I don't remember his name, so I'll just call him Doug for convenience. I do remember him showing me his driver's license though. He said he had just been released from jail on some misdemeanor charge in Tucson and was now trying to get back home to Houston, Texas. Since I had nowhere else to go I told him that I'd drive him there. That was the reason he ended up showing me his license, so he could take a turn at the wheel while I rested on the long drive, which we made non-stop (except for gas and snack food).
Along the way I started experiencing pain while urinating when we stopped for gas. By the time we reached Houston my urine was dark red. In a panic I asked Doug for directions to the nearest hospital which he provided with no problem. At the hospital I let Doug watch the car, even leaving the keys with him, while I went into the emergency room and registered under a false name.
I remember that the waiting time was not very long, maybe twenty minutes, and then I was escorted to my examination room and interviewed by a male nurse, or physician's assistant. After explaining the problem and even confessing to having had unprotected anal sex a few days earlier (I did not mention that it was with a ten-year-old boy, of course) the young man asked for a urine example, which I provided, then left me in the room for about another twenty minutes or so.
When he returned he explained I had a common urinary-tract infection. He gave me some pills and a milky fluid in a medicine cup to drink (penicillin, I'm sure), then he told me I had to wait at least an hour to make sure the medicine worked. Then he left the room.
After a few moments the pain subsided dramatically, and I started getting paranoid about the fact that I had provided a false name when I checked in with no identification. So I snuck out a side door and returned to the car where I found Doug still dutifully resting in the driver's seat.
We left the hospital and drove to his mother's house where he dropped off his duffel bag and retrieved some buckets, detergent, and squeegees which he said he could use to earn some quick cash washing windows. I doubted his claim but went along with it. I drove him to a small restaurant in an urban area where I watched as he went in, spoke to the owner, then came out and proceeded to wash the large windows fronting the restaurant. It only took him about a half hour to wash the windows, then he went back inside and collected about $40 cash from the owner.
We needed the money because I was nearly out of cash myself. So we gassed the car, then I drove Doug to a metal fabricating shop where he introduced me to some "buddies" of his, and he used some of the money to buy some weed from one of them, which we smoked right there in the shop's break-room.
Then Doug asked me to drive him to a neighborhood South of Houston where his "best friend" lived. When we got there - a low income "black" neighborhood where children played unattended (I noted) in the fields near the rundown houses - he asked me to wait in the car while he went inside the plain house we parked in front of to go get his friend.
He was inside for what seemed like way too long (over thirty minutes, methinks). When he finally came out he brought with him a young black man, who I'll just call Ron here (I don't remember his name either). Ron was obviously a hustler, and it seemed just as obvious to me that he and Doug had worked out some sort of plan while inside the house to hustle me out of the car I was driving, since it was the only thing of any value I had left to my name. Doug knew I was on the lamb by this time so I couldn't go to the police. By himself Doug was harmless, not nearly intelligent enough to be considered a threat. That's what made the conspiracy between him and Ron to jack my car so obvious. Suddenly Doug started acting like he had some objective that required nearly all of his focus and mental capacity. Ron had to actually keep Doug on point with "subtle" hints, that I could see easily. It was like two blind men trying to rob a man who could see them clearly signal intentions to each other by touch or something. Ron was clearly the "intelligent" one, but he wasn't very smart either. He didn't seem to realize that I could figure out what he meant when he told Doug to "chill" for example (i.e. "not yet").
So, I played along by pretending to be dumber than the dumb. There were two of them and only one of me, and Doug was right about one thing, I couldn't expect help from the police. I would just have to outwit them, which turned out to be not very hard.
One thing I learned about surviving in prison is that you never show your cards. On the long drive to Houston at one point Doug asked me as nonchalantly as he could about how I protect myself. He was trying to "peek" at my hand. So I just pointed at my head and said, "with this", to which he replied, "You mean you talk your way out of trouble?" And I said, "Something like that."
What I didn't tell him of course was that he was an idiot and I could see his "hand" (intentions) as easily as you can see a child's cards in a poker game. The two of them (Doug and Ron) thought they could beat me with a pair of jacks. But, they didn't see my small straight until it was too late and I laid it on the table and walked away with the "pot" (which turned out to be worthless, as you'll see).
So we drove to a secluded tavern, which was just a one room shack on a dirt lot with a small bar and one pool table inside. It was early, so the tavern was empty. We turned out to be the only customers as I recall. It seemed clear to me that the woman tending the bar would not raise an eyebrow if anything happened in the tavern. It seemed safe to assume that as long as she herself wasn't in danger then the concealed shotgun (her "trump card") would never come out.
Of course I'm just supposing all this about the bartender and such, but the point is that I knew I couldn't expect any help from her, so I understood the danger I was in even though we were in a "public place".
I pretended I felt safe though, and acted like I was with my "buddies" as we ordered drinks and paid for a game of pool. Ron kept Doug on a tight leash with little high-signs and signals that I pretended not to notice. We played a game of pool for three players, where each of us took turns trying to sink five balls. At one point, and on a cue from Ron, Doug said he needed to use the bathroom after I had just taken a turn. So it was Ron's turn next, then Doug's turn again. Ron shot and scratched. Then he suggested that I go ahead and take my turn since Doug was still in the bathroom. But instead I just started bouncing the cue ball off the rail while we waited for Doug.
After a few months Doug came back and as soon as he saw me shooting the cue ball he became irate and accused me of going out of turn very aggressively. It was obvious that he was trying to pick a fight, and didn't even listen to anything I said when I tried to explain that it was still his turn and I was just playing around with the scratched cue ball. Fortunately Ron backed me up, and calmed Doug down with more "not yet" high-signs.
So, now the "play" was clear to me. They would start a bar fight, beat me silly, then take my car and leave me to lick my wounds thinking I "deserved" to get jacked or something. Actually, I wasn't 100% clear on the play, but I knew my hand was being called and it was time for me to make my move.
I was still pretending to be "buddies", and so were they, thinly. So I used that as my draw card and got lucky. I pretended to suddenly remember that I had told my girlfriend I would call and needed to use a phone. There was no payphone in the bar, so I needed to make a quick trip to a nearby gas station to call her, and I'd be right back. I made my play fast, so by the time they realized I had just beat them with a small straight I was already out the door and gone. I still remember the look on Doug's face when he realized what was happening too late to do anything about it. I think Ron must have said something to him after I grabbed my car keys (which he had been holding at the time) and walked out the door, because after I got in the car I saw him suddenly come running out of the tavern and in my direction. But I'd already started the car, dropped it into gear and literally pealed out of the parking lot throwing dust and gravel back at the would-be carjacker. I remember wondering if he would realize after that exactly what I meant when I had pointed at my head and said, "with this". Probably not, but it was a nice thought.
I drove a few miles away from the tavern, really not having any idea about where I was, then pulled off the road to take inventory of my situation. I had very little money - less than $50 - but a full tank of gas. I checked a paper map and figured out a route that would get me North and away from the city. I remember a strong sense of just wanting to get far away from Houston as quickly as I could.
But first I got out and checked the trunk where Doug's window washing tools still were. I considered keeping it for a moment, maybe I could use it to earn some quick cash the same way he did. But in the end I decided it would be too risky to expose myself to scrutiny like that, so I just removed all of it and left it there by the side of the road. So much for my "pot" of winnings, and good riddance to Doug and all that was his.
I then drove north on some state highway, but did not get far before I started to fall asleep at the wheel. I actually must have fallen asleep at one point because I saw a large road sign that simply disappeared when I tried to read what it said. The only sleep I had had for the last two days or so was the little I got on the way to Houston while I let Doug drive. So I decided it was too dangerous to drive any further and pulled off behind a gas station and then fell asleep right there behind the wheel of the car. Luckily no one disturbed me or called the police.
After I woke I gassed the car and bought some snack food then continued North. I drove around Dallas on the freeway that circles that city and had to back track when I realized I was going South again. North of Dallas I ran out of gas and money. So I pulled off in some small town and found a Western Union office. Then I called my dad in Nevada and asked him to wire me enough money for me to drive to my step-sister's house in Warsaw, Missouri, which by now was only six or seven hundred miles away. The money arrived with no problem, then I drive the rest of the day and at my father's urging spent the night at a decent travelers hotel with an indoor pool, which I used gladly. Swimming makes me feel safe and reinvigorated. The next day I drove into Southern Missouri and met my step-sister, Jenny, in town so she could escort me to her house several miles down a long winding access road (maps were no help). I ended up staying with Jenny and her three teen boys for several weeks until my father and step-mother arrived to visit having driven from Nevada. But that's another part of the story, which I will continue soon in the next part of this bizarre saga called, "Sister Sister".