I was hanging out at a bar shooting pool. I was there almost every night and I got pretty good. One night I held the table for 18 straight games. I met up with Valerie. She was 22 and I was 46. (Her mama was 42.) Soon I found out that she was a crack addict. Soon I had drug dealers coming to me to for money she owed.

One time she called me. She said, "Joe is holding me until you come with $80.00 that I owe him."

I said, "Tell him to bring you here. I have to have someone bring me the money. I will give him the money when he hands you over to me." He said he would send his dog with her to get his money.

The money man came to the office when the dealer's flunky got there with her. The money man called me on his cell phone from his car (a big Lincoln) and the flunky thought he was mafia.

I got the money and went to the flunky's car. I gave the money to the flunky and I said, "Valerie, get out of the car and get in the office." I looked at the flunky and said, "I know you are just a runner for Joe so I am not pissed at you. Tell him that if he pulls this shit again he will never be able to pull it a third time because I will have him killed. In the future before dealing with here get something of value and call me. I will pay when the item is delivered."

At this time I knew a lot of drug dealers. The word on the street was that I was a crazy old man and not to mess with me. Some of the dealers spread that word for me so that the others would not mess with me. I am a big guy and in the streets I show no fear and I do not take any BS. People look at me and they do not want to mess with me. In most places I go I am the only white person around. I can not be missed.

One night she called me asked, "Can you come and get me. I want to go to rehab. I am down the street from my mother's house. Please come. I love you Lee."

I had to call a cab. The driver picked me up and we went to get her. We got to her and she said, "I want a rock before we go to your place."

I said no and she would not get into the car. The cab driver said, "Hey man, I've been through this and I'm telling you that you are better off getting the rock."

I said, "OK we'll get it."

She got the rock and we went to my place. She sat on the bed and smoked her rock. When it was gone she started rocking back and forth. She kept saying over and over, "I've got to have another rock." A little mouse that would sit with me when I worked late came up to her feet and looked up at her.

She saw the mouse and said, "I've got to go to bed." She laid down and went to sleep.

In the morning I went and got my car while she went home. I haven't met her mother yet because she didn't like white people. I had to go to her house to take my girl to the beauty shop. Mama's boyfriend (her daughters age) answered the door.

He looked at me with a look that could kill and said, "What in the hell do you want?"

I told him, "I am taking Valerie to get her hair done."

"She'll be out in a minute." he said as he slammed the door in my face.

He came back to he door and told me to come in and wait.

Her mama walked out in boyfriend's shirt and oooooooooeeee she was nice. She saw my white face and almost did a Fred Sanford. Not a word was said until Valerie introduced us. Then only a hello from each of us.

The next morning I took her to detox.

I wrote mama a letter and told her that I understood her feelings but if she wanted her daughter to get better it would take us both working together. We became friends after that.

Valerie came home after the 7 day detox program. Never went back for the 30 day program

After the rehab we went to a client's up north. We were told that a bar in Memphis, MI had all you can eat prime rib for $9.95. We went there on the way home and when we got to the door we could hear people until we walked in. You could hear a pin drop until a guy at the pool table said, "You guys aren't from around here, are you." Everyone laughed and the party began.

Valerie was a pool hustler and she beat everyone in pool while I ate. She had a few bites while she shot pool then we snuck some food out in the purse.

She was clean for a month. I had $700 saved up for a long weekend we were going to take to celebrate. The night before she said she had some work to do before going. I went to sleep and she disappeared with half the money leaving a note asking forgiveness. The rest was gone in a week.

When she came home she asked me to lock her in the office/apartment for a week. I brought in her food and she drank a lot of fruit juices. I hated locking her in when I went out because she did not know a way out. It was hard. When I was home I hid the key so if I fell asleep she could not pick my pocket.

After the week was up she went on another bing.

She tried another week locked up and that did not work. She needed the longer program.

She told me she was going out with a friend of her's. What she did not realize was that this friend was a friend of mine too. Her friend called me and asked for her.

I said, "She said she was going out with you."

She said, "I think she may be with Randy. He supplies her with drugs. Does she have your car?"

I said. "Yes."

She said she would check it out and get back to me. She came by my place and picked me up. She took me to the corner about a half a block from his house and told me the car was in the driveway. It was after midnight. I stole my car.

Valerie called in the morning and ask me, "Do you have the car?"

I said, "No, don't you have it?"

She said, "It must have been stolen. I stayed over..."

I cut her off, "You stayed at Randy's and got high. I guess he gives you drugs for sex. I do have the car. I will come and get my keys. I will also put the word out that Randy is paying for your drugs and not me."

About a year later she called from the hospital. Randy broke her leg and she needed a ride to her mothers house. At the time I did not have a car and could not help her.

I saw her a few years later and she was clean. I heard before that she had a baby and stopped when she found out she was pregnant. The baby is now about 7 and last year when I saw them the little girl was real cute and a smart little thing. Valerie put on a lot of pounds but to me she looked great.

© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord

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