Willy and Daniel’s First Real Talk
“Hey Daniel…can I come in?”
“Sure Willy, come on in my friend.”
It was late in the evening. Daniel was sitting in Mike’s office, searching the web and reading the latest news online. Daniel had the run of the place in the evenings and on weekends so if the guys wanted to seek out advice, Daniel was the best person to talk with. Although Daniel and Willy had briefly talked during Daniel’s first couple of weeks, they never spent much time alone getting to know each other.
“What do you think about our groups?” Willy asked as he sat down.
“Well…I can say you were telling the truth when you said that Mike’s a ruthless mother fucker man!”
“You got that right,” Willy nodded, “these men are no match for Mike.”
“What is up with Larry?” Daniel asked, “I don’t trust him one bit.”
“The reason you don’t trust him, Daniel, is because there is something not right with that man! I don’t trust him for some reason. Every time I’m in groups with him I get a bad feeling.” Willy said, pointing in the direction of the group room.
“Are you trustworthy Willy?”
Willy smiled and chuckled under his breath.
“I think I am trustworthy…more trustworthy than cock suckin’ reformatory raised Larry!” Willy replied. He rocked back and forth in his chair.
“I wouldn’t brag about being better than Larry at something,” Daniel smiled.
“You right man,” Willy said as his rocking came to a stop.
“What’s your deal Willy? No one gets in here for being the type person you are trying to come across as.”
“Damn, Daniel! What are you, Mike’s little brother?” Willy asked jokingly. He began rocking again. “You can’t just say that kind of shit to people, especially around here.”
Willy shook his head in disapproval.
“I have changed man,” Willy said, “You not meetin’ the Willy that walked into this mutha fucka!”
Willy got a bit more dramatic now, lifting his hands as he spoke and rocked in his chair.
Daniel said, “I got about two years clean now. I’ve changed, but not sure all the bad stuff is completely gone yet.”
This put Willy back at ease.
“What recovery issues are you still working on here, Willy?”
“Shit, man, a lot” Willy clapped his hands and laughed, “I’m still one angry, jealous bastard, especially when it comes to my baby’s mama, Tisa. That bitch drives me crazy, man.”
They both looked at each other, laughing. Relationships in this program are built on trust. Daniel knew not to get too close to Willy if he sensed that Willy was mostly full of shit. Although Daniel liked Willy right off the bat, he needed more information before he could put some faith in him.
“Your girl’s name is Tisa. What’s your baby’s name?” Daniel asked.
“Lavonda. She’s twelve now.”
“That’s good, Willy. You a good dad?”
“I don’t know man…I use Lavonda for an excuse to see Tisa,” Willy admitted.
“How did you get into First Step Willy?”
“Man… I was all fucked up after being awake for a few days smoking crack and I was stalking Tisa. I sat out in front of her house for like six hours, man – drinkin’, and smokin’ that shit. Although she had already cut me out of her life, I wanted to know if she was seeing anyone else. I see her pull up with this black mutha fucka. I was out of my fuckin’ mind with rage, man. I had an old pistol…,” he started laughing as he spoke, “…I didn’t have any bullets in it cause I didn’t want to spend my drug money gettin ’em.”
“So what happened?” asked Daniel.
“I jump out of the car and bounce over there like I am going to whip his black ass, and this mutha fucka goes about six foot five – two-fifty pounds!”
They were both laughing now. Willy waved his hand, trying to stop Daniel from laughing so he could tell the rest of the story.
“Look…Look, man…here I am, five foot seven, built like JJ on Good Times and this big black bastard stands over me like King fuckin’ Kong.” Daniel covered his face with his hands and shook his head, laughing. Willy was standing next to him now, his hand on Daniel’s shoulders.
“This ain’t no shit…man,” Willy said through waves of laughter.
“My mind said, ‘You better run your ass back to that car and get the fuck away from this gorilla,’ but all that crack I smoked and all of my rage said, ‘Put that pistol in that mutha fucka’s face.”
Daniel bent over in his chair, laughing and wiping away tears. He laughed and flung about harder each time Willy tried to get more serious.
“Crack make you do some fucked up things man.”
When Daniel laughed harder, Willy couldn’t help but join him. As the laughing and chuckling calmed down, Willy got quiet and stopped smiling.
“I pistol whipped Tisa that night. That man didn’t want anything to do with me – he jumped in his car and took off. That rage all came out on her.”
The office fell silent as Daniel looked towards Willy. Daniel noticed him looking down, rocking side-to-side again. Willy continued in a low voice.
“She’s down on the ground and I’m beating her with my gun and fists. I look up and I see my daughter standing behind the glass door yelling, beating on the door, screaming for me to stop beating her mama. If I had bullets, I would have killed her that night – right in front of our daughter, man. The only reason I stopped beating her was I was too tired, I was weak from being up for days not eating, only smoking that shit.”
“You’re lucky no one died that night, man,” Daniel said.
“Naw man…I ain’t lucky. No one is lucky in them situations. My daughter is scared of me still. Tisa won’t have nothing to do with me…and I have to force myself not to jump off the MLK.”
“What do you mean, Willy?” Daniel asked.
“Man I don’t know…whenever I get down, I walk the MLK Bridge.”
“Why would you do that, man?”
“Well…my father and older sister jumped off that bridge. All of their problems were gone after they jumped. When problems get too much for my family, that river heals us. It can handle problems better than we can. We let the river take us and our problems away.”
Willy continued talking at a steady pace, looking out the window, rocking. Daniel was still, watching and listening to Willy.
“After I pistol whipped Tisa, I drove to our bridge. It was about two in the morning. Only a few cars were on the road. I crossed that bridge ten times in my car. Illinois to St Louis and back again – over and over. There’s a parking stop on the Illinois side that I always use.
“Tisa and me had our first date on that fuckin’ bridge. We held hands, walked and talked. It was like introducing her to my family.”
Willy wiped away a tear running down his face and continues.
“That was one of the best nights of my life, my first date with Tisa on that damn bridge. I had a small bottle of liquor we were sharing as we walked. We smoked a little weed too. We were having a great time.”
“Did you tell her about your dad and sister?”
“Fuck no, man…that would have ruined our moment. Things were going too good and I thought she would run away from me if she found out about my family, or even me, too soon. I had to trick her into loving me first before I could talk about all that shit,” he said with a little chuckle.
“We get back to my car and we just start kissing and rubbing all over each other. I wanted her, man, and I could tell she would have probably let me do anything to her that night. I had to force myself to stop. She’s always had big soft tits and a fat ass, man. I grabbed them up that first night, but that was as far as it went. I did not want her to think I just wanted to fuck her in my car. I wanted it to be right, man…not like all them other street whores I usually ride with. I took her home after our first date on that bridge and did it correct, man. Walked her to the door and treated her respectable.
“What I did to her in front of her house with our little girl watching was not respectable, man. I kept seeing our little girl’s frightened face standing in that doorway, as I stood on that bridge. I talked to my daddy that night; I talk to him all the time when I walk the bridge, trying to figure out the exact spot where he jumped from. I wondered about all the problems in his life – what problems were pushing him over the rail – the rail that I was leaning on. I climbed over. I grasped the rail behind me. It was wet. I would stretch my arms out straight, looking down onto the water moving past. All my problems would soon vanish beneath that black river. As I was just ready to release, I was snatched up man.”
“Yeah…well thank god, man,” said Daniel.
“Somehow two fucking cops walked right up to me without me noticing them. They locked onto me. I was lifted over that rail, put on the ground, handcuffed, and rushed right down to Barnes Jewish’s psychiatric center, man. It took me a minute to realize what happened. I asked the cop who’s driving, ‘Hey man…you arresting me?’ he says, ‘Just relax, man, I’m taking you to see a doctor.’
“I spent some time there and ended up in this hell hole of a place. It’s changed my life though, man. That mutha fuckin’ Mike broke me down – he is no joke, man. This program is hard but if you are serious, it will change you, man. Some of these fuckers in here could care less about changing.”
“Name them, Willy,” asked Daniel.
“Well…my opinion, the worst person here is that fuckin’ Larry.”
“Why you say that?”
“I don’t trust him, man. He never talks in group unless he is getting confronted about something. He’s a nasty, sweaty white racist mutha fucka, man!”
“Has he said something racist to you Willy?”
“He don’t say nothing to me, man…and when I try to say something to him, like something that’s been helpful for me, he treats me like I don’t even exist. He does that to all the black folks here. I try to be sympathetic because he has been raised by the state, in a system that’s racist, but man, that mutha fucka needs a big brick upside his head… sorry …I don’t mean that … my thinkin’ is still somewhat sick!”
They both began to laugh again.
“You alright, Daniel.”
“Thanks man…I enjoyed our talk and appreciate you sharing your story with me.”
“Do you think I’m fucked up, Daniel?”
“Shit man, we are all fucked up…we have to learn how to solve problems without alcohol, drugs, or walking that fuckin’ bridge, Willy!”
Willy laughed, reaching to shake Daniel’s hand.
“Damn, man…take it easy on a brotha.”
“Yeah, I’m gonna take it easy. I see you on the MLK, I’m gonna hit you upside the head with a big ass brick.”
They stood up laughing and hugged as they walked out of Mike’s office. They headed toward their rooms.
“Alright my brotha…I’ll see you tomorrow.”