So what happened when you got to Charlotte?
Actually, that's getting a little ahead of the story.
I mean, I left Greenville right after lunch and started making the drive
up I-85. Things were going pretty smooth, I mean, traffic was light, the
weather was good and all of that stuff, but it was about halfway through
the trip, almost an hour into it, that I looked into my rear view and saw a
cop riding the back of my bumper.
Now I mean this stuff happens all the time to me, I don't drive like a
nut or anything, but I'm used to having cops follow me around on the
Interstate, so this type of stuff doesn't bother me too much. But for some
reason, when I looked back and saw those blue lights, I realized that I was
only a couple of hours away from becoming a missing person.
I mean, it was bad enough that I had just run away from my wife, but I'd
already been with two prostitutes and I was on my way to being a drug
runner and I guess I just got paranoid as Hell. I just kept waiting for him
to flick on the blue lights, pull me over and take me back to my fucked-up
life back home, or worse, take me to jail where I'd eat dog shit three
meals a day and get raped by my cellmate every night.
And it got really crazy after a while too. I mean, this cop was
following me for at least ten minutes and after a while I just started
really losing it and freaking out bad.
Well, I got these crazy visions of one of those old-style APBs being put
out on me and cops chasing me everywhere I go, police helicopters circling
me. I was even making plans to ditch the car and hike through the woods for
dozens of miles just to avoid getting caught.
And realize, even though I feel stupid as Hell about it now, right then
it made perfect sense and I started getting very jittery about it. I just
KNEW that cop behind me was radioing headquarters and was going to bust me
any second. My hands started trembling, I couldn't hold the wheel very well
and I was starting to worry I'd begin swerving and get pulled for a DUI, or
driving like an idiot.
So what did you do?
Well, I got lucky on this one, before I started hyperventilating, I came
across one of those highway rest stops and I pulled inside. I probably sat
there for ten minutes in my car just trying to calm myself, forcing myself
to breathe slowly and all of that crap. I'm pretty sure everyone who looked
in my car thought I was having a panic attack or something, which I guess
isn't that far from the truth.
But anyway, when I got myself to where I could breathe like a normal
human being, I decided to get out of the car and get some fresh air. I
walked over to the vending area and got myself a coke at sat down at a park
bench where I could watch the other cars on the interstate go zooming by
I sat there, sipping my coke, just trying to think about what the Hell I
was doing. I mean, two days before all of this, I had never done anything
more illegal than a little weed in college and a few parking tickets. But
in a 24-hour time, I was sleeping with prostitutes and going to run drugs.
It just never dawned on me until right then exactly what the Hell was going
It must have been quite a shock when it all set in.
It was, it was, I'm not going to lie. But the funny thing is that I sat
there and I kept trying to feel bad about what I was doing. I knew what I
was doing was wrong, at least in the eyes of the government, and that I
should probably feel at least some guilt about my behavior. But try as I
might, I couldn't. I just couldn't make myself feel bad or wrong for what
I mean, the way I saw it was that I hadn't hurt anyone, all I had done
was have a good time, I wasn't going to hurt anyone, just make deliveries
and the only person in the world who was going to have any legitimate beef
with what I was doing was my wife and, well, fuck her you know? She wasn't
worth feeling bad over.
So all that was left was fear. I was scared of getting caught, scared of
having my life, as bad as it was, made worse and I was scared of being a
bigger screw up and a bigger failure than I was before. I will say, that I
did get so scared that I seriously considered just going back and trying to
salvage what I could of the life I had. Truth be told, the only thing that
probably stopped me was that I was almost four hours away from home, but
less than one away from Charlotte.
So I kind of decided that I didn't have much choice but to go ahead and
make the trip to Charlotte. Like Little John said, worst thing that could
happen is that I get there, decide I don't want it and leave. If that
happened, it was only five hours back home and, Hell, I guess I didn't
think I could do much more damage by pressing on.
Well, anyway, I got back in the car thinking I had calmed down, I went
to put it in gear and I just locked up again. I wasn't hyperventilating
like before, but I just couldn't make myself drive. I tried, I tried and I
tried, but I couldn't get my hands to listen to my brain, it was like when
you're trying to wake up in the morning and your brain sends the message to
your legs to get out of bed but you still don't move. The best I figured is
that my mind might be calm, but my body wasn't. Didn't matter thought,
either way I wasn't going anywhere and I didn't want to waste any more
So what did you do?
Luckily, it was one of those rest stops where, when you arrive, truckers
go one way and cars go another. So I figured that strangers have been my
best friends through this whole ordeal and walked about forty yards over to
the truck area and caught one of the drivers out walking around his rig,
probably checking the tires or something. Anyway, I explained to him that I
was on my way to Charlotte, that I had a very important meeting and that my
car had broken down leaving me in need of a ride.
Well, he whipped around from what he was doing and shot me a dirty look
that made my blood freeze. He probably thought I was a hippie, a bum or
someone just looking for a free ride. But when he saw my clothes, I guess
he figured I was being straight with him and relaxed a bit and explained
that he wasn't going to Charlotte, just around the city to head up to some
town I've never heard of before. However, he did jump into his cab and get
on his CB to see if there were any other truckers in the area who could
give me a lift and, as luck would have it, someone else right there in the
rest area heard the call and offered to take me.
So, without much in the way of second thought, or a first thought for
that matter, I left my car behind and got in the cab of some guy's truck.
To tell you the truth, it was the first time I had ever been inside a big
rig like that. I had always wondered what one had looked like on the inside
and well, I guess now I wish hadn't found out.
Well, the guy was nice enough, I can't remember his name though it'll
probably hit me any second now. He was a quiet guy and didn't talk much,
but he clearly didn't bathe or clean much either. I know it sounds cheesy,
but the place reeked of cigarette smoke and grease. I know it's the
stereotype and all, but he definitely fit the bill and, frankly, it was a
long drive to Charlotte. I mean, I didn't want to offend the guy by rolling
down the window or anything, so I just kind of sat there and tried my best
to hold my breath the entire way there.
Anyway, he took me some kind of distribution center in Charlotte. I'd
never heard of the place but it was one of those office supply companies
that no regular person has heard of, though almost every company in the
known world uses them. But that's beside the point, the manager there was
nice enough to lend me a phone to call a cab, which in turn was able to
take me to the Red Wolf Bar in the middle of downtown Charlotte.
I really didn't know what to do, so I spent a few minutes pacing outside
the bar weighing my options and trying to take in what I was getting ready
to do. But I didn't dawdle long really, maybe a few minutes because I kind
of realized that I didn't have much choice on the matter. I had nowhere
else in the world that I could go to and, besides, I was here already.
Well, I went into the place and it was actually quite nice. It was dead
because they had just opened a few minutes beforehand, but it wasn't
anything like the Blue Moon Bar in Greenville. Outside of being clean and
well-lit, it was big, open and not flooded with thick smoke. It was almost
the kind of place I would have gone to before all of this crap started.
But anyway, I walked up to the bartender on duty, who was polishing
glasses at the time, and said, "My name's Jake, Jake Simpson, I'm here
to see Stan, Little John sent me here."
He looked up at me and after giving me a thorough once-over said,
"Come with me," and led me into the back of the bar.