Surfer gives up the ocean for the clubs and drugs of Colorado.
(Editor’s note: The writer M. Andrew K is a surfer who moved from the Californian coast to Denver, Colorado, to find himself in the electronic dance music scene. It’s a story with little to do with surf except to demonstrate, perhaps, that once you take yourself away from the ocean you lose more than just the sharpness of your skills, the sun on your skin, saltwater in your hair. This is part one of a series.)
The end of all things.
As the four detective vehicles pulled up behind me I knew this wasn’t a normal traffic stop. Samantha looked at me, with terror writ on her face, and squeaked at me that she had never even been in a traffic stop, let alone whatever this was. She asked me what to do, how to deal with this unexpected wrinkle, and my simple response was “keep your fucking mouth shut, let me the talking.”
We had been driving to Red Rocks, planning on attending a concert, carrying numerous different substances on us, both to sell and for personal use. I, a thirty-one-year-old man from Alaska, recently moved to Colorado, exploring the rapid downfall of a midlife crisis. My passenger, Samantha, was 18, blonde, beautiful, and would have more of an impact on my life than any person I had met before. She had been dating my friend Steven when we met but that fiasco was long since over. We spent every waking minute together to the point that she had to move 4 hours from Denver to try and get her life back on track. Being in my orbit during the hurricane of my downfall wasn’t the most mentally safe place to be. That morning we had made an expected stop at my sister Sally’s house, a house it later turned out was under surveillance, in order to receive a small number of necessary items. It was an unplanned stop, an unneeded distraction, and what would end up being the ultimate case of wrong place, wrong time.
As we left the house Sammy decided that she didn’t want to drive anymore. We had been on something of an adventure that morning and she had already driven the four hours from Gunnison to Denver. As I merged on to the highway I was almost immediately pulled over by a patrol car, followed by four unmarked detective vehicles, which leads us back to where we started. At the time I was in possession of a decent quantity of cocaine, ketamine, mushrooms, and molly. Most of the amounts were personal use amounts, everything but the ketamine was a Schedule I or II drug. The officer and detectives proceeded to search our vehicle, finding nothing in the car. It wasn’t until the routine search of me for weapons that they found the sundry substances and I realized just how fucked I was about to be. My only thought at that point was making sure that Sammy was kept out of trouble, her car was kept out of imbound, and that this wasn’t going to grow into a much bigger deal than it seemed like it would be. As they put the cuffs on me I could only stop and reflect on the road that had led me here, the decisions made, the substances used, and the actions taken.
My life began in a small town in Alaska called Eagle River. A wealthy town, a white town, and a town with a laughably low crime rate. Not the kind of place that people like me come from. Not the kind of place that heroin dealers spawn out of. You can’t go home again, but you can tell the story of how home stopped beinng home.
The Frozen North
I was born at 11:56pm on April 27th, 1984. The same day as Ulysses Grant and more or less no one else. I was the result of too much to drink in a small rail town, and the herculean effort of seventeen hours of labor. My father never wanted children, my mother was supposedly barren, and yet there I was, being born. There I was, coming into the light. There I was, starting on a path that would eventually lead me halfway around the world to Iraq and then back to the States for a life of jail cells, parties, and the most devastating and wonderful year and a half of my life. That was still far down the road, though. For now it was enough to be born, dragged screaming and yelling into existence. I didn’t ask to be born, who the fuck was going to pay my bills?”
(Do you want to read part two?)