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The Chicken Coop, Hellís Angels, And Getting out Alive
When I was 19, I spent part of the year living out of a chicken coop that was on the property of a member of the Hell's Angels.
I had been living out of cars on and off since I turned 18. When I was 19, I rented an apartment with a friend, and began selling meth to feed my addiction that had begun when I was 16. I was very business minded, and soon began making quite a bit of money dealing.
After deciding to cut out the middlemen in order to increase profits, the Hell's Angels got involved. They were the ones controlling the meth trade in California at the time. Long story short, I didn't pass their "talk" tests. These are tests they put potential members through to see if they will "talk," or "rat" out fellow members of the gang. When the Hell's Angels got involved at first, I had no idea that it was them. I was told by various acquaintances that whatever I heard or saw, that I could not repeat it to anyone, even people I knew. I remember one person telling me when it all started, "don't worry, just remember what's real." Some of those warnings would cause serious bouts of paranoia later, even after I quit using.
I didn't take the people involved seriously. To me, selling to friends, and using, was fun. I didn't want to be in a gang, or have anything to do with them, other than to buy drugs to sell and use. Since I wasn't serious, and I had failed several tests, I was put out of the "sales" business shortly thereafter. I was a liability as I could possibly "talk" to the wrong people. We lost the apartment soon after, and I was back on the streets. (Note: During this time there was also a rumor that I had been poisoned with Strychnine because of my ďfailingĒ the tests. Iím not sure what it was, but it resulted in facial reconstructive surgery. Something that instantly changed my life forever. That will be covered that in another story).
On the streets I slept wherever I could. Sometimes it was literally out in the open, sometimes I would stay up all night in a 24 hour fast food restaurant. One day, while at a friend's parent's house (They were actually the middlemen I had cut out), I was offered a car for trade by someone involved with the Hell's Angels. It was a Lincoln Mark IV. It didn't run due to electrical problems. I traded a cheap stereo for the car, which, seemed a little odd to me. I didn't care though, it was a car, and, something to live out of. Later I would come to find out that the car used to be owned by the person running California's meth trade. He had been busted and was now in prison. Apparently there was a large amount of meth hidden in the car, and as it was "hot," his people wanted to get rid of it all the while, being able to know where it was at all times. They wanted the drugs that were hidden inside.
After a few months of living out of the Lincoln behind a Safeway grocery store, I was approached by a Hell's Angel (Tim aka TR (name abbreviated for privacy)) who wanted to trade another car for the one I had gotten from them. I agreed, and we towed the car to TR's property on the outskirts of town.
Once at TR's home, I was told I could live in the chicken coop on the property in the back. It had been converted to a work shop, but it was still a chicken coop with no insulation, bare wood sides and a wooden floor. It was definitely a step up from sleeping in a broken down car behind Safeway though.
Living out the coop was a bit tough. I remember cleaning myself with water from a hose located outside. I would wash my hair and bath the best I could with it. It was tough in the winter as the water was extremely cold. I also used the hose to wash what few clothes I had. I got a job at a fast food restaurant so I could eat and make some money. It was about an eight mile round trip to the restaurant, and I walked as I had no running car yet (TR was fixing the Chevelle for the trade). I remember my feet bleeding as I walked to and from work. I would usually end up limping because of the sores that developed on my feet from uncleanliness (My socks were half clean and very stiff - the result of having no soap and only cold water to clean them with.)
TR's parents were the leaders of the Sonoma County chapter of the Hell's Angels. He shot up meth, and was a very unpredictable fellow. He would frequently have violent tantrums and throw objects because of his addiction. TR had been in another gang in San Francisco, and he had been shot and stabbed multiple times. There were numerous scars on his chest from gang fights. By his account, he was a "fixer." When Hell's Angels messed up, they were sent to him to become "educated" on gang ways. I didn't know that I was a Hell's Angel, and don't think I was ever actually initiated, and I had no desire to be. I was just trying to live. It was because of my dealing that they were involved, and they thought that I could inadvertently "rat" someone out. Thus I ended up at TR's, the "fixer's" place. He told me of another person who was sent to him who had shot a cop. Apparently the person was criminally insane.
I was introduced to many people involved in the trade at this time, not because I wanted to be, but because TR shot up the drug, and had to purchase a very clean version of it. This meant going to some pretty heavy people, and pretty shady ones at that. They definitely weren't my type of people. I was a shy kid, and I had been raised in a Christian home, and had gone to my uncle's private school almost all of my life. And here I was dealing with criminals, and serious gang members and drug dealers. All I knew is that I wanted to get out as fast as I could. I was beginning to worry that I might actually get killed because.. I didn't exactly cooperate with them. I remember lying awake at night in the chicken coop, wondering if someone was going to come in and shoot me. There were no locks on the doors, and a lot of people knew about the place. Years later my dad would tell me that he, "prepared himself emotionally" for my death. He believed it was just a matter of time. Those thoughts went through my head also, for many years.
I was told by TR that I was being trained to be a "gangster." He told me about drug transportation techniques, and diversions to keep the cops off of their trail, and that I may have to fight to protect gang property, or confront rival gangs, and that I needed to be "prepped." I didn't want any of it. I wanted out. I didn't want to get shot or killed for people I had no respect for. They were criminals and they liked it, I wasn't. I had goals for my life. I had just got sucked into a world I had no place being because of an addiction that started at when I was 16.
One particular time, I was told by TR that some "people" were coming over, and that they probably had weapons. They were coming to take back something very valuable that had been stolen from them. TR took an old pellet rifle, and added parts to it to make it look like an an automatic weapon. He then had me practice what to do before the other people arrived. I was supposed to lie in the trunk of an old Monte Carlo that was on one side of the property, and stick the barrel of the gun out as if I was covering him. One of the people coming over was apparently the guy who had shot the cop and done prison time. TR told me that, I had a choice, stick around and be backup, or leave with his girlfriend before they got there. I seriously didn't want to get shot for something I had nothing to do with, and I was more than a little worried. I told him I would leave with his girlfriend... which is what I did. Apparently the "people" came over, and some sort of deal was reached. I have no idea what actually happened, and I didn't care. All I knew is I didn't want to be there. TR would later say, "you'll never be a gangster if you chicken the fuck out all the time." I was perfectly content with letting him be a "gangster." No love lost between us. He was a complete loser to me. As were all of his friends and gang buddies. Later I would let him know exactly how I felt. Something that didn't go over too well.
Another time, a black limousine pulled up to the house. TR told me to wait in the back while he did "business." When he came back, he said that the people who pulled up were members of the "Mafia." They had fully automatic M16's in the trunk of the car, and wanted to know if he needed any. He went on to say that, once you're a respected gang member, many people trust you, and that you can get just about anything (apparently even from the Mafia). He then went into some stories about being shot and stabbed while in a gang in San Francisco. It just confirmed to me all the more how much I wanted away from these people. I didn't belong in their world.. at all.
When the Chevelle I was getting in trade for the Lincoln was just about done, something strange happened. TR had told me that I was going to be a gangster no matter what. I really had no choice. Over the period of time that I had stayed there, my anger towards these people was growing exponentially. They basically controlled everything I did, and I couldn't say anything to anyone because I had been warned against it many many times. To me, there was no way out.
A few nights prior to this, I was lying in the chicken coop, trying to sleep. My mind was racing. I was trying to think of a way to get out, but everything I had tried failed, and I was beginning to lose hope. I believe I almost snapped that night. Mentally, I almost went somewhere else, and it wasn't a good place. I think I would have been broken completely, mentally speaking. I was on a razor's edge, and I think if I would have gone there, I wouldn't have been able to come back. I would have snapped, and become.. most likely insane. I'm not sure what it was, but I was on the very brink, I was one second away from losing all hope, and hope was what had kept me going through all of the time living in cars, on the streets, and dealing with these people. While I lay there, my mind racing trying to figure out what I could do, something very strange happened. There was.. like a flash that went through my mind. Like a flash of lightning, but, it was a thought. The thought was of a goal that I had made when I was 15... to run for president, and that I would make it out, and I would accomplish my goal, and that there was hope. I just needed to keep fighting. It seared into my head. In that one second, hope rushed back in, and I KNEW I would make it. I had no doubt in my mind. That one thought gave me the strength to push on, to fight, and to get away from these people. That thought and the resultant hope would change everything.
A few days later, after TR told me that I would be a gangster "no matter what," I flew off the handle. I went into a vicious tirade against him, and all of his criminal friends. I told him that they were white trash scum who would never amount to anything. I told him I came from a better family than he could ever hope for, and that he was in fact a meaningless piece of shit that meant nothing to the world, and that I was so much more than him or any of his friends, that I had no use knowing them. I told him I didn't want to be a gangster, criminal loser. Because that's what they were.. losers to me. I had never said anything like what I said to TR that day. I was too afraid. Afraid of what might happen. But it was the truth, and, he wasn't very happy about it.
The next night, TR was gone and didn't return. He called the house the next day. He was in jail. He didn't say for what. He told me that I needed to take the Chevelle and leave the property. He told me one last thing that needed to be done so the car would run, so I did it and, and it started up. I started gathering my things so I could leave the next day.
That night, a Sheriff's car drove by and spotlighted the chicken coop. I have no idea why. The car went up and down the street a few times, each time putting the spotlight where I was staying. Come to find out, there had been a shooting at another house the previous night. Apparently a long haired, white male had done it. Both TR and I had long hair. It's possible we could be mistaken for each other in the dark. Some of TR's friends stopped by later. I was worried. I thought maybe, maybe they are here to do me. I watched every move of theirs. I believe I had the old pellet rifle by my side, waiting for someone to do something. I thought that that was it. I was going to be shot because of what I said, and that I wanted out. Fortunately, nothing happened, and TR's gang friends left.
The next day, a car pulled up to the property with two individuals in it. One was a Filipino man, the other a white guy in his 20's. The white guy got out and asked me if TR was there. At first I said no, then I backtracked and said I didn't know of anyone named "TR." I thought that this might be some kind of test from the gang, like the ones prior. He got back into the car, and the Filipino guy asked me over to the drivers side. He said someone had shot into his house the other night, and that they had long hair like I did. I told him I didn't know anything about it and that I had been in the coop all night. The Filipino had a small paper bag in his lap. He said there was a gun in the bag. I said "really? Cool, let's see." He then pulled out a 9mm Luger. He said if he found out it was me, he was going to come back and kill me. I kept my cool and said "OK, but I have a fully automatic M16 in the back with a laser spotting scope." Both their eyes got really wide. It was a classic moment. I wasn't about to take any more crap, I was almost out. Later I figured that I was being setup because of what I had told TR the other night. I'll never know, but, I didn't care. I became a bad ass in that second. Threaten me, and I'll psych you out. I was smarter than they were, and better than them. I was getting out, and fuck all these people.
The Filipino threatened me again, and then they drove off. I went back to getting what little items I had, checked the chicken coop one last time, then drove off in my Chevelle. It would be my home for some time, but I was getting away from the people I hated and who were trying to control me. I quit using meth that year. I never looked back. I was ready to start a new chapter, without scum bags involved. That was life when I was 19.
Drugs & Addiction... Some People Die
As many who know me are aware, I have had the pleasure of running for several political offices including governor of California, and U.S. Congress. I have been elected to chair political parties, and have consulted on presidential campaigns. Things werenít always so rosy though. When I was 16 I became addicted to methamphetamine. I almost bled to death on my dadís front porch not long after. The meth ate through a blood vessel, and there I was, bleeding out, too scared to call for help. It could have ended in tragedy, but fortunately for me my stepbrother called for help after I had been bleeding out for two hours. Fortunately, I was able to get out of this lifestyle while I was still young, others though, have not been so lucky.
Several years ago I found one of my good friends (Tim) dead from a prescription drug overdose. Tim came from a good family. His parents owned a medical laboratory in California which he was in line to take over. He would have been set for life. He had had a privileged life, he was young, and he had everything going for him... except for his addiction to numerous drugs. I tried my best to help him overcome them, and we had some major successes. But in the end, his addiction would prove too powerful.
I found Tim half naked, sprawled half on, half off his bed. He was bloated, his body having a sickish, greenish-white color. It was strange seeing this normally exuberant, outgoing human being suddenly lifeless. I took a long look at his lifeless body wondering how it was possible. I knew his body had given out, but on a deeper level, I knew it was that his soul had become tired of the fight. When a soul loses hope, there is nothing keeping it here on earth, in its body. I was the last person to see Tim alive, and the first to see him dead. Not a pretty sight. Of course, there are tragic incidents that we can learn from. Look at all of the celebrities who have overdosed and died as a result of drug use.
Hereís a partial list of actors who have died from overdose: Actors who have Overdosed
And hereís an extensive list of famous people who have died from drug abuse: Famous people overdose
Drugs like meth and heroin arenít cool. Well, if you donít want to live long I mean. Take it from me, and those who died, itís really not that cool. Drugs damage your mind, and your body. You will live a longer, and healthier life without them. If you have a problem, you need to get help. There are plenty of organizations out there that help people deal with drug addiction. Hereís one for starters: Partnership for a Drug Free America