standing on the river
“Over time, you get used to anything. No matter how difficult, uncomfortable or oppressive life is, you create a routine to deal with it.”
The headline was the same in every newspaper in the country: THE END OF CRIME IN AMERICA with a picture of Dr. Steven Samuels in his lab at Sampson Pharmaceuticals. Ever since he was a child, Samuels dreamed of doing something that would make the world a better place and as he grew up, he never lost sight of his dream and worked toward it. School was easy, so he was number one in his class in high school and college and got a doctorate in neuro-pharmacology at twenty-five. His first job out of college was director of the Alderton lab, the largest and most advanced pharmaceutical laboratory in the world, where he developed drugs for several neurological disorders including bipolar and parkinsonism. But Bavotrin was going to make his dream come true. That drug would make it impossible to commit a crime so there'd be none. Without crime, prisons would be unnecessary, the death penalty would become irrelevant. People would live in peace and freedom without locked doors or guns in bedside drawers. The world would be better for the work he did. But, of course, things never go exactly as planned.
Although Margaret McDurant was the head of one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world and had a long track record of extraordinary success, she could never let down. She had to operate at her highest level and could never drop her facade of invincibility in front of anyone because, being a woman, they would default to dismissing her abilities. She had to earn respect. It was never simply given. Her feelings were always under wraps as was every part of her. An exposed collarbone would emphasize her sexuality and reduce her gravitas. Even women might dismiss her. But Dorothy was different. She was a trusted insider, almost her equal when it came to getting things done and a sister at arms in a world of testosterone. McDurant had a dream. She was going to run the most profitable company in history - Samuels' drug was going to help her do that - and no one was going to stop her.
Just a few things about me.
I grew up a sheltered child on the north side of Chicago in a lower middle-class family that never went outside the city except to visit relatives in the suburbs. I never saw a mountain that wasn’t in a picture or on a screen, never walked in the wilderness or saw a wild animal outside a zoo. We didn't even have a dog or cat.
I went to college and got a B.A. in writing but didn't think I had experiences worth building a story on, so it was hard to get myself to write. After college, I was determined to do everything that wasn't "normal." I hitchhiked across the country, got involved with the drug culture, shared run-down houses with unusual people and lived on a commune in Tennessee.
At twenty-seven, my life took a turn back into normalcy – a wife, a family, a business and a big house with a view of Puget Sound. Everything seemed to be going according to the American Dream and I felt pretty good about it. Then bipolar symptoms started to rise. When I was finally medicated, a disastrous event caused borderline issues to overwhelm me. My family buckled under the stress. My business crumbled. I lived in chaos for twenty years and found myself alone and lonely. Fortunately, I had my art, was able to sell what I made and immersed my life in it.
I made wood wall sculptures with a technique I developed. sold three hundred pieces and have them in hospitals, offices and homes around the country including the Mayo Clinic. Even with that success, my life was filled with misery. It took ten years to work through a series of drugs till I found one that relieved my bipolar symptoms without side effects and found a counselor who helped me handle my borderline issues.
In 2018, I finished writing a book about the techniques I use in my art and enjoyed the experience and learned so much that I wanted to write more. I’ve always been a good story teller and wrote a few of them, but they were all autobiographical about my drug days in Chicago and my life on a commune.
The concept of a Crime Pill came to me ten years ago. In April, 2018, I started writing this book and the story started pouring out. I wrote four to eight hours every day and often had to discipline myself to stop and go for a walk or eat. I loved every minute of it. I love my characters. I know them better than I know my friends because I know everything that drives them and percolates under their facades.
I met Nataan Mizrachi briefly the day his family picked him up at the prison. A lot of bad things happened because of me but this wasn't one of them. He was about as naive as they come, fell in with the wrong guys and almost lost his future. But it's tough to avoid a dead end if you can't read the sign and Nataan definitely couldn't read the sign.I was lucky to grow up in a comfortable part of the city with parents who surrounded me with books and a love of learning. Opportunity was like breakfast in the morning, so I expected to do something important someday. But things didn't go exactly as planned and I found myself sitting in a Senate hearing explaining how the project I thought would do a lot of good turned out so terribly bad.This is my story, but I start with Nataan's because our lives had several parallels including parents who loved and cared for us. But his childhood collapsed on him and he reacted like any normal person would, by finding a way to cope with it. In that sense, we weren't much different.