Todd E “Copout # 4″

Todd E “Copout # 4″

Springfield,Virginia Straight

March 15,1985 to February 13,1987

How I got court Ordered
I was on 3rd phase and had already “copped-out” 3 times. My host bro was from N.J. and had already copped out3 times too. There were some reservations among the authorities(upper phasers and staff) concerning whether or not 2 kids who shared a cop-out record should be host bros’ but we pulled it off by independently stating in group that we each felt that we could relate to the other because we had both had tough programs or whatever, it was just B.S. to get us into a position where we could talk to each other. This wasn’t somethin’ that we planned, but somethin’ that evolved naturally out of necessity.

One night as my host bro and I passed the newcomers off on my other host bro, who was from PA(springfield was a huge program, there were kids from ever’where), we went to get away…we went into my brothers’ bedroom, my real brother, not a cult brother, my real blood brother. He was 3 years younger than me but still had a real nice record collection under his stereo. My host bro sat on the opposite wall from me as we listened to one Neil Young record and then a Pink Floyd or Grateful Dead record and we began to talk. I don’t remember who crossed the line first, but suddenly we were talkin’ about “druggie” stashes and how we were still in love with our “druggie” girlfriends. Neither acknowledged the others’ transgressions but speakin’ for myself I took much comfort in my host-bros words. It was a test to make sure it was what we thought it was. We were both full of shit, as they say, and now we both knew it! After a few minutes of talkin’ about all kinds o’ things that we shouldn’t have been talkin’ about ever’t’in got too intense, I mean I became paranoid and nervous…we dropped the conversation, sorta just acted like it hadn’t even happened and went back to just goin’ along with things for a while, for another week or so anyway…

My host-bro and I had both taken employment at the same landscaping company, “Green Thumb Enterprises”. One mornin’ as I woke up and realized I could not go into group one more day, I put my blue jeans on under my Green Thumb uniform. I felt real awkward and paranoid and was sure someone, maybe my dad would notice the jeans under my uniform pants. But no-one did. Somehow, I got away with droppin’ my newcomers off at the buildin’ ‘n’ ever’t’in without anyone noticin’ or reportin’ me. My host-bro and I were dropped off for work…

Once at work, in the shop that is…I tried to get some distance from my host-bro, but he was perceptive and followed me, knew I was up to somethin’. I sat down on some steps in the shop, which led up to a storage area above the garage. He asked me $tr8 up: “Whats’ with the blue jeans under the uniform ??”(once on the run I didn’t want to be easily identified in a Green Thumb uniform) I tol’ ‘im $tr8 up I was splittin’ He responded to me: “I’m gonna split too, but I was gonna wait for a paycheck”(That would have been a smart move, but I was completely full of shit and majorly paranoid and just couldn’t hold out any longer) I said:
“I can’t wait, I’m takin’ off right now!” He decided to split with me…

So it was a dark spring night and as my host-bro and I approached the shop/garage I questioned my course but truly felt I was righteous, even unto stealth. I mean that at that point I was not so much concerned with upholdin’ the law as I was with escaping from $tr8. It had been my host-bro all along with the grand and elaborate vision of our escape and not me. I would have been content to just run as far as I could by my own feet, well and see my sweet druggie girlfriend too…but as it was, my host-bro had swiped the key to the shop on the day we split and now as we approached the shop in the dark night I had no idea what he was thinkin’…

Well, anyway…we got into the place no problem. While I looked around in the darkness, Host-bro snagged the keys to one of the work-trucks. He jumped in behind the wheel and started it up while I threw up the garage door and then closed it behind the truck after he pulled out. I had never driven, let alone stole a truck…

I was all for it though…stealin…steali-in’, stealin’ back. to my same ol’…used ta B.

We took off outta there in that “Green Thumb” work truck headed for my host-bros hometown of Mannasquan, N.J. Host-bro drivin’ Before we got too far though we stopped by my “druggie girlfriends”(not Mindy; Sharyn) I wanted to pick up the leather jacket which I had stolen from some unattended vehicle the last time I copped out. I had left it with her. It was one of those real cool buckskin jackets with all the fringes, ya know. When I met her though, she had my jacket, and wanted to run with me. I tol’ her “No”, knowin’ she didn’t understand how crazy and difficult our situation was, but she insisted on comin’ with, and considerin’ how lonely and forsaken I’d been I agreed that she could come. In the meantime my host-bro had been waitin’ in front of her parents’ house with the engine runnin’. She brought the jacket and we ran around to the front of her parents’ house and jumped into the truck. I introduced her to host-bro as he sped away with us safely inside the truck, she was in the middle…

As we drove outta Mantua that night, around 11:30pm someone from “Green Thumb”, some loyal employee I take it, saw us as we sat at a red light just at the edge of Mantua. He pulled up right behind us in his jeep. I recognized him. It was obvious we were stealin’ the truck. The company logo was right on the side. He tried to signal us to pull over. Yeah right. I could see him talkin’ on his C.B. We pulled outta there and headed into D.C. on Little River Turnpike and 495. The cat from work followed behind us all the way down interstate 395 to the 14th st. bridge over the Potomac. At the last second my host-bro negotiated a brilliant manouever and decisively cut across a lane or 2 of heavy traffic for the exit ramp on the left(??, yeah I think the ramp was on the left), We barely made it without wreckin’ I remember lookin’ back and seein’ the cat from work, who’d been followin’ us sail by…there was nothin’ he could do. We came down that exit ramp on 2 wheels we were movin’ so fast and suddenly found ourselves runnin’ redlights and tryin’ to act cool on the streets of D.C.

I thought for sure we would be pulled over by D.C. metro cops any minute. It was late at night. We were drivin around the mostly deserted streets of D.C. in an easily identifible stolen work truck with the name of the company clearly visible on both sides of the truck. Our adreneline was so high at that point we were just runnin’ red lights and drivin’ all crazy ‘n’ such…We knew we had to get out of that area though, and we did. Somehow, we found our way back to the interstate and were once again on our way to Mannasquan…Along the way we had to stop and beg and panhandle for spare change so we could buy gas and pay tolls ‘n’ such. It was a desperate night… Somtime the next mornin’ we ran outta gas in Mannasquan and just left the truck where it was(as it turned out we had left the stolen vehicle on the local sherriffs’ property) We walked away from the truck, the weather turned cold and the rain fell. We looked for shelter. We were all wet and hungry and tired. Sharyn began to lose her cool. Host-bro wanted me to ditch her but I tol’ him we couldn’t do that. She was complainin’ ’bout just about ever’t’in it seemed(I tol’ her not to come, but she insisted). For 2 days we slept in cold unlocked cars. One mornin’ we startled some woman who jumped into her car and found us 3 delinquent run-aways asleep in her backseat. We jumped out and ran. One afternoon Sharyn and I were so cold and miserable that we tried to sleep for a while in a cardboard box inside an ol’ barn. I thought the cardboard would help to keep us warm, but it didn’t help much and we were unable to get any rest. I don’t think we’d had anything to eat for a day or 2 either. Sharyn became more and more distraught. Eventually she decided she couldn’t take any more and tol’ us she wanted to turn herself in at the cop-shop. Well by then neither Host-bro nor I could hardly stand the sound of her voice anymore. We dropped her off at the cop-shop as per her request…bringin’ her along had been a big mistake. I don’t know then if it was later that same day or whether it might have been the next day or what, but Host-bro and I had finally made contact with his “druggie girlfriend” and we went to her house to meet her and hole up for a while. We were up in her attic bedroom for about an hour when there was a hard knock at the front door. Yeah, you know the sound of that knock. Someone looked out the window and said: “It’s the cops!!”

I ran down the front stairs as fast as I could. As I came down the stairs I could see the top of the cops’ hat through the front door window. I was in a strange and unfamilliar house, was sort of runnin blind to where I thought the back door would be, but when I found the back door there was a cop standin’ there too. I was cut off. I ran into the back bedroom and was considerin tryin’ to climb up, over a tall dresser and out through a tiny window. The cop at the back door saw me through the screen door and just came in and caught me in the back bedroom. I was trapped. I was Handcuffed and put in the back of the police car. Host-bro came out next, cuffed too, and was put into the backseat with me… As we were taken away in that police car I caught a momentary glimpse, over the sea wall, of the Atlantic ocean…

We were put into seperate holding cells. I remember the hard cold clang of that cell door closin’ on me…

Later that day we were transferred to Freehold Youth Detention Center, which is right near Asbury Park, N.J.(I have “Greetings From Asbury Park” on vinyl, great record, pro’ly Springsteens’ best) On the way the cops warned us to stick together, keep each others’ back, etc. When we got to the Freehold Detention Center we were each put in seperate cells, by ourselves. There were hardly any white kids in there besides me and my H.-bro. Most of the kids were black and Puerto Rican. I was there for a week or 10 days or so. It was a rough place but I managed to survive it without gettin into any fights or puttin’ my tail between my legs either. There are some crazy stories I could tell ya about my time in that joint but maybe I’ll save that for later, this story is long enough as it is.(See appedixes 1 and 2 for stories about Freehold Detention Center, Monmouth County N.J.) So after a while I was extradited back to VA to stand before a Fairfax County judge. The Fairfax cops who had come to pick me up were in plain clothes in an unmarked car. They put shackles around my ankles and cuffed my wrists. I had to wear a heavy, wide leather belt around my waist and a long chain ran from my ankle shackles to that belt. My hand-cuffs were also attached by a chain to the same belt. There were a lot of chains on me and of course i was in the prisoners uniform. It was a bit of a drive down the interstate back to Faifax. At one point the cops decided we had better pull into one of those interstate plazas to get something to eat, you know the kind with a Roy Rogers and and a coffee shop with vending machines and a gift shop ‘n’ all. The state and federal flags were flyin’ high in the wind. The cops parked the car and got out. Then they got me out. I had to walk into that place all chained up. Ever’one was lookin’ at me kinda sideways. I couldn’t walk very fast because the shackle chain was only about 12 inches long. It was an agonizing walk into the Roy Rogers. I felt righteous in a way, because I knew I was bein’ persecuted by a corrupt system on the other hand I felt a strange kind of shame too. Mothers with young children looked at me in fear and hustled their children along before me. The cops took off my cuffs long enough for me to eat a hamburger ‘n’ fries and then escorted me back to the police car. We started down the interstate again. They suggested to me that I pro’ly knew a lot of drug dealers in Faifax and would I be interested in workin’ for them as a narc. I tol’ ‘em noway. The radio was on and I remember “Help” by the Beatles came on and it was the first time I really listened to the lyrics:

“Help!, I need somebody,
Help! not just anybody,
When I was younger, so much younger than today-ay I never needed anybodys’ help in any way,
But now those days are gone and I’m not so self-assurred…
Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the door
Help me if you can I’m feelin’ dow-own…”etc.,

Yeah I had alot to think about durin’ that ride, in my chains, in my police car cage…

Finally we arrived back in Fairfax and I was taken to Faifax detention which really was a Holiday Inn compared to Freehold, or $tr8.After about 3 weeks in there my court date came up. I was taken to the Fairfax County Courthose and placed in another holding cell with some other poor folks. My public defender came and tol’ me that I was lookin’ at 1-20 for Grand theft auto. I had heard all the horror stories about bein’ raped in jail while I was in group. One particular story I’ll never forget. This older cat stood up one time and talked about how he was gang-raped by 4 or 5 dudes. He was shakin’ so bad he could hardly even tell the story. I was pretty fuckin scared, I have to admit. Then my public defender came back again and tol’ me they would accept a plea if I copped to unauthorized use of a vehicle, which changes the category of my charges from a felony to a high misdemeanor. Well that was great news to me and I accepted the offer. I went in front of that Muther-Fuckin’ judge in hand-cuffs and he explained to me that I was being sentenenced to one year in jail, then he explained that he would suspend that sentence if I completed treatment at $tr8 Inc. Failure to complete the program would result in my incarceration. At the time I was actually grateful to be goin’ back to $tr8 instead of jail.Thanx for listenin’ to my story…I know it’s long, but I had to tell ya what happened to me.

Fuck $tr8. Fuck the law. Fuck authority.