The Driver (Part 1) Guest Blog by Andy Stanley

This week’s guest blogger, Andy Stanley, is a former employee of the criminal enterprise I ran in Arizona before my arrest. If you’ve read Hard Time or Party Time, you’re familiar with the larger-than-life friends of mine Wild Man and Wild Woman. The Wild Ones feature in Part 1 of Andy’s story. The entire story of my Ecstasy smuggling mission in Mexico is a chapter in Party Time.

My name is Andy Stanley. Back at the height of his Ecstasy empire, Shaun Attwood used to call me Mr. Wolf, after the character played by Harvey Keitel in Pulp Fiction, esteemed for his driving skills and his ability to clean up messy situations. Let’s just say Shaun employed my services from time to time.

Back then, Shaun made a splash in everyone's lives. I will never forget the little duplex on Farmer Street in Tempe, Arizona where he housed his two English partners in crime, Wild Man and Wild Woman, collectively known as the Wild Ones.
Wild Woman in the duplex on Farmer Street
The duplex served as our dilapidated den of iniquity. Watching DJ Keoki spinning records on the turntables, I traded my Rolex to Shaun as our group dropped like flies after Shaun, sitting like Dionysus on a bed of women and their assorted garments, gleefully distributed caps of GHB to everyone free of charge. I woke up in full Max Hardcore makeup, sitting in a bean-bag chair, wondering where the rest of my eyebrows were. I saw a pretty young lady looking for her – let’s say her shoes – that would later be my wife, mother of my children, and divorce court executioner. Shaun noticed my interest and gave me her ID to return and the rest is history.

Due to the rapidly rising police heat surrounding the Wild Ones, Shaun relocated them to Mexico. In Puerto Peñasco, Wild Man quickly became known as El Gladiador [The Gladiator] and El Oso [The Bear] after throwing a local through a wall at JJ's Cantina. So what, right? Well, JJ's overlooks the ocean and is built on a short pier, so at high tide you're sitting over the water. It was low tide. And it was black lava rock on the beach. I know the local survived because I was not asked to bring a suitcase full of cash to pay off Oscar the local cop.

In Phoenix, Shaun was having difficulty communicating with Wild Man in Mexico because Wild Man’s phone had gone dark earlier in the week while I was planning a trip to bring Wild Man supplies. While this was unusual, it was not necessarily cause for alarm. He had some kind of reloadable Nokia GSM, and he had run out of minutes before and money was one of the things on my supply list. Right next to the "note to self" about keeping the money from Wild Man with the words "Shaun's Pissed Off!" underlined beside it. Shaun was aggravated because his Spring Break Mexico Ecstasy smuggling mission was getting close, and the Wild One’s place was by now supposed to have been established as a temporary home for a large shipment of pills coming from Amsterdam. On these trips, Wild Man was generally able to get whatever petty cash Shaun had allocated for expenses out of me, either through coercion or picking me up by my ankles and shaking me until he had all of my money, drugs and anything shiny that fell out.

I grabbed my keys, dope, and girl then set out on the six-hour drive through Southern Arizona across the Mexican border to the tiny town on the Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Peñasco. We arrived in Puerto Peñasco as the sun was setting. My white 1998 Honda Accord was heavily laden with groceries and various items you need to make a house feel like a home. We checked into our usual hotel just down the hill from Plaza Las Glorias.
Puerto Peñasco
In those days everything but the Plaza looked like it had been built with decay in mind. The buildings seemed to melt right into the trash piles, and you sort of had the feeling that not only was there no effort to clean anything, but the environment had sort of evolved and incorporated the filth into its DNA. That being said, to this day, in my 39 years of life and love of good Mexican food, nothing has, or ever will taste as perfect as the street tacos the old man with a little igloo ice chest and a charcoal grill on wheels sold. He would scoot slowly down the strip and make them right in front of you for $1.00 each. I salivate at the memory.

As we finished getting checked in, bags unloaded, and drugs stashed, we quickly ate some tacos and drove to the end of town, through the flea market and down a little alley that opened up about 1/8th of a mile above the beach into what a plough had decided was this week’s road to Cholla Bay. I down shifted and stomped the gas until my rev limiter was about to kill the motor and shifted into higher gear. If you drove like you would on any street, you'd sink to the sand very quickly and would have to wait for someone with a 4X4 to happen past. As it was now nearly dark, you were as likely to be robbed by the police as you were the people driving the 4X4 you were counting on for a tow.

The tiny town of Cholla Bay did its best to stay up late, but it was usually asleep by 8:30pm. At Shaun’s request, my wife had leased a small one-bedroom condo in Cholla Bay. As you entered the town the sandy road turned to a V-shaped fork and the condo was to the right on the left side of the road about 6 to 8 houses up. These smaller Mexican buildings generally look like the owner built them by bending a truckload of rebar into the shape of a house then filled in the gaps with about as much concrete as the hoover dam needed for completion.

As we pulled into town, I had a strange feeling that I would have twice more in my time with Shaun. My ears felt warm and like they were growing very rapidly, my eyes seemed to pick out every detail in the sand, and my mind felt two seconds ahead in time. The hairs on my arms and neck stood out on end, and I knew everything was not OK.

We pulled into the vacant lot adjacent to the Wild Ones’dwelling. We had only leased the condo a few weeks prior and this would be my third time through the front door, but on my prior visits it was bright and loud and at least somewhat bawdy. Tonight, it was dark. The porch light was out, the windows were black and something felt wrong. In my soul I knew something was not in harmony with my memory of this place. I ordered my wife back in the car.
“Lock the doors and windows up!” I gave her the keys and had her sit in the driver’s seat. “If anything goes wrong, drive the fuck out of town! Don't stop until you are over the border!”
I closed the door on her. As I was walking up to the side of the condo cursing Mexicans and their insane gun laws and thinking of my gun, a Sig Sauer P229 sitting up inside my car’s exhaust hood next to the bulk of my drugs, I neared the first window. As I took in the window, I had a rush of vertigo as the adrenaline surged to toxic levels in my blood and my mind struggled to sort what I was seeing.

The windows were black. Blackened would be more appropriate. There had been a raging inferno. Because of the solid concrete construction, the exterior, aside from the windows looked as good as new. I edged up to the window and peeked inside at the black. Chunks and mounds of blackened mush with wiry claws entangled in rigor mortis as if hell has frozen in place and then rotted away. Of course it was just bits of clothing and furniture, but in that moment as the last breath of dusk exhaled softly in my ear, it was as if I'd stepped into a nightmare.

I moved as confidently as I could past the rest of the windows and spared only a glance at the front of the house and something snapped into place in my head. All of the windows and now the front door had furniture piled in front of them. Had Wild Man barricaded himself inside? The thought didn’t make sense. I'd seen him do incredible violence without becoming excited enough to open his eyes all the way. I covered the distance back to my car in the blink of an eye.

Waving at my wife and mouthing the words, “Move over NOW!” I flew down the sandy street, across the long dark road to Puerto Peñasco, through town and onto the highway, only spending $100 two times to make the speeding charges go away. Mexican cops – getting that job must be such a windfall.

We made it to the border four minutes before it closed. It was a massive relief. After two hours driving on a dark highway with sporadic streetlights – and don't discount that we were as high as kites on crystal meth – we had come up with the most terrifying cartel kidnappings involving moustachioed Mexicans straight from central casting, carving up Wild Man and cauterizing the wounds with a fat cigar pulled from between rotting teeth. We reached cell reception north of Ajo, Arizona and dialled Shaun. Voicemail first ring. Shit! Try again. Voicemail. So we went 3.5 more hours trying to reach Shaun.

Webpage for Party Time, including chapter 1 and Amazon links:

Shaun Attwood


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