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Hell

Posted in Blog Posts on September 6, 2016 by drummerboy1970

Hell

Is many things;

Has been,

Many things.

Hell

Today was waking

Too early; before

The birds, even,

To silence; and

Darkness.

Hell

Was Texas,

Driving for hours

In heat, only

To be told,

El Paso

Nine-hundred and sixty

Miles.

Hell

Was rain

In the north,

Pouring,

Forever, from

Slate-grey swollen

Skies, seemingly

Upon just me,

Wherever I

Went.

‘Hell’, he said,

‘Is other people’,

but he

was

Wrong,

Quite, quite,

Wrong,

For it was never

People that was

The problem,

Those ‘others’,

I know this now,

But did not know

This

Then.

When was then?

Before?

‘But time is linear’

The scientists

inform

Me…

’it’s all happening right

Now’,

as I grapple with this,

Here, now,

In this

keyboard-lighted

Darkness,

Silent,

With the no

Birds.

Is this hell?

No, no,

not quite,

 

For hell, was hopping,

From one foot to the

Other,

in bus shelters,

All of them,

In January, with

Their glass laying

All around in tiny

Pieces; the wind,

Cutting,

Biting,

Right through me

As the person

I awaited drove,

Slowly,

Through another part

Of

Town, meeting

Another bus-stop

Dancer…

slowly.

 

The light is

Beginning now,

Here, as I write,

And the birds,

Also.

Coffee?…

yes.

 

Hell, I thought,

As I sip at this cup,

Was the moment my

father,

Disappeared From

view,

On rollers,

His trilby gently

Resting atop the

Wood,

as curtains slowly

Closed at his

feet.

But no, this was

No

Hell,

As his friends,

the band,

Played him out,

Up-tempo and

With skill,

and consummate professionalism,

gleaned over many

years…

Together.

 

Heaven,

was

rain pouring in

the south,

a storm,

hot, healing,

steaming,

and

LOUD.

 

thought that hell

Was the last woman,

Leaving;

The back of her head;

the last

Latch

Click…

And it was all my fault.

 

But no,

No, that wasn’t it

Either.

 

My mother?

Still,

Finally,

Mouth slightly

agape,

Light gone from her

Still open

Eyes, as the

Nurse

Silently opened

A

Window.

 

Perhaps…perhaps

Not.

 

Hell,

Is being

Unable to

Write, to get these

Things

Down on the page,

Which has been happening

Of late,

But as you can see,

I have now entered the

Kingdom of Heaven,

As I sit here,

Alone,

Writing, Feeling,

All 

of

This,

Whilst sipping coffee;

Hot, the steam

Rising to my face,

Warming me,

Sustaining me,

As the sun,

Now sliding in through

The window,

Warms the bottom

Of my leg,

and I smile

And look slightly

To the

left.

 

 

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The South

Posted in Blog Posts on August 19, 2016 by drummerboy1970

Up…and down

the

stairs,

new stairs,

in this

new

place.

Tv…first for

years…

young boy killed

by young

dog.

1400 kids abused

in

Rotherham,

taxi

drivers

‘heavily

involved’…

Tv off…the last

for fucking

years…

out,

away from that

place…into a new one…

the girl in

the pink,

tight,

jeans,

thank you…

just,

thank

you.

“I’ll fight for what’s right…

in the end, it’s the docks

that are paying their

wages”…

says

the woman at

the next

table…as children

cry…whilst their

adults

drink wine

over

to my

left…

many glasses

upon the three

stained,

wooden,

tables – pushed

together.

The beautiful couple

enter the cafe…

the menu board…

then walk away,

too expensive

i expect,

i came prepared

with

sandwiches

from

home?

I can feel the

disconnect

today

here in the garden

of

England

where it rarely rains,

i am told

frequently,

as though this

is

a

good

thing.

“We’re off to Jamaica in

March” says

the

woman

at the next

table,

seems there’s good

money

to be made

working the

docks,

as a glass

smashes

in front of

me,

and

the

adults sitting

and drinking

at the

three

stained wooden tables

pushed together,

ramp it up a notch,

and fumble with

one of those

those big

umbrella

things.

Their children

still

cry,

as

i

hit

‘save’

and

move on out

into

the

beautiful

rain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coffee?

Posted in Blog Posts on August 16, 2016 by drummerboy1970

Starbucks
is like the American Embassy
here
in this new place.
They seem to flock,
gather and huddle
here
together, both to work and
to talk.
Not to play.
Clearly it is about
safety in
numbers,
with the ‘safest’
seeming those here for
reasons
military, about which
i smile, then laugh
alone in the corner,
causing discomfort amongst
the ranks, for
there is no safety,
not here, nor anywhere
else.
It takes most
a lifetime to
discover this;
for some
it takes three,
but mostly,
to many,
it seems
never to occur,
nor ever will it,
when the topic
remains
short
tall
decaff
grande
venti
non-fa…
ooooooooh….fuck off!!!

Recollections from a rehab part twelve

Posted in Blog Posts on November 23, 2014 by drummerboy1970

Continued from recollections from a rehab part eleven…

 

A couple of days after Joe vanished without a trace all of my dysfunctional coping mechanisms predictably began to fall into place because that’s what they do.  As soon as i experience feelings of shame, abandonment, humiliation, loss or a whole host of others, i can begin to swiftly lose the plot and start planning outrageously inappropriate courses of action with only one outcome in mind: killing the myriad intolerable feelings swirling around on the inside, by behaving in an increasingly extreme manner on the outside.

So, using the ‘contraband’ cell phone i had secreted away in my room, i booked a taxi and fled rehab, in the direction of San Francisco, stopping only at the liquor store in Glen Ellen on the way where i got myself a pint of the best whiskey they had.  This of course ended up being some kind of bourbon, as the delights of single malt scotch whiskey have eternally, and most annoyingly,  been lost upon those living outside any of the major cities right across North America, which is probably the reason behind all major crime and the faltering economy but let’s not go there right now.

I checked into the Kabuki, a Japanese-themed hotel on Post street in Japantown, which was not too far from where i had lived through the latter part of the 1990’s, in fact i probably picked that area because it was familiar, although not consciously, at the time it just looked to me like a clean, well-lighted place, not far from the mission district and although i didn’t know much, what i did know was that the mission and i would not be strangers to one another over the coming days.

I found my room, threw my bag in and jumped straight in a cab to the corner of 16th and Mission Streets, scored, and jumped back into another cab back to the hotel.  A process i repeated many times over the next week or so, a process made a little easier after hooking up with a street dealer who i could meet every time i went down there, saving the hassle of constantly having to seek out someone new.

He was a black guy, with what appeared to be the unfortunate skin condition known as Vitiligo, causing parts his face and hands to display pink marking.  I mention this because it was with reference to this condition that he had obviously decided upon the street name two-tone, which was what everyone knew him by and which i thought was a pretty humorous way of deflecting away from what was in reality a pretty hard situation.

Sometimes two-tone was in a wheelchair and other times he wasn’t, the reason for this being, as i quickly observed, that there were a few different people down on the corner who shared that same wheelchair, possibly for reasons of sympathy when panhandling or disguise when the cops drove by, either way it wasn’t hard to spot two-tone as he only had one leg, so if he wasn’t in the chair, he was hobbling, quickly and usually right at me, whilst using one crutch to make up for the side missing the leg.

As i write this i have just, on instinct, googled the name two-tone along with 16th and Mission which took me to the blog of another guy familiar with that particular corner of San Francisco, causing one thing to lead to another, as these things tend to, and up popped this photo of the man himself, sending me headlong down a tunnel of memories and feelings associated with the time i am here attempting to describe.

‘Two-tone’

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It really is strange how in such a short space of time, and under such stressful circumstances as are experienced when trying to evade going to jail, that quick, intense, but also very real, relationships are formed.  I spent a fair amount of time with two-tone, meeting in fast food places, down alleyways, by phone booths, developing a unique language with him so he could warn me when plain clothed police, or other forms of danger, were near and he really did look out for me, as i did for him.

I became quite concerned when he wasn’t around one day, as did a number of people on the corner, with everyone asking around after him and enquiring after his welfare.  It turned out he’d been arrested for some minor infraction and was back out again the next day, with the air of someone who’d had a warm night’s sleep and a decent meal for a change and i was glad to see him, more than perhaps should make sense, but a fast and deep connection with the underdog does seem to have made up a large part of the achilles heel on which i have been required to hobble through the years, causing many short, intense, chaotic relationships (both genders) with no real responsibility required on either side, where perhaps longer investment in people would have been more fulfilling, although would have brought greater risk.

Still trying though.

Back and forth i went between 16th and Mission and the Kabuki smoking crack and the awful black tar heroin that is pretty much all that is available in San francisco, without going on some pretty involved mission to find anything else and I could feel myself getting sicker and sicker by the day and the paranoia brought on by the crack really getting out of hand, with me quite convinced on several occasions that the police were about to burst into the room at any moment and haul me off to jail.

After nearly a week of this, and only this, rarely eating and compelled beyond any mere matter of choice, to continue down this particular rabbit hole, scurrying and scrabbling, wondering how it would end, i finally managed to fall asleep.

I awoke sometime in the middle of the night, confused and disoriented, with the light from across the street shining in my eyes.  I stood up and made towards the light, with the intention of shutting the curtains and falling back into bed but without my glasses on and also forgetting that the room was a Japanese-styled two-level affair, with paper-paned sliding doors, with my bed being on the higher level to the rest of the room outside of the sliding doors, so as i made my way towards the window (on the lower level), between two of the open sliding panels, i just stepped out into fresh air, falling head first towards the window sill.

I put out my left hand to try to stop myself smashing my face into the floor or the sill, or anything which might hurt like fuck, but to no avail, as i cracked my head on the sill and bent my fingers in unnatural angles under myself before finally coming to a groaning, mumbling halt on the floor about eight inches lower than the place from which i had so gracefully launched myself.

It took a good few minutes for me to get myself together and drag myself back to bed, but back to bed i crawled, where i immediately, and thankfully, passed out.

Upon awakening the next morning, all it took was one look in the mirror, one look at blood spattered space that used to pass as a hotel room and a glance at the ring finger of my left hand, the end of which was bent at close to 45 degrees and pointing towards the floor, to convince me that i really wasn’t doing very well out in the world on my own, causing me to pick up the phone, swallow, then dial the number for Mountain Vista who thankfully allowed me to return right there and then…but not before firstly having visited the hospital for stitches to my head and attention to my broken finger.

533726_10152085535043475_1456200733_n

 

And of course, I also had some explaining to do to the hotel management.

 

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recollections from a rehab – part eleven

Posted in Blog Posts on November 8, 2014 by drummerboy1970

Continued from recollections from a rehab part ten…

 

Now, for those of you thinking;

there can be no way that someone could admit to murder in front of a bunch of witnesses like that, including professional therapists, and get away with it’,

Here’s how it works in these kinds of situations from the facilitator’s point of view:

If they are inexperienced or otherwise not very good at their job, they may well immediately start flapping and squawking and make a huge song and dance about it by running around disclosing what they have heard to their fellow colleagues, management and/or the police.

So, let’s say the police are called and arrive at the rehab with sirens blazing and guns drawn, getting all moist and excited at the prospect of an easy arrest, and thus a couple of solved murders on their resume.  They go bursting into the therapy room having been given a description of the lowlife by the facilitator, grab him, slam him up against the wall and say:

“So, what’s all this we hear about you killing a drunk driver in Reno – when you were Chief of Police no less…huh?…huh? well now it’s time to pay the piper chief, you’re coming with us and we’re gonna throw you in the slammer and you’d better believe you’re never getting out pal…do you hear me…never!!”

The chances are his reply would be something along the lines of:

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, made the whole thing up”, perhaps followed by a short, dry fart…and that would be the end of it really.

You see, whatever he said in the group is legally classed as hearsay and unless someone is really, really wanting to confess to a murder and physically takes the police to the scene of their crime and actually digs the bodies up, that’s the way it has to be treated, and as of the time of me writing this i have yet to hear of anyone, ever having done that, although i have heard plenty of stories similar in nature to Joe’s…but hey, what ya gonna do huh?

Another thing to remember as well is that really bad people, those that might be likely to have ‘serial killer’ down on their CV, albeit in the small print, are highly unlikely to ever present themselves at the door of an establishment concerned with helping people make positive changes to their behaviour, unless of course they have genuinely come to a point in their lives where they would honestly like to learn a little bit about psychology and human behaviour with a view to at least attempting to stop stabbing people in the head and burying them in ditches, in which case when attempting to treat them, things could become a trifle legally…erm… questionable, although who am i to judge? At least they would be trying to reduce their intake of chemicals, which no one can deny must surely be a great first step on the long, long road to no longer killing children and the pets they love, calmly and with calculation, in the dead of night…agreed?…right then.

Also, bear in mind that addiction is a mental illness, one of the symptoms of which can often be compulsive lying, meaning it is usually prudent to take most of what one hears as a facilitator with a large pinch of salt, obviously there are exceptions to this but i think you get the gist of what i am saying right?

How do you know when an addict is lying?…their lips are moving!

So the days wore on and i ended up sharing a room with Joe when his roommate finished treatment and wandered on his merry way.  He was a fair few years older than me and i felt a sense of safety when around him and we grew quite close and talked about all manner of things.  He often spoke of his deep appreciation for his current employers, an elderly couple who were the owners of a successful restaurant down on the waterfront in San Francisco, of which Joe was the general manager.  He told me of how they had been completely supportive of him throughout this horrible period in his life, hadn’t shown a shred of judgment and told him to take as much time off as he needed, and by doing so had removed a whole load of stress he would otherwise have been having to deal with.

To add insult to injury, Joe had also recently lost his wife and recounted in tender detail how he had held her in her last hours as she was dying from cancer and the things he said to her as she slipped away, which in turn tapped into my recent experience with my mum dying of the same thing, but without the drugs i had been using to keep a lid on all of this stuff, causing the tears to flow thick, fast and often when talking to Joe and we really did become very close.

Joe also spoke fondly of his daughter whom he loved dearly, telling me all about her kids and her career and his relationship through the years with her, making me quite sad really that i haven’t yet had any kids, but hey, that’s just how things have turned out and i have no regrets, what’s the point? You do the best you can with the hand you’ve been dealt, and i have often felt quite thankful that i haven’t had any kids up to this point because i would definitely have been quite a challenge to have as a father and i wouldn’t wish that kind of work on anyone, it would have been unfair, not that i would have intended to hurt anyone in any way mind, but there are/were genetic factors at play and i have come to the realisation as the years have passed that perhaps it might be a good thing now for that challenging lineage to gently wind down and come to a close, with me, as my time here grows shorter and i come to observe that as it does, the thought of a long rest isn’t quite as unpleasant, nor indeed terrifying, as perhaps it ever once was.

One day about two weeks into his stay, Joe came to talk to me to say that the general manager of the rehab was starting to get on his case about him paying for his treatment.  Along with everything else, Joe had lost his wallet when he had been rushed into hospital, and when it came time to transfer over to the rehab had arranged to sort out his fees as soon as he was somewhat lucid and could figure out a way to transfer the funds to their account. His bank wouldn’t ok the transaction without some form of ID from someone standing in front of them and said he didn’t want to get his daughter involved as he didn’t want to trouble her and she probably didn’t have that kind of money to lend him upfront anyway.

I asked if there was anything i could do to help and Joe went back and spoke to the manager telling him of my offer but he said he couldn’t allow another client to get involved in financial transactions of that sort, leaving Joe to rack his brains and try to figure out a way to deal with this situation without actually having to physically go to his bank in San Francisco (about a 2 hour drive) to do so.

After a couple of days with the manager on his case Joe decided he had no choice but to go to San Francisco and get the money wired from his bank and booked a taxi to get him there.  He asked me quietly whether i had any spare pocket cash i could lend him until he got back for the taxi and such, so i gave him what i had which was about $150 and told him to be careful because he was still craving a drink and was soon to be out in the world again with no one there to stop him if he went for it.

He went first thing in the morning and was due back later that afternoon, so i went about my day doing the things you do in rehab, which are mainly lots of talking and a fair amount of eating.  The food was really good, all homemade but unfortunately organised by the fattest, sweatiest,  most miserable bastard of a cook you could ever have the misfortune of encountering in this, or any other, life; as long as you didn’t look at the guy whilst you were eating you were generally ok, but catch a glimpse? And you were fucked! Your cutlery dropped to the table amidst a whirl of disgusting images piped in live from the planet unhygienia with running commentary and stomach churning special effects.

I had gone back to my room after dinner at about 6.30pm just in time to meet Steve, the general manager who knocked on the door and asked me a few questions about Joe, whether i had spoken to him before he left? Had i lent him any money? Did he say anything to me about which bank he was going to? amongst other things.  He was looking flustered and i asked him if everything was ok but he said that he couldn’t really say and that i was not to worry.

Later that evening when everyone was watching a film, Steve came and spoke to us as a group and let us know that Joe was no longer a client of the treatment centre, that his name was not Joe and that everything we thought we knew about him was untrue, at which point quite a few people stated that they had lent him money, and cigarettes, and food and…and…and….and just like that, the man i had befriended and shared my life, my fears, my clothes, my coffee, my money, my cigarettes, my sadness, my laughter and my heart with for the past few weeks no longer existed, and as the anger and resentment began to rise, what hit me hardest of all, was that throughout all of our time together this man i knew only as Joe had never actually existed at all.

 

To be continued….

 

 

Recollections from a rehab – part ten

Posted in Blog Posts on November 4, 2014 by drummerboy1970

Continued from recollections from a rehab part nine…

Joe arrived at Mountain Vista about a week after me and during his first few days he barely said a word to anyone, he just sat on the sidelines, watching.

He was quite a striking figure, tall and dark-haired, with a vague hint of Mexican or Native American to his features, a strong jaw line and very dark brown eyes.  He was dressed shabbily and having approached him after dinner one day, he told me this was because he had been admitted to the hospital as an extreme emergency about a month before, having been found unconscious and bleeding internally, which was in turn coming out of his mouth, causing what I imagine was a pretty shocking sight.

He’d had his clothes cut off him in the emergency room, he said, which meant that by the time he’d come to be discharged, he didn’t have any clothes to wear and had to pick out some from a box of clothes left by previous patients, which were used for this very reason.  This meant that ill fitting jeans, a shabby sweatshirt and ugly garish sneakers were what he was wearing on the day he had pulled up in a cab.  This I could tell was causing him embarrassment so I lent him a couple of shirts right off the bat, as I sure as hell would have wanted someone to have done that for me had I been in the same position.  Little gestures like that, when you’re in treatment feeling lost, lonely and vulnerable mean a lot and I was glad I could help.

He said the bleeding had been from his oesophagus, an unfortunately common affliction with chronic alcoholics, especially those who drink spirits, and which is often fatal but luckily Joe had been found in time and they had been able to stem the bleeding and perform a transfusion which kept him alive.  He had only been allowed to leave hospital on condition that he admitted himself straight into treatment to address his drinking, which clearly was about to kill him.

He told me that his previous career (before his drinking career) had been as the chief of police of Reno, Nevada, which put me on the back foot a bit due to my natural aversion to all things ‘law enforcement’, having until very recently been a walking collection of possessions and behaviours, which the law would quite happily have crawled all over and ‘enforced’ but as time wore on the old war stories started to pour forth, the majority of which were entirely captivating and we spent many a happy hour shooting the shit and swapping tales with each other.

We also tried to figure out increasingly creative ways in which to get to drink a cup of real coffee, (caffeine was a banned substance) with Joe always seeming to pull through, magically producing a bag of grounds from somewhere, whether that be from under his mattress or hidden in a drainage gutter somewhere on site, wherever he produced it from he was pretty damned determined that he was not going to be prevented that particular luxury, regardless of who decreed it!

One day in a group session, Joe opened up and shared an incident from when he had been in the police out on patrol in his car.  He was driving behind another car and as they both approached a four-way stop sign, the driver in front (presumably not noticing he had the police behind him!) just carried on driving through the stop sign without slowing down even slightly, causing him to run straight into a small kid on his bicycle and end up in a ditch at the side of the road, with his car lying on its side.

Joe relayed to us that he immediately jumped out of his cruiser and ran over to the little boy who was covered in blood and clearly had quite a few breaks to his limbs, coupled with serious head injuries.  He could see the driver of the other car was conscious and trying to climb out of the window, so he put all his efforts into trying to help the boy.  He put a call in over the radio for paramedics to get on their way over there and sat down next to the child who was drifting in and out of consciousness.  He put his head in his lap and tried talking to the little boy to keep him awake, but to no avail, and after a few minutes he quietly slipped away and died there by the side of the road.

Joe, already angered by what he had just witnessed, walked over to the car, where the driver had been unable to free himself and climb out through the window.  As Joe leaned into the car to help him, he was hit by a powerful waft of alcohol coming from the guy’s mouth, followed by the statement “That fucking kid nearly got us all killed, the fucking piece of shit!”

There was deadly silence in the group room as Joe was recounting this story and you could feel the rage growing as he continued.

“I had managed to unhook the seat belt from its socket and was trying to pull the guy out with one hand under his armpit and one round his neck, which was the only place I could get any purchase, but when I heard what that motherfucker said, something else took over, a rage that I had never known before filled my entire being and all I could see was the face of this poor little boy whose life this fucker had just extinguished and before I knew what I was doing, I just very quickly twisted with the arm that was around his head, and just like that, he was gone…i’ve never told anyone this before”

No one said a word; you could have heard a pin drop in that room and a couple of the guys (it was a ‘men’s group’) quietly got up and walked out stating that they needed to get some air, at which point the facilitator reminded everyone of their responsibilities concerning confidentiality, and brought the session to a close.

 

To be continued….

Recollections from a rehab – part nine

Posted in Blog Posts on September 7, 2014 by drummerboy1970

Continued from recollections from a rehab – part eight…

Jerad and Graham were just a couple of chancers who were out every day looking to find victims they could exploit in order to feed their habits. I could sense this the moment I met them and so didn’t take my eyes off them for one second, especially whenever they came back to my hotel room to use. Anything of value I kept locked in my room safe at all times and after a few days hanging out with me the frequency of their visits started to dwindle, as I guess they realised they weren’t going to be hitting me up for anything worthwhile anytime soon, which was just fine with me, as I’d by now developed my own rapport with the dealers over on the other side of the shopping complex, meaning they would now serve me whenever I went there unaccompanied, saving me what I had to lay on to Jerad for services rendered.

I stuck with one guy in particular, the improbably named Trevor, who was a black African who barely spoke any English. He was a stocky guy, with skin that was jet black in the way that only a native African’s skin can be. He had huge oval eyes, which were blood-shot and which always seemed to be watching me but he was relatively punctual and would drive to the hotel to meet me whenever I phoned him, day or night.

So began a month of being holed up in my hotel room, surrounded by staff who stole stuff from my laundry several times when I sent clothes to be cleaned, who ripped me off when I tried buying crack through the bell boy and who I generally couldn’t trust as far as I could throw them.

One evening I was standing looking out of my tenth floor window when I saw a guy being chased onto the beach, in the direction of the water, by the hotel security who stood in front of the hotel day and night in an attempt to make the guests feel a little more secure. There were security inside the hotel that were employees of the hotel chain, then there were those outside who were separately contracted to patrol the perimeter; the police were in actual fact the third port of call should an incident occur which couldn’t be resolved in-house.

The guy was being pursued by several big blokes and I could hear by the tone of his voice that he was pleading with them, although he was speaking in Afrikaans which I couldn’t understand. He ran behind a small building on the beach, which could have been a public toilet or similar, where he was obviously cornered by the security guys who all disappeared into the shadows after him.

I immediately began to hear his screams which pierced the night, sent shivers down my spine and lasted for a good long while as I stood there at the window. I began to get freaked out by what I was witnessing and phoned down to the front desk to let them know what was going on, although the response I got from the night attendant didn’t seem overly frantic with worry but she did say she would look into it and send security to check it out.

A few minutes passed and no one from the hotel walked over to the beach to see what was going on and so I phoned downstairs again, only to be told in no uncertain terms that, this was the way that thieves were dealt with in South Africa and that I might wish to close my window and watch TV instead.

Eventually after about fifteen minutes, the screaming died down and the security guys walked out from round the back of the building on the beach, although the guy they had been chasing didn’t walk back round with them, nor did he emerge at any point before, shaken, I eventually went to bed.

The next night I was standing out in front of the hotel having a smoke, when I got talking to one of the security guys. I asked him what had happened the previous night but he said that he hadn’t been working and so would need to find out himself, after which he went and spoke to a colleague for a few minutes. When he returned to where I was standing, he explained that the guy who had been chased had in fact robbed a woman on the street, who, unluckily for him, happened to be the wife of a senior police officer, sealing his fate.

I became friendly with a few of the security guys over the next week or so, with one in particular making a beeline for me whenever he saw me standing outside the front doors having a smoke, enjoying the cooling breeze coming in off the sea. He was a white guy named Darnie and we spent quite a few hours shooting the shit as I tried to learn a little of what made the South Africans tick.

Building these relationships served me quite well when one night I had been out to meet Trevor in his car. We had taken a short drive round the block whilst I was getting what I was getting, after which we were pulling up at the side of the hotel to drop me off. As I got out of the car and slammed the door shut, I noticed two black guys walking down the street towards me, with one of them making gestures with his hands, pointing at the car and appearing quite agitated. As they came close to me, one of them said something like “You buy drugs in car…Police!…against the wall!”

Of course I shit myself because I had wraps of heroin and crack in the waistband of my underwear and just thought “Fuck! I’m bang in trouble here!!” as they started to manhandle me against the wall, getting me to assume the position, whilst they started to rifle through the pockets of the jacket I was wearing.

As they started to take my possessions out of my pocket, I immediately sensed that something was wrong. Having unfortunately experienced this kind of thing before, it felt as though they were going about searching me a little too gingerly and they weren’t asking the kinds of questions that the police ask when searching suspected narcotics offenders, such as

“have you got anything in your pockets I might stick myself with?…any needles or knives in there?”

…that type of thing, in fact they were completely silent as they gently took stuff out of my pockets. As they were doing this, I glanced down and to my right slightly and saw one of them remove my mobile phone, which was a really nice Android, and hold it in his hand, which really started alarm bells ringing, so I turned round quickly and looked the one with my phone in the eye and said

“Ok guys, I really don’t like the way you’re going about this stop and search, could I please see some ID?”.

This immediately produced a look of unease on their faces, which confirmed my suspicions that I was in fact being robbed, causing me to do something which sounds quite courageous on paper but which I only did because I knew there were plenty of security about, had I have been down some back alley, I would have definitely played it a lot safer.

The one closest to me with my phone was just starting to say something when I just let go and cracked him as hard as I could on the bridge of his nose, causing a really satisfying crunching sound to be heard and his nose to explode in a shower of blood. My main intention was to get him to drop the phone which was still in his hand but he managed to hold onto it, as well as managing to remain standing, although I could see that I had seriously shocked him causing him to wobble on the spot.

I then began to scream at the top of my lungs…

POLICE! SECURITY! POLIIIIIICE! SECURIIIIITTTTYYYYYYY!!
as I was fully aware that there would be loads of security, including Darnie, not far away around the corner at the front of the hotel, it was just a matter of getting them to hear me.

The two fuckers who were robbing me froze for a split second and I started to worry that I might have done the wrong thing and might be about to get stabbed or similar but I’d judged it right and they both took off running down the street towards the shopping complex at the back of the hotel, where I had met Jerad that first day a week or so ago.

I am definitely no longer a fit twenty one year-old and was under no illusion that I would stand a chance of catching them up if I chased them, although I did start to run in that direction just as several of the security guys flew past me in pursuit, causing me to slow up and leave it to them. There were people standing on balconies of the adjacent buildings who had heard the commotion and were trying to help the security by yelling..

“They’re over there mate…down that alley…no, now they’re back out on the street!!”

trying to guide them towards the little bastards but sadly to no avail because they were never caught and I ended up a phone down…the one thing not covered by my travel insurance…fucking great!

I did however manage to keep hold of the drugs I had just scored, so full of adrenaline and after a long chat with the security whom I was able to thank for their efforts, I took the elevator back up to my room and settled in for the night.

To be continued…

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