Sample from chapter: Coulda Had a V8

(reformatted for website)

It's funny how the seemingly inconsequential days of our lives can suddenly contain life altering events. This happened to me one night when I hung out with Sean from the Fighting Stallions. Our MMA crew had long since broken up, but he was the only one I still kicked it with.

In part it was because we were both flakey and didn't mind each others' flakiness, but also because we were creative people that thought outside the box. For example, he once made himself a Halloween costume that captured Spider Man transitioning into Venom.

So anyway, this night was the conclusion of a particularly long day for me because Sarah had me come in early to help her with a presentation she was giving to a local real estate company.
Sean called me that evening, "I need to pick up. Wanna come with?"

Though I hardly had any sleep, I said "screw it," grabbed a Rockstar and a 2-11, and headed over to his pad. Once I got there, we rolled out to the parking lot of a restaurant chain where he purchased various goodies as I waited in the car. Sean and his dealer were chatting for a bit when out of nowhere a crackhead in a wheel chair rolled furiously towards the two of them from across the street.

I guess his spidey sense was tingling, and he knew exactly what was going on. When they saw him coming they said, "Think it's time to book it!" returned to their respective cars, locked their doors, and started their engines. We drove off quick giving the crackhead just enough time to smack Sean's car with his hand.

"Holy smokes! Did you see that guy!? Where did he come from!?"
"Yeah dude! That was crazy," I replied looking back at the disappointed druggie through the rear windshield.

Having dodged the junkie, we returned to Sean's pad with the loot which he shared with his roommate.
"Want some?" he asked me.
"Sure."

It had probably been a good couple of months since I had touched anything, and I figured this was as good a time as any. Sean popped in the DVD Pineapple Express; I still remember the black and white opening scenes right before I blacked out. Then, suddenly, I woke up in a state of shear panic.

"Sean! I'm scared!" I yelled out.
"Relax bro; you're just having a panic attack."
"I need water!"
"Come on man. Let's go outside."

It was the creepiest feeling that took over me as I paced back and forth frantically: a profound fear with no explanation that could not be quelled. "My heart is going so fast! I feel like it's going to explode!" I said as I could feel my heartbeat echo throughout my body.

Being a pharmacy tech, Sean knew about health, and he checked my pulse. Now he was scared. "Dude I can feel his tendons throbbing through his throat!" he yelled out to his roommate. Together, they laid me on their couch where I started fading in and out of consciousness.

The left side of my body would go limp and I would lose a couple seconds to darkness. "Sean, I'm dying." I could barely speak by then. I fought hard with every last ounce of strength I had reaching for God begging Him to save me, but nothing was there except darkness.

"I can't go out like this!" I kept thinking to myself. All I could think about was Tats. He would be so ashamed of me; to know that I died of a drug overdose. How could I do this to him? My only comfort was that I would be dead and thus wouldn't have to see the look on his face when he heard the news.

That I was a fiend. A waste. A disgrace to everything he stood for. Not to mention the eternal darkness completely devoid of God that was only inches away. There was no way He was going to reward me with everlasting joy, even I knew that. I begged God to give me another chance to please Him, to follow His will.

I told Him I knew I didn't deserve it but asked Him if He could do it for Tats who didn't deserve to have a piece of crap pseudo son like myself. But as hard as I tried to picture Mary and her Son, I could not reach them. Next thing I knew, I had an EMT in face. "What's going on?" he asked me, but I wasn't capable of responding. They hooked me up to a heart monitor. My heart rate was at 190.
"What did he take?" the EMT asked Sean.
"A Rockstar."

The EMT wasn't buying it. He stared me in the face and repeatedly asked me what it was I really had. "Rockstar. Those things are really bad," I said when my vocal cords started working again. They loaded me into the ambulance and rushed to the ER, but by the time we made it there, my heart rate was coming down as was I from the high.

The panicked feeling left me, and I now felt ridiculous. What was I acting like a little girl for? I asked myself. Suddenly, my practical side kicked in, "What's all this going to cost me?" I rose out of the gurney.
"Sir! Where you going? You need to lay down!"
"You can't keep me here," I replied.

I knew how ER's worked from the heart attack scares in my days as a power lifter. The trick is to give them a fake name and claim you've been exposed to tuberculoses to move to the front of the line. Then tell them, "Oh by the way, I think I just had a heart attack." I also knew they weren't allowed to force you to stay; so I bounced out of the hospital, my heart still beating fast.

However, last time I checked the monitor, it was down to 120. As I walked outside and looked around, I realized I had no clue where I was. I felt like an escaped government science experiment as I ripped off the little round sticky pads they put all over my arms and chest and discarded them onto the ground.Looking at my cell phone, I saw that it was now 3:00 A.M. Time to make some phone calls.

Apparently, Sean had turned his phone off, and as far as the other friends I called, I reached their voice mails. The only person who picked up was a girl named Peggy, who had been chasing me for a year. Since she was Asian, I did not get with her because was more into Latinas.

Later on, I broke down and went out with her for a while, but that happened six months or so in the future. She lived in Glendora, so I told her not to bother coming down to pick me up. As I wandered a little further, I recognized the streets and realized that I was still in El Monte, probably a good five to ten miles from my cousin's garage.

Granted that might not seem that far. But still, a lot can happen in five miles in El Monte at three in the morning. As I lowered my gaze from the street signs, my eyes fell on a car that was creeping up to me. I anticipated the sound of the words, "Where you from?" and I pictured the window rolling down to reveal a strapped gangster about to finish the job that drugs had started.

"How ironic," I thought to myself, "to have survived a drug overdose only to be capped by some random gang banger."