Randy McCall Story #3- “I Saw The Lord!”
I was sitting on the front porch of Crab’s house (the McCall home) on Christopher Ave. It was a summer afternoon. As was my usual, I had a 16 oz can of Colt 45 Malt Liquor in one hand, and a cigarette in the other. I was preparing to make my living by selling drugs. I worked as a roofer when I could. I also worked for a local contractor named Walt Winter when I could. But he always seemed to take on some very hard jobs involving very intensive labor. Anyway, I can’t remember my life situation at this particular time. More than likely, I was living in Slick McCall’s broken-down American-made station wagon that was sitting in the driveway about 15 feet from where I was currently sitting. My father threw me out of his house without warning when I was 18 years-old. This was a few months later. Someone was on the porch with me…I just don’t recall…
The afternoon was a typical Hamilton summer afternoon: People were outside in their front yards, working in their gardens, or working on their cars…children were playing hopscotch or other children’s games. Not much was happening. School was out for the summer. Occasionally, an administrator would exit the school and get in their car to go home for the evening. Every few minutes a car would turn onto Christopher Ave., and pass between us and the schoolyard, on its way to Harford Rd. I was always hoping the driver would pull over and request an $10 or $20 bag of weed…that’s how I made my living, after all. But this was a particularly slow day.
I sold mostly weed. Back then, 2-toned Mexican was desirable. I didn’t know what “kind bud” was. Basically, except for some Thai Stick that was actually high-grade pot tied to sticks that came around once, I never saw any real good stuff. I had heard rumors of Panama Red, Alcapoco Gold, or Red and/or Green Columbian, all my life. But I hadn’t actually seen much “special” weed. Anyhow, I used to get a quarter-pound of the aforementioned 2-toned Mexican marijuana for $45. That would break down into 8-10 $10 bags. It seemed like the right thing to do back then. I never really gave it much thought. I also sold hashish and flakes, as well. Fortunately, cocaine and heroin weren’t very popular at that time. If they had been, I probably would have crashed-and-burned along with most of the folks who messed with that stuff did.
Suddenly, the front door screen door swung open…all the way. And in a blur, I saw Randy McCall running out of the house…passing within a foot of me…I think I actually felt a breeze when he passed by me. Before I knew it, Randy was in the center of the schoolyard with his pants down around his ankles yelling at the top of his voice,” I saw the Lord! I saw the Lord!” It was like, all of a sudden, everything stopped. All the neighbors were incredulous. Some were urging their children to run into their houses. Some were frozen I even saw a mother placing her hands over her children’s eyes, pick them up, and carry them inside. It was somewhat surrealistic. Randy was smiling.
Let me explain about Randy…and flakes: A few days before this incident, he had decided to join the rest of us (almost all of us, it seemed, were selling something) in selling some drugs. A good friend had trusted him enough to front him an ounce of greens. Now, I think the only reason Randy made this decision (to sell drugs) was due to the fact that they were VERY GOOD! He probably thought he couldn’t lose. For those who don’t know (or remember), “flakes” refers to parsley flakes treated with the chemical PCP. Now, PCP was originally used as an animal tranquilizer. It was primarily for treating horses during procedures, etc., and other very large animals, I suppose. Evidently, it could send a 2000 pound animal to La-La Land almost instantly. So, it’s not difficult to imagine what it could do to a 140 lb. teenager (or less). However, the circumstances surrounding this incident are extraordinary.
An ounce of good quality flakes break down into just about 7 “cans” of good flakes. You see, a “can” refers to a 35mm film canister. Normally, flakes of this quality would be cut by the dealer with plain parsley flakes to produce 10 – 15 cans of mediocre flakes per ounce. But Randy was honest and fair and did not stomp on them at all. However, as I mentioned before, Randy began to get high on his own supply. I’m sure, he had every intention of selling at least 5 cans…to repay his debt for the ounce he borrowed. And, back then a can of flakes sold for $25. And an ounce cost $125. Well, you can do the math. This is the thing that makes this case extraordinary: 1 can of good flakes could get 4-5 teenagers so high that they may very well wander around in a telephone booth for 4 or 6 or 8 hours, thinking they are at the pearly gates of heaven…and really believe it, too! So, I have a very difficult time trying to imagine where Randy’s head was as he finished the 7th can all by himself!
I mean, Randy was a wild child to begin with. He came from wild stock (on his father’s side, of course). His family and mine were somewhat similar. In fact, his dad and mine knew one another and ran in the same circles. I had three brothers, but didn’t have any sisters. Randy had 3 brothers. Plus he also had 2 sisters. And both of our fathers were prone to drink and get mean. Randy’s dad like to teach him and his brothers how to fight at these times. Mine just liked to terrorize the hell out of us…take away our spirit and crush our souls. But that’s another story.
The point, I guess, is that Randy went crazy. I believed that he believed he “saw the Lord.” But the neighbors, especially the ones with small children, were not as sympathetic as I was. But just as suddenly as Randy had burst through the door, Crab and Weasel came bursting through the same door. But they were carrying an extension cord and were on a mission. Within seconds they wrapped Randy up in that extension cord and carried him, resisting as he was, like a wriggling rug up the front steps right past me, just like clockwork. For some reason, I was not particularly disturbed by any of these events. Perhaps it was the flakes I had been consuming the past few days. After all, I had done some rolling around the laundry room visiting those pearly gates myself just days before (more than likely, that is). So this was not out of the norm. The feelings and concerns of the neighbors did not give me pause, at all. I had a pretty good chuckle about it. Got another tall boy from my lunchbox and lit another Kool.
It was just about that time that many police cars came from all the cardinal directions right towards me. Then dozens of cops were suddenly interested in what I had just seen. I took another drag off my Kool and assured them all that I had been sitting there for at least 30 minutes, but that I had not seen anything unusual at all. They pressed me. But I reiterated the fact that I had no idea what they were talking about. The lead cop told me they had received so many phone calls in such a short time that it broke some sort of record for the Baltimore City Police Department. I explained that his records didn’t interest me in the least. His face turned many shades of red and purple. But I wasn’t phased. Then they proceeded to knock on the door to inquire. Randy’s brother and friend appeared just as mystified by their suggestions that something indecent had occurred.
Crab, or Clayton McCall invited them into the house to look around, which they most assuredly did with great interest and haste. But nothing was found to indicate the validity of the neighbors’ tales. With no proof, and just the neighbors exciting stories…and I suppose, my affirmation that no such event had occurred, the police really had no choice but to abandon their investigation and leave. Back then I had no love or respect for the men-in-blue…which were typically referred to as “pigs” by every friend I had. What they actually did with Randy, I was never quite fully made aware. I believe I was told they had wrapped him up in a rug, and stuffed into a dark recess in the basement until the coast was clear…