Peter Shannon

Saint Petersburg Florida Straight 1983-1984

It was late one night around 11:00pm after my mom had gone to bed. I sneaked out, took her car and then I secretly went out joyriding in her 1973 white Chevy Nova with 4 of my friends. This was the first time I had ever driven a car. At some point I stopped off at a local Mobile Gas Station and purchased some gas.

After I left that Mobile Gas Station and drove onto the road I instantly lost control of the car. My feet were frozen to the floor. All the car wheels were smoking and spinning uncontrollably. I didn`t know what the do. I was terrified. I was in a panic. I was freaking out. Everything was happening so fast. All hell broke loose and before I knew it I was fishtailing all over the road. Tire marks everywhere. This craziness happened at 38th Avenue and 66th Street. A four lane busy street. I was desperately trying to straighten out the car and regain control of it but I just couldn`t do it no matter how hard I tried. I thought we were all going to die. It wasn`t long till I was going 100 miles per hour. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the Police car. The Police were on to me pretty quick and chasing after me with lights flashing and siren blaring. My 4 friends were screaming at me to stop the car. I finally was able to stop the car by slamming on the brakes in the middle of the road almost hitting the Police car behind me and nearly causing a serious car accident. The tires locked up and were screeching. I went from flooring the car to slamming on the brakes.Smoke and gas fumes everywhere.I bolted out of the car and tried to run but I didn`t get far at all because both Police officers were on me like white on rice with both their guns drawn. I froze. They were furious. I was so nervous when I was talking with the cops. I constantly tried to explain to them what had happened but they didn`t believe me. I kept gesturing and motioning with my hands and they kept yelling at me to put both my hands back on the Police car. The Cops eventually called my mom. The first thing she said was, “You couldn`t have my son in custody because he`s in bed sleeping.” When she said this she honestly believed this was the truth. She soon found out otherwise. So the cops drove me home and released me to my mom. My mom was totally pissed off and screaming at me.

Because of the crazy events that transpired on that Florida night I ended up having to go to Traffic Court. My mom and my Uncle both went with me to Traffic Court. Before my case was called I nervously watched the other court cases going before the Judge. The Judge was making quick decisions and rendering fast verdicts. Some cases were dismissed and other people got sent to jail. In my case I was sent away to a holding cell for 30 minutes while the Judge spoke with my mom and my uncle. My uncle totally threw me under the bus by demonizing me and telling the Judge in great detail all about my long history of pot smoking and skipping school. My brainwashed Uncle passionately advocated to the Judge that I be sent to Straight. My Uncle had two kids who were both brainwashed 7 steppers and staff members.The Judge gave me 3 options. 6 months in “Marion Boys Prison,” Straight Incorporated and I don`t remember what the 3rd choice was. I knew next to nothing about Straight and I naively thought that once I got there I could easily bullshit my way through Straight so I ended up making the worst decision of my entire Life by choosing Straight. After I gave the Judge my disastrous decision he officially threw down the gauntlet by Court Ordering me to this place called Straight Incorporated in St. Petersburg,Florida. That prick couldn`t slam his gavel down fast enough. I didn`t know this at the time but it was as close as a person could come to be given a death sentence. So I went directly from “Traffic Court” to Straight Incorporated. The nightmarish day had started unpleasantly enough with Court and only continued to get worse as I spent most of the rest of the day in an intake room. From the frying pan into the Inferno.

I lied through my teeth about my drug use for my first 2 weeks at Straight by minimizing it and downplaying it as much as I possibly could. I claimed that I had tried pot only once and that was all I had ever done. After I had been there 2 weeks a staff member stood me up in a rap he was leading. He had with him this supermarket sized paper bag. He told me to look inside the bag. My heart sank. It was filled with all my bongs. My mom had found and rounded up all my bongs that I had secretly hidden away in various parts of my room. She gave all the bongs to staff. Staff showed my bongs to everyone in group. I was so busted. I was caught. They had me cornered. I was screwed. I couldn`t talk my way out of it. There was no getting out of that. It was on that day that Straight officially ” broke me” and then I outwardly conformed and went with the program. During those 2 miserable months on first phase I tried to hold onto my sanity by constantly daydreaming of copping out all the time. Plus I was certain my friends would bust me out of Straight and rescue me. In spite of this I had made 2nd phase in two months which was considered a record at that time. People just never made 2nd phase that quickly back when I was there.

It was on my second night of second phase when I made my decision to copout. It was around 10pm and not long after my mom had gone to bed. At that time I had no newcomers and no hostbrothers. I wasn`t alarmed in and I wasn`t locked in my bedroom like a lot of other 2nd phasers typically were in the average hosthomes. I was rummaging through my mom`s purse and I found $20.00 so I took that from my mom`s purse. I took a typewriter in the hopes that I could successfully pawn it later. I slipped right out the apartment front door. I also stole one of the bikes that was left unattended by one of the neighbors in the apartment building and then off I went into the night. I went over to a friend`s house. He was cool and he let me crash there for the night. We got stoned and went to bed.

The very next morning we got up early because my friend had to go to school that day at Dixie Holland High School. So I left his house that morning around 7:30am. I left that typewriter at his house because I planned on coming back later that night to crash at his house. I rode the stolen bike to some local gas station where I purchased some smokes and some chocolate milk. I left the bike at the gas station and went for a walk. I remember standing on this street corner. For the first time in two months I was enjoying my new freedom while standing on a street corner and smoking Marlboro 100`s. I was in Heaven. Then my World collapsed around me from all directions. What happened was this washed Straight dad happened to drive right by me with 4 Straight kids inside. He was taking them all to school. They all spotted me right away. Call it a crazy coincidence, call it terrible timing,call it whatever you want to call it. They must have parked a block away. Suddenly I saw them running at me. All 4 Straightlings were howling for my blood. Three guys and one girl. I knew right away they were all from Straight. I was floored and I was stunned beyond belief. I just couldn`t believe they saw me but they did. I took off running and they all ran after me. I ran like Hell throughout this Subdivision being chased by these brainwashed psychopaths from Straight Incorporated. They were yelling and screaming at me to stop. I jumped fences and so did they. They were hot on my trail no matter how fast I ran or where I ran to. There was two or three times when I ran through people`s houses in my desperate attempt to get away and elude capture. In my mind it was the only logical path to take at that moment in time. I had no idea who these people were who lived in these houses. The front doors to both homes were unlocked. I ran through the front door and out the back door and all of the four psycho Straightlings all did the same thing while running after me. We all could have been shot and killed at any time. It was exactly like the 1991 classic action movie “Point Break” when FBI Agent Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) is chasing after Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) on foot through that California neighborhood (and other areas) not long after Bodhi and his surfer crew of ex-Presidents had robbed that bank. I just kept running. Unfortunately I didn`t have the same luck that Patrick Swayze had in “Point Break” during that particular foot chase. In my case it just got to the point when I got so physically tired of running and worn out so I finally stopped. I was completely exhausted and “gasped out.” I didn`t fight or resist in any way. They caught up with me and angrily beltlooped me which was anything but comfortable and then they marched me back to the car where the Straight parent was waiting. During the beltlooping escort back to the car I just hung my head low. I knew where I was going. I was secretly pissed they had caught and captured me. They all treated me like I was less than human.

So they took me directly to the Straight building and once there I was immediately taken away to an intake room. I fessed up during my re-intake and told everyone that I had gotten stoned the night before but for some strange reason they didn`t believe me. The re-intake lasted a good part of that day. It was just an unpleasant as my original day one intake 2 months earlier. Actually it was far worse because 2 months earlier I didn`t know what to expect. This time I knew exactly what was going down. At some point some crazy oldcomer beltlooped me and took me into a bathroom where he yelled at screamed at me for a long time for copping out. I broke down and started crying.

I was taken into the main room for my infamous reintroduction to group. I knew it was coming and I had been dreading and fearing it all day long. I seen this freakshow happen to others before. I just hoped it would all end quickly even though I knew it wouldn`t turn out that way. Everything I had been expecting and fearing all day long came true. The group was all fired up to rip me to pieces and that`s exactly what they did. Anger and rage everywhere I looked. Everyone hated my guts. All the eyes in the room were staring holes through me. At least 6 to 8 people (maybe more) blasted me one right after the other. They couldn`t get enough of me. One of the most insane experiences of my Life. People yelling in my face nonstop. Nutcases screaming and hollering at me as loud as they possibly could. They were all like rabid dogs who had not been fed anything in a month. It seemed like it would never end. I was so oblivious and traumatized that I blocked out all the words they were saying. I could see their lips move and feel their spit flying out of their mouths and into my my face but I don`t think I head a word they were saying. Everyone in group was shocked that I had copped out. I wasn`t. To this very day I have never once regretted my decision to copout that night and I would do it all over again if I had the chance.

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