After leaving the band, I had a big decision to make: (1) quit doing dope entirely, and I definitely wasn't trying to hear that shit, (2) keep a habit according to my funds, which meant a going back and forth between being high or sick, or (3) selling to support my habit. Not much of a choice there. Naturally, I went with the latter, and decided to do it right. At the time in Austin, junkies could only buy balloons of weak dope cut with lactose, so, being hooked up with my long time ese connect, I set out to rectify that situation by selling $20 pesetas, or pieces, of pura chiva, or pure tar heroin. I caught flack from a couple of local dealers, claiming that it would put heat on the street, but really it would just put heat on them from their customers. Anyway, I had no big plans on being a dope kingpin , but to merely support my own habit. So, I started selling $20 foils. And when word spread, it all just snowballed.

      I had also gotten quite a rock habit for myself, being of the perfect compulsive/addictive personality. Months earlier, while still with the band, I had met and become fast friends with the man who would soon become my main rock connect and partner. We'll just call him "T". I first heard about T from all the two-bit crack dealers at the Congress Motor hotel up on Congress, when it was Rock Central, before the cops cleaned it up. I kept hearing about T, and a woman dealer named Pinky, oddly enough. People spoke of them almost in awe, telling me, "T will be here later" or "That's T's rock" and such. Turns out that Pinky mostly just sold for T. He was the man. I expected some larger-than-life, gang banging, loud, ignorant rock dealer. When we finally met, and quickly bonded and became fast friends, I found T to be big alright, but also quiet, articulate, educated, a Gulf War Marine vet, and a very sweet guy. He never used what he sold, gambling and drinking being his chosen addictions. Selling rock is the fast track to money when you're young and black and looking at a job in McDonald's as your best career choice. T had come to Austin from Houston to make his fortune selling on the East side streets. When we partnered up, that was all to quickly change.

      My current living arrangement with one of my dealers and his wife quickly deteriorated in the face of my going into business for myself and offering a superior product to boot, so I moved in with Patty, the redheaded spitfire wife of Ministry's Al Jorgensen, both of whom had been getting mistreated and ripped off by aforementioned roommates. Soon I had a growing contingent of customers who sold small on their own, along with the rock `n' roll elite of Austin and their friends. Word was spreading. I had a pager, something I never would have had or even considered having scant weeks before. As a joke, I started selling what I called "The Daily Double", a foil from each gram containing two $20 pieces. This proved so popular that I made it a standard thing and people would get so excited that they would even call me to tell me that they had gotten it.

 
       During this time, while I was still selling small, I picked up my first bust. T ran a red light, drunk, on the way to our hotel room at 3am, with a cop sitting right there at the intersection. Upon seeing a black guy and a white guy in a tricked out Camaro, it was on and they thoroughly searched us and the car, finding all my paraphernalia and T's sawed off in the trunk. Being that the sawed off was legal, they let T make it and go, but took me down to the cop shop. Luckily, the only drugs were two rocks in a film can stuffed down my pants, which I worked down my pant leg and kicked under the front seat during the ride. They found the can upon arrival, but couldn't pin it on me and put me in jail on the paraphernalia charge instead.
 
        Austin City Jail is barbaric, a true shithole, built when the city was small and Bush's new prison economy wasn't in full swing. The noisy tiers contain dirty, smelly, two-man cells in which they regularly put four and five people. Someone always has to sleep on the floor half under the bottom bunk while another sleeps with his head right next to the toilet. Meals consist of three inedible sack lunches containing mystery meat sandwiches and a whole lot of Fritos. The cells are shut with steel doors containing a small square window and the whole atmosphere is extremely claustrophobic, made much worse when you're kicking. Luckily, that first time, I was well fixed and slept through the entire night, excepting an early morning trip downstairs for fingerprinting. Around noon, Patty arrived to get me out, having picked up a grand from Al to make my bail. Although we were just getting to know each other, he proved a true friend in a pinch. We went immediately back home so I could score, do a big fix, smoke some rock, and take care of my people. A lawyer was recommended, the court dates would be set later, and that was that. For the time beingÖ
 

     Patty bought a house in South Austin and we all moved in, complete with kid and three dogs. At that point, I was selling more than I ever had dreamed of to a small army of street dealers, whores, tittie dancers, and bands. Things would start slowly each afternoon, steadily increase into the evening, and peak at about 2:30 every morning as my pager would go berserk with calls from Austin's night minions getting off work. Junkies and vampires have always had much in common in that both are nocturnal, both become extremely ill when deprived of what they need, and blood plays a major part in the life. Selling was now keeping Patty and me in dope and money. T had started making whole cookies of primo rock to keep up with demand (a cookie is an ounce of coke cooked up, resembling a sugar cookie, and cut into twenties) and we soon were keeping a safe place, a small apartment on the southside, in which to leave dope and money and occasionally stay. It was here that I was busted the second time.


       I had driven over in my van (bought very cheaply from a tittie dancer friend) with $1200 cash to leave at our safe place and to pick up another cookie. It was a few days after Christmas, and Patty and I had been up for 3-4 days shooting and smoking. I pulled into the parking lot right in front of the building, promptly nodded out, and was awakened a bit later by a knocking on both windows. There was a cop at each window, I was coming out of a deep nod, and the $1200 was scattered across my lap, front seat, and floor. Not good! Someone had called APD, thinking I was dead. These cops were older, more chill than the newer breed of youngsters who are trying to come up via drug busts. They asked about the money-I told them I led a band, always got paid in cash, was on the way to the bank, and was just exhausted from the holidays. Everything was fine until they called me in and found hot check warrants out on me. Back in cuffs, back in the car, back to city jail. One cop found two stems (crackpipes), totally coated on the inside with "push", or rock residue, and asked his partner what to do about it. Being old school andchill, his partner told him to toss them out. He also told me about a "walk through", whereas if you have your cash bond on you, you can literally walk through the cop shop without being held, once the paperwork is done-something I had never heard of. The next day, when I picked up my van from impound, both stems were there under the driver's seat, fully intact. As I said, chill cops!


        Patty and I were doing so much dope that we would literally nod out on our feet all the time. We noticed that there were two main types of nod: horizontal and slumped over. I watched Patty nodding on the bed one night perpendicular to the floor, her upper body hanging into space until she was ready to fall off, at which point she would snap out of it momentarily and sit up until her slow descent would begin again. I was a slump over nodder, drifting farther and farther over until my hands would almost be touching the floor and I would finally go over into an instinctive tuck and roll, which I was becoming pretty adept at. One time I nodded out standing in T's kitchen around 4pm with the sun shining bright and came out of it three hours later, still standing, darkness having descended on the city. And finally, I nodded out one night on the top step of Patty's high back porch, waking up sprawled on her brick patio six feet below with my head in my pups' little kiddie pool. Patty had heard me go, and was frantically rushing to call EMS or take me to the emergency room, but I didn't have a scratch or bruise on me. As with this and many other things, I remain extremely lucky.


        Ministry had bought an immense, extremely lavish compound, complete with private landing strip, in Marble Falls, which had became party central away from Patty's house in Austin. It was built around a pool and tennis court, with three cabanas facing out beside two duplex houses, some outbuildings, and a main two story building which contained multiple theme bedrooms, living rooms, kitchen, skull and bones entry room, and Ministry's state-of-the-art studio. Many a time, Patty and I would drive down with a load for a couple of days of rock `n' roll debauchery. It was a veritable shooting gallery 24/7. We watched Al at Patty's one night, having broken a needle off in his arm, chase it up the entire length of his arm with a razor blade, bleeding everywhere, until Patty couldn't stand it anymore and took him to the emergency room, where they succeeded in removing it. But Al and the boys worked hard, too, recording a lot of material in the studio, including the record "Filth Pig", one track on which I myself played. We also did the one and only gig of "Buck Satan and the 666 Shooters", another of Al's side bands, at Liberty Lunch, the rehearsal for which was more a dope shooting party than rehearsal. But the gig was wonderful and sold out. Unfortunately, a much talked about record never came to be. Al and Mike were later to be busted in a thorough embarrassment to the cops, lose the compound, move to Chicago, and fade into relative obscurity for a few years.
 

       Around this time, I took up with a tall, blonde, tattooed young beauty named Sara, AKA Bun. She was the girlfriend of a local drummer who bought from me and there was an immediate attraction. After a few weeks of circling, during which she went off to school and then returned, we finally consummated one night and officially became a couple, soon to be well known in the local junkie circles and with the APD. Patty had lost her house and everything in it, and had burned off to Chicago, following Al. Sara and I began a life on the move, staying with various friends and in hotels, only having a home of our own for three very short periods of time. My Boston Terriers, Boo and Ghee, were always with me, making us a very well known and identifiable foursome. Absurd rumors abounded about what a vicious guy I was, how I didn't ever want to meet anyone new, and that I always answered the door with a loaded gun. All bullshit! Now, it is true that I had started a small arsenal of bought or traded weapons, mostly for my own amusement, but you never know when you're deep in the Dope Game. Everybody is packing out there, and Sara and I were constant targets to be ripped off. Crackheads especially could go off the deep end, as I would find out first hand more than once. One wired up guy even came after me with a sawed off gauge once, but his girlfriend stopped him. So, at any given time, I had a Tek-9, three .380s, a .45, a sawed off gauge with hair trigger pistol grip (a gift from my partner T, and with which I almost blew my foot off), and my cherished collection of switchblades, all brought in from Europe during T-Bird tours. Nothing bad ever happened to us in this constantly volatile environment, though there were some close calls. As I said before, I've always been lucky in this and many other things.

       During this time, one of my connects and I got very proficient, of necessity, at pulling overdosed junkies back from the dead. Although warned that if they fixed and subsequently overdosed at my place they would end up in an alley, many went ahead with it anyway. Most of them had done a lot of pills and/or alcohol before fixing. Really stupid! EMS wasn't an option as they always brought APD with them, and APD loved trying to pin murder charges on whoever they could. So, we became our own junkie EMS team, bringing back 14 people over the course of a year and a half, and we were damn good! Never lost a one! The drill, when we saw someone turning blue and not breathing, was to immediately get them on their back and loosen their clothes as my connect started mouth-to-mouth, breathing for them. I would pack their armpits and crotch with ice, shocking the system, and administer a milk shot if necessary. Saline shots are a myth. They never work. Once they were alive and breathing, though usually barely conscious, it was into a cold shower and then on their feet, walking until they became lucid again. Typically, the only thanks we got was a belligerent denial of their ever being out, much less near death. One Christmas Eve, Sara and I spent an hour bringing a friend back to life in our motel room, all the while wondering how we would tell her little girl that her Mommy had died. She came out of it cursing and calling us liars. What a fuckin' life!
 

       My second bust, starting me on the road that would eventually lead to prison, came when Sara and I had been living for over a month in pay-by-the-week suite on IH35. We had a lot of traffic, including customers who moved in adjacent to us, we should have burned off, but we were comfortable and too complacent. While waiting on my chiva connect one night, who was en route with six grams, I got a call from a friend who was outside, frantically telling me that APD was at our door. Austin Street Narcotics. The infamous "Jump Out Boys".  We were out of heroin, but were holding almost two full cookies of rock. Being that Sara was already in the bathroom, (which was dubbed her "office", owing to her longtime habit of disappearing into bathrooms for hours on end to fix), I gave her the chunks, telling her to flush them, just as Austin Street Narcotics began pounding on our door. Upon letting them in (something that I later learned I legally didn't have to do), they first grabbed my guns, looked around some, found a couple of rocks on the bed where we were all sitting, shut down the search, and placed us under arrest. Sara, unable to part with so much rock, had taken a huge chance and stuffed what I had given her down her panties, then asked to go to the bathroom and left it all in the pocket of a bathrobe before we were taken away. To their credit, two of the cops, who we would later deal with again, were fans of mine, truly cared about Sara and I, and wanted to help, not just rack up a bust and put us away. Proving that there are some good cops out there, these two earned my lasting respect and gratitude.
 
APD Arrest Transcript


       They took me once again to City Jail to start kicking and took Sara under arrest to Breckenridge Hospital. Because of her penchant for shooting rock, broken down in vinegar or lemon juice with her chiva, she had developed massive open sores in both arms and lost half the blood in her body, bringing her close to losing both arms at best and dying at worst. Neither APD nor the Breck staff had ever seen anything like it and promptly tagged her "The Gangrene Girl", elevating her to near legendary status. It wasn't gangrene yet, but very close, requiring skin grafts on both arms, which will always have what look like burn scars. Unable to find a vein, the staff had to clip an artery in her leg to administer IV. Sara was only 20 years old at the time.


     After being charged with felony P.O.C.S., I went to county jail, still kicking, until my connect helped make my bond and sent a lawyer to get me out. We immediately went back to the hotel where I fixed, gathered all the rock (including a pile all of us had missed under the kitchen sink), and went to pick up my pups at my stepdaughter's house. Sara was ultimately sent to Del Valle county complex, then on to a court ordered rehab up in Minnesota, while I carried on the business and made my many court appearances back at home.

       Both of us were eventually convicted of misdemeanor possessions and sentenced to probation...two years for me, five for her. Sara tried to burn off from Minnesota twice, the second time of which she was taken back off the bus by local cops. Third time's a charm-she flew back down, leaving everything behind, and arrived one night with an adorable little Boston Terrier pup, who filled the void left by the passing of my much mourned little female, and who proceeded to drive my poor male crazy at first. They were later to have two beautiful litters together.


     Sara moved in with me at a friend's apartment where I had been staying, and we got back down to the daily business of being junkies, speedballs (a shot of coke and heroin together) now being our main focus. It was during this period that I burned out all the veins in my neck, having already lost all those in my hands and arms. I will carry these scars to my dying day.


     Sara had fucked off her paper without even a first visit, but I was determined to at least make an attempt at mine. I made it all of three times, including once with an elaborate bulb and tubing contraption, designed by my new connect and running dog for the purpose of giving a clean UA, which ran from under my armpit, across my body, and out through my fly. It worked remarkably well. However, I started having a problem with it all when I learned from my probation officer, who was running my life although barely as old as my own kid and probably never having even been out of Texas, that the qualifications for the job were two years of any college, any subject! Basketweaving at City Junior College gave someone the right to run my life! Being the maverick type that I was (otherwise I would have become an accountant or prison guard), I joined with Sara and my connect in burning off on my paper, too. Now we were officially fugitives and on the run, like animals, with blue warrants out for us all.


       Things had gone from bad to worse with my new connect at the apartment we all shared. He had gone off the deep end behind rock, blocked up all the windows, filled the place with anti-surveillance equipment, a small arsenal of guns outfitted with silencers, pulled one of my own switchblades on me during one confrontation, and would constantly disappear, leaving all my people and us sick for whole days at a time. So, Sara and I burned off, taking up with my original connect again, and started living the fugitive life in hotels and friends' places for a few months, always moving. We eventually ended up living in a junkie shithole deep on the East side, where APD finally caught up with us, having pulled me and a homeboy over while driving down 12th street en route to score. I avoided a new case by getting rid of a bunch of rock that I had on me, but with the blue warrant out, I was once again going back to City jail to kick, this time without possibility of bond. They caught up with Sara the very next day, put her back in Breck under arrest, and we both ended up a week later at T.C.C.C. in Del Valle. I had my same paid lawyer, he made his little deals with the prosecutors, and I got six months county time, though Sara's mom tried her best to have me put away forever. Sara received the same sentence, albeit using a free court appointed lawyer, and we both settled into our new home for awhile at Del Valle.

     With county time, you automatically get 2 for 1 and working trustees get 3 for 1, so I became a cook in the main kitchen to reduce my sentence. We also ate much better than GP, who got meals delivered on trays. I lived in a 32-man dorm in the trustee building, went to work every morning from 2:30 until 11:30am, played a lot of spades and poker, saw quite a few friends from the world on the rec yard (including my connect who had made his amends with me), and even had a pet mouse that the kitchen crew brought to me named "Brain", naturally, and who eventually died when he wobbled off my lap one night and fell on his head. Broke my heart! The boys brought me another, older Brain, but he kept escaping me and running around the dorm, sending all these big, tough convicted criminals up onto the benches and tables. Hilarious! Sadly, Brain II eventually ran the wrong way, out under the door and into the hall, where a guard squashed him with one stomp. Heartless motherfucker!
 
       Sara and I saw each other every day, she being either in a window or on the rec yard, as I always volunteered to push tray carts to and from the women's building. We also wrote every day. Love will find a way, even with locked up junkies. 
 
      It was in Del Valle that I also got "Guero Loco", which is ese slang for "crazy white boy", hand picked on my back by one of my homeboys, and started learning a lot of the prison slang that would serve me so well later on. (Sara ended up with the corresponding "Guera Loca" out in the world).  The black guys called me "Lil Heron"...Little Heroin. And so it went, until one morning two days before Thanksgiving day of 1998, when I was getting up to go to work, that the guard informed me to lay it back down, then pack my stuff, as I was going ATW (All The Way). I soon found myself outside the main gates at 5:30 am, walking down the road in the pitch dark, with my property in a paper bag, a bus pass, and nowhere to go.
 


      Naturally, I picked up my dog Boo, leaving ZoŽ with her newborn litter at my step-daughter's house, and walked around South Austin trying to figure out what to do next. This lasted all of five or six hours before I ended up in the hotel room of a kid who had inefficiently been trying to run things while I was gone. I fixed, took over my business again, moved to another hotel, and jumped back into The Game, all the while waiting for Sara to be released 10 days hence. Upon her release, she managed to stay away, at her Dad's, for one week before rejoining me. As I've said, true love and drugs! We immediately took up our old life again, shooting, smoking, always moving from place to place. Sara had begun  tricking through various escort services a long while back, and had taken it up again on a part time basis.


      Although we were now both off paper, APD knew us well and we had learned the hard way that you can't stay in one place for too long. Time and again, my luck had held, as I had never been busted for delivery or weight, although there were some extremely close calls. T and I had partnered up again, but on a much smaller scale than before, and I was still with my old time chiva connect, though he was increasingly and unfortunately turning things over to his punkass nephew. All of which led to my final three busts, occurring between January and June of 1999.


      There are stories upon stories, but I don't have room for them here, so you'll just have to wait for the book. Suffice it to say that our life, unusual as it was, went on as usual, up until the night when a friend and I were on our way to pick up and the cops pulled him over for expired stickers. I had about twenty rocks and a stem in my shoe, but being that I had just done my county time, I figured that it was all good, and stupidly didn't toss the shit. Wrong! Turns out that I had a warrant on me for bad checks, which some "friends" had stolen from me and written ages ago. I was charged with another felony and taken once again to City Jail for five days of kicking before Sara and T bonded me out. Was I ever happy to see them! And so, once again, it was back to the life.

       After a few quiet months, the final two busts happened in June, almost on top of each other. While waiting in our hotel room for my connect to get his lazy ass up and answer his phone, we extended far beyond check out time, and were soon answering a knock from management and APD. Again! With my luck still holding, we didn't have any chiva, but were in possession of a lot of coke and rock, for which Sara took the bust, as I already had one case pending. But I wasn't going to walk that easily, for when the cop called in my name, the dispatcher came immediately back with, "Oh, he's big time into heroin", so they scraped my scale in order to bust me. Friends made my bond, barely, in 3 days, but with all of us being broke junkies, poor Sara went back to Del Valle once again. Still feeding an immense habit, with sick people depending on me, and two fresh felonies, I jumped right back into The Game.


     Being in so deep and for so long, I had no choice in the matter. My luck finally ran out in late June, when, having just scored and then met and served a bunch of my people in a parking lot, five cop cars pulled in, surrounding us from all sides and scattering everybody else. I stuffed the half gram still in my possession up in my gums, which was never found and went with me to City Jail, but they did find one piece in the back seat where I was sitting, and put it on me, naturally. The two other guys got paraphernalia charges and were released the next day, but APD wanted me! For the first time in all of my busts, one cop approached me about talking to them and giving up my people. I definitely wasn't trying to hear that shit, and had decided long ago to stand up like a man and take whatever came my way. You play, you pay! Snitches get stitches, and rightfully so! This time, though, I knew I was going down...all the way down! Same old, same old...kicking in city and county jails, then chain out to Del Valle. I was starting to feel as if I fuckin' lived there! This time around, I was back in the trustee building, but as one of the night cleanup crew. And still kicking. Being out of money, and loathe to hit up my family whom I had alienated by my own accord, I was given a court appointed attorney who more than lived up to that particularly worthless rep. This being Bush's new Texas prison economy, with prison units and jobs for all in depressed areas and plenty of work for lawyers, they were handing out time like candy. Having been downtown to court three times already, still kicking, still naive to the game, and told by my lawyer that this was the best offer and that I had better take it, I signed for my time: Two years TDC with one year state jail running CC. That done, I went back and settled into my routine at Del Valle to wait for the TDC chain.