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Greedy Beggars

Chapter one This book is a true story about my life, my fathers life and my grandfathers life. It begins in the 1930s leading up to the present day. It is a tragic and intriguing tale about the mega rich and the dirt poor. My father is the illegitimate son of the late Dr. James […]

Chapter one

This book is a true story about my life, my fathers life and my grandfathers life. It begins in the 1930s leading up to the present day. It is a tragic and intriguing tale about the mega rich and the dirt poor. My father is the illegitimate son of the late Dr. James Lawder Gamble, (Grandson of the Proctor and Gamble cofounder). My name is Scott Russell-Roberts. You might ask why my last name is Russell-Roberts. The answer is that the famous Dr. Gamble was having an affair with my grandmother while working for the Red Cross in Europe before WW2. My father was born in London and following his birth, Dr. Gamble took my father to live with his cousin Kay (Gamble) Russell-Roberts in London who was married to Mr. Frederick Russell-Roberts. The couple frequently made trips to the south of France on their yacht. They were eventually caught in France however when the war began and made haste to get back to London by any means necessary. My father was left behind on the yacht. The Nazis seized the yacht and put my father in a detention area. The Russell-Roberts informed Dr. Gamble and his wife of what had happened by post upon returning to London. The letter was very cleverly scripted and addressed to Mrs Gamble. It stated that the couple had to leave their yacht during the Nazi invasion and that my father was somehow left behind. It goes on to include an explanation of where my father came from. Kay (Gamble) Russell-Roberts explains to Mrs Gamble that they had adopted this lovely baby boy who they found in an orphanage during their travels in the south of France. We know however that each of these statements were false as they never adopted my father and he was born in London. We can also see that Dr. Gamble was involved at the time of my fathers birth and even suggests his name for my father on the certificate of naming. My fathers name was changed three times on the certificate of naming and his legal name is in fact Mario Cadell Lee which came from my grandmother who was Nina Cadell Lee. This is where the deception begins however I do not think it was long before Mrs Gamble discovered the truth. The Americans were not involved in the war yet and Dr. Gamble sailed across the Atlantic and then hired two Nazi planes to get my father out of the camp in France. He then took my father back to America on the Excambion vessel from Portugal. Dr. Gamble then raised my father from the age of nine but never informed him that he was his father. Dr. Gamble was a multi millionaire, being a direct descendent to the P & G fortune. My father went to the best schools and all that came with the multi millionaire lifestyle. Dr. Gamble died shortly after my father became an adult however and the rest of the family disinherited him. The other Gamble siblings received hundreds of millions in P & G stock and other assets along with a trust fund. My father received nothing. I grew up in extreme poverty while my cousins enjoyed the best that money can buy. My wife and I began investigating all of this a few years ago. We eventually found all of the facts and my father was surprised to hear that he was Dr. Gambles son. We had a look at Dr. Gamble’s will and were surprised to see that he had indirectly mentioned my father and the grandchildren which includes myself and my three sisters. The language in the will specifically states children and grandchildren by blood will inherit which means us. My two half sisters were adopted however so that forfeits their claim. We spoke to the rest of the family and they eventually admitted the knowledge that my father was Dr. Gamble’s son. Dr. Gamble’s wife had left strict instructions, never to mention her husband’s affair to anyone. I showed them a copy of Dr. Gamble’s will and explained that my father and us should have been and should be included in the inheritance but they just became indignant about it. I spoke to a lawyer and he said that it would be a difficult case to crack because the money had long since been dispersed. It is worth mentioning that every one of my Gamble cousins has a prominent position as Doctors, Congressmen, P & G Executives etc. They advocate responsible parenting including paying child support etc. however they have shunned their own uncle and cousins and allowed me to grow up in poverty. I contacted P & G and US Trusts and showed them a copy of the will. US Trusts holds what remains of Dr. Gamble’s trust. They will not discuss the trust with me, even though it is clear that I am an heir. This says a great deal about who we have in charge of our Banks, big business, government and medical practices. If they are more then willing to shun their own family then how do things stand for everyone else who depends on them? I would have at least thought that P & G would have stepped in once they saw that these shares had been incorrectly dispersed! One of my fathers half brothers still has 2.5 million in his trust. He is the only male sibling still living besides my father. There is also one female sibling alive however she has withdrawn her money from the trust. Their children or my cousins withdrew theirs when they got wind of what I was doing fairly recently after my fathers other male sibling passed away. The lawyer whom I was recently speaking to was successful in a very similar case and was very interested in this case. He said that the amount of money still remaining in the trust however was not enough for his large firm to pursue. I was brought up in Los Angeles California and Reno Nevada through the welfare system as my mom died when I was six. My father looked after me for awhile but being an airline pilot, he had better and more exciting things to do which mainly included chasing women and did not include looking after his children. He married another women following my mothers death and she had my two half sisters. Within less then two years of my mothers death, my full sister and I were taken two Nebraska and then on to Michigan. My father then divorced his second wife shortly after my second half sister was born and they both went back to Nebraska to live with my former stepmothers parents. My full blooded sister and I went to live with my grandmother on my mothers side. My grandmother felt as though she could only keep one of us however and my father had made a half hearted suggestion about taking me so my sister and I were split up and I went to live with my father. I arrived at an apartment that my father had rented in Reno, Nevada but was shocked to hear that I was going to be living there alone. My father had found a woman who had a young son around my age. He was staying with them and did not offer to have me join them. I would take myself to school and do the shopping, cooking, cleaning etc. on my own. My father would stop by to give me money or a beating once in awhile and tell me to do my homework and spend my time reading. He also told me that I was not allowed to bring friends home and that I must come directly home from school. It was a very lonely existence. The neighbours eventually realised that I was staying there alone and the department of social services was called. Needless to say, I had an extremely hard upbringing hence this story is all the more poignant. I think that children without ether parent suffer more regardless to their living situation. My pain was made even more intense by having to endure very violent living situations where I was an outsider. I was later the only white kid at the Optimist boys home in Los Angeles. This was like walking around with a target on my back around the clock. I was beat up regularly until I got older and learned to defend myself. The other kids began to leave me alone after awhile. Lets jump forward to this year. My wife and I joined www.ancestry.com to bring my family tree together. My father was born in England and we assumed was adopted by the Russell-Roberts family. My father is still living and gave us a few details although couldn’t elaborate on some things as his early stage Alzheimers is affecting his memory somewhat now. Judging from my fathers original birth certificate, Nina Caddel lee is his natural birth mother. I always knew there was a story about Nina. Her address was in France, but she went to a private address in London to give birth to her son (my father), on the 23rd of march 1932. She originally named my father Mario so she was likely Italian and also of independent means. My father had always maintained that he had been brought up by "Blue Bloods" and people of means which didn’t mean that much to us at the time. His supposed adopted parents were Frederick Russell-Roberts and his wife Kay, so I popped that info into the ancestry search engine and Kay’s maiden name turned out to be Winifred K Gamble, The very same Gambles as of Proctor & Gamble, only the English cousins. After we picked ourselves up off the floor, I managed to wring some more information out of my father. It turns out that my father never lived with his supposed adopted parents. He remembered living in the south of France with the governess in big houses and yachts, but also living in squalor before boarding the ship to America with Dr. James L Gamble at the age of nine. (passenger list) 1942. We are talking war torn France before America became involved. My father was nine years old and had spent previous years with the governess before being detained by the Nazi’s. Could she have been his mother Nina? We will never know what happened to Nina in war torn France or why my father was taken to live with Dr. Gamble’s cousin. Where was Nina during all of this or was she the Governess employed by the family? Now why would a prominent Doctor like James L Gamble (Grandson of the cofounder of Proctor & Gamble) rescue a boy out of occupied France and bring him to America and then raise him with his own family? This was all of the while hiring two Nazi aircraft and flying through a fire fight in France. You heard right, my father was raised by Dr. James L Gamble and his wife Elizabeth but as it turns out, the doctor was working in Italy and France for the Red Cross. Where have we heard Italy mentioned before? Ah yes the unmarried mother Nina. This was only the beginning and we eventually located more documents with Nina and Dr. Gamble’s name on them and the affair eventually became obvious. We did further research and also discovered that my father was never adopted by the Russell-Roberts. Dr. Gamble had arranged with his cousin Kay to look after my father following his birth. I have been in contact with the Gambles and they were helpful with genealogical info, but refuse to do a DNA test. This was before we began to discuss Dr. Gamble’s affair. They pretty much shut down all communication after that but not before they admitting knowing that my father was illegitimate. This came after a heated argument and they went on to tell me that I did not stand a hope in hell at getting my inheritance. They said that they have some of the most powerful people and lawyers at their disposal. Maybe one day I will get the DNA test done. I should stress how life was being brought up in Foster Homes and the infamous Boy’s Homes in Los Angeles while all of the while being the great Grandson of James L Gamble of the Proctor & Gamble company. My life began okay even without the Gamble money. You don’t think about money much as a young kid if you have a loving mother or father, enough to eat and a roof over your head. The following is how my life began. It was a fine day in San Pedro California. Just another day amongst many however I was just six years old. Every day seemed new and comfortable in my house with my mom and my sister. My father was out flying for the airlines but we felt comfortable at home with mom. There was a pot of porridge boiling on the stove. It seemed to be boiling a little to long this time however. That was when I looked over at my mom who was talking on the phone which was mounted on the wall. Within seconds she dropped the phone and fell on the floor. I did not know what to do and I was very young. She must have known something was wrong because she had phoned my grandmother and an ambulance. It turned out that she had suffered from an aneurism. She had immediately gone into a coma when she hit the floor and died in the hospital two days later. My father never got to speak with her again and I think that it changed him forever. He ended up leaving the airlines. My sister and I were taken by my mothers parents. My grandfather was not well and died shortly after my mother. The Gamble’s were notified along with my father of course. Some friends of the Gamble’s suggested taking me but never followed through on it. The Gamble’s offered no help. Meanwhile at the Gamble estate at 33 Edgehill road, Brookline Massachusetts, the servants were making their way in from their quarters and preparing the meals for the day. They were having more children and had some around my age. They are my cousins. My cousins were driven by the chauffeur to exclusive schools in the area. The older children were each given sports cars and they would drive themselves back and forth to their universities. They would spend their free time at the sailing club or skiing in the winter. I arrived at my first foster home in Sun Valley Nevada just outside Reno at the age of eight. The woman had eighteen foster children of all ages. It was a large ranch style house with a bunkhouse in the back. They had a few cattle and horses in stables which the families older biological children would tend to. Their were no children around my age. They were all much younger or older. I was put into a room in the main house with some very young kids that I could not relate to. I really craved acceptance amongst my peers despite being very lonely and I asked if I could stay out in the bunkhouse with the older kids. I was given a bunkbed in the bunkhouse above an older kid who resented my being there and would beat me up regularly. I would also get beaten up badly by the other kids. One time they put me in a sleeping bag and used me as a punching bag. It was terrifying and I was beaten badly. The worst part was not being able to get out and being suffocated while being punched at the same time. I thought that they were going to kill me and they almost did. I suffered a broken nose and numerous bruises. I was not taken to the hospital so never knew the actual extent of my injuries. I was taken to a farm to pick potatoes sometime later. My nose was not broken completely at that point. We began picking potatoes and I leaned up for a breath only to see a potato coming at me. It hit me square in the nose and broke it right through. The kid in the bunk above me had thrown it at me. My nose was crooked and another older kid grabbed it and straightened it out for me quickly. Things were not going as I had hoped in the bunkhouse and I eventually began taking drugs with the older kids. I thought that I might get some acceptance this way. The older kids thought it was funny to see me out of my head on the drugs and the beatings continued. The drugs sometimes made them worse. Some of the kids had older brothers who were fighting in Vietnam. They would come and visit with drugs in their duffle bags. The supply was endless. I was a very intelligent kid but my school work began to slip because of the drugs and the beatings. My father was notified of my school work and he came to the foster home and gave me another beating. I was very unhappy and would sometimes wonder what my sister was doing. My mothers parents were wealthy and my sister was being very well looked after by my grandmother. I thought about running away several times but did not know where to go. I finally decided that I would go to my uncles house in Los Angeles at Christmas time even though I had not been invited.  

Chapter two

My bag was packed and I caught a bus using some money that I had saved from potato picking. I managed to get the address from a letter that I had received. I spotted them all in the living room through the glass as I approached. They were all in their new clothes with Christmas presents surrounding them. I felt very out of place in my ragged battered clothes. The family was very surprised to see me at the front door just before dark. I thought that they were going to tell me to hit the road at first but they invited me in and managed to find me a present that somebody was not wanting. The evening was somewhat awkward but at least I was not getting beat up. My uncle reluctantly gave me a room in an outbuilding behind their posh house. I think that it was the servants quarters. My uncle had remarried and had two step children. Their mother did not want me in the house around her two children. I stayed there a couple of weeks and my uncle took me to the Optimist boys home in Los Angeles. He was a lawyer so he managed to get the paperwork done very quickly and that became my new home. I was told to get something to eat and that a councillor would take me my to dorm room. The other kids were all black and hispanic. I was the only white kid there. It was not long before the other kids began antagonising me by intentionally bumping into me in the hallway and then punching me. These kids were closer to my age however and I had learned to fight a little by that time. I would fight with them everyday and sometimes I would win. The school was very poor and we were not allowed to take the books out in case they were damaged. They would take us out to clean up on construction sites and would pay us nine cents an hour. We were not allowed all of the accumulated money however in case we tried to escape. It was very much like a prison with a thirty foot fence around it. We were very closely supervised when we were out on the work sites. Most of us did not have the means to go anywhere anyway. The councillors eventually told us that we were not allowed to fight in the hallways anymore as things were getting broken. They boxed the television in hard plastic in the TV room and told us that we could fight in there. We were told that we would be taken to juvenile hall if we were caught fighting in the hallway and turned a blind eye to the TV room. It was understood amongst us from that point on that whomever had a beef during the week with somebody would settle it on a Saturday night in the TV room. I had a beef every week and would be fighting every Saturday night. Sometimes I would have two beefs and therefore two fights, one after the other. That was a bit more difficult but those were the rules that we all made up and accepted. We would all stand around in a circle in the TV room with the fights in the center. It would go from one guy to the next so if you had two beefs then you would have two fights. If you lost the fight and were unable to continue then you would fight the second guy on the following Saturday. I spent the next Christmas there and we were all taken into the giant food hall. They had a big Christmas tree set up and had presents underneath it for us. It was mostly some cheap sweaters or maybe a pair of socks that would soon get stolen by the other kids shortly after arriving back at the dorm room. The local politicians would show up on the catwalk above the food hall. They would all be up there with their expensive suits congratulating each other on the donations they had given us. I was getting to be a much better fighter and was winning most of the fights that I was in. The other kids did not like losing though and I knew that it was only a matter of time before I got stuck with a knife and killed. Other kids had been stabbed and killed, mostly in gang related fights. They tried to stab me once as well but I managed to block the knife and get free with only some miner cuts. It was at that point that I realised that I had to get out of there. I had some money saved from the work that I was doing on the construction sites only they kept most of it for me in the office. I began watching the councillors in the office and noticed one that appeared to be a bit dodgy. I thought that I might be able to bribe him with some of the money in order to get more at one time. I waited until nobody else was around and approached him with the idea. He agreed and gave me the full amount minus his cut. He went back in the book to make it look as though I received small amounts earlier in the year. I had not taken much money earlier in that year as this was my plan and I knew that I just needed a councillor to go along with the idea. I was not learning much at school but was beginning to learn something about human nature. I knew that some of the kids in a gang occasionally got their pals to cut a hole in the fence and shove some cases of beer underneath it. The word was that this was going to happen on the following Saturday night. I made sure that I had my bag packed and ready and waited in my dorm room until I heard the distinctive sound of people getting drunk. That was my cue to grab my bag and head for the fence line. It took me about ten to fifteen minutes to find the hole and crawl through. The temporary feeling of freedom felt good. I had planned to go to my fathers apartment in Reno. He had separated from his second wife and was living in a quaint little apartment by the river. He was a little surprised to see me but allowed me to stay for the moment. He seemed a little bit troubled by my being there. He was dating and felt as though I was in his way. I didn’t see much of him for the next few days and I would go for walks by the river. It was summer time and the freedom felt good. I had forgotten what it was like to have a place where I could be on my own and have some peace. It took me a little while to learn how to use the appliances. I had never been allowed to adjust the heating or the thermostat on the wall. It felt like a pleasure to be able to control my own heating or to have some of the food that I wanted to eat. I had forgotten what it was like to have some time to myself as well. This was also a pleasure despite this huge growing sense of loneliness. It was not more then a week however until my father had the social services around and I was off to my next foster home. He had gone to them this time rather then them coming to us. I went to a foster home and then on to another and another. The first home had their own boy around my age. I think that her idea was for me to keep her son company and she made it clear that I was a second class citizen so to speak. Her son knew this as well and would treat me as such. I was told that I should never eat the last of something in the fridge and that if we ever had any cookies on a plate that I was to eat the ones off of the back of the plate and not the front. So take from that what you will. The kid got to wise with me one day and I knocked him on his ass and I was off to the next foster home. This foster home jumping went on for some time and I was back and forth between California and Nevada. Some of the homes were okay and others were not. I became a little bit withdrawn and was doing drugs when I could get my hands on them along with drinking. Sometimes I would run away and other times the families would just get rid of me. I would eventually end up in juvenile hall when I ran away. It was always for something miner like stealing food or fighting. They would keep me in juvenile hall for awhile and then send me to another foster home. I was beginning to get somewhat of a rap sheet with the authorities however miner. The courts were telling me that I was looking at a lengthly stay in juvenile hall if this continued. I was finally taken to a foster home in Golden Valley Nevada which was not far from the first home that I went to in Sun Valley. The man worked at a PVC hose extrusion plant and the woman was disabled and in a wheel chair. They had a boy and a girl that were younger then me. I liked the family because they were very down to earth. The man and woman were called George and Loretta. George allowed me to drink beer and he liked me because I was a very hard worker. We would drink beer together and have a few laughs. My life began to get a little bit more stable. I was going to a school that was dedicated to working with kids with problems. I liked the school and began to get focused on my school work again. There were jobs to do when I came home along with my school homework as well. I would work with George doing jobs around the house and I would sometimes work on my own. George always told me to turn around and look at a job after I completed it and give myself a little pat on the back in my mind. George also told me that if I was going to do a job, to do it well or don’t do it at all. I took pride in that and my work. They had just purchased a new house with some land and there were lots of jobs to do. It was in what is known as the high desert however and the ground was rock hard. George asked me if I could bury the footings of a swing set in the yard one day. I was out there with a pick and shovel and eventually buried the footings a little bit. I came in the house and George said that it was not good enough. This kind of upset me because of the pride that I had in my work so I went back out and did some more. I spent the entire day out there and did not stop until I had buried the legs of the swing set about four feet in the ground. I came in all dusty and dirty with blisters on my hands and told him that I was finished. He went out and had a look and started roaring with laughter. We came in and had several beers together and I slept well that night. This was the first time in my life that I had some stability. I wanted to make the most of it. I was way behind in my school work but I was doubling my efforts. George had a cousin that was a blackbelt in Karate and we began sparring together. This helped me to stay focused. George had friends from back east where they were originally from. They came over and had dinner with us on occasions like Christmas and Thanksgiving. I eventually discovered that they were mobsters. The newspaper would sometimes print articles where they had been involved in certain activities. One of the mobsters sons came and stayed with us for awhile when his father was facing some difficulties. I liked the mobsters as they seemed very down to earth to me. They were not the type to hold something back. They said what was on their mind. I was really wanting to make some money as I was coming up on fifteen. I was to young to work for the mobsters but I would gone to work for them if they had offered me a job.

Chapter three

My foster families cousin that I was practicing karate with was the manager of a pizza restaurant and he offered me a job there. I began working after school and weekends making pizzas. The pizza restaurant was twenty miles from the house. The only way that I had to get there was on my bicycle. They all thought that I was a bit crazy but I rode my bike to work in all types of weather. My shift would finish at midnight so I would put my bike in a big taxi and go home. One local taxi company was running the big London taxis and my bike easily fit in the back. I did this for about a year until I turned sixteen when I got my drivers license and a car. I also received my GED from school. It was supposed to be the equivalent of a high school diploma. The school that I was going to was allowed to give pupils more curriculum points towards your GED. This was completely different then a high school diploma however. They basically gave you more points for easier subjects. I always felt as though I could have achieved much more if I would just have had a stable life for longer. I was a very intelligent kid and would probably have finished at the top of my class if I would have had the opportunity. My mind was focused on survival for years however rather then school work. My intelligence and intuition is probably what kept me alive in the boys home besides learning to fight well. I suddenly had more time since I was out of school and I had a car to get around in so I took a second job at the Sears warehouse during the day. I still thought about my high school diploma. I had heard that several companies would not hire you without a diploma and they did not accept a GED. It was also not possible to advance to a higher level position at Sears without a diploma. This bothered me as I felt as though I could do better so I got registered in the local high school. It was somewhat daunting when I realised just how far ahead of me that the rest of the kids were with their studies. I persevered however and was still working at the pizza restaurant at night. This was the first time that I had met other kids who had stable lives. I could not help resenting them a little bit. I had no idea how to act around them. My life had been so different to theirs. They had lived such privileged and sheltered lives. The class distinction was massive as well. Some of the kids had parents who owned casinos or had very well paid jobs in the casino industry. I could not imagine how it was to have your own parents at home and nothing to worry about besides getting yourself up for school. Most of them had never worked but had fancy new cars and clothes. I began gravitating towards the rich kids that did drugs. We had the drugs in common but nothing else. They would tell me about their ski trips and vacations. I was sort of fascinated and jealous at the same time of this. These kids eventually shunned me when they realised that I was not like them and could not afford to go on ski trips with them like the others. I began making friends that were criminals. They accepted me because I was not afraid of anything including committing crimes. We began partying together and I would supply all of the booze to the rich kids parties. I found a shop that would sell me alcohol and was buying crates of it and then taking it to the rich kids parties. I would then sell it to the rich kids at a premium rate price. Their was a hidden rage building inside of me because I felt hard done by. I went driving out in the desert one day while drinking heavily. I was very angry and very drunk. I took my car as fast as it would go along a ridge and did not make it around a turn. The car flipped over the side of the ridge and rolled several times before getting to the bottom. I crawled out of it without a scratch but the car was totalled. I got a lift home by some nearby motorcycle riders and I was back on my bike again. I began riding my bike to school and then to work afterwards. The manager at the pizza restaurant had promoted me to working the cash register. I was the only person around my age that was allowed on the cash register. We had other kids around my age working there but none of them could add and subtract without using a calculator. I had learned to add and subtract very well from dealing drugs and selling booze. I left the pizza restaurant the following summer and took a full time job at a metal fabrication plant. The plant was out in the middle of the desert and I would ride my bicycle there. It was only seven miles away from home so not nearly as long of a ride. I would usually get some cans of beer from a little shop after work and drink them about halfway home. I enjoyed the peacefulness of the desert. The school semester began again and I left the job. The man at the foster home allowed me to take an old truck of his back and forth to school. I was told that I must only go back and forth to school and nowhere else. The man began a job as a night shift janitor and would take me with him. We would pick up a van with the janitorial supplies and go from company to company cleaning. It was very hard work and I was not making much money. I still continued to see the other kids at school getting more and more with minimal or no effort. I was always very tired from working without much sleep. I was now angry at myself for wrecking my car as well. I was beginning to feel like I had lost my freedom because I could only go back and forth to school and then to work with George. I had made a friend at school who was a criminal. I knew that he was bad news but we got along pretty well. I asked my foster parents if I could start taking him home after school and they agreed. This went on for sometime and it began taking me longer and longer to come home because we started drinking and getting stoned after school. This kid did not have much money and lived in a trailer with his mother out in the desert. We spoke about the rich kids at school sometimes. It was hard to miss them with their sporting new clothes and tanned faces from the ski slopes. This was particularly annoying to me because I had been skiing as a very young boy before my mother died and I knew that I would probably be good at it but could simply not afford it. I knew how the other half lived because that was the life that I had before my mothers death. This always gave me something to work towards but was also very annoying because I was miles away from that type of life. I also knew that the tools were not available to me in order to achieve that type of life again. I would try very hard but always knew that the odds were stacked against me for achieving that type of lifestyle. My friend and I were driving home from school one day and we began talking about skiing and he said that we should just go. I said that I was only allowed to drive straight home after dropping him off and that we could not afford it anyway. I took him home from school on the following Friday and we had both heard all about the rich kids plans for their weekend ski trip. We had been talking about getting some beer that was a much higher proof to what we had been drinking. We bought some of it and had gone through an entire case before long. He said that we should just go up to the ski slopes and steal a pair of skis and then we could attach a rope to the back of the truck and ski along the snowy roads behind it. We found a long rope and went up to the ski slopes and stole a pair of rental skis and boots and took turns skiing behind the truck. We eventually got tired of that so we decided to rob a house. The house that we picked was off the road and nobody was around. It was a very nice house next to Lake Tahoe. We pried a window open and started to look around. There was nothing inside to steal. It must have been someones holiday home and their were no personal belongings. I was pretty drunk and started stacking some small furniture items by the window to take with us instead of just leaving. We did not realise that we had tripped a silent alarm when we opened the window. The police were out front next to where I had parked the truck. I knew that it was all over at that point. We both jumped out of the window but the snow was over the top of our head. My friend was lucky and landed on a frozen patch so was able to stay on top of the snow and get away. They caught me near the house and caught up to my friend later. I was taken to juvenile hall and ended up spending around seven months there. The man at the foster home got his truck back from the police after a few days. I got used to the routine at juvenile hall after awhile. I did a great deal of thinking and began to accelerate at activities including running and school work. I would set the pace when they let us out to run around the outdoor track. The teacher in the small school commented that I was gifted in science. I thought about how far behind that I had fallen in school since social services took me from the apartment where my father was keeping me years before. The thought occurred to me at that point that my life would never be what it would have been if I would have continued to have a sheltered life. My mind was damaged from all the drugs and abuse that I had suffered as well. I realised that even if I could somehow find a way to have a sheltered life again and concentrate on my studies that I would never be exceptional. I had lost to much so I decided to face the facts. The facts were that I was not going to have a stable or sheltered living arrangement for a very long time. I was probably not even going to have the foster home to go back to when I got out of juvenile hall. I realised at that point that I was going to have to cheat a little if I was going to be successful in life and get the money, status and stable living arrangement that I desperately wanted. I did not like being behind bars so I decided to focus on ways to achieve success by committing borderline crimes. Somebody once told me that people only believe what they think that they have seen. I had studied how the other half lived, dressed and acted so what if I could make people believe that I was one of them. How far could I take it if I just went through the motions and acted entitled. I would aim for the position in life that I would have had if I had not been taken into care. If I came across an obstruction in getting there then I would figure a way around it. This thought gave me a feeling of exhilaration. I felt as though I had nothing to lose as the alternative lifestyle was not acceptable to me. They let me out of juvenile hall and I temporarily went back to the foster home. It was not the same though and the man did not speak to me anymore. Things did not work out and I went to stay with a friend from school. The boys parents agreed to look after me and social services agreed. I received my high school diploma a few weeks later at sixteen years old. I only received my diploma because my previous school had given me so much extra credit for easy subjects. I was miles behind in most relevant subjects. The other kids who had a stable living environment and kept a normal curriculum were like college professors compared to me. I knew that I had no hope of going to college because my level of education was equivalent to that of a seventh grader at best. My friends dad raced mini stock cars and would take us around the races with him which I really enjoyed. There were girls, booze and marijuana. We would all camp out by a lake or river usually along with the other drivers, crew etc. My friend and I ran into someone that could sell us kilos of Marijuana. We started making a little bit of money selling small bags. This went okay until my friends dad saw us breaking up the pot into smaller quantities one day. It was made clear to us by them afterwards that we had better get rid of it or we would both be out on our ear. We both got a job washing dishes and clearing tables at a popular truck stop. I started getting a bad rash down my arm from the detergent and it got infected. My bad eczema and washing dishes for hours on end did not mix. This was the first job that I had which I could not do for a reason that was out of my control. I was devastated because I took so much pride in being such a hard worker. The day had come where I had to strike out on my own once again. I took all of the money that we had saved from selling the weed, a ring from my friends sister and a silver engraved mug that I had. The mug had been given to me by my father and he said that his family had it for years. I got on a bus heading to San Diego California. I was sixteen years old. The idea occurred to me about going to San Diego out of the blue simply because I could not think of a better place to go. I got to San Diego and went into a pawn shop with the ring and the silver mug. The next thing was finding a place to stay. I managed to rent a real dive of a hotel in downtown San Diego for a couple of weeks but it took all of my money and I was starving. I had a few packages of dried noodles but that did not last long. The following day, I went around to the local restaurants looking for work. I gave them my address at the hotel. My food had run out so I found some restaurants that were out of the area and did a few dine and dashes. Things were beginning to get desperate and I did not know what I was going to do when my rent ran out. I was really hungry and only had about three or four days of rent left.

Chapter four

There was a knock at the door and it was the pizza chef from around the corner. He had his apron on with pizza sauce all over it. He said that he had a job for me making pizzas if I wanted it. I was over the moon and jumped at the chance to get something to eat and some money in my pocket. A few hours later, my belly was full and I was on the way to making some money. It was twelve hour days but I didn’t care. I went back to the hotel that night with some pizza and I thought what a difference that a day could make. The pizza restaurant manager was a good looking Mexican woman. She was thirty and I was sixteen. We began an affair and I would sometimes spend the night at her apartment. I became good friends with the owner of the restaurant and he rented me an apartment that he had. I had a regular life before long with a job, girlfriend and decent place to live. I joined a gym and started going regularly. I had a very strange relationship with the other pizza chef who had originally knocked on my door about the job. I was having a relationship with his ex wife and he was really jealous but we were good friends. This guy had not been out of prison long, where he had done a seven year stretch for smuggling Mexicans across the border. He was a little bit wild and used to pack a pistol around with him. He was not someone that you would turn your back to no matter how good your friendship was. I began to miss my sister and my grandmother. I had not seen them for a very long time so I gave them a call. My sister answered the phone and seemed a little bit hesitant about my coming for a visit. I really craved any sort of family connection which I never had. It was finally agreed that I would catch the bus up to Northern California where they lived. They were living in a small town called Yreka near the Oregon border. I arrived at there house and was completely overcome with emotion which I had never felt before. This was a completely different world for me. They both welcomed me into the house but were not completely comfortable with me. I had just got a dragon tattoo on my right forearm which did not impress them much along with my demeanour. My sister was a cheerleader in high school and was dating the boy next door. I met her boyfriend and some of his friends. I liked them very much and I realised that they all had something that I didn’t have. They all had very well rounded personalities that came from leading sheltered lives. We would all go swimming at Shackleford Falls in the mountains. The entire area was mountainous and incredibly beautiful. The place seemed to have a buzz about it aside from the one that I was getting from smoking weed. The next town along was Mount Shasta which was built around an extinct volcano. I never asked or thought about my families connection to that area and they never informed me of the connection. It was not until decades later that I discovered my families connection on an ancestry website. My grandmothers family had traveled across the country in covered wagons and settled there. This was my grandmother on my mothers side. Her family became lumber jacks for a couple of generations after arriving in Northern California. I really had mixed emotions about my sister and my grandmother. While I loved them both with all of my heart, they had both abandoned me. My sister seemed to be somewhat ashamed of me and did not really want me around any of her friends. I could understand that on one note but I was struggling to understand it on another. I always thought that if I would have been in her shoes that I would have put much more loyal to my brother. The same goes for all of my family members really but even more so for my sister. When I first went into foster care at eight years old and was getting the shit beat out of me, I thought that maybe one of them would come and save me. I could not understand how they could just abandon me there. Nobody ever came though and I eventually lost hope that they would. This was bad enough but their shame for me later made it even worse. My sisters shame for me hit home more then other family members. The selfishness of my sister was completely off of the chart as far as I was concerned. I don’t think that she ever stopped to try and consider the pain that I had gone through or the loneliness. her main concerns seemed to be that I might get something that she felt she was entitled to or that I would embarrass her in front of her friends. She was even jealous that I would develop relationships with other family members that would trump hers such as with my two half sisters in Nebraska. It was all just selfishness and something that her and my father shared. I cannot understand to this day how somebody could be so cruel and I still love her. We were in the front room of my grandmothers house one day along with her boyfriend and we were arguing about something. My sister always thought that she was right. She has always thought that there was one rule for her and a different rule for everybody else. I could also not understand how she could continue to turn her back on her own brother just so she could get more for herself. This was in regards to any inheritance, relationships, friendships or whatever. My sister told me that she wanted me to leave. I said that it was my grandmothers house and that I had just as much right to be there as she did. I walked out to the front porch and she came up behind me and punched me in the face. I was not injured but was upset that I was now seeing her true colors. I agreed to leave and caught the bus back to San Diego. I arrived back in San Diego the following day. When I went back to work I noticed this Mexican guy lurking around that I did not know. He seemed to be very friendly with the manageress that I had been seeing. I was used to throwing people out of the pizza restaurant if they got to far out of line. It was a Navy town and things got pretty wild sometimes. This Mexican guy went behind the counter and started grabbing my girlfriend and kissing her so I decked him. A fight ensued which I won but the guy did not want to stay down. I would usually flatten trouble makers and then some of the other employees in the restaurant would throw them out but that didn’t happen this time. The guy started getting up off of the floor after I had knocked him down and something made me reach for a knife on the counter. I held it up to his throat and told him to get out. The guys that normally backed me up then jumped on my back and phoned the police. It seemed that the Mexican manageress that I had been seeing had started seeing this Mexican guy in my absence. The police charged me with attempted assault with a deadly weapon. They sentenced me to 7 months in prison as I had just turned seventeen and they classified me as an adult. I went to court again before getting out and it was to decide who to release me to as I was still a minor. They made me what was called a ward of the court which meant I was considered an adult at seventeen. I had thought that they already decided that when they decided that I should serve an adult prison sentence but they had to have another hearing to release me anyway. I ended up back on the street in San Diego with no job or money and found that I had been evicted from my apartment. Some of my furniture was sitting outside and the locks had been changed. There was an old shed next to it and I slept there that night. I began hanging around with some street people and would sleep where I could and find any food or water that was available. This got old very fast so I hitchhiked up to my fathers house in Reno Nevada. He was reluctant to let me in but finally agreed. I went to see the guy who owned the janitorial company whom I had worked for before while at the foster home. He agreed to hire me after getting a referral from the man at the foster home who’s truck I had taken for the burglary. It was very forgiving of him to give me the referral. I was back working again and was able to get a van before long which my father cosigned for. He probably thought that I might go and live in it and get out of his house. I saw the man at the foster home one day and he suggested setting up a meeting with the owner of the janitorial company. We both met with him and suggested that I begin taking on some of his contracts as my own because of his failing health. I had my own van so would just need to get some of my own equipment. The idea was to slowly buy him out of the business. He would pay me less thus increasing his own profit and once the deducted money had added up to an agreed amount then he would give me an account followed by another and so on. This was fine however it meant working longer and longer hours as once I had finished my day with him then I would go and do my own contracted jobs. I also had less money and needed to purchase equipment for my own contracts. I took another landscaping job during the day for extra money. This meant starting work at six in the morning and working until after midnight. I began getting more contracts and this meant that I was now getting off of work between two and three in the morning. There was no time to sleep and I knew nothing about getting loans in order to hire help. I eventually crashed and burned after having an argument with my father. He had been putting pressure on me to pay off the van loan so that he could get out of it. My father kicked me out of his house and I went on a drinking bender. I lost both jobs and my own contracts. The only thing to do at that point was some traveling to clear my mind. It was not long before my money ran out once again though. I was along the coast in southern California somewhere and starving. I had been sleeping in the van like my father suggested several times. My money had ran out and I had not eaten in awhile. I saw a sign saying French chef wanted. I had learned to be a good bullshiter and had nothing to lose so I went into the restaurant and told the manager that I was a French chef. I was very surprised that he believed me. That night I had a great meal and was earning very good money but knew absolutely nothing about what I was doing. The manager eventually said that he was going to transfer me to making sauces because I was not doing very well. This was fairly simple to do as it mostly involved following recipes. The guy told me after two weeks that he was going to let me go because things were not working out. He gave me a check for over seven hundred dollars on my way out and I was delighted. A week or so later I arrived back at my fathers house to get some of my things. He jumped into the van and said that he was taking it back. My father refused to get out of the van so I punched him a few times and threw him out. He phoned the police on me and I was pulled over shortly afterwards. The police took me to jail and my father took the van back. I ended up serving three months in jail this time. They released me and I took the bus back to Yreka California. My sister and I had began speaking again and she helped me to get a little studio apartment behind a butcher shop. The studio had no windows in it but was at least a place to lay my head. I signed up for unemployment allowance and began looking for jobs. My sister had taken a little summer job at a burger restaurant called Mikes Mountain sandwiches. I would do a few things with my sister and her boyfriend but I was on my own for the most-part. I would go and have a burger once in awhile with my sister on her lunch break and managed to buy a little bit of food to prepare at home. The unemployment allowance was not enough to pay for my rent and food though. I had been all around the town looking for jobs but could not find anything. Things were beginning to look a bit bleak as I was not getting anywhere. I was only going to my grandmothers house once in awhile because I did not feel welcome there. I was there one day though and overheard my sister and my grandmother discussing some money that a family friend had left us. It was only about seven or eight thousand dollars each and was meant to go to us when we reached twenty one years old. I was only twenty but managed to get mine early. The money was meant for our college so I signed up in the College of the Siskiyou’s in Weed California. It was a junior college in the mountains and only about a forty minute drive from Yreka.

Chapter five

I got a dorm room at the college and gave up my studio apartment. I had no idea what I would major in but they had a heavy equipment operation class that I was very interested in. Part of the equipment course was in the classroom and the other part was operating the equipment in the field. They had their own equipment in a large area behind the college. My other courses were the normal math, english etc. I received my curriculum, books etc. and went to my first class which was math. This was the lowest level math class that the school ran. I realised as soon as the instructor began speaking that I knew absolutely nothing about any of it. My level of education was about equal to that of a seventh grader and here I was starting college. I immediately inquired about a tutor but I could not afford one. The only thing that I could do was to do the best that I could and hope for the best. I was doing great in the heavy equipment operation class but began to lose interest in the other classes as everything was going over my head. I was going to the gym regularly and enjoyed eating at the school cafeteria. I had paid for my school meals in advance for the semester. The other kids did not accept me because I was so different to them and I was a little bit lonely. I made one friend that I would exercise with and another friend in the town. Both of my friends did not really accept me though for different reasons. The friend at college could see that I was not like everybody else and the friend in town assumed that I was a goody two shoes from the local college which couldn’t be further from the truth. My sister introduced me to a girl that was not in her circle of friends and she was a bit weird. Her parents were strict religious buffs and would lock her in the closet if she didn’t recite her prayers. I knew that everything was going to crash and burn eventually. My grades were failing and my money ran out very quickly. I took my girlfriend around the dorm room and we were having sex while others in the next room were shouting a bunch of rude comments. There was one kid who was the biggest and also seemed to have the biggest mouth. I decided to take him on and he caught me off guard with a haymaker punch. He connected with my eye and it ended up swelling completely shut. My girlfriend and I broke up shortly afterwards. I was beginning to lose it a bit and was somewhat despondent. My sister then announced that her and my grandmother were going down south to visit family over the Christmas break and I was not invited. I managed to stay in the dorm along with a handful of foreign exchange students. Everyone else had gone to spend the holidays with their family. I was really beginning to lose it and got a black marker and began writing expletive messages on my dorm room floor mostly about my room mate who I didn’t like. Everyone came back from their Christmas holidays and the staff discovered what I had done to the carpet. They threw me out of the dorm. I had a little bit of money left in the college fund and managed to convince the trustee to rent me a studio apartment next to the college. It was not long before the money ran out completely and I was failing in all of my coursework except for the heavy equipment operation. The college told me that I had to be keeping up a passing grade in my other subjects in order to stay in the college. I could not just do the heavy equipment course and no other so I was forced to leave. I had applied for the California conservation corporation. It is a program for young people to learn forest management skills. The program was mostly geared around fire fighting and prevention. I was accepted into the program and they shipped me off to their boot camp in the mountains. I enjoyed the training and turned out to be very popular there. The other kids liked me and I found a girlfriend. They had a big open air induction and announced my name over the loud speaker. The councillors were introducing a few of the kids and picked my name out of the hat. They said that this is Scott Roberts from Yreka and asked me to stand up. I stood up in the open area amongst a thousand other kids and they all knew who I was from that point onwards. It felt nice to be recognised but I thought that I was far different to your average kid from Yreka. I think that the other kids liked me because they were mostly kids from difficult or low income homes. They kind of looked up to me because of my hard core attitude. I had no problem in the bootcamp and was waiting to get shipped off to one of many locations around California. I was really hoping that it would be someplace nice in the mountains. My girlfriend and I said our goodbyes and they shipped me off to Treasure island across from Alcatraz in San Francisco bay. My first thought was that they have got to be fucking kidding me! The accommodation was in one of the old military barracks on a manmade island of rock. I knew that this was not going to work for me. They took us out to work during the day and it had nothing to do with forestry. We were picking up trash along the road like a chain gang. I came back from work one day with the other kids and I was starving. We had set meal times and the next meal was not for around three hours. The cafeteria door was locked so I climbed in the window and made myself a sandwich. They caught me and I was terminated from the program. They sent me back to Yreka by bus. The studio in the back of the butcher shop in Yreka was still vacant so I managed to rent it again and I went back on unemployment allowance. I still could not find a job except for a the odd one here or there digging or stringing barbed wire. I eventually could no longer keep up the rent so I had to rent a little trailer from somebody. My sister had graduated from high school and decided that she wanted to go to Humboldt State University near Eureka California. She rented an apartment there with her boyfriend and later moved into the University dorm. I had managed to get a job as a nightshift security guard at the College of the Redwoods which was close to where my sister was. The college also rented me a dorm room which was more like a motel room. It was just a room with a toilet and a shower. I did not have anything to cook on and was not earning enough money to eat out the entire time. I was absolutely starving. The university where my sister was going had a cafeteria and I managed to get a meal plan for a couple of months. That soon ran out though and I could not afford to get another one. I was then thrown out by security shortly afterwards for stealing food from the cafeteria. They found out that I was working as a security guard for the other college so I was fired from there and kicked out of the dorm. I was then forced to live in my truck. That area is well known for it’s marijuana crops and I was smoking a lot of it as it was pretty cheap. I was going days without eating anything and began to go a little nuts and began hearing voices in my head. I went back to my sisters university to steal some more food from the cafeteria. The security could see that I was a bit nuts and they had me taken to the looney bin. I phoned my sister and she came to see me there. I was still a little bit nuts at that point but regained my sanity once I had a few meals down me and they let me out after about a week. I hitched a ride back to Yreka and did not know what I was going to do. A guy had given me a lift in his pickup truck and he stopped to let me out on a rural section of highway just outside Yreka. I got out and walked across the highway towards Yreka when I heard him shouting at me. He said that I had left my bag in the back of his truck. There were no cars on the highway when I went across but I had noticed a small car off in the distance. I went back across the road to get my bag without looking. The car that I had noticed in the distance was now upon me. I had a second to jump up in the air to the side of the speeding car. My legs did not clear the windshield though and the car sent me spinning off to the side. I was lucky that my legs hit the car instead of my head however the impact had broken one of my legs. The bone in my leg was not broken all of the way through so I could stand on it a little bit and I was full of adrenaline. I managed to get up and hobble over to the guys truck to get my bag. He then dropped me off at the hospital. The hospital refused to treat me however because I did not have medical insurance. They refused to x-ray my leg or do anything. They told me that I had to leave the hospital and I explained that I could barely walk. They went into their broom closet and found and old dusty crutch for me. I managed to hobble to a motel in the area. The pain was beginning to take hold so I purchased the biggest bottle of whiskey that I could find. The leg began to swell up until it was twice its normal size and black and blue. It was hard to the touch and the pain was absolutely excruciating. I did not sleep much that night or for the next couple of weeks. I thought to myself that if I get through this then I was going to do something radical as I could not go on like this any longer. I could walk a little bit without the crutch in about three weeks but I still had massive swelling and my leg was black and blue. I went straight over to the US Army recruitment center and enlisted. My medical appointment was about a month later and the swelling had gone down by then but I still had some bruising. The medical center never picked up on it though. The Army sent me to basic training in Fort Sill Oklahoma. It was the longest training program that the Army had at that time and was thirteen weeks of training and thirteen weeks of AIT. I had no problem with it and turned out to be a natural leader. We would usually train from nineteen to twenty-one hours a day and I would go to the gym afterwards. I guess that I was kind of a glutton for punishment. I got through the training and only had about ten days to go. Their was a conflict in Nicaragua at the time that they were calling a police action. We were all sitting next to the tarmac runway waiting for our name to come up. They were calling names in alphabetical order and my name never came up. The last few days of training was beginning to wind down but we were still doing allot of running with seventy pound packs on our backs. The hardest part of the training for me was a bout with pneumonia. I was given antibiotics and told to get back to training. I had a very high fever and collapsed on a road march. I had blacked out for a couple of seconds and woke up on the ground with a drill sergeant kicking me in the ribs and telling me to get up. I got up and the drill sergeant went away. I knew that I could not stay on my feet so I grabbed ahold of the bumper on a army truck as it came by and let it drag me up to the front of the platoon. It was really dark and nobody even noticed. The truck drug me along the dirt road for about ten minutes and I felt a little bit better once I was at the front of the platoon so I let go of the bumper and ran the rest of the way with the platoon. I was in top physical shape at the end of my training and running with a pack was a breeze for me. We were running down the road one day with less then a week of training left when I heard a loud snap. I was wondering what it was because there were no branches or twigs on the ground. I took a couple more steps and lost the feeling in my foot. The bone in my leg had snapped because it had never been set. It must have been pressing on a nerve because I had no feeling in my foot. I was taken to the medic who finally x-rayed it. The medic confirmed that my leg was broken and could see that there was a previous break which had not set correctly. I was hoping that they would allow my leg to heal and finish my last week of training afterwards. The medic put a splint on my leg and gave me some crutches. The senior drill sergeant had asked to speak with me so I went to his office. He said that he had picked me out of the crowd previously and thought that I was a good soldier with leadership qualities. I think that I had got his attention previously when I broke a tray over a guys face in the canteen while waiting in line for a meal. The guy had pushed me a couple of times which he had noticed. I had to stand at attention for several hours as my punishment and the other guy was sent to the brig for a couple of days. This was obviously due to the senior drill sergeant seeing the other guy provoking me. I guess that I kind of stood out in the crowd after that. The other guys in my platoon had nominated me as their leader as well which kind of surprised me. I was not aware of my leadership qualities and was just doing what came natural to me. I guess this came from the life that I had led and having to look after myself. The senior drill sergeant told me that if it was war time then his decision would probably be different but that he had to discharge me. He went on to say that the army had found my criminal record and that they had been preparing my discharge for a couple of weeks previously. I was going to be discharged with or without a broken leg in other words. I had not told them about my criminal record when I enlisted. I was told to see the discharge specialist and sign some paperwork. The Army said that it would take a couple more weeks to complete my discharge.

Chapter six

I was sent to Denver Colorado a few days later as the Army had some kind of arraignment with a hospital there. They got me a hotel room and sent me to the hospital to have my leg set properly. I was told a couple of weeks later that my discharge was complete and that it was being mailed to my fathers address in Reno Nevada. I had accumulated a small amount of money through my military training so I bought a used pickup truck and drove to my fathers house. He gave me my discharge papers and made it clear that I was not welcome there. My sister had rented a house in Reno with my grandmother and her boyfriend. She was going to the university there. I found a room for rent in Reno next to another college and got a job at a gas station. My truck conked out so I bought a used car. The gas station then let me go so I went to work for various factories in the area. My used car then conked out so my sister gave me a truck that my grandmother had bought for her boyfriend. She said that she wanted six hundred dollars for it which I thought was very unfair because it was purchased with my grandmothers money. I paid her half of it and then began to struggle with work. The jobs that I was getting were not very rewarding. It was sorting nuts and bolts, grinding metal bars and sweeping up. I had to get out of there and do something different. I sold the truck and got a bus ticket towards Nebraska where my two half sisters lived. I did not have the money to get the entire way so I had to hitchhike the rest of the way. I was starving and very thirsty but somehow managed to make it all of the way there. I arrived about three in the morning and collapsed in their garden. Their grandfather found me lying in the garden the next day. He took me in and gave be something to eat and drink. I met my half sisters for the first time and one of the first things they told me was that my sister in Reno had phoned them and told them not to trust me because I did not pay for the truck that my grandmother bought along with a few other negative things about me. My half sisters family was a bit cautious of me because of that. I was still accepted by them far more then my own family members. My former stepmother took me around to find a job. She took me seventy miles to Sioux city Iowa and I got a job at John Morrell meat packing on night shift. Her parents or my half sisters grandparents then bought me a little Ford pinto to get back and forth to work in. The meat packing company was on strike and I was a strike breaker. The job was only intended until the strike ended. I started working the next night and it was very hard work but they rotated workers to different positions so it was not to bad. I got off of work one morning and it had been raining very hard all night. I had to go under a freeway to get home and approached the underpass at around sixty miles an hour. I had just enough time to notice a police car on the other side of the road. I looked in front of me and made out the crystal clear water as I went sailing out across it. The underpass was completely flooded to a depth of about thirty feet. I began rolling the window down quickly and took off my seatbelt. As I got up to climb out of the window, my knee hit the steering wheel and I suddenly realised that I could steer and was not sinking yet. I got back in the seat and thought that it was worth a try to get to the other side. I steered towards the other side and began to see a grassy mound in the middle of the road. I steered towards that as the car began to slow down. I had just passed over the grassy mound and water began to come in the car. It sunk down a little bit and I felt it get traction and I drove right out the other side and the car was fine. I had gotten lucky and kept my nerve. The strike eventually ended and so did my job. My sister announced that her and my grandmother were moving back to Carpinteria in southern California after she graduated from college. My grandmother had a house there. I didn’t know what to do because I could not find another job in Nebraska after the strike ended. I was also very allergic to everything that was growing in that area and began to get a rash all over my body and it was miserable. I thought to myself that I had to get out of there so I gave them the car back and got a bus ticket to Redding California which was the closest city to Yreka in northern California. I thought that I might find some work there and managed to rent a trailer. The only work that I managed to find was for a man running a small construction company. He was putting in septic tanks and leach lines. I would work behind his machine with a shovel, clearing earth that he had missed. He would often give me excuses not to pay me and I was not making much money. I was checking on jobs nationwide and saw that a big union construction company was going to be paving the entire town of west Yellowstone Montana. The company said that they would have a job for me if I could make my way there. I had picked up an old Nissan pickup truck and began making my way to Montana. They hired me on the spot and rented a hotel room for me. I started work early the next morning. The work was very hard and it was twelve hour days but the money was great. I really could not believe my luck in getting the job. We finished the job at the end of August that year. I decided to stop and have a couple of beers before I left town just to clear the dust from my throat and give myself a little pat on the back for a job well done. I jumped back in the truck and began heading west out of town wondering where my next job would be. I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed smoke rising up from Yellowstone park. Something told me to go back and investigate it so I turned around and was at the park toll gate an hour later. I asked the guy at the toll booth what was going on and he said there was a bad forest fire. He said that the Army was in putting out the fire. I asked him if they were doing any hiring and he said to go up the road and speak with the Army captain. He let me in without charge and I went to speak with the captain. The first question that he asked me was what can you do. I said that I had been in the California conservation Corp. and had received some fire training. We began talking about the Army when he suddenly asked me if I could drive a flatbed truck. I said yes and he told me to grab a tent and a steak from the mobile cook truck. We shook hands and I had another job. I felt as though I was really on a roll now. My job was to drive equipment and supplies along with a few men to and from the fire. The job was pretty easy except for a couple of close calls with the fire. I really enjoyed myself and spent most of my time on call. The workers and Army personnel were really friendly and easy to get along with. The fire remained out of control for over a month until the rain and snow hit. The fire was out after a couple days of rain. We started packing things up and loaded my truck with supplies. The final job for me was to drive the truck to the Army warehouse in Idaho. There were two ways out of the park and each road crossed on a mountain pass. I had a small crew of guys with me along with a few trucks behind me. The other crews went the other way out of the park. Our crews were the last to leave and mainly consisted of Army top brass. The majority of Army personnel and workers had been bused out previously. It began snowing heavily as we approached the mountain pass. We were speaking to the other crews on the radio who were also approaching the pass from the other direction. The highway department closed the pass twenty minutes before we got there so we were stuck. We all pulled into a large parking lot in front of a mountain lodge. The top Army brass got on the phone and received authorisation to put us all up in the lodge. We all had a big meal and then bought a couple kegs of beer. The party lasted for two days until the road finally cleared. It was a great way to finish the job. I delivered the truck and personnel to the warehouse and got a ride back to get my own truck. That was the end of another job and I was soon on my way out of the park with my pockets full of money once again. I thought that it would take a lot to beat my luck that I had recently with jobs. My sister had graduated from college and moved to Carpinteria, California with my grandmother. She had split up with her boyfriend. I went back to Redding, California thinking that I might pick up some more work there. It was not happening though and I was just spending money. I had started thinking about disasters as a means of employment after the forest fire job. Mount Saint Helens had just blown but I had not heard about much clean up work on it. The next thing to hit the news was the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. The news was saying that some hiring would be taking place but that they were requesting local Alaskans. I thought that I would give it a try anyway. I went up to the Canadian border and barely managed to get through because I did not have much money and no credit cards. I drove for awhile through Canada towards Alaska until I ran out of money. I was not supposed to work in Canada but managed to find some work putting in fence posts for a farmer and then working on a roof with another guy. My truck had about had it and I was wondering if it was going to make it all of the way. I had run out of gas before getting the jobs but managed to get enough gas from a guy at a marina to make it to the next town. They called it purple gas and it was meant for boat motors. It got me up the road anyway. I went up over a tall mountain pass and then down to Valdez, Alaska. They had a unemployment office that was taking names for the oil spill cleanup operation. I tried to sign on but they told me that I needed my Alaskan drivers license. The only place to get that was in Anchorage, Alaska which was over two hundred miles away. I had found some work painting houses in Valdez which was very well paid. Everything was very expensive there however including hotel rooms so I was camping on the beach along with several other people because there were no hotel rooms available. All of these people were trying to get on the oil spill cleanup. I met a guy from Finland who was trying to get hired as well. He agreed to share the gas with me up to Anchorage to get our drivers licenses. We did not have that much money between us and we ran out of gas on the way back to Valdez. We coasted all of the way down the mountain road into Valdez and then put a couple dollars of gas in at the bottom. We both signed on to the oil spill with our drivers licenses. They told us to keep an eye on a list that they posted outside everyday to see if our name came up on it. My name came up about two weeks later to my surprise.

Chapter seven

They sent us to a couple of training courses and then told us to report to the port the next morning. I spent my last night camping on the beach and parked my truck in a big parking lot, the following morning. I grabbed my bag and made my way to the port. I had set up a post office box as my address for my pay checks to go to. I had a warm bunk to sleep in that night. The worst part of the job was seeing all of the dead animals. The oil had killed animals in the sea and on land because the animals on land would eat the oily sea creatures and die. The job itself was great. I was getting a very good salary with lots of overtime. The rotation was a month on and a week off. The scenery was spectacular and the mountains and islands were pristine except for the oil stained beaches. I came home from my first trip and cashed my pay checks. It felt really nice to have money. I managed to find a small hotel room in Valdez for my week off. The town was pretty small so I walked everywhere and did not move my truck. There was not much to do so I spent most of my time walking, having a drink or smoking marijuana. It was legal in Alaska to smoke marijuana or to have some for your own personal use. It was strange to see people smoking it in front of the post office with cops and little old ladies walking past. I kept up this routine during every month off until Exxon announced that it was going to begin drug tests so I stopped smoking it after that. I had a variety of different jobs on the spill and was really awestruck with the beauty of the place. The people were very good to work with as well. I had met one guy at the bar in Valdez that I had worked with on the forest fire thousands of miles away. He was part of the crew that got snowed in with us on the mountain pass in Idaho following the Yellowstone forest fire job. The guy must have had the same idea as I did obviously. The spill cleanup ended in September when the sea began to freeze up. It had been snowing on land for some time already. It was in fact a record snowfall. They had received forty two feet of snow since I left on my last trip. People had dug tunnels through the snow to their front doors. I had been talking to another guy about Nissan trucks on our way back to shore, not realising how much snow had fell at that point. We both got off of the boat and were still discussing Nissan trucks. It was clear that he really liked them. We walked along the road and were now discussing how much snow there was. I had told him that I would give him a lift to his hotel if I could get my truck started. We approached the parking lot where I had left my truck and the snow was over the top of the street lights. The bulldozer had been sweeping the snow off of the streets into the parking lot. There was at least seventy feet of snow piled up over my truck which was right in the middle of the parking lot. It was a mountain of snow. I threw the keys to the guy and said that the truck was his if he could manage to get it out somehow. I had the pink slip in my wallet and signed that over to him as well. The truck would not have been worth the cost of digging it out with the bulldozer. I spent a couple of nights at my hotel and then caught a ride with one of my coworkers heading south. He went past a car dealership and I asked him to stop. I saw a Chevy Blazer with a lift kit and big tires and fell in love with it immediately. It was pretty expensive so I bought it on finance. I thanked the guy for the lift and drove off in my new truck. Some of the guys were talking about a salmon opener on the commercial fishing boats. I thought that I would give it a try so I drove to homer Alaska and got a job on a boat. I did a couple of trips on a long liner boat fishing for halibut and then got on a salmon seining boat. We would let go of a small motorboat that we towed behind. It was connected to one end of the net. The small boat would head towards shore and then put it in reverse and hold the net there. The large boat would then go out to sea a little bit and then slowly come around. The net was weighted on the bottom and had floats on the top. The large boat would then come around and form a horseshoe. We had cups on the end of poles that we would slap the water with to herd the fish into the net. The two boats would then close the horseshoe and pass the ends of the net into a spinning block. We would begin pulling the net in until we hopefully had a net full of fish. The block was not strong enough to take the full weight of the net so we had to help it a little by standing under the block and pulling on the net. The jellyfish would flop all over your face and your fingers would be aching from pulling on the net. I did two or three trips until the sea began to freeze up around the shoreline. I had one trip that was not to bad but the other ones were not good. One of the guys told me that several of the long liner boats went to Hawaii in the winter to fish for tuna. I thought that I would give it a try so I began to drive over three thousand miles towards Long beach California. I had made some friends in Canada when I was on my way to Alaska previously so I thought that I would stop and see them. The town was called Revelstoke near Vancouver, Canada. My friend introduced me to a guy and his girlfriend who sold Marijuana. They asked me if I would drive them around selling it and that they would pay me. It sounded okay to me as my money was almost gone already. We would go to different towns and they would rent a hotel for us there. We would always get one room with two beds. They would take one bed and I would take the other one. We would all take turns going downstairs to the bar and sell the marijuana. The money was not great but it was something. They asked me if I was happy with our arrangement so far and I said yes but that I was tired of listening to them fucking every night. I said that I wanted my own piece of ass. There was a good looking girl that I had met at one of their friends houses called Sherri and I mentioned her to them. They said okay and that they will see what they could do. The next night I came upstairs after the bar shut and got in my bed. I felt a lump next to me and it was Sherri. We had sex several times and I was happy. She began traveling around with us after that and it was causing arguments. Her and I eventually went our own way and I took her down into America with me. We ran out of money after awhile and she buggered off with some other guy. She had left me a number to call if I wanted to find her so I phoned it and it was the Hells Angels headquarters. Some guy with a deep voice answered the phone and I told him that I was looking for Sherri. He said to hang on a minute and came back on and told me where she was. The guy she had buggered off with had dumped her and she was back in Revelstoke staying at a hotel on her own. I drove back to Revelstoke and went into the hotel. She opened up the door and I climbed into bed with her. I started hanging out with some of her friends and the friend that I had made when I first arrived there earlier in the year. We were doing a lot of partying and I was spending money. My money ran out and my friend convinced me to go to the job centre and tell them that I needed an emergency loan. My instincts told me not to do it but I did it anyway. The police were called and I was deported back across the border without my truck. I knew that I had to get back across the border somehow so I went along the border to a golf course and climbed over the fence. The golf course was right on the border. I walked across the greens with my duffle bag. Most of the golfers were pretty far away from me so I thought that I would just put the duffle bag on my back like a golf bag and maybe none of the golfers would notice me. I arrived at the other side of the golf course and climbed a thirty foot fence. I was now back in Canada. I ducked down in a ditch on the other side to make sure that nobody had spotted me. I thought that they might be looking for people sneaking across the border there so I double timed it down the road away from the border. I began hitch hiking and managed to get a lift. I spent the night in Revelstoke and got up the next morning looking for my truck. It was missing and I could not ask the police about it so I asked the taxi drivers. The truck was not one that you would see every day with its big tires and lift kit. It stood out and it was not long before I found a taxi driver who had seen it and he knew who had it. I gave him some money and he took me right to the guys house. The taxi driver honked the horn a couple of times and the garage door opened up and there was my truck inside. The guy in the garage was very surprised to see me and he had been doing a bunch of work on the truck. I had given the keys to my so called friend before they deported me. He had then made some kind of deal with this guy for the truck. I asked the guy for the keys which he handed over with a startled look on his face and I drove off towards California. I parked my truck at the long term car park at the airport and went in with very little money and no ticket. They did not have the security in those days so you could go right up to the departure gate which I did. I stood in the line for Hawaii not knowing what I was going to do with no ticket. The stewardess began taking peoples tickets and tearing off the boarding passes. The line got to me and I just acted like I was seeing somebody off. The stewardess was tearing the boarding passes off and putting them on the pedestal. She finished tearing them off and took the tickets and the boarding passes away but somehow left one boarding pass on the pedestal. I picked that boarding pass up and got on the plane. The seats were not assigned so you could sit anywhere that you wanted. I took a seat and the captain came on the tannoy saying that it appeared that they had one extra person on board. He asked everyone to check their details and make sure that they were on the correct flight. I thought that they would be escorting me off of the plane any minute but they could not figure out who the extra person was. The plane took off about ten minutes later which seemed like an eternity to me. I think the boarding pass that I picked up was for a Chinese woman but they never noticed. The plane landed in Maui, Hawaii several hours later. I got off and began walking and the place was beautiful. I slept on the beach that night and used the last of my money for something to eat the next day. I walked until I found a shelter where I could sleep and get something to eat. Some of the guys had some magic mushrooms so I had some and had a laugh. The place was pure paradise and I thought that you could run around naked year round and be perfectly comfortable as long as you had food and water. The fishing season was not due to start for over a month. I got a couple of odd jobs and made enough for a ticket back to Long beach. I had a rough idea by that time how I was going to get a job on a boat. I thought that I could stay in my truck until I got a job on the boat if I could get the truck shipped over. I got off of the plane in Long beach and went to my truck in the car park. I drove up to the gate and asked the guy if he would let me past. He said that he would not so I drove back towards where I was parked and put the truck in four wheel drive. The car park had 15 foot vertical mounds of earth surrounding it rather then fencing. I put the truck in four wheel drive and drove right up over one and down the other side without any problem. I then took the truck to the docks and shipped it to Hawaii via cash on delivery. I had purchased a round trip ticket so I got back on the plane to Hawaii. The truck was going to take about a month to get to Maui which would just about coincide with the beginning of the fishing season. I found another hostel to stay in and it seemed to be better then the previous one. It was fairly secluded and their were not many people there. There was a Filipino man and his son staying there which I befriended. They were able to give me some information about the tuna fishing season. The only problem was that I needed to be in Honolulu to get a job which was another island. This was another issue which had to be dealt with. My truck was going to be arriving at the port in Maui shortly so I began thinking about how I was going to pay for it. I had phoned the shipping office in long beach a couple of times and asked them for an estimated time of arrival. The manager came on the phone and I made a mental note of his voice and mannerisms. I went into the shipping office in Maui and took one of their shipping receipts from a tablet on the counter. The truck finally arrived at the port and I phoned them and told them that I was the manager in Long beach and that the invoice had been paid by credit card. I then went to the port in Maui with the receipt that I had taken. I had filled in the details and written paid across it along with a reference number that I had given to them over the phone while posing as the manager. I had timed my arrival with the time that the manager in Long beach went on his daily lunch break in case they tried to ring him which they did. He was not available and I told the guy that I had to get going. He handed me the keys and I was off in my truck, free of charge.

Chapter eight

A guy had offered me a job refurbishing his boat in the Honolulu dry dock. He was sailing it over from Maui which would give me a work opportunity and a chance to check on tuna fishing jobs. I made the mistake of leaving my truck and the keys with the Filipino man at the hostile. He was staying at the hostile and also running it so I thought that it would be safe enough with him. The man had insisted that I leave the keys with him in case he had to move it. My instincts told me not to leave him the keys but I did it anyway. This was one of the few times that I did not trust my instincts and I paid the price for it. We sailed to Honolulu the next day and the boat was lifted out of the water into the dry dock. There were four of us working on the boat including one Australian guy. Him and I dared each other to swim across Honolulu harbour at night. We drew straws for the one set of diving gear and I drew the short straw so I had a snorkel, mask and fins. I swam across while dodging boats on the way and arrived on the other side. A Polynesian man was fishing there and I got out of the water next to him. The guy just came over and punched me square in the face. I began to go after him and he ran down the docks and got his friends. They all began running towards me so I figured that I would take my chances with the sharks. I quickly put my fins back on and began swimming back across the the harbour. They did not follow me. I had a flashlight with me but it began to fail before I got to the other side. The hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up as if something was watching me. I knew that the harbour was very deep and that there were a lot of sharks in there. I began to kick my feet rhythmically like a boat propeller thinking that it might throw and sharks off. I was glad to finally climb out of the water on the other side. I was back on the boat in dry dock for about thirty minutes before the Australian guy came back. He said that he could see me swimming above him and that there was about a fourteen foot tiger shark swimming in circles around me. He said that he had been looking in some lava tunnels below when he spotted me with my flashlight above him. The rest of the job was pretty dull in comparison and I was not able to land any work on a fishing boat. I did meet some very interesting people though including a man and his wife who were sailing around the world and finding work where they could along the way. We were back in Maui the next day and I arrived back at the hostel. The filipino man told me that my truck had been stolen. He said that him and his son had taken the truck fishing and left the keys in it. I wanted to rip the guys head off because I knew that he was lying. A few more days passed and I began to think that I was really screwed. I had no money, no job and now I had no truck. The finance company was also trying to repossess the truck because I had stopped paying them. I was also wondering what would happen when the shipping company eventually found out what happened. I got a plane ticket back to California and gave the police another call from the Maui airport to see if they had any news about my truck yet. They said that they did not but that they had some information about the Filipino guy at the hostel. The police told me that he was a professional car thief so I knew for sure what had happened at that point. My first thought was to go back to the hostel and beat the hell out of the guy. I then thought that it would be better to make my way back up to Alaska. I could tough out the rest of the winter and maybe pickup some work there. The oil spill cleanup was going to be starting up again the following spring and I had planned to get on it. I could no longer get into Canada legally so I got a cheap flight from California to Alaska. I was really concerned about freezing or starving to death or both. I made my way from where the plane landed in Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska. It was not as bad as I thought because there were plenty of hotels available and work shovelling snow which paid well. It was a little bit weird only having three hours of daylight. I would make my way down the roads and through the snow tunnels and then up to the rooftops over the frozen mounds of snow. I was shovelling snow off of peoples roofs for them. Most of the rooftops were two stories and the snow was so high that I had to throw the snow up off the side of the roofs. Some people had portable lights on their rooftops or I would just use the street lights to work by. The snow began to melt when spring began and I was getting less work so I went to Fairbanks, Alaska and found work peeling the bark off of logs for log cabins. This was done with a draw knife which is kind of like a thick, curved machete with a handle on both ends. It was very hard work and I was getting a dollar a foot. I met another guy on the job and we both rented a trailer. We both got pretty good at peeling the logs and we were getting around six hundred dollars a day before long. We would usually go out on a Friday night to the Red Dog saloon. It was the first bar on the road from North Slope Alaska where the oil rigs are. The guys would come off of the rigs for their home rotation and stop there with a pocket full of money. The place was always booming and they could afford to get top bands in. We finished peeling all of the logs and then I found another job peeling logs on my own. They had a log cabin for me to stay in while I was doing it and their was a cafe across the street. The yard was on the road to the Princess cruise camping resort where people would go with their motorhomes. I would take my cuttings from the logs and bind them up. I would then put the bundles on the side of the road with a sign for three dollars. They were perfect for camp fires and sold like hotcakes. I finished up with the logs and headed back to Valdez to get on the oil spill cleanup again. I got back on the spill again from the start and it was not long before I was earning big money. I would go into the Valdez post office and look in the little window of my post box before opening it. I could pretty much tell how much money was in there by the height of the pay checks. They had made Marijuana possession against the law that winter so there were no more people smoking it in front of the post office. Exxon was experimenting with two different types of bioremediation. One type was a natural method which used a substance to accelerate the dispersal of oil. The other type was like a rocket fuel dispersant which we called agent orange. It was very nasty stuff. They would spray it from a fleet of crop dusting helicopters. The tides were some of the highest in the world. The entire underside of the little offshore islands would be exposed on low tide. They were shaped like giant mushrooms. We would push the barges with jet washing equipment onboard, up to the the little islands. The tide would go out and then the barges would be underneath the lip of the mushroom shaped islands. We had over twenty thousand people on the spill and hundreds of vessels and barges. The order was given to move the fleet and we were the only barge left still underneath the lip of the island. I was heading to the galley to get a coffee when I heard helicopters coming. They could not see us because of our location. I had one foot in the galley door when the bioremediation came down. It was the rocket fuel type. I was lucky that I only breathed through my nose a little before stepping in the galley and shutting the door. I was one of only two people left on deck. The other guy was out in the open, right in the middle of the deck. We had some large tents set up on deck as well for equipment storage. Some people were working, storing equipment in those as well. The smell from the bioremediation chemical was overwhelming. I heard a loud commotion outside and I waited a couple of minutes for the cloud to disperse before going out. The people who were working in the tents had taken the guy on deck to the medical tent. The guy convulsed for about thirty seconds and then he was dead. The bioremediation chemical had destroyed his lungs. I thought that I was fine but then my nose began to bleed and would not stop. They took me to the hospital in Anchorage by helicopter and cauterised some of the brood vessels in my nose. I was then taken back to the barge by crew boat. They switched me to another barge called the 312 after that. This was the barge with all of the Exxon top brass on it. They had every type of vessel out there, even a cruise ship for housing. The 312 barge that I was on was where boat owners would come to sign their boats up on the spill. A guy came flying towards the barge on his boat one day with Bob Marley’s red red wine blaring on his speakers. He asked me to throw him a line and then another and another. I had his boat tied up to the barge by six lines before long. He jumped off of his boat and it began to sink. It settled against the barge held on by the lines. He had set out across the sea with a big hole in his boat hoping to sign it up. Exxon told him that they would sign his boat up if he could make it sea worthy. He worked on his boat for a week of so and managed to get a patch on it. The boat turned out to be very useful and netted him a fortune. The spill cleanup ended for that year and I was back on shore again with a pocket full of money. I paid cash for a Jeep CJ7 with big tires and a lift kit and headed south. I managed to get into Canada and drove the length of the Alaskan highway to the state of Washington. Some guys were building log cabins so I asked them for a job. They hired me on the spot and I got a couple of weeks work out of it. I headed south to my friends house in Weed, California. This was the friend that I had made in town while going to the junior college previously. We started talking and he brought up the idea of my getting a mobile trailer to live in. He said that I could connect it to the water, sewage and electricity alongside his house if I wanted to. I found one that I liked but my little jeep could not pull it. A retired guy in town had a machine shop in his garage and had worked his entire life for General motors. He had a Jeep truck with a rebuilt motor and extra fuel tank. The guy had done all of the work himself and it was a great truck. He said that he had lined the inside of the cylinders with chrome and that you could put any type of fuel in it. The truck was easily capable of pulling this trailer that I had my eye on. The guys grandson really liked my Jeep CJ7 so I traded the CJ7 for his grandfathers truck. I took the truck and bought the trailer and connected it up next to my friends house. I spent the winter there but could not find any work except for a care taking job at a local teachers house in the mountains. The teacher was taking a vacation and wanted me to watch his house while he was gone. He said that I could park my trailer on his property in front of his house. I took the trailer up there loaded with enough food and water for two weeks. I had purchased a thirty eight special revolver from an advertisement in the newspaper just for security and had it in a drawer. I woke up one morning after I thought I heard something outside. There was some movement next to one of the trees so I rubbed my eyes to see if I was seeing straight. I looked again and did not see anything. I was just about to go back in the trailer and get my pistol when several FBI guys dressed in combat gear came running out from behind the trees and told me to hit the ground with my hands out in front of me. They all had machine guns aimed at me so I hit the ground and they put handcuffs on me. They went into my trailer and came out with my thirty eight special revolver. The guy asked me if I had a permit for it just as he got a call on his radio. They were raiding a marijuana plantation but it was the next property over that they wanted. I had told him that I did not have a permit but he said that he would not worry about it. They took the handcuffs off of me and left. I found out later that they had busted a couple of the guys but that the rest of them had gotten away with most of the marijuana. The guys who were growing the marijuana had it bailed up in trucks ready to go but a couple of them stayed behind. They had brought a hot tub up there along with girls and the two guys that got busted were still sitting in the hot tub with the girls when the FBI showed up. The teacher finally arrived back and I had to explain to him why he had some damage to his property. The FBI had been trying to kick his door in. I gave him a business card that the FBI had left and he phoned them. They explained to him what had happened. The teacher gave me most of what he owed me for care taking his property and I hitched up the trailer and went back to my friends house. The teacher had a right to be upset with the FBI but I could not understand why he was not happy with me. He refused to give me the rest of the money that he owed me and was insinuating that the FBI incident was somehow my fault. The FBI probably mentioned the unlicensed firearm that I had on his property to stop him from filing a complaint.

Chapter nine

I sold the trailer the following spring. I got a deal on a couple of slightly larger tires for the truck but could only get two for the rear and never stopped to think that the front tires would be spinning faster then the back ones while it was in four wheel drive. The truck also had a system where the four wheel drive would kick in automatically if you were not getting good traction. I headed back up towards Alaska and stopped to pick up a hitch hiker in Canada. He was an Indian from a local tribe and had been gold panning on his grandfathers claim. He was heading up north to Alaska as well. We hit it off pretty well and I was happy to have him along. He had about seven thousand dollars in gold and I had about the same in cash. The journey was over two thousand miles and we would stop for the night when we were tired. We would take his gold to jewellers who would give him that days price for his gold. We would take girls back to our hotel room and had plenty of alcohol and marijuana. My truck would go about eight hundred miles with both tanks full of diesel. We were beginning to get further north and were not seeing anyone on the snowy roads. We drove along the road for an entire day while drinking beer and did not see one person or other cars. We finally got close to Yellowknife, Canada and spotted somebody alongside the road. It was a a security guard for the oil companies. He said that we had missed a turn, hundreds of miles to the south and that we had to go all of the way back before we could begin heading west towards Alaska. He said that there was no road heading west from Yellowknife towards Alaska. We began talking some more and he said that there was actually an oil road across frozen lakes and rivers but that there were no gas stations along the way and that it was over eight hundred miles to Whitehorse, Canada from there. I said that I had two tanks on my truck and could do around eight hundred miles on both tanks. He said that his job was actually to patrol several oil rigs along that road and that I could follow him if I wanted to. We followed him for hours into the night until he finally came to a stop. He told us that there were no more turns on the road and said that if we stayed on the road and did not run out of gas that we would come to the highway into Whitehorse. We thanked him for his help and drove down the road until the next morning. The sun was just coming up and my second tank was getting close to empty. We had driven over eight hundred miles and needed to find a gas station quickly. We came up over a ridge and there was the highway. It was a huge relief but we were still not seeing a gas station. We arrived in Whitehorse, Canada, running on fumes and pulled into a gas station. I filled up both tanks and put it in gear to drive away when I heard a loud bang that sounded like a grenade going off. The transfer case had exploded because the wheels had been spinning all night on the icy roads at different speeds as I had bigger tires on the rear of the truck. There was nothing that I could do, being so far north. The parts would take a week to get shipped up from the south and would be very expensive. I ended up selling the truck to the guy at the gas station for the price of the diesel that I had put in it. We were now on foot hitch hiking in freezing weather. We got a lift from a guy who was going to his cabin out in the woods so we got let out on the side of the road. We began hitch hiking again but could not get another lift and there were hardly any cars coming along the road. It began getting dark and an incredible blizzard was kicking up. The temperature started dropping quickly and we thought that we were going to freeze to death. My friend suggested that we go into the woods and look for this guys log cabin who had previously given us a lift. The snow was over our knees on the side of the road and I said that it was not a good idea so he went off into the woods and I stayed on the road. A forestry worker came along the road about an hour later. I told him about my friend so he took me about a thirty minute drive to a motel up the road and then went back to look for my friend. I was very happy to not have frozen to death but was hoping that my friend was okay. The forestry worker showed up around two hours later with my friend and he was fine. I woke up the next morning and there was about three inches of ice around the motel room door. I had to kick it a couple of times to get it open. I realised that we would have frozen to death if the forestry worker had not come along. We hitched a ride to the Alaskan border the next day but they would not let my Canadian friend in. We said goodbye to each other and I asked him what he was going to do. He said that he was going back to one of the hotels where we had stayed to see one of the girls that we met. She had left him her telephone number. I hitched a ride to Valdez, Alaska and made enquiries about getting on the oil spill cleanup for a third year. They said that they were downsizing that year and were looking for proof of Alaskan residency from potential employees. The chances of my getting hired did not look good. I went down to the harbour to check with the fishing boats about possible work. One of the boats hired me and we baited hooks for a week in the harbour and then set off to sea. We were out at sea for a month. They had another boat that was serving as a tender boat. It would come out and take our fish and then resupply us. We hit two or three season openers and then went back to shore in Kodiak, Alaska. The captain had an office in town and I spoke to him out front of it. He said that I should go and have a drink and that he would have my money for me later. I went back by his office after having a couple of beers and his secretary told me that he had left on his boat. I asked if he had left me a pay check and she said no. This was devastating news because my money had just about run out. He owed me over five thousand dollars for a month of back breaking work. The secretary was laying out some checks that he had signed on the table as we spoke. I went outside fuming about what he had done. I turned around and looked through the window and the secretary had gone in the back with the signed checks still on the counter. I went back into the office and took one of the checks that he had signed and wrote in the amount of money that he owed me. I went back into the bar and asked the bartender if she could cash it. She said yes but that I had to leave it with her awhile. I told her to get the other guys in the bar a round on me and sat down at a table. She gave me a couple of funny looks and the next thing I knew was the police at the front door. I shouted at the guys in the bar to hold them off and I ran out the back door. I ran around the side of the bar and climbed in a large fish box. The police came running around after me and they did not know where I went. They were practically standing right next to me. I managed to get a flight off of the island and made some enquiries about the captain not paying me. I was told that I would need to take him to civil court and get a lawyer. All of that would cost me money that I did not have. This really got me thinking about how unfair life was and that you could be easily cheated unless you were already established with money for lawyers. The only other option was using violence which I had used in the past when faced with problems. This could have gotten me paid but it would likely to have gotten me put in jail as well. I managed to get on some more boats after that and get paid for my work. My nose was beginning to bleed uncontrollably again and I knew that there was a problem. I thought that I would get a place to stay in Anchorage, Alaska which was closer to a hospital if I needed it. I got a room in a hostel there and sat down to watch the television. I fell asleep in the chair and did not wake up until early the next morning. I was unusually groggy and looked down at my shirt which was completely saturated with blood. I was taken to the hospital and explained to them about the bioremediation. The hospital got in touch with Exxon who seemed to be expecting the call. They agreed to pay all of my hospital expenses. They did some more cauterisation of the blood vessels in my nose and released me. I began to think that there might be more to this bioremediation that I was aware of. I found out that it was engineered to stay in the host whether it was plant, animal or human and break down any oil or brood vessel membrane in my case. I contacted Exxon and asked them if I get some testing done or further cauterisation if necessary. They refused so I contacted the media and they sent a reporter around to interview me. There had been a huge amount of media coverage on the oil spill. My interview went on the air a couple of days later and the phone at the hostel began to ring off of the hook. I had left the number with the television station and asked them to give it out to whomever contacted them on my behalf. I received a call from a Mr. Melvin Belli who was a lawyer in San Francisco. He said that he was representing some people who had been working in the tents on the Exxon barge that I was previously on. He said that they were experiencing similar medical issues to mine. Mr. Belli offered to sign me up as a client and fly me to Dallas, Texas where I would be checked over by a medical specialist. He flew me to Dallas and put me up in the Holiday Inn there with all expenses paid. I had forwarded my contact details at the Holiday Inn to the television station who had interviewed me in Alaska. Several people were still contacting me including someone that was writing a book about the oil spill and a reporter from CNN. The person who was writing the book asked me if they could send someone around to get information from me about the spill cleanup. I said that I was going to the medical center for testing during the day but that I had my lunch daily at the Holiday Inn courtesy of Mr. Belli. I said that they could meet me for lunch every day if they wanted to. They sent a woman around every day with her laptop to question me over lunch. CNN asked me if I would do an exclusive interview with the other oil spill workers at the medical center. This obviously meant that we were not allowed to be interviewed by any other television stations. The others would not agree and said that they had already secured an interview with real news for kids which was another television program. I told them that it was a poor choice on their part as CNN was much more well known. They were very jealous of me however and felt as though I was getting preferential treatment from our lawyer. They refused the CNN exclusive interview in favour of the other one. I began to think about how to get my life in order. I thought that I was doing okay considering where I started from but that I really needed a way to boost my life a little bit. The woman who was interviewing me daily for the book was not attractive but she had money. I was a good looking guy and I could tell that she was attracted to me. She had been working as a TV director for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous for several years and created Barney the Dinosaur. She was a millionaire and I thought that this might give me the boost that my life needed. We were married a couple of months later and I moved into her house with her young son in Dallas, Texas. This was really a change of pace for me. All of her friends were millionaires and I was hanging out with them. I kept thinking about what they would think if they knew who I was and about my background. We would go on ski and beach vacations and I would occasionally join her when she interviewed the rich and famous. She interviewed a Mr. David Saperstein in Houston and we spent the night at his mansion. We had dinner with him and his wife along with several other people at a large table in his wine cellar. Him and I were walking around his mansion and his servants had placed bread, ham along with crackers and one thousand dollar an ounce pate out for the guests. The crackers were finished so I unknowingly made a sandwich out of this pate. It is without a doubt the most expensive sandwich that I have ever had. He opened a bottle of Chateau Lafite which apparently cost thousands and we all had a pretty good time. I had been going to the gym regularly so his limo took me to a gym the following day where the former president George Bush went.

Chapter ten

I was trying out different work ideas such as working as an extra on film sets and personal training at the gym. I got a couple of modelling jobs as well. I managed to get a five thousand dollar grant and attended the Cooper Institute of Aerobics Technology which was a very good and very expensive two week personal training course. I enjoyed doing personal training at the gym but it was very difficult to make any money at it. I had requested my fathers naturalisation record and finally received it. I realised at that point that I had dual British and American citizenship so I applied for my British passport and received it. This was something handy for me to keep in the drawer and made me feel as though I was expanding my options in life. I had been interested in commercial diving so I attended a commercial diving school in Houston, Texas. I had applied for a grant and received it but needed to qualify for a second grant in order to pay for the course in full. My ex-wife was not helping with the course costs but I managed to get her gas card from her and charged all of my meals to a service station while I attended the course. I was lucky that they had a McDonalds restaurant in the gas station where I could use the card. I did not receive the second grant so I was unable to pay for the course in full. The course provider explained to me when I left that I could have my certificate once I paid them the rest of the money that I owed them. I heard that a company was hiring British commercial divers on a big job in Libya and that British citizenship along with British diving qualifications were required. I applied for a bank loan to attend a commercial diving school in Fort William, Scotland and received it. I then flew to Scotland and attended the school but ran out of money once again and was told that I would receive my certificate once the course was paid in full. I flew back to Dallas and was determined to get hired as a commercial diver with or without my certificate so I began checking with companies. My ex-wife had just left Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous after fourteen years because the show ended. She said that she wanted to move to Los Angeles and had been speaking with my uncle who was a lawyer for NBC studios there. We rented a house in La Canada near Los Angeles. My sister had moved into my grandmothers house in Carpinteria, California which was up the pacific coast from there towards Santa Barbara. My grandmother was beginning to get forgetful because of her Alzheimers disease so my sister became her guardian. My sister and my uncle began arguing about inheritance matters when my grandmother died. My sister was in charge of my grandmothers money and was supposed to be using it for her care. She looked after my grandmother along with her hired help. My sister then bought some properties which eventually went into her name. She also bought and sold a small business, a boat and a sports car amongst other things and put the money from the sales into her own personal bank account. She then somehow managed to get her hands on the house which was supposed to go to to her and I along with our two cousins following my grandmothers death. She said that she was consolidating assets for my grandmothers care as she only had one hundred and forty thousand dollars left. I went to my grandmothers funeral but was to upset to speak. I dearly loved my grandmother and her loss was almost as bad as losing my mother. I did not receive any inheritance after she died and my cousins stopped speaking to me because of arguments that they had with my sister. I assumed that my uncle and cousins received some inheritance but obviously not as much as they expected. I did some checking and found a document at the hall of records office where my sister told the court that she did not know my whereabouts. It appeared that she made a claim to my share of the inheritance at some point after telling the court that she did not know where I was. I could never understand how she could treat me so coldly. My sister was extremely selfish when she was a child right through her adulthood. I guess this comes from being spoiled but she took selfishness to another level. She never even saved me a souvenir bit of clothing or jewellery from my mother. I treated perfect strangers better then she treated me. It was like the entire concept of brother and sister was unknown to her. I would question her from time to time about these things and she would ether lie or make some sort of excuse that she really seemed to believe. The point is that I was obviously never a high priority for her. I think that she loved me but I was never a high priority if that makes any sense. Most people would have made far more of an effort for their brother but not her. I know that I was not the best behaved brother but did my best under the circumstances of my upbringing. I could understand it if she could not help me when we were young but I always imagined her wanting to help me and expected much more from her once things got better for me. I think on the contrary, that she saw me as more of an embarrassment or somebody that might stand in the way of her getting something that she wanted. I have never given up on her though and have done my best to try and forget everything that she has done. I always wanted the best for her even after the way that she has treated me. My sister got a job with American Express and then married her new boyfriend that she had been going with for some time. They eventually sold my grandmothers house and bought another one in the area. I had landed a diving job in San Diego, California at the naval base, building some underwater slip ramps. I told my ex-wife that I was going to get a temporary apartment there for the job and come home on the weekends. I got an apartment on Coronado island across from the naval base which was just a twenty minute drive. I was doing well on the job and was making good money. My ex wife did not seem to like the idea of me being self sufficient though. She was accustomed to having me depend on her. I came home one weekend and she was really nasty with me. She started hitting me while I was eating dinner so I broke my plate over her head and she phoned the police. The police came and put both of us in jail. I got out of jail and she had taken out a restraining order against me so I went back to my apartment in San Diego. The job finished up and I received my divorce papers from her lawyer which I signed and I did not ask her for anything. I realise in hindsight that it was probably a pretty stupid thing to do but I felt as though by taking something from her that I would be taking something from her son as well. I couldn’t do that since I had helped raise him for the past five years. I could not get anymore diving work because they were tightening up on health and safety. The companies were beginning to get asked for their divers qualifications which I did not have. I managed to get a job as a maintenance person in El Capitan state park which is north of Carpinteria, California. I moved up there and rented a room in a guys house from an advertisement that I had seen. I began working and making a little bit of money. My boss was a forest ranger there and he was dating another female employee. They broke up and I started seeing her. We had very casual relationship and were not seeing each other outside of the park yet. I was heading home one evening and overheard her and my boss arguing before I left. That night I received a call from my boss telling me that I was suspended until further notice. I put two and two together and realised that him and my girlfriend must have gotten back together. He phoned me two weeks later and asked me to meet him at another state park closer to my house. I met him there and he had two officers waiting to arrest me. They were charging me for stalking my ex girlfriend who was now his girlfriend again. I said that this charge was completely fabricated and that my boss was just jealous of us. They kept me in jail for two weeks until I was bailed out by some friends. I got in touch with internal affairs at the police station several times and one of them finally admitted to me that my former boss had tried to get me charged three times but they refused because there was no evidence of any crime being committed. They finally relented and charged me anyway. I went to court and plead not guilty and was told that I would need to go through the entire trial process. I thought at that point that it was all to much and booked a flight to Scotland. I went back to Fort William, Scotland where I had previously done the diving course and began looking for diving work. I went over to the Isle of Mull and got on a scallop diving boat with an American captain. I got a room in a hostel and would go scallop diving on the boat every morning. It was not an easy knack to get. We would find a spot that was no deeper then thirty meters and then jump over the side with our net bag. The bag had another upside down bag above it which I would fill with air from time to time to keep the net bag with the scallops up off of the seabed. Both of these bags were tied to a buoy on the surface by a long nylon rope. Two divers would go at the same time and the boat captain would need to follow their buoys. The scallops were on the seabed and were sometimes open and other times closed and dug in the sand. Most of the time they were closed and dug in. You had to immediately recognise their shape as the current took you past them as it was not possible to swim against the strong current. The trick is to quickly get the scallops into the bag. If they sense you coming then they scatter in different directions. This is a skill that takes some time to learn. It is also very dangerous. I had a couple of close calls which was caused by the fact that I had not thought things through enough. I survived the close calls but was not getting many scallops. The skipper took the boat out of the water to do some painting and other maintenance work. We had completed everything except for the painting and scraping. The captain wanted to let the boat dry out for a couple of weeks before we started that. Another boat crew was in the dry dock and they asked me if I wanted to go to Aberdeen, Scotland with them and dredge for clams. I said yes and we left for Aberdeen . We dredged from Aberdeen along the north sea coast to Wick, Caithness where we landed our clams. I left the boat in Wick and met a girl. We split up and I went north to the Orkney islands to do some more scallop diving. This was even more dangerous as the tides were ferocious. The tide was like a river and you could not even hang on to a rock as it swept you along the seabed. I finished with that job and got on a boat setting out crab pots. We landed our crab in Scrabster which is on the Scottish mainland north of Wick. I did a few more trips on crab boats from Scrabster and then met another girl in Wick. I got an apartment and went on job seekers allowance. The girl and I split up and I was struggling to find work. I was just getting a few little jobs in the Wick dry dock. I went to the Camps bar in Wick which is a fishermen’s bar near the harbour and met a beautiful woman and we were married a year later. Our relationship is built on love for each other. We both have nothing to gain from the relationship. We just enjoy each others company. She has a twenty-seven year old son called Piers. He was eleven years old when we met. His father was killed in a car accident while working for a construction company in Saudi Arabia. I got a job in a slate quarry on the outskirts of Wick. The job ended when I ran into a tractor in my wife’s car after work one day. The car was completely wrecked but I was not injured. We had no transportation for awhile until the insurance company finally settled. We got another car but I had already been replaced on the job. I had been trying to get on an oil rig when I was in America but was unable to. I began trying again in Scotland and managed to get on a rig and then another. I was working for the oil companies on rotation all over the world before long. The money was good and I was managing to provide a good life for my family. We were able to afford all of the things that we needed and some that we wanted. We went on vacations to the Caribbean and spent our winters in Spain when my stepson got older. My stepson eventually moved out of the house and got a job in Cornwall. My wife and I continued to take vacations on our own and took my stepson to Cancun again where we met up with my family. The rotations began getting much longer and I did not like leaving my wife at home alone. I was having a few close calls on some of the jobs as well in third world countries. I was working on a Total oil job in Nigeria and there had been some problems with the workers and the local government. Two government employees arrived on the work site one day and explained that they wanted all of us in the parking lot and that we were not allowed to leave until they received an undisclosed sum of money. They had brought padlocks with them and locked all of the buildings and seized the vehicles. All of our paid local security staff had immediately began assisting the two government employees and held their guns on us. We had two of our own private expat security staff and they made arrangements for two crew boats to pick us up on the river which ran alongside the site. One of our managers then kept the two government employees busy while we slowly made our way down to the river and boarded the crew boats. We stayed at our compound for a week afterwards until things were finally settled with the local government. The government kept all of our vehicles along with a two million dollar payment which the company made to them. The next day we went back to work in an old school bus that the company managed to obtain. The price of oil then fell dramatically and I could no longer find any work as the oil companies canceled all of their new projects. They also replaced most expats with cheap labour from third world countries. I am now sitting at home on job seekers allowance with my wife in our cozy house in Wick. I am very happy but hope that some more work will eventually come up with a decent rotation that does not require me to be away from home for too long and is not to dangerous. I have just been contacted by a company with a job proposal in Algeria. The rotation is four weeks on and four weeks off which is good but it is in a very dangerous location. The location is called (In Amenas) close to the Libyan border which is where several expat oil workers were killed by militants in 2013.

Updates

My book is still a work in progress as I am still uncovering new information through my research. I never got the job in Algeria and the job market for oil workers is now extremely poor so I am currently out of work and have been for almost five years now since the price of oil plummeted. I recently discovered that my father traveled on the SS Excambion vessel with a Dr. Stuart and a Miss. Ottilie Moore rather than Dr. Gamble. They did not acknowledge their presence to the press while disembarking the vessel in New York. They traveled as American citizens in first class and my father was amongst the immigrants in second class. I found their names on the ships register however. I will go further into the connection with Miss Ottilie Moore later. She was a wealthy American woman who's father was known as the German sausage king. She looked after children including my father in Ville la France. Miss. Moore was well known for looking after some jews including Charlotte Solomon. Miss. Winifred (Gamble) Russell-Roberts kept her yacht moored in the Ville La France harbour adjacent to Miss Ottilie Moore's home. They were good friends. Another update to my story is that Dr. Gamble paid for my fathers ships passage along with Miss. Moore's and Dr. Stuart's along with the expenses. The ships registry also has Dr. Gamble down as my fathers and Miss. Moore's uncle. This is all still a work in progress. I would love to get some DNA from the Gamble's which would at least prove my relation without any doubt but it is proving to be a difficult obstacle as none of the Gamble's are cooperating with me and refuse to take the DNA test. It would just prove what we already know but the Gamble's do not want to help my case in any way.   

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