All Photographs + Text Copyright 2012 Christopher Keeley

Three Nasty Letters.

My mother would occasionally learn about my tragic escapades, via the letters being sent to me at our house. My mother would open my mail, knowing that if she didnŐt, she would never learn of the event, because I was extremely secretive. I did not communicate much. If I did, it was usually to ask for some amount of cash.

One of the first embarrassing such letters to arrive at the house was a letter from the headmaster of my previous high school, Barlow, informing us that I was now banned from the campus because of my vandalism. A few weeks earlier I had sneaked up to the campus in Amenia, New York, the year after I was asked not to return for my senior year.

I had visited the campus over a weekend and had brought with me two kinds of purple microdots, hash oil, a bong, and some Bi-Phetamine time releases. I had recalled that another former student had visited the school when I was a student and was very welcome almost to the point of celebrity status. He showed slides of his trip to India including images of hookahs and balls of Hashish. I, however, had not informed anyone of my arrival and was living the life of a fugitive, having other students sneak me food after meals. Most of the kids were in class during the day so I partied by myself in the woods. I also painted, or marked, a trail with purple paint to a lean-to, one of my old party spots about a mile into the woods. This was to help the new students find my secret location. In the art barn one night I used another studentŐs art project, a metal plate, to chase the dragon with my hash oil. I blackened the plate from burning the Hashish oil on it. This selfish act is painful to recall, showing no respect for the artistŐs creation, justified by the fact that it was the backside and no one would notice. I also tripped over some ceramics, being the clumsy fool that I was, breaking a studentŐs ceramic pot. I was extremely manic and really have virtually no recollection of what happened that weekend.

Since Barlow had only about 50 students, nothing occurred on campus that the authorities didnŐt know about. My weekend adventure resulted in a letter being sent to my house banning me from further visits to the campus. I was heartbroken. About another month later my English teacher at my current high school in Maryland busted me for plagiarizing a poem that a blind student had written at Barlow. I was so embarrassed and felt stupid, because anyone who read the poem would realize that a blind person had written it. I was too stoned to know the difference. I couldnŐt imagine that my English teacher would be bold enough to call the school in Amenia, New York to inquire about this particular poem.

Another nasty letter arrived at our house a few weeks after I took a trip to New York City. One Thanksgiving weekend I decided to go up to the Catskill Mountains. However, I never made it to the mountains. A friend of mine, Bob, whom I had met at Barlow and who was expelled the first month of my attending the boarding school, convinced me to drive to New York City with him on the way to the Catskills. Bobby, as we called him, was gay.

Bobby and I drove to New York City, ending up at the Hilton Hotel, where a wealthy friend of his from Amsterdam was staying. This gay gentleman was a fashion entrepreneur. He was loaded with cash. Bobby convinced him that we should all go to Studio 54. All we had to do was bribe the doorman a few hundred dollars for entrance. I ordered a fifth of Bacardi 151 from room service, figuring this was the most economical thing to order. Bobby was ordering Champagne. We drive to Studio 54 in my car. I notice a parking space immediately in front of the club. I however knock the car in front as I am parallel parking. Bobby and the Dutch fashion queen bribe the doorman and are inside the club, while I am still attempting to park. I had finished the 151 so I was toasted. The car I knocked contained a very big dude. He gets out to inspect the damage.

Being the bold arrogant idiot that I was, I say you nicked my car, when actually I was at fault. The guy swings at me and hits me in the lip, drawing blood. I run into the club for safety, knowing the dude probably cannot follow me in, as my friends had already bribed the doorman, who is witnessing the whole thing. The barman gives me a free drink and a raw filet mignon steak to heal my fat lip. I am walking around Studio 54 looking for my friends, drink in hand, and with the other hand holding a piece of steak to my fat lip.

A few hours later I go outside to see if my car is still parked out front and it is. However, now there is a new doorman, who will not let me back into Studio 54 for the after-hours party, as it is now sunrise. I plead with him because my car keys, jacket, and passport are inside the club. He refuses. I then go to the police station on the corner and file a complaint stating that the doorman assaulted me and stole my leather jacket and diplomatic passport. I sign this long statement that New York City is fucked up and on and on.

A cop escorts me back to the club and we retrieve my car keys and passport but no jacket. Someone had confiscated my keys to prevent me from further driving. My friends are nowhere to be found. I call my aunt who lives off Broadway and spend the rest of the day there until I am in shape to drive back to Washington DC.

My mother opens a certified letter addressed to me from the Courts of New York subpoenaing me to Court, because the off duty policeman (doorman) at Studio 54 is suing me for one million dollars for defamation of character. The statement that I signed at the police station is attached. I had done all this in a blackout. I had consumed a fifth of Bacardi 151 and some Studio 54 drinks on top of that. Never mix Champagne and Bacardi. I had only a vague recollection of the events. The scribbled letter was in my messy awful handwriting. My mother interrogated Bobby about the weekend, but he had no knowledge of me making the complaint at the police station. The off duty cop claimed he couldnŐt work and was emotionally devastated by my statement of complaint. He had actually read in the New York Times that my father was becoming the U.S. Ambassador to the country of Mauritius. Thinking that my family was loaded, a million dollar lawsuit was justified.

The lawsuit ended up costing three thousand dollars, two for the off duty policeman and one thousand dollars for my lawyer. The money my grandfather had given me to help with college expenses was wasted on my fiasco at Studio 54 to pay off this lawsuit. I may have had 150 dollars left in my bank account. I took the train to New York City. The lawyer sends me off to lunch before the Court hearing. I end up at a Steak and Brew. I am drunk for the hearing. The lawyer says to me that he should have warned me not to drink during lunch, especially before the hearing. I had no courage and remained silent throughout the whole hearing. The tragic thing was that I had only a vague recollection of the events, because I had been in a blackout most of the time.

I had flunked out of college, and couldnŐt keep a job longer than two weeks because of my Alcoholism. I was seeking busboy and waiter jobs in Georgetown. I would spend all my tips on drinks after work at bars in Georgetown. I had no control and sometimes couldnŐt even save bus or cab fare home. I would spend every last dollar on a drink. One day after work I was staggering so badly that I fell into the glass front door of a Chinese laundry at the corner of 33rd and Prospect Street in Georgetown. I shattered the door, causing the alarm to go off. In sheer panic I fled into the alley to dispose of the drugs I had on my person. I was also a small time dealer, though I was my own best customer most days. I threw the Cocaine and Marijuana into a bush in the alley across from the Chinese laundry. The police soon arrived and arrested me for being drunk and disorderly in public.

I had no recollection of the event until another letter came to our house addressed to me. It was a subpoena for Court if I did not pay the $500 to replace the front door of the Chinese laundry. I made a payment plan with my mother and promptly dropped off a check to pay for the damage. That incident was also costly because I had been carrying my brand new work shoes in a bag that I threw away thinking the shoes would identify me. I had expensive tastes and had bought a pair of black Italian dress shoes costing 100 dollars in those days. I never learned my lesson, because the next expensive pair that I bought got ruined in a week, in the rain stumbling around Georgetown drunk. I would order triple shots of Bourbon on the rocks, attempting to impress the female bartenders. Occasionally I would get lucky and pick up girls who were almost as bad as I was. Most people who hang out in bars are Alcoholics.

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