Archive for April, 2013

County Jail time with Jim and Danny

 

Everyone has one of those, “I really fucked up and I need to get it together moments” and hopefully you only have one. Myself, I had well…I can’t tell you, but I had them. And at this particular moment, I really fucked up. To make a long story short, I got popped for a DUI while driving from a bar in a rental (yeah, a rental). I wasn’t surprised that I was arrested because I had been drinking and driving for a while, and if you know anything about the law of averages (like my Grandfather would always say), you know that sooner or later, things will catch up to you. While they were filling out the paper work that would put a major cramp in my life (but would also save it), I was put in a cop car with this young guy we will call Jim. Skinny, funny, spoke a mile a minute, and all around likable, Jim kinda made my current situation a bit more bearable. I mean I am going down for a DUI, but at least I can laugh with this cat. Jim was telling me these crazy stories about his previous arrests of drug possession, abuse, theft, and other various offenses. Tonight’s run in was a DUI like mine, except instead of alcohol, he was on “crushed up vicotin smoked out of a bong.” Jim was bouncing around in the cop car telling me during the sobriety walk, he danced around singing a song, because he knew he was busted. So in Jim’s mind, why not get a laugh out it?

 

When we were dropped off or unloaded at the county jail, there were many things that went through my mind. The first thing was normally when the city cops “bust” you, they send you to the city jail to see if you can bond out. If not, then you are sent to the county. Not in San Diego. You do not pass go, you do not collect 200 dollars, you are going straight to the county. The jail was dirty, smelly, paint was peeling, crazy graffiti and gang tags filled the walls, and just any and every type of filth you could and could not imagine was around. The arresting officers, who were actually very very cool, put Jim and I in a holding cell while we were being processed. I took a seat on the bench looking around when I caught a very scraggly looking older man checking us out. The older man, who looked as if he was in on a drunken disorderly, domestic abuse, or just scrambling in the street for something to eat, had turned his attention to Jim. At first I don’t think Jim really paid it any mind. He was still slightly energetic, although I could see that his high was coming down. The older man then began to stare at him more intensely, making Jim nervous, as if he knew he could see through Jim. Then, the old man started thrusting the jail door with his pelvis, or in crude terms, “Fucking the gate hard.” He would yell out “Come here skinny butt. Put that punk in the cell with me.” I was taken aback because you would hear and joke to your friends about people being sexually assaulted in jail, but you wouldn’t think that it would happen. Seeing and hearing the old dude wanting his way with Jim really tripped me out, but it really made me feel bad for Jim. I looked at him and could tell he was scared shitless. All that cool, tough man shit went out the window.

 

Within about an hour or two into our stay in the “first” holding cell, we were transported to the drunk tank, which probably made Jim feel a bit better. Now, probably the most pronounced thing about being locked up is that it feels as if “time has stopped.” It is as if everything is put on hold. Your life has stopped, but the rest of the outside world keeps living. It is some real crazy shit. To really emphasize that point, there are very few if any clocks around. After I got to the drunk tank, I copped a squat on this cold ass bench next to a wall with mad gang graffiti and rules to live by such as, “F police” and “Don’t trust a b…,” if you get where I am coming from. Trying to get some sleep, but failing to do so, I would over-hear people guessing what time it was or how long they are gonna keep us in here. While doing that, I caught a glance at the toilet in the corner. Okay, this thing, and I cannot even call it a toilet was a vessel of disgust. This metal canister of manure, vomit, bile, and shit I had never seen before was posted up in the corner and everyone tried there damnedest to avoid, it. If I had to compare to something, which to this day I cannot, I would cite the Trainspotting scene where Ewan McGregor’s character goes into a bar and discovers, “The Worst Toilet In Scotland,” and I still think “The Vessel” has it beat. With all of this going on, and my lack of sleep turning into an irritant, the cops unlock the door and we all look up. Anytime the door would open, we would hope to hear a last name with, “Roll it up,” or “Your bail has been posted.” But no, another body was escorted into the drunk tank. This fellow I will refer to him as Danny. Now Danny was in a few words, “Messed up.” Barely able to stand and moving his jaw constantly, Danny plopped down in the middle of the dirty concrete and started jerking around. Moving really odd, and the strangest thing was, everybody one by one came over and sat around him, like he had some type of magnetic pull. It was one of the strangest things. I guess you could compare it to people wanting to see a freak show or when someone is has crazy tattoos on their face. You couldn’t stop looking. Danny, maybe oblivious to his new audience or not, started talking about his drug use. Looking like this kid hadn’t seen a decent rest in quite sometime and clearly crashing, he said he’d been up six days speedin and that all he wanted was a big mound of crystal so that he could just bury his face in. Kind of like Tony Montana’s final scene of excess in Scarface. I hadn’t been around too many tweakers in my life because A: I thought crystal was just dirty and B: Not too many people from around the way did it. Where I came from, crystal, crank, meth, whatever you want to call it was what white folks used that were from the back woods and I didn’t know any of them. To my surprise, in SD many people used it. After telling us about his meth fantasy, other people started talking about their meth experiences, as if they were performers on queue. I said, “Damn. All y’all muthafuckas use.” From Latino, Black, white… a lot of people in that holding cell had their own meth story. I looked around and said to myself, “I have got to get the fuck out here,” and I did. Later, maybe 8 or 10 or 12 hours later, I was released and I couldn’t forget three things: Jim and the crazy cell fucker, Danny and him coming down, and of course, the toilet.

 

 

For more, pick up Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture at Amazon.com NOW!!!

Great street lit writer and founder of Gorilla Convict (a very dope website), Seth Ferranti reviewed Straight Dope. Be on the look out for an interview with my. Shout out to Seth for the review. 

 

 

4.0 out of 5 stars Straight Dope: A 360 Degree Look into American Drug Culture, April 14, 2013
This review is from: Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture (Paperback)

Author Leron L. Barton takes a vivid look at American drug culture in this book that will leave you speed reading as you try to gather all the information it gives out into your head. It asks the hard questions like why are drugs so entrenched in American society and it gives real answers instead of the same old, same old that has been tossed around in the media and news reports. Straight Dope goes right to the source and interviews the drug addicts and the people whose lives revolve around getting high, the criminals who profit off their addiction and the drug counselors who try to rectify and fix the problem of abuse that tears apart families and communities. This book is a comprehensive look into the culture and even looks at the government and the role they play in so many aspects of the game including incarceration and laws that affect the entire culture. Check it out. A very interesting read. Seth Ferranti, author of Gorilla Convict: The Prison Writings of Seth Ferranti and Prison Stories, gorillaconvict.com

I was able to connect with the super awesome Danielle Taylor for a quick interview about Straight Dope and the road to going indie. Peep it out .

 

Today I’ve got LeRon Barton with me, author of Straight Dope, a non-fiction novel.
I love his straight-forward, no-nonsense approach!
 
Straight Dope is book that asks the simple question – why are drugs so entrenched in America’s society. Instead of doing the same ol’ rigamarole song and dance and interviewing talking heads and experts, Straight Dope gets to the heart of the matter and talks to the people at ground zero – the drug addicts whose life revolves around getting high; the criminals who profit of the misery of the addicts; the teachers who deal with the children in drug abused homes; the drug counselors that try and balance breaking the addicts cycle of addiction while dealing with the bureaucracy of government politics; the legal marijuana growers battle against tobacco companies and how to thrive in the growing industry; and the parents issue of how they will prepare their children to just say no.
 
Inspired by the late great Studs Terkel’s many works, Straight Dope is comprised of raw and uncut hard hitting interviews about the participants experiences, thoughts, opinions, and outlook on drug abuse, why or why not drugs should be legal, and how the government is handling the war on drugs.
 
Removing nearly all of the questions, the interviews are more like monologues, allowing the reader to feel as if the subject is just, “talking,” instead of your standard interview.
 
In addition to the real life accounts of people, Straight Dope also has spoken word pieces compiled of biting social commentary, as well as my own personal reflections composed of my experiences with drugs.

 

Tell us a little (or a lot …) about yourself.

I am first time published, but long time writer originally from Kansas City, Mo, living in San Francisco.
 

cover1

What inspired you to self-publish?

You know, I sent soooo many query letters to agents about Straight Dope and realized that with the internet, I could take my destiny into my own hands and publish it. I wanted complete control over my work.
 

 

How would you sum up your first self-published work in up to 5 sentences?

Straight Dope is an unbiased look at American drug culture.
It is raw, to the point.
I talk to drug abusers, dealers, teachers, counselors, and parents.
 

What genres would your work fit into?

My book would be a non fiction sociology book.
 

How has self-publishing worked out for you? What kinds of advertising have you done?

Self publishing has been a learning experience! I have learned so much – what to do, what not do to. I have joined self publishing groups, went on blog tours ( I am on one now), made videos, and have been featured on self-publishing sites.
 

Where can we find you online?

Amazon Book Link

 

LeRon Barton

LeRon Barton

••

Did you use a professional editor? If so, what was your experience with them?

I did not use a professional editor, but the next book, I will definitely use one.

 

• Where did you procure your cover from?

I found some pictures on the web and contacted my man David Valin who created a great cover. You can contact him atgbdavid1@yahoo.com.
 

Do you see yourself self-publishing again in the future?

Absolutely! I have established Mainline Publications and will continue to create and release projects that I want to.

 

Before you go, do you have a favourite quote from your work that you’d like to leave us with?

“Life is all about choices.”
 
Thanks for your time, LeRon!
xox Danielle

I had the great pleasure of meeting and connecting with CJ Davidson, host of the dope web video show aptly titled, “That Other Web Show.” CJ, also a Mo native who bounced to California, and I had a great time talking about back home, the LA music scene, legalizing marijuana, and Straight Dope.The  interview was done using Skype, so this once again proves that with the internet, you can reach out to anyone, anywhere.  In all I made a new bud that I will be coming to see when I make it back to Socal. Check it out.

 

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Phillip, 24

Latino, calm, street kid

When you drink, the drunk bone is
connected to the drug bone

            I am a native of Tuscon, AZ. I grew up with two older sisters and my Mother. My Father left when I was young, so I really don’t know about him. I came out to California on a split decision. I had been visiting here when I was younger, playing soccer and I liked it. Growing up in Tuscon was rough at times, having a Mom, struggling for a bit here and there, and a little bit of abuse from my Father, but again, I was too young to remember that. Other than that, I had a pretty normal childhood. My relationship with my Sisters is pretty good, I haven’t really talked with them, but were still pretty close. My Mother and I are still good even though we’ve been out of touch.

Being a teenager and partying, I was getting into trouble a lot. In college I was playing soccer and had a back injury, so thats when I started drinking heavy. Got depressed and was frustrated I suppose, just disappointed. I then started to get arrested, a couple of drunk in publics. I wasn’t holding down a job and so I figured at least a change of scenery and moved out to California with a soccer buddy of mine. There I started up messing with drugs again. Back in Tucson, I smoked a little weed, but out here there is better marijuana (laughs).

Coming to SD, we didn’t know anyone so we started camping out, staying where ever we could. Damn. Being in SD, it’s a lot cooler and there is a big cultural difference. More conscience heads, were Tucson was much more mellow, but it could get a little chaotic. In SD, there was just lots of energy.

When you drink, the drunk bone is connected to the drug bone, so once one moves, the other one moves with it. I think that’s what happens with addicts. A lot of times you decide to do something that you normally wouldn’t do, but when you are drunk your guard is down. You think you can try stuff, thats probably how I got started, being in the streets.

My soccer buddy who I played with started using heroin and cocaine and it really scared me, so I backed away from it. I knew that doing that, it was kinda going over the edge. When I first did the heroin, it was euphoric, puts your body in a trance. Probably the most powerful thing I ever did. After that one time with heroin, I had to step back, have a reality check. I was still drinking, but all the harder I could not see myself being hooked. It’s really intense what it puts your body through. It can kill you eventually and that’s what kept it from escalating.

To read more, pick up, “Straight Dope: A 360 degree look into American drug culture” at Amazon.com now!!