My mother got rid of me, but good. I had just turned 14 when she locked me up in a warehouse. Straight Inc., the place was called. I was trapped there for 16 months.
Her husband had been beating me up. I guess she got sick of my screams.
Straight billed itself as a drug rehab for kids. The weird thing was, out of of the hundreds of us in there, like three of us had done more than drink a beer, smoke a joint.
But to Straight, every teen was a druggie. At least, every teen whose parent had a checkbook and a desire to disappear them….
My mother told me she was taking me to a boarding school. Picturing green lawns and window seats, I got in the car. I let her and her husband drive me across six states.
But then I stepped into the Straight building, and everything felt wrong. Like carnival music played backwards. The few kids I saw had shirts tucked in, robot eyes. The adults had clenched jaws and clipboards.
I was a strong kid, a loud kid. I was used to being able to at least fight back.
There was no fighting back at Straight.
My mother said goodbye; said she was leaving me there. I tried to bum rush her. Seven people–three girls, four guys–grabbed my arms, my legs, my Levi’s waistband. They held tight.
When I tried to scream, they clamped hands over my mouth. When I tried to bite, it felt like they’d stolen my teeth.
I learned quick that I couldn’t use my teeth at Straight. Or my screams. Or my fight. All I could do was tell those hundreds of kids, “My mother was right. I am a drug addict.” All I could do was lie, and swear it was the truth.