Some time ago, a friend, asked me to commit my story to paper. I have lived what he believes to be an "interesting" life. To be honest, as a person, I have often failed to show restraint or even common sense and so in the moment when things were difficult or uncomfortable I now look back on fondly.
My story has brought me to today and made me the person I am, will be, and aspire to. The next few chapters are a bit of a departure from gambling but are the roots by which my life has been built.
Without confusing all the dates, I’ll just keep to the story.
Let’s call this chapter, hell no I gotta Go!
I exited the military with an Honorable Discharge. The details and cause of which I have worked hard to forget.
I started my new life with about $2000 cash, a car on the verge of repossession and an Air Force friend who went from DLI (Defense Language Institute) to the Silas B Hayes psych ward to my car inside of 3 weeks. We were released from service within a day of each other and set out to start a new life. Amazingly the service had arranged for this, which is a whole other story that is best left out.
We were outside the gates of Fort Ord and had no clue. Quite literally, no plan, no ideas, just a gas tank and the road south to warmer days.
Before we left, we made a quick detour to grab some tabs in Santa Cruz for the road. Those of you in the know, will know.
We made our way south, creeping along the CA 1 and taking in the swift peaks, ocean views and stilted homes. The whole experience was lost on me in many ways. I remember constantly looking back at my ruck and Army gear wondering if I had made a terrible mistake. There were some moments of panic, loss and even resentment.
My friend...well, he was crazy. Suicidal really. Just a few weeks earlier I had managed to stop him from hurting himself outside a grocery store.
I just kept driving until it turned dark and found a clean motel with a vacancy sign. I’m not even sure I looked to see what city we were in. I just knew I was tired and needed a break and my friend might drive us off a cliff. So here we were at some motel off CA 1.
The next morning, I make my way to the lobby to figure out where I am so I can do some planning.
I am in Santa Barbara. The land of rich florists and richer polo clubs. It’s a Thursday when I checked in and if I stay tomorrow night the rates will be triple. How fun.
A pot of coffee later, My friend and I finally made our way outside for a quick tour. We have about an hour to figure out what we are going to do from here.
If you remember, he's a little cray cray and he's starting to have some serious separation issues. It’s clear that we will need to stay. We need the rest, and this place is as serene as you can imagine. Money is tight but people matter more. Maybe our families will help? Maybe I can find a job. We will work it out.
Returning to the motel, we pay till next week. It’s about ¼ of all our money and all we can do is chalk it up to a very deserved vacation.
By the way, if you must know, this guy, saved my life. It's that simple.
The story gets a bit interesting, but starts with a few days of us just slumming it, watching the tourists pile out of fancy cars, take over the pool and give us polite nods that always seemed to hint of ego and privilege.
I know we had fun. My friend and I spent the next 4 or 5 days just taking it all in. We enjoyed each other's company, the beach, the food, it was a blast. I remember this fondly, and I'll explain why in a minute.
But first, it’s the morning of day 6. Tomorrow we have to either check out, extend, figure out how we are going to survive and for the first time since enrolling in the Army, find a real job to earn money and buy food.
My friend returns to the motel and I continue down the main drag of sorts. Earlier in the week some girl had asked me to do a personality test. Today, I was going to return to what looked like a book store and try it out. Sure enough this same girl is outside, says hello and asks me in again to take the “test”. What can I lose, right? 30 minutes later, I am convinced that my personality needs a lot of work and after talking to her team for another hour or so I think I have found a possible job. How lucky? Can you sense the sarcasm? For those of you who know California, you know exactly what I was getting myself into. And I went in DEEP, but I digress.
With my new book in hand, Dianetics, I set off to meet up with my friend back at the motel.
He is sitting in the lobby as I enter. His face is completely flushed and at first I think he's had some sort of set back. Apparently he just got off the phone with his mother. No cell phones back then of course. He had been feeding quarters into a payphone. She wanted him to return home and without even talking to me, he had decided that was the best course of action.
We argued about it and I wish I had argued more. The next day, he got on a plane home. I managed to call his home about a week later, his mom answered, he had passed away.
It took me a full week to return to writing this blog, and here I am, the full story, for once.
An hour after he took that cab, I was in a van destined for Los Angeles and the Church of Scientology, Sea Org at the big blue hospital on Fountain and Vermont. After some mental gymnastics and apparently a full lobotomy, I was a member of INCOMM Sea Org and on my way to becoming Clear and an Operating Thetan. INCOMM was a group dedicated to technology and running data, which makes sense now. They had some amazing computers for the time.
I am going to end this chapter with a brief preview of what's to come so you don’t think I am too far off course.
First off, to this day I am stunned I was ever in Sea Org. If anything, I was looking for an escape, a bed, some food and a retreat but strangely I made it up the ranks and found a short home there. I made some great friends at the time and I remember having the high score on a Galaga machine that was on the way to my triple high bunk dorm. The short of it was that I fell in with this older Scientologist lady who took advantage of me, had a friend deported and made me finally doubt my role in Scientology. On $30 a week its hard to doubt anything. Yep, I got $30 a week, a bunk bed that was stacked on top of 2 others and some laundry soap. I worked 5 days a week at INCOMM and 1 day as a dishwasher on the food line like everyone else.
My next chapters continue as follows; Homeless in LA, taken in by a drag queen, found by Covenant House Hollywood where I fell in love with a runaway girl. Lived at the Caf on Hollywood and Vine protected by the Hollywood Dogs (homeless youth gang). Girl gets pregnant, move to Kansas to live with her crazy mother, drive monthly to Hollywood for work as a model and stand-in, new son is born, evicted by mother in law, broke down in Vegas, dealer school, casinos, drugs, sex, degenerate gambling…. shall I continue?