Excerpt for Buried in the Walls — A petty criminal/drug addict’s travels through the Washington State penal system by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Buried in the Walls

A petty criminal/drug addict’s travels through the Washington State penal system

G. J. “Face” White

Smashwords ebook published by Fideli Publishing Inc.

Copyright 2019, G.J. “Face” White

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Shirley White — My beloved stepmother

Gerald J White II — My beloved father

Robert “Metallica” Anderson — friend

Gus Turner — friend

Ronald “Irish” Peters — late friend

Dean Royer — friend

Chris Kirschke — best friend ever

All the sleazy women in my life…

If not for them, I’d have been homeless most of the time…

Last but not least, all the other guys….

Without them I would’ve hung myself early on during this journey…

I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of my long-lost family


To the future!

It’s nice to have one…


I never believed that my experiences and my thoughts had enough gravity to be put to paper. Self-esteem problems, I guess. I’ve read a few books on the subject by ex-prisoners and now think that I have at least a little to contribute. This will be a free-style, free-association type of deal, mainly because of an unresolved attention deficient disorder. One thing leads to remembering another.

Most of what I talk about is undocumented, so actually I’m border on a fictional essay, but let me assure you, I am putting it down the very best that my withering memory will allow. Most names will be fictional because some of the incidents cited have never been prosecuted, and to be honest, I just can’t remember all their frickin’ names. Some are still around and still “in the life” and I’m sure wouldn’t appreciate me puttin’ them on “Front Street” as we used to say in our old-timey lingo. Some have straightened up their lives, moved on to marriage, children, honest jobs, et al, but I don’t have a clue how to get hold of ’em to ask for permission to talk about ’em. They’ll recognize themselves from the stories though.

Two problems I have are that I can’t sit down and write more than a paragraph at a time without getting distracted (the AADD thing happening), plus I’ve gotta read everything previously written to reorient myself to the text… yeah, the whole thing. In the case of an entire book, this could become arduous. The other problem is that I can’t spell worth a damn. Sometimes I can’t spell well enough to find my word in the dictionary. For example, the word I just used, “arduous” took me over a half hour to find!

I’m not a real big fan of books on prison, because those I have read are mostly self-serving, stereotyping, and simply play to what people’s perception of what prison life is like. That’s not to say that a lot of that stuff doesn’t go on in these places, because it does, but mostly it’s just a whole lot of sad, sad, situational crap that is hard to rise above.

My main problem with fellow prisoners is that they choose to wallow in the negative. They don’t endeavor to lift themselves above it… that’s the rule. There are many, many exceptions to that, but in the end, we are products of our environments and no matter what, all of us are forced, at least to some degree, to act accordingly.

One last thought on that. How in the hell, when you put hundreds (if not thousands) of misbehaving, testosterone fueled, emotionally retarded children in adult bodies into cramped, restricted space, can you expect anything other than more misbehavior? There are a few programs that guys are forced to take but for the most part, the administration just goes through the motions. It’s all theater meant for public consumption… Kabuk… you can’t force people to seeing the light. It’s like trying to tell a friend that his girlfriend is a slut. He’ll resent you for it, and the friendship becomes parlous. People will straighten up despite prison, not because of it.

There are two prisoner/authors I admire. Edward Bunker, whose best book was a biography called Education of a Felon, found writing was his salvation. Jimmy Fogel, whom I knew personally, wrote Drug Store Cowboy. More on him later. Neither of these authors glamorized their personal experiences. They told the raw truth of “the life.” Truth is always stranger than fiction and that’s why I found them so poignant. Even though Jimmy wrote his story as a historical fiction kinda thing, I recognized all the characters by the story and the descriptions given. He died in prison recently at the age of 72

Here we go…


City Jail (First Time, 1968) and Subsequent Events

I went to the City Jail three times for traffic tickets. The first one was at the end of 1968, I’d just turned 18 a few days before, which allowed them to put me in the city jail instead of the youth center. My crime was driving on a suspended license for which I received 30 days. In order to get a trustee job so I didn’t have to do my 30 in a twelve-man cell where, at the time, you stayed in your street clothes (no laundry service of any kind). You were stuck in the frickin’ cell with no TV, radio, telephones, or going out for any exercise a gym or a yard. Just you and eleven stinkin’, fartin’, mostly drunks picked up off skid row (1st Avenue in downtown Seattle) for being transient and drunk in public. Some of those poor bastards would only be out long enough to get drunk again, then back they came. I still can’t believe the actual waste of taxpayer’s money locking people up for that trivial-ass shit.

Oh, yeah, once they picked me up on a J-walking warrant! They took me all the way to jail downtown… The price of my release? Fifteen dollars, which, of course, I didn’t have, nor did I expect to have anytime soon. My wife, Bettie, on one of the rare times that she came through for me, showed up out of nowhere (I don’t even know how she knew I’d been arrested) with the chicken-shit little 15 bucks and paid the fine.

Bettie was with an ex-girlfriend of mine from Junior High School that I had dumped for Bettie. Somehow, they had money, so the three of us went out after my release and got high. To this day, I have no idea where that money came from, and to tell ya’ the truth, I really don’t give a fuck.

Anyway, back to the 30 days. I wanted the trustee job but in ’68, they were still into that ‘Is it a boy or is it a girl with that long hair?’ deal. So, I had to shave my goatee and cut my hair to become a trustee. I must’ve looked kinda cute, or “pink” as we used to describe the young, good looking fellas in the jails and prisons back then.

That reminds me of a couple of creepy rhymes from the old days. One goes “There’s no greater joy than a fat-butted boy” and the equally disgusting, “I’d rather hear a fat boy fart than a pretty girl sing.” Yeah, I picked those up in the ’70s; they originated from the World War II generation. Yeah, right! The greatest generation, my ass! Oh, yeah, one more: “He’s as smooth as a Safeway chicken, ain’t a feather on that ass.” Oh, and we can’t forget “Blood on my knife or shit on my dick, your choice!” It was a wonderful time for a young guy in jail back then!

I caught the attention of this big greasy black guy. Now at the time, I didn’t know much about black people nor about predatory homosexuals. I just thought this guy was like, you know friendly, and I needed a friend so I was friendly back.

One day, we were by ourselves cleaning out one of the twelve-man tanks that was empty when the fucker tried to kiss my young, good looking self. I pulled back, he came at me again. Back then, we used these big ol’ metal mop ringers that sat in the mop bucket. I yanked it up out of the bucket and swung it at his head as hard as I could. The thing was so big and heavy, he had time to move out of the way and I hit a top metal bunk instead. It made a hellish crashing sound that could’ve probably been heard throughout the whole fuckin’ jail. The acoustics in these places tend to be big obnoxious echo chambers. He then resorted to threats as I took another swing.

We were in a 40-man dorm for the rest of the time I was there and I had to keep one eye open when I slept. This was just a 30-day traffic violation sentence, for Christ’s sake!

Somewhere around sixteen days into it, they came in and told me I was going to Harbor View Hospital to get blood work done for my diabetes. Well, they took me up to this huge public hospital that’s affiliated with the Washington State University Hospital. They take me into the appropriate clinic, give me a phone number and a quarter to call when I’m done, and then they leave.

I sat there for a couple of minutes, then I say to myself, “Self, fuck this, I’m out of here!” Now, I’m dressed in grey pin-striped bib coveralls, a T-shirt, this little matching jacket and a pair of moccasins, which were quite popular at the time. Everyone dressed either like a mountain man or an Indian (this was before we were all saddled with political correctness).

It was pouring down rain… and cold. My apartment was at the bottom of the counter balance on Queen Anne Hill. They call it that because it was a hellishly steep street that ran to the top of Queen Anne Hill, straight up for like 12 city blocks to the top. They used to hook the old trolleys to this chain at the bottom of the hill. It ran through the middle of the street and was attached to a huge counter weight under the street surface. When the weight came down under the street, it’d pull the trolley to the top. Of course, by the time I came along, it was all diesel buses. Something big oil companies lobbied for.

Anyway, I’m outside the hospital, which was on Beacon Hill, and I break into a loping run on the five mile or so trip to Queen Anne. The whole time, I’m watching for cops that might wonder why a kid in jail coveralls was running through the streets of Seattle. I make it, by God’s grace, I figure. Of course, I don’t have a key. Not being a luxury apartment building — more like the tenements seen in old movies about New York — there was a convenient steel ladder right up to my one and only window.

When I got up there, I couldn’t believe it! My fucking roomie, Terry Hughes, was sleeping on the couch in front of the window. I had to climb over the back of it and right on top of the bastard.

I yelled, “Why didn’t you answer the fuckin’ door? I pounded on it for ten fucking minutes! I just escaped from jail, you asshole!”

His answer was, “Man, I been up on Speed for like four days and I was just smoothed out. Sorry.”

Yeah, we were all a bunch of little speed freaks. In them days, it was all pharmaceutical grade, pheno dope with a base ingredient of Pheno2 Proponal that we called crystal, because that’s how it looked. Not like today, now it’s made from Aphedrine that comes in cold pills. Our shit was the real deal made by real chemists, as underground as they were…

I first met my roomie, poor little Terry Hughes, in my sophomore year in high school (1967). Bettie and I had been together since the ninth grade. We’d gone to a party on the south side of Queen Anne in an apartment. I was sittin’ with Bettie on the couch drinking a beer when this little wimpy guy with wild, long, curly hair whips around the side of the sofa. He’s staring at me all crazy-eyed and then all of a sudden, just relaxes. I’m lookin’ at this fuckin’ nut, wondering what his frickin’ problem might be and whether I was going to have to fight first thing out of the box. He says, “Sorry, I thought you had your arm around my girl.”

About then, his girlfriend walks up and hands him a beer. I gotta tell ya, the resemblance was uncanny. Both had platinum blonde hair, same big tits, and facial features that could’ve made them twins. It was remarkable. Her name was Theresa. We got drunk and quite friendly through the evening as happens at parties, especially when you’re underage.

When the beer was running out, Terry announced that he knew where we could get some more, so we took up a collection and jumped into my ’48 Chevy. Back in those days, you could purchase a running, driving, street-worthy vehicle for fifty bucks, which was the case here. None of us had licenses yet because none of us were of driving age. We all had cars, just not licenses to drive the fuckers. I’d park mine a few blocks from my grandparents’ house so they wouldn’t know I was a car owner.

“So, where are we going, Terry?”

He says, “Downtown to a bar I know called The Double Header.”

Could be a baseball reference, I surmise. I pull in the back parking lot, Terry goes in and comes back with these two big dudes and they’re all carrying cases of beer. When I get out to open up the trunk, this one guy says to Terry, “Sure would like gettin’ some of that!”

I wasn’t sure what the fucker was talking about ’til I got back in the car and asked Terry, “What was that all about?”

“Oh, they’re all a bunch of homos and they like young guys!”

Yeah, I was creeped out!

He said, “The Double Header, get it?” Oh yeah, I did then!

Terry was basically homeless from the day I met him. His mom kept kickin’ him out and left him to his own devices. From day one, I suspected that he had some latent homosexual feelings goin’ on — or maybe to survive, they weren’t that latent — I don’t know, I liked him anyway.

Years later, I was living in Ballard with a girl named Paula Friebe. She was seven years older than me with two kids that lived with her sister. It was 1971. I’d just turned 21 and was on the methadone program. Terry, with nowhere to live, stopped by and stayed for a couple of weeks, sleepin’ on the couch.

It’s no surprise that I always felt sorry for him. Anyway, he had a big plan. He was going to lure this drug connection over, meet him down at the end of the block out of eyesight of the duplex we lived in and then rob him. We had no gun. What we did have was a can of mace and a sap (a heavy braided piece of leather filled with packet sand that would take a chunk out of a telephone pole when you’d hit it. I tried it, I knew) that I had found at an antique shop in an old roll top desk. Yes, I stole it.

So, they pull up and it goes wrong from the gate. First off, he ain’t alone; there’s two guys in the back and Terry gets in between them. No escape route, which is lesson number one they teach you in “robbery class.” Always have a good clean escape route. Plus, there’s a guy in the front passenger seat. Plus, it’s a fuckin’ two-door!

Standing outside the car with my trusty sap as back up, I’m thinkin, There’s no way he’s goin’ through with this under these conditions. He’ll just talk his way out, make some excuse, and it’s off.

The windows were rolled down and that’s when I hear, “Pssst!” Inside, the car erupts into violence! I jump over to the back window, because that’s where Terry is, and start smackin’ the only guy I can reach in the melon with my trusty sap. Next thing I know, the car starts up and screeches away. All I can see are blows rained down on poor little Terry’s head. What can I do? He’s just gone to meet his fate, whatever that may be. We never called police, not then, not now…

A couple of days pass and I’m out in the yard cutting the grass. Who do I spot walking down the street but Terry. He comes into the house. He’s got big patches of hair missing where they’d taken a hunting knife and tried to scalp the little bastard. He was so beat up from being tied to a tree out in the woods east of the city and beaten over the course of a day and a half, I could barely recognize him. He had been burned all over with cigarettes; he was a mess. He said that he might’ve been able to get out of the car somehow if only he’d realized he had the mace canister backwards and hadn’t sprayed himself in the face.

When I was in jail waiting to be sent to Walla Walla the first time, Terry came up to the jail to see me and tried to get me to the ol’ Se-Dru-Nar program which he had entered, graduated, and was now working for, but to no avail. I went to the joint instead.

Later, he showed up at Walla Walla. He had relapsed and caught some chicken shit beef and spent less than a year. He was released and shortly after that, I heard that he was running to a car after he’d just robbed a drug store and died of an apparent heart attack right there on the street at the age of 30. Like I said, poor little Terry Hughes…

Okay, back to my escape from jail. After settling down and explaining to Terry what had happened, I looked around my apartment for something to wear and noticed that my leather jacket was missing. Lo and behold, all my good clothes were just gone. At first, I accused poor little Terry of it, then came the bad news. He told me that Bettie, my girlfriend since the ninth grade, had come down and scooped up all my good shit and given it to her new lover, Ken Schultz. I’d known this fuckin’ punk since I first came up from Oregon to live with my grandparents. He was a member of the little group of hoodlums I ran around with. I guess turnaround is fair play though because when he and his girlfriend, Cheryl, broke up for a short time in high school, and I swooped in and fucked her. Hindsight is 20/20.

Anyway, Ken lived on top of the hill selling speed and Bettie was still attending high school. She starts shooting up the “Devil’s Powder” with him, not me. I think that’s what transpired, because after Ken she was a heavy drug user. The cops are after me so I don’t have time to deal with this shit. To get out of town, out of state, I go to Oregon to my mom’s house for comfort and protection. Ha!

My mom lived outside a little town (at that time, it was anyway) called Hillsboro. My mother and stepfather (number two), Stan Bowers, sent me to Seattle from Hillsboro after I’d snuck out Stan’s ’49 Dodge pick-up and took it for a spin. Ma, Pa, and li’l sister were in town grocery shoppin’. Unfortunately, all did not go well. I rolled the truck onto its top while taking a curve and it slid down an embankment, resting against a fence halfway down.

I staggered up the embankment to the road where I stood lookin’ at the fucking thing, wondering what to do. Along comes this old guy on a big tractor and helps me to pull the truck upright. The roof was a bit banged up but no glass was broken or anything. It really wasn’t that bad off and I hadn’t been injured. I jumped in and was amazed when it fired right up after being upside down.

It was a long drive back to the ol’ ranch, metaphorically speaking. I’d put down a broom so I knew exactly where it had been parked and I very carefully eased in exactly in the right place… like maybe nobody would notice. I then went in, packed a traveling bag, and traveled.

I got up the road a couple of miles, when my buddy, Gene Harley’s dad pulled up and told me to get in the car and he took me to his house. He was a Baptist preacher and informed me “God was on my side!” Yeah, I never fell for that line again! They lived directly across the road from us, so I saw the little family arrive from town.

Gene’s dad walked over to settle ’em down and talk to Stan who was freakin’ the fuck out. He came back with reassurances that everything would be fine and that I should remember, “God was with me.”

Well, God must’ve been pissed as well because as soon as I walked through the door, the ass kickin’ commenced. Stan beat me from one end of the house to the other for like 20 minutes, culminating on my bedroom floor with him sittin’ on my chest and pokin’ his finger into my forehead, tellin’ me he hadn’t decided whether to kill me yet or not. I was left in my room for two days with no food, water, nothin’. I was 13 years old.

Eventually, my grandparents drove down from Seattle to get me and right before we walked out the door, Stan pulled me into a back room to threaten my life one more time. Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t give a fuck less; I was leaving this asshole behind. As said in the movie, Braveheart, it was freedom!

Well, that visit pretty much goes all bad from the start, too. My stepfather, Stan Bowers, who had intruded into my life at age nine, was still an asshole. Jeez, I hated that fucker and did from the very start. When I was struck out and received my sentence of life without the possibility of parole, I had two regrets. One, the most important, was leaving my son out there alone with no father and the second, not murdering that cock-suckin’ stepfather of mine.

It was pretty rough dealing with him again plus I was in agony over losing my childhood sweetheart but the real rub of the whole situation was when I finally broke down and told my mother the truth and she betrayed me (You guessed it!) to Stan. Of course, this was all unbeknownst to our hero. The very next day, Stan took a day off work to drive into the Hillsboro Police Department to tell them the whole story. Much to his chagrin, it was a non-extraditable charge and they hadn’t even issued a warrant for me. They just kind of wrote it off. He is telling me all of this as he’s driving me to the Greyhound Bus Station in Portland where he buys me a one-way ticket back to Seattle and then leaves me. No money for food, nothing extra for the young lad, just a boot in the ass.

It’s the 1st of January, 1969, and I don’t know if my mom even knew how or why I left… I never asked. The bus pulled into Seattle four hours later and there was about a foot of snow with a silver frost. It’d warmed up melting the top inch or so, then it refroze. When you walked through it, the ice would cut into your legs. There I am, standing on the street in front of the bus station. It’s dark and I have zero money, not even change for a phone call. I have everything I own in a small duffle bag slung over my shoulder and it’s freezing-ass cold!

I have not a clue what to do next, when this guy in a VW pulls up and asks if I need a ride. The only place I knew to go was my ancestral home, Queen Anne Hill, and the only house I knew to go where unannounced guests were not frowned upon was Ken’s, the guy who was currently bonin’ my girl.

I’ll never forget what the guy in the VW told me when he dropped me off at Ken’s Drug Emporium. As I was getting out, I thanked him profusely and apologized for not being able to pay him for going out of his way for me. He said “Don’t worry about it. If you’re ever driving by someplace and you see a cold, lost-lookin’ kid, stop and ask him if he needs some help.” And I always have, even if it wasn’t a kid.

So, I go into Ken’s and stay about two weeks. Fortunately, Bettie wasn’t around much. I guess fuckin’ your new boyfriend while the boyfriend you betrayed sits in the next room must’ve been a bit of a turn-off for her.

Anyway, drugs flowed like a river. I stayed awake on speed the longest amount of time I had ever done before or since — nine days, without a wink of sleep. It got to the point we’d fix up these huge hits of meth and all we’d get would be like a full body heat rush. There’d be no difference in the highness quotient, none.

One day I’d been all day by myself, shootin’ speed and hallucinating, listening to voices in the walls whispering shit to me that I couldn’t quite make out, when I decided everyone was laughing at me because of Bettie. Now, they may very well have been. If people are out to get you, you’re not really just paranoid.

I was so emotionally and mentally distraught that I’d lost the ability to tell reality from fantasy. There was this semi-automatic .22 rifle in the house, which I loaded and then sat crouched by the door waiting for hours. When Ken came through the door, trailed by his brother, Steven, and Danny Schultz, I pulled Ken in the door, slammed it shut on the other two and locked it.

Ken was a big hefty guy but I managed to drag him into the front room, and hold him down on the floor. I stood over him, jammin’ the barrel of the gun in his mug for some 20 minutes while deciding if I was going to shoot him in his face or not.

All of a sudden, I’m overcome with grief. I mean, I probably should have had Bettie on the floor with a gun in her face, ya know. I don’t know why we always blame the dude. After all, it was her who was the girlfriend. So, I just threw down the gun and sat on the couch with my head between my knees.

Ken gets up, puts the gun away, sits with me on the couch and like starts to comfort me. You know he had to know he was wrong, like I knew I was wrong when I screwed his girlfriend (whom he married, and then divorced).

Suddenly, the front door comes flyin’ off its hinges. Crashing through comes Ken’s younger, bigger and stronger brother, Steven, and he’s got his own rifle. We all had guns back then — pistols, shotguns, rifles of every kind. It wasn’t like today, though, we never carried the fuckin’ things. We fought with our fists and didn’t even think of shootin’ our opponents. You know the difference between a fist fight and a homicide is access to a firearm.

This asshole Steven comes flyin’ across the room and blasts me square in the forehead with the stock of the weapon, knocking me semi-unconscious. Then he drags my limp body to the floor and starts working on my ribs which seem to have been the favorite target through the years. Ken finally settles his ass down and he drove off into the sunset. A couple of days and much speed later, I left.

The rub of this story is the night I got picked up on a warrant, I was driving Bettie’s ’55 Chevy while she was at work at a fast food dive in the U-District, where the University of Washington is located and some distance from where we all lived on Queen Anne. In my travels on “the hill,” as we called it, I’d picked up none other than my friend Ken. We were foolin’ around in the hood when this police car pulled in behind us. We recognized the pig driving as one that seemed to enjoy fuckin’ with us.

Now Bettie’s Chevy was a six cylinder with an automatic transmission. It sounded like a big vacuum cleaner, gutless to say the least. Well, the pig car flips on his grill lights. I’m going to stop because I have a license and nothing to fear, but that’s when Ken says, “I’ve got a warrant!” In my just-turned-18 mind, I decide I’m going to try to save my friend! I gun it, or as gunning it as was possible in that slow-ass piece of crap.

Of course, the outcome was inevitable. I finally just pulled over. Ken is all nervous because he just knows he’s going to jail and I’m all feelin’ sorry for him because I know that I’m not. The porker walks back to the car and informs me that I’m under arrest for a traffic warrant but Ken can go. I was stunned, to say the least, so I turn the keys over to Ken and ask him to pick Bettie up from work.

Apparently that same night, while I was languishing away my first night in hell, my ol’ lady was getting high on speed as she was being serviced by the guy I was trying to save. God has an ironic sense of humor.

I might add that the laws have become more draconian since the Vietnam War era of our country. A little stunt like I pulled then would be a five-year felony and treated as an escape for ten years by D.O.C., meaning that you’d do all your time at close custody for ten years till it came off your record. No medium custody, no minimum custody, no work release, nothing, though the charge had nothing to do with how you conducted yourself in the actual prison system.

Inherent in policing seems to be the need to harass young males whether they be white, black, or otherwise. As kids in our all white working-class neighborhood, we all experienced it. That is where, I believe, I started cultivating my hatred and disrespect for the law enforcement community.

One particular incident that stands out in memory happened the day after my grandfather died in 1967. I went to my girlfriend’s house, where I used to park my motorcycle on the sidewalk because she lived on a treacherous curve on a busy thoroughfare. Many cars had been rear-ended while parked there. There’s a knock on the door and there stands this fuckin’ pig asking for whoever owns the bike. Keep in mind, I am grieving and barely holding back the tears at this point.

He takes me outside and runs up one side of me and down the other over this fucking parking thing. I just came unglued and started to bawl. My future mother-in-law came running down the stairs, yelling, “We’ll park the goddamn bike on the street for Christ’s sake. Okay, is that good enough?!”

After that I parked in their back yard, but from that point on, every time I saw a police car going the opposite way on my way home, I’d open it up, make it to where I lived, and hide in the garage.

I moved in to a friend’s house in Magnolia, or I should say I relocated my body since I had no possessions other than what I was carrying. Jack was in the middle of a divorce from his wife, Jean. She had moved out with his two kids. He was never there, what with working and drinking away his sorrows. So, I pretty much had the big ol’ three-bedroom house with a downstairs den to myself.

I remember one day, I’d been awake for about three days on the crystal when I opened the drapes covering the big picture window. At once, I was convinced that the whole world was staged, and just for my benefit. It was somehow transformed into something akin to one of those greeting cards where when opened, a pop-up cutout of a house or a country scene stands up out of the middle.

I’d become totally paranoid that the whole of the world was being engineered to fuck with my head. People were talking about me in low voices, just out of hearing range. Electronic devices were murmuring to drive me crazy. And, I was crazy.

In later years, I discovered that there’s actually a documented mental condition called methamphetamine psychosis and what really kicks it in is when your brain becomes dehydrated and the synoptic operation of the brain becomes impaired.

Of course, we never drank liquids, never water for sure, which just so happens to be the only thing that hydrates brain matter. Other kinds of liquids do hydrate your body, but not your brain. This condition, although not as profound even when I was speeding, became chronic.

I’m still afflicted to a degree to this day, but what finally pulled me out of it, to a point anyway, was a friend of mine. In jail years later, I was runnin’ down my latest bout when he turns to me and says, “Jerry, you just aren’t that important.” It was like someone flipped a light switch. I thought, Yeah, I’m not! It didn’t bode well for my low self-esteem but it did fix the immediate problem. Life is just a matter of perspective, I s’pose.

Bettie drops by the house probably knowing that I had a big bag of dope. Of course, we got high and because speed is a sexual stimulant (that’s why speed freaks have large porno collections), I turned her every way but loose ’til the sun came up.

She had to go to school and how she did that after what we’d been going through, I have not a clue. I was personally wiped out. Maybe she was just wantin’ to leave, although she had been complaining about Ken during the night. It was mostly physical stuff. He had a little dick; he smelled bad, plus he was kinda on the fat side. Go figure…

At the time, Ken had Hepatitis B and he would puke his guts out every time he fixed. It was so bad, it almost took the porcelain off the shitter and it made the whole house smell of death.


Drugs: They are Only the Symptom

As anyone who’s ever been to rehab knows, drug abuse is only the symptom of a greater psychological problem, as I found out in the years, much, much later. My psychological problems were clinical depression as well as ADD, dyslexia, and of course, paranoia, exacerbated by certain types of drugs. Inherently, humans always want to feel just a little bit better, no matter how good they feel. My evidence is the mass marketing of energy drinks, such as 5-hour energy and the like in recent years.

The same psychological process occurs in a person that overeats as it does with the worst gutter junkie on the planet. I believe that it is disingenuous for society to demonize one drug while we have advertisers hocking their concoctions all across the airways. Now that’s not to say I’m minimizing the damage that overindulgence of substances can do but eating too much kills more people in western civilizations every year than gun violence, vehicle accidents, and drug overdoses combined. Drugs are a complicated social, health, psychological problem, not a fucking law enforcement issue. We sell ourselves as being the champion of human rights, socially compassionate, and the purveyors of fairness to the world. Yet, we imprison our own people for having a stinkin’ bag of dope in their pocket.

In the history of the world, prohibition has never worked. See Alcohol Prohibition if you need proof of that statement. Furthermore, ask anyone who has ever dealt with police on any level, the more things that you make illegal, the more criminals you create. This is true in any totalitarian country that you wish to study. By creating more laws, you marginalize a greater proportion of the population which puts more people under the control of authorities. In the end, prohibition just doesn’t work. Hell, in Iran, where they hang petty criminals from crane booms (dozens at a time) and drug use is an automatic death sentence, people are still growing, trafficking, and using opium in large numbers. Look what drug prohibition is doing to Mexico. It’s created drug cartels there, and here. The mafia in this country came into being because of alcohol.

The key to life is moderation in all things. As with alcohol, millions of people use these substances every day. As with alcohol, it’s only a small minority that get D.U.I.s, crash their cars, kill people, or let it take over their lives. Most of the guys I grew up with doing drugs have never seen the inside of a jail cell. This would also be me if they sold dope like they do booze. Although, there’s probably no doubt that I would have become an addict anyway, at least I wouldn’t have had to stab anybody because I got burnt by them on the street.

I started using drugs because (A) in the latter half of the ’60s, everyone I knew was doing it, and (B) later on, I just didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin which had always been a problem. Back then, no one gave much credence to psyche problems. Basically, it was pull out of it, ya little shit! And when my stepfather kicked my ass and threatened to kill a 9-year-old kid, it wasn’t considered child abuse either. Shit, there wasn’t even a thing called child abuse. It was simply called discipline. There seemed to be no moral conundrum with regard to a full-grown man beating up a kid. Go figure, aye? I can’t count how many times I picked myself off the floor at the dinner table while my mother just kinda stared off into space… but, that excuses nothing I did in my future life, I was my own person, or should have been.

Drugs should be decriminalized, sold by whomever, taxed, controlled, and not one more person would become a drug user that wasn’t already a drug user or already predisposed to be. Ron Paul asked in a presidential Republican debate, “If heroin was legal today, would you use it?” The crowd responded with a resounding “No!”

Our drug laws are born of puritanical ethos as was alcohol prohibition from the temperance movement (“A puritan is somebody with a haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”— author unknown) and fear that drugged up minorities wouldn’t go down after being shot. And we can’t forget the politician that needs to display some semblance of a moral backbone by touting to save children from demon dope. People could just try being better parents but what the fuck can a guy like me know? Good homes are the keys to thwarting evil influences and that’s a fact. Thus, the drug laws in this country have never been based in fact but motivated by hidden agenda and therefore tragically flawed.

Most of the prison population, where I sit today, are here on some manner of drug related crime. Damn, even the fuckin’ gangs in this place would’ve had a hard time even coalescing if not for their two-bit meager income from drugs. If they’re here for killing a rival gang member for just being a rival gang member, they’re still here because of drugs being illegal. I mean if I can just go to the store and buy quality drugs at a reasonable price, the fuckin’ last thing I’m gonna do is look up my local pistol-packing, homie, gang flaggin’, border jumpin’ Mexican street dealer, for Christ’s sake! I mean, get real, who would subject themselves to that horseshit if it wasn’t the only source.

We need to come to terms with this. Law enforcement, particularly the D.E.A., is sucking mass amounts of the treasury. Criminals are created from the ether. We’re talking about our people here… our own neighbors, our own friends. Reported by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News, June 3, 2013, “One-third of all Americans have been arrested by age 23.” The population of the U.S. is three hundred million. Do the math! It’s shameful! One more quote and I’ll stop quoting… for now anyway: “It’s easier to build good children than it is to repair broken adults.” — Frederick Morris.

Everything I know and believe in this life, I know from personal observation and personal experience. I subscribe to no ideology of any sort and I believe that last quote in my mind and soul. We must stop throwing our human potential away in this country or be destroyed by our neglect. Building more and more prisons while closing schools and cutting educational funding is done at our peril. Whenever a new prison is built, it’s not necessarily being built for the overcrowding of the people already there. It’s really being built for the 8-, 9-, and 10-year-old who are not yet of age to be in prison. Overcrowding, now there’s a strange word. If you’re crowded, wouldn’t that be bad enough? At what point does it become just too overcrowded?

It’s been said that “the only people that can destroy America is Americans.” I know I promised no more quotes but apparently, I’m a liar. No surprise there, aye? The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. Jeez, if it weren’t for the ability to tell a reasonable lie, I’d have been killed years ago.

Remember, in every good lie resides a seed of truth. Everyone lies; omission is a form of lying, and who hasn’t done that? I’m better at thinking up a lie than I am at executing the lie. In fact, that’s what I did with my son’s mother, my baby’s momma as they put it these days. I’d come up with the lie and have Kari deliver it. That bitch could tell ya the most outrageous pile of shit and never bat an eyelash and even stick to it under threat of death.

A couple of times, that was actually the situation. It was just frickin’ amazing to watch. On the other hand, I tend to stammer and stumble… a physical manifestation of my mental malfeasance. At times, this did not serve me well. It’s why I could never bare false witness. I could never pull it off plus I forget many of the aspects of whatever falsehood I’d be telling. It’s just too much work. When I’m talking to the pigs, then I just shut my mouth. If you’re up to your eyeballs in shit, keep your mouth shut!

I started using drugs when my half-native or Indian (as they were known at the time) school hood friend, Dave and I bought a match box of weed which was the container it was sold in, not a volume measurement. I hated it! It made me paranoid. Surprise, surprise… I was told that was because I hadn’t smoked it on a regular basis. I didn’t care. I wanted the instant gratification of feeling good now!

After the pot experiment, Dave and yours truly ventured back out to the District as everyone had started to call the U-District. We purchased some acid. It was actually something called LSD-25, processed by an ex-chemistry student from Berkeley named Ozley who was quite famous. All up and down the West coast, if you had what they called Ozley Acid, you knew it was top quality. It came as a wet spot on a Pez-tab that the guy actually dispensed from this little spring-loaded plastic dispenser. Pez were the little candies that every kid in the world used to buy for a dime. The plastic container was similar to the clip in a semi-automatic pistol. We held these things in our hands all the way back home on the bus.

I remember I was walking to the house and I had to take a piss. I found a secluded tree to hide behind and halfway through the process of relieving my bladder, I dropped my Pez and shot a little urine on it. That didn’t deter me from swallowing it though. My only concern, was it ruined? It wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination.

We embarked on a 12-hour journey of terror and bliss. We saw music coming out of speakers, talked nonsense, and even the windowpanes had an esoteric meaning. But, I really didn’t like that either. It was just too intense.

There were more sporadic acid trips but that was mainly because I couldn’t get my dick skinners on anything else. Dick Skinners is a term from the old timey days, a product of the Greatest Generation. Apparently not a lot of them were circumcised, so in order to get a relatively clean pee, they’d have to roll back the foreskin of their penises. Hence, the hands became the dick skinners. Thank you, WW II heroes, you’re the best.

Side note on Dave: He had a sister, Denise, who was a year younger than him, whom I always liked. She used to baby sit at a house that was on my route to and from the U-District which was like a baby Haight Ashbury and where I hung out and coped my drugs. Occasionally I’d stop by and get a little, if you know what I mean? I was with Bettie at the time — there are no innocents on the face of the planet. Years later, she became militant and stopped by my place with a van full of weapons. She wanted me to help her drive to Wounded Knee during the standoff. I begged off because I had a drug habit to worry about. Otherwise, I probably would’ve gone because I liked her so much. She had a big wad of cash they’d sent her from Montana and as far as I know, she went, although that’s just speculation.

I didn’t see her again ’til 1983, when I drove a friend, Thom Allen, to pick up his wife on the day she was released from pre-release in Tacoma, a D.O.C. facility. She was there gettin’ released from the women’s joint at Purdy. She yells out the grated window, “Jerry, Jerry White, is that you? She said, “It’s Denise, Denise Harris!”

I said, “Hey, Baby, how ya’ doin’?

She said, “Okay, I get out soon. What’s your number?” I gave it to her, then she said, “Did you know that girl you’re picking up (can’t remember her name) is a stone-cold rat?”

Gulp. “No, I didn’t,” I answer.

Thom comes out with her, all happy and shit. I didn’t have the heart to tell him. It’s okay, though, since later Thom ripped me off for a ’77 Harley Sportster. He later killed a female passenger on it in Chicago where he was from. The reason I know that is because the cops contacted me, since the bike was still in my name. I had let him have it for a down payment on heroin and monthly payments. He never made one of the payments. What, a junkie defaulting on a debt? Who would’ve ever thought! It should’ve been him who died, then he could’ve rotted in hell with his stool-pigeon ol’ lady, the son of a bitch… zen, remember the zen… I talked to Denise a couple of times on the phone and that’s the last I ever knew of her, or Dave for that matter.

One night, we ran into this broad who was the girlfriend of a dude I was later to learn was Frank Landers, or Frankie, the Burn, as he was known by his peers on the street. She was looking for a syringe or rig as they are known. I just happen to have one, being a diabetic and all. (That’s why I was classified 4F on my draft card and didn’t go to Vietnam). The rigs or syringes back then were monster apparatuses. They were big, bulky things, all glass — plunger and all — with a large surgical steel point or needle, if you will, that had to be sharpened on a wet stone. They were quite a piece of machinery. We had to drive all the way home for me to pick it up because the fuckin’ things were rare on the street. The main reason that I was going through all this wasn’t because she had dope — something I’d never heard of up to that point, called Ritalin. It’s the stuff they give kids with ADD to compose their little asses but for people past puberty, they were and are a powerful stimulant. No, it wasn’t because of the pills that I was being so helpful, it was because I was jockeyin’ to get into her bloomers.

We go to a friend’s boathouse on Lake Union. (I can’t remember his name but I do remember fuckin’ his girlfriend on a walk to the store once.) Anyway, my new friend gets the works all ready. She crushes the pills in a spoon, prepares the mixture, tells me to wrap a belt around my arm, finds a vein, and oh, my fucking God, I was off and runnin’ for the next 4 years! I never did get what I was really after but I really didn’t give a damn.

I ended up buying my first ounce of crystal from the houseboat dude and I started selling dope. A bunch of us guys had rented a house on the Fremont side of Queen Anne. It was a three bedroom with the main part of the house upstairs with a rec room downstairs that opened into the garage. We put up posters, black light, and I fixed up my room all trippy and shit. I had a big ornate chair with an antique coffee table, and a cut-glass light hanging over it that I used for cuttin’, packagin’, and shootin’ dope. We had a lot of traffic because it became a de facto party house. I ended up introducing the whole crowd to meth as I was the one who had it and I was the only one that knew how to shoot dope into people’s arms. It was decades before I felt any guilt. It seemed the whole world was doin’ it. So, what the fuck? Plus, none of us knew at the time that drugs could fuck up your whole frickin’ life. Shit, before the dope came along, we were all a bunch of little binge-drinkin’ alcoholics, for Christ sake! Drugs came out of nowhere and were just the next logical step. My grandmother broke her hip just before she died. Immediately, she was callin’ the doctor with stories of droppin’ her codeine tablets in the toilet, or leaving them on the counter at the store or losing her purse so that she could get a replacement script. People enjoy dope.

The house and the dope thing came to a screeching halt after my roomies started stealing cars off car lots and cuttin’ the motors out of them with an acetylene torch. One of the cars caught fire and they couldn’t get it out. The neighbors called the fire department and what comes to fires with the firemen? That’s right, the pigs… so off to the youth center we go. At the time I was there, one of the guys I would later be with in Walla Walla was Greg Norbert, nicknamed Goose because he was loose as a goose. He stood 6’8” tall, was slim, and the friendliest guy you’d ever wanna meet… but a stone-cold killer.

He’d put several notches in his gun while in various prisons. The youth center people had sent him over to the King County jail as punishment. I guess to give him a taste of what real jail was like. The day they brought his ass back, he announced to the dayroom, “Fuck, I wanted to stay. You can smoke there!”

He used to show up out at the District in a brand-new black Lincoln, dressed in black leather pants with a black leather sports jacket and two matching pearl-handled .45 semi-automatic pistols in shoulder holsters. It was amazing. He was only a 17-year-old kid just like I was, but on a way ’nother frickin’ level. He finally ended up shooting an off-duty cop with a sawed off 12-gauge during a drug store robbery. Greg told me one day at yard that it would’ve been better if he’d killed him, the way that the jury looked at ’em when the cop came into the courtroom in his wheelchair.

He and his partner, Joe got out together on the same day from Walla Walla. The rub of that story is that they transported Joe all the way down from Monroe and released both him and Greg on the same day like three days later. We figured it was a set-up by the parole board and sure enough, two or three months later, they were both back in jail on a new charge.

Meanwhile, my grandmother had hired an attorney for me although I hadn’t been charged with anything. My buddies who were all school hood friends actually stood up and took the beef. When I finally made it into juvenile court after 10 days, in walks this attorney. (I wish I could remember his name as he was well known in these parts for winning cases that probably shouldn’t have been winnable.) Basically, he just took over the courtroom. Wearing a rumpled suit with his shirttail hangin’ out in the back and his hair sticking up all which way, he also looked like he hadn’t shaved in a few days. I learned later that he did that on purpose because it threw people off.

Come to find out years later, my attorney had an attraction to black hookers. I was to discover this after befriending a black hooker that I shot dope with on occasion. I started noticing his black Cadillac idling in front of dope houses and every time, my black hooker would say, “Watch, she’ll be coming out now,” timing the event.

He finally ended up being charged with receiving stolen property for money he allegedly received from a bank robbery and he was disbarred. There are no innocents in this life. We are all inherently corrupt, it seems…Anyway, he got me out of trouble that day, into the loving arms of my grandmother and my girl, Bettie. Bettie had a big bag of chocolate covered raisins for me because she knew they were my favorites. She was a real sweetheart… before the drugs took over.


Love of My Life… My Girl, Bettie

I had a couple of girlfriends before Bettie (one ended up as a prostitute later on) but Bettie was the one. We had met in 9th grade while in junior high. She was one of the best-looking girls on the hill which makes it easy to overlook flaws, personality wise. There was even talk of modeling, off and on. She was smart, always got good grades, and helped me with school work all the time.

We fucked (as we used to call it) the first time for both of us about a year after meeting. She walked by herself from her house to mine. It was about 20 blocks. She snuck into my bedroom; we did the deed and then she walked home. I nailed her twice that first night in quick succession, which is a feat I was never able to match in coming (no pun intended) years. In our junior year of high school, she got pregnant but lost the baby… I think as a result of trying to hide it.

I’d dropped out of school by then, my grandfather was dying and I was using as much meth as I could get my hands on. I also had a motorcycle, a ’47 knucklehead Harley and I was riding with a club called Séance. The night Bettie lost the baby, I was at a club party, takin’ acid and shootin’ speed at some property on a river in the woods in Black Diamond (halfway between Seattle and Tacoma) owned by one of the fellas. When I got home, my grandmother was acting all sketchy when I asked where Bettie was since she was supposed to be there.

So, I go lookin’ for her. At her house, her stepmother slammed the door in my face. What the hell? I finally went to our best friends’ (who had gotten married in Idaho under duress because the gal was pregnant). I was Godfather to their baby. They informed me of the situation.

I tear off to University Hospital where she had been taken. She’s in bad shape and I try to comfort her as much as possible ’til visiting hours are over. As I’m exiting, on my way to retrieve my scooter (as all bikers call their machines), I run into her dad and this big ol’ goofball of a stepbrother of hers. They proceed to give me a pretty thorough ass kickin’… but I didn’t even give a fuck by that time. I just took my beating, got up, brushed myself off, and rode home on my bike.

At home is where I got into it with my grandmother. It’d been a rough couple of days and it’s been said that I threatened her life and included a few other inappropriate platitudes but I really can’t remember. All I can remember is that it was bad and that what was said about my actions that night could very well be true. Coming off the drugs, the emotional state with worrying about Bettie, topped off by a good old-fashioned ass whoopin’, I was just fried.

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