On the inside, I'd been left with dark memories that overpowered the good. I didn't want to feel the pain I'd carried with me from my childhood into adulthood, and so I didn't want to stop using drugs. But I couldn't keep on going like I was. I kept trying to do the right thing, like my mom had taught me, like I had been told in church when I was growing up, like I knew I should. But my life was so crazy that any attempt I made to be a decent human being only seemed to land me in another whole mess of trouble.

A few months before my run-in with the Burbank Police, I'd met this girl, Tiffany. With me, there was always a girl involved somehow. There was something nice, almost normal, about this particular girl. She was mulatto, medium height, and curvy. She had this reddish hair that she wore short and spiked. She started hanging around, and pretty soon we were dating. I guess that's what you'd call it. I wasn't exactly the kind of guy who sent flowers back then. But we were together a lot, just doing whatever. And even though she was using drugs herself, she was supportive, in her own way, of the fact that I was trying to get my life together.

I was done with how crazy the drugs made me: the paranoia, the hallucinations, the feeling that maybe if I had to draw my gun on somebody, and then, if he drew his gun and shot me to death, it'd be for the best. I didn't think my mind or my spirit could take much more.

I quit meth. I quit crack. I basically quit selling drugs. I had a little money that my mom had kept safe for me during the years I had gotten heavily into drugs, and I just tried to live something like a normal life.

But getting out wasn't that easy. Not after I'd been so deeply involved for as long as I had been. On the day of my run-in with the Burbank Police, I was in my house in Sun Valley when I got a phone call from this other girl, Joelle, I'd hung around with for a month or so, about seven months earlier. I knew I shouldn't be taking calls from other girls when I was seeing someone, so I went into the other room to keep Tiffany from hearing my conversation.

Excerpted from Killing Willis: From Diff'rent Strokes to the Mean Streets to the Life I Always Wanted by Todd Bridges with Sarah Tomlinson. Copyright ?? 2010 by Touchstone. Reprinted by permission of Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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