Like I've already said, I wasn't really dealing anymore, so I didn't have any drugs on me. I called a friend of mine and arranged to meet him at his place in North Hollywood to get some speed for Joelle. Then I drove from my house to meet her, and then, from there, to my buddy's house. While I was driving, I totally forgot about the cops who were following me.

This was not easy to do. The cops had been a constant force in my life since I was fifteen. That's when my family moved to the San Fernando Valley. The police force started harassing me, pulling me over, calling me a n*****, and finding any excuse they could to hassle me until I came to hate the color of my own skin, almost as much as I hated the police. They'd arrested me plenty of times since I'd gotten into drugs, and they'd been following me pretty much nonstop for the past two years. In fact, my good friend Shawn Giani, who was my neighbor in Sun Valley for many years, had called me and tipped me off that the cops had asked if they could watch my house from his bushes.

At the height of my meth use, I got so messed up on drugs that I went out to their undercover van and started banging on it, shouting, "I know you're in there!" There was a guy in there, all right. He took one look at me, climbed up into the driver's seat, and drove away. But that wasn't the last I saw of him.

Whatever I was doing, I could count on the fact that there was always a cop somewhere nearby. When I was on meth, no matter how high I was, I knew the police were out there. And I was always able to avoid them. Even when I was doing fourteen grams of meth a day, and so high I was having hallucinations, driving around with drugs and loaded guns in my car, dropping off and picking up the girls I had working the streets for me, the cops never caught me.

But on that day in December, I smoked some pot, and pot made me stupid, real stupid. It was the only thing I was doing since I'd quit crack and meth. It should have been an improvement, right? It would have been, except for the fact that on pot, I was a total moron. That made me an easy target. I didn't care that the cops were following me because I didn't know. I had forgotten that cops even existed.

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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