Category Archives: True Stories from Nik’s Past

13 Days in an El Paso Texas Jailhouse 1966


Craig Johnson and I decide that we wanted to go to Mardi Gras in Louisiana. We’d heard about Bourbon Street and the endless party that rolled all the way to Lent; the sacred Catholic tradition. I thought it was fitting that the biggest and longest party would be held to commemorate the austere days of Lent that followed.

There were two weeks left before the party began and we worked as diligently as two punk kids in their late teens could work to devise a plan to get there. In other words, we sat around talking about it as we passed the pipe. Oh, there were many pipes and many dreams in those days and a scant few actually came to full ripening. Continue reading


I was nineteen, wild and free. I knew everything there was to know and I had been smoking pot since I was fifteen and couldn’t understand why the authorities had lied about its addictive qualities.

I spent the next eighteen years trying to kick my non-addictive marijuana habit. Most of that time I smoked every hour of every day. Finally in 1984, with lots of support, I took my last destructive puff and threw the stuff away for good.

I was lo-ridin’ one night in a Burgundy ’64 Chevy with five cruising buddies. We were fresh out of high school and looking for something new when we decided to try Heroin. Continue reading

Agnew State Mental Hospital 1967

This little saga should start by reminding you that it was 1967, the decade of experimenting with sex, drugs and rock and roll, not always in that order.

agnewI had taken a large hit of LSD and was just coming on while sitting with some friends in the Gourmet House, a restaurant close to my home. For an hour I had been seeing double and triple with paisley patterns around the edges.

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There are things in life that one would rather not remember. There are those times that certain acts follow, no matter how much we want to put them behind us.

In seventh grade, at the opening stanzas of puberty, just beginning to look at girls in a different and confusing way, it was my early day of seeing myself as a “tough guy” and I was invincible.

I showed up for trumpet practice on that particular Monday morning. The lessons took place backstage in the school auditorium, and that day the teacher was late. If I remember correctly, he was late a lot.

Always able to find things to do in his absence, that morning a new student had come on the scene and it was a girl. I don’t remember her being pretty, but what did I know back then.

I do remember two or three of us boys outdoing each other by performing more and more dangerous acts, trying awkwardly to get her attention.

As it is with boys, the stakes kept getting higher until one of the boys jumped off of the stage which was three feet above the main floor.

I had been in a gymnastics class for a month and at that point I pretty much knew everything there was to know about gymnastics. So, with much ruffling of feathers, blustering of hot air, I said I could do a flip off of the stage and land on my feet.

I could see that I had gotten her attention, so I strutted to the edge of the stage and with the grace of a high wire walker, I did a perfect handstand and swung my legs over my head, to do a precise two point landing in the main floor, at least that’s how I saw myself in my head.

The next thing I remember I was being put onto a stretcher and carted off to the hospital in an ambulance. Apparently I had landed on my feet, but for the fact that I had been wearing my “tough guy” wing-tipped leather sole shoes, the smooth soles slipped out from under me and I smacked the floor hard shattering my nose in six places, jamming my front teeth through my bottom lip and laying open a deep gash under my chin. So much for grace and style.

After many hours of surgery and many more weeks of recovery, I finally returned to school and the embarrassing fact that I was the idiot who did a flip off of the stage.

The memory lived with me each day even through high school with those glaring scars and a crooked nose and mouth.

Mom, in her unwavering attempts of support said that with those scars I looked like a Jimmy Cagney sort of tough guy.

When I went to my thirtieth high school class reunion, the last one I attended, I was introduced to a stately-looking woman. As she was shaking my hand, she said with a bit of a giggle, “Oh sure, you’re the guy who did the flip off the stage.”

Some things we can never live down.

Freeman House 1960 (Nik’s story)

Although every house in our neighborhood was cookie-cutter similar in that sea of sameness, one single house stood out, some said like a sore thumb. It wasn’t bigger or more stylish in times when those things were important. It was only notable because the people who lived there were so very different than the rest of the entire boring neighborhood. Everyone knew of the Freeman home.

The middle-class neighbors barely tolerated them. When something went wrong, the police would stop first at the Freeman house.

Much later the truth of the neighborhood would come out, murdered husbands buried under houses, children abused, suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling addictions, but in those early days everything was successfully kept behind closed doors and on the surface the neighborhood looked picture perfect, except the Freeman home.

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