After my release from detention, I was required to undergo a battery of court mandated pre-trial psychological tests. The shrink wasn’t bad looking, for an older broad. I had a thing for the 4-eyed, buttoned-down, educated dames with a bit of experience under their garter belts. Her short skirts, and smoothly shaven legs, made our appointments all the more bearable.
Under her direction, I was required to interpret Rorschach ink blot patterns. My memories were probed for evidence of physical, sexual, or psychological childhood abuse. Various other pseudo-science trickeries were used to get inside of my head. The shrink conducted memory, linguistic, spatial, and hand-eye coordination tests with me. I had to put blocks of wood in their jig-saw home under time constraints. One entire day consisted of a intelligence quotient test. I was an obedient little sap looking for the final approval that she never gave. As far as she was concerned, I was just another lab rat in the maze. The cheese I wanted was dripping from her inner thigh, but I never got a taste.
A few days later she brought me and my mum in for a consultation. The shrink told her that she failed to detect any major psychological maladies, but something wasn’t right about her prior womb inhabitant. Although I was in a high intelligence bracket, I lacked certain basic human emotions. According to her diagnosis, I did not have empathy for my fellow man. I could not identify with the pain or suffering of another. I had always wanted to be a sociopath.
Eventually I was brought to trial. As shitty luck may have it, the prosecutor lived in my neighborhood, and was a victim of one of my earlier crime sprees. Suffice it to say, she wasn’t an unbiased objective officer of the juvenile judicial system. She adamantly recommended to the judge that I deserved a long-term stint at the youth correction facility. Luckily, I was a first offender, and the man in the black robe didn’t rubber stamp her vindictive request. I got 2 years of probation.
Every two weeks, mum had to bring me down to meet with my probation officer. He was the spitting image of Darrin (from the television show Bewitched), and always had a pack of Winstons sticking out of his shirt pocket. He would kick his cowboy boots up on his desk and listen to ma’s recitation of my recent misbehaviors. Darrin would give me a little “shape up or ship out” spiel and I would be on my way.
For the most part, I kept my shit together. Outside of my teenage rebellion blowouts, and the inter-familial melt downs, things were relatively calm. That is until I hooked up with John Barleycorn.
Given my predilection for mental imbalance, my raging hormonal state, and my criminal background, the booze was the last muthafuckin’ thing that I needed in my life. Thanks to my ancestral devotion to the sauce, I didn’t have much of a chance. Despite my folks best attempts to normalize me, and the dozens of shrink sit-down sessions, I was destined for heart-wrenching failure (from a parent’s perspective).
It all started with a few beers with mates. It soon progressed to drinking in solitude. Me in my dark room, chain smoking cigarettes, and listening to my Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys, and The Doors cds over and over. Me and my buddy (my drunken anti-social alter ego) were withdrawing from the world. I was always better off in my head (as muddled as it was) than in a group of self-congratulatory shit heels with skulls full of mush rambling on about their self-importance.
I needed a steady supply of booze. The grocery store I worked at was a good source for a while, but I couldn’t always depend on being nominated to empty the floor washer (which was used to transport the stolen cases of beer outside to an awaiting garbage can for later retrieval). Luckily, a new kid from the other side of town took up employment at the store. Mikey and I hit it off real quick, especially since we both had a strong affinity for the spirits.
Mikey knew a guy from the other side of the tracks. I can’t recall the cat’s name, but he was a good dude to know. Not only was he an intimidating ass-beater, who could had your back no matter what, but, more importantly, he had the sauce hookup. He introduced us to Peter Rabbit, a 70-year old African-American Army veteran who ran a shot house down from the police station. Peter Rabbit was nearly deaf and always answered the door with his .22 drawn. Since he suspected all White kids of being narcs, It usually took a few minutes before he would agree to let us in.
Peter bought all his juice tax free at the AAFES base exchange with his pension and social security checks. He had a bullet-proofed enclosure (like a ghetto convenience store) inside his living residence where he would dole out the 40s, half-pints, and bottles of wine. On the other side of the duplex he had a juke-joint barrel house setup with a pool table and music. The local crack heads and booze hounds would congregate there on Saturday nights.
Me and Peter Rabbit got to know each other pretty good. He even fixed me and a buddy catfish dinner following an afternoon of slamming beers and shooting billiards. Petey wasn’t doing my burgeoning condition any good though. I can’t blame him for trying to make a buck – fixed incomes are a bitch.