People always tell me how much potential I have. I think I get it from my mother. My mother… She was the Valedictorian of her class. She had the highest payed scholarship in Arkansas to go to the U of A. A straight ‘A’ student, she made an ACT score of 33. She says she could have made a 35 if she wouldn’t have stayed up the previous night partying. She’s the smartest person I know, but also the most out of tune. Sometimes I believe that she’s the reason I got locked up in the first place, other times I think that she did all she could. She was a single mom trying to raise me by herself, while going through law school trying to pass the bar exam, and working a full time job. I think what it all boils down to is the fact that I’ve never had structure. I never had a father figure that I could look up to, not somebody that would tell me what to do and push me around, I had plenty of those. I needed somebody that I could actually look up to, somebody that inspired me to do good, not bad; a person that I could go to in a time of need, somebody that would support me and not chastise me. I never had that in my life. Not until I was too far gone.
I first moved to Memphis when I was twelve. It wasn’t for an ordinary reason like my mom found a new job, or me getting in trouble too much and switching schools – it was because my mom disappeared. It was Thanksgiving break, and we were headed to Memphis to visit my grandmother and my aunt. This was a long time ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. My mom had dropped me off at my grandmother’s apartment in downtown Memphis and said that she was going to a friend’s. Nobody really thought much of it until she didn’t show up for Thanksgiving or Christmas. My grandmother and aunt said that they tried to contact her multiple times but she wouldn’t answer. Mom would later tell me that she tried to contact them multiple times but they wouldn’t answer. So, I asked her an obvious question, “Why didn’t you just come by the apartment?” she would say, “I got lost.” I would say, “How’d you get there the first time?” she would say, “I forgot.” To this day I still do not know the truth, but what I do know is that the truth cannot change what happened. So school was about to start back and my mom was still nowhere to be found and I had nobody I could live with back home to continue school in Fayetteville. That being said, there was no other alternative but for me to go to school in Memphis until my mother resurfaced and could take me back home.
Eventually my mom came back and asked me if I wanted to go home, which I did. But what I didn’t know was when I got back home, life would be totally different for me. When we got back home my mom had to introduce me to two new men that would be living with us. Nick, her new boyfriend and Nick’s friend, Zack. At first everything was cool. Me and Nick would play call-of-duty 7 together, he would show me how to make alcoholic beverages with vodka and lemonade, and I would listen to him and Zack talk about when they were kids. But after a couple of months of walking with Zack to the liquor store, and him sneaking me gulps of vodka and me getting drunk almost every night, everything started going downhill. I can remember very specifically the tipping point in my life. I had cut my hand really bad and had to go to the hospital to get stitches. They prescribed me 5 mg of hydrocodone for the pain. I instantly saw an opportunity to make money.
The next day I took them to school and started selling them. Everything was going as planned until somebody got caught with them and decided to snitch. I got ten days of OSS (in-class detention).
Later that day when I was home, Nick would tell me that he would have had some respect for me if I had been selling weed instead. So, I started selling weed. At first it was small stuff like an ounce of reggie here, a half-ounce there, nothing compared to what I would be selling or using the next time I moved back to Memphis.
After the little incident with the pills Zack had moved out and it was just me, my mom and Nick. Nick was getting more uncontrollable and more drunk by the day – and on top of that, my mom was pregnant with twins. One day I came home from school and Nick was waiting for me outside on the porch. He told me that he had to give my two dogs away because they were “a problem.” I later found out that Nick had hung one with a rope, and because it was too slow for him, he hit the other one in the head with a pickaxe until it died. This was just the beginning of the violence.
One night I got home from going to the movies with my girlfriend and Nick decided that because the dishes weren’t clean enough so he had to take them out of the dishwasher and break them against the floor until his drunkenness was satisfied.
Sometimes he was alright to be around. Mostly during the day but at night it was the worst. I remember one night he had my pregnant mother on the ground with his knee on her throat yelling at her. In his defense I believe she tried to hit him first, but that’s still no excuse. When I tried to get him off he threw me against the wall by the throat and then walked out. These are just some examples of his violence, others are better off unmentioned.
Eventually Nick started growing Marijuana in the house. At this point in time I was not only still selling weed, but also smoking it heavily. So, I had no issue with this. I remember I would take my friends up to his room and we would pick buds off of the plant and smoke them. We were so young and stupid that we did not realize we had to dry the bud out and cure it in order for it to produce the THC. So, we were really just wasting weed. But we were smoking and that’s all that mattered to us.
Eventually he noticed the plants were missing buds, and he caught me smoking in the house, so he kicked me out. By this time my mom had given birth to my little brother and sister. The babies were staying with Nick, and my mom and me moved in with her “friend.” The same one she’d been staying with over thanksgiving break a couple of years before. He was also growing weed, except he was growing kush using a growing method involving hydroponics.
Everything was cool at first, we would smoke together and he would give me free weed to use whenever I wanted. Then I found some crack cocaine in his drawer by the T.V. I immediately called my aunt and asked her what it was because I had not been introduced to crack yet. She then called the cops and they showed up at the house we were at. After that my mom’s friend said we had to leave.
After we left his house we went to my aunt’s husbands house, who lives in Bartlett. They said that they wanted me to live with them. So I enrolled in school at Bartlett and got on the football team. When school started I immediately got started in honors classes and was making good grades. Everything was straight until my mom and my aunt got into an argument and my aunt said she didn’t want me living with them anymore.
That being said I moved in with her at her boss’s house. I was also introduced to some new friends. My new friends had certain connections and abilities to acquire things for a very cheap price. After that I remember they got me in the drug trade in a big way. Except unlike most kids who were selling drugs that were gotten off the street, our drugs were sent through the U.S. Postal Service. I remember getting my first sheet of L.S.D. through the mail and how excited I was. Immediately I tore the package apart and ignorantly took 5 hits, each hit containing 300 micrograms, which would be equivalent to 15 hits of acid. My brain, sight being the most affected, has never been the same.
You might be wondering how these kids were getting drugs through the mail. People can’t do that?? In reality, a 10 year old could – you just have to know where to look, and how to access the network which then essentially leads you to the black market or “silk road.”
Eventually my mom moved me into my own apartment in Bartlett Heights. Every night my friends and I would smoke, drop, vaporize, snort, drink and do drugs such as mescalin or peyote, L.S.D., 2 cb, molly, cocaine, Xanax, marijuana, and alcohol. These drugs had a major effect on my memory, my motor skills, and my ability to rationally reason. I remember being sober and seeing things that weren’t there: seeing illusions, and hallucinations. I gradually started skipping school to do drugs and my grades started declining rapidly.
The girl that I had been dating for the past year saw this and tried to push me to do better but I just wouldn’t do it. So, her mother wanted me to move in with them to get me back on track. So I did; I packed all my stuff and I moved in with them.
Her mother soon found out that I was a cocaine addict. Not only that, but I knew where to get certain things for the low. The next thing I knew I was getting her coke, and she was buying me a pound of weed each week to sell until I got a job to support myself. This went on for a couple of months and I had no objections because of all the money I was making but everything has to come to an end.
One day, I got a call from an unknown number saying that my friend had given them my number to buy some loud and bars. So I drove to meet the unknown caller to serve him. I was heavily inebriated off Xanax or I never would have done this. But I pulled up and got into his car. Immediately they put a gun to my head and told me to give them everything. I said I wasn’t going to give them anything, so they pulled out a knife and stabbed me. They threw me out of the car and drove off.
That incident would later lead me to the time and place and action that would cause me to get locked up. After getting locked up with my current charges, everything changed. My whole mindset got switched around. I went from thinking that selling drugs as a hobby and livelihood was cool to despising it. I remember just the other day I got a call from a friend saying that my other friend had just got shot in a drug deal. I couldn’t do anything to stop that, but now I feel it is my obligation to give back to the community.