*This is the whole chapter which includes the intro, Mein New Home.*
Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, left foot, left foot—
I had almost fallen down onto the cold asphalt of the lonely street I was walking on that night. I was hammered and it was almost four in the morning. On top of that, I had no ride and no idea where I was. Plus, I had work in three hours.
Hours earlier, I had Maize drop me off at a party that Alfie—a semi-friend from Arcadia whom was the “ringleader” until Mickey and I took over—had thrown.
Maisie couldn’t join in on the fun due to her sober house curfew. She had to be back and inside of her house at 9 o’clock sharp every night. I had had a similar curfew at the sober house that I was at, for a short time.
After I had been kicked out of Arcadia for breaking so many rules, I had left with my dad to live at the sober house they had secured for me. I was relieved but not entirely—I didn’t get to say goodbye to the life-saving Miss Davis. She had been there for me and saved my life by convincing the board of directors to let me stay. But even if she had been there that bittersweet day, I expect it would have been out of her hands had she tried to save me again. But it was alright, for there were other problems on my plate to be dealt with.
They had me bound for a sober living house, which it had appeared to be from the outside. It was a beautiful, white-brick, two-story home in a friendly neighborhood in North Austin. The inside, being even more welcoming. However, I did notice one strange thing along the wall of the entryway. I should have taken it into better consideration than I had. There were pictures of all seven housemates, with their ages looking from 18 to about 25 years old, and they all sport shaved heads. I had thought it weird. But I brushed it off as maybe they had endured a crazy day where they shaved their heads for laughs. I thought about my mohawk, which I would forbid them to touch.
Yes, I was still rocking the hawk, but once again, things did not work out in my favor.
The head of the household, Raymond Adolf Loseur—Ray, for short—started by asking me some questions while my dad and I had sat on the cozy, leather couch. I swear that thing would just about eat you up when you sat down. However, the questions he had asked weren’t the kind of questions you wanted to answer with your father present.
I know my dad didn’t want to hear me speak of how much heroin had found its way inside my imperceptible veins. Nor how much money I ripped off my family. Still, on he went until, he asked if I believed in a higher being.
“I… Yes, I do believe in a power greater than me—”
“Uh huh,” he interrupted.
“I believe in karma, the universe, Mother Nature—”
“OK, let me stop you right there,” he interrupted again. “I’m thrilled that you have accepted that there is a higher power,” he paused, then continued, “But, what you just said… Those are rehab higher powers. And here in this house, we don’t believe in the ‘universe,’ or ‘doorknobs, bedknobs and broomsticks.’ Here, we believe in God.”
Oh shit. I thought, I just entered the Holy Land.
I had known right then and there, I was not going to last long in this “House of God.” I glanced towards the other end of the couch. My dad had already been looking at me, with eyes asking, “Is this guy serious?”
After Ray had finished his sermon, my dad had taken off, but not without leaving me with a wish of luck and a crisp bill. I watched his tail lights grow fainter in the distance then peered at the hundred dollar bill he had given me. I smiled. Though he knew I wouldn’t last long in that house, he still believed and trusted in me. But that smile didn’t last long when Ray had my hair in his hands.
It was a house ritual that everyone shaved their head as an initiation or rite into their house. I, nonetheless, was not at all receptive to this rite, as you can imagine.
As he yanked at my waxy hair, I could sense a smug dominance wafting off of him. I’m sure he thought of me as nothing more than street-junky trash. Like he was doing the whole world a favor by cleaning me up as he wanted. Well, trying to, at least. My hair had endured weeks of wax and product. It did hurt a bit as he hacked at it with his dull, paper-cutting scissors.
While attempting to cleanse me of my junkiness, he revealed the rules to me of being in the house by 8PM and to be showered, dressed, and out of the house either working or looking for a job by 8AM daily. With the exception of Saturday and Sunday where we could sleep-in to a whomping 10AM. But making our beds to military precision had to be done every day, as well. He even enforced a dress code: collared shirts were to be worn everywhere, including inside the house. My new home had begun to appear somewhat similar to a nazi concentration camp than a humble abode.
On a good note, I had a place to stay, but I wasn’t allowed enough time for recovery. I should have stayed in rehab longer, which had been my plan until they threw me out like a disposable razor. At the halfway house, I was angry and had felt betrayed. I was downtown an hour after my dad had left.
I wasn’t allowed enough time to shake the continuous craving for crack. I had told myself I’d only spend twenty dollars on it. But instantly that had turned to forty, to sixty, to eighty, to the point that I’d spent the entire hundred dollars my dad had given me in two hours. If I wasn’t angry at life, I was now.
I had brought that anger back to the house, too. I wasn’t going to be a captive in their concentration camp. I had played a personal game, seeing how long i could go until they kicked me out. To kick the game off, instead of looking for a job the next morning, I went to my dad’s house to go back to sleep. I had wanted to see my Maisie, but only had to wait out the day before she came to Austin.
The next day, I did the same thing, but when I woke up in the late afternoon, I had gone straight to the women’s sober house. There, I had seen her and had also met the house mom, who ran the place.
Their house wasn’t as nice as the men’s. However, they had a beautiful backyard that supposedly had a pool, but all I could see was a giant puddle of leaves.
They had a rule against allowing guys into the house, however Maize wasn’t aware of that. The house mom had brought me out to their backyard to make me a deal. I would be allowed to visit if I came to clean their pool once a week.
“Done deal,” I said, not being able to quit smiling. This meant I could hang out with Maisie anytime I wanted.
I could hear music coming from the living room computer where that other girl had been sitting. Maisie saw me glaring at her. I thought the girl was cute, but that wasn’t the sole reason for my staring. The music she had playing was familiar but different. It was a dope mashup with a catchy 80s song in the background and a rapper doing a rap over it.
“That’s Brianna. Do you want to meet her?” Maize asked. In my head, I was already next to the computer chatting it up with her, until Maize exclaimed, “Hello?? You there?” And waved her hand in front of my entranced face.
I shook my head like a wet dog and realized I was still in the kitchen. “Um… Sure.”
“Yeah, this guy is the best. My favorite artist,” she had said.
I had just asked her who was playing and how much I liked it. Her name was Brianna. She was from Las Vegas. That’s about all I received from her. I wasn’t interested. I had Maisie. Hannah was also living in the house, as well. So I started coming over a lot. The four of us were inseparable for a short time. Until, the day had finally come.
I had come home late from seeing a movie with the girls when Ray was standing outside my bedroom door.
“Where have you been?” He asked in a stern voice.
I wasn’t going to lie to him so I told the truth. “I was at the girl’s sober house.”
He never took his wide eyes off mine. “Uh huh, and why? You’re supposed to be looking for a job. And please spare me the bull, I’ve been told you haven’t even begun to search.”
Aww crap. One of the housemates must’ve ratted on me. It was probably that kid from my school. There was a kid about 3 years younger than me. Senior year I used to sell him and his little friends tiny key bumps of coke for five bucks each. I made a lot of money from that foolish kid. This was probably his way of getting back.
Then I saw him, standing outside in the backyard, watching our conversation.
“No places are hiring right now.” I had to say something. Plus, I did check a few places who told me that.
“McDonald’s is hiring down the street.”
“Yeah, f*** that,” I said quietly.
“Oh, right. No cursing. Gotcha. My deepest apology.” I was asking for it.
He then walked into my room and stood next to my bed, pointing at it. Still with the stern nature.
“Why didn’t you make your bed?”
Geez, who does this guy think he is, a drill sergeant?
“Uhh, I don’t know… I didn’t feel like it?”
“That’s it.” He said as he stormed out of my room.
That was it, the last straw. Kicked out of rehab, then kicked out of halfway house. He made me pack my stuff and leave that night. I didn’t know where to go so I went to my grandma’s house which was only a few miles away.
The next day, I had moved in with my mom in her brand new apartment. My dad had forgiven her for the six-year affair and, not just paid her credit card bills, but also paid for her to have her own two-bedroom apartment in a nice, rich complex. My dad has the biggest heart in the world. He still is my hero.
So Maisie and I had heard that goofy Alfie was throwing a party. After, she drops me off I head toward the yellow light illuminating the front porch of this tiny, white house.
Alfie opens the door letting me inside. It was not what I would call a party. It was his mom, sister, and three of his friends who I’d never met. Two of them were sitting on the floor in front of the TV playing video games while everyone else sat behind watching. I stood around the crowd in the back because they actually had beer in their hands.
This had been a waste of time. A couple hours had passed. The vibe became uncomfortable. Something didn’t seem right to me. It could have been the booze or the cocaine. I had snorted three fat lines off a plate they were passing around so I was wide awake, and maybe a bit paranoid.
I also saw Alfie make out with two different guys which was awkward because I had no idea he swung that way. Before that I had asked him if he could give me a ride back to Lakeway later on. He said, “No problem.” But once two o’clock came around, I couldn’t find him.
Thirty minutes later, I spot him sneaking out of a secret room, face sweaty and looking drained. His friend’s cherry face says everything as he trails behind him. I have to ask if he can take me home, no matter how awkward I felt. I stood next to him looking at the TV. The body odor finds its way up to my nostrils. It’s awful, but I ask.
“Nah man, I’m sorry, but I’m too wasted.” His speech was slurred to the point I knew he was telling the truth. I was still pissed at him regardless.
“But if you head that way a couple miles, there’s a bus station,” he finished.
Now I was truly angry. I started cursing at him while he kept apologizing. I then stormed outside and started walking.
So, here I am, walking down a dark street with no idea where I am going. There was no bus station. Alfie had been full of crap. So I had turned around headed back to his place.
I’m at an area that looks familiar, but I can’t find that yellow light, or the house. It is as if it had disappeared. Like the whole night had been in my head. I wish it all is a dream so I would wake up in my bed. But that wasn’t the case. So I turn back around and keep walking. I hadn’t said a prayer in a while, so maybe this is a good time to start. So I said a small prayer, asking to get me out of this situation.
I start looking into cars to see if any are unlocked and if they are, check if the keys are anywhere. I did for about twenty minutes till I came across a styrofoam ice chest in the back of a pickup truck. It was as if someone had just out it there because it was full of Coors Light and the ice wasn’t melted. This was a big score. If I didn’t make it to wherever I’m going, at least I’d be too wasted to care.
About an hour of walking, drinking, and checking random cars, I still had no luck and my arms were hurting from carrying the damn ice chest. I had to make a crucial decision, leave the chest and pocket two beers or keep drinking until I couldn’t feel my arms.
I decided on keeping a few beers and walking. So on I went, without a clue as to where I was. I finished a beer so I did what I had been doing with the empty bottles: throwing them in the air. Underhand, I swooped the bottle up into the blackness. I could see the moon reflecting off the glass flicker on and off as it spun in the air, then back down to a light explosion. I love the sound of broken glass.
I glance over at a bigger piece on the ground and think it can be a good weapon to defend myself if someone tries to steal my beer. But then I think, I could just hit them over the head with a full bottle, knocking them out. That’s when it hit me. Finally, a plan.
Please keep in mind that I am incredibly drunk right now. I think it’s a great idea to wait until someone pulls up and gets out of their car. Then that’s when I’d smash a bottle over their head and take their car. It could work.
It was about to be half past six in the morning. I have to be at work in an hour and a half. And no cars come by.
I finish my last beer and instead of throwing it, I threw myself on the ground. I had was trying to think of what to do. I was going to have to call my mom and tell her what happened. But she was out of town so it would have to be my dad, who would be super pissed at me. None of my friends were answering. Thank you rehab stigma. I didn’t know what to do.
It was then I saw headlights coming my way. I leap up and dart behind a bush, hoping they would pull into a house close to me. I still had that empty beer bottle too. This could be it.
The white Ford Mustang pulls into a spot one driveway down from where I was hiding. This is it. It parked and I wondered who I was going to be dealing with. I get up and start walking towards the driveway, hiding the bottle, when the door opens.
Out of the car comes a little Mexican boy, probably about sixteen years old. He had likely just got his license and that new car for his birthday. I stop before I hit the driveway. Once I do this, he spots me. He gives me a nod and then a confused face, probably wondering what the hell I’m doing at seven in the morning. I nod back and keep walking down the street, toward nowhere.
After a few houses I feel like an idiot for not going through with it, and an even bigger one for not even asking him for directions. I walk past a red convertible with the top down and glance inside. That’s when I saw a key in the ignition.
Holy shit! I run around to the drivers side of the old, rusted thing and hop in the driver’s seat. Oh please, oh please, oh please, as I turn the key. The engine starts, with a quarter of a tank left.
I reversed the car then headed down the road I was headed on until it hit a highway. It was highway 620, which would take me directly to my mom’s apartment.
I had enough time to go there, put my work clothes on and make it to work on time. I parked the car in the back of the lot and sat there for a minute thinking of how lucky I had been. Then with my shirt, I wiped everything down to get rid of any fingerprints I might had made. Eight o’clock came around and I walked inside Target to work.
The car had sat there for two weeks until one day, I came to work and it was gone. I don’t know what happened to it and was never asked about it either. I had made an actual grand theft auto. And got away with it Scott-free.
I never saw a bus station anywhere while walking or driving.