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  1.  (10288.1)
    Because I forgot I had a Halloween story. And also because not all of my stories involve me punching someone. But this one does. Also, it's an example of how hard it is to fight multiple opponents at once. It's not like the movies.

    I met some girl at a Halloween party back in 2007 full of nerds. The party was actually several weeks before Halloween, but, whatever. At the party, I dressed as my normal self, with Mohawk spiked up and sleeveless studded vest covered in patches, bondage pants and combat boots. Ended up making out with some girl that night, and got her number. We never really dated; only like met up a few times for sex. Then I get invited to another party, and her and her cute female friend and her little gay buddy come with.

    The party is at some warehouse where I know a couple guys that live there; I think it was called Francisco’s or something. Anyway, I dress like a pirate and we go to the party. While there we drank a bit and had some magic brownies. I got a little fucked up. Some kid that looked like a short version of Justin Timberlake started talking shit to me, and I talked shit back.
    Unbeknownst to me, the gay friend was hanging out with some other dudes he just met, and went to their car to “look at a stereo” or something, and they whooped his ass and mugged him. He came in, crying, and wanted to leave.

    What’s funny was that I was outside smoking a cigarette and he walked past me to run tell his friend he had been mugged. He walked past me as the muggers went the other way, without pointing them out to me and my friends and telling us to stop them. I never understand people like that.

    So we go to leave, and on the way out, we bump into wannabe JT. There’s arguing, and the next thing I know this big black dude knocks the little gay dude out, in one punch, and he hits the pavement and is out cold. As I turn to react, another guy, up from behind me, turns and punches me right square in the back of my head.

    I turn to look at the guy as he holds his hand like something must be broken, and I swear to God I must have channeled Samuel L. Jackson, because I turned and cocked my head and said “Did you just fucking hit me from behind motherfucker?” and he straight up just turned and ran.

    As I stepped forward, lil JT ran up to me on my left and I put my left hand out and caught him by the throat. To this day, I can still picture his face because of how close we got, then I literally threw him backwards by his throat.

    Another guy ran up to me on my right, and I had just enough time to grab him around the head and put his face through a parked car driver side window. As I was putting the head through the window, the big black guy came up and just started punching me in the side of the head. As I backed off of the car, another guy (possibly one of the ones I had already dealt with, I’m unsure) hit me from the other side.

    Everything had up until now been happening in very slow motion; now everything was happening too fast and I was having my ass handed to me. My friends seemed to take forever to show up, but now that they arrived they were still too afraid to get involved. One guy I barely knew chucked a glass bottle at one of the guys hitting me, and they ended up running off.
    I was fine, other than a broken nose and some pride being hurt. Gay kid that got knocked out woke up, but I was afraid he had a concussion. I was outvoted for taking him to the hospital.

    After that, the girl and I only hooked up once, and then she wouldn’t return my phone calls. I had to MySpace email her. Seriously. Then she responded back saying she “couldn’t date a guy who got into fights like that.” Well, fuck you lady. Like it was my fault I got drunk and high and talked shit with total strangers and got your friend knocked out. Oh, wait. It totally was.
  2.  (10288.2)
    As mentioned before, this is a story from early 2005 that kind of changed my life. Just previous to this, I was happily working for the Bureau of Prisons in downtown Chicago, living in Pilsen with a couple of roommates, but never really got to see my kid down in Austin. After this, my priorities changed heavily. Forgive the lack of jokes and funny bits. There might be a laugh or two amongst the tears, but that's how me and my family (and most other families) survive tragedy with a modicum of sanity intact.

    I didn’t get to go home for Christmas during 2004, but I had spoken to my family. My grandparents rented a house in Florida every year for the winter, and my folks were going to spend a couple weeks with them. They were taking with another couple that they were really close with and would be staying at the house as well. After they would come back home, we were planning on meeting up and exchanging gifts, etc.

    Sometime in early January, I’m leaving work and had just bought a 5th of Jack Daniels, and was on my way to catch an El train home, when my cell phone rings. It’s one of my aunts; the one that lives in a Chicago suburb. She tells me that she’d just gotten off of the phone with my mom; that there had been an accident in Florida. She said my mother couldn’t tell her much other than it “was bad, it was very bad,” and that my mother had been thrown from their vehicle and was on the side of the road, injured, fearing that she had a head-wound. A helpful bystander had helped her to the shoulder of the highway and lent my mother a cell-phone. My mother didn't stay on the phone long, but begged my aunt to call me because my mother was afraid she'd lose consciousness before being able to talk to me.

    My aunt and I made plans to get as much information as we could regarding the accident, and then we would fly to Florida with whatever family wanted to join us. I made it home, where normally my house was full of boisterous people, only to find it empty. I took my bottle of Jack and started to hurt myself with it. I took a leave of absence from work, not knowing when I’d be back.

    I was able to contact the highway patrol office that had responded to the accident, to find out what had happened and where my family was hospitalized. I was told that my grandparents were driving my parents and the other couple from Ft. Meyers to Ft. Lauderdale so my folks and the other couple could fly home. About halfway there, on “Alligator Alley” they were hit head-on by another driver who had crossed over from the oncoming lane. He did not survive the accident.

    I discovered that my mother, grandmother, and my parents’ friends were medevac’d by helicopter to a hospital in Ft. Meyers, while my stepfather was taken via ambulance to Ft. Lauderdale, three hours away. I couldn’t get anyone to verify the location of my grandfather. A bystander had reported seeing someone matching his description walking away from the wreck, but no one would confirm where he was. The officer on the phone kept repeating that he couldn’t give out any more information at this time.

    Normally, I refuse to use my badge or position for any sort of personal gain, but this time was different. I explained that I was also a law enforcement officer and tried to get some sympathy. I heard the officer put the phone down and ask his supervisor if he could tell me more information, saying “C’mon, the guy is one of us,” but the supervisor said no. He lowered his voice and said to me, “Look, all I can tell you right now is that all of the bodies have been removed from the scene.” That was the officer's way of telling me that my grandfather was dead.
  3.  (10288.3)
    I called my aunt and we made plans to meet up at O’Hare with another aunt. We flew to Ft. Myers and met up with a second cousin of ours who was in town on business. He had actually met up with my family for dinner earlier in the week, and was the first family member to get to the hospital. He drove us to the hospital where we could see our family.

    When I walked into my mother’s hospital room, I got very angry. She had been in the back of the van, and for the one time in her life was not wearing a seat belt. Even in the back seat, she always wore one. When the accident occurred, she was thrown around the van and went out the middle window, and bounced onto the highway, breaking a wrist and damaging her other hand and getting sever road rash. When I saw her face it looked like someone had beaten her with a baseball bat. I had this severe flash of anger at whomever had done this to her, but there was no one. It was just an accident, and there was no one for me to vent my anger at. Instead, there was just my mother in a hospital bed. She was tired, but woke up enough that she could tell I was there. The nurses on staff (who just took the best care of my family and were priceless to us) let me know that my mom would recover one hundred percent. Each day that I visited my mother, I watched as the road rash on her face simply disappeared. She claimed that the nurses kept putting some sort of cream on her face, and the road rash healed miraculously. To this day, my mother has a very small scar on her lip that if you didn’t know was there, you wouldn’t be able to see it.

    The second cousin had grown up close to my mom. He referred to her as a saint, but not in a religious way. She was "the good kid," who never really got into trouble. She never did any drugs or anything bad, ever, at least in the eyes of my family. So this second cousin pulls me aside later, and told me that just before I arrived, they had taken my mother off of morphine. She had a strong reaction to it, and asked to be taken off of it because of the morphine dreams that she had experienced. He told me something to the effect of, "Billy, you wouldn't have believed how high your mother was. She's never done any drugs, she was always the saint of the family. I can't even describe how high she was, it was so out there." Odd how funny that seemed then, I guess we were all looking for anything to lighten the mood.

    Then I got to see my grandmother. She was on a respirator. She was sitting next to my mother in the back of the van, but had kept her seat belt on. It had broken several of her ribs, some of which had pierced her lungs. She also suffered from cracked vertebrae. She was able to squeeze our hands and write notes to us. She later said that after the accident happened, she remained conscious. She told us that she could see my grandfather in the front passenger seat, and that he had survived the accident, but was having a heart attack. He knew he was not going to survive it. He called out to her, saying her name. He said, “Kathy, I love you; I’ve always loved you. Tell all the kids I love them.” And then he died. Then she said that she watched his spirit leave his body. She made a wavy hand motion going up. My aunts and I just looked at each other, speechless. We are not a religious family. We didn’t even go to church on Christmas or Easter on a regular basis. We didn’t discuss God or Jesus in my family. To hear mention of a soul was fairly odd. To hear my grandmother say this was earth-shaking. I don’t doubt what she said one bit.

    While we visited my family every day, we were able to stay in the house that they had rented for the winter. It was odd, to sit at the bar, drinking my grandfather’s whiskey, after he had passed away. Because my Pop was all the way in Ft. Lauderdale, I wasn’t able to visit him right away. After some effort, I was able to call him in his hospital room. He sounded rough. This hard assed Vietnam veteran broke down on me at one point. He tried to explain to me that in ‘Nam, sometimes he was “team leader,” and that each time he was team leader, he never lost a man; he brought them back every time. He felt that because he was driving the van, that he was team leader, and that he had lost a man this time, my grandfather; his father-in-law.

    My Pop had been married to my mother for over twenty years at this point, and my grandfather was as much a father to him as he was to me. He was hurting, more than just physically. Though he told me; he was hurt very bad physically as well. He had almost lost a foot in the accident, and didn’t know when he would be able to walk again. I asked him for some information about visiting him, and he asked the nurse to talk to me. In fact, when he put the phone down, I heard him say, “Nurse, my son wants to talk to you.” It was the first time in my entire life that the man had ever referred to me as his son. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried, right then and there.

    Later that evening, we drank Papa’s whiskey and shared stories about him. My aunt told a story about when she was a kid, after all the kids went to bed; she woke up in the middle of the night after hearing a noise, and crept to the stairs and looked into the living room. The radio was playing some slow music, and my grandparents were slow dancing in the living room. My cousin made us all drink Hoopensachers, which I don’t know if it’s German or Dutch, but basically was just whichever liquor my Papa had handy (but for him was usually Canadian Club), in a glass with some ice.

    I remembered that when I was a teenager, after my parents bought themselves a new bed, and gave me their king-size waterbed. One holiday family get-together, I walked past my bedroom and spotted my grandfather in my bedroom. My cat Snickers was napping on the bed and Papa was petting him. He kept saying, “Good ol’ cat-cat,” while scratching the cat behind the ears. Then, he looked around real quickly and started pushing down on the waterbed, causing big waves, and sending the cat tumbling across the bed, startled from its relaxing nap. Papa just stood there chuckling like a little kid. It was one of my funniest memories, and nobody else had ever heard that story before.
  4.  (10288.4)
    When I finally got to visit Pop in Ft. Lauderdale, it was his birthday. Surprisingly, he was in decent spirits. He told me that he had lost half of his small intestine in the accident due to taking the steering wheel into his stomach. During the operation, the doctors noticed something unusual. They asked him the last time he was out of the country, he replied Vietnam 1969. They told him that they had found a foreign water-born parasite in his stomach during surgery, and as a courtesy, they removed it free-of-charge. They explained to him that it must have been there for over thirty years. He laughed and said he just always assumed he had a weak stomach.

    He told me that when he was brought in, they had cut off all of his clothes, and he had no wallet or anything. Because of the stomach surgery, he wasn’t allowed to eat anything, and the nurses gave him some change in a Dixie cup so he could get cans of Sprite. At one point, a representative from the business office visited him, asking him if he had any plans on how to pay for his hospital bills. My Pop held out the Dixie cup full of quarters and asked the man if he wanted those. After that, there were no more visits from the business office.

    Eventually, I’m able to get my mom out of the hospital. My mom’s friends were already out, and staying with us at the rental home. The family who actually lives in the house is coming home soon, and we have to get hotels. We make the decision that I return home, and begin having my folks’ house made handicapped accessible for their return home. One of my aunts and I return on a flight together. At some point we watched a sappy movie that had ballroom dancing in it, which made us think of the earlier story about my grandparents slow-dancing in the living room. I warned my aunt she was never allowed to speak of us crying at such a terrible movie.

    As a side note, when we originally flew to Florida, we flew with a short return date, but were recommended to cancel the return flight due to family emergency and the airline would reschedule us at a later date for no charge. So when my aunt and I rescheduled, I later found out that sends a red flag to Homeland Security. I used to fly a lot more often, mainly back and forth from Chicago to Austin to see my daughter. One of my favorite things was to dress as punk rock as possible to make the flight interesting. I had streamlined my clothing to get through security, and then would put on things like bracers and chains and my vest once I got in. This time, due to being with family during an emergency, I did not want to be a distraction, so I had a clean-cut appearance, and I was wearing a suit. For the first time ever, I was pulled out of line, wanded with a metal detector and received a pat-down search by an officer. It seems that the more I try to look “normal”, the more out of place I must look, and airport security acts accordingly.

    When I got home, I called a family friend to help build a wheelchair ramp in the garage to help my Pop get in and out. I called my mom to let her know it was all set up. She asked me to move their bedroom from the upstairs into the downstairs living room, to save them some trouble. I said I’d get a friend to help. Before I hung up, my mom reminded me that my Christmas presents were still upstairs in their bedroom closet. She asked me to open them up that night so I could enjoy them.

    I called one of my old high-school buddies to help me move the furniture, but I also asked him to stick around while I opened up Christmas presents. It was mid-February, and my family was in the hospital. I definitely didn’t need to be alone with the liquor cabinet that night. It was kind of funny, there were five packages, and I pointed at them and said, “Socks, underwear, jeans, a sweater, and some kind of cool gadget Pop picked out for me.” When I opened them, I had each one right, including a combo digital camera/camcorder/mp3 player/recorder.

    My folks chartered a private medical flight out of Florida to Rockford. My whole family maxed out all their credit cards to afford it, plus the medical equipment and the two nurses. It just became too expensive to keep my grandmother and my stepdad in hospitals in Florida, plus keep the rest of the family staying in hotels. When I got my folks actually home, we tried to get them a nurse to help them at home, but the insurance company denied them. My Pop did not have the use of his legs, and my mom did not have the use of their hands, but the insurance company said that together, they still qualified as a whole person, that Pop could be my mom’s hands while she could be his legs, that “together their love would shine through,” but my mom told them they could go fuck themselves.

    Because my grandmother was still in the hospital, we couldn’t have a memorial service for my grandfather, but he still needed to be buried. A very small group of us met out at the family plot and my uncle, my second cousin that had been in Florida, my three younger male cousins and I all were pall bearers, and carried my grandfather’s coffin to his grave. It was a very short service, and we still had to wait several months before we could hold the actual memorial for him.

    Instead, I continued my leave of absence from work, and other family members and I took turns helping my folks until my mom’s hands healed enough that she could assist my Pop to the point where they didn’t need anyone else to help them anymore. I visited my grandmother in the hospital, and she grabbed me by the collar and told me that I needed to get off my butt and get back to Texas and get back in my daughter’s life. It took me a few months, but that’s exactly what I did.

    Months after the accident, we held a memorial service for my grandfather. Several hundred people attended the service. Before the service began, I greeted people as they entered. An elderly man walked up, and as I reached out to shake his hand, I spotted a tattoo on his arm. It was an old Navy tattoo of an eagle carrying an anchor; the exact same tattoo that Papa had on his arm; the very first tattoo I had ever seen. They had gotten the tattoos together in the Navy and they served in the Korean War together. It was an honor to meet the man.

    My second cousin read a eulogy. At one point, he asked us to look around us for someone we didn’t recognize, and ask them how they knew my Papa. It was really amazing. He then asked us how many knew what a Hoopensacher is, and to share one later that night with someone who didn’t know.
  5.  (10288.5)
    Back when I was dating dominatrix girl, her and her friends kept mentioning this guy Kurt from Texas, and that if we met we would become great buddies. I was like, whatever, fuck that guy. Apparently he had moved back to Texas just before I moved to Chicago from Texas. But back then, she used to tell him about her friend Billy, and if we met that we would be fast friends. He was like, whatever, fuck that guy.

    Well, one night, I head up to the Fireside Bowl to see some shitty band play, and dominatrix girl lived within walking distance. I had somewhat matured since we broke up, and we hung out occasionally. So after I was good and properly drunk, I headed over to her place. As I got closer, I could see that they were throwing a party. I happily decided to crash.

    So this guy Kurt was in town, visiting or something, and we get along great. Dominatrix girl made me show him my badge, and he got a kick out of it. He said, one day I’m going to need that badge, and I’m going to call you up and ask to borrow you. Sure, fine, I agreed, like that would ever actually happen.

    About a month later, I get that call. I’m on my way out to Punk Rock night at this bar called Exit, and Kurt calls me on the phone. Straight up and to the point: “I need you and your badge.”

    Alright, and I ask him what for. Dominatrix girl was moving from her third floor apartment to a basement apartment in the building next door. When she went to start moving her stuff in, she found a squatter. That was over a week ago. The landlord had hired this guy to work on the apartment and now he won’t leave. She called Kurt to help, and he called me. I was willing to help; I just needed a ride.

    So Kurt picks me up and I’m in full Federal Officer tactical gear. I get to dominatrix girl’s place and I ask them how they want to handle this and they have no idea. So my idea is that I’m taking a box of hers over to the new place, I just happen to be in uniform, and I bump into this squatter. I get over there, and I see this guy hanging out in her apartment. I act all innocent and introduce myself; he says his name, he has an Eastern European accent. I ask about his accent, and where he’s from. He says Europe. Really, Europe, huh? I tell him I heard Europe is a nice place. Now that I know he’s fucking with me, I ask him if he has a passport, and he says he has a work Visa. I ask him if he has a job, and he starts telling me some bullshit about how he was working, but then something happened and then some other bullshit happened and now he’s looking nervous.

    I ask him if he’s friends with the domme girl and he says no. I tell him I am friends with her, and she’s paying rent for this apartment. She can’t move in because he’s in the apartment. So in a way, he’s stealing from her. I tell him I don’t like that, and I ask her when she wants to move in exactly. She says in a week, on Monday. I tell him he has until Monday, because on Monday, I’m coming over to help her move, and I’m bringing some of my buddies from ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement- I’ve never had a friend in ICE- they’re dicks) to help her move, and if he’ not here, there won’t be any problems. I ask him if he understands, and he says yes, as he’s crying. I ask him if he’ll be gone by Monday, and he says yes. I ask domme girl if she’s satisfied, and she says yes so we leave.

    Normally, I’m not so heartless. And I don’t have a problem with illegal immigrants, as long as they play by the rules for the most part. Squatting in my friend’s apartment and not leaving when asked nicely counts as not playing by the rules. So I felt less guilt than I normally would. OK, to be honest, I felt no guilt whatsoever. I wasn’t calling ICE on this guy, but he needs to be afraid of fucking with people and that calling ICE might be something people do as retaliation. If you’re going to stay in this country illegally, try not to be a dick to others.

    So as we leave, we start laughing and I say to domme girl, “Do you know what my favorite part was?” and she says no, “My favorite part was when you could see his heart breaking, and then I just kept going.”
    She laughs, “That’s why I love my job too!”

    Epilogue: Sometime later, Domme girl told me she went out to throw out the trash at the new apartment, and Foreign Guy was behind her garage, pissing in the bushes. The landlady who had been ineffective at kicking him out of the apartment had given him permission to crash in the garage for a little while. Domme girl said he stayed for a couple of weeks and moved on sometime after that, but he never caused her anymore problems.
  6.  (10288.6)
    Damnit man! I come here for a laugh and a bit of distraction while I'm at the office and you have to go and tell the accident story. I swear the sniffles are just the cold I'm fighting off. Winter and all that.
  7.  (10288.7)
    I gotta keep you guessing, don't I? And wait for The First Time I Saw My Daughter in 3 Years...
  8.  (10288.8)
    Still great. Is the prison you work at Hunstville State? Because Werner Herzog just released a documentary about some death row inmates there and I'd love to hear your thoughts on... you know, everything.
  9.  (10288.9)
    No, I don't work for the state, I work for the Feds. I'm at the downtown Houston Federal Detention Center, a high-rise facility. I would like to see anything Herzog does though, especially on TDC. Texas state prisons are pretty terrible.
  10.  (10288.10)
    Once, when I was dating the girl in Austin, we went out on a date to see The Flametrick Subs, the only Psychobilly band I ever really liked, especially because they have The Satan's Cheerleaders dancing on their stage.

    When we got home, really fucking drunk, we were having trouble getting the key in the front door. My girlfriend said she wasn't feeling well, that she felt like she might puke.

    So of course, I said "Then I guess a blow job is out of the question."

    And she vomited all over the front door. I did not get any that night. That was one of several blow-job & vomiting incidents which has plagued my life.
  11.  (10288.11)
    Teenage story time.

    I was 17 or 18, crashing at my Dad's, and my girlfriend and one of my friends wanted to go drinking at my friend's sister's place. We were all underage, and she would let us drink there. So my girlfriend drove us over there and we got high and watched anime, like Wicked City or something, and then all of a sudden my girlfriend had to go home. So she left. Right after she left, my buddy was all weird about how we had to take the anime tapes to another friend's house, across town, oddly enough, in my girlfriend's neighborhood. But she had the car. So we walked.

    We walked several miles. In the middle of the night. By the time we got to our other friend's house, his parent's house actually, everyone was asleep; it was like 3am. So we decided to walk to Denny's.

    We got about a block or two away, when we heard noises. Like the beating of drums. You know, like in the Lord of the Rings movie, when Gandalf is all like "...drums in the deep..." and shit? It kinda sounded like that. So, all things considered, we thought it would be a good idea to just follow the sound of the drums.

    We get a couple blocks away, and I look up and see the upstairs of this duplex or apartment building or something, and there's a big picture window, and there's like a drum circle or something, and I can see people hitting bongos and bongs right through the window. As we stand there looking up at the bongo party, some guy carrying a load of firewood walks past us.

    He says, "You guys wanna go to a party?"

    I'm like, "Fuck yeah!"

    He looks closer at us and says "You guys aren't cops are you?"

    I look at my buddy Rob. Long blonde hair, like middle of his back long, and wearing a long black trenchcoat. I've got kinda long stringy dark brownish almost black hair, a chin goatee no mustache, and a big biker jacket and a pair of wing tips. I said "Do we look like cops?" But I guess I said it ion some way that sounded argumentative, so he backed down and was like okay, we're cool.

    On the way upstairs, desperate to make small-talk, I commented on how nice his firewood was. Rob asked him if it was palm trees. We both just stopped on the stairs and just looked at Rob, shaking our heads. We got upstairs.

    It was a big apartment. Like TV sitcom unrealistically big apartment. There was a DJ playing records somewhere in the back, this huge drum circle, and lots of booze and drugs. I was about to hook up with some girl, but she threw up on my wing tips.

    About 5am, we heard police were breaking up the party. We bolted.

    Several blocks away, Rob mentions he has a dimebag in his sock. I ask him why it's in his sock, and he shrugs.

    As we walk down the sidewalk away from the party and towards Denny's, we get pulled over by a squad car. I tell Rob to shut up and let me do all the talking, as I can see he's already freaking out. The officer rolls down the window and I wish him a good morning. He asks if we know anything about a party, and I play ignorant. I mention how it's a nice morning for a walk, and we're going to Denny's for breakfast. He drives off thinking we're a couple of morons.

    We get to Denny's and I recognize a guy and a couple of girls that are part of the late night diner crowd. It's somewhere around dawn and we get breakfast. As we eat, I'm facing a big window, and I can see down a hill. Towards another friend's neighborhood. There's a big plume of smoke coming from a rooftop. I wonder outloud if it's my friend Joey's house. The random guy we're having breakfast with suggests we all pile into his car and he'll drive us to the fire.

    We get to the fire, and it's not Joey's house. I see the fire and run up to the house and scream, "Oh my god, my house my beautiful house!!"

    At this point, I might mention that my buddy Rob had lied to his mom about his plans for the evening; he was supposed to be at some other friend's house all night. So when I start yelling about my house being on fire, Rob is standing right behind me in an empty front yard. There is a photographer from the local newspaper at the scene taking pictures of the fire and the fireman. She turns to photograph me, and I can see Rob out of the corner of my eye. He spins, flapping his trenchoat in a fancy flourishing motion, I assume to disguise his face from the photo, but then he disapears into thin air.

    I can tell you without a doubt, that he was standing right behind me, and he spun, and flapped his trenchcoat, and then he was gone. There were no trees in the yard. Nothing to hind behind. I can tell you for sure that that's exactly what I saw.

    I was also drunk and stoned all night and through the morning.

    The photographer realized I was full of shit, and she ignored me. Rob reappeared shortly thereafter. The other people that we came with left. So we decided to take a shortcut to Joey's house and walk through the woods about maybe one city block's distance. That was around 6am. Sometime around 7 or 8, we made it to Joey's house. We tried to be sneaky just get Joey to let us in, and woke everybody in the house up. They put us in the basement and we slept on couches until Rob's cousin picked us up and took us home. That was a really crazy night.
  12.  (10288.12)
    Back when I lived in Rockford, and before I was dating the girl who became the mother of my child, there was this guy, I’ll call Mr. Black. Mr. Black was several years older than me, and friends of lots of the young girls that hung out at our favorite coffee shop. He was kind of a protective "big-brother," and had a bad reputation for being a bit of a bad-ass. I was probably 7 or 8 years younger than this guy, and to be honest, a bit intimidated. It was made clear to me that this guy would have to like me for me to be able to date the girl I liked, my future "baby-mama," I'll call her M.

    So when M and I started dating, we spent a lot of time at our local coffee shop, it was one of the few places in town that had all-ages live music. I was about 18, and M was 17, and I’m guessing Mr. Black was around 25, possibly older. He was around a lot, and always cautiously watching us. He also watched out for domme-girl, the girl I'd eventually date in Chicago.

    Well, domme-girl left town and moved to Chicago, to go to art school. M and domme-girl were best friends at the time, and M started missing her immediately. One day, Mr. Black offered to chaperone M to visit domme-girl in Chicago. M told me she wanted to go visit, but I had to work. I stressed that I was concerned about her driving the hour-and-a-half-plus trip alone, and that's when she told me Black was coming along. I immediately felt that much safer, and stopped worrying about it. I was way off.

    That night, sometime around 3am, I got home from being out with friends. There was a note by the phone saying that domme-girl had called from the coffee shop. This was not good news. The coffee shop closed at 2 am, and what was domme-girl doing in town anyway? I called back and nobody would tell me anything. They just said get to the shop right away. But I didn't have a car. Domme-girl said she'd come pick me up. I asked where Black was, but nobody would tell me.

    Very shortly thereafter, domme-girl showed up. Slowly, I got pieces of information. Apparently they were "giving each other massages" and they tied domme-girl up to do this. Afterwards, it was M's time. At some point, domme-girl said she left the room. When she came back, M was crying, and tied up face down on the bed. I asked if Black had raped her, and all I was ever told was "just about everything but." I kept asking where Black was, and eventually someone told me that they left him in Chicago; I heard he had to walk through Caprini-Green, a notoriously dangerous project neighborhood in Chicago (it was the ghetto featured in Candyman).

    For now, though, I had a hurt girlfriend. There's never mention of the police, and domme-girl has school in the morning. We end up driving her back to Chicago, and then drove all the way back home. I really, really wanted to track Black down and hurt him, but it never happened. I really didn’t see much of him after that, and it took a long time for M to piece herself back together. Not only had she been sexually assaulted; but it was done to her by a very good friend. I was still intimidated heavily by him, so when I did have opportunities to fight him, I chickened out. He told me that he deserved us to hate him and hurt him, and that made it harder to do anything about him. I fight best when angry, and he refused to argue or debate or discuss the situation, and only seemed willing to stand there while I hit him, and that's a hard thing to do, even if you hate someone.

    Years later, after moving to Texas, M and I splitting up, and moving back to Chicago, I moved in with domme-girl, and her roommate E. I had learned that they had been friends with Black for years after that event (E never really knowing anything about it, having not been friends with him at the time). Sometime before I moved up, they found out he was involved with gangs and drugs, and they didn't want to associate with him anymore. Coupled with the fact that I was living there, he didn't come around anymore.

    Flash-forward a couple more years, when E and I are living together. We went to see a concert together, and I got drunk and more. When I arrived at the show, I found out Black was also there. I guess I grew pretty violent immediately, and shoved E and walked away. I have little to no memory of this. I had a small moment of clarity and went to the bathroom, realizing that sooner or later he would need to use the bathroom too.

    I remember seeing him, and tapping him on the shoulder. I remember saying, "This is for (M) and (E), and (domme-girl)," and swinging on him.

    Security (who had been watching for this guy since domme-girl was friends with the head of security) says I walked up behind the guy, tapped him on the shoulder, and decked him across the face. I was wearing a spiked bracer, and it caught across his face and he had three bloody scrapes across his face to prove it.

    Security immediately grabbed me, and I threw my hands over my head and innocently yelled, “I didn’t touch him, I swear!” They dragged me out the front door and threw me outside. I yelled "He raped my girlfriend!" and the security guys looked at each other and shrugged, and threw him outside as well. They said something to the effect of, "good luck, buddy" and left us outside.

    I looked at him and he looked at me, and I said, "Start walking. Let's find a place to do this." We couldn’t rightly fist-fight right out in front of the Metro, and we both knew a fight was inevitable, so we started walking. Two former friends, walking down the street, knowing they are about to beat the shit out of each other. So we started catching up. I asked how he’d been, what he was up to; he asked me how M was, how our kid was, etc. It was nice.

    Finally, we found a somewhat private alleyway. "Okay," I said, "this seems far enough." We threw our coats on a fence and faced off, and started punching each other. In the middle of this epic ass-kicking, someone’s garage light came on. We froze, and stopped fighting. A garage door opened, and someone started backing out of their garage. We lighted up cigarettes and stopped for a smoke break to wait for them to leave. As they went down the alley, we waved goodbye. We looked at each other again, and said, "Are you ready?"


    "Then let's do this." And then we fought some more.

    I left him, the last time I saw him, lying on the ground in the alley. I spit on him, and told him the only reason I didn't kill him was because I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life in jail for him, and never know my daughter. He wasn't worth it. I’m not sure if I made the right decision or not. I still believe this world would be a better place without him in it.
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2011
    Have you ever considered writing these up as scripts? They'd make pisser short films, or maybe better, b&w indie-style comix.

    I find your stories enormously compelling. What a fucking life.
  13.  (10288.14)
    I've been tempted for the comic angle, too bad I have no idea where to find any artists...
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2011
    Panel and Pixel might be good, but I'd be amazed if you couldn't find any Whitechaplain artists who wouldn't go in on that.
    • CommentTimeDec 19th 2011
    I've been following your stories in several threads and followed a link to this blog. I'm so fucking hooked. You're officially part of my RSS feed now and if these ever getting put into printed format or a purchasable digital format, you'll have my hard-earned wages.
    Looking forward to more and thanks for sharing.
  14.  (10288.17)
    I'm up to 40,000 words so far, am not sure what number I'm working towards, what genre this is? Life stories? Or what to do next.

    This it totally new to me. Before WC, I used to just tell (or be asked to tell) stories.

    Introduced to someone for the first time, "This is that guy I told you about, that did that crazy thing that one time..."

    "Oh, you're the guy that she used to tie up and set on fire at parties..."

    "Dude, you have to tell so and so about the time you evicted the squatter from her apartment..."

    Writing them down is fairly new to me, writing them where others (I guess I can't call you guys strangers anymore) can read them and get feedback from, that's totally new. Friends of mine always loved my stories, but I never received the encouragement to DO anything with them until coming here.

    And I have no clue where to go, and what to do with it, so I just keep writing. Took about a month off. *shudder* Holidays.

    Now, I'm back, and I'm trying to dredge up the shit I usually don't tell people, just the insane memories I usually kept to myself.

    Oh, and if I haven't said it enough, thank you for the kind compliments. It makes my day. (especially as I sit here with 104 convicts)
  15.  (10288.18)
    In rough approximation, 45,000 words comes out to about 150 pages of book post-design. I would say that any collection of stories/memoir such as yours would probably need to go for 250 or 300 pages, or 75,000 to 900,000 words--but obviously if it means padding the book with shit just to make the page count, don't do it.

    If you want to do a book, get it edited and send it out. If the New York publishers don't want it, get it designed and put it on ebook for a couple bucks. It's the dawn of a new era. When stuff is GOOD and CHEAP, and you network and ask for word-of-mouth spread, stranger things have happened than someone making some money and a small amount of notoriety off of ebooks. I say go for the gusto.

    I would also consider using full names, even fake ones, in the actual manuscript, and including some of your writing from other threads on WC (that shit about your name was funny!). Consider yourself encouraged!
    • CommentTimeDec 21st 2011
    Should you go the ebook route, I'll let you know how it works for me; I ought to be uploading something within a few weeks.
  16.  (10288.20)
    Here's a sad prison story:

    I was working as a guard at my first prison in 2001, and I was still living with my daughter, her mother, and grandma, in Kyle, TX, pop. 5,000. Back when I was hired, an inmate orderly, what they used to call a trustee, helped train me. His name was Villa, and he was also the same guy I pointed my gun at.

    One of my favorite posts to work at was the recreation yard. The yard included a full gymnasium with basketball court, a small weightlifting area, and a craft shop. Outdoors was another weightlifting area, two basketball courts, two handball courts, a full track, and a sand volleyball court.

    My office was inside the gym, and I also had a bootblack; a guy who shined shoes. Villa worked in the rec yard, and was always there late. Sometimes, he was the only one in rec, as he worked with leather goods in the craft shop. Sometimes, when it was just the two of us, we shot the shit, and told stories, etc. It's how I found out how he was in prison (killing his girlfriend and her husband when he walked in on them having sex).

    There was supposed to be a coach in charge of the rec yard, but at the time of my hiring, there hadn't been a coach in some time. So inmate Villa was the default guy, because he had worked in the rec yard the longest. Any questions we had, we asked him. That's not the way it's supposed to be done, but that's the way we did it. In some ways, I feel that I learned how to do my job from this inmate. I was 20, and pretty naive when I started there, and this guy seemed fairly rehabilitate; and I'd like to think that sort of thing is still possible.

    Well, after I'd been there for some time, they hired a coach. I didn't know the guy very well, and I don't know how well he knew his job, and it appeared to me that inmate Villa trained the new coach too. One of the jobs in the rec yard, was to monitor the craft shop. Staff could contract an inmate to make things, and the staff would write up a contract, get it approved by the captain, and then the officer would pay the front office the contracted amount, and the inmate would receive funds for the work they did. It's how I got my girlfriend's leather jacket airbrushed with the Changeling the dreaming symbol for $20 when it was probably a $300 job. Because there was no coach, Villa did the legwork and helped me get the contract made.

    Later, when the Coach got hired, Villa taught him how to do contracts. Several months later, some officers transferred in from another institution. They were extremely impressed by Villa's leatherwork. They got him and the coach to sign off on taking examples of his work to their former institution and show it off to their buddies at the old job.

    Normally this would have been fine, but we had recently hired a new Assistant Warden, Major D.C. Cole. Cole came from Connally Unit, the prison famous for the Texas 7 escapes. Cole was West Texas born, total cowboy, and fairly short, with what seemed to me to be a Napoleon Syndrome, which I've found to be fairly common among prison guards and the like.

    So these officers are coming back from their old institution with a bunch or ranger belts and shit, and they bump into Major Cole and he throws a shitfit. He doesn't care that these things have been inspected and approved by other staff, and that this sort of thing is done all the time (and actually legitimately, not in the "well, we do it all the time" way that is totally full of shit). He just sees something he doesn't like, flips out, and because Texans like this guy don't believe in backing down or admitting they make mistakes, he has to take this all the way.

    He verbally reprimands the officers, writes up the coach for something stupid, and then gives the orderly a shot (a written report of violation of the unit rules). Normally not a big deal, but this inmate is like a trustee, and basically a therapist or counselor to other inmates that are part of the drug-treatment in this facility. He's allowed to do this work as long as he stays out of trouble. There are different levels to shots, and this particular shot is of a level that basically kicks him out of the program he's been working with for the past ten years. That also means he's being sent to another unit.

    When I arrived to work after my days off, I found out what happened. My first assignment for the day was to take Villa into the storage area, and have him pack up the past decade's worth of possessions that he has accumulated, and box it up for shipping to his new institution. It was a slow, painful process. Like watching a dog that someone had beaten lick its wounds.

    It took hours. He had so much property, it hurt to watch. I'm not sure how long it had been, when I noticed he was crying. This murderer was crying because he had no idea how his life was about to change. He had one thing he could count on, every day being the same, year after year, and now the rug was being pulled out from underneath him.

    I decided to go to the vending machine and bought myself a snack. I asked Villa if he wanted anything. That's extremely illegal.

    I said I was buying myself a coke and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Would he like one. He looked up at me and said yes. I bought him one. We sat there, quietly, and ate our snacks. He thanked me. I said I was sorry that I couldn't do anything else. He nodded, and went back to packing up his property.

    Later than night, I went home. My girlfriend at the time, aka baby mama, never understood my job. She never seemed to realize that it was pretty dangerous. She never quite got that I got paid shit for putting myself at risk, so we could pay her mom's rent and feed the kid. She was never really sympathetic to me when I said I had a hard day. That night was different.

    I went home, and asked her to hold me. I cried. It hurt so much do do that job that day. I told her, and I'll never forget it. I said, "We are not the good guys."