2001 – Gary Player Home
Ranked as the 8th Greatest Golfer Ever
Around September of 2001 I was incarcerated in the Federal block of the Lee County Jail on the fourth floor of the building in downtown Fort Myers, Fl on a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine charge. The Federal prisoners were segregated into their own pod, but were allowed to mix with the state prisoners at recreation on the roof. It was there one afternoon that I ran into “Crazy Charlie.” If ever there was a person who deserved the moniker crazy, this was the man.
I had met Charlie in the course of my journey through the crack world which had begun in November 1998. He had been a long time acquaintance of Tina, a girl that I had fallen for and let move into my house. Tina was addicted to crack and I was trying to help her break her habit. Once she became pregnant in order to keep her off of the streets I started letting her sell crack out of my house to support her habit. Of course that turned out to be a slight mistake.
Anyway that meant a lot of crackheads were frequenting my house including Charlie. So I got to know him a little and realized what a crazy bastard he was. One night Tina had left with some clients to go to Fort Myers to pick up some crack to sell when Charlie came over. I told him Tina had gone to Fort Myers to pick up. He talked me into getting into his car to go up there to find her.
He was a use the car for suicide mission type driver. He headed out to I-75 squealing tires every time he took off. When he got on 75 he got it up to 100 mph and when he couldn't pass on the left he would pass on the right shoulder. I thought I was a goner. I couldn't believe he hadn't attracted the police yet. We got to Fort Myers and found Tina and her ride at a gas station near to the current pick-up motel. Charlie began circling their car while it was at the pump as fast as he could squealing tires so much that the smoke was becoming a vision problem. All this while he and the other car are both carrying crack. Tina saw me in Charlie's car but Charlie wouldn't stop. He continued for a few minutes until he finally ceased and then just proceeded to drive back to Bonita the same way he had driven up.
Eventually before I went to jail I began selling crack myself and did some business with Charlie. So when Charlie saw me on the jail roof we sat down and caught up on happenings. He starts telling me about the night he went down to the Ritz-Carlton dressed in black slacks with a white shirt, the same attire the car parkers wear, and stood by the front door with the genuine car parkers. As he was standing there a man pulled up and got out of his car and approached Charlie and handed him his keys. Charlie got in the car and took off. He said it had a TV, a bar, and on the dash big letters spelling out “Player.” Charlie knew nothing about golf, but I had been raised on a golf course from 1946 – 1962 and Arnold Palmer and Gary Player had been two of my childhood heroes. I knew that the Senior's PGA tour had a tournament in southwest Florida every February. I had attended several in the 90s before I got involved in the crack world. I told him he had stolen a famous golfer's car.
He went on to describe how he had driven it around Bonita Springs for several days without getting caught by the police and I've already told you how he drove. One night the police spotted him and a chase ensued. I don't remember how long he said it went on but eventually in his effort to escape he tried to jump a creek and the car hit a tree and flipped over and landed upside down on the opposite side of the creek that the police were on. He did not lose consciousness and was able to crawl out while the police had to drive to the nearest bridge to get over. He was near another girl crackhead's house so he was able to hide in there while the police searched the area most of the night. They knocked on her door and talked to her but did not come in to do a search so he got away on that one.
What with Gary being one of my childhood idols and with my libertarian and property rights beliefs the episode he had relayed to me really bothered me and I just wanted to stay away from people like Charlie. However I was on my way to Federal prison where I figured I would meet many more.