May 21, 2018

The Good, the Bag and the Ugly

From Counterfeit Freedom by Roland F. Stoecker Jr (author's profile)



Good evening gentlemen and Ziessler.

The ugly part of my title has nothing to do with me standing up here behind this lectern. This speech has three distinct moment of my life that define the progression of a caring and compassionate young man into a man in prison who one day, decided it would be a good idea to tattoo his face with four tears to remind him of the pain he caused his children.

-The Good-

I was 17 years old and living with my Aunt Michele and Uncle Ben, who ran a home for mentally challenged men whose mental capabilities were around the ages of 8 through 10. (No, my Aunt and Uncle were not my caregivers.) These men couldn't take care of themselves beyond simple task like bathing and dressing themselves but they had jobs. This story is about a man named Fred who had Downs Syndrome.

One morning as he was making ham sandwiches for himself and the rest of the men who lived in the home, Fred decided to eat a piece of ham while he worked. Unfortunately, he tried to eat it like a seagull and swallowed the whole piece of meat un-chewed.

I was making a glass of tang and I looked over at Fred and his eyes are bugged out, tears are streaming down his face and his hands are clawing at his throat. I was stoned so, at first I was mesmerized at this spectacle, until I realized with horror that Fred was choking. I could tell by his bright red face that he had been for a long time.

I've watched a lot of television so, through the process of osmosis, I know what to do! I jumped into action by grabbing him from behind and started to do the Heimlich maneuver because I knew that this man could not afford to lose any more brain cells.

After a couple of tries, a huge, un-chewed slimy piece of meat explodes out of Fred's mouth and lands on the kitchen counter. My Aunt walks in a couple of seconds after my heroic deed of saving Fred's life. Fred gives me a hug and thanks me and tells my Aunt of my heroic actions.

Undaunted by his brush with death, Fred goes back to making his sandwiches and I am a hero in my Aunts eyes; until one day, she realizes that I had stolen all of her codeine pills she had been prescribed after she had given birth a couple of months prior.

-The Bad-

I was 20 years old when I went from being good-ish to bad. I had just moved to West Covina and I was in the beginning stages of becoming a true drug addict. One day, I was walking down an alley looking for other addicts to buy drugs from. I stumbled up a man in his forties lying unconscious and not breathing.

Now remember, I am a fallen hero, so after I stole his wallet, I proceeded to give this man mouth to mouth and chest compressions. He starts to breathe on his own and slowly becomes conscious. He members to me "what happened?" I explained to him that I found him unconscious and not breathing. He asked me to go get his brother at the liquor store.

I found his brother and explained the situation. No sooner had I finished talking before he took off running to find the man whose life I had just saved. I followed closely behind with my spidey senses tingling, somehow knowing that these guys would know where to score some drugs.

The brothers thanked me and were now asking me the question "Have you ever shot cocaine?" I said "no" and then they collected the hype kit from a tree nearby. When the needle tore a hole into my flesh and the liquid cocaine flooded into my blood stream, I smile as I turned into a broken and selfish creature who would eventually crave cocaine, heroin and speed. For the next six years I had a needle fetish that almost killed me three times.


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