|Crack Dealer's Rabbit Hole|
It was 1998, and that night a party had been planned at a friends over on New Garden road. My friends and I were coming out of the now defunct Hardee's on Wendover when I was approached by a young gentleman of a clearly darker complexion then myself. He asked for a ride, and while I wanted to say "No", I eventually said I would if it was close. He couldn't tell me exactly where he lived, but pointed me in a direction, and off we went.
A few minutes later we were at Pep Boys on High Point road. He said he just had to run in for a minute. I walked in with him, and he went back and got some product off the shelf and went to the front to pay. At least that's what I assumed. When we got up front he held out the item, and demanded a refund. The kid was stealing, and I was shocked! What's even worse is he got away with it, and left with several dollars and some change from the fake return.
I would have just ran out and left, but I was beginning to worry about the character of this guy, and realized I needed to make a cool getaway. He was clearly worried about me leaving, and jokingly said, he just needed to do it to get something to eat. He was trying to befriend me. He said, hey, drop me off at this motel down the road, and I'll be good from there.
I confirmed: "It's just down the road?"
Him: "Right down High Point Road"
I wasn't going to judge this guy, after all he probably was "just poor and hungry", and my Methodist upbringing clearly led me to believe, judge-not-be-judged.
So off we went to the Coliseum Inn, or whatever it was called at the time.
We pull in, and he says "come on in, and I'll give you some money for gas." Being gullible, and a complete idiot back in the 90's, I did so. I also felt compelled to make sure this poor soul was able to get in his room okay, before dropping him off at some random hotel So we walk up to the door, and a 7 foot tall Ethiopian black man with no teeth and so thin he probably weighed under 100LBS greets us. He invites us in to the room which was filled with a deep thick smoke. Every lamp was covered, and beads hung from all the door frames. In one area of the room, a static television with barely a picture mumbled in the background, and a small metal fan blew the warm smog air throughout the room. The room was obviously lived in, as clothes hung from a line rigged from one wall to another.
In the room was another skinny black man, who I was introduced to, and then offered to sit. My hitchhiker and the gentlemen sat around making small talk, before he eventually handed him the acquired money, and the Ethiopian NBA player broke out a crack rock.
Yes a crack rock.
Next thing you know there's a crack pipe and the 3 of them are passing the crack pipe getting high. I had already gotten some sort of contact buzz from whatever was amidst in the air, but clearly things were about to step up a notch as my hitchhiker passed me the pipe to thank me for giving him a ride.
You could hear what sounded like spousal abuse coming from the neighbors, children doing jump rope outside of the crack dealers door, and yet it was almost silent in sense that this room was so abstract, so far removed from Greensboro and its "Disney's small world boat ride facade". Here in this hotel was the Greensboro people didn't want people to know about, it was where all the people go, that the rich of the city wants to get rid of. A metaphorical sweeping them under the rug. In this hotel people tried to forget the world outside. They, in a sense, had created a door, by which walking through takes you to a different place, a place of exile, a place of forgetfulness... of Isolation.
It wasn't long before I finally realized I was way over my head. I had to leave. Unfortunately the adventure continued before I finally was able to ditch the guy in the urban housing project on Elm Eugene street. I drove as fast as I could, and drove to my friends party. It was at this time, I was glad to be in a house on New Garden road that cost $200,000 dollars, surrounded by my Western Guilford friends, all of which think Greensboro is boring, and that there is never enough shopping at the mall. Two different worlds, and I had journeyed into both via the Coliseum Inn.