By that point I was on the way back from my friend's house with a sixteenth of speed, totally ignorant of all of the excitement I'd been causing across the San Fernando Valley. I had the drugs, and I was going to see a sexy girl who would be very glad to get them. That's all that mattered to me. My gun was in the secret hiding place I'd made in the dashboard of my car. It was right below the radio. There was a button that looked like it controlled the car alarm, but when you pushed it, a secret compartment dropped down. I was good at hiding places. There were plenty of times the police searched different cars I owned over the years, but they never found my drugs or my gun.
The police hadn't given up searching for me. Far from it. They picked me back up. As soon as I heard the siren, I knew they had me. I pulled over. They came out of everywhere. And they made it clear—they weren't playing.
"Get out of the car, right now!" one of the officers yelled at me, his gun drawn.
Behind him, the officers from the other squad cars and the undercover van stood at the ready, legs wide, guns drawn. A drug dog barked and tugged at its leash. I had been through this before. My trial for attempted murder in '89 was big news. The headlines that ran on TV and in the tabloids were plenty nasty. I'd had to go through it again a year later, when they retried the case.
I couldn't face it all over again. I was totally demoralized.
I hit the button and opened the secret compartment where my gun was hidden. I had a 9mm Beretta in there, and I put my hand on the grip.
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.