Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I should have known it would all come to this.  While sitting on the worn out 7th Heaven futon recovering from a fight with Cosmic Charlie, I heard a car driving up the long and winding gravel driveway.  It was quite unusual for visitors to find their way to Cosmic Charlie's little cabin in the woods - even though it was smack dab in the middle of a major urban area.  In fact, the quaint little home was often times too tucked away for even the U.S Postal service to locate, which made it the perfect oasis for my boyfriend to live off the grid and tend to his flourishing grow house packed with pot plants.

Like all the other fights we had, I can not recall the topic that made Cosmic Charlie yell at me in his gravelish "Denis Leary" voice while I stared at him blankly as though I was watching someone having a seizure in a foreign language.  I didn't grow up around yelling, or around anyone who ever communicated their anger directly with words, so I always found Cosmic Charlie's passionate rants fascinating.  Even when his anger was directed towards me.  After he made is point, he took off on a run with his two dogs into the woods to "sweat it off."

All alone now, I sat back on the futon and stared at the three foot glass bong on the coffee table and began to appreciate what a permanent fixture it was.  Noticing how odd my coordinating Wedgwood china plates looked showcasing various strains of herb, I realized it was the perfect metaphor for my relationship with Charlie - Dead Head meets debutante.

One thing about being Cosmic Charlie's girlfriend was that one had to be ready for anything, at any time.  In one of my first phone conversations with Charlie, I kept hearing a very annoying clicking sound on the land line.  When I asked if he could hear it too, Charlie just said, "Oh, don't worry - it's just the Feds."  In person Charlie convinced me that as long as we didn't talk about his career in front of Ma Bell, that we would stay out of trouble.  We got to the point where the audio disturbance became something of a game for us.  After every click we would break from our conversation and say, "Hello" to whomever was listening, then have one-sided conversations (our side versus the Feds) about various topics relating to political current events.  I never once realized what a dangerous game we were playing.

As I sat alone in Cosmic Charlie's home enjoying the cool spring breeze through the open windows and screen door, the sound of tires slowly rolling over crushed rock approaching broke my meditation and pulled my attention outside.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! - I thought - A fucking police car!  This is it.  My life is over.  There is no possible way to hide the bong, the green, the cash, the embarrassing amount of porn, and the endless amounts of shit I was not even privy to because Charlie only told me what he thought I needed to know.  Now he was out running in the woods and as soon as he caught sight of the cop car and the inevitable helicopters flying overhead, he would continue running all the way to Mexico leaving me to rot in some women's prison like the one from "Angels In Chains" -  the most watched Charlie's Angels episode of all time.  A fucking chain-gang!  What a waste of time the years of college prep courses, piano lessons, voice instruction, French tutors, and volunteer humanitarianism had been.  It was all swirling down the drain with not so much as a martial-arts belt to aid me in my future daily priority of prison survival.

So I just froze and tried not to breath, hoping I could make myself invisible as I had unsuccessfully tried to do so many times as a child waiting for my inevitable humiliation and punishment from the surrounding self-appointed authority of the moment.  The approaching officer - all decked out in his crisp polyester paramilitary garb complete with hat, badge, and loaded holster, exuded the most threatening sense of power and authority I had ever encountered despite having been raised in the Catholic Church where nuns in full habit attire were about the scariest human forms ever known.

The tall, muscular officer calmly walked up the front porch stairs and stood staring at me through the screen door.  I figured the SWAT team surrounding the cabin, must have sent in the city cop first strictly for protocol purposes - something to do with due process of sorts.  My only other encounters with law enforcement had been for two speeding tickets and supplying the refreshment table during "Safety Day" in school.

"You must be Carrie," he said with a delightful smile on his face.  I was waiting for him to follow it up with my social security number which would shortly be replaced with my prison number like Jean Valjean from Les Miserables (known by his prison number, 24601).  Of course he knew my name, the piles of transcripts from my tapped phone conversations with Cosmic Charlie had my life story in print and I was a little creeped out thinking that he must also know I was having my period.

"I'm Bill...a friend of Cosmic Charlie," he continued as though we were old friends, "is he around?"

"Ummm...he just took the dogs for a run, do you want to come in?"  What the fuck was I saying?  Inviting the wolf into the hen house was so typical of me.

Just as I opened the door for Bill, Charlie came bolting up the driveway and onto the porch with an outstretched hand for the officer to shake while the other patted him on the back as if to say, "Hello old friend, what a delightful sight for sore eyes you are."  I was really confused.

I quickly found out that Officer Bill was a regular customer of Cosmic Charlie's and had just stopped by during his workday to score a bag.  The three of us sat down together and shared the peace pipe while I struggled to wrap my head around the events of the day.  So I guessed I wasn't going to prison after all - at least not yet. 

Two months later Cosmic Charlie and I attended Officer Bill's wedding where he vowed his love and fidelity to a born-again Christian beauty queen whose platform at the state pageant was entitled, "Meeting America's Challenge:  The War on Drugs."  I didn't even bother to ask my date what our gift to the happy couple was, as I knew it was something the bride would never see.  And like our gift to the couple, shortly thereafter my ties to Cosmic Charlie went up in smoke.

Partly due to the new understanding of possible consequences to my illegal lifestyle and partly due to a desire to live the life I always wanted, I decided to return to an albeit more dangerous emotional lifestyle two-thousand miles away at my parent's home.  At least I knew the long term results of living a life with my family only ended up with me checking myself into a psych ward instead of law enforcement checking me into a correctional facility.  Also all my years of schooling and lessons would be put to much better use during group music therapy than time spent in the yard.

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