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Memory of a Friend & Our Criminal Adventures

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by KeyFin, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    I just got news that someone I briefly grew up with was shot and killed the other day by his neighbor over a property argument. The strange thing is that this guy was such bad news back when I knew him, we figured he had been dead for decades now. I mean, he'd start bar fights for the fun of it...he was a drug addict and a habitual liar...he wouldn't think twice of robbing you blind...but he was also ALWAYS the life of the party as he worked some kind of crazy angle. I mean, the cons he dreamed up were spectacular...and I'm talking about conning everyone (hot girls at bars, bartenders, store clerks...you name it). He was an evil genius.

    This guy moved into my childhood neighborhood when I was 21....he was maybe 23ish? I was his next door neighbor and we basically hung out in the evenings and drank a few beers together. We also both loved shooting pool though so before long, we were hitting the bars where we could play for small-time stakes...that was basically his "job". The guy loved to hustle others more than anything in life. I have some amazing stories with this ******* that I'll definitely share if folks are interested- we got questioned/arrested A LOT due to his stupidity!

    Approximately three months later, he had stolen from me and almost everyone in the neighborhood, the neighbor (his aunt/uncle) kicked him out and he was off to rehab. And I got a letter from him maybe six months later, saying that he was finishing up rehab and was truly sorry for all the crap he got me into. He said I was the only true friend he had ever had in life and it really bothered him that he blew it. I never wrote him back.

    A few days ago, his cousin posted on Facebook that a neighbor killed him- and it sounds like this guy completely turned his life around. He was a boat captain in Texas and had a wife and three kids, living a completely normal life and doing things the right way. And I just don't know how to feel about that...why the hell didn't I write the guy back and forgive him?

    Anyway, I just felt like I should tell a little of his story somewhere. Despite being very bad news, I have some awesome memories with him because of the constant crap he got us into. I'll have to tell a couple of the stories here since they're almost unbelievable.
     
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  2. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    Always sad to hear those stories. It's not really your responsibility to forgive him, especially after you moved on. He damaged the relationship(s), not you. You certainly can't control that he got in trouble with a neighbor and was killed. It's a real shame considering he had a family, but there should be no guilt on your shoulders.

    I can empathize though. Growing up in MS, I had a lot of friends (most of them) were bad kids. Not violent, just bad, uneducated troublemakers. Most of them ended up in jail or dead. My best friend was a high school dropout, not stable, not very bright kid with alcoholic father (Joe Dirt would be a 100% accurate comparison). I literally was the only person keeping him out of trouble all the time. Eventually I went off to college and graduate school. He got married, had a kid. wife and kid died in a car accident. He went crazy, ended up locked up for his mental stability issues. Several years ago, he reached out to me. Saw his picture on facebook. 48 year old guy, still had the mullet, sitting on his muscle car, holding a shotgun. I said Hi, but blocked him. didn't want the guy in my life. Heard he's gone downhill again. Also felt guilty, feel like I should still be helping him, but knew I barely have time to take care of my special needs kids, let alone help him again.
     
  3. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, it's really tough with people like that...it's like they just can't figure out how to move onto the next phase of their life. I thought for sure my "friend" was in jail or dead but it's great he turned it all around.
     
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  4. Aqua4Ever04

    Aqua4Ever04 Write Travis Write Club Member

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    I wouldn't dwell on it too much. You took action that you saw fit, and an unforeseen result has you feeling guilty. It's natural, and I understand, but I just wouldn't beat yourself up over it.

    As for the stories, color me interested. Sounds like a regular Saul Goodman.
     
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  5. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Where did you grow up?

    I think we've all had that guy, not quite a real friend, but more of a "good time buddy" or acquaintance that we moved on from. I've cut off several since high school, college, and the military. Just didn't need them pulling me down or involving in me in their drama.

    Edit - I've felt the need to do this with extended family members before as well. I learned as a kid that "friends and family" will take advantage of you more quickly and with less conscience than some strangers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  6. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in Davie, Florida (the far west side of Ft. Lauderdale back then).

    One of my favorite stories. It's my best friend's 21st birthday- his name was Ken. The bad-news fella had been in our neighborhood for maybe a week at that time, that's Chris. Chris was staying in the house between my home and Ken's home. And every day he'd sort of just show up asking what we're doing and if we want to grab a few beers.

    So on Ken's birthday (July 20th to give perspective, I'll date each of these stories), we planned on hitting all the bars in downtown Ft. Lauderdale- Baha Beach Club, Croccos and all the little ones up and down the intercoastal. He was the last our our little neighborhood group to turn 21 so we were doing it up right. I was the designated driver for the night (which meant I had one beer about every 3rd bar) and we crammed six of us into Ken's brand new Chevy Beretta.

    Well, right away...Chris starts with, "Can I drive?" Now remember, we don't even know this guy...he just showed up and we already know he seems shady. But he's also a party animal that attracts hordes of girls, which was the only reason he was with us in the first place. Chris was 1st class entertainment 24/7. Anyway, Ken says "hell no you can't drive" and we were on our way.

    Fast forward about three hours later and we're in this little dive bar off of Sunrise Blvd down by the intercoastal- somebody insisted that we go there for whatever reason. Ken is ****faced drunk, tells the bartender it's his 21st birthday and the guy says, "That's awesome, I'm buying you a Boilermaker!" So Ken starts chugging this huge beer and next thing you know, he's tumbling to the bathroom. He didn't make it....and it was ugly.

    To this day I've never had a Boilermaker....I'm still scared of them.

    So Ken pukes his guts out for what seemed like 30 minutes, and then he comes out of the bathroom halfway sober and starts pounding beers again. He was a serious trooper that night. And that's about the time Chris saw his opportunity...."Hey Ken, can I drive your new car?" And Ken's like, "Suuuurrrreeee buddy, you can drive us if you want to." Now, I know Chris has put away a lot of alcohol so I'm saying hell no, and all of us are arguing back and forth about it. Finally I got tired of fighting with drunks though and I handed over the keys.

    Now remember, I'm 21 and about a month old...and I should have known better even though I was still young and dumb. Peer pressure is a *****.

    We hop in the car and Chris says he knows the perfect bar to hit next....and then he floors the Baretta out of the parking lot and never lets up. We zip through a few side streets, make a left on Cypress Creek Road, and then he turns for the north-bound ramp on I-95 (I THINK this is right, it's the exit where Crown Sterling Suites is on the left- it could be Commercial, Coconut Creek...it's been too long and I can't remember the order of the roads off I-95 for sure). And he's not letting up....35 MPH, 45, 55...and then he starts hitting those little yellow reflector poles on the side of the ramp. I was in the backseat and all I can hear is ping, ping, ping as these things break apart. They looked similar to this and we broke at least 6 of them in a row as Chris tried to keep the car on the ramp-

    [​IMG]

    I don't know if you guys know the area, but those on-ramps go up a good 40-50 feet in a fairly tight circle. And the gap in-between the ramp and the highway slants right back downward. Chris finally loses it completely and we start spinning side over side with the car still going about 40 MPH forward. We're talking the ultimate roller coaster here and the worst part was, right at that moment Ken started to puke again and leaned out the window some. Like Sy Robertson says, "Hes gone..." Ken literally flew away like a superhero while we're doing mid-air somersaults.

    Now, my first thought was, "He's definitely dead....nobody can live through that." And our chances of survival didn't look too good either.

    After an eternity (probably 3 or 4 seconds....it felt like hours) the car comes to a stop on all 4 wheels. Chris is bleeding pretty good from his forehead but somehow we're all relatively okay. And we start looking for Ken...he's nowhere to be found. So I jump out of the car and I'm looking everywhere screaming his name....Ken! Ken!....but he's nowhere on the embankment or the top of the roadway. I'm looking for blood, body parts, anything....and then I spot him staggering way ahead of us on the embankment heading up the on-ramp. He must have flown 30-40 yards minimum and then rolled at least that far all over again (he doesn't remember the impact at all).

    So I start to take off running towards Ken but Chris grabs me- he says, "Hey, you have to tell the cops you were driving because I don't have a license." I punched him square in the nose and knocked him out cold. When I turn around though, Ken's gone! I have no idea where he went but I'm seeing little trails of blood heading up the embankment and I'm really freaking out. So I run all the way through the on-ramp and onto the main street, then into the first hotel (Crown Sterling Suites), then the 2nd and 3rd hotel, and I keep frantically asking the clerks, "Did a bloody guy just run in here?" They all looked at me like I was crazy.

    About that time I heard a siren and saw a cop pulling into Crown Sterling Suites, so I turned around and eventually found Ken. He was still standing but he was bleeding all over the place from ripping his skin on his head, right arm and right leg....there wasn't a whole heck of a lot of skin left anywhere...his face was a freaking mess. Somehow it was all minor stuff though- nothing broken by some miracle. And he tells me that he called his dad, who's a Miami detective with lots of connections in Broward, because he heard Chris ask me to say I was driving and he knew I was a nice enough guy to do it. So really, Ken saved my *** that night because it would have changed everything for me (DUI, reckless driving, etc).

    Long story short, Ken's dad shows up, lectures all of us for a little while and then all the police officers drive away- they reported it as a dog ran out into the road and "the driver" had to suddenly swerve...but the police never tried to identify the driver (and I would have told them...we all wanted Chris to go to jail at that point). The car was totaled though and it was an extremely long ride home with Ken's parents- I thought the dad was going to kick Chris's *** all over again. But somehow we all survived and Ken has the ultimate 21st b-day story to tell.

    Ken was hurting like mad the next day though- LMAO. He had a full body scab for almost three weeks and could barely move at all. It wasn't funny when it happened but the next day when we knew he wasn't dying.....it was freaking hilarious.

    Mind you, this was probably tied for the 3rd dumbest thing Chris did while living in our neighborhood for 3 months. Some of the incidents were a heck of a lot worse...and he destroyed much nicer cars in the process. I'll tell a few more Chris stories over the rest of the season.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  7. Ohio Fanatic

    Ohio Fanatic 30 years and counting Club Member

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    pretty similar region, I spent my formative years in Gautier, MS. Town that is in between Pascagoula and Biloxi, MS. Don't miss that place at all.
     
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  8. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Yep familiar with it. You were in Forest Gump land. ;-)
     
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  9. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    For the next week or so, none of us really see Chris and that doesn't bother us at all- we think maybe he got kicked out of his Aunt/Uncle's house. But I got home from work one night in early August and there's Chris drinking beer with my dad in our living room.

    Chris pulls me aside and apologizes, says that he's never had a license before and would normally never even think of driving someone's car, but he was having so much fun with us that night that he just wanted to take us to a cool bar he had found a few years back. Now, this doesn't jibe with the fact he started asking to drive when we were still at Ken's house 100% sober and throughout the night, but I was never one to carry grudges and I was too young/dumb to see the warning flags. We drank a couple of beers that night and everything was pretty much forgotten. And then we fell right back into the routine- I'd come home from work and he'd be there with a twelve pack drinking with my dad and I until late in the night.

    I think I'd better point out here that I'm not an alcoholic- I haven't had a beer this year. But my dad has always had 2-3 beers after work every night and Chris sort of pulled me into this routine. And besides, it wasn't like I was going out around town and reaping havoc...we'd just sit around the house, shoot pool, play spades or watch TV...it was always harmless fun.

    So I return home from work a few days later and Chris doesn't have any beer with him. He says, "Hey, let's go shoot some pool at a bar I know where we can make a little money- I'll pay for everything." Now, I knew Chris didn't have a job but I went with it anyway...we ended up in a strip club in downtown Ft. Lauderdale that nobody has ever heard of before. The girls....I was looking hard because I was 21 but even in my mind, there wasn't a whole lot to look at. Beers were cheap though and as promised, there were two pool tables in there where people played for a beer a game. And the guys in there were drunk as skunks...we never had to pay for a single sip that night. I was a pretty good pool player but Chris was a straight out hustler...he could run the table at almost anytime but he knew how to keep his opponents in the game. And before long, he'd say, "Why don't we shoot this one for $5 a game?" And then he let the suckers go double or nothing...and again...and again.

    He even had a couple of the skanky women in there helping him hustle...they'd rub on the other guy's shoulders and encourage them to make the bet. It was pretty hilarious to watch because anyone sober would have clearly seen what was going on, but these drunks were just too easy prey. I think Chris made almost $70 that night plus he paid for everything as promised....and we had a really good time.

    Chris taught me another thing that night as well- my "beer vision" was 3 1/2 beers. After one beer I was still a little nervous, two beers and I was shooting pretty good in money games. But at 3 1/2, I could see all the angles and drop anything on the table without even thinking about it. That started declining though once I hit my 4th beer so Chris taught me to get to my 3 1/2, and then start sipping slowly for the rest of the night to stay right in that zone.

    So this became the new routine, Chris would show up around 9PM when I got home from work and we'd hit some **** hole of a bar. And don't get me wrong, we were having a ton of fun, until Chris crossed paths with another hustler. This guy almost instantly got under Chris's skin and completely threw him off his game, to the point where I was actually carrying us in the few doubles games we won. But Chris got stupid and kept raising the stakes- I later learned that Chris never once had the cash to back up the bets he made. Eventually that night he was down $120, plus had a $70 bar tab from buying pitchers for our area.

    Next thing I know, Chris is asking for my dad's pool cue...which is what I always shot with when we were out around town. He's trying to sell it as a Fat's Domino's stick for $300, and he actually has a few people interested because he's such a freaking good con man. But I guess the guys we were playing were wise to what he was doing and demanded their money- again, these guys were hustling us. And then Chris does the unthinkable....he walks up to the biggest, baddest looking guy in the bar and head butts him in the nose. I mean, out of nowhere....for no reason.

    The next thing I know, Chris has four big men beating the crap out of him and he's screaming for me to help. So I rush over there, drag the biggest guy off him, and say that we don't want any trouble (heh, too late for that). And naturally, the guy swings at me, catches me in the side with a solid hook, and I instantly see red. I start swinging with everything I had and I'm a pretty big/solid guy myself back then in awesome shape, so I'm definitely not winning 4 on 2 but I'm keeping these guys from destroying Chris on the ground at least.

    It's amazing as well- when you get in those types of situations, the adrenaline kicks in and I was completely sober. I didn't know how to really fight but I felt like Mike Tyson in there...I was dodging punches and cracking heads on counter shots with ease. I don't think anyone landed a solid punch on me after the first one, or at least I didn't feel it.

    About five minutes later, we're sitting in the parking lot in handcuffs and the cops are interviewing everyone in the bar. Just like in football, nobody ever sees the first cheap shot so everybody is saying that these huge guys jumped Chris out of nowhere....and that I ran in to protect him. After a quick trip to the police station in the back of a squad car, they let us go without filing any charges against us. The four big guys, however, were spending the night in jail.

    The cops drive us back to the bar, drop us off, and Chris starts telling me how his plan worked perfectly...he got out of the bar tab, the gambling debt and everything. He was actually proud of this like it was some kind of accomplishment; he hustled the bar patrons, the cops and everyone. And all he had to do was take a beating for about 30 seconds until I could jump in and save his ***.

    So I start to crank up the car to head home and Chris tells me to wait....he's digging through my glove compartment looking for a pen. So I'm thinking, maybe he's going to leave a note on a car or something like that. Nope. He grabs a pen, hops out of the car and starts stabbing every tire in the parking lot. Chris had the motion down beautifully as well- this is something he's practiced. And I'm screaming at the guy, what the hell are you doing? But he's in his own world and laughing hysterically, like he's delivering the final con to all the patrons who just saved his *** from going to jail.

    This was the second time I punched him square in the nose and knocked his *** out cold. And like a chump, I drug him back to my car and drove him home. I'm almost wondering now if that was a part of the con.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2018
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  10. ToddPhin

    ToddPhin RIP Phinsational Luxury Box Club Member

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    a "good time buddy", eh?

    [​IMG]




    ......annnd with extended family members too?
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. cuchulainn

    cuchulainn Táin Bó Cúailnge Club Member

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    Case in point. Todd is that guy.
     
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  12. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    About a week later (so this was around August 20th, about a month after Ken's birthday and five weeks after Chris showed up in the neighborhood), I get home from work and Chris is sitting in my living room drinking beers with my dad. It instantly pisses me off because I hadn't talked to him since the night he got us hauled off to jail, and he has the audacity to just show up like there's nothing wrong. I was pretty quick to forgive back then though...which is not always a positive quality.

    About an hour later, Chris and I are sitting in a gazebo on my back porch finishing up a six pack- and all he can say is how sorry he is for being stupid, starting a fight, promising to pay the bar tab when he had zero money, etc. And in the back of my mind I'm telling myself not to believe him, to just cut ties and walk, but he almost had some desperation to him since I was literally his only friend in life (and we weren't even close to being actual friends if that tells you anything). So I'm slowly coming around to maybe giving him another chance.

    The next thing I know, we see a brand new Gold Cadillac cruising past my house at like 10 MPH, and we instantly know that something isn't right. I mean, this is middle class suburbia with around 30 homes on acre lots around big lakes in the country- not the type of scene where you see people scoping out neighborhoods. So we jog out towards the street corner and it's one of the other neighborhood teens- he took his mom's brand new Caddy and plans on going for a joyride. This kid is 15, maybe 16 tops and I know he doesn't have a license....so I'm saying no, no, no, no....take the car home kid before something bad happens. And just as I started walking away, Chris says, "I'll go with you....hey, can I drive?"

    I'm like **** it....I'll go even though I'm 100% against this and it's a horrible idea. But the ONLY reason I was going was to protect the younger kid from Chris. I'll warn you now that this is a bad story; very very bad. Seriously- people die as a result of this night and many lives get ruined. So if you don't want to hear about some serious crap, stop reading.

    So this kid cruises down to Ft. Lauderdale beach feeling like a big shot in the new Caddy, and I can see eyes along the entire strip turning towards us. Not regular people hanging out, mind you, but the parts of society that most of us don't see- the pimps, the crack heads and the prostitutes. They are everywhere in plain sight yet most people don't even see them because they don't want to....they don't want to accept that the world can really be that screwed up or corrupted. And that night, they're all looking at us.

    We eventually park in the lot across the street from the Elbow Room and decide to walk the strip a little bit, hopefully to flirt with some girls that we saw a few minutes earlier. And as we're walking, a homeless dude that was sitting right behind that little 3-foot wall that separates the sidewalk with the beach says, "Hey Gold Cadillac, you got a light?" And without missing a beat, Chris says, "It depends, what are you smoking?" The guy says, "You don't want to know...just give me a light," but Chris lightly argues with him, saying he wants a hit and we'll be on our way. So this old black fella pulls up a bent up soda can and passes it to Chris, who takes a deep drag and instantly drifts off to la-la land. It's crack cocaine.

    At this point, I'm telling the kid, "Come on...we're leaving Chris here and going home. We're leaving NOW." And as I look around, all the wrong eyes are on us...thugs, crackheads and worse. But the kid says, "Not until I get my hit." And I'm thinking OMG, this can't be happening...he's like 15 and way too stupid. I'm looking around for a cop, a security guard, anything to get us out of there but there's nobody around. Now, to Chris's defense, he did say to the kid...no, you don't want to mess with this stuff...you have no idea how powerful it is. And the crack head was saying the same thing.

    But at the same time, Chris and the old man were already coming off their instant high and their bodies were screaming for more. The kid argued a little more and eventually they gave him a hit. And just like that, it was over...that kid was a serious addict. I hate myself for not physically picking his *** up and carrying him back to the car, for not calling his parents...for not doing something.

    Next thing I know, we're back in the Cadillac with the old man heading to drop him off, which I somehow know deep down is a lie. Also, I'm now the driver because there's no way I'm letting the kid or anyone else behind the wheel and the three of them are whispering in the back seat, plotting like little fiends. We're going to buy crack, in the worst of neighborhoods, in a brand new Gold freaking Cadillac. They give the old guy like $20-30, he starts towards a little house, and Chris jumps out of the car to go with him. The black guys says, "No! They'll kill a white boy in this neighborhood after dark! Get in the car!" But Chris the hustler wouldn't have anything to do with it. He heads inside and a minute later, he comes running out the door with a few big guys right on his heels. What I didn't realize is that folks came from other nearby houses as well and we were surrounded.

    By the grace of God, a cop car pulled down the street and everyone ran- which was good and bad news. I took off too fast, got pulled over, and briefly told the cop that we got lost and the group surrounded us. He searches the car while we sit on the curb, eyes on us everywhere, and eventually lets us go since we didn't have anything and we did nothing wrong (that he knew about- AKA, smoking crack in a stolen Cadillac). The cop gives me directions to get back to the main drag and tells me not to stop...not even for stop signs. He makes it very clear that we almost got ourselves killed.

    So we're headed out but all Chris/the kid could talk about was their $30 in crack that the old guy owes them. Again, I didn't realize it at the time but they were both already hardcore addicts off of one hit. And wouldn't you know it, the crack head coms jogging up to the car a few blocks away and jumps in...he must be the most honest druggie in the history of Florida. And now they're smoking crack in the back seat of the brand new Caddy. Next thing you know, the kid says, "How much crack do you think we could get for this car?" And they start having a serious discussion about it before I completely go off. By that point I was ready to kick all three of their asses out of the car and drive it home alone...I just couldn't believe how quickly their entire lives changed right before my eyes.

    So we get back on the main drag and head towards the beach again. But now I'm pissed off and threatening bodily harm- I'm not playing this game any more. Getting nervous of me, the old guy finally says, "Just drop me off around the block here at a friend's house (another crack house)" and wouldn't you know it...we see some of the same thugs with guns drawn. It was a setup. I floored it before the crackhead was even fully out of the car and two bullets flew our way.

    I have no idea how close we were to being shot and I don't want to know. I might have ran over the crack head with the back tires...I don't know and I don't care. I wasn't dying that night for idiots and brand new gold Cadillacs are pretty darn fast cars- I didn't slow down for miles in case they followed us (they didn't).

    Long story short, I finally got the two idiots home in one piece and thought the long night was finally over. That kid, however, was an all-state high school tailback with the Irish and a few other Div-1 colleges already recruiting him hard as a sophomore. He was kicked off his high school football team less than a month later for poor attitude, bad work ethic, always being late, etc...which was a direct result of his new-found habit. He actually started pimping out girls he was dating for money and eventually built out a small prostitution ring in his high school to support the sudden drug habit....this made national news at the time.

    And his main girlfriend at the time (who WAS NOT involved with the prostitution stuff), you would know her name...that's all I can say. She died about a year later from a rare heart condition that suddenly emerged...but those closest to the story know better; she was messing with the same stuff the kid was hooked on. I obviously can't say the name in a public forum because I'd get sued in a heartbeat by the family. Plus, my heart just breaks for them.

    Feel free to PM me for a link though- I haven't decided if I'd share it privately or not yet.

    I've never told this story to anyone before- I've always been too ashamed. I still don't regret going that night because I probably saved the kid's life multiple times, but I'll never forgive myself for being that stupid on so many levels. Two lives and two entire families were destroyed from the choices that night and neither of them seemed to phase Chris. How ironic is that? It's just not fair.

    I have two or three more stories to share and thankfully they're nowhere near as dark...I had to tell you the others to tell this one though. I'll try to do one per week right up to the Super Bowl.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  13. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    By the way, these stories are 100% true...no fiction or creative writing involved here. That last story has bothered me for years and I could use some feedback- was it my fault? I tired stopping things at every turn but I never put my foot down either...I kept caving to peer pressure. It still bothers me 23 years later.
     
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  14. Rocky Raccoon

    Rocky Raccoon Greasepaint Ghost Staff Member Club Member

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    You can't blame yourself, Key. First of all, this whole thing only started because the kid took his parent's car without permission. Secondly, if anyone deserves blame, it's Chris for being the dickwad he was. I mean, you tried hard to lead the kid away and he wouldn't listen to you. Nothing else you could have done and if you had not been there, things would have ended up worse than they did that night.

    I have found these stories entertaining. It sucks that everything turned out the way they did later on, but it's certainly not your fault.
     
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  15. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Okay, fun story time. I didn't talk to Chris for a few weeks after the crackhead beach trip for whatever reason- he just stopped showing up to have a nightly beer or two with my dad while I was at work. He stopped by one Saturday morning though in mid-September asking if I'd drive him down to the Ft. Lauderdale flea market to buy some of those martial arts throwing daggers. Everyone in that area knows if you want to get cool ninja toys, the flea market off Sunrise was the place to go. I was hesitant but Chris also told me that if I would drive him, he'd buy me a pair of nunchucks since I was pretty good with them and my newest set had disappeared (AKA, Chris probably stole them and lost them). And even though I didn't want to hang out with him anymore, I had a problem back then telling people no...so off we went.

    I don't remember much about the flea market other than Chris buying a small arsenal of weapons- we ended up getting throwing stars, the nunchucks and all kinds of toys for practically nothing thanks to his bargaining skills and his flirting with the Asian gal running the booth. It was the ride home that really sticks out- we stopped for gas at a local Shell station and while I was pumping gas, Chris is staring at this massive box sitting just outside the front door. It's filled with Team USA mini soccer balls and Chris can't seem to take his eyes off of them...it was obvious that he was plotting something epic that would probably get us arrested.

    By the way, by this point in our relationship I've been out drinking/shooting pool with Chris on dozens of occasions and it seemed like we ended up in the back of a cop car 1 in every 4 outings. Like clockwork, he'd get drunk and start a bar fight with the biggest/meanest guy in the bar- I think we had been questioned 5 or 6 times by then and hauled off to jail twice. There were never any charges though until this night....we'll get to that in a minute.

    As I walked into the store to pay for my gas, Chris comes jogging in behind me and asks the attendant, "What are those soccer balls for?" The clerk replies that they're free with a fill up and Chris is already pointing out that I definitely filled up- I couldn't understand why he wanted a little red, white and blue USA soccer ball so bad. As we're walking out the door though, Chris says, "By the way, is it okay if I take more than one?" The clerk replied sure, take as many as you want....and that's when Chris grabbed my keys. He quickly pops my trunk, grabs this huge six-foot box and dumps every last ball into the car. There had to be 100-150 of them.

    On the ride home, Chris is talking excitedly saying that he's taking me out for the time of my life that night- and that I needed to wear my best possible clothes. Not church clothes, mind you, but young preppy clothes that made it seem like we had some money. I was always a jeans and t-shirt guy so I didn't have much like he was describing, but Chris literally went through my entire closet and dressed me. I don't know if you guys remember those Cavaricci pants or not (they're baggy like MC Hammer's parachute pants but made like dress slacks), but I ended up in my nicest pair of them, a button-down white dress shirt and every piece of jewelry I owned.

    We ended up at Baja Beach Club around 9PM that night and Chris asked me to stay in the car while he talked with the manager. He comes back about ten minutes later and tells me to pull my car up in front of the club right by the front door, and all these bouncers come walking out grabbing the soccer balls from the trunk. I figured that Chris had negotiated some type of trade for bar tab scenario but he went several steps further- he told the club that we were USA Soccer players promoting the upcoming Olympics and we were there to sign autographs. I was their star goalie Tony Meola.

    Well, right away I'm protesting this idea because my mind is screaming- this is about a billion miles outside my comfort zone. But before I can even react the club manager is parking my car for me and we're being escorted into the VIP entrance with the DJ announcing our arrival. And then the club starts screaming, "Whoooo Yaaayyyy!" USA soccer is there with freebies....what's not to like in a party club full of drunks?

    I wasn't comfortable with lying and I definitely didn't know how to sign my name as Tony Meola, but I do have to say that it was probably one of the best nights of my life. I was a big guy in great shape with an athlete's body, but I was also average looking in the face and super shy around hot girls...I definitely wasn't getting laid much back then. But that night the hot girls were everywhere and they were all hitting on us hardcore- I could have hooked up with fifty different women that night. The bartenders also kept sending us drinks and the party was all around us (literally), with Chris as the true life of the party. They set us up our own little VIP area with a bouncer watching over us and letting in people we approved...it was absolutely insane. Plus they kept bringing us food, champagne, party favors, etc without even asking.

    I'm telling you- Chris outshined the craziness of the Baja Beach Club atmosphere...he had the entire club chanting USA USA after every song and it was absolutely incredible. We were celebrity superstars in our prime. Mini soccer balls were airborne the entire night and I have to admit, it was BY FAR the best 2-3 hours of my entire life. They treated us like royalty and I can honestly say that I know how the elite few actually feel.

    Unfortunately though, this is a Chris story so it's somehow destined to end badly. I still don't know why- I guess it's just karma and the universe paying him back. From out of nowhere, Chris grabs me by the arm and says we have to go to the car immediately to talk (which usually means we're about to go to jail). So we head outside with the crowd still chanting for us, jump in my beat up '84 Camry, and Chris tells me to drive to the other side of the lot. And as I'm driving, he's talking a mile a minute...he met these six chicks with a yacht docked off the coast who want us to spend the night with them. They were heading to the Bahamas overnight and wanted us to tag along- they offered to pay for everything since we were poor soccer players. And they made it clear that they all wanted to screw Team USA until our peckers fell off.

    Smoking hot rich gal orgy...weekend trip to the Bahamas on a luxury yacht...does life get any better? Yet somehow, I was scared ****less thinking about all the things that would probably go wrong.

    So we get out of the car feeling like we had just won the lottery and started walking back to the club. Then the unthinkable happens...here come police rushing at us in riot gear. None of this makes a bit of sense- a swat team for fake athletes? They have shotguns aimed at our heads and they're screaming for us to get on the ground, and one of the cops grabs me by the back of my neck and slams me face first into the concrete. I hit the pavement just in time to see Chris slammed as well but he's fighting back, so they lit him up with pepper spray something fierce. I'm four feet away and my eyes are burning like mad from the mist. Chris is screaming in complete agony...and he's still trying to get up and fight.

    That was Chris though- get him drunk and he's swinging at the biggest/baddest guy around. This time it just happened to be a cop with a big plastic riot shield, a taser, a baton and enough gas to choke out a field of horses. Back then the tasers were handheld...they didn't shoot out the little probes...and I watched them zap his *** over and over again. This may be the only time I ever felt truly bad for the guy- he was too worked up though to submit.



    Next think I know, we're thrown against a wall with over 50 gangsters- all who are wearing a white tee, blue jean shorts and a blue bandana. Most are Spanish and these guys are laughing and having a good old time, even though they're in handcuffs. It turns out that there was a big fight at Crocco's across the street, the gang unit came in to break it up and an officer got stabbed....and we just happened to walk right into the middle of it as the gang members were scurrying away.

    By the way, Chris asked me to move my car so the hotties wouldn't see were were in an '84 Camry. His plan was to just say, "Let's take your car," but that didn't work with ours in the VIP spot with Ferraris and Corvettes all around it. I'm telling you, the guy thinks of everything- evil genius.

    We sat on that wall for four hours in flex cuffs (plastic zip tie handcuffs) while the cops processed us one by one, asking for our street name, our gang and taking photos of all tattoos. Of course, I didn't have any of that and I was carefully trying my case- most of the officers just told me to shut up as they pointed the spray at me. And the gangsters loved it....they were all making fun of us saying that they weren't in a gang either. None of this was a big deal to them at all, just a typical Saturday night.

    But Chris couldn't shut hs freaking mouth- he kept telling the cops that he knew his rights and he'd have them all fired. So what happened? They pulled him out in front of the crowd and sprayed his *** again to make an example of him. The Latinos hated us because we were white but even some of them were starting to take Chris's side a little bit- mostly they just laughed though and egged him on.

    I finally had a Sergeant pay some attention to me though and he helped us "skip the line" for processing. They still gave me crap when I said that I wasn't in a gang, but once they asked me where I lived and where I worked, they quickly realized that I probably wasn't involved in Latin gangbanging (I had a full time job and was in community college as well). To this day, Chris and I probably still have an unofficial gang card in the Ft. Lauderdale police department- my "street name" is Team USA. Chris's is Lawsuit. They let us go around 3:30 AM....Baha Beach Club closed at 2 though so our dream night was long gone.

    It was still by far one of the best nights of my life, flex cuffs and all. And yeah, this one wasn't exactly on Chris...we were just in the wrong place at the absolute wrong time. It bothered me for awhile though because there were so many amazingly hot girls that we passed on- it was the one night of my life where I was the most desirable guy in the room...and it was a really freaking big room too. But it's probably better that we didn't get the dream weekend based on Chris's lies, there's no telling what might have happened in the Bahamas or at sea. Damn though, I can't help but dream about it anyway from time to time.

    My parents went off on the police department something fierce in the days ahead and threatened to sue, but the cops swore up and down that I wasn't arrested and there's no "gang card" on me. Why'd they create one right in front of me with all my info, pictures of me naked, etc? We actually had to strip down to our underwear right there in the parking lot for them to photograph us, so there's obviously a gang card. I don't fault the police for a minute though because I know it's hard fighting gangs...it just took me awhile to get over what the detention cost me.

    Bahamas yacht sex with millionaire hotties? I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't still hurt a little bit...
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  16. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what just now dawned on me this very second? I was thinking that most of you would feel that this one is too unbelievable- what if it freaking is? What if there were no hotties to take us to the Bahamas? What if it was just some random hot girls and Chris was making it up for some other scam? Now I'm sort of pissed off all over again- it's like he suddenly stole my favorite life fantasy.

    Screw it though...on this one thing, I'm choosing to believe Chris 100%. It almost happened, darn it.

    You guys may wonder why I'm telling these stories. It's honestly therapeutic- I can't tell you if Chris was a close friend ever or the biggest piece of garbage I had ever crossed paths with. I mean, he was a bad dude and definitely not someone to be trusted, but he's also the guy who "brought me out of my shell" and made me see the world a different way. I wouldn't know anything about hustling, drugs, bar fights or any of that stuff without him...and I don't know if I would have taken chances later in life without all that. Hell, he taught me how to relax and talk/act around women...which changed my life completely in my mid-20's.

    This is kind of my way to process all of that while telling you guys some insane stories at the same time. I keep catching myself reading these over and over again, editing away to get the details just right. And I'm going through all the emotions all over again....which I think I actually want to do in his honor or something. Don't ask me- it doesn't make sense on my side either.

    So even though I'm making Chris out to be the scum of the Earth, know that he did have a lot of awesome qualities. He tried his best to be a real friend to me and I think he was struggling with our relationship just as much as I was. I'd like to think that I made him a better person down the road and he made me a bit more street smart and adventurous...so we both ended up winning.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  17. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    It's a snow day here in South Carolina so I figured I'd work in the final Chris story this week- this is by far my favorite of all of them. Spoiler alert- we don't get arrested, shot at or anything in this one! It was a very magical night with zero problems or headaches.

    We're now at Halloween and Chris tells me that it's his favorite time of year because all the bars have costume contests- he promises that we can literally build up a free bar tab for the next year if we play it right. And he says that he found the ultimate costumes at a theater shop in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. As usual, I was skeptical but I went along with him for the ride.

    So we get there and he immediately points out a Peter Pan costume with the green vest and the pointy hat, and I'm thinking, "Okay, but that definitely won't fit me. It's a skinny person's size so that's definitely for Chris." Remember, I'm built like a prototypical NFL Fullback- 5' 11" and 230 pounds of solid muscle. The clerk brings me to the back of the store and points out this set of six foot wide glittering sequin wings along with a skin tight pink sequin top, a short short purple mini skirt, a long blonde wig and some pink fishnet leggings. The plan was for me to be Tinkerbell.

    And this isn't generic stuff either- this is stage worn costumes that looked super expensive. This 'Tink was the real deal if I had the balls to pull it off- Chris's costume was awesome as well and very authentic.

    Instantly I was saying hell no- not in a million years! Yet somehow, Chris convinced me to at least try the costume on. And I'll admit, even though I was the worst Tinkerbell in the history of the world, it was freaking hysterical. People who saw me in the costume shop stopped and stared, but they were also laughing and having fun with it.....everyone insisted that I should be Tinkerbell because I was rocking the heck out of it (for all the wrong reasons).

    So we went home and I was still on the fence about actually wearing it in public, and I said, "You know what? I'm going trick or treating in my neighborhood. Let's see what happens." Every neighbor who opened the door got this look on their face of complete shock and for like 10 seconds, they couldn't even say anything. That complete fear and awkward nervousness that I expected to have...it was actually the exact opposite in that everyone around me would freak out instead. I COMPLETELY understand why there's drag queens in the world because it's such an empowering feeling- just be you and enjoy the reactions.

    So about 8:30 that night, Chris and I headed out.....he had a route planned so we could hit the maximum number of costume contests. I completed my ensemble with a fairy wand that I taped a little jar of glitter to on the back side, and every place we went I'd basically have to get re-dressed in the parking lot because the wings were as wide as the car. But it was so freaking worth it- I won a 1st place at the first bar for $250, and first place at bar #2 for $100 and Chris took 3rd place on that one. Then we came in 1st/2nd at bar #'s 3, 4, 5 and 6....we're up over fifteen hundred bucks on the night and it's not even midnight yet.

    Here's something you wouldn't expect though- I didn't have a single guy hit on me all night long. But the girls? OMFG!! They were buying me drinks, running their hands up my miniskirt...it was freaking insane! I hooked up twice that night- two different women at two different bars, and I probably lost a half dozen phone numbers of girls I definitely would have called. In costume, I didn't have to be me....the smart kid who follows the rules and always tries to be a do-gooder. I completely came out of my shell and just rolled with it all, and it was probably the freest I've ever felt in life just being truly myself...the person that only close friends saw.

    So I'm getting drunk, dancing around, waving fairy dust at every hot girl I see, and the whole bar is cheering me on. It was freaking unreal. After that night, I was never scared to talk to hot girls again- I'd just be myself and let my personality shine. If I got rejected...the heck with that girl, I'm probably too good for her anyway. And when I acted that way, the hot girl who just blew me off is suddenly interested again...it was the craziest thing in the world at first. It took a Tinkerbell costume and a ton of humility to get me there though and believe that I was an awesome dude that was an awesome catch. And guess what- that confidence made me 10x more attractive to the females.

    For that I'll always be thankful to Chris- I might not be married today if it wasn't for that one night on the town.

    Our main goal was two big clubs at midnight and 2 AM- each of them were paying $1,000 for first place and $750 for 2nd. Chris didn't tell me the names of these clubs though- he just said to head for Ft. Lauderdale beach, and I didn't even know what The Copa was when we arrived (it's a world famous gay bar, in case you don't know). It didn't take but about 15 seconds though to figure it out- I had hundreds of eyes on me from the second we walked into the bar. And immediately, I was freaking out on the inside....what the heck was Chris thinking???

    We walked towards the bar and before we even got there, four different guys offered to buy me a beer. I stopped in my tracks and turned around for the door- I was in homophobic overload and couldn't even begin to process it. Then a very big dude puts his hand on my back and I swear I jumped ten feet in the air- Michael Jordan didn't have anything on me in that particular moment. And the guy says to me, "Come here much?" I couldn't even find words- I wanted to sprint out the door but my legs wouldn't move. The room exploded into laughter.

    The big guy looks me in the eyes and says something like, "You're obviously not gay and nobody's going to hit on you- just relax and have a good time. I'll buy you a beer." And just like that, everything changed. I took a few breaths, did the contest and won by a country mile from the crowd applause. Guys were buying me drinks all night as well- not because they wanted to hook up, but because I was being brave way outside my comfort zone. They respected me for it....and gave me hell at the same time.

    Oh, and one other thing- there are a TON of hot women in gay bars! They go there so they can party with guys and not get hit on, but then they get drunk and horny and start looking for someone to flirt with them. I probably had more girls approach me there than anywhere else the entire night.

    All told, Chris and I won just under $3000 that night in bar tabs- and it's probably the happiest I've ever been in a single evening. I'm telling you, everyone should be a drag queen for a night because it will change your life!

    This is the last epic Chris story since everything went downhill the next day. He met an incredible girl that night and absolutely fell in love with her. But at the same time, he couldn't get past the drug use and he became desperate for money. A few days later, I went to one of the bars where I won a tab and they said that Chris had already cashed in....he went to every single bar and convinced them to pay him cash instead of the free alcohol. I have no idea how much he banked, but he blew through it all and had a complete meltdown about two weeks later when the girlfriend found out he was using.

    Meanwhile, the girlfriend called me asking if she had left some things in my car- it turns out he stole several things from her. Then things started disappearing in the neighborhood at night and I noticed all my video games had disappeared, plus my new nunchucks and several other things. Chris showed up one night crying his eyes out, admitted everything and begged me to help him win his girlfriend back. This was the first time in years he faced a situation that he couldn't con his way out of- lying wasn't going to do it because his feelings were real. He had no idea what to do and it was destroying him inside.

    But it was too late, he had crossed too many lines, and all I could do was call his grandparents. I told them everything and they forced him into rehab the next day...it was the only way I could truly help.

    As I said at the start of this thread, Chris did send me a long apology letter from rehab and I never replied. I thought about it for a long time and decided to call his grandparents about a year later- they told me he moved away and seemed to have his life halfway on track. Chris's biggest con he'd use in bars was saying he was a boat captain just in town for the night, and it turns out that's what he was actually trying to do- he got a job on a fishing boat and worked his way up the ladder for years. I lost contact with the grandparents shortly after that and I never heard anything else about him.

    Chris's cousin Bobby contacted me a few weeks ago though and told me Chris had been killed this past December. He got into a fight with his neighbor over some kind of property line dispute and the guy shot him in the chest, killing him instantly. Chris did achieve his dreams of being a boat captain though and he evidently had a nice little business down south. He was building his own house in Louisiana and Chris also had a wife and several kids that he adored. So it sounds like the guy somehow beat the odds and everything turned out just fine- only to be murdered after decades of being an upstanding member of society.

    There's got to be a hidden message there somewhere but I'll be darned if I know what it is. I will say this though- live your life, my friends. Make each day count and never stop chasing your dreams. Don't be scared of ANYTHING...life is too damn short to hesitate. And most important, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF no matter what! Chris taught me all of that in his own way.


    [​IMG]
    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/Christopher-Saunders-obituary?pid=187482119&view=guestbook

    I've never been a "look what I did" type of person, but I'd like to think that my short three-month relationship with Chris helped him see what a great life people can have if they get their act together. I hope so anyway- he was an awesome guy underneath all the reckless stuff. So I'll end this little story with these words of wisdom- there is an awesome, productive person in everyone...even if it's impossible to see from the surface. Chris had to go through hell and back fighting his own personal demons but it sounds like he was eventually a heck of an upstanding guy. If he can beat the odds then anyone can- because I've never in my life met anyone more reckless. Yet he triumphed and that makes me smile.

    [​IMG]
    This was from his Facebook wall and represents Chris the best from when I knew him- he's the slick looking guy on the left. Notice he has his arm around the kid and his hand on the guy's shoulder- I think all Chris ever really needed was to feel like he belonged. I couldn't be happier to learn that he finally found that and made peace with the world.

    He was my friend and I'll always miss him- rest in peace buddy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  18. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Great read Key...Thanks for sharing.
     
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  19. eltos_lightfoot

    eltos_lightfoot Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Great stories! Thank you Key!
     
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  20. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for reading them and enjoying them guys- it was fun re-telling them and living it all over again.
     
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  21. Rocky Raccoon

    Rocky Raccoon Greasepaint Ghost Staff Member Club Member

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    Jersey
    Man that last one got to me, Key. Thanks so much for sharing.
     
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  22. KeyFin

    KeyFin Well-Known Member

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    No problem, I really enjoyed writing the stories and letting you guys into Chris's world. I'm sorry I didn't edit them from the start before I posted and there was so much raw emotion in there. It felt like a nice tribute to the guy though- telling everyone how wild/crazy he was and how it eventually (surprisingly) helped me in life.

    Even though nobody really reads the lounge area, hopefully some young folks will discover this thread years from now and steal a couple of nuggets of wisdom from it. That was really my only goal (besides entertaining all of us).

    Thanks again for reading everyone!
     
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