Todd E “Copout #2″

Todd E “Copout #2″

Todd E

Springfield,Virginia Straight

March 15,1985 to February 13,1987

How I Copped Out From 1st Phase
It was my 64th day in the VA program. I was 16 at the time. I had already been puttin’ in for T ‘n’ R for so long and only ever gettin’ talk, that I began to suspect that staff was way more aware of me than I realized, because, of course my sole motive for wanting to advance in the program was so I could split 1st chance I got. I felt that my continued failed attempts to earn T ‘n’ R would shortly provoke the groups’ suspicions that I was, uh, … you know… uh,… “full of shit”, or somethin’. I was under a lot of pressure. I felt that I had to split before I drew more heat. The host-home which i had been assigned to was only about 15 miles from my own home in Fairfax. That night then as the Host-dad pulled into the driveway of his home I knew my time had come. 64 days of captivity was more than enough for me. So as the butterflies churned my stomache I mentally prepared myself as best I could. I steeled my resolve to run as soon as the side door of that ol’ V.W. bus slid open. My oldcomer had me by the beltloop and by the back of my blue jeans(you know it wasn’t just the beltloop)as we prepared to go from the vehicle into the house. As soon as that door slid open, I mean the instant that there was enough room for me to get through the door, I flew. I mean I burst through that openin’ with everything I had. Like a fullback on 4th and goal, when his team is down by 6 and there is no time on the clock, only with more at stake and I wasn’t gettin’ paid. I never even tried to knock his hand off of my beltloop, as I figured that would be a difficult and cumbersome maneuver. Instead I put all of my hope in the element of surprise and in the swiftness of my action. I jumped out of that van and hit the ground runnin’ as hard as I ever ran in my life. My oldcomer was taken completely by surprise and immediately lost his hold of me. It was such a dark night and I was so completely unfamilliar with the terrain that I quickly lost track of the horizon and could only navigate for a little ways before I ran right down into the paved street, as if it had been a wall. I tore up my knees and elbows, all, pretty good in the fall. As I got to my feet and tried to see where I was, one of my oldcomers caught up to me. Standing in the street we began to exchange violent, roundhouse swings at one another. Our swings were so wild and confused that neither of us could hit the other. It was a desperate scene. In a few moments though I came to my senses and realized that he was not even comin’ close to hitting me and that if I continued to be distracted by him the other oldcomer would arrive to help him shortly, and I would be outnumbered. I decided to just take off runnin’ again. I ran down a very dark street. It was a dead end. I ran down the driveway of some middle class home and jumped over a 3 ‘n’ a half foot high chain link fence. In my hurry to elude my persuer I left even more flesh and blood on the top of that fence. I was runnin’ blind in the darkness. He was still chasin’ me. On the other side of the fence, I continued to run. I was runnin’ through the back yard when I suddenly realized that i was sinkin’ !! :scared: I had been runnin’ so fast and hard that I ran half way across a covered, in-ground swimmin’ pool before I even noticed. Half-way across the pool I had to start swimmin’. I was certain that at that point I had lost my advantage. The pool had slowed me down so much that I fully expected to be lookin’ up at my nemisis by the time I reached the other side. It was then that I heard a joyful sound. It was the sound of that oldcomer of mine makin’ the same mistake as me, and now he was splashin’ around in the drink as well. By the time he fell in, though, the pool cover was mostly submerged and he was unable to take advantage of the slight support that it had given me, to run across any of it 😆 !! (always retreat over rough terrain or in this case the lack there of). My hope was re-newed and I climbed up out of the pool and ran directly into the dark safety of the woods. About 100′ into the woods I leaned up tight against a big tree. I waited, drippin’ wet, and tried to be silent as my head pounded and my body bled and my lungs ached. After a while when it seemed that my old comer had given up the chase, I began to make my way through the woods. I came to some kind of a gravel yard or somethin.’ I laid down on a pile of gravel and rested for maybe 15 minutes and stared up at the sky until my poundin’ head ache was finally gone and I could breathe normally again. I came out of the woods, I found out later, just down the street from the host-home I had just flown from. I knew I had to find a phone fast so I could call my so-called “druggie girlfriend” and try to get a ride outta there as soon as possible. I knocked on the door of the first house I came to. Some nice ol’ folks answered the door and asked if I was o.k. It was obvious to them, I’m sure, that I wasn’t, that something had happened to me, because I was all wet and my clothes were all torn and bloody. I lied to them. I told them that I had been invited to a party by some people I had just met recently, but when I got to the party I found out that I had been set up, and the people who I thought were my new friends jumped me. I knew I couldn ‘t tell them the truth: that I had just escaped from str8. I just couldn’t take the risk that they might call the cops or whatever. I asked to use their phone, which they graciously consented to. I called Mindy(my so-called “druggie girlfriend”) and told her some cryptically encoded story, full of metaphors ‘n’ such, hopin’ not to arouse to much suspicion among the sweet ol’ couple, who were listenin’ intently to my phone conversation and at the same time hopin’ that Mindy would be smart enough to interpret what I was tellin’ her correctly. She had known about str8, and I figured that my sudden disappearance 64 days earlier may have clued her in as to what had happened to me and where I had been. At least that was my hope; that she would understand. I hung up the phone and sat down at the ol’ couples’ kitchen table. They were nice people and gave me cookies and soda to drink. After a few minutes I thanked them for their generous hospitality and told them I would wait outside for my ride. I was too paranoid to wait inside their home. I preferred to wait in the open space under the protection of darkness. I stepped off of their front porch and laid down in the bushes beside their house and watched the road for signs of Mindys’ car. After maybe 15 minutes she showed up. However my relief at the sight of her car was short-lived. I had asked her over the phone to come alone but as I ran to the car and opened up the passenger side door I saw Mindy in the passenger seat and her mom behind the wheel !! I had to play it cool. Mindys’ mother was suspicious. Mindy moved to the back seat in order to talk with me as her mom drove down the road. It was incredibly awkward tryin’ to talk to Mindy. After just 64 days in the program my vocabulary had been radically altered, the cadence in my speech had changed, my mannerisms were different. I remember I tried to use some “druggie slang”, which were words like “cool” or “rad” and the like, but they came out so forced and strange that Mindy just laughed at me. It was a very unnerving experience, even scary to be honest. I felt as if I had been the victim of some demented experiment in personality transplant or something. And hadn’t I been?! At that point Mindys’ mother began to question me, asking me things like where I had been and stuff like that. I don’t remember exactly what I told her, but I know it wasn’t the truth. I just made up some story or somethin’. She didn’t believe me. Mindys’ mom knew my parents and knew where I lived and insisted on takin’ me to my parents house. I had no choice but to continue to play it cool. As she approached my parents house I convinced her to drop me off 2 houses down, by insisting that my neighbors house was actually mine. I got out of the car and calmly walked to the side door of the garage and pretended to go in. Then I took off runnin’ hard and fast through the night again. For the next 2 days I stayed on the move, knowing that I would be hunted. Knowing that if I sat still that they would zero in on me, and take me back to that mind-rape-brainwash private prison for children. (Images of Pinnochio on that donkey island come to mind). I covered a lot of ground on foot and stayed out of public view as much as possible.

I was returned to the program 2 days later by 7-steppers and ex-staff who literally kidnapped me and threw me into their car from in front of a shoppin’ center across from Woodson high school.