“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” -Hunter S. Thompson
So to begin; I meet AJ back when I was in 6th grade following a fight I had with Dustin Cooper. I honestly don’t remember much about the time I met him because I didn’t care too much about 6th grade but I remember we spent quite a few weekends hanging out going to a comic book store that was in Roy called The Paper Dragon where we played arcade games, going to Little Ceasers back when it was in the strip mall next to Harmons; as well as spending time in class driving our old teacher Mrs. Call insane because she was such a horrible, mean person that we had to make her job as horrible as we could, not that there was any shortage in kids doing that. Once in JR high starting in 7th grade we used to go around and hustle people in games of Pogs to add to our collection and shop lifting what we couldn’t win or afford back then. We where a rough gang of two (sarcasm implied) that was involved in petty shop lifting, vandalism, smoking and drinking AJ’s parents alcohol and creating as much havoc as possible; you know the things that young punks do when they think the world owes them.
My most vivid memory of those days was when we put our money together to purchase a joint from a friend at the time. After spending the whole day swapping it back in forth keeping hidden out of complete paranoid we got out of school and decided to head to AJ’s house so we could smoke it. Once we got to his house after a brisk and anticipatory walk he pulled out the joint only to find it was broken perfectly in half. Now being the geniuses we were at the time and as opposed to just taking a half to ourselves he decided to “fix” it. After what felt like forever of him shuffling in the corner while I watched Cheech and Chong’s movie “Up In Smoke” he came back with it; perfectly taped where it had broken with…..scotch tape; Yeeeeah, that was a dumb idea. It was so think and harsh that we couldn’t even finish the joint; oh and yes the chemicals in the tape caused us both to hallucinate as a matter of fact. Dumb ideas, man that’s what we most famous for together back then, we had really good times back then though and we wasn’t always up to no good. Sadly though after a while AJ got really bad into meth and we would end up losing each other only to reunite for a little while from time to time starting in 9th grade after Lauren Sultan and I broke up all the way through High School due to his disappearing living a thugs life or stints in jail. There were even a couple of times when we considered each other enemies because we would choose sides with other friends and other issues. In those times we never talked, but we never let things get really rough between us. Almost like we where forced to be this way but didn’t want to.
Some time after I graduated High School during the time that Jesse Sorenson and I where living together at my parents house we ran into him. It was such a joyous reunion and the three of us quickly became the Three Amigos for good and ill. Some of the best times we ever had happened during those days; I really needed them because I was going through such a hard time in my life of depression, worthlessness, and confusion; I think we all needed each other for those same reasons. We used to have a few different things we used to do together routinely. back in those we spent hours and even up to whole days playing WWE Smack Down on Playstation with our own created characters which had their own stories and background we all shared with each other. We would have competitions, battles, and matches that would last the whole time we played; I remember that Playstation used to get so hot we worried it would die on us after starting on fire. Man it would be nice to crack Smackdown out for one for more night and have one last Battle Royal. If you couldn’t already guess but all three of us loved watching wrestling and would watch it religiously back then together discussing the science and psychology of pro wrestling as well as talk about and fight over who was the best and worst. Once a month normally on the last Sunday there would be a Pay Per View that I would order. My mom being the sweet heart and good person she is would in turn make a really big and delicious meal; it was like Thanksgiving once a month and we would get really baked and would eat her out of house and home; I am thankful for her and all she and my dad did for us. I remember a couple of times that the three of us did meth together, AJ being the residential tweeker, and Jesse and I being the stoners would only do this three times, but I remember those were crazy nights of walking around Roy having to have those two try to calm me down because I would want to vandalize everything I could, hours of writing and early mornings of telling them to be quiet because I was so paranoid that my parents would find out.
Back in those days the three of us where really tight and seen each other through a lot of thick and thin because all three of us as young men had a lot of issues we where trying to sort through. It was also during this time that the story of AJ and doing Acid and he almost killing me happened. Eventually we would all start getting busier with our own lives but would stay really tight. This started with Jesse getting married followed by AJ after getting his soon to be wife pregnant with twins. I still remember when he told me; we had decided to take a trip up Ogden Canyon to get some food and drive around when he gave me the news that he was having twins, it was such a shock that I ended up swerving into incoming traffic and darn near killed us.
As I just mentioned we were still really tight through it all until one night while AJ was living in trailer park on 12th street in Ogden. This night we decided to have a party and to drink; I had also been talking with Joey and thought I could help rebuild the bridge that was burnt between the two of them by having Joey come that night. Well it did work at first though there was a lot of tension still in the air which the alcohol didn’t help to ease. Things started getting out of hand and during a drunken insult contest between AJ, Jesse and I; AJ ended up taking something Jesse said personally and punched him; I protested this action and while I was packing up to leave AJ ended up punching me in the face. This was a huge surprise as well as a major blow to our level of trust and level of friendship. Years ago we had both promised that no matter what happened and how bad we would ever fight that we would never physical. I was heart broken, I felt so stabbed in the back. I hated him for a long time. I held onto these feelings for a couple of years and it wasn’t until I ran into him one day out of the blue and eyes almost filling full of tears, he apologized to me; what could I do, I forgave him.
To this day we are still very good friends and I love the guy. He’s always been my walking buddy, somebody I could share the deepest, darkest most deranged parts of my mind without judgement; mostly because he thinks that way as a normal part of his life. He’s been a really good and a really bad friend but has always tried his best for when I really needed him the most.
We don’t get to see each other much anymore but when we do get to hang out we always revert back our roots together. I mean our real roots of enjoying the simple things like a long walk or a game of basket ball, not the drugs or the stupid things we grew up doing. These days he is a much happier man still seeking to find himself, to atone for his past and to move on and build a new future. He is much braver then he thinks being in the position he is in and considering the hole is crawling out of; but I have never met such a stubborn S.O.B. so I know he can.
I don’t really know where to begin, Late September my father called me informing me that A.J. had been arrested and that I could find the story was on the front page of the Ogden Standard Examiner. When I found it, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It said that he raped a 14 year old child; it made me feel sick on a level I’ve never felt before. I don’t know if it’s because I was going to be a father myself or maybe because my image of him was suddenly shattered. “What the F— was he thinking” is all I could ask myself while I tried to get ready for church. That was a rough Sunday but not as rough as what I would come to find out by putting together bits and pieces of information I would get through the next few months.
After speaking with both his wife Windy and an old mutual friend Jill over the course of the next few months I heard the real story. He’d been doing this, not to some strange 14 year old girl; but what I would end up finding out would be so much worse and depraved then I would ever think possible from him. I would also come to find out that he was heavily back into drugs, had a huge porn collection in addition to his drug collection; and right before he was arrested he wiped his phone clean indicating that he may have gone back to dealing drugs as well.
It’s strange to think that while I sit here comfortable writing this, he’s sitting in a cell in the Utah state prison named “Point of the Mountain” serving a 15 to life sentencing, that I may never get to see him again and that he may never be free again. In the months that he’s been locked up, he’s tried to hang himself, has constantly tried to contact his parents expecting them to help him by paying for a lawyer and put money on his books. On top of that now I hear that he’s been able to convince his wife Windy to stick to his side. When he was in Weber County Jail, she would constantly visit him telling him that she loves and misses him though she plans on not waiting for him or staying married to him.
I hope I am not centering the focus of this on me at all but this is my blog, my journal, this is my decompression chamber so I can’t help if I accidentally do. Before I continue just know that my heart goes out to his family and friends for the pain and hurt he’s caused them and I feel so bad for what he’s put the poor victim through. he’s ruined the victims life before they’ve had a real chance to do anything with it.
You think you know somebody and then WHAM, it’s all smacked in your face; the good times, bad times, the ugly and dark times, all of our memories and growing up together. I’ve known him since we where kids and I’ve watched him grow up into someone who’s struggled to make the right choices and failed time and time again to follow through even the best and motivated intentions but I never saw this coming; I never entertained the thought that he would able do to this. I questioned everything, our past friendship, what else he could have been doing during those times in the past where he was in a dark place. What could he been capable of doing to me or our friends, whether this was all even real or not or if he was really guilty or not. I know Jesse had hard time believing all this and still think he does. I ran through our whole history in my head over and over again looking for something, I’m not sure what, but just something, anything that would explain to me what happened with him.
I’ve also spent a good chunk of time questioning myself as well. Questions like “who was I really?” “What am I really capable of as a man, as a human or if I was capable of being less then human?” “Was it possible for me to have become like him had I not turned my life around and embraced God?” “Where would I be right now if I never find God?” In the months that followed; I had been varying levels of pain, hate, and confusion about him and even about myself, the likes I’ve never felt before. “Could I have done anything to have prevented this?” “Should I never have tried to help him out in the past?” “Should I have just let him continue to go off the deep end the many times he did that I ended up helping him to pull back from?” Sometimes I think that I could have driven us off road that moment he told me that Windy was pregnant. while on a trip up the canyon. But what a stupid thought; all of these being a hero and saving the day thoughts where stupid. How was I supposed to know that he’d end up like this and how could I really stop him at the end of the day? All I know is that I am glad that I’ve turned my life around and that I will never sink to the level he did.
The did end up finding him guilty and he was sentenced to 15 to life. Only time will tell what his time left on earth will be like. Only God can judge him and only He will know if A.J. will ever really feel remorse for all the heartache he’s caused everyone who’s ever knew him.