At one time, Kyd was a high roller, a feared and respected kingpin drug dealer in Boulder, Colorado. Now, after twelve weeks in the Boulder County Jail, eight weeks in rehab, and six months in a Florida halfway house, he must face the demons in his life as he struggles between conforming to mainstream society and life in the black market.
As Kyd heads to Portland, Oregon to live with his mom while his legal issues play out, he reﬂects on his life and the events that led up to his arrest in Boulder. Alone, in a solitary vacuum of guilt and remorse, he bares his battered, vulnerable soul as he contemplates the grave consequences he feels his actions have had on the people he truly loved. Kyd struggles as he wonders what makes him diﬀerent from the good people, the normal people, and is unabashed as he vehemently shares his loathing of society which conditions kids to want, to feel they need all its unrealistic bling to be happy.
Shining a light into the darkness that is today's angry, disenfranchised youth, Kyd's World lifts the veil exposing their insidious underworld as it jogs back and forth through the life of twenty-ﬁve-year-old Kyd, a byproduct of twenty-ﬁrst century America's 'have-it-your-way' generation.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)|
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By Ryder Stone
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Ryder Stone
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe cab driver pulled my bags out of the trunk and set them on the curb. I paid him, carried the bags over to the curbside check-in, and handed my ID and itinerary to the lanky guy standing behind the metal counter.
"All the way through to Portland, Oregon?" he asked.
He typed something into the computer, printed out two labels, and wrapped them around each of the handles on my bags. His jacket was tight and the seams pulled at his shoulders as he worked to get things done. His entire uniform—a navy blue polyester—looked too small and constrictive. I hated polyester. It was hot, itchy, and felt suffocating, especially on these sweltering, muggy Florida days. I hated Florida.
As I watched him type into the computer again, I wondered about his life—if he liked standing in the heat outside the airport all day, dealing with rude, stressed-out people who were running late, checking bag after bag in that awful polyester suit. I wondered how much money he had in the bank, if he had a retirement plan or health insurance, where he lived, what he had in his refrigerator. I wondered if he was happy.
"You'd better hurry. That plane is scheduled to leave in half an hour." He smiled kind of condescendingly, like it was funny that I was running late or something.
I took my ID, itinerary, and boarding pass from him and walked into the terminal to check the status of my flight. He was right: only thirty minutes till departure. Fortunately, there wasn't much of a line at the security check. I placed my backpack and shoes into one of the rectangular plastic bins and watched it slide on the conveyor belt through the X-ray tunnel. I walked through the sensitized frame and stood on the other side, spread-eagle style, so the cranky-looking lady could run her wand over me. She nodded, and I headed to the conveyer belt to get my things.
"Excuse me? Sir?" the security guard called to me. I felt my breath shorten and pulse quicken as I glanced at the handcuffs hanging off the side of his belt. "Do you mind if I look in your backpack?" Without waiting for my answer, he unzipped it, dug around for a minute, and pulled out a set of keys. On the key ring hung a small photon light, a mini-Swiss army knife (missing tweezers and toothpick), and three keys: one to my old house in Boulder, one to my new Toyota 4-Runner (which had been confiscated), and one to my mom's house in Oregon, which was where I was headed.
The guard pointed to the knife. "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't allow you to carry this on the plane."
"That's cool." I slipped the knife off the key ring and gave it to him. "Sorry, man, I didn't even think about that."
"It's okay." He dropped the knife into a plastic bucket under the X-ray table, and I hurried to my gate.
I hadn't slept even an hour the night before, and now I was exhausted, anxious, and edgy. I'd packed quickly, just before dinner, because I'd wanted to get a good night's sleep. But, much to my frustration, I was wound up all night long. I lay in bed in the dark, and with every toss and turn grew more and more agitated and panicky. I didn't want to do it; I hesitated because it was always a little embarrassing and made me feel ashamed and weak, but around midnight, after three hours of agonizing insomnia, I broke down and called Sam.
It was only ten o'clock in Colorado, and I had hoped he wouldn't be in bed yet.
"Kyd?" He sounded concerned but not like I had awakened him or anything.
"Sorry to bother you so late," I said sheepishly.
"You're never a bother." Just hearing his voice made me feel better. "Is everything okay?"
After all my shit went down and I had spent all that time in jail, Sam was my first light. I was sober for the first extended period of time in years, which opened the door for me to really feel again. That, in turn, allowed the reality of it to sink in, and I was utterly consumed by agonizing depression, self-loathing, and hatred toward existence in general. Sam was a counselor at Willow Winds, the rehab center where I spent two months after jail. At age fifty-five, Sam was a recovering alcoholic, coke addict, sex addict, and compulsive gambler who was clean and sober for eight years. He had gone down about as far as anyone could go but somehow managed to pull himself up and learn to live again. I developed great respect and admiration for him; he became the first positive male role model I'd ever had. Sam had overcome his dark and shadowed past, and now he shined. His light roused my belief that I could do it too. I knew he could honestly understand and empathize with everything I was going through.
"I'm going home tomorrow ..." I hesitated. "To Mom's."
"How do you feel?"
"I don't know. Nervous, I guess." That wasn't totally true. I knew how I felt. I felt sick, like I wanted to throw up. Like I wanted to crawl in the closet, and shrink down, and disappear into one of the cracks in the back. "I don't know man. It's fucked up. It's just ..." I hesitated again, trying to remember why I had called him in the first place. "Over the past year I've been in jail and rehab and this fucking halfway house, and all I've wanted was to get out and somehow go on with my life. And now, it's finally happening, and I'm not excited about it at all. It's the exact opposite; I feel all pissed off and tense and weird and ... depressed. I'm still fucking depressed. I should be happy, right?"
"There aren't any rules on how you should feel, Kyd," Sam advised. "Life can piss you off. It can be tense and weird and depressing. Why do you think you still feel this way, now that you're finally going home?" I knew he was prompting me to face the skeletons he and I had danced with so many times before.
I sat quietly, not wanting to believe that all this bullshit was my life. I wished I could wake in my warm, cozy bed to the sound of sizzling bacon and the comforting aroma of fresh pancakes, relieved to discover this had all been a terrible dream. But that wasn't going to happen "I'm having a hard time caring," I finally answered. "I just ... I just really don't think I give a shit anymore. I haven't in a while. There's a part of me that really wishes I could care ... but I don't. I'm done. Over it. What's the fucking point?"
"What are your alternatives?" he asked, though he already knew—we'd hashed through all this about a million times.
A part of me hated to go where I knew I was headed—even a split second was shameful. "I guess I can either have a bullet for breakfast ... or stick around and try to deal with my shit." I was sorry as soon as I'd said it and immediately forced a fake laugh, as if to indicate I was joking. But I didn't fool Sam.
"Your decisions affect the people around you too, people who love you. I understand your apathy, Kyd, but just try to take it one day at a time. After a while, something about it gets easier, and you just might learn to like life—parts of it anyway." Sam sighed wearily. "It's never always easy for anybody. But I believe we are here for a reason, and I don't think that reason is solely for some kind of mass experience that entails nothing but complete apathy and hedonism. That's a bad combination, Kyd. There's more to it than that."
"Yeah, I know." Sam and I had talked extensively about all that "everything happens for a reason" crap back at Willow Winds when I'd felt on the verge of hanging myself in the closet. I hated hearing it—it was like holy water on the possessed—but deep down, it sort of resonated with me, and I felt like there probably was some truth to it.
"What's bothering you most?" Sam asked.
"I don't think I can do it. I don't think I can be normal. I'm not normal. I'm fucked up and sometimes I wonder why I'm even trying to ..." I felt my throat start to constrict and then a lump rose up to the middle.
"You can do it, Kyd." His voice was kind and compassionate.
"You just have to reinvent parts of yourself; create new habits for yourself."
"I know," I whispered as a tear rolled down my cheek.
"Just take it one day at a time," he advised. "Do you have a counselor lined up in Portland?"
"Yeah, Mom found some guy."
"Good. Go to the meetings, Kyd, and be honest with your counselor. Let him help you. You're a sharp, charismatic, witty man. You'll be fine." I hated hearing him say all that, because I knew it wasn't true. "Remember," he went on, "breathe your way through it, and try to find happiness in the little things. It's there. You are completely capable of transitioning into your best self. I know you can do it."
The truth of it all—my "real truth" that I'm positive Sam could sense—was that I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to work to transition into a normal, boring, suppressed person with a normal, boring, suppressive job so I could slowly become just another hamster spinning The Machine's fucked up wheel. Sure I could. A person can do things all day long, but if he doesn't want to, then what's the point? The only other factor in my case—the thing that was really the bitch—was that I needed to. For me, it wasn't so much about "Can I?" or "Do I want to?" The in-my-face reality was that I needed to because I did not want to go to prison.
I replayed the conversation with Sam over in my head as I hurried through the airport, hoping that my wanting to stay out of prison was stronger than the don't-give-a-shit attitude that had been slowly seeping from me for years. I tried to switch my thinking back to the seemingly futile attempts to convince myself that I did care, that I was worthy, and that I really did want to be a good, normal, regular, menial, mundane person.
I ran toward my gate, and my heart skipped a couple of beats when I saw that the seating area was empty; I prayed I hadn't missed the flight. I looked with pleading eyes at the ticket agent as I pulled my boarding pass out of my backpack. She glared at me, picked up her little walkie-talkie-type device, and spoke into it. Then she turned to the other ticket agent, who was in the process of closing the large metal door that allowed access to the airplane. "Sarah," she said with a heavy sigh, "we have one more." As she took my boarding pass, I shifted my eyes downward but still felt her scowl. Sarah also sighed and reluctantly pulled the metal door back open. I scurried past, down the passageway, and boarded the flight to my next phase of hell.
I walked down the aisle, looking for 16A, which was next to the window, so both the slow-moving elderly woman and the short, pudgy man had to climb back out of their seats so I could get to mine. I quickly pulled my iPod and headphones out of my backpack, stuffed the backpack into the overhead bin, apologized to them and scooted past. The man quickly nodded; the woman compulsively twisted a tissue she held with both hands, refusing to look at me. As I sat down, a flight attendant gave the routine spiel about seatbelts, safety exits, oxygen masks, and electronic devices, while another attendant checked that our seats and tray tables were locked and in their upright positions.
I took a deep breath and tried to relax. The g-force generated by our takeoff anchored me to the seat. It wasn't so intense that I wanted to puke or thought my chest might blow up or anything like that; it was just enough to give me that good, tingly, butterflies-in-the-stomach kind of feeling, like a diluted Ecstasy high, extremely diluted like a million to one. I chuckled as I thought about how this takeoff, the plane racing down the runway like the endorphins of a dope fiend immediately after that fix, the one he's been jonesing for days after he's sobered up and gotten sick, was the closest thing I had experienced to a high in a while. I put my headphones on, sat back and closed my eyes feeling grateful for a little bit of time to check out.
When we landed in Miami, I just sat there while everyone else dodged the elbows around them, juggling their things out from under the seats and from the overhead bins. Once the plane cleared out, I got my backpack, exited the plane, and meandered toward the gate for my next flight, which was in a different terminal.
I walked through the airport feeling saturated with the electrifying buzz being generated through everything that was happening as people scurried past, scuffling around, each in their own frenzied attempt to juggle screaming children, pull over packed rollie luggage, answer cell phones, lug coats much too burly and burdensome for the balmy weather Miami was having, all as they crammed crappy airport food down their throats hurrying along to get wherever it was they were going. I stopped and stood there for a moment, watching, taking it all in, feeling a part of the dynamic vigor as it continued to unfold, the dialectic social process happening all around me, through me, to me. I was one of them—faceless, nameless—a legitimate thread woven tightly throughout this pure and just social fabric. These people were not interested in me. They didn't know or care a thing about me, my history, or the monsters that lurked behind and patiently waited ahead for me. In that moment I was just some Joe, fresh and wholesome, unpolluted by drugs and death, untainted from jail and rehabilitation. In that painfully fleeting moment that I wished could last a lifetime, I was just some kid, masquerading as a guiltless, blameless other in a crowded mass of seemingly sanctioned oblivion.
I arrived at my terminal. As I walked toward the departure gate I noticed the game on TV through a doorway. I had never really been into football but Tony, one of my roommates at Beacon, was a huge fan and watched it all the time. After a while, I found myself beginning to actually like it. You've gotta admire the athleticism of those guys. I soon learned the teams and players and by the Super Bowl, I was one of those guys who leaped from the couch, slinging potato chip crumbs across the room while shaking his fists and yelling at the TV like it made some kind of difference.
I walked through the door toward the TV and sat down at a booth. Dallas was playing Seattle. Seattle had just tied the game with forty-six seconds left in the fourth quarter. As I watched the play on TV, a girl approached me. She was dressed in a pair of nicely fitting black pants and a red polo-style shirt with the name "J. Chill's" stitched boldly on the left shoulder. She set a sweating glass of ice water down on the table. "Can I see your ID?" Her juicy red lips formed a sweet smile. She was cute and I felt my cheeks flush as I pulled my wallet out of my back pocket. She took my ID and glanced at it. "Thanks."
I hadn't immediately realized I'd walked into a bar, so I was a little caught off guard when she carded me. Now, I noticed the beer taps and bottles of booze behind the bar, as well as neon signs hanging on the walls—"Budweiser," "Corona," "Miller Light." And then, the Coors Light hottie, standing there, picture perfect, smiling out at me from a large cardboard stand-up, leaning in on and holding onto a larger-than-life Coors Light bottle, as her tight, little red Coors Light half-shirt clung to her big, beautiful titties, as I would, if given the chance. I hadn't walked into a bar in months—legally, I was prohibited. I looked around to see if anyone was watching. I immediately wanted a Jack and Coke more than anything in the world. I could taste it.
"What can I get for you?" the waitress asked. Her smile was shy, and she quickly diverted her gaze from me to the small rectangular pad in her hand.
"Uh ... I'm not sure." I knew I acted as awkward as I felt.
She pointed her pen toward the end of the table. "The menus are right there."
"Oh." I was a little embarrassed that I hadn't noticed them. I pulled one out from behind the neatly lined bottles of ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper.
"I'll give you a few minutes." She looked at me and smiled again. I smiled back. I hadn't been with a woman in a while, and she was pretty hot.
Back in the day, I had more ladies than I knew what to do with. No shit—they all wanted me. I don't mean to sound conceited or anything, but it is the truth. I don't think their initial attraction to me was necessarily due to my being an intellectual heartthrob or "great guy" type. I guess I'm relatively good-looking and all—I mean, I'm not butt-fucking ugly or a complete social retard or anything like that—but I'm pretty sure the ladies I hung out with were more into the "incessant partying with a bunch of outlaws" thing. They probably were more attracted to my status in the drug culture than anything else—the perceived power, strength, and utter coolness that goes along with that whole thing, if you're into it.
I was a big baller, a high-roller, one of the kingpin drug dealers in Boulder, Colorado, and I made loads of cash. People treated me with respect because of it and feared me because of it. They had reason to. I've been in lots of fights over drugs and money, broken lots of bones—some of my own but mostly other people's. My crew—Jefe, Cloud, Tortoise, Nate, Cedar, Nico—all worked together, took care of each other, had each other's backs.
Excerpted from KYD'S WORLD by Ryder Stone Copyright © 2012 by Ryder Stone. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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