I met Laura when I was 14. Her father, Tony was my blood father’s half brother. He came into my life when my father was killed and began to take me down to Ruidoso on a regular basis to spend time with his children. This was incredibly kind of Tony, not to mention it was a lot of fun, he had 3 kids, Laura and her two brothers, Nathan and Corky.
In the beginning, my visits to see the cousins was relatively innocent, the occasional cigarette or can of beer. But within a short period of time, we had escalated to large quantities of alcohol, then cocaine. This was a very dangerous time for me as my cousins were lacking their allocated amount of the common sense gene when in utero; as did I. When I was with them, we did the most unimaginably stupid things. Whether it be driving around town shooting out windows, stealing golf carts and driving them off cliffs, seeing how high and far we could jump our vehicles over cattle tanks, all of course while cross-eyed drunk. But the grand daddy of our stupidity was an afternoon excursion to Mexico to buy booze.
We got it in our heads that Laura, my brother Tom (who was about 8 at the time) and I should drive to Juarez Mexico to buy cheap booze. Juarez was about 2 1/2 hours away. We told Laura's parents that we were going hiking and then camping out overnight. When we arrived in Juarez, we bought enough booze to take care of Jim Morrison for a month. Once we loaded up the car with rot gut alcohol, I had the bright idea of having a drink; or two. So off we went, with my eight year old brother, to a seedy Juarez bar to drink like adults. 4 hours later, there we were, absolutely shit-faced drunk and a two and one half our drive ahead of us.
Laura was the only person with a driver’s license, Tom was too young and mine was revoked for reason that I can no longer remember. Although Laura was the drunkest of the three of us, she’s the one with the license, so off we went drunk driver and all. We got across the border with no problems but an hour down the highway, a State Police officer pulled us over. When he pulled us over, I was passed out; he had to shake me to wake me up. The officer let us know that he'd stopped us because Laura was going 35 in a 55 mph and weaving in and out of her lane. The police officer asked if we'd been drinking, of course, I belched and said no. Laura told him that she was just very tired. He instructed me to drive but when he discovered that I didn't have my driver’s license, he told Laura that she'd have to drive and to stop at the next filling station to buy a coffee.
Minutes after pulling away from the cop car and back onto the highway, Laura started to pass out. No matter what I did, I couldn't keep her awake. It was very dark out, we were on a crowded 2 lane highway and the police man was directly behind us.
I managed to reach over and set the cruise control for the posted speed limit. Then as quickly as I could, I dragged Laura out of the driver’s seat and into the passenger’s seat. She was not much help by that point; she was down for the count. A couple of times while I was pulling Laura out of the driver’s seat, I remember reaching over, grabbing the steering wheel and make sure we kept on a straight course; just in the knick of time. Once I finished moving Laura, I slid into the driver’s seat and took over as captain. All of this while we were rolling down the road at 55 mph, in a pitch dark night and a police officer right behind us! There was still a major problem, I wasn't able to see straight so I had to keep one eye shut and do the best I could to keep the other eye focused so I’d stay on the road. I couldn't pull over or slow down because the cop was right behind us, must have followed us for at least 60 miles.
We did eventually make it back to Ruidoso, in one piece but less millions of brain cells and decreased liver functions. We did continue to drink through the night with our eagerly waiting cousins. Who by the way were furious with us for being 5 hours late.
This is how we lived our lives in our early and mid teens. Laura
later in life took it to a level that only by the grace of God I didn't go to. Laura used and subsequently became fatally addicted to heroin. Laura looked like the all American small town girl. She lived on a small ranch, had a father and mother who loved her, they were worth millions. She was a cheerleader, rode and helped her mother coach/train hunter jumper horses and riders. When she died, she was virtually estranged from her family and certainly penniless. She was found all alone in a cockroach infested Arizona apartment. She still had the syringe stuck in her arm. She left behind a habitual criminal of a husband and two infant children whom she passed on fetal alcohol syndrome and hepatitis c.