Fishing in Public

by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley
by “Tackle Box” Billy Kelley

The tackle box thief

Boy, I’ve had a full life — full to probably make some folks envious. I’ve had 10 women claim they loved me. Been every place in the USA you can go, and Canada, and Mexico. Would’ve gone further had I a passport.

Yup, lot of fun, ’cept along the line someplace I fell into the world of drugs. Started out like most with weed, then speed, and then I finally got to heroin. A real bad case. Sometimes I’d make two trips to Mass. a day. And then, bang — a life of thievery. Doing paper, as they call it in the underworld. Not hurting no one ’cept a few insurance companies. And, of course, throw some jail time into the mix — Windham, Thomaston, even some outta-state time.

But then, thank God, I got into a methadone clinic. Saved my ass in a lot of ways. I had OD’d twice. And I was definitely headed for federal time. (Christ, I been in the hoosegow in six states.) But, like I say, the clinic was like a life raft. Been there almost 10 years.

Let me explain a little about the clinic. You start out going daily and get your dose, which keeps you from craving heroin. And, you know, it really works. Now, here’s the thing. If you behave, pass your piss test and such, you get benefits. One of these is what are known as “take-homes.” That means you get to take your doses with you so you don’t have to stand in the cold snow waiting for a bus everyday. I went to the clinic only once a week.

Well, somehow I guess a culprit put two and two together, or somehow or other they figured out what was going on with me, and the stupid fucking son-of-a-bitch came up behind me after I got off the bus, knocked me to the ground and grabbed my take-homes. Jesus.

Now, he didn’t damage me monetarily. But he did hurt me other ways — a lot of ways. The worst part was the clinic.

See, it’s all a development of trust. This is the basis of everything. Some folks will report a robbery just to get extra methadone. Bad move. Almost every drug OD you read about is some amateur eating too much meth. Veterans such as I don’t make that stupid error. Or they mix other things with their dose. Usually it’s what they call “benzos” — you know, like Klonopin or Valium or such. That is what kills. So, without proper counseling, they make a big mistake, one last mistake they won’t make again, unfortunately.

That’s why the clinic is so important, and why their rules, which seem somewhat silly at times, are anything but.

Now, as for me getting robbed, well, I must admit a lot of this was my mistake. I took things for granted. I should have changed my procedure, my M.O., as the cops would say. However, the cops weren’t totally innocent either. They came to my house after I reported the crime and wanted to search the place. I told them my dose was headed down the street, someone was running away with it, at which time a cop actually asked me what methadone looked like! At this point I’m pretty flabbergasted.

Conversing with the police, I find out the theft and damages to my body is a Class B felony. So in broad daylight someone commits a 10-years-in-the-slam crime for what amounts to a very small amount of methadone and a few Klonopins on a 62-year-old guy. Boy, oh boy. Now I know what the victim of a purse-snatcher feels like.

You know my opinion? Bring back the stocks. Let ’em spend a week in the stocks and see if they change their behavior.

Yeah, like I say, didn’t cost me a nickel, but what came with the whole experience is something else. Obviously no more take-homes. And other clinic penalties which I can’t go into. What a bitch. No more public transportation. Well, I could go on and on.

If he was so hard up, why didn’t he just go to the clinic himself? The coppers are sure he’s a nab. I saw him. And the fuckin’ idiot left clues at the crime scene. And for sure he’s done it before. (I obviously can’t state how the case is progressing at this point.)

You know, the worst part of all is me and black folks. I can’t help but check out every black guy ’bout 5’10”, slim build, dark clothing. Up till now I never been prejudiced in my life, but a thing like this happens — well, Jesus, I’m still hurting in my knees and elbows where I hit the pavement. And I always been a real nice guy. And now I got no tackle box.

So what to do? I got to have a tackle box for fishing. It’s as part of me as a rod and reel, for Christsakes. I ain’t quittin’ fishing. I suppose I could use a backpack. What do you think? Should I be known as Backpack Billy?

Boy, this son-of-a-bitch got me good. If this weren’t a family-type mag, my language would be real different. You know this guy’s done it before, and maybe some purses along the way. That is what really pisses me off. I’m sorry to repeat.

Well, there is a bit of sun through this episode. I’ve learnt just how much the clinic folks at CAP care about us. Especially my councilor, who really knows how to move in fourth gear. And I’m not saying that just to butter folks up.

Unfortunately, I’ve also learnt how some cops are what we might call “inept.” I mean, to wanna look through my flat while the fucking thief is heading down the street, and the cop not even knowing what methadone looks like! I really figure they get trained in such matters. You can bet the thief knew what it looked like.

By the way, back to the subject of fishing, I’m not sure how all this snow-melt is gonna affect stuff, but let me warn you fresh-water folks: You’re gonna need hip-waders just to get close to the water. It’ll also make salt-water fishing later than usual. As if things weren’t bad enough, right?

I just hope some fuck don’t grab my fish as I’m walking home, small as it is. But let me warn whomever — my best pal and fishing partner is 6’3” and about 240 lbs. You best hope we don’t run into you. He just loves fighting, ’specially with black guys. He once took on eight scaggots in Connecticut State Prison. Keep your eyes open, pal. Portland is a small town.

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