A Day on the Job for a Young Entreprenuer
Even before I was of legal age to drink, alcohol has always been my drug of choice. I learned a valuable lesson early on not to mix it with prescription medication.
By the time I was 17 or 18 years old I was well on my way to turning my liver so black it could've impregnated half the neighborhood and denied all responsibility. Me and my friends would start drinking beer not long after we woke up, ride four wheelers in the woods all day, and keep drinking on up into the night.
One of my friends, David was the only one in our group who didn't drink. He was a pothead and also my chauffeur. David would drive me around to various locations throughout the day and night, taking me wherever I needed to meet up with my customers who purchased my wares. David's father was a former pot dealer who'd fallen from prominence and was also certifiably crazy. He always kept a full bottle of Xanax in his pocket to help him get through his anxiety attacks.
For those who don't know, Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication that calms you down and keeps you from worrying so much. But it doesn't really work like that if you don't have anxiety issues and you mix it with a 12-pack of Miller High Life. This combination basically makes you not have a care in the world and you fear absolutely nothing.
One afternoon, I was with David and his cousin Willie. David was driving a new car I'd just bought and of course, I was already drinking. We rode out to David's house to see his old man. While we were there, I got the bright idea to talk David's daddy into giving me a couple of his Xanax pills. Big mistake.
About an hour later we went back toward town and stopped at this old country store to get gas. David was pumping gas (yeah, that was part of my chauffeur's job) and I got out and walked toward the store to take a leak. As I was walking in the store I looked out through the parking lot toward the pay phone and there was a guy sitting in a silver Chevette in front of the phone. I thought my eyes were deceiving me at first, but once I focused a little harder I realized this guy was smoking crack out of an aluminum can. In the middle of the day, in a public parking lot!
Due to the Xanax impairing my judgment, I thought to myself "Hey, I'm gonna go over there and see if he wants to buy some more!" So, like a total dumbass, I did. I walked up beside his window and knocked. He was right in the middle of taking a hit off that can and I scared the shit out of him.
After assuring him through the window that I wasn't a cop, he finally rolled it down so I could talk to him. I said "Hey buddy, I see what you're doing over here. I was wondering if you needed any more. I got it if you do." I pulled out a pill bottle full of crack rocks and shook it in front of his face. His eyes got real big and through his crack-induced locked jaw he replied "Yeah, man."
He ended up buying $50 worth, if I recall correctly. Then he tells me he's got this friend in town who'd be interested in buying some more. Once again, my impaired judgment and disregard for consequences got the better of me so I said "Yeah, we'll follow you to town."
We followed him to a part of town which is right on the line of where the White trash live and brown town begins. I had a rule that I never sold to blacks so that should've been a warning sign to me. But I couldn't have cared less that day due to the state of mind I was in. We pulled into a parking lot in front of this old house. The crackhead in the Chevette gets out and comes over to my window, and says "My friend in that house wants $100 worth. Give it to me and I'll take it in and bring your money back." As pickled as my brain was at the time, I still had enough sense not to fall for that old crackhead scam. So I tell this guy "Hell no, I'll give you a $20 rock, let your buddy sample it, then you come back out with the $100 and I'll give you the rest of it." He agreed, I gave him the rock, and he walked across the street and went in the house.
David and Willie were in the front seat and I was in the back. We sat there in that parking lot for a pretty long time until finally this crackhead comes out with an enormous buck of a negro who was about the size of Kamala The Ugandan Giant. This silverback comes right up to my car and just starts cursing and threatening us out of the blue. What he was actually doing was creating a diversion so the other crackhead could jump in his Chevette and take off without paying me.
I quickly realized what was going on so I said "David, let's get the hell out of here. This motherfucker's trying to take off and shit me!" I mentioned earlier that this was a new car we were in. This was actually the first time David had driven that car and he had trouble putting it in reverse. It had a manual transmission and you had to pull this ring up on the gearshift to get it to go in reverse. That delayed our exit and allowed the crackhead in the Chevette to get a head start on us.
If I hadn't taken those Xanax I probably would've just laughed about it and let it go. I was only out $20, which was worth the price of the shitshow we'd already witnessed. But since I wasn't my normal self that day, I was ready to annihilate this bastard over a few measly bucks. We finally got out of that parking lot while almost running over Kamala in the process. We headed in the direction of the Chevette but he was already out of sight.
This is a small town. There weren't too many places he could've went, so we headed toward the major highway that goes through town. The whole time we're looking for this guy I'm stroking a miniature baseball bat that my granddaddy made for me on his wood lathe when I was a kid. He'd engraved "John Paul Slugger" on it with a woodburning tool. It was probably 2 1/2 ft long and a couple inches in diameter at the top of the bat. I always kept it in my car as a quick weapon to grab in case I ran into some trouble.
So we get out on to the main highway and that's when I see the silver Chevette in the distance. And what do you know, the traffic light is turning red and it's stopping. As an added bonus, it was about 4:30 pm when all this was going on and the silver Chevette was stopping at the light in front of the office where my mama worked.
As David stopped several cars behind the Chevette, I jumped out of the backseat with John Paul Slugger and headed toward the car. I'm not exactly sure what my plan was, but the first thing I was going to do was bust his windshield out. I ran up beside the Chevette, raised the bat in the air as if I were wielding Conan's sword, and stopped myself at the last second as I looked down through the windshield. Sitting in the front seat wasn't a disheveled crackhead with a stringy mullet, it was two old ladies!
I'd found the wrong silver Chevette.
The look of fear in those two old women's eyes is something that will live in my mind until the day I depart from this Earth. I was mortified that I'd almost committed this act of violence against a couple of old hens who probably would've croaked from a heart attack if I'd followed through with my swing. I quickly outstretched my palm toward them and said "I'm so sorry, I thought you were someone else!"
Then I ran back to my car and told David to hook a u-ey and head farther up the mountain. We ended up getting a room at a ski resort and stayed gone for a couple days just in case Johnny Law was looking for us.
I haven't taken a Xanax since.
(c) 2017 John Paul Barber