fifty dollars and parked around a corner after being explained, people didn’t know me and wouldn’t sell if they saw me.  It sound like a reasonable request since it took me so long to connect with her to begin with.  While waiting, I thought about the feeling.  This stuff was better than Beige Rock.  I considered “addiction” for a moment.  What could it mean?  I was addicted to cigarettes once and kicked it.  So, if that was addiction, no problem. I’d just have to stop that, too!  Nobody explains addiction as something which causes one to loose:  job, family, friends, home, cars, stereo equipment, going to prison and possibly life.  Even if they did, what relevance would it have had anyway?

If I had of been in my right mind, I would have taken this next realization into my heart and accepted it as a sign, but I didn’t know any better:

Rose never came back.

My addiction would progress very slowly for two years, because of my responsibilities at work; I would not allow it to affect my job.  So, its usage was at best over a holiday period.  Then, once I began making friends and drug contacts that would help me purchase Crack, my weekends went from just using on Sunday, to using on Saturday and Sunday.  Then Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.  Then Friday evening, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

My pattern of usage would be to locate a woman, a “strawberry” so-called, who I could trust who would help find the drug.  I began keeping my money in my hand negotiating deals, having the woman merely guide me to whoever was holding (selling) at the time.  Rose’s technique of stealing would only occur a few times with others until I decided this would be the better method.  And it worked.  I promised the girl she would be able to enjoy the fruits of her labor, with me, in the privacy of my apartment.

I developed three friendships I cared for very much.  They trusted me and I learned to trust them.  One of the young ladies, Gina, one night talking after the drugs were finished, found out we were distantly related through marriage.  She was a bit strange, albeit very attractive, because she wore this raccoon hat at all times, even if she stayed over and slept.  That hat never came off!  (Note:  I would connect with Gina on Facebook in 2014.  She is doing well and living a good life away from drugs.)

Then there was Olive.  The most precious little thing who never spoke, or so it seemed.  Our first time together, she helped to find an excellent contact, but just never spoke directly to me.  Once we arrived at my place she went to the kitchen to construct the smoking devices, and saw my piano where I kept all my loose change. She asked me, the first time actually holding any length of conversation, “Could I have the dimes?”  I did not see any problem with it until later in the evening when she began separating the piles of coin.  She ended up with more than thirty dollars!  All future invitations extended to her were only after I removed all my change to a secured location.

I felt sympathy for her.  She seemed like a frightened little bird which needed protection, but what could I do?  Before taking her home, she asked me if she could stay.  Trying to convince me—sexually, wanting to be my “girlfriend”.  I felt uncomfortable having someone in my apartment—alone while I was at work.  I had not progressed to the point where I stole to support my habit, but I heard it was what drug addicts did.  I couldn’t bare the thought of my arriving home and my stereo missing.  So, before I dropped her off, I drove her to my home which my second wife, Louisa and I shared but now estranged and in my best concerned voice tried to make her understand she didn’t need to live in the manner which was not a happy one and although I had a nice apartment, this was my “real” home, and I planned to return—someday, and we both can aspire for better when we learn to decide drugs haven’t a place in our lives.  I think she understood because when I saw her later, months later, she described me to someone who I was soliciting to do drugs, surprised me with the sound of her voice, making complete sentences, “He’s a nice guy, don’t do anything to him that’s bad, like steal his drugs.  He’ll give you money even.”  That was so nice of her!

I made a determination, from the beginning, when I experienced the evils of drug addiction I would not allow myself to hurt anyone.  If in a depraved state of human kindness and morality, if I saw where I began wanting to hurt people, then it would be time to quit.  Never once did I consider the fact of what I was doing to myself.  I was already hurting myself.  I just didn’t know it.

It would have been that time when a friend of mine invited me to join a club where people were making money.  At this meeting, I met people I knew, even considered family and some I have worked with who convinced me this was a way to make some fast money, provided I could get others to join with me.  The typical “Pyramid” scheme.  This was my first introduction to the concept, and with my love for money, it didn’t take long before I was actually running the group, suggesting a way for those who were too shy about getting a lot of people to join, how they could purchase insurance blocks giving you a payout but not as much as other people buying into their organization.  The concept flew and soon I was keeping all the paperwork in my home along with the money.  They were out to make money, and I was out to smoke Crack.  Guess who won?  They were supporting my habit.  I’ll never forget the day when I confessed to one of those friends how their money was being smoked and she offered these words of wisdom, “You should find your happiness in life—not drugs.”  Well, justifiably, we were the same.  We were both addicted to the money.  I just spent mine differently, and her money, too.

When my lease was up, I decided to return home.  My addiction was becoming unmanageable.  I was having trouble for the first time in my life paying bills.  This was uncomfortable because I had excellent credit and I was taking it for granted.  Although Louisa and I hadn’t had any lengthy conversations regarding our marriage, I knew I would be welcomed home.  I needed Louisa’s presence thinking it would afford me an opportunity to regain some footing.  There would be no way I would or could use drugs with her being around.  Living without her, I was unaccountable and knew I needed to have this now in my life.  So, I returned home.

Nothing changed much in my personal relationship with her.  I returned to sleeping in the family-room and not sharing the marital bed.  I continued to smoke drugs, sneaking puffs when I thought she was in the far side of the house.  The paranoia present with smoking would often cause me to find out where she was, yet never feeling secured in what I saw.

Louisa had no idea I was using.  In fact, on one occasion I purchased five vials of Crack and placed them in the cuff of my pant leg.  When I went into the master -bathroom, I lit the pipe to enjoy one of them.  When preparing for another “hit”, I felt only three vials where there should have been four!  I heard Louisa coming in through the garage and had this sickening feeling she would discover the missing vial and surely she did!  I heard my name called and found her on the landing, between the floors of our home, holding and examining the vial and instantly went into “lie mode” to explain it away.  To this date, I am still amazed of my quickness and creativity but it was certainly due, my escape, to her naiveté in such matters.  Louisa was brilliant in her field of nutrition, but in the ways of the street, her IQ was like a doorknob.

“Roy, what’s this I found on the step?”

“Oh, good, I was looking for that.  You know how I keep salt in my car when I buy French fries and sometimes they don’t give me extra salt, well, I found these little containers and humidity doesn’t affect it and make the salt clump together.  It’s pretty good, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, that is good.  Do you want me to keep a few in my car when you use it, or maybe for myself?”

“No, that’s okay!  Only for my car is fine.”

She never said another word.  I retrieved that one from her and later emptied its contents to make the pleasing vapor I so needed to have.

Certainly my addiction was slowed because of Louisa but other methods would be developed to practice my love affair with Crack Cocaine.  I would have an opportunity to change my work schedule when IBM needed persons to work various shifts which enabled me to make considerably more money, third shift.  I never had problems being able to sleep whenever desired and thought it would be fun to do so.  This afforded me having the home, to myself, to smoke during the day.  My change in schedule included working on weekends, leaving me with two days off during the week, usually Thursday and Friday night which I could work for extra money, as far as my wife was concerned, or I could be smoking, just doing so in a motel room.  Which, I did.

It’s no exaggeration mentioning for three years I smoked in every motel, except one, in Dutchess and Orange Counties, with a few in Ulster County.  My paranoia kept me from returning to several except after when months passed.  There were a few motels where it was quite known what patrons did, which didn’t make me feel all that secure either.

One night, after meeting and smoking with Terri, a young lady who could pass for Whoopi Goldberg, was nice and didn’t steal, we were leaving a motel room about two in the morning headed back into town to make another purchase.  I saw the police car parked in the parking lot but did not pay any attention.  He saw us, too.  After we proceeded onto the main road, I noticed him turning on his lights and began to roll.  I accelerated and told Terri I thought this guy would stop us, so I rolled down the window on her side, went into a curve and tossed out my glass pipe.  A second later his lights came on indicating for us to stop.  I kept rolling long enough to make sure Terri and I knew each other’s name.  There wasn’t much time to concoct a story, but at least knowing each other’s name would prevent a major red flag.  She called me “Soon” because my license plate was a vanity one which read “CFP Soon”, Certified Financial Planner—Soon, from the days when I attended Adelphi University in hopes of getting my certification, long since gone.  Before actually coming to a stop, Terri eventually threw away her pipe, which alarmed me because she wouldn’t at first. I heard it said cars could be confiscated if drugs or paraphernalia were located in private autos.

When the officer approached my side of the car, he asked me for my driver’s license and insurance card and asked me where I was headed.  I told him I was dropping off the young lady.  He asked me to step out of the car; and with him walked back to the end of my vehicle.  He asked me what it was I threw out of my window and I told him nothing was tossed.  He said I “did” throw out something because his lights caught the reflection, and if he located it, I would lose my car.  Not wanting to lose my car, for obvious reasons by trying to explain to Louisa, I assured him I threw nothing out, nor my passenger, and go find what he thought there was.

Another unit drove up in the other direction.  He told him he was driving back to locate something and to watch us.  The minute he drove away, when the other officer wasn’t looking, I quickly retrieved the empty vials I had in my pocket, about eight, and I put them in my mouth, and tried to swallow them.  I had gotten good at swallowing vials and later retrieving them, in the obvious way, and using the contents, when I would go through intense paranoia; however, because I was scared, I couldn’t manage any saliva to assist in my covert activity.  With my tongue, I managed to place them at varying angles, leaving my mouth appearing normal and allowing me to talk normally.  I didn’t dare talk to Terri, who was still seated on the passenger side, feeling confident as a street person, she knew what to do.  When the officer returned, he went to her and spoke through the driver’s side, then approached me again, handing me my license and insurance card, saying,

“I know what you did.  You and her were using drugs, going to get more until you saw me, then tossed what you had.  I didn’t find anything, but you, sir, live across the river.  I would suggest you to take her back into town and return to your side of the river and not come back.”

I managed to say, “thank you”, and got back into my car and drove off.  Terri was calm through the whole event.  She told him simply we were on a date and that’s it.  Although I had the room key in my pocket, I did take Terri home and went directly over the Beacon/Newburgh Bridge.  The following day I returned the key.  It would be several months before I would feel comfortable to use that place again.

There would be several times where God protected my foolishness regarding the police.  On more than one occasion, the police would be just entering a drug spot no sooner had I exited, to do a raid.  Once, I was in a multi-tenanted dwelling, with various dealers and the apartment where I purchased and using was spared from a raid.  On another occasion, while having a young lady make a purchase for me, while on a landing which separated the second and third floors, with my observing the transaction and seeing the drugs being passed to her and money to the dealer, the police entered, running up the steps, my seeing his pistol first before himself rounded the corner, ordering me to stand still, arms in the air.  I just knew I was going to be arrested that evening because I saw the drugs in my friend’s hands as her hands also went up in the air behind her head.  When the police searched, he didn’t find anything!  I must’ve registered shock on my face because my friend gave me a look which implied, “Look normal”, which I did quickly.  After the police chastised me for being in the wrong place because of my IBM identification, and getting into my car thinking the drugs and money lost in the process, until she produced the drugs from her hair!  She, being white, further amazed me.  Her hair was long and stringy, definitely not kinky and able to hold anything.

This same woman in another situation, in the same building, chased a “snatch and grab” person who observed my taking money out to hand to her, running down the stairs, snatching my money from my hand.  She was behind him before I realized what happened.  When they ran out of the building, a squad car approached because of the apparent excitement and she starts yelling to the police, “Stop that guy!  He just stole my friend’s money!”  I, on the other hand, dressed nicely in a business suit, already looking out of place for this neighborhood, did not want to explain to the police why I was in a building, where I knew no one, with a known drug addicted prostitute, at that time of night, who’s name I wasn’t sure of.  So, I just mentioned casually “Not a problem, officers,” and kept walking to my car.  Apparently the police felt so, too and drove away from us.  I shared this bit of a gem of advice with my friend to NEVER implicate me like that again over money.  There’s always more from where that came from and went to an automatic teller machine to get more.

Yes, there were several occasions where God was blessing me.  Sometimes it had nothing to do with me but what I represented.  After purchasing drugs from the same building one afternoon, a policeman spotted me crossing the street.  I had my eye on him but managed to open my car and stash my drugs in a hidden compartment.  The officer asked me of my reason for being in the area, and I offered a name not totally fictitious since I now had friendships with various ladies and knew their actual names.  He searched my car and noticed Louisa’s baby’s car-seat in the back, suggested a father like myself should not be in this area of town, looking for a known prostitute.  I agreed and left promptly.

At some point when you have begun the habit of smoking Crack, paranoia will become a major factor.  No matter where I have been in various states and cities, even coming to Puerto Rico, it’s a common characteristic, expressed in similar ways bypassing language and culture.  In the beginning, I could smoke and there would be no fear, similarly to say using marijuana.  Certainly, if using either outside, one is careful not wanting to be arrested especially if you’re still trying to portray a good Christian or citizen.  Then somewhere, someday, somehow it hits you.  And when it does, it hits you hard!!!

When my paranoia came, I could no longer smoke outside, at least not comfortably.  All of my smoking had to be indoors.  At the beginning, I could smoke in my car until I started seeing policemen and police cars coming from places where they couldn’t have possibly been, beginning to chase me!  And me driving miles—literally, in some cases, to state borders and beyond still avoiding my imaginary police officers.  I’d like to share with you one incident, although there were many, prior to God intervening in my life.

I just received my tax refund in excess of two thousand dollars.  I remember having my favorite double-breasted, blue pinstripe suit on and was coming home from work, on a Friday.   I knew Louisa was spending the weekend at her mother’s in Long Island, so I was free to not worry about any time constraints, so I went to one of my favorite houses where I could purchase and smoke in the apartment of a friend we’ll called “Na”, short for Naomi.

I was introduced to Na by another woman who introduced her as someone who, when I wanted to smoke, could find a quiet and safe place, where drugs were either provided for within the building downstairs or around the corner on a street appropriately named “High Street”, where I had found another apartment house available to smoke and purchase.  But Na’s was the preferred place. A second floor apartment so I didn’t have to worry about being observed from a first level advantaged by my paranoia squad of police.  These guys were always following me around no matter where I would go and how careful I was in concealing myself.  Having a nice supply of money available, I would buy in two to three hundred increments, keeping the rest in my car, which had an alarm, parked directly across the street in front of the house, so I felt secured.

It was at Na’s apartment I learned about resin, the by-product and more potent form of the drug.  Previously, as others I have learned, would place our rock in the pipe, smoke, noticing the brown residue forming into a hard caked mass, eventually blocking the pipe’s airway, so I would throw it away!  Na taught me better, showing how to retrieve the resin in two ways.  If using a plastic soda bottle to smoke, how to rinse with alcohol, place on a plate and burn off the moisture leaving a film which you scraped, put on a pipe using cigarette ash and you’re back in business.  Or, if using a glass pipe, scrape, then push the filter to the opposite end, replacing the resin and start over again except it’s punch is considerably more powerful, and I found out the hard way.  Let me explain what I remember, but those standing by, their recall may be altogether different.

I put an amount of resin onto a glass pipe, in the street referred to as a “stem”, and we’ll refer to the same, lit a cigarette lighter and pulled a healthy amount of smoke into my lungs.  Holding it normally as I did, I felt an enormous change in what I would consider the barometric pressure, in my head!  My eyesight became clearer and my hearing was multiplied to an extreme.  I would key into any sound made or not made!  I would joke I could hear someone passing gas, in a jet flying overhead.  Whatever is your most feared situation comes into a forced, quickly lived reality.

First I could hear cars coming to a screeching stop outside the apartment, complimented by the sound of sirens, indicating there were police cars outside.  I heard my grandmother’s voice, which for all practical purposes was still in Cleveland, 483 miles away, outside calling my name!  I heard Louisa pleading for me, just as my grandmother, telling me to come outside.  A police bullhorn letting me know the apartment was surrounded and I heard them making their way into the apartment to arrest me!  I dared not look outside for fear what I heard and experiencing was true, so I attempted to hide myself, as if I could move at all!  Most cases, I couldn’t.  I would be frozen wherever I was.  Any sound of my making would tell them where I was.  Closing my eyes, I would see and imagine the worse.  I remember placing my hands away from each other as to not allow easy access for handcuffing.  Then when I knew I would be arrested, I began to pray, with my arms extended outward and separated and laying on the floor on my back!

Who knows actually how much time elapsed because I would have no recollection.  Eventually my mind would clear, I would be brave enough to put down my arms, get up and look outside and then go find Na, who chose at that time to smoke in another room.  She said, “that was the most beautiful prayer I had ever heard.”  I asked her if the police were here and if she heard someone calling my name from the street?  Of course she hadn’t.  No one was experiencing this but me.  I asked her what happened and she shared with me the wonders of resin.  All of my prayers of being not found and arrested were immediately forgotten as I reached to get another potent stem of Crack resin!  I would smoke straight through until late Saturday night when I was exposed to the most frightening experience ever or until that time, anyway.

I was sitting in my car trying to clear my head when the downstairs neighbor approached my car and asked if she could sit with me.  I allowed her in.  I was still hallucinating since not having any food, water or sleep since Thursday, with smoke after smoke after smoke.  This woman probably fully aware of my condition proceeds to say things further inducing my fears.  She asked me to look at her face, and there were little twinkling lights, like little stars!  A bus started up the street, now even with my car, but when I looked in my side-view window to see it’s reflection, there wasn’t any!  None in my rearview either!  She told me about a religion called “Santeria” and how she practiced it and wanted me to stay with her, the Queen, and her minions, who I saw walking back and forth in the streets like zombies.  I was so frightened especially when I found myself being involved in Satanic-type behavior, knowing my life was in jeopardy.  I finally pushed the envelope too far. She asked me if she could have some money.  I was so afraid I reached in the hiding place and pulled everything I had left and gave it to her.

She invited me to her apartment and got out of the car.  When I finally gotten the nerve to get out and go to her apartment, she was looking out at me from the screened window and told me to stop.  When I did, she ordered me to look down, which I did, and I felt as though my feet could not move, as if they had been planted to the ground.  Then my pant legs started to flap in the wind, because my legs had shrunk, the flesh hugging the bone!  I was amazed because it had been hours since I had taken any drugs, but I was experiencing unusual things!  I looked up at her and she asked me am I willing to do as she requested, I agreed, and instantly I recovered and was able to walk again and went to her apartment door, which opened on its own accord, with her seated away from it, and closing without my help!  I sat on a couch farthest from her.  She asked if I wanted to watch television, the television flipping through channels and I could not see any remote in her hands!  It stopped on Trinity Broadcasting Network, and she immediately said, “Oh, we don’t want to listen to this, now do we?”  Now, I was afraid.  I asked her what she wanted.  She motioned to me to look in a direction saying I could have the girl I wanted, and I looked into the farthest room in the apartment, the kitchen where I thought I could see this girl who I was particularly infatuated at work at IBM, getting groomed, her hair being done—for me!  I was amazed.  She told me, “Oh, she’s one of us, too!”

Now, I wanted out.  This was too much for me to handle.  She told me if I did not agree, she would kill my wife and the baby!  I stood up, gathering whatever courage I had left and told her,

“Lady, I don’t know who you are or what you are, but, I’m not giving myself over to you.  In the name of God, I beg you not to hurt my wife and baby.  If you want to do something to me, go ahead, but leave them alone.  I have had enough of this.” Then I proceeded out the door—slowly.  When outside, I didn’t look back, got in my car, expecting to die an excruciating death by some unheard method, started the car, put it into gear and drove myself to the police department, even after she warned me not too.

The house where I all these events took place

The house where all these events took place

There I am, early Sunday night explaining my story to the desk officer who called a sergeant to have me repeat what I said.  They both looked at me in shock.  I told them I will admit to using drugs, but they are dangerous and they needed to investigate.  The police sergeant said something to me which I will never forget.  He said,

“Mister, I don’t doubt what you saw or heard.  We know about them Jamaicans and Puerto Ricans.  (Note:  I have no prejudice against these persons/groups just mentioned, but I’m writing as it was given to me.  In that particular area of the city, it was inhabited mostly by Puerto Ricans and the Jamaicans were normally the drug dealers.)  You are not the first.  But you are fortunate enough to be here and telling us.  Now, don’t you think these people haven’t brought their religion and drugs here?  Sure they have.  And to be honest, as long as they stay over there, we’re not going to bother them.  Go home and never go back there again!”  It sound like good advice and I decided to take it.

I went home and cleaned myself up and waited for Louisa to come home.  I was relieved to hear her car in the driveway then heard the automatic garage door opener working.  I met her in the doorway and asked her if she were okay.  She must have seen the alarm in my eyes, but comfort soon came over me when I learned she was almost in a bad accident because a car cut her off on the way home!  Later I shared with her my experience.  She called a friend and she told her what I had just told her, commenting,

“This is real!  The Devil has power, too!  You don’t know who you are fooling with.”

I avoided that street like the plague although my addiction would continue.  I eventually saw the “Queen” walking near the main part of town and I got out of the area, not wanting to be seen.  Years later, I would venture down that street and notice the building boarded and police notices nailed in various places.

Perhaps the most embarrassing and revealing to me I had a serious problem was when I was working in my office, Louisa was upstairs, and the power went off!  In my heart I knew what it was, but unless you have it to happen, you try to explain it as something else.  When I first encountered drugs, I paid several hundred dollars so someone else could have their electricity back, now it was my turn.  I tried telling Louisa, perhaps the neighborhood was hit, but others had power, we didn’t!  Fortunately, I still had financial reserves to have the power turned on the next day, but I began to mishandle my financial responsibilities.  It was as if I didn’t care anymore and I began sneaking puffs even in the bathrooms at work.  But, they would be small puffs, just enough to get a nice feeling and keep me awake, never enough to have extreme paranoia, although there were some small episodes.  My job was being affected.  I would either show up late or not at all, or on the days I scheduled myself, I wouldn’t show.  There were times I’d go to lunch and wouldn’t return.  I thought my reputation would prevent anything from really happening to me, but soon, IBM would have enough.  I was placed on warning if I did not arrive on time, or did not report in when I said I would, my employment would be terminated!

Chapter 3

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