The 12-step definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.I was insane. Would dive into it like it was a cool, fresh, familiar…and safe…all-embracing padded cell.
Yes, 'Sally' and Eric and me were now a family again, Susanna would wiggle her way onto our couch with pitbull and copious prescription ....delusions do come true.
We found a place behind the Chinese Theatre, on Franklin ave...the top floor, a very seedy place:
This crumbling cinder block of an apartment building was a typical Los Angeles cookie cutter to stuff the masses, more like a small cell-block, four tiers of apartment-lined walkways surrounding a yellow green dumpster-size ‘pool’ shaded by a lone, asphyxiated palm tree. The building was filled with drug dealers and loons. Directly across our 'tier' lived a fellow and his girlfriend; ‘Merlin’ and Tabitha. Merlin, a smug-filled pretender with an arrow-shaped goatee, and a receding dyed black hairline had all the
One late night we get heavy knocks on the door (it’s ). I go to the peephole in my underwear, “who is it?” I ask. “Police!” boomed the voice. Opened the door and was straightaway yanked onto the walkway finding a twelve-gauge shotgun pressed to my neck. It was the police all right, the LA Gestapo, as they were known. LA citizenry were terrified of them especially the downtrodden. Jaywalking? Fuhgeddabodit. I had friends who were surrounded, handcuffed. Disappeared for days.
Five of them yanked me out with varying displays of weaponry. Especially the one I’ll never forget, icy cool jammed under my chin.
But I guess LA Gestapo had good reason this time. Someone had called the police reporting they heard gun- shots coming from our apartment. I later learned it was Merlin who made that call. The insanity swelled pus-like for more months.
My attempt at lancing this terminal insanity was like a surgeon seeking to remove a brain lesion with a fishing hook. Futile and clueless.
All the while that my mother was on another verge of a many a comeback, she would barely leave her couch and her pitbull 'Chica.' I finally lost my patience with the woman who begged me for a shiner six months prior. I threw my mother out. At wit’s end, frantic …relegating her to the Opel-Kadette and her beloved Chica. I was left to peer ridicule, “You threw your own mother out?!” A friend from Eighty Deuce showed up and readily took Susanna’s place on the couch. Not to worry, I could still make the rent.
Much to my chagrin I wasn’t through with the police. One morning (daylight) we get another foreboding knock on the door. Sally answers it. It was two LAPD detectives looking for Michael Evans. They were looking for me and I was standing right there. “Yes officer that’s me.” I firmly said, trying to sound responsible. They had a warrant for my arrest, triggered by the unpaid penalty of $658.53 that I ‘forgot about’ for child stealing ('child stealing' my *own* son. I was handcuffed and led back to a now familiar place, L.A. County Jail.
My gold chain and a spiritual-cross were stolen in the TV room the second day…. I wept; shaking while the guards searched the culprits. Never found. I was sick of jail and wanted an easier, softer way. I had mentioned to one of my cellmates “at least I wasn’t kicking any serious dru habit," He unknowingly gave me a good ‘get-over’ idea that was right in-line with my old Eighty Deuce philosophy, and my ticket to the ‘easier, softer way’. He said that the jail hospital was a ‘picnic’, rooms to your self with a comfortable bed. Saying you had to be really sick; like convulsions, seizures to be admitted.
I began to devise my plan. I was going to ‘get-over.’
That early evening in a sea of men in blue jump suits we filed into the cavernous, metal-clattering, noisy mess hall. A looked forward to daily event. Hundreds of guys, out of their cells at once, was a raucous and dangerous affair.
The queue began way down the green hall, in-line for the pick-up of the cookie cutter metal tray and mystery slop. I was sweating, nervous. Knowing what I had to do. Had to pull this off. Had to be award winning.
After gathering up my tray and then its slop. I head for my bench and table; begin to swish and froth my spit, working my salivaries overtime. Sit down with my tray, scan the fifty guys at my table and let the show begin. Commenced to spew homogenized slobber from the mouth, rolling the eyes up into the head and falling straight back to the floor, shaking and contorting seizure-like as much possible. “Man down, man down!!” the men at my table yelled. “Man down, man down!!” as they admonished the guards, pointing to the spit-soaked face writhing on the cement floor.
Guards surrounded me and very soon a stretcher appeared. I was taken to the infirmary. Rapidly diagnosed with ‘withdrawal symptoms’ and whisked to the hospital floor, feeling very pleased with my performance. Given a room with no view. And that’s not all.
A room with a bed all right, a metal bed with a flimsy plastic, grueling, tattered mattress with a conjoined bulge at the head that mimicked a pillow, a toilet that constantly covered the floor with water and its contents, a rat that would visit at his pleasure and a chunky metal door that featured a thick window as big as my face and a slot where I received my three dailies. A lone Advil-like pill every 12 hours added to the excitement. Never left that room for 14 days, I wasn’t well. But I got-over!
Released on a hot sunny afternoon with a bus token. But walked the seven miles back to
August came; I was trapped, suffocating like a bug in a jar.
I scrambled and began to drive a cab…leasing it for 12-18 hour shifts for two weeks non-stop. One thing on my mind. I told Sally that I was leaving with Eric.
Bought a $99 Greyhound ticket. And for three days and three nights; sitting, curled, crimped, cramped and twisted, my three and half year-old son and I, my treasured tape player/boom box, guitar and a suitcase, fled LA.
Leaving Sally behind. But not very far.
Sometimes a ‘geographic’ isn’t the remedy. ‘Wherever you go, there you are.’