The Life and Times of a Total Loser (Part Seven)

Well muh dudes, I’ve been looking over what I’ve written, lookin’ forward about what would come after this, lookin’ back at everything that’s happened since that fateful day detoxing in 2015, and I’ve decided that this memoir is the last piece of that tale that’s worth wasting your time with. The addiction memoirs about meth, heroin, spice, alcohol and weed all combine to tell you about my 20’s. The major events that don’t fit in there are Papaduke’s offing himself, and then the time I tried to off myself. I already gave those events the royal treatment with their own standalone memoirs.

But like just so you know how the puzzle fits together:

At the end of this essay I hop a Greyhound from Cleveland to Florida. “Everything I Love About Drinking Too Much Liquor” starts out right there. In the middle of that, I switched gears and hopped over to “How I Kicked The Heroin” just long enough to accidentally kill my Dad. Then I was drinking, took a break to talk to demons and smoke The Demon Spice for a bit, back to drinkin’ ‘til the time I tried to kill myself, and then I asked “Maybe We Should Put Down The Meth?” after smoking a bunch of meth and making this page.

The last L&T left off on my 21st b-day. That magical card that let me buy alcohol legally was both a blessing and a curse. See, it was a blessing because it let me buy beverages infused with ethanol, which has potent mind altering effects. It was a curse because when I ingest EToH I get even more unpredictable and violent than when I’m not shitfaced drunk.

Having the ability to purchase those beverages had a habit of turning bad after I drank them. Plus, Mommy is a recovering alcoholic who’s somehow managed to stay sober my whole life. She didn’t want the drinks in her house, but I wanted to drink them somewhere. I also needed money to buy the drinks but didn’t have a job that provided those funds. What I did instead of, like, not stealing money from my mom and using it to smoke weed and get drunk in her basement was… uhh…

Well… you know...

I stole money from Mamadukes so I could smoke weed and get drunk in her basement all day. Wasn’t that obvious? Eventually, Mom was like “Why don’t you just go on and get the fuck out? You don’t live here anymore!”

(Except way nicer because Mommy says things nicer than that)

If you’ve read “Whoops, Turns Out I’m A Sociopath (Muh Bad)” then you’ve heard this next part. I left Mamadukes and moved in with my friend Jack, his girlfriend Leslie, and Jack’s parents. At first it was cool, Leslie and I being in the house during the day meant Jack’s mom could work because we could watch Jack’s grandmother.

(Oh yeah… Jack’s grandmother had dementia and she lived with them too)

The situation was chill for about a month, and then a few things happened that led to me being politely chased out the door for stealing hundreds of dollars. First, we all had a buddy named Jason, and Jason was grimy, dirty, amoral thief who stole things a lot (despicable). Jack’s dad sold alotta pot, and Jason knew how to pick the lock to the safe with all the weed in it. Jason taught me to pick the lock to the safe, which was a skill I made sure to practice every chance I got.

Eventually, between Jack, Jason, and I the vanishing weed became too much for Jack’s dad. He couldn’t confront us because the according to the official narrative we didn’t know he sold teh durgs. He ended up moving the safe instead. Then Leslie got a job, which left me alone “watching Grandma” while everyone was at work.

Now, Jack’s parent would call to check in every now and then, but what they meant by “watching Grandma” was different from what I meant. When I’d tell them “Yeah, I’m watching her. She’s fine,” was that I was tearing the house apart looking for the safe. I mean, they shoulda had more empathy and put themselves in my shoes so that they’d understand my real meaning. These miscommunications happen when you don’t pay attention. Their fault, not mine.

(Selfish pricks)

Long story short, I eventually found a stash of a couple hundred bucks in Jack’s parent’s room. Just pretend I said some oblivious psychopathic shit about why I was justified in stealing it. I had an excuse at the time, but I forget what it was. Stealing the money isn’t what I feel guilty for though. What I feel bad about was using the money to get all fucked up with Jack, Leslie, and Jason. As soon as Jack’s Dad confronted him about the missing money, Jack’s feelings were hurt that I’d stolen from him and his family. I never should’ve let him know I had it, because him knowing I took the money hurt him.

(Not thinking things through like that has hurt a lot of my friends)

They threw me out. They barely gave me enough time to pack my shit. They also kept a guitar my Dad gave me. Jack and Jason also harassed me for like a day trying to figure out where I went. Eventually Leslie sweet-talked my Mom into saying I was at her place, and the crew showed up at my place. It was really just a bunch of talk. They called me a thief and a pussy and wanted to know why I did what I did. Still don’t remember the rationalization I was using. I wanted money for drugs was the reason, but I’m 99% certain I didn’t say it in those exact words. Eventually Jason got up in my personal bubble and put on his mean face, so I cracked im in the eye and started choking him. Jack started hitting me, but he only got a few swings off before my Mom’s neighbor broke it up.

I was only at my Mom’s house for a few days before she agreed to pay off all the fines I had in her area so I could get my driver’s license reinstated, and then I took the money I had left and drove back to Waldorf. I set it up with Craig and roomate that I’d crash on their couch. Our friend from high school was the manager at the Taco Bell where C-dawg worked, and he was gonna set me up with a job. I got into Waldorf at about 9pm, Craig got off at 1 am, so I bought a bottle of Jaegermeister and started taking shots while I waited on him to get off. I remember smoking a blunt in the TB parking lot that night with him and a couple of his co-workers. I had absolutely no clue what batshit insanity would ensue over upcoming months.

(Remember all that missing context from “The Beatdown”?)

Craig and I went back to his apartment and I met his roomate Thundercunt. I immediately recognized her as one “The Hoodrats”, who were a trio of girls I knew from high school. She introduced herself by goin’, “Nice to meet you, I’m Denise” so she could pretend she didn’t remember me, even though I knew for a fact she did. I played along with “Sup, I’m Dave.” That fuckin’ Thunderchunt proved how goddamn two-faced she was by sayin, “Oh that should be easy to remember because you remind me Dirty Dave.” I just looked at her like she was retarded and told her, “I am Dirty Dave…” Fuggin’ Thunderchump, man.

So that first night the three of us, a dude from the neighborhood and these two brothers that live next door. All night I was telling tales from my adventures and ended up bragging about how I can pick locks. The way I ended up on that subject was from Thunderchump bragging about how impervious her safe was. Turned out she had a safe that worked exactly like Jack’s. She bragged about how nobody could get into her safe and then I counter-bragged that I could.

I wasn’t saying I was an expert locksmith or anything. I was just letting her know her safe wasn’t as ultra-secure as she thought. Eventually, she dropped the safe on the table in front of me and told me to show her the trick. I asked her for a paperclip and some scissors then tried taking bets from Thunderchump and her since they were so sure I was full of shit. There were no takers.

The box in question was a fire safe with a hard plastic clasp that folded down from the top half and clamped onto the bottom half. The clasp had a big red button on it that would release the clasp when someone wanted to open the safe. That button didn’t do anything when the safe was locked, and there was no way to get the clasp off without destroying it. The button was unlocked by a small keyhole just underneath the button.

Inside that keyhole, there were two pins at the top of the cylinder that I’d press into place with the paperclip and then turn the cylinder with the scissors, or a knife, or any other thin strip of metal that was sturdy enough to turn the lock without warping. It took some finesse to push the pins into place without pushing them too far.

Thunderchump’s safe was easier to get into than Jack’s was. Jack’s needed to be picked twice; once to start the cylinder turning, and again mid-turn about 1/6th of the way through turning the cylinder. Thunderchump’s safe was a little cheaper, so the lock didn’t need picked that second time. I worked my magic, popped the safe open, spun it around facing her then slid it across the table to Thunderchump. She just sat there staring slack-jawed, eyes wide with disbelief while she struggle to find words. I broke the silence with a “Told ya so…” and the party kept rolling.

I spent the next week partying at Thunderchump’s, and as far as I knew everything was cool. Problem was, I didn’t know very far at that moment in time. One day I headed out for a cigarette run, and came back to find my clothes tossed as sloppily as possible in Thunderchump’s front yard. I never got a straight answer for why I got thrown out, but she cited me never cleaning up after myself and leaving the floor wet whenever I showered. She told me she couldn’t give me back the money I’d given her in return for letting me stay because she’d spent it. She told me she didn’t expect she’d have it, like, ever.

I started hanging out next door with those two brothers, (“The Whiteboys”) during the day so I could have some A/C and sleeping in my car at night. Thunderchump bitched to the managers at Taco Bell and told them if I got hired she’d make drama. I started looking for other jobs.

Whenever the Whiteboys decided they didn’t want me hanging around, I’d go up to the mall and play Super Smash Bros Brawl on the free demo kiosk they had set up. If I got hungry I’d just get free samples from friends in the food court. I pretended to look for work, but it was mostly for show. I just wanted to look like I was trying so when I went to bum shit off my friends they couldn’t bitch about not having a job. Really, I was looking to fuck around and party for free.

One day, a friend of the Whiteboys who I’ll call “Red” asked for a ride to the store to get some beer. Red was a skinny ginger kid that stood about 5’7. Red and I were barely out of the townhouse parking lot when we got pulled over for not wearing our seatbelts. I suspect the stop was actually a premeditated part of an investigation that woulda happened no matter what, but at this point in time these stops hadn’t become routine yet.

Some worth telling you guys is that Red sold pot. He had about a half ounce of mid-grade on him, which he dropped out of the passenger side window as the cop was walking up to my side of the vehicle. It was actually pretty slick. The cop ran my license and all that, told me he was gonna let me off with a warning, and then walked around to the passenger side to give Red his license back. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the officer told me to pull my keys out of the ignition. All I could say was “What?” because I was under the impression I’d be driving away in under 30 seconds.

After being told to remove my keys from the ignition two or three times like that, the cop reached in through the window and did it himself. This ended up being the first of many encounters I had with Officer Yates. In retrospect, my life would probably be a lot different today if I weren’t such a sarcastic dick to him the whole time, but I regret nothing.

What happened is Yates found the weed Red threw on the ground outside my car when he went to give Red his license. Yates started tearing my car apart and threatening both of us with “serious trouble” if we didn’t tell the truth. He was trying to get me to admit it was Red’s weed and tell him Red was a drug dealer, but I knew the law well enough to know Red and I were safe from any charges. It was outside arms reach for both of us, and it was outside my vehicle. According to Maryland’s legal code, that meant it wasn’t in our possession.

So Yates started digging through my trash heap of a car. The entire time he kept grabbing different pieces of garbage out of my back seat, excitedly shouting “Aha! What’s this?!?” just so I could hit him with condescending remarks like “That’s my cigarette roller, officer.” and “That’d be the tobacco for the cigarette roller, officer.”

After a couple of those exchanges, I just started telling him he was the dumbest cop I’ve ever met in my life. I told him that I think all cops are 2.0 GPA shitshows, and being the dumbest of them took some epic shitwittery. Then I started slipping my cuffs and pretending they were broken, just to show him that I could leave whenever I wanted, and I was only hanging around because I wanted to make fun of him for being stupid.

Eventually, Yates charged us both and locked us up out of spite, which to me was a bit of a shock since I knew the charges wouldn’t stick. Thanks to a really efficient system that kept a magistrate “on the bench” 24/7 from an office in the county jail, Red and I were released on personal recognizance before the sun came up the next morning. This charge would end up being the catalyst that set off everything, but not right away. Things simmered for a while before they popped off.

In the meantime, I ended up spending a lot more of my days hanging out at the mall. The Whiteboys’ mom decided she didn’t like me because I was a “lush” and told her kids I wasn’t allowed to be there all the time. I spent a lot of time panhandling, which always ended with a fellow lowlife bringing me back to their place to get drunk.

That ended up getting my number into a lot of people’s phones, and it even landed me a place to stay. The only obese crackhead I’ve ever met, “Fat Lenny”, told me I could crash on his couch. Fat Lenny’s had a friend named Donny who worked as an electrician. I ended up doing a couple jobs as Donny’s apprentice before disappeared on a crack binge, but Lenny’s place was always a safe fallback option I had if I didn’t feel like sleeping in my car.

Even though Lenny’s was an option that was open to me, I tried not to depend on it too much. I couch surfed and slept in my car as best I could, and I was still going to the mall when I wanted some A/C. One day, I stepped outside the food court to smoke a cigarette, and the shadiest looking old dude I’ve ever seen was asking around about where to find a good. I told him, “You lucked out man; I’m a taxi,” and just like that my main source of income fell right into my lap: I became the shadiest taxi service in Charles County.

Life was a nonstop party. In “Whoops... Turns Out I’m A Sociopath (Muh Bad)” I talked about how I’d meet strangers, work my way into their social circles, rob them, then disappear. This time period is when I perfected that hustle. At this point in time, I was oblivious to how much overlap there was between all these different circles I was dealing.

There were lots of little adventures around this time, but one in particular stands out. One night, Red, the Whiteboys, and myself were hanging out with these girls that had come by to party. We were sitting in the parking lot out in front of their place when young blonde chick appeared out of nowhere. I was the first to notice her walking by in daze. It was obvious from the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face that she had no clue we were there, and the fact that she was barefoot seemed a little odd to me.

Normally, I leave people be but something told me homegirl needed help, so I shouted “You alright sweetheart?” Her eyes lit up when she turned and shrieked “Holy shit is that the Whiteboys? Thank god. I needed to see someone I know right now.” The younger Whiteboy chimed in, “Is that Alleycat? What’s wrong girl?” as she ran up to hug his brother. “Some guy just threw me out of his car because he thought I was fucking his wife,” she told announced.

Long story short, she’d been partying with some dude and friends while they were smoking crack. Alleycat insisted she was just drinking, and she didn’t seem like she’d been smoking rock to me so I believed her. Alleycat, the dude she was partying with, and a couple friends had just gone on a beer run.

Alleycat was riding in the back seat with homeboy, texting her girlfriend. Suddenly homie got paranoid about Alleycat texting his wife out of nowhere. She claimed she didn’t even know his wife, but the guy refused to listen. Dudeman kicked Alleycat out of the car when the driver slowed down to turn right at a nearby intersection. The way she told the story, the car was still moving about 15-20 MPH when she hit the ground. I asked where her shoes were. I shoulda known they were still in the back seat.

We ended up giving Alleycat the royal treatment and doing all we could to help her get over the experience. At the end of the night, I ended up having to give everyone a ride home. It all worked out so Alleycat’s place was the last stop. The two of us sat and talked about life and music. To me it felt like we were vibing and having a good time. She really liked how into the band Sublime I was, so she nicknamed me Sublime. She said the name captured my stoner vibe well.

When we got to her place, we chit-chatted for a second before she was asked “Hey what’s your number, in case I ever need a ride or something?” I gave her my number, she texted to make sure she had it right and told me I could hit her up whenever I felt like it. Then she said “Well, thanks for not taking me to some random backstreet and raping me!” and casually walked away.

At first I thought she was joking about that last part. After a couple minutes thinking about it, I realized she was dead serious. I lost a little faith in the world when the implications of that finally hit me. This girl honestly felt like a stranger deserved some gratitude for not raping her. Most girls I’ve told this story to understand why she was grateful. I always knew the world was fucked up, but before that moment I didn’t realize quite how fucked up it was.

Another thing I didn’t realize that was my little “criminal taxi service” was putting me all over the Charles County Sheriff’s Department radar. For the most part, I wasn’t getting pulled over all the time yet, and when I got pulled over it always involved somehow Red. I assumed the cops were after him and I was just caught in the crossfire. As far as I knew, I was another street level hustler, same as any of the other shitheads I ran with.

I met so many people and did so many drugs, the couple weeks between when Yates arrested me and when I showed up to court were a total blur. When I did finally show up to court, I bumped into an old buddy from high school, “Jimmy John”. Jimmy John and I caught up after both of us went in front of the bench and entered our pleas, and I ended up giving him a ride back to where he was staying, which was a chill little stoner colony that belonged to a dude named Dale.

Dale’s place was a two bedroom ranch-style home that also had a double-wide trailer parked on the lawn. Jimmy John was actually a couch surfer like myself who ended up there. I immediately hit it off with Dale and the other folks connected with this little stoner colony. At first, it was just another random social circle that I fed off of, same as Crackhead Lenny and his friends or a dozen other groups I used this way.

Eventually Thunderchump told Craig I wasn’t allowed over there at all anymore because she thought I’d been breaking into her safe. Really Craig had learned the trick from watching me do it and just blamed me because I was convenient. I wasn’t too mad at him for it because I woulda done the same in his shoes. The Whiteboys were starting to ghost me too, which meant that whole crowd was basically burnt.

One day I showed up at Dale’s unannounced and asked if anyone wanted a cigarette. Everyone there hadn’t caught on yet, and they were stoked for free smokes. Jimmy John knew my game though. He just sighed then asked, “What do you want, Dave?” I told him and I was just looking for a place to hang because I had nothing better to do, and Dale said as long as I was willing throw down on the neverending party I was welcome whenever. From that point on, Dale’s stoner colony became my favorite hang out.

At first, I hung in a sort of limbo where I rotated between the Whiteboy’s place, Fat Lenny’s, and Dale’s stoner colony for couches to crash on. One night while I was in this limbo, I went to a house party with the Whiteboys. I forget exactly what I said, but I ended up getting us thrown out of the party by mouthing off to the wrong person. All I remember was that I’d hit it off with some chick and then took over the pong table with her. After a couple games, the dude whose girl I’d stolen got pissed off and jumped up in my face talking shit. I basically called him a pussy then told him to fuck off somewhere quiet and get over it.

The girl throwing the party told me that there was too much drama and I had to go because nobody knew me. I backed into someone’s car drunk as fuck as I was leaving, which made the situation worse, then I went to Taco Bell and got high with Craig before climbing into the back seat of my car and passing out in the Taco Bell parking lot. One of the Taco Bell employees told someone from the party where I was sleeping, and I woke up to the dude I mouthed off to jumping me in my sleep.

I’m not sure how long he was beating on me, I just remember I was already throwing kicks when I woke up. As soon as he saw I was conscious, homeboy hit me one last time and then ran off. I stomped around the parking lot screaming at Craig’s co-workers, demanding they tell me who the dudes were for like 15 minutes before Craig told me I had to go. I drove to a nearby townhouse complex and went back to sleep. The next day I started getting all the information I could about the dudes who’d jumped me in my sleep. If you’ve read “The Beatdown”, this was the first time I crossed paths with Angel and his crew.

Angel was a coke dealer who was pretty well known in a lot of the circles I was working in. His name came up a lot, but that party was the first time I remember actually running into him or his friends. From what I put together, Angel was at that party and he rode in the car that brought homie up to Taco Bell to jump me in my sleep. Angel wasn’t on my radar yet at this point. I only knew that the guy who jumped me in my sleep was Angel’s friend, and being Angel’s friend mattered to other people for some reason.

(I’ma call the dude who jumped me in my sleep “Sleepy”)

A day or two later, I pulled into a gas station to grab smokes and fill up after giving someone a ride and randomly bumped into Sleepy. I told him I’d been looking for him, and let him know that if I’d found him somewhere less visible to the public eye, I’d be swinging. Sleepy swore up and down that I had the wrong guy, and apologized profusely for what happened at the party. I knew for a fact he was lying when he said he wasn’t the one who jumped me in my sleep, but I also knew that him denying it and apologizing like he was meant that he was afraid of me.

I told him I’d let it slide, but I knew he was lying. He insisted he wasn’t the guy. I shrugged and said “Alright then. Be easy,” then went on my merry way. The way I looked at it, everyone saw him shitting his pants for those few days I was looking for him. I figured having him visibly shook like that meant I had won and left it there. I didn’t realize that all I’d done was make myself a target to Angel and his crew.

So, in addition to Angel, there was another name that kept popping up everywhere I went, “Abby”. The first few times I heard the rumor mill singing her praises, it was the Whiteboys talking about her. I asked what this Abby character’s last name was because I suspected it might’ve been a girl I knew when I was growing up. The last name matched. Logically I knew the person I kept hearing about had to be the girl I was thinking of, but the Abby I remembered from my childhood was too sweet and innocent to be the same person.

I finally got a chance to confirm for myself when she showed up at Dale’s to visit her homegirl “Ronnie” and sparked a blunt for the party. Ronnie was Abby’s best friend. She hung out at Dale’s because she was trying to hook up with another house regular, “JD”. I was chilling on the couch playing Soulcalibur with our buddy Byron when JD came in and announced that there was a blunt in a rotation. I made it seem like weed was the reason I dropped the game in a hurry and rushed outside. The real reason I cared so much was because I’d been waiting to cross paths with this Abby chick for a hot minute, and I didn’t wanna miss this opportunity.

I talked about this magic moment before in “The Beatdown”, but I wanna reiterate how fuggin’ spellbound I was by little Abby. She had this really nonchalant “I’ve never had any fucks to give” vibe around her, and I’d never seen anybody play my game quite as smooth as I played it. I watched in awe as she ate up the spotlight and became the life of the party on accident. She was also one of the most naturally beautiful women I’d ever seen at that point in my life. She still is, if I’m being honest. I could tell she knew that and used it to get her way. I could also tell she hated the fact that it was only thing anyone ever noticed about her.

I hung around in the shadows on the sideline for a bit and let the angel-demon do her hypnotic little party-dance for a bit. I was enjoying the show, but I knew eventually I’d need to the shut whole thing down if I wanted to make myself known. When I could tell she was winding up for an abrupt exit, I stepped up and grabbed the spotlight from her.

At first she did a decent job pretending to not notice me, but by this point in my life I was a master when it came to getting all eyes on me. I forget the verbatim run, but I basically forced her to ask me who I was by bringing up the neighborhood I grew up in. The way I did it made it seem like I was full of shit about the street I grew up on. Since she grew up a few houses down from me, she wasn’t too happy with someone pretending to be from her hood.

Abby called me on my ‘bullshit’ by saying something like, “Oh really, you’re from Deep Lake Place? That’s the same street I grew up on. My mom still has our old house there. I’ve lived on that street my whole life, and I don’t remember you… what’s with that?” I was hoping she’d say something like that. I gave her the pre-fabricated answer I’d been rehearsing in my head…

“Oh you definitely remember me. There’s no way you’d ever be able to forget. My names Dave. You lived in the same row of townhouses as me. Your house was on the end of the row, I grew up in the house on the other end. You were best friends with my little brother Pat in kindergarten. You guys painted our cat. I used to ride your sister Jessie to school on the pegs of my bike sometimes. There’s no way your forgot my wild ass.”

While I was talking, I could see it slowly dawning on her as she realized who I was. As soon as I finished talking she squealed, “OH MY GOD! Yeah I definitely remember you. We did paint your cat. Then we smashed the window to get in. Holy shit dude, I thought you and your family were gone forever. Everyone said you went California or some shit. Come give me a hug dude!”

(We hugged)

“Nah, Mom moved to Ohio. Dad went down to Florida. I just got back into town a month or two ago. I’ve been hearing about you all over. You’re a bit of a legend. I couldn’t believe the stories were about you ‘til I saw it for myself. Look at little baby Abby. All grown up now. I gotta admit, it’s weird to see you with a blunt in your hand. You and Pat turned out to be total opposites.”

We spent 20 or 30 minutes catching up before she hit the road. I’d ask if she remembered seeing some of the crazy bullshit I did back in the day, and told some stories about my kid brother’s friends that were all her age. She asked about what happened to my family after we left the old neighborhood forever and told stories about her adventures. We both reminisced about the good old days, stomping around Wakefield Circle climbing trees and being kids without a care in the world.

He story mirrored mine a lot, except she was a little less of a fuckup than I was. She also dropped out of Thomas Stone and went straight to college, except she actually passed her classes. She partied hard and didn’t give a fuck at all either. We clicked a lot that first night. Pretty soon we were partying at Dale’s house every day. Every day, the unspoken plan was Abby, Ronnie, JD and I all meeting up at Dale’s and going on “The Mission” together.

(The Mission = Get money, find drugs, and get blasted out of our minds)

Usually the “get money” part meant me boosting shit then selling it off through my little network of scumbags. Findings drugs was JD’s thing. Abby and Ronnie would grift suckers by being pretty and telling them what they wanted to hear. I’d also rip off acquaintances I didn’t mind losing. JD had a trust fund we could abuse periodically, but it was never a sure thing since he had go through his aunt. Still, between the connections I’d built playing Ghetto Uber and the connections those three had, we had access to anything we wanted.

We smoked a lot of dippers (cigarettes dipped in PCP). There was some coke thrown in the mix. Weed was never in short supply. It was a sociopathic hedonists dreams. It was obvious to everyone Abby and I were a thing, but we both went out of our way to seem aggressively disinterested. Her intelligence really stunned me. How good she was at the game I played impressed me.

She talked about her ex-boyfriend Angel a lot. Told me stories about how they were homeless together and the little things he did that had gotten inside her head. To me it looked like the standard game plan to break down a girl’s self-esteem and make them obedient. I told her what it was, then she’d assure me she already realized it and that’s why she left him. I’d already had more than a few run-ins with Angel and his boys.

Angel and Co. went from being assholes I didn’t mix with to assholes I actively targeted pretty quick. We didn’t see each other enough for me to do much to them. Kicking up drama every time we met face-to-face woulda hurt me more than it hurt them. The best I could do at this point in time was acts of indirect aggression like convincing folks I had a better connect whenever someone said they were hitting him up.

One night during all this, it became clear to me that I was a priority target for the local police departments. I’d been bumping into Yates a lot ever since he arrested Red and I, and he told me that he knew Thunderchump was selling pot. I just figured he was pissed about me calling him a dumbass every time I saw him though. I didn’t realize how serious shit was.

I was hanging out at Fat Lenny’s when Craig hit me up. He said he had a blunt rolled and asked if I wanted to chill. I think he really wanted this headphone adapter he knew I had and knew if I wouldn’t bring it by unless there was something in it for me, because he had me bring that adapter too.

We’d smoked the blunt, I gave C-dawg the headset adapter, then I logged into World of Warcraft from Craig’s computer and queued for Arathi Basin. Chilling at Craig’s place was the only time I got to do any PC gaming. Craig and I go way back. He knew PC gaming was my #1 favorite hobby and he let me play whenever Thunderchump let me chill for more than a couple minutes. I remember I’d just loaded into AB and I was waiting on the match to start when there was a pounding at the door...

*THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP*

Craig was upstairs taking a piss, Thunderchump was in the kitchen cooking, because of where the computer was I was closest. Bitchtits yelled for me to see who it was, but when I looked through the peephole I couldn’t see anyone. I shouted to the kitchen “There’s nobody there” right before there was another round pounding on the door...

*THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP*

Thunderchump shouted “Don’t open it!”

*THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP*

I checked the peephole again. “I still don’t see anyone...” had barely passed my lips when suddenly the door popped open. I bellowed “THEY’RE TRYING TO BREAK IN!!!” as I threw my weight against the door. The door went back and forth as me and the stranger on the other side battled over whether the door opened or stay closed. During one of the “more open” big white dude’s arm came through and started swing punches at me.

I doubled my efforts and put everything I had into slamming the door on the mystery arm, and then angled my body so I acted as a sort of wedge that held the door as closed as possible. The disembodied hang protruding into the door was still swinging wildly trying to hit me. I could hear him grunting with pain from having his bicep pincered with all my weight dumped on it. Then I heard someone shout “Charles County Sheriff’s Department. Open the door. We have a warrant!”

I spouted “Oh shit” and immediately spun around, dropped to my knees, brought my nose to the ground and put my hands on the floor in front of me like a muslim praying to Allah. When I thought it was just some asshole trying to rip off Thunderchump I was willing to fight at the door ‘til Craig could come back me up. I wasn’t gonna catch a resisting charge on account of Thunderchump’s bullshit though. The three of them in front charged through the house with their guns drawn while two more followed them with their handcuffs at the ready. A few more cops stepped over me, then the last one through the door cuffed me, dragged me into the living room, and then threw me down on the loveseat.

For a couple minutes it was chaos. Thunderchump’s daughter had been watching TV in the living room. She was bawling her eyes out as Craig and Thunderchump were dragged into the room in cuffs and placed on the couch across from me. The cops hurried in a pair of a German shepherds and went to town. I lit a cigarette and watched the show. Craig sat staring at the coffee table in front of him. He was perfectly still and silent. I’d have thought he was a wax statue if I couldn’t see his chest rising and falling with every breath. As the chaos died down, Thunderchump convinced the cops to uncuff her so she could console her daughter. One of them looked at me and couldn’t help chuckling…

“You got a cigarette lit during all that?” he said with a smile.

“Sure did…” I bounced back playfully. He shook his head and went back to executing their game plan.

Craid was bewildered, “Dude… how?”

“Practice,” I said with a wink.

It was actually pretty painful to reach around and smoke the cigarette with my hands cuffed behind my back, but moments like these are the kind where you play through the pain. They cops and their canines tore the house apart top to bottom, but couldn’t find anything besides Thunderchumps blunt ashtray filled with roaches. That was until one of the dogs gave a hit on her precious fire safe.

The popo brought Thunderchump up to her room, asked what was in the case, and demanded she open it immediately. She claimed she’d lost the key a long time ago, but it was just her birth certificate, her social security card, a copy of her lease, and a few other vital documents of hers. They didn’t believe her for some reason, so they asked her why the dogs had indicated on it. She played dumb and kept insisting she couldn’t open it or she would.

While all that was going on, I killed the passing seconds by mocking Yates. I told him he was wasting precious time and man hours with this poorly planned raid. I told him a B average student wouldn’t kick down doors for a couple blunt roaches. Something I’ve probably neglected to mention is that Yates and I bumped into each other “randomly” pretty frequently. I knew from what he’d said during those encounters that he’d been itching to kick down Thunderchump’s door for a while.

The Charles County Drug Task Force had been cracking down over the month leading up to this. There were three other houses that’d been raided in the two or three weeks leading up to this. Plus Fat Lenny’s dude got popped right in front of Lenny’s apartment on top of all that. I kept warning Yates not to waste his time on this raid. Given how our relationship was, I basically had to taunt to him relentlessly as I was being proven right. The guy needed to have it drilled into his head that I was better than him at all this.

Now I knew there was a reason Yates waited until I was in the house before kicking down Thunderchump’s door. All these raids were getting set up with the help of informants. Fat Lenny knew who ratted out his dude. I could tell from the information Yates let slip that either the Whiteboys or Red had been talking to the Five-Oh. Thunderchump was constantly going on and on about what her plan with the safe was gonna be in case this contingency ever arose. She also never stopped popping off at the mouth about how she threw me out because I was breaking into her safe. Yates had been waiting to pull the trigger because he thought I’d pick the lock for him if he leaned on me hard enough.

(I really wasn’t breaking into Thunderchump’s safe when she threw me out, for whatever that’s worth)

Sure enough, one of the officers that had a friendlier rapport with me approached me and dropped the safe on the table in front of me.

“We heard you can open this...” he told told me flatly.

“Whoever told you that lied,” was the only answer I could give, ya know?

I knew he wouldn’t bite though, “No need for all that man. You gotta help us or it’s added charges.”

I wasn’t about fall for some slick shit either, “I’m not allowed to break into another civilians property.”

“Are you really risking prison time for her?” he asked with his best ‘good cop’ voice.

What he was asking was legitimately illegal though so I told it to him straight as possible, “Look man, I can’t open the thing. Even if I could, I wouldn’t. If I pop that thing open for you and she’s got drugs inside, you fuckers are likely to reward me with a distribution charge on top of a Breaking & Entering for busting into locked civilian property. If you wanna get paperwork saying a judge ordered me to break open that safe for you and I’m protected from any resulting criminal charges, I’ll do it. Otherwise, I’m well within my rights to refuse incriminating myself.”

The entire task forced slumped over in unison. All their heads dropped in shame as if someone called a moment of silence to honor their lost dignity. Yates had been promising me he had my number for weeks. This was his big play. I’d lowkey been public enemy #1 for a while before this night without knowing it. After this embarassment, it stopped being a secret. They charged us all with possession of marijuana paraphenalia and walked out the door in shame. Thunderchump hooked me up with a bunch of free drugs for refusing to crack. We still hated one another, but this was a rare moment of mutual respect.

If this chapter seems like a scatterbrained mess reading it, imagine living it. Just to recap, I’ve been couch surfing/car dwelling for a couple months now. I’ve been feeding myself by driving shady people around to do shady shit, ripping off strangers, and shoplifting. By this point in time, I’ve built a profitable network of connections and have a reliable system for getting whatever I want whenever I want. I’ve also been really visible in the public eye.

I never mentioned it before now, but I tended to push things a little harder than I shoulda and I budgeted kinda poorly. Instead of $20 on drugs and $5 on gas, I’d spend $25 on gas then end up pushing my car into various gas stations and panhandling to keep myself on the road. Hanging out at the mall, sleeping in the “free trial” massage chairs and playing Smash Bros on the free demo kiosk at Gamestop had also contributed to pretty much everyone in Southern Maryland knowing who I was. People in the underground were doubly aware of me because I’m wild as fuck and have a really loud mouth. At this point, there’d been more than one fight. I got jumped in my sleep. Also, there was the raid. Around this time I noticed that people were starting to treat me kinda… different~ish. It felt like I wasn’t being treated the way people usually treat a total stranger. Almost as if people knew who I was even when I didn’t know who they were.

(I know… narcissistic paranoia.... I’m not that important… “Legend in my own mind” as they say)

Even though I had a bunch of hustles going on across a couple different counties at this point, the place I really wanted to be was at Dale’s stoner colony. First and foremost, they had Soulcalibur there and this dude Byron was actually a challenge. Battling my fellow Gods of Gaming is what I live for, and Soulcalibur 3 is an All-Time Favorite of mine. The next reason I saw Dale’s as “Homebase” was that I had V.I.P status and people gave me lots of free drugs. The real reason those two rationalizations are intended to cover up was Abby though. I was getting more and more obsessed with her every time we’d hang out. We were still both pretending to not give a fuck, even though we both clearly gave a fuck.

One night at Abby’s place, all the chaos and pressure of my wild sociopath lifestyle got compounded with my feelings towards that magical woman and I snapped. I’d been slowly pushing towards psychotic for a while, but I can pinpoint the moment I went all the way over the cliff. Abby invited us to her house, which was totally new to me, and I saw her Mom again for the first time in, like, a decade. It played out weird, and I can’t explain how it happened. Everyone else ended up bullshitting around in the background while Abby, Mrs.IrishMcLastname (not their real last name), and I all sat talking about days gone by.

At one point, Mrs.IrishMcLastname looked at me and told me what a sweet guy I was and said she could see I genuinely cared about her daughter. She told me she was trusting me to look out for her, and that her daughter was one of a kind. I wholeheartedly agreed. Eventually it dawned on me that Abby brought us all by so her mom could sit with me and feel me out. She had some advice about what I needed to do to set myself straight too, and looking back she was pretty spot on. Back then I wouldn’t hear it though.

The moment I snapped was when Abby’s mom started bragging about how she was a top-tier competitive cheerleader. I asked Abby to show me, not because I doubted it, but because I wanted to see it in action. She went out into the grass and did a triple back handspring. Three backflips popped off one after another in rapid-fire succession. Her physical strength and grace stunned me, then it got mixed into the idealized image I’d already built of a fellow genius intellect with just a little bit of a naughty streak and a penchant for stealing show. In that moment, I came as close to being in love as I’d ever been at that point my life. That was the straw that broke the camels back. From that point up until the end of my escapades in Southern Maryland, I was full-on psychotic.

A little after that, Mrs.Abby’sMom told us she was gonna go to bed. Abby said she was going to the bathroom. I went to the rest of the crew and told them I finally realized what it meant to be in love, and that what I’d been calling love was a petty thing that didn’t compare at all. My friends gave me a bunch of “Nigga you gay” type comments. One of the crew, “Damon”, said something about making her… do some favors for him. I told him if he ever hurt her I’d kill him. Damon didn’t like that I’d threatened his life and told me to learn some respect. I told him I didn’t like his little joke about Abby. He didn’t care about that much. He claimed to understand where I was coming from, then explained that the two statements were different because his was a joke and mine was not. I told him fuck off with that bullshit, and if anyone hurt Abby I’d kill.

Now the whole crew was fired up. JD and Damon were real close, so JD stepped into the conversation to speak up for his boy. I told them both I wasn’t gonna shut my mouth for anyone, and if they didn’t like they’d have to kill me… if I didn’t kill them first. JD charged after I said that. I’d basically forced him to. He was standing almost directly to my right, and caught me square in the ear. Damon went in because JD went in and before I knew it I was curled on the ground in a ball getting stomped on. Once it was all said and done, everyone looked at me kinda funny but wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. They told me to go take a look in the mirror.

Turns out that when JD opened up, the ring he was wearing had completely split my earlobe. Imagine someone had a hoop earring that it got caught on something then tore its way free, except I’ve never had my ears peirced. It was a nasty mess. I eventually staunched the bleeding with a rag and a lot of pressure. While I was working on that Abby came in talked to me. She asked me why I said what she said, why I thought I loved her, why it was important enough to catch an ass beating.

I ended up asking her if she really cared about Damon at all, which was another reason for what I’d told him. She’d be playing like she was talking him, but everyone knew it was something she did to make me jealous. There were other girls floating around that I was pretending to have an interest in for the same.

She answered “No” with look on her face that seemed to ask, “Are you mentally retarded?”. Then she put her arms out clearly inviting a huge and her eyes lit up bright. Looking back I kinda think she wanted me to kiss her, but I was psychotic at the time so I just hugged her, bled into her hair a bit, and then stepped outside in the most dopishly oblivious way possible. Then I stepped outside and saw Angel. I remembered the plan was we were supposed to be telling him to fuck off for good that night, and Abby invited him over for that reason.

For some reason, I decided I wasn’t wanted. I decided that instead of getting the girl of my dreams, I was gonna go home, jerk off fantasizing about something that might have been real in an alternate universe, and then fall asleep curled up next to JD’s pitbull Sasha.

The next morning Abby texted me asking what was wrong. Why did I leave? Why was I acting so crazy all the sudden? Could I please just chill with the melodramatic bullshit for a second and go back to being real? The best way to answer all these questions was with cryptic references to God, and psychotic gibberspeak by eternal infinite love.

What happened here, I think, is I first became fully aware of that funky thing I call the Dao these days. A realization of “Oneness”. I became obsessed with a universal spirit of love that flowed through all things and drove us all. I thought I was it’s prophet, and it was my job to teach shitbags from the hood like myself that we had to stop hurting one another for funzies. My friends and comrades in shitbaggery, however, didn’t agree with my message. Turns out “Stop doing all the stuff we do and be out-of-touch hippies instead,” wasn’t a message that your average career criminal is receptive to.

For the next month I text harassed Abby, preached at my friends about “Love” and told them they were pieces of shit for not listening, and paraded around Waldorf under the delusion I was a prophet. The other background stuff I did to support myself like the whole “Gangster Taxi” thing and the nonstop shoplifting continued out of necessity, and I was still welcome at Dale’s. Occasionally I’d decide to start preaching incessantly and they’d either throw me out or whip my ass ‘til I stopped. Sometimes I fought. Most times I was outnumbered. I promise nobody in Waldorf has caught that many asswhippings in such a short timespan and walked away smiling.

My crimes also got bolder because I thought God would protect me from anything. Even if Abby had stopped talking to me completely, I knew she’d come around because I had infinite love on my side. People’s fists wouldn’t silence me. The law couldn’t touch me. I’d discovered the ultimate truth of God. She was real, and She was Love. I’d become Love’s Prophet.

(Spoiler Alert: I am not a prophet)

Well god damn muh dudes. It turns out this isn’t the last L&T after all. What you just read brings you up to speed on everything leading up to “The Beatdown”. I guess there’s gonna have to be an L&T (Part Eight) that covers the post-Beatdown half of this wild ass summer. The psychosis gets more delusional. The legal troubles get stranger. I think I actually did talk to undercover government agents that wanted to use my reputation and my talking points to pump out misinformation and stir up dissent? It’s hard to tell whether or not that was part is psychosis, but I’m fairly certain that was real, actually. For now, just go read “The Beatdown” if you haven’t. That’s what’s coming next, and L&T8 is gonna start from the aftermath of all that. It’s also one of the most insanely badass things I’ve ever done.

I’ll hit you up with Part Eight when it’s good to go. ‘Til then, be easy muh dudes.

Dave BarlettaComment