Yea… crazy man.
My little gang of friends (the street punks who introduced me to him) worshiped Allen. He was the coolest, baddest and most fun crazy dude they could ever imagine. Allen made street life way funner for them than TV or any movie… EVER!
The fact that Allen really was the only true friend I had during my time in Omaha, both helped and harmed me. One doesn’t get close enough to witness these things without being personally affected. Oh, and I was affected. I was allowed to connect with this amazingly intense individual and his toxic lifestyle.
Up close and personal.
Yea… crazy man.
To connect with him, I had to do something crazy too. Crazy for me anyway. I had to cover up my good boy/good man identity (or at least any sense I might have to act on it) while in his presence. I also had to cover up much of my good natured affability. At all times. To respond to what was happening as that friendly good man would have dramatically affected how Allen responded to me. Since that was such an obviously unpredictable risk, I chose to be as unresponsive as possible. To everything, at all times.
It was like putting on a mask. A mask with no expression. I wasn’t putting on a different personality, just covering up the one I had. It was the only way I could be in and around that level of craziness at all. I still had access to my authentic self, however. This allowed me to pull myself out of any of the inevitable dangerous craziness that would always happen around Allen, at crucial moments.
Of course I’m saying this from my adult self’s awareness of what went on. At the time I was simply acting reflexively. After all, I was actually in survival mode.
Actually, it worked quite well right away. Allen responded very positively to my presenting myself as the quiet, big hairy dude. I was two years older than him, quite a bit taller and with broader shoulders. A bigger guy for sure, but I had no illusions that I could intimidate him and of course I never tried. That would have been putting on a different mask. A scary one. I had absolutely no experience and no desire for any of that.
Besides… Allen was scrappy and I could tell that his default setting was all out war when it came to fighting. His “Crazy Allen” reputation preceded him and there was no doubt it was well founded when it came to acts of physical violence. No doubt in anyone’s mind. That could out scare anyone’s scary mask.
The evening I stopped him from fighting that wrestler dude, I could see that Allen was holding back. For some reason he did not go into an all out war mode and listen to me instead. He later boasted of how proud he was that he hadn’t even considered going for his knife.
Yea… crazy man.
I felt that Allen respected me after that. Since I said so very little, our time together was about him. It was always all about him anyway. I could see that. He was either talking about stuff he did or was going to do or showing me something related to either of these.
Allen often acted the show-off around me (especially when he was high) but he always respected my wishes when I told him I had to go. When I wanted whatever was happening to stop. I never told him to stop doing it, just that I wanted to stop being around it.
Except that one first time.
That one night he let me stop him from fighting the wrestler dude. It happened very soon after I met him and I can see now how it helped to set a tone for our relationship. For the rest of our time together.
I guess I’ll have to write a little more detailed description of that evening now.
Well now… I think I’ll leave that for tomorrow when this will have to be…
To be continued…