This excerpt is from Chapter 21, A Man Don't Have To Die To Go To Hell. I was in Washington, D.C. freelancing on camera covering the 2004 Presidential election. I was a complete mess. My life was unraveling quicker than ever.
The bottle of poison sitting on the counter was a stark reminder of the last 12 hours. It was sort of like waking up to a wallet that once had money but now was empty because the previous night all your money went to the strippers or to the bar down the street. Brad Paisley said it best, “It’s a place down by the airport, where the girls dance just for you, and all you feel is drunk, and broke, and lonely when they’re through. It’s waking up with nothing but that old tobacco smell, you don’t have to die to go to hell.” Paisley nailed those words. He was exactly right. Hell was right where I was at the moment, and hell would also get hotter as time went by. I also knew that the little amount in that bottle would only keep the withdrawals away for a short few hours. I decided to wait to take it when I could no longer stand feeling the way I felt right then. If I took it then it would start wearing off before lunchtime. I would hold off as long as possible.
I managed to take a very quick shower, throw on clothes and make it to the van. When Rudy and our camera operator saw me they looked at me as if I was the walking dead. I had my sunglasses on so they couldn’t see my bloodshot eyes. On the way to the interview Rudy asked me if I was ready and properly prepped. I lied and told him yes. Quickly I grabbed my folder and tried a cram session. There was so much that this guy had accomplished it all simply ran together. I was in major trouble. One good thing was I would have cue cards with bullet points on them. I still had to know the stuff in order to play off the points. Because I have been in front of people for most of my life I can “wing it” and make it believable. This was way above my head this time. I could sense the worry in Rudy. This was very important to him and I decided that I wanted to at least do it for him. I’m sure he had to be thinking, what has happened to this guy? This isn’t the same person that I first met in Nashville a few years ago. No kidding! Surely he hasn’t fallen off the wagon again? I hadn’t just fallen off the wagon; I had taken a major leap off the wagon!