Transcript of 2nd Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Mr. Herbert Michel, Tuesday, July 28, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Herb. How are you doing?
Mr. Michel: I'm doing great!
Dr. Balis: You seem to be in better spirits today.
Mr. Michel: There's nothing better than a deal that goes down smoothly, I tell you. Man, it's fucking beautiful.
Dr. Balis: I take it your connection came through?
Mr. Michel: I never thought I'd say this, but it was worth waiting for! This is some of the best weed I've seen, and there's a lot of it, too. I had the guys over to split it up, but I'm keeping at least an ounce for myself. This is some killer shit! And the meth he got me is the pure, high-quality stuff--you can tell by the crystals. I'll have to cut it for sale, but I'll keep some crystals for myself.
Dr. Balis: I see. Do you distribute these drugs to others to sell?
Mr. Michel: Yeah, and I sell some myself. Don't go lecturing me, Doc, okay? I'm not pushing this shit on anyone. Hell, they call me and practically beg for it. I even sell to half of the suits at SII. What does SII stand for anyway?
Dr. Balis: Silicon Impressions, Incorporated.
Mr. Michel: Silicon Impressions, huh? Is that what you get when you hug some chick with implants? I like big tits as much as the next guy, but damn, some of these women look like freaks. I like them big, but not bigger than my head. I heard they're hard, too, and they don't squish together and wobble like the real thing.
Dr. Balis: I'll spare you the anti-drug lecture, Herb, but I don't condone the selling or use of illegal drugs.
Mr. Michel: Why? It's the only way to make an honest buck nowadays. Did you know that it was how the old man, Joe Kennedy, made his fortune? He was a bootlegger. And what about the Mafia? They made it big selling illegal booze during the Prohibition. It's the American way, the old frontier way. If these pansy-ass liberals want to send all our jobs to Mexico and other third world cesspools, and raise our taxes, and pass these goddamn stupid fucking "zero tolerance" drug laws...well, I'll just be forced to bypass them and make my own way. I'm just a little guy with an entrepreneurial streak. Don't bring me down now; I'm in too good a mood.
Dr. Balis: All right, Herb. What would you like to talk about today?
Mr. Michel: What should I talk about? Should I tell you about my childhood or something? That's what you guys do in the movies and on TV.
Dr. Balis: You can do that, if you'd like. Your past is always a good place to start.
Mr. Michel: Okay, I'll begin at the beginning. I was born in Hollywood, California, but Mom moved up to Fresno when I was little. She had me real young; she was only sixteen. That was kind of cool, though. All the other kids thought Mom was the coolest, just like she was one of us. She even taught us how to roll.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. So she moved from Hollywood to Fresno.
Mr. Michel: From the home of the movie stars to the armpit of America! My Mom's family had a lot of money. Not like the Rockefellers or anything, but they did pretty well. They had a nice house and a big swimming pool in the back. I went there when I was five, and I still remember it. Her old man, my grandfather, invented a machine they use in car manufacturing. That's how he got rich.
Dr. Balis: I see. Please continue.
Mr. Michel: I've got to tell you my whole life story, huh? That makes sense--you'll know where I came from. Okay, so Mom comes home pregnant when she's sixteen, and her old man hits the roof. The guy who knocked her up didn't want to marry her, he didn't even want to see her again. So she was really fucked. Her old man was ready to throw her out, but she said, "No, no, Daddy. I'll give the baby up for adoption." Only she didn't mean it. Right after she popped me out, she hopped on the next Greyhound to Fresno. She didn't want anyone taking her baby away from her.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Michel: Mom worked as a waitress. She worked really hard, two and three jobs sometimes. When I was two, she married this big trucker. He was away most of the time. I didn't like it when he was home. He was one of those real mean drunks. He would drink and get angry and beat up on Mom and me. One time, I stood in front of the TV when he was watching a game. He picked me up and threw me against the wall. I was all crying and shit--I was just a little kid. He picked me up and made me go to my room. Mom left him the next day.
Dr. Balis: I see. Where did she take you?
Mr. Michel: We headed back to Hollywood. That was when I saw the house she grew up in. There was a high diving board over the pool, and Mom knew how to do all those fancy dives, just like in the Olympics. She must have taken lessons or something. Anyway, Mom asked her old man if she could stay awhile. At first, she told him she was only coming for a few days, a little vacation, and he said okay. But when she asked if she could stay a few months to look for a job because she was leaving Ralph, he said no. He said we could stay another week and that was it. I remember he wouldn't talk to me or even look at me. I didn't know why back then. Now I realize he thought of me as the little bastard, and he wanted nothing to do with me.
Dr. Balis: What about your grandmother?
Mr. Michel: What? Oh, you mean my mother's mother. She died when Mom was little. Her old man married this Jew broad, a real bitch--Jewish-American princess to the bone. She only married the old goat for his money. I remember she had these dried-up lips with red lipstick. She was scary-looking.
Dr. Balis: So your mother returned to Fresno?
Mr. Michel: Yeah, she got a divorce from the trucker. She hung out with this biker dude for a while. I called him Uncle Aaron. He was okay. He didn't try to be my dad or anything. He played catch with me and beat the shit out of me to keep me in line. Mostly he left me alone, though. Aaron was the one that got Mom into speed. He did a lot of it, and he and his buddies were always around the house, cranked up on something. There was a lot of dope, too, but that wasn't so bad. Mom was a waitress, and a lot of waitresses rely on speed to get through their shift.
Dr. Balis: Last week, you mentioned that you were hyperactive as a child.
Mr. Michel: Yeah, my first grade teacher sent me home with a note saying I needed to see a doctor. The medicine they gave me just doped me up and made me tired. Mom didn't think that was right, so she took it away from me. Mom took it sometimes to help bring herself down.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Michel: Yeah, my med was a downer, a tranc, and that was what she needed. I think I was all hyper because I was a pretty smart kid and bored in school. I read a lot. When I was seven, I read "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist." Mom freaked out, thinking I was into that Satanism shit. So she gave me a Bible. I read that next.
Dr. Balis: Did you like school?
Mr. Michel: I liked it just fine. I was in classes for smart kids. I have a very high I.Q. A few kids tried to pick on me, but I fought back and showed them that I could kick ass as well as they could. I was kicking a lot of ass in Junior High and High School. Mark, Mom's second husband, made me try out for football because I was so aggressive.
Dr. Balis: What happened to Aaron?
Mr. Michel: I don't know, he went off one day to do a pick-up and never came back. Maybe he died--a deal gone bad or a motorcycle accident.
Dr. Balis: Was your mother involved in selling drugs?
Mr. Michel: Yeah, Aaron showed her the tools of the trade, as they say. He got her hooked up with some people in Humboldt, and some bikers who made their own shit. You've got this "I don't approve" look on your face. But what you don't understand is that it gave Mom extra money. She didn't have to bust her ass waiting tables at a second job. And smoking a little grass is a good way to calm down. It's the only way I can settle down, else I get real antsy.
Dr. Balis: When did you begin smoking pot?
Mr. Michel: Oh, I must have been twelve or thirteen, I think. Oh, and I used to steal Mom's speed before football practice in Junior High. I played a great game when I was cranked, too. I wasn't big, but I could run like hell and I could take a beating better than the rest of them. Speed wasn't really my thing, though. Mom really liked it, she was using a lot by then. I've got a funny story about that. Mom used to put it in her instant coffee, you know those General Foods flavored coffees? One day a friend of hers stopped by, and she offered him a cup of Swiss Mocha. Somehow their cups got switched, and he drank hers, prepared in her own special way. He was up for three fucking days! He was so cranked he was vacuuming the drapes and scrubbing the floor! His old lady figured it out, and said we should slip it to him all the time because their house really needed the work.
Dr. Balis: I see. So speed wasn't your drug of choice.
Mr. Michel: No, I liked hanging out and smoking pot with my friends. For a while, we smoked joints laced with PCP and dropped acid on the weekends.
Dr. Balis: How did your mother feel about your drug use?
Mr. Michel: She was cool about smoking pot in the house, but she didn't like me doing the hard stuff. When she found out I was selling to my friends, she beat the shit out of me. But that didn't stop me.
Dr. Balis: Did you buy drugs from the same people who supplied your mother?
Mr. Michel: Sometimes. But I had other connections through school and work. It's like an unspoken language, almost like telepathy. If you put me in a crowd of people, I can pick out the dopers, the coke heads, and the junkies just by looking at them.
Dr. Balis: I see. You said you didn't finish high school?
Mr. Michel: Man, you've got a mind like a vise! You remember everything I said, huh? You must not have smoked any dope when you were a teenager. Yeah, I got tired of school. I dropped out my senior year. I got good grades sometimes, mostly in English class. I was in the smart kid classes for English and History. But it was boring. I was working as a busboy at Denny's and making good money selling dope. I didn't see the use in staying.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. What did you do after you dropped out?
Mr. Michel: Mom made me get my own place. She was let down when I didn't graduate. I worked my way up to a cook at Denny's and sold dope to the regulars. For a couple of years, I took off with my friends and did some traveling. We went to Amsterdam and bummed around Europe. That was pretty cool. But I couldn't stay there long--I ran out of money. So I went back to Fresno--talk about a fucking letdown! Anyway, I went back to Denny's and started cooking again.
Dr. Balis: What brought you to the Bay Area?
Mr. Michel: Mom got into some trouble. When coke became popular in the 80's, some cops were on to her. I think someone might have snitched her off. She was real careful, and she taught me good. I've never been caught, except for one time, and I was a minor then. About a year, year and a half ago, she got wind of an investigation. The police were cracking down on dealers. They had to go pick on a little old lady like Mom. She wasn't even a big time dealer--she just sold eighths and a little meth. Mom panicked, sold the house, and moved to Pacifica. She wanted me to come with her. So Lenore and I lived at her house for a while. Then we got our own place in the city.
Dr. Balis: How long had you and Lenore been dating before the move?
Mr. Michel: Oh, maybe a few months. When I asked her if she wanted to come with me, I was shocked when she said yes. I was only asking to be nice. I thought she'd stay in Fresno. I didn't figure she hated her old man that much.
Dr. Balis: Hmm. How are the two of you getting along?
Mr. Michel: Don't even get me started. With that kidney infection of hers, we can't even fuck. If there's anything more useless than a girlfriend with a busted pussy, I don't know what it is.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Mr. Michel: And there's no fucking way I'm ever using one of those condom things. You can't feel anything. I guess I'll just have to settle for blow jobs for the next few weeks. At least she can't complain with her mouth full.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Mr. Michel: Oh yeah, do you know what would help me, Doc? How about like Valium or Seconal to ease my pain?
Dr. Balis: Can you get these drugs on the street?
Mr. Michel: Oh come on, Doc. Don't judge me. I'm helping you--I'm telling you what works for me. I don't need to tell you this--I can get these drugs myself. I don't need a prescription. I can probably get any prescription drug you want.
Dr. Balis: That's nice. But I'm not interested in helping you get high, Herb. You are here because you want my help. I think you need my help, too. So let's just stick to talk therapy for the time being.
Mr. Michel: Oh, Christ. Okay.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you next week, Herb.
Mr. Michel: Over, already? Time flies, huh?
Dr. Balis: Yes, it does. Have a good week.
Mr. Michel: Okay. Bye, Doc.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Herb.
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