Rock Monster: A love Story

by John Parker

Second Place winner, Fiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, October 2023

(handwritten story follows typed story)

“We’re rich, Sugarbutt”, Johnny said as he lit up a half-smoked Lucky Strike that was found laying on the windowsill along with the rest of the butts.  It was early on a Saturday morning and Johnny was wide awake with anticipation.  The thought of having sixty thousand dollars come Monday morning had the gears in his junkie mind grinding overtime.  Smoking crack pretty much consumed his life on a daily basis since about two weeks into his relationship with Melissa.  What began as a typical beach romance quickly turned into Bobby and Whitney reincarnated.

When it came to the drug life, Melissa was greener than Leprechaun piss.  A single mom living on an Army pension meets a strung-out ex-con.  The closest she had ever come to the world Johnny introduced her to was watching Boyz-in-the-hood.  But Johnny managed to fast track her education and in no time, she could have graduated with a masters in rock-o-lo-gy.  It was a toxic relationship.  But they didn’t just fight hard, they loved hard too.  Like a river that runs through the forest …  nice to look at but beneath the surface there was a hostile undercurrent that quickly pulled you under and drug you away.

And that’s exactly what happened.   There was no telling when or even if they would resurface.  “Two more days, Sugar, and we are going on a road trip that’s gonna make National Lampoon’s Vacation look like an episode of the Travel Channel.  I say we head down to Florida first and get some of that Pablo Escobar Grade A shit and then head up to see your Dad in Indiana.”  Johnny had a way with words and although this adventure wasn’t going to be anything other than a crack house on wheels, he could make it sound like it was all about his Babydoll and what was best for her.  “You haven’t seen him in a long time, Sugar, and he’s only gettin’ older.  Might be a good idea to pay him a visit just in case you don’t get another chance.”  That piece of advice would turn out to be the best advice Johnny would ever give her.  One month after their visit to see him, her dad passed away.

“Dammit, Johnny, what sense does it make if we’re leaving South Carolina and going to Indiana, that we drive all the way to Florida first?  All you care about is getting high, and I hope you don’t think we are just gonna smoke all that money up?  I need to fix our credit that you destroyed and find us a place to live.” said Melissa.

“I destroyed,” Johnny replied.  “You mean WE destroyed.  You been suckin’ that glass dick like the female version of Rick James.”

Melissa didn’t have a leg to stand on when it came to that point of reason, but at this moment it didn’t matter who was right.  It was Melissa who was getting the money and Johnny made sure to remember that.

Melissa stepped out onto the front porch where Johnny was sitting.  She lit her cigarette from the short he was smoking and sat down on his lap.  The whole situation was bittersweet for her.  Though it ended up being a financially good move to sell the house, it was the reasons why she had to sell that hurt.  This chapter of their Rockstar Romance was over.  Hopefully the next chapter would be better.  They had no way of knowing what was in store, but they were ready and had sixty thousand dollars to get there.

Their first stop:  the dope man.

Princess Can Prosper

Princess Can Prosper

by Mary Taylor

First place winner, Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022


* The Beginning *


2022 — Who would’ve known I would end up here again at A.C.J. or with a new record.


Let’s go back to 97-98. A senior. I know High School was a time your suppose to find yourself and have fun becoming an adult, not me I hated school. That was the year I lost my virginity and found out my mother smoked crack.


See growing up in Elementary School my mom was a drunk her and her BF would drink Velicoff by the gallon. If she wasn’t out with a man she was drunk. I got beat for no reason and kept up on school nights. That’s what I called mental & physical abuse.


In Junior High I participated in every after school activity I could: Cheerleading, Pom-Pom, Double Dutch and Basketball just to escape from the reality of home. I have no siblings it was just me. So in school I didn’t know how to be a good friend or share not to mention I was shy and my wardrobe wasn’t up to par. Shoot, sometimes I had to wear the same thing twice a week and also it didn’t help I couldn’t read.


Yep you guessed it I graduated and couldn’t read they just passed me by, but one thing I could do was write a helleva essay and I was good at it.


My senior year I got accepted to two colleges: U.D.C. and Wesleyan. I knew I wasn’t going to college. There was only so many bathroom breaks I could take when it was my turn to read. So college definitely wasn’t an option. I took the easy way out and got a job at McDonalds and went to Sanz School for medical assistant, but that didn’t last long.


Terminology kicked my I quit and got me a job at Marshalls, on my way to and from work I would teach myself to read. That’s when I met my son’s father the man I fell in love with, what I thought was love. That’s when everything went down hill.


My 1st Love


I was in love actually he was my first love, we were inseparable. I would sneak him into my room and he would sneak me into his mancave. I was 18 then and he was 21 and neither of our grandmother’s was having it. I thought I had me a good man neither one of us smoked or drank at least I thought.


One night I went 2 his house after work and he got a phone call all of a sudden he became adamant about taking some movies back to Blockbusters. I told him I want to go to, but he told me, “No” Red flag. Anyway long story short his grandmother caught me in his bed and called me every name in the book. Once I got outside I saw him in a car smoking weed with some girl. I just looked at them and walked away. I was hurt until I heard the girl tell him to go after me. Of course he did and I forgave him.


In 1999 we both decided we needed our own placed and moved on R St. NW. In February I found out I was pregnant. We were both still working and everything was good until we found out our rent was damn there $1000 because of my income. So I had to quit my job to make it more affordable.


After that things got worst. One of his sisters moved in and we didn’t get along and he started hanging around females and smoking weed alot, and I hated it. I wasn’t getting no attention and then he lost his job and had the nerve to take it out on me and told me to get an abortion. I like to died, but I knew that wasn’t an option. I would move back home 1st.


Anyway he started hustling with his BG down the west and everything was good money was coming in his sister and I was getting along. At this point I’m 5 months and I found out I was having a boy and I had chlamydia. Do you know this nigga had the nerve to say I gave it to him. I left him and moved back home. A month after that the apartment was raided looking for his sister’s boyfriend, and who did he come running to yep me.


At that point our relationship was over the trust was gone but I still loved him. In November 21st I gave birth to my son 9 lb 10 ozs 21 in. At HUH by C-Section.


My son’s father was some shit he may have came everyday to see him but through labor he was ghost. I left in 5 days but my son stayed 20 days due to complications and I didn’t even indulge.


After his birth I started kicking it with some girls from school. And through them I met Tony Bone and found a G.G.G.F. [good girl friend]. T.B. loved me and my son like he was his. I was 19 and he was 28 and a male hoe.


After what I been through my heart was shut down for repair. So I started messing with both of them on the side.


Good Girl Gone Bad


In 2003 I moved to Woodland SE. I should’ve listened to my family when they said “no way.” I got back with my son’s father and everything was good at least I thought we were working, I bought a car. Then here comes his BF came and put him on again from there he started back hustling. Dude’s there didn’t like that he was in their territory, so they started stealing and robbing him, but that didn’t stop him.

Next thing you know an informant told on him and they raided the house but no one was there. Once again God spared us. I was so scared I thought we should stay with his sister for awhile, that was 2004 that’s when shit hit the fan he started smoking PCP and I was his punching bag. All his money and time went to PCP. There were blackouts, some times he got lost, and don’t forget the flock of dipper heads around. That drug was taking so much of his time.


I tried it and liked it, it was the worst mistake of my life.


When we saw not charges were filed we moved back to our apartment he started hustling again this time my aunt moved in which smoked crack so money was flowoing like water. He got locked up again and he went away for 3 years and I was lfet with a vicious habit. I started taking over the hustling by day and while at work my aunt had the night shift.


The girls around there already didn’t like me because I was fly they really hated me now. I had to idea what this drug was [doing] to my brain, but I loved this drug and it didn’t love me back.


Then I started hanging with this girl who was the devil. At this point Im catching charges every other year. I was so gone I decided to steal my neighbors truck. I pack all my clothes in the truck put my turtle in the front seat with the seatbelt on. I had no money but I was moving to NY to sell my ass for a living, before I left I got 4 dippers and pulled off without paying.


At this moment it’s 2008, my son’s father is home but wants nothing to do with me because I won’t stop smoking. You got to be kidding right. The only good thing he did was take my son with him, because I was done. Anyway I got all the way to Baltimore called my BF who is a officer, and decided I wanted to go back. So I went back home and got a U.U.V. [unauthorized use of a vehicle] charge. I was losing my mind. I didn’t know I lost it when my grandma died in 2006, she was like my mom.


So at this point I got 2 yrs Probation, I’m clean working as a Document Specialists and hustling and hanging with this serpent. In 2009, this girl got me jumped and they hit me with a brick. All I could see was this girl who I thought was my friend dancing and laughing while there damn there killing me. HUH released me that same night why I don’t know my face was so messed up the bus drivers wouldn’t even let me on the bus. I was so embrassed.




One thing I can say is I always attendant church on Sunday because it is only by God’s grace I am here to write this. I’m saved and I got baptized twice at 13 and 42 yrs. At my church I’m in the choir and the production crew, but due to Covid 19 I relapsed and it robbed me of everything I owned and my joy. I’m done with that life of drugs.


I want to now become a Peer Specialist and help others leave drugs alone. I just hope God see fit to give me another chance and let me go home.


To Be Continued


by Karen Steelman

Nonfiction, Arlington County Detention Facility/Heard/OAR writing contest, August 2022


In life there are crossroad [where] we need to take responsibility for our lives. I went through the crossroad and chose the wrong path. I was supposed to die but by the grace of God I was given another chance. I have been clean for 16 months.

I have lived most of my adult life as an addict, I was governed by drugs. The end result was crimes, prison and poor health. I was so focused on getting what I thought I needed that I ignored most of the moral boundaries most people take for granted.

I stole, lied, scammed and robbed and in the end I was in the street’s twenty four hour’s a day looking for money and drugs. My life became miserable this resulted in a vicious cycle.

My pain was from childhood abuse, I medicated the pain with drugs. They made me feel better, but in the end the drugs drove me to the brink of death.

Now if I was to use street drugs it would be suicide. I still carry the pain of my childhood, it’s not always present but it arises from time to time. As a child I lived in a world of fantasy in effort to escape from my emotions fear, pain.

I have a disease it’s called addiction as I have been an addict all my adult life. I am powerless I hand my will and my life over to God, which has relieved me of trying to control things. It is up to God now – the results and footwork is up to me.

I thank God on a daily basis for my life and my recovery. I treat myself with respect and I love myself because I deserve it. I look at my behavior throughout the day. Today I’m more able to say I’m sorry. I forgive myself but not forgetting the crossroad and the path.