Chapter Six

Artie was an ornery, tough guy. We had fought once before. We had been doing mandrax. He had gotten mad, had grabbed a crescent wrench, and had beaten me in the head with it. I had grabbed him around the neck and wouldn’t let go. The blood had poured from the back of my head. When he finally quit hitting me, I ran home to get a gun. It was a 1/2 mile journey through the woods. I made it quick, I wanted revenge, bad.

I made it home, but Jeannie wouldn’t let me have the gun. She had it hidden. I searched the house, but was unable to find it, so I grabbed a stick and headed back toward Artie’s house. It was dark now. I ran through the woods. My body was extremely weak from a combination of the mandrax, alcohol, and blood loss.

When I got there, the cops were everywhere. Artie’s wife had called the police. I waited in the woods for a minute, but they didn’t leave. I couldn’t attack him with the police there, so I walked back home. Jeannie was worried; my head was still bleeding. I had lost about a pint of

blood. Jeannie insisted that I go to the hospital. I was dizzy. I knew she was right, so we went. The nurses wanted to take a urine specimen, but I refused. I was wasted, and they knew it. They wouldn’t admit me.We went to two other hospitals, but I wouldn’t cooperate there either. Finally, Jeannie gave up, and we went back home. I was a hardheaded dude -both figuratively and literally. Later, Artie and I made up; after all, we had only been playing.

Several years later, Mike, one of my smuggling buddies, came by my house with an eight ball of cocaine. He asked me a silly question, “You wanna do some coke?”

“Sure! What you got?”

He told me that it was a good eight ball, 31/2 grams. I suggested that we go over to my brother’s trailer; nobody would be there. Looking back on it, I think that Mike was there to set me up. Something was really strange about the whole thing, the way it went down. Mike was in trouble with the law, and after that night he did some “funny” things. Anyway, we went to my brother’s house and broke out a rig. An eight ball was enough to last me about an hour. We got high.

I didn’t know it right then, but the house was

surrounded by a surveillance team. I’m sure that they had come there to bust me with his coke. They must have been planning to bust the door down and catch me with it, but they waited too longI had already finished it. It was all gone. After doing the coke, Artie showed up. We continued to party.

It’s hard to say what set Artie off that night, but something did. We started yelling at each other, and soon the fists were flying again. We fought from the living room to the front yard. We fought down the driveway. He was really mad; I didn’t realize how mad. He went to his car and donned a holster belt and pistol.

I could hear him screaming something about killing me. He got in his car. I stood in the driveway, pointed my finger at him, and yelled, “You big sissy, put your gun up. I won’t hurt you.” He yelled something, so I walked over to his car.

We weren’t playing this time. He picked up a shotgun, aimed it at my chest, and pulled the trigger. Click. It didn’t go off. Immediately, he drew for the pistol, and it did go off. He shot himself in the leg. It was quite a moment. That’s when I saw the surveillance police. They dashed up from the woods with their guns pulled. They startled me as much as the gun shot did. Artie was

rolling around on the ground in obvious pain.

One of the cops picked up the shotgun and ejected the shell. He yelled out to a buddy, “Hey, come look at this!”

“What?”

“This shotgun. The firing pin hit the shell. It’s a miracle that it didn’t go off!”

Yes, it was truly a miracle that I lived through that night.

I’ve really dealt a bunch of pot over the years. Mexican guerrillas were always hanging around my house. They were expendable people, dopers that the big-timers had left to watch us, the ones with their fronted dope. Nobody cared whether these guys got busted or not. Most of them didn’t care either. I guess none of us did. The police knew we were dealing; it was just a matter of time until they would bust us.

I remember going up to Indiana one winter. Some of the Mexicans hanging around my house had a connection up there who had more pot than he could sell. They asked me to go up there, get some of it, and bring it back here to sell on a front. So I did. I stole my mother’s car and headed north. I headed out of Louisiana at midnight wearing short pants and a pair of flip flops. I hit the first snow of the year in Illinois. The roads were iced over. I

pulled into a self-service gas station and skidded up to the pumps. It was well below zero. I jumped out of the car, wearing shorts and flip flops, to fill up. Everyone was wearing gloves and parkas. They stared as if to say, “Who is this nut?”

I picked up the thirty pounds in Indiana and returned home. It turned out to be a bad deal; the Mexicans wanted too much for it. They ticked me off, so I stole it. I hid the whole lot under my mother’s house. Now they were ticked off. They confronted me, “Where’s our pot?”

“How should I know? I thought ya’ll put it in the barn!”

They thought that I had it but couldn’t be sure. They were mad; they wanted their pot. I continued to lie -they’d never get the truth out of me. Finally, they began a diligent search. That pot was worth $30,000 and they were determined to find it. They looked everywhere.

Later that day, the sky darkened, and thenrain poured. I was afraid that the weed was going to get wet; a stream of rainwater was flowing under the house. The Mexicans were still searching, so I had to hurry. The weed had to come out from underneath the house. I laid some newspaper down in the attic, then hurried the pot up there. Mom asked what I was doing. I threw her a

pound. “Don’t worry about it! Just keep your mouth shut!” The pot was soaked. Water began dripping through the kitchen ceiling, and Mom’s boyfriend wanted to know what was going on.

“George,” I explained, “stay out of the attic! I’ve got some weed up there. It’s wet. I’m letting it dry out. Just keep your mouth shut! The Mexicans are looking for it and if they find it, we’re all dead!”

George freaked out. He got a hammer and nailed all of the windows in the house shut. We were all afraid, with good reason. The Mexicans had called in some hired killers. They wanted their money. They threatened me at gun point; they threatened my family. They made it perfectly clear, “We want the money! The money! The money! The money! You’re all dead if we don’t get the money!”

“I don’t have your dope or your money!” I pleaded.

They weren’t satisfied. “Borrow it!” they demanded.

They escorted my cousin and me to the local bank. We tried to take out a loan, but were turned down. Luckily, the Mexicans were satisfied that we had tried. They decided to let us live. We were instructed that this was never to happen again. Ever! I left that dope in the attic for a long time. It was a close call!

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