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‘My Ride Home’
Columbine Joe, the Trash Man
When I was twenty-four I had this job working on a trash truck up in Whitehall—north of Towson up near the Pennsylvania state line. I didn’t drive—didn’t even have my license. I was done with the drug scene, trying to get a new start. The area was real wide open, lots of property, wooded areas. However, it was a long walk home.
One day, after work, this older guy, a coworker—he looked like he was in his late forties or early fifties, but might have been younger based on his lifestyle—offered to give me a ride home. He does tell me that he has something he has to take care of. He drives me to this remote wooded location, gets out of the truck—it was a white pickup truck. I think you had to have a white pickup truck to live in Whitehall, like it’s freagin’ law or something.
Anyway, he starts to walk off into the woods and tells me to get behind the wheel. I’m like, “Dude, I don’t even drive!”
I’m just sitting there, for like twenty minutes, I suppose. Then he comes running out of the woods yelling for me to start it up and drive. I reiterated the fact of my lack of driving experience and license, so he yells at me to slide into the passenger seat. As he starts it up that’s when I hear the helicopter, and then see it, a police helicopter looking for his ass. He is driving like a maniac, and sometimes pulling over and hiding too. He knew what he was doing. But I had watched cops [the syndicated TV show] a lot, and had no faith in him getting away from a helicopter. I’m also remembering from the cops show that when there is a passenger they treat him like he’s guilty too. So I’m like, great, I’m going to get my ass kicked and get locked up, or better yet, die in a high speed crash.
You know, I still can’t believe it, but he lost the chopper. They had staked out his plants and waited for him to show up. But he knew the byways and back ways of Whitehall.
Now, when he dropped me off, I said, “Dude, tomorrow I’m walking home, okay.”
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