On the other side of the glass, my attorney opened up the folder that defined what my future was to be. He looked up at me, sighed, and pushed his glasses back up onto the bridge of his nose.
And then he began to speak.
Part 2 begins here.
” Well, I have gone back and forth with the prosecution on this. This is your first major arrest. They believe that you have ties to organized crime. I do not think you are smart enough…..or dumb enough to be on that path. I think you are a junkie and were fortunate enough to get caught.”
I interjected,”There was never anything organized about my crimes. A junkie I may be, but fortunate….that could be put up for debate.”
He retorted, “Can we just get through this? You are not the only rocket scientist I have the pleasure to visit today.”
” Touché ”
“The best I can do for you is 5 years adjudicated probation.”
“What does that mean?”
“Don’t get your pink, county issued boxers in a bunch. I’m getting to that.
You follow the rules I am about to lay out for you and technically your record will be clean.”
I didn’t feel like getting into a debate over the word technically. I let him give me the rules. The ones I remember we’re as such-
-No consumption of alcohol
-no consumption of illegal drugs
-no hanging out with known drug users
-restitution fees to be paid back $8000
-375 hours of community service
-comply with drug testing and scheduled meetings with a probation officer 2 times a month
-comply with visits at place of occupation and home with a probation officer.
All to be done for a period of 5 years. Beginning with my release, which would be within a couple of hours after signing.
I heard all the rules. I had a problem with just one of them. It happened to be the first one.
I stopped him from continuing his extremely eloquent speech.
” What is this about no alcohol? Neither of my charges were alcohol related. That’s kind of crappy to cut me off from something that I am LEGALLY able go do. What kind of racket are y’all running here?”
“It is a standard part of the conditions of probation. If you want to get out…and STAY out. You will comply. All you need to do is sign at the bottom. You will be out shortly after.”
He pushed the papers through the slot at the bottom of the window along with a pen.
A cheap pen, by the way. I would figure if I am signing a legally binding contract for my “freedom” I would get to use a Mont Blanc. But, nooooo, I get to sign with a chewed on Bic.
I put the pen to the contract. Paused, and stopped. I froze to reflect on what this really meant and what chance I had of completing these rules.
-I have been a daily abuser of cocaine for over 8 years.
-the only people I hang out with are drunks, drug users, drug dealers, pill poppers, after hours junkies….you know real high society types.
-and the topper…..I have been a daily, have to have a drink to function, leave me alone, I want to die without it, drunk for upwards of 20 years.
What chance did I realistically have of making it 5 years without it? If I didn’t make it, my probation would be revoked and I would be sent to prison to fulfill my requirements as a felony inmate. 2 charges. Each carrying a sentence of 2-20 years.
Bah….I could do it. 5 years isn’t that long. Just think of the fiesta that will be thrown after I jump through their hoops for 1825 days. It will be epic.
I confidently placed my name in the dotted line, and pushed them back through the slot. Looked him in he eye and said, “Thanks, when do I get out.”
He shook his head and replied, “In a couple of hours.” and walked away.
I returned to the cell. In under 2 hours my name was called. I got the few trivial things I had and got up and said c-ya to my cellies. I won’t be seeing them again….I got this.
After release, I stepped into the Texas sunshine and smiled. I had a do over and I planned to make the best of it. I was tired of being a drunk junkie loser.
Follow the rules
Follow the rules
Follow the rules
I literally had no place to go. I had only been in this city for about 8 months. Four of those were just spent behind bars….you do the math.
It was live the life of the homeless or go back to my friend’s apartment until I got back on my feet.
I walked about 6 miles through downtown and under overpasses to reach my destination.
I knocked on the door.
His roommate answered.
“Hey! They let you out??”
“Yes, they did. Can I crash here.”
“Hell yeah, man. Come in and have a seat.”
I sat down. It began to set in that I was out. I heard no metal on metal cell doors shut. No bed checks. No cell chatter, no fear…..just peace. I exhaled deeply and closed my eyes.
I was awoken from my serenity by the sound of a bottle being opened.
Phssst….. I heard the air escape the pressurized container.
“Here bud, you could probably use this,”
He held out a freshly opened, ice cold, perspiration dripping down the side, frosty bottle of what happened to be my favorite brew.
My heart picked up its pace. My mouth started to water. I opened my eyes. I Looked up at the object in his hand.
And did the only thing that a man in my particular situation could have done.