What is the most frightening thing someone has ever said to you?
This is the 15th prompt from the #FreeWriteChallenge, and I actually have two stories for you, dear readers. I’m sure you’re surprised.
Disclaimer: Like so many women out there, I’ve had a boyfriend or two of the “If I can’t have you no one can” mindset. That is frightening, but in a way it’s become rather commonplace. Many of us have heard, witnessed, or experienced those stories. As is my usual way, I’m going in a different direction. These stories are 100% true … to the best of my knowledge. Time goes by rather quickly sometimes.
This prompt encourages us to tell anecdotes about times when we broke out in a cold sweat, our stomachs dropped to our ankles, and our sphincters tightened up quite a bit. The Fight or Flight response can be heady.
Second Disclaimer: All statutes of limitations have been reached, so please don’t crawl up my booty. Please and thank you.
I “enjoyed” a misspent youth. I won’t lie. There came to be a time as a teenager when I preferred the fun of the smoking of the marijuana. That should stun everyone who reads this because teens never decide the fun stuff is more important than real life.
I became wrapped up in the lifestyle, as much as one could when they’re from a tiny town. But here’s the thing: our tiny town was the halfway point for the drug runners going between Chicago and Detroit. My hometown was the vacation home owning destination for many bigwigs from companies in Detroit and Chicago.
What I’m saying here, friends, is my hometown was a veritable cornucopia of drugs. You name it, we could find it, and usually within half an hour, an hour on the outside. Not to mention that Upjohn was based from Kalamazoo, so there were prescription drugs going around recreationally long before that became the problem that it is today. The genesis of it, I suppose.
Many of my classmates and friends went to Colorado after graduation. This only makes sense. A lot of us were the neo-hippies/next generation Deadheads, so of course they were going to Colorado. Some of us followed Phish on tour, some the Dead, and some Widespread. Most of us went to see a Dead show before Jerry passed, RIP.
While in Colorado some of them managed to hook up with the Grateful Dead family, and the rest of us benefitted.
Did I forget to mention that my absolute favorite thing in the world back then was to trip on LSD? That part seems pretty important.
So my friends were shipping back high potency hallucinogens. The best my drug addled hometown had ever seen. We would collect the book (that’s ten pages of LSD, 100 hits per page), split it up, and sell the crap out of it, thus funding our buddies’ literal trips, and our metaphorical trips.
I got busted. Of course I did. It’s not like we were being careful. I had minions, and those minions got busted. They turned me in (that was one part of it, there was another I won’t go into here.).
The courts, police, whatever, executed the arrest warrant on the very last day they could. Assholes.
I had just straightened up. I gave up the pot and dose, had decided grades were more important, and that it was time to buckle down. Cue the bang on the door.
“Are you AK Lawrence, birthdate blah blah blah? You’re under arrest, you have the right to remain silent …”
Wait, back up. I forgot a part.
Just before the last day of the warrant being executable, I had this friend. He was our guy, the one we called when we needed things. He had the perfect name for a dealer. I won’t share it here, privacy reasons, but an example would be if his last name were Bonglighter.
When we called he would show up with a briefcase. The inside had been separated into pockets, so the main compartment would have 5-10 different kinds of pot, and the other stuff was stored in the flip up part, your LSDs, shrums, and pills.
It was the best and worst kind of one-stop shopping.
Bongo (we shortened last names. The alias comes off stupid this way, but it’s still the best comparison name) rented a house with a buddy in one of the two larger towns outside of our small one. They were growing marijuana plants in their attic.
Things went well for most of a year, I think. One day Bongo walks to the store, to pick up what, I don’t recall now. It’s been over 20 years so cut me some slack. When he comes back, his attic is on fire.
Now, the number of plants in this story has quite the over-reaching arc. It could have been 25 plants, it could have been 250. It depends on who you talk to.
Bongo didn’t call the fire department. He didn’t make sure his roommate got out (he did). He didn’t look at the house for longer than it took to figure out what was going on. Bongo kept walking and went straight to the bus station. He bought a ticket and prayed to everything he held dear that he could be on the bus and out of state before they figured out who was renting the house.
Back to where we left off.
I’m arrested, along with one of my housemates. My mom used to adopt our friends and when they needed a place to stay, well, our house was where they came. Lots of people still call her Mom First Name when they see her. So one of my friends was busted, too.
I promise I’m getting to the part you all are waiting for. Some of my stories seem really long.
My buddy, male, gets thrown into the drunk tank. He was searched and fingerprinted, and all was well.
I, on the other hand … they lost my file. Don’t ask me how. Maybe it was a scare tactic, I don’t know, but they treated me like I came in for pre-meditated murder.
I had a braid in my hair, that was done with string. The booking officers cut it out. They cut off all of my string jewelry. They strip searched me, including the squat and cough. Then they stuck me in one of those orange jumpsuits.
I’m a small person, we’ve discussed this before, and they didn’t have my size. The jumpsuit was three sizes too large. The legs were so long I flipped the ends over my feet and used them to “skate” around my cell.
My cell. Because yes, they stuck me in my very own.
I was only there for 2 1/2 hours. My mom came and got me out instantly.
The cops put us in an interview room, me and my buddy. Knowing they have mirrors, we’re whispering to each other, scared out of our minds.
An officer comes in. “We’d like to know where you are getting your supply.” (I shortened that down … otherwise the anecdote becomes a book)
“We’re not going to tell you, even though we’re scared, so neener. Snitches get stitches and end up in ditches.” Or something similar. And that’s no joke, I might mention. One of my “known associates” had been shot in the foot by people from Orangeville over drugs. So yeah.
“We’re going to put you in a cell, but, just so you know, the FBI would like to talk to you about your known associates.”
If someone told me that today, I’d say bring it. Not that I know anyone the FBI would be interested in *looks around all paranoid* but you get what I’m saying.
As a teenager? Sweet mercy. I’m sure I went pale. I know my buddy did, and he was already one of the palest people I’ve ever known.
They wanted Bongo. Looking back now, there’s no way it were only 25 plants if the Feds were after him. Of course we knew where he went. Of course we didn’t tell.
“No one tells me anything, officer. I’m a whiny child who can’t keep her mouth shut. Yes I know him, we used to party, but I have no idea where he went. I’m not sure any of our friends do.”
Then they booked us and to our cells we went – strip search and everything came after.
I don’t know if the police actually do shit like what they did to me to scare answers out. I will say it didn’t work, and I’m proud of myself, but God was that stupid.
For the next three years, I was sure, dead ass sure and you can’t convince me otherwise, that we were all on a list somewhere.
Connections with the Dead family LSD ring, major weed connections, cocaine (never me) connections, heroin (never me), interstate transport, sending drugs through the mail, interstate flight … yeah, you’ll never convince me they weren’t watching us.
Shortly after that, an undercover police officer infiltrated our group. Another friend of mine went down for possession of a quarter pound of pot. We dispersed somewhat after that, once everyone who’d been arrested got off of probation.
None of us served any time, and that includes Bongo. I seem to remember hearing the authorities caught up to him several years after the fact, but I can’t swear to that as truth. For all I know he’s still roaming the countryside and watching over his shoulder.
So, yeah, one of the most frightening things I’ve ever been told was that the FBI was interested in myself, and my friends. I sometimes have flashbacks of that, and wonder if I’m still on a list somewhere.
Side note: I am an annoying prisoner. I used those long legs on the jumpsuit to skate around my cell and sang nursery rhymes quite loudly to combat the anxiety. Other peoples were shouting down the corridor for me to shut up.
When they released me, the booking officer said they never wanted to see me again.
In my mid-twenties, I was a precocious youth. Oh, wait. Okay, in my mid-twenties, I reverted back to some habits. I won’t lie. It wasn’t legal even medically then, but I still enjoyed the smoking of the marijuana. I had officially given up the LSD, which I still occasionally miss.
I didn’t get overly involved in the smoking or selling at that age. Just social buying and smoking. I had a neighbor that used to grow for me specifically so my vulnerabilities were much lower. I guess I had learned something from that first story after all.
One night we were out at the bar (surprise!). It wasn’t the nicer one this time, we went to the bar up the hill. It was kind of a dive bar, but not really? They had good food, and bad cover bands. I can’t remember why we went, but it seems like we were celebrating something. Oh, yeah! I was selling books online then, and had just sold The Canon of Judo for $800. So we were woohooing.
As mentioned, the hometown was exactly halfway between Detroit and Chicago. We also had many award winning golf courses, so we tended to have lots of visitors/tourists in the summer, especially on the weekends.
The locals try to be nice to the golfers. They bring money in to the community and, honestly, they’re the kind of people our area likes to attract. Great jobs, make excellent money, have lots of disposable income, and eventually they leave. They tend to buy the locals drinks, which is nice.
So we’re hanging out and this guy starts hitting on me – a golfer from Chicago, in town for a week with his five buddies. They had rented a villa across the street and had come over for dinner and to get hammered on a Friday night. I believe it was their first night in town.
Being a chatty sort, I shot the guy down but continued talking. I was intrigued. Apparently this group of visitors from Chicago worked for an environmental company and they often were sent around the country to test soil.
Okay, I know, it sounds boring as shit, and it probably was. I, however, like to listen to people and learn random things. Also, I had worked with the Sierra Club and was a bit of an environmentalist bunny/tree hugger. This guy’s conversation seemed to be right up my alley.
A couple of hours go by. While at the bar I hook up with a friend for my week’s worth of smoke (my neighbor was in between batches), so that illegal baggy was resting comfortably in my pocket. Small town bar, pretty sure 1/3 to 1/2 of the patrons had illegal goods on them.
I’m still chatting with dude and some of his answers aren’t really lining up. I dig a little and dude is too drunk to maintain the charade. He asks me if I know where he can get some smoke. This dings my radar a little bit, and I stall. Strangers asking me for assorted things isn’t odd, but something about this guy was definitely off.
Not twenty minutes later, he confesses. These guys don’t work for an environmental company, and they’re not here on a working vacation.
“Bullshit! Let me see your badge!”
I shit you not, he pulled it out and handed it to me.
“All of you? All six of you? DEA? Here? Like right now?”
He nods, with this smirky grin on his face that made me want to punch it, and he makes me vow secrecy. I swore on my life I woudn’t tell a local soul, and even held my fingers up in the girl scout salute thing.
My stomach? Plummets. I have immediate flashbacks to an orange jumpsuit and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Cold sweat? Check. Sphincter? Could have made a diamond. The baggy in my pocket felt like it was made of hot coals.
After a few seconds that felt like hours one of his buddies leans over to start talking to him and implications kick in. I’m still staring at this badge, a little stoned, a lot drunk. The badge felt heavy as hell in my hand.
My hometown bar. My hometown friends. My illegal drug possessing compadres have vipers in their midst, and they do not know.
I gently lay the badge on the beer soaked table, tap dude on shoulder to show him I laid it down, and tell him I have to hit the bathroom and then grab a cocktail (pint sized captain and coke, double strength, the bartenders knew without asking), and that I’ll be right back.
I do indeed hit the bathroom where I immediately inform two sorta acquaintances that the DEA is in the house. I get to the bar and grab a specific bartender and give them the whispered warning (“Jesus Christ, I was holding the badge in my hand, just get the word out!”), get my drink, and head back to the table.
Twenty minutes later the bar is dead. Like they’d had last call and were closing down, but it was only midnight and we had two more hours. Friday night suddenly looked like a Monday night, except there were still a few tourists drinking away without a clue.
Pretty sure I gained karma from that. Good or bad is up in the air.
I actually ended up going over to their rented rooms and hanging out for more drinks.
I smoked down the DEA agents.
I made all six of them swear to everything they held holy, including and especially their jobs, that they wouldn’t bust me, and I smoked them out hard.
The karma on that one is up in the air as well.
On the whole, I don’t recommend doing pretty much anything that I’ve done in the real life anecdotes that I tell all of you about on this blog. I’m either the luckiest person in the world with the Universe looking out for me, or I’m so damn charming that no one wants to see me behind bars or dead. Ever.
One day I’ll write about my Arizona days and dealing with the Mexican Mafia on their home turf when I’m the gringo-est of the gringos, but not today. That was scary, but to me not as much as the cops were.
I hope you enjoyed today’s posting! I’m going to go twitch somewhere for a bit, and probably hum Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.