"What are you doing?" his puzzled wife asked as she watched him
getting dressed.

Moving my scales, the little bit of weed I have downstairs and the cell
phone I use to call north," he said as he flew out the door.

In an hour or so he returned to bed with his mind still on overdrive
after moving the two boxes to a safer place outside his home and off
his property that he thought he never would have to use. The police
never raided his house, but his expensive alarm system never was
activated in his modest home when the home was entered and
trashed the day after he met the distributor for another buy.

Not taken were expensive power tools, jewelry on a dresser and
electronic items in clear view. That's when he realized he was part of
a much bigger known network with the new distributor that he
wanted out of since it was no longer safe. That the new guy was
moving cocaine had scared our main character silly. The pot that he
moved for almost a decade was soaring in value in comparison to
cocaine prices which had really dropped. His pot was as valuable as
the coke nowadays. He had a going out of business sale and moved
the rest of his last purchase from his remote location. He drove
about ten miles from his home and threw the scales over a rural
hillside. With garbage, he burned the couple boxes of gallon size zip
lock baggies that smelled like skunk from being stored with the pot.
His days as a dealer were over.

Having her home broken into and ransacked didn't go over well with
his wife, either. When valuables were not taken, because nothing
really was taken, she took the kids to her parents' home and stayed
for about a month there. During that time, he started to get a resume
together and actively job hunt. Neither wanted to continue to live in
the house that they loved, so it was put on the market and sold
quickly. They practically gave it away just to get out. That journey led
him to his old room at his parents' home to look through his things
left there.

"So you want to get out and earn an honest living?" his dad asked as
he entered our main character's old bedroom that day.

"Yeah, real estate isn't a great profession to be in now," our main
character said.

not in real estate," his dad snapped angrily at him.

"What are you talking about?" our guy played dumb and answered
that the income from the rental properties wasn't enough to live on

His dad wasn't dumb. He wasn't just guessing correctly either. How
did he know? For a moment, our main character's heart sunk
thinking that his wife told his parents. But no...

"A couple months ago, one of my friends who is a detective up north
said that you were under surveillance there. He said that you used to
drive to State College or even to Lancaster to meet someone. He told
me that you for years transported trunks full of expensive marijuana
twice a month to sell here," his dad said sitting on the bed.

"I didn't  believe it at first. You were not taking drugs. But it is true,"
his old man said in a voice that started to break and be choked up
with emotion.

"I talked to you to see when we could go hunting. When you told me
that you couldn't go the Monday after Thanksgiving, I told my friend
you were probably making a deal there that day. That's the time you
drove up there and nobody was waiting for you. They grabbed him
with all that dope about an hour before you got there," his dad said.

"Why didn't you tell me?" our main character asked.

"I couldn't. I don't know how loyal you were to that man. You might
have told him. I wanted to protect you, so I told the police when you
were going. That stopped you from being arrested," his dad said
before he broke down and cried.

"But I went back. I had other deals, dad. Why didn't they ever grab
me?" he asked his dad.

"Because that man was allowed to sell the rest of his marijuana and
go about his business not to arouse suspicion. He cooperated with
police after Thanksgiving to turn over his cocaine dealer. In
comparison, his marijuana contact was a nobody. The big cocaine
dealer your car franchise owner dealt with brings in a lot of heroin
and illegal weapons from Mexico and Canada. Anytime you met the
guy in the BMW after Thanksgiving, he wore a wire," his dad told

For someone who didn't use drugs, our main character's hands were
shaking. He knew he was going to throw up. He cried for some time
and thanked God that he trusted his instincts and stopped making
trips north for trunkfuls of pot.

"Did the police break into my house?" he wanted to know when he
later found his dad in the kitchen reading the newspaper at the
table. His dad shrugged his shoulders and said he honestly did not
know. He doubted it was police since they had the wire tape of him
refusing the Christmas cocaine present.

"They didn't want you, son, and you need to be eternally grateful
that they had bigger fish to fry," his dad said.

"Does mom know?"

"No. Nobody but me."

"Thank you for telling me. I wasn't ever going to sell drugs again, you

His dad looked up at him, stared for a moment and shook his head

"I hope not. You're a lucky man. You could have been arrested or
you could have been asked to be a confidential informant - which is
probably worse in the long run than being arrested," his dad said.

A couple weeks after our main character took the civil service tests,
he started the interview process. He also interviewed for other jobs.
He took a teaching position in a neighboring school district as a
permanent substitute, then resigned when he was hired as a teacher
in a state prison and needed free days to start the training and
orientation process.

"Do you think you should take a job at that prison?" his wife asked
him the night before he was to report to training.

"Sure, why not? There are no pot dealers there. I won't know
anyone. Nobody will know me. These guys are murders for the most
part," he said.

Teaching in a state prison earning an approximate $40K annual
salary meant at least a fifty percent drop in income for him that first
year. He managed well on it but close to the end of the first year, got
into one of the packs of buried money to fund a one-week vacation
for his family. His wife was pregnant again and stopped working on
doctor's orders about a month or so after their vacation. Money
started getting tight and he didn't want to keep dipping into his
buried money.

Working in the prison introduced him to a whole underground
world of killers, violent thieves and predators. He knew that he
would be locked in if there were an uprising or riot and he were
inside. That never bothered him. He was liked by the prisoners who
were in his classes to get their GEDs. They were close to getting
paroled or near the end of their long stay. None were considered a
real risk because most really wanted desperately to do their time and
get out.

"Gary!" our main character heard someone call out his name. He
turned to see - and disbelieve he was seeing - his first pot distributor
in an orange jumpsuit, definitely an inmate there.

"That is you!" the former distributor said to our main character Gary.

Gary wanted to disappear. Instead he shook the inmate's hand and
expressed his surprise.

"I was arrested three years ago. I am appealing a homicide
conviction. I killed someone in self defense," the inmate said.

"During a drug deal?" Gary had to ask.

"Yes. He and another guy refused to pay. One pulled a gun. I shot the
other one who was coming at me with a knife," the inmate said.

A prison corrections counselor walked by a few times during the
conversation. Later she asked Gary about the prisoner. She said he
should tell someone if he knew him personally. Gary lied and said
they had just met. He explained that the prisoner mistook him for
someone he knew and they struck up a conversation.

"That's good that you didn't know him, because he starts in your
class next week," she said.

"He seems like a smart man. He'll have his GED in no time," Gary

That night when Gary was home with his family, he talked to his wife
about putting in a transfer to another prison. That would mean an
additional twenty minutes travel each way to work, but both agreed
transferring - if it could be done quickly - might be the wisest thing
Gary could do.