Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Walk for Cigs

About ten years ago, I was a fairly heavy drug user and living in a medium-sized city with a very high crime rate in Alabama. I was staying with some fellow users in a run-down seedy apartment in the ghetto, next door to a halfway house.

I'm also not some great big guy; I'm 5'6 and weigh 145 now, and back when this happened I was probably barely breaking 100 lbs. Anyways, it was around 3 or 4 A.M one night when I ran out of cigarettes. There was a 24 hour convenience store a couple miles from where we were staying, and I didn't have a ride at the time so I figured I'd just walk. I had gotten maybe a little over a quarter of a mile from the apartment when I heard a car creeping up behind me. I kept walking, waiting for it to pass, but it kindof just idled slowly behind me. Now as I said earlier, I wasn't in a very good life situation at the time and had either dope or paraphernalia on me, so I was paranoid that any second I would see blue lights or hear a siren and I would be busted.

Finally my curiosity got the best of me and I glanced around and saw it wasn't a cop at all, but an older model Oldsmobile Cutlass. Alarms starting going off in my head and I found myself suddenly wishing it were a cop. I started walking faster and the car pulled up beside me. I looked over and saw the passenger side window was down and there were two cracked out looking white guys, probably in their late 30's/early 40's, just kinda watching me. I was just about to take off running through someone's yard when I looked over and saw a flash coming from the passenger's window. At first I thought I had gotten shot, but then it occurred to me that it was the flash from a camera.

Before I could process what had just happened, to my relief that car took off. My comfort was short-lived though; a little ways up the road I saw that the car had pulled into a parking lot and parked facing me. I stopped in my tracks, just looking at it and trying to decide what my next move should be, when I saw the car start to back out and head in my direction.

Across the road to my left there was a cemetery surrounded by wrought-iron fence which I first attempted to climb but I couldn't make it over the sharp points at the top, so I jumped back down and ran back across the road to an old abandoned field that used to be the local fairgrounds. I had turned a corner before I jumped the chain-link fence to get into the field, and fortunately the guys in the car didn't see which direction I went.

I hunkered down in some tall grass and laid flat on my stomach for what seemed like forever but was probably around half an hour, just watching the car creep up and down the road. Eventually I quit seeing the car so I assumed they had given up on me, so I got up and dusted myself off and called a friend to come pick me up. No way in hell was I going to risk running into them again. So my friend showed up and gave me a ride to the store, and on the way back, right past where the car first got behind me, I looked down this old driveway to an abandoned house and sure enough, there was the Oldsmobile, just ominously sitting there.

I never ran into those guys or saw that car again, but then again I never really walked around after dark in that neighborhood again. I've racked my brain trying to figure out what their intention was (and why take my picture) but I've never quite figured it out.

If they hadn't been so cracked-out looking I would've considered they were just concerned citizens looking out for the neighborhood, since I too was extremely cracked-out looking too, but they were way too menacing for that to be the case and if it was, why didn't they just call the cops? I'm also curious to see that photo, just as a reminder of how far down in the gutter I was at the time... but not curious enough to seek those guys out.

-BSmith

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