After the arrests, and my hostage deciding to stay with me in Georgia, we vowed to each other that from there on out it would be different. We were going to stop once and for all. It wasn’t, we weren’t. In fact, it only got worse. It always does. We were so in the grip of addiction, that we had absolutely no power to do anything about anything. We were under our disease’s control. We smoked again that night, and the next, and the next. All the while so lost on the inside, so beat up by life. So unmanageable. It’s like there is an actual battle going on inside of the active addict- one side is this most sincere and heartfelt pleading with self to stop. The other side is the insatiable need to fill the voids of life with more and more. The void can never be filled. It’s bottomless. Our abyss is always much more shallow than the void itself. And so, many addicts die as a result. We burn out before our disease. We were both so beaten, lost, and desperate that we did the only thing we knew how to do, run again. We packed up the Neon, only this time, we headed north, back towards Indiana. Where I was wanted by the law. But it seemed somewhat reasonable, to get back to where we knew people, even though I was leaving a family that loved me to risk an encounter with her family, which hated me. She talked her family into wiring her some money for gas and necessities for the trip. We did not smoke again in Georgia before we left, we were both so ready to flee that that’s all that mattered. But it wouldn’t be long. It was now winter(my time frames are a little crazy, bear with me) and would be very cold when we arrived in Indiana, wherever the hell it was that we were going to go. We had no where, but rolling the dice to see where we landed was a much better idea than staying in Georgia and smoking our lives away, or so we thought. We were just about 30 miles north of Indianapolis when my radiator blew. Damnit. And it was freezing. So the next 3 hours of our trip was now going to take almost twice that, due to our having to stop and dump water in the reservoir every other exit. What a sign of things to come. It was roughly 7 am when we finally entered the 219 area code, with no where to go. I started making phone calls, and the first people I called was a pair of friends who had been living in a trailer in lake station, and without hesitation, they invited us both welcomely. We arrived at the trailer with little difficulty and walked into a very ugly situation. Roughly 7 people were either laid out in the living room in a nodded stupor, or in the front bedroom smoking rock. Here we go…Without hesitation we rallied up a carload of people to make another run, pouring water in the car every other exit as we went. This continued for about a month. Wild parties, drinking, blackouts, crack, heroin, Dope Dealers cooking and bagging at the place. Full out dope fiend life style. It was progressing. My friends were eventually evicted due to non payment of rent, and a couple wild nights that resulted in damage to the property. So we were once again homeless. fortunately, my grandmother was willing to let me sleep at her place occasionally, or get me a hotel room. She stayed at her parents the nights I was with grama. On one of the nights at the hotel, a Super 8 in Valpo, we were together, and drinking. That gnawing came back to us, and we wanted something more, but we promised each other we weren’t going to smoke that night, or do any heroin. So I called a buddy and ordered up some Xanax bars, ya know, cuz abusing Benzos is just the safer, more appropriate option, right? Yeah…Well, when my 3 friends arrived at my room with the bars, there was some small talk, some “be carefuls” and “I’ll call yous”. I would have never in a million years would have guessed that this was the last conversation I was going to have with one of them. Come to think of it, 2 of the 3 guys who appeared in my door way that night are both dead. Both from heroin, or from a combination of something and heroin. Crazy. I just thought about that, right now. Anyways… We blacked out on the Xanax, and partied into the wee hours of the morning, I had the room for a couple more days, so we weren’t in any hurry to leave. And then my phone rang around 6:30 a.m. I said hello, and all I could hear was heavy uncontrollable sobs. Grief. Dude, Herb, He’s gone man, He’s fucking dead man…I didn’t even have to ask who, I knew. The gravity was instantly amplified, and the air sucked out of the room. The voice on the other end felt so loud to me I was sure it could be heard in the next room. Time stopped. My blood was cold, and my heart was a bass drum. My mouth was cotton, and my eyes welled with tears. I fell back on the bed, and, even though I knew the answer, I asked anyways. “He O.D’d man, we were up all night partying, and everything was good, we all went to go crash and couple up, and he just…never…woke up man. The cops and EMT’s did everything they could to get him back man, He’s gone Herb.” My eyes are stinging as I write this now, I had lost a very dear friend to this thing for the first time, I still miss him like crazy. I remember telling my friend on the other end just how much I loved him, and how much he meant to me. Funny how death does that to a person, I wish I would have told my friend who had just died this very thing the night before. But we take everything for granted all the time. The next few days were a blur of blotto, drugs and grief. I remember calling our dealer in Chicago to tell him about my friend’s passing, and in the same conversation, asking him if he had anymore of the specific batch that had killed him. This is a prime example of the sheer insanity of the active addict’s mind. I wanted the dope that had ended my friend’s life. I was so sick. I believe it was 3 days between his passing and his wake, maybe 4, but his mother had asked me to write something to say at his service, as we were very close. His mother loved me and often confided in me about his struggles and slips. I had her fooled, she thought I was one of the good ones, but I just kept it hidden to the untrained eye so well, that on the surface I seemed like a common, everyday 20-something. But I was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A snake. In the grip. Due to the drastic and terrible events surrounding our friend’s death, my hostage’s parents allowed me and her to come and get ready, dress, and type my speech at their house. “You guys have 3 hours, not a minute more, and then you both have to go.” I was showered up, dressed and plugging away on the computer, I hit print, made multiple copies, to read, to keep and to give his grieving mother. I arranged the prints out on the island in the fancy kitchen, and headed downstairs towards the sliding glass door to go our for a smoke. The February wind was cold, I buried my head down to shield my Bic lighter and my Camel light, drew in a long drag and lifted my head to blow out the smoke, and there they were…Rolling in like a 5 car parade were 3 brown county cruisers, and 2 unmarked detective cruisers, I saw them, and from this vantage point I have no doubt that they saw me. I did my best to casually stub my smoke out, go in, close and lock the glass slider, and then sprint up the stairs to tell my hostage what was going on, but the look on her face told me that she already knew. “Get downstairs, go in my closet and hide under clothes.” We were in the middle of the rural country, and I had no doubt that the house was surrounded. Running was not an option this time. So I did as I was told. I was supposed to be delivering a eulogy for my dear friend in 2 hours, and I was pinned inside this house, hidden under my hostage’s clothes. I was now the hostage. I was under siege. They had me. She answered the door, and from where I was in the house, I could hear clearly through the wall the entire conversation. “He’s not here, we broke up.” “Yeah, well we KNOW he is here, and we also KNOW he will be at his friend’s wake tonight, so we WILL be waiting for him.” He yells into the house, “You hear me Herb, we gotcha man, we will see you tonight.” The door closed, and the cars paraded back down the gravel drive in the opposite direction of which they came. She came downstairs. “They’re gone baby.” “We have to go, NOW!!!” I said, “They’re coming back with a warrant for the house, mark my words. We scrambled, hectically throwing things we thought we would need in bags and sprinting towards the door. My girl’s friend had already started the car and was waiting with the passenger door open and the seat leaned forward for me to fly in Bo-and -Luke-Duke style. The whole rush may have taken 5 minutes. We casually pulled out, and made our way toward the county road, and there they were, again. Not 7 minutes had passed and they were already back, I slouched back as low as I could and put some sunglasses on, and we crept right by. We paused at the intersection of the families long gravel drive and the county road. (my heart is hammering as I type this, I can still feel it) We made the right out of there, towards highway 30, and as soon as we had crept out of sight, She mashed the gas petal. We accelerated so quickly that we were all glued backwards. There was no way we were going to be able to stop at the stop sign at highway 30, so we didn’t. She absolutely flew through it, crossing four lanes of opposite facing traffic, and darted on down the county road. We must have been doing 110+. We were moving. I stayed slouched. My mouth was dry, my hands were shaking, I felt so sick. We had made it about five miles down, taking various lefts and rights in hopes of losing a tail when we finally slowed down. We were in the clear. For now. But what do we do now? There was no way we were going to my friend’s wake, a decision that still haunts me to this day. Some how we took back roads for hours and ended up in Lake county somewhere, which helped me breathe a little easier. the three of us drove around while I called my Grama and explained to her that I was being pursued by the police and I needed 2 bus tickets for Atlanta ASAP!! ( My radiator had officially given out and was not making the trip. I had scrapped the whole car for heroin money a couple days ago). She agreed to get us the tickets. My girl’s phone had not stopped ringing, it was her parents. She finally answered on like the 100th call and it was indeed her father. The man who wanted me dead. Begging her to come home and leave this piece of shit alone. I was said piece of shit. I was the piece of shit that grew under the piece of shit. But she wouldn’t. She explained to him that we were heading back to Georgia, again, and that she needed her stuff packed and brought to her, or she was coming to get it. Her father agreed to meet her at a Walmart. We had no where to go, I had no phone, and no money, plus I was terrified that the police had a B.O.L.O out on me, which they did, so it’s not like I could be dropped off anywhere and wait for the pair to come back and get me. Plus, I was worried her friend would do some last minute persuading of her with some alone time, and they would not return at all. So I climbed in the trunk of the car. I rode in the trunk all the way from Merrillville to Valpo, and then all the way to Hammond, where our bus was leaving from. My Grama had indeed gotten the tickets for us, but we were late for the bus. It was going to be a very long night….