I might regret admitting this: In almost EVERY SINGLE situation, if a friend or even an acquaintance needs help of any kind I am there 100% to help out in any way possible. I will help friends move, give free advice on WordPress or other web stuff, pick up a friend from the airport at 11:00pm because her flight was cancelled, I have even run into the burning house of people I didn’t know. It’s who I am and what I do, I always have.
Sometimes, I even go out looking for ways I can help. I have been known to ask NPOs like the 1010Project if I can promote what they are doing through my Twitter feed, on Launch Your Project or in any other way. I even have been working on a shadow project that could generate revenue and I am going to offer it to NPOs and other benevolent organizations first and for free.
I do these things because it makes me feel good and whenever possible, I put myself in a position where I can help out. I do not tell you these things to put myself up, or to make me seem like a good person. Fuck that. I say these things, because I am trying to lay the ground work for the story I am about to tell.
In elementary school in Prairie Village, Kansas I grew up in a part of the neighborhood where there were not very many kids. I had my friends who stayed at their grandma’s house two doors down and I had Jaymee Duncan who lived up the street. Jaymee and I would ride bikes and play “Man Hunter”, we would hang out, or sleep over at each other’s houses on the weekends. Jaymee was such a good friend that when I was kicked out my house in high school, he let me stay in his room with him in the basement of his mom’s house for 6 months.
At some point, Jaymee got to be good friends with some guys who I eventually met and came to like quite a bit as well. One of the guys, who turns out to be almost exactly the same age as me (by a couple days at the most), was named Brandon. Brandon was not the smartest guy, but he was a good friend who was happy to just hang out with you, get drunk or high with you, and who would blindly have your back in a heartbeat. He would jump in a fight for you if slightly provoked. It’s just the kind of guy he was.
If I remember correctly, Brandon left for a while to go to Texas to see his mom and live with her for a while. After some time, he headed back to KC and hooked up with a guy he knew or met or something. The two of them started selling Xanax, and reportedly were making about $2000 a week. Needless to say, they got busted by the cops because they were not all that clandestine about their pharmaceutical business and Brandon’s friend rolled over on him. What this means is that his “friend” basically told the cops everything and then some to get a deal. Brandon, being the type of guy he is, said nothing because “you don’t rat out yer boy“, Brandon’s words.
Brandon went to jail.
He has been in and out of jail for almost 7 years. During one parole time, he got into coke and some cops (not his PO) found out and told him he had to help them get his coke dealer or he would be put back in jail. They set up the sting at Brandon’s workplace and when the deal went down, they raided the place like bored Prairie Village cops do – guns a-blazing, screaming, and generally excited to be involved in anything other than harassing 16 year-olds for minor traffic violations. Again, needless to say, Brandon lost his job. Well, part of his parole was that he had to have a job. Being a convict, he couldn’t get another one. Being depressed about what had happened, he made more bad decisions and went back to jail. Over the next 5 years, he was in and out and couldn’t stop “dropping dirty” – Brandon’s words again, for when he had drugs show up in his mandatory piss tests. So he is back in the slammer, he says for the last time.
Brandon has somehow always remembered my phone number, so before he went back into jail he called to check in and tell me what was going on. He asked for my address, which I gladly gave him.
About a week ago, I got a letter from Brandon. He told me about jail, about his plans to find a solid footing when he gets out, and how much it sucks in prison. Some quotes (just as he wrote them in the letter):
“I have to go eat lunch, its hamburger. I am not going to eat though I sold mine for a stamp.”
“Prison is a lonely place, I have no moral support from my family at all. Its heartbreaking. But luckily I have goods friends like you and Jaymee. Jaymee once told me that no matter what happens we would still be friends. I would like to think it applys to you to. You have seen me at my worst and still fucked [around] with me the next day and I got love and respect for you for that.”
He asked me to call his mom, so I can get her address and send it to him. Apparently, he does not have access to a phone at all.
The next part is what is killing me, and made me want to write this blog post and ask for what you would do.
He sent me a couple money slips, and asked me to send him some cash. $300 or about $22 a month, which he says “I put it on our friendship that I will pay you back. If I didn’t need help I wouldn’t ask”.
I am torn because Brandon got himself in this situation despite the advice and pleas of his friends. I am also torn because of the quality friend that he was to me when he was out of jail. I hear from him sometimes more often than I hear from other people I knew in high school that have never even seen inside a jail except on TV.
What would you do? Would you fill out the money slip and send him the cash?
I plan to find out his mom’s address, write him back, and to send him a sheet of stamps so he can write back. I just don’t know if I should send him the money. Please help!
To answer a question: He says the money is for toiletries and things of that nature.