Drugs, Girls, Crime, Prison, University & Near Deaths (DGCPUND) Part 3

Welcome to the city, its just the beginning...

Drugs, Girls, Crime, Prison, University & Near Deaths (DGCPUND) Part 3
Got to love the city lights, we don't love the other side


I must have underestimated the impact of the criminal record. I thought due to the sales experience I had just picked up opportunities would come by easily. That was not the case unfortunately. I attended several interviews, non commission based roles most of which found the 1 criminal record under my name a high risk. They would inform me a week later that I didn't get the job, that they had found "more suited employees with relevant work experience". I didn't want to go back to commission work. I needed some stability and relaxation in my life. That job was taking up most of my energy, I wanted a guaranteed income weekly instead of unpredictability. In sales you couldn't afford having a bad day, so when I would get into an argument with my mum or a girl I was seeing at the time, my performance would degrade. Meaning I made less when I wasn't positive or had to deal with shit in life. Instead, I found myself unemployed chilling with one of my closest friends doing pretty much nothing. We would drive around the area listening to music and get high. Linking up with the boys in the night and getting back home in the early hours of the morning. Yes...it was fun at times but I needed to get my life back on track. He would be selling some weed on the side and worked full time. I was out of work recording songs with a budget studio at my mothers house. Dreaming about mansions, luxuries and girls, wondering if I would make it one day. Just dreaming, not really heading towards it. Maybe I should have saved some of the money I had made from sales. I had spent nearly all of it on weed, food and gambling. A bad habit I had carried with me from childhood. Risking my income with the hopes of doubling my money. That rarely was the case, more times I would lose to greed. Wanting to win unrealistic amounts and not understanding the psychology behind it. The house always wins no matter what. I rarely prayed or looked to god for answers. Something I use to do in prison. I found myself at a very low point in life again and if it wasn't for my close friends, girls and boys, I would have completely gone off the rails. They supported me a lot mentally. The assistant owner of the company invited me to her house again. She was staying in Canary Wharf and her fiancé was at work. I told myself nothing sexual this time I didn't want that on my conscience. Besides, I needed her more for finding employment than anything else. We ate the food she ordered and spoke about finding me a job. She said I was always welcome to go back to the sales role, but I had other plans. A few months passed and my mental state was degrading. I was in my room one day listening to an instrumental and trying to write a song. All of a sudden I heard a deep voice in my head. I couldn't make out the words but it was scary as fuck. Was I going crazy? What the fuck was that? I felt really scared and my heart was beating incredibly fast. I could barely breathe. I left the room and told my mum I wasn't feeling well. "Did you smoke weed again? That is going to give you a heart attack!" she shouted. That made things much worse and I begged her to call an ambulance. It wasn't the weed, I had smoked that shit for over a decade. This was something else. "Please mum call the ambulance I don't feel well...hurry please" I screamed. She looked really worried but told me to calm down. She got me a glass of water with sugar cubes. "Drink this your blood pressure has fallen" she said as she passed me the glass. I was starting to fade out it was very unusual. I tried drinking the water but it wasn't helping. Fucking hell I am going to die! I couldn't stand or sit properly. I felt really dizzy and my chest was hurting. I could feel my heart beating really fast. When the ambulance arrived they ran an ECG of my heart. A device with wires and stickers they use to scan your heart beat. The guy looked scared and told me that we had to go into hospital. "Your heart is beating incredibly fast but the rhythm seems normal. We have to go in for further checks" he said somewhat confused. I am going to die, I know it. This guy don't even know anything! Just hurry...please. On the way to the hospital on the ambulance I felt even worse. I was struggling to take in any air. He asked my worried mother if we had any history of heart disease in the family. "No...no one has had any heart attacks or any issues before" she replied nervously. I had my phone in my pocket and it was ringing, I could feel it vibrating. Fuck whoever it was...I didn't want to answer. When we arrived to the hospital the nurse saw me straight away. She measured my heart beat and circled a red box on her sheet. That made me panic even more. Was I really going to die? Please god not yet I ain't even lived. I kept praying in my head and asking him to keep me alive. At that moment I felt like that was it.

Just hurry

They placed me on a bed in a serious unit. The people there all looked seriously ill or in need of urgent care. I could hear patients screaming. They connected a device to me which measured my heart and they told me not to move. I couldn't sit still I just needed air. "Ok we need to keep you here to monitor you...just try to relax" one of the doctors said. I asked him to just be honest with me, was I going to die? to which he replied, "Your heart is beating really fast, 180 bpm in a stationary position. We need to keep an eye on the rhythm and identify any irregular beats". Fuck man I'm going to die I know it. Please god...please not yet. The next twenty minutes were really frightening. I felt like at any minute I was a goner. I checked my phone, it was on 1% battery. That phone resembled my life then. I was on my final 1% of life. I tried to call my mum but by the time it rang the battery died. Please forgive me...I'm sorry for everything. Suddenly I felt incredibly dirty, as if my body wasn't clean. I had taken a shower that day but I felt as if I needed to wash myself. I got up from bed and unhooked all the wires. I walked to a sink in front of me and started washing my face, hands and arms. "Sir can you please come back here, what are you doing? Please can you get back to the bed. We need to monitor your heart" one of the nurses said as she stood behind me. Fuck that! If I was to see god I wanted to go clean. They must have all thought I had gone mad. I mean who washes themselves at a time like this. After about 5 minutes, and with extreme difficulty I left the sink and walked back to the bed. She connected the wires to me again as tears poured down my eyes. She stood nearby, popping her head through the curtains every 2 mins or so. I kept praying to god, begging him not to take me but my heart had not slowed down. I could see on the monitor my heart beat was still in the 180s region. People were walking by my bed, glancing at me through the curtains. All of them looked either sad or worried. You could tell they had loved ones there suffering. I thought to myself, all this time I am dying to live but what was the point. I saw an old man on what appeared to be his death bed. He looked in agonising pain as his grand daughter stood beside him crying. I thought to myself all we see is suffering and pain in this world anyway. People work mad hard all their lives just to get somewhere, eventually we all die anyway. You watch your loved ones die. You get old and wrinkly. Surely there is a better world out there. So you know what god, if its my time and you believe I am worthy, take me. With that thought process I felt a sudden rush of ecstasy. As if I was flying in the air. My breathing started improving rapidly and my heart started easing. I started feeling really good as if death no longer scared me. I sat there waiting for it to come and take me. I now felt extremely relaxed and prepared. A doctor came in to speak to me. "How are you Ali? I can see that your heart rate is stabilising" he said with a semi smile. "What do you do for a living if you don't mind me asking" he said as he walked forward. "I am a musician. I make songs and release them when I can" I replied. Barely a profession I thought. "Oh nice...When I was in university I did a bit of music myself. Nothing too professional just more as a hobby" he said with his arms closed. "What university did you go to?" I asked him as I adjusted my seat. "I went to Queen Mary and studied medicine there" he replied feeling accomplished. After about 30 minutes or so he returned to the room. He unhooked the wires and told me I was free to go. "What? so I'm not going to die?" I asked him. "No" he laughed. I didn't know what to make of that. I had prepared myself for another world and yet here I was still on earth. As I walked out of the hospital I felt extremely exhausted. Your heart beating that fast for a long period is bound to do that. When I got home and reassured my worried mother that I was fine, I went to sleep. I slept like a baby, without a care in the world. Without a clue that the next day in my life would have been the most significant day out of them all.

You are free to go

When I woke up the next day I felt tightness in my chest. I was starting to readjust to the world again, readjust to my situation. I went on Google and researched my symptoms from the night before. It claimed that I had suffered from an anxiety attack. It all made sense logically, the symptoms and definition all made perfect sense mentally, but what I had experience was something rather spiritual. I doubt doctors or nurses can find a valid reasoning for that. I had some cannabis left on my desk. Surely it wasn't cannabis which had caused all of that. I decided to call my friend who had sold it to me. "Bro are you sure this shit is from the same batch?" I asked inquisitively. "Yes g...Its the same shit" he replied. I was sure it was the same stuff, I saw him pick it out in front of my eyes. Plus we smoked two joints together before he gave me my own supply. It couldn't have been the weed. This had to be something else. I remember feeling incredibly down as I walked out of my room. My mother was cooking me something to cheer me up. "How are you feeling today?" she asked worriedly. "Not so great...I might go out for a walk mum" I told her. I had lost my appetite even though she had cooked my favourite food, Tahchin. I was starting to feel similar symptoms again and I just didn't know how to escape it. My chest was hurting and I felt incredibly dizzy. When I got out the weather was sunny. There was no one in sight. I remember walking up a hill behind my mothers house with difficulty. I could barely breathe and would stop in the middle to catch my breath. Eventually I made it to the top and sat in the middle of the grass. It was a large open area of land and wind was shaking the trees left and right. I got on my knees undisturbed and burst out into tears. This had been the first time I cried properly for years. I cried as I apologised to god. I felt guilty, I felt ashamed. I then heard myself, my own voice guiding me. Do you think this is the right way to live? Chasing meaningless things in life? Look how you have impacted the lives of the closest to you. What do girls and luxuries really mean to you? What is the point of gaining those things without any connection with me. Analyse your friends, understand the good ones from the bad. Find a route into education, you may benefit one day. Try to avoid sinning and pray if you do. It was endless guidance and reassurance. I felt so warm and protected. Like I had finally felt an interaction with something superior. I felt safe and soulful. I looked at the nature around me and it made me feel calm and at peace. I cried for another 20 minutes. Just apologising for everything and for being ungrateful and missing all of the signs. I went up the hill as a boy. I came down as a man. I knew exactly what I had to do. I wanted the same things in life, but this time all for the right reasons. Not just for the sake of having them. I felt like a changed man in the space of half an hour. That was truly remarkable. A day I will never forget. Some will say it was all a figment of my imagination. Others will find scientific answers to explain it. To me it felt godly. It felt empowering.

I am with you

I managed to land myself a role working as a Sales Manager a few weeks later, part time. I was on a 1 year contract working in a professional IT company. I was in charge of a team of 7 employees. Motivating them to do sells, bringing energy into the office. Training and organising them. We would sell computer related services to various companies seeking technological improvements. The job was not easy but it paid well. I was not on commission this time and gained some stability in life. Me and my closest friend would still drive around getting high. Cannabis had a different effect on me. I would feel shit when I smoked it, really down. I made multiple trips to the hospital with similar feelings, heart beating too fast again. I had woken up spiritually, I no longer needed a drug for that, given that cannabis is for sure a spiritual drug. In small doses of course, the excess amount just confuses your brain. Besides, smoking too much would just have a negative impact on you and you'd see the world meaninglessly. I decided to quit smoking. Not just because of the paranoia or frightening side effects, but for purifying my brain. It was hard to quit at first, hell...I had smoked that shit for 10 years. It was worth it in the end. Even though most of my activities became boring and lifeless, my mental well being improved. Chilling in a car driving around with my best friend was no longer entertaining, but a draining task. He would laugh and find the smallest things amusing, me on the other hand just couldn't wait to go home. In the office I would notice that the people who were experts in computing would be on really high salaries. I had built a relationship with a few off them, however nerdy they were. Me as a manager would be making less than a regular worker in the computing industry. It didn't feel right, I had no educational background. On one of our pointless driving sessions around our area, my closest friend encouraged me to jump into college. "Fam if your not trying to fuck with that drug life like that, why don't you try college or something" he said as we pulled up at one girls house. "You can't cut change from yay or weed anymore anyway. They bound to catch you. Jump onto college try go uni" he continued. He was right. I needed some educational background if I had aims of entering into a legitimate world. A more righteous life. I was more surprised he had offered such advice. It was unlike him. I always saw him as the type to ask me to come out more or sell weed. Besides I rarely stayed home much then. Now he was giving me a completely different form of advice. Maybe he did really want what was best for me. That evening in the girls house with my boy I was distant. I remember thinking about going back into education and I remained miles away, unlike me. Normally I would be very energetic socialising with everyone. A few days later I went online and checked up courses, or any paths in which I could have found a way into uni. There was a college nearby which was still registering for an Access course into Computing. This course was designed for the more mature students, 19 years and above. I remember going with him to the college with my ID. We joked on the campus as I signed up. It was all comical. Would they even let me in with a criminal record? surely not. I spoke to a woman who seemed extremely eager to help everyone. She told me it was possible to get into education even with a criminal record, I did not know that. A week or so later they offered me a place. I was set to start at the end of September. What a country I thought, In Iran there would be no hope left, but also over there they wouldn't have held everyone accountable for something they could not prove.

Back to Education

My first day was very weird, I had forgotten how it felt to be in an academic environment. In our class we had around 20 or so students, most of which were international ones. A few from the Middle East, a couple Africans, 2 or 3 Asians and the rest were from the UK or Europe. It was a very diverse mix. Each of us sat behind a computer as our tutor spoke briefly. We were handed our timetables and a map guiding us around the campus. I remained quiet for the first week or so and just observed. I ate by myself and went to lessons alone. I would constantly be on the phone speaking to my guys, most of which were wondering why I had jumped back into education. They were still on the roads. I was only a couple months away from turning 24 and was considered a mature student. A lot of the other students on campus were all really young, between 16-19. Mainly the Access courses would occupy the older students. The classes all taught us basic computing skills such as programming, networking etc. these were hard to learn at first. The other boys had made semi-friendships but I was yet to say more than a few words to anyone. I needed to form friendships in order to prosper. I needed to get into university, it would make my mother so happy and possibly improve her health I thought. I was working in Sales, surely I'd be able to socialise with these guys. I got close to a group of boys who had just come from Iran. They had made their way here to study. Even though we were culturally and mentally very different, I needed support with my work. Besides, they needed to improve their English, so I thought it would be best for both of us to establish a bond. We didn't really have much in common. They would watch weird videos online and find the daftest things amusing. Some time had passed and the friendships I had formed were really helping me. I had gotten really close to everyone in my class. The teachers all found me very entertaining, I joked around a lot but did the work. It wasn't like the younger days in Woodhouse College, this could have been my last chance. Even though we were all from different walks of life, we helped each other achieve high marks. They would hand me their coursework and I would learn from it. We all benefitted each other. I was good at some aspects of computing, they were good at the rest. Our tutor told us that it was possible to enter King's College through an Access course. That came as a shock to me, and the grades I was receiving were good enough to apply. King's College? Wow...that is one of the best universities in the world. It was top 50 or some shit. I think it had even hit top 20 at one point. My whole aim was making it there. What a come back it would have been to land a space there. My mother would be ecstatic. I thought to myself no way they would let me into that place. I had an unspent criminal conviction. I needed advice and decided to ask my tutor, Nirupa. I decided to seek her guidance. "Nirupa...can I speak to you for a minute" I said as I approached her table. "Yeah sure" she replied whilst typing on the keyboard. She was barely looking at me, I needed to get her attention. "I wanted to do it in private" I told her. She then guided me to another room nearby and we both sat at a table, opposite each other. I explained my situation and that I had served 2 and a half years in a young offenders. She said that it was still possible to enter King's College and that universities had no right to not let me in. I would have to write a statement explaining the events in detail first of course. She tried to remain as understanding as possible, but I felt as if the news had changed her behaviour towards me. She turned more judgemental and would constantly tell me to quieten down in class. She knew I had a humorous personality and was energetic. She would try to dim down my shine or constantly belittle me with small remarks. I wish I never told her that, what was I thinking. I had picked 5 options for uni. My first choice being Kings, the next one Queen Mary, Brunel, Middlesex and lastly East London. I had even told my probation officer about my aspirations. "Try to go to East London" she would say. How discouraging that was. "I don't think they will let you in the others, maybe if your lucky Middlesex" she continued. It was almost as if she hated the fact that I was in education. As if she wanted me back doing something stupid. I tried to brush her comments aside and remain motivated. I was only 3 credits away from gaining the grades I needed to get into King's College. All of the universities had accepted me conditionally, they just wanted to see the final results. It was the final year project worth 6 credits. Should I get a merit alone for that, I would be in. I spent hours with one of the boys from my class working on it. I submitted it and I was awarded with a Distinction. That was more than I had expected and I was surely in. I got super excited and would show my enthusiasm to the class. The other guys would laugh and seemed happy for me. Nirupa on the other hand did not look too excited. She would keep saying "Let's just hope you don't get picked out by the adjudicators". At the end of the course, and once we had received our provisional grades by our teachers, an adjudicator would come into the class. They would then pick 6 students at 'random' and their work would be analysed. This was in order to 'make sure' the correct grades were handed down by the teachers. "There is a low chance anyone would be marked down" one of the students told me. He had asked the previous years and rarely students were downgraded. He could see I was in deep thoughts. "Yeah man I ain't even worried bro" I responded trying to hide my concerns. The day had arrived and the adjudicators had made an appearance. We had no lessons that day and I was at work. I had a missed call and a voicemail. I played the voicemail and it was Nirupa. "Hello Ali, just giving you a call to let you know that one of the adjudicators has picked you out randomly amongst 5 other students. Unfortunately your final year project has been marked down from a Distinction to a Pass grade. I'm sorry to break the bad news to you". What the actual fuck? they knocked me down two grades? On the most important module out of them all? What a fucking fix or so it seems. I called King's College and they said that I was still 3 credits away and due to the large pool of applications they had received, they wouldn't be able to take me on. What an actual joke. Even the boys in class were shocked to hear that had happened to me. They even questioned Nirupa, she just dismissed the idea. The head of the college did not seem to care too much either. My appeals barely went further than his desk. Maybe my probation officer was right. Maybe East London university was my only hope.

King's College

I spent the next few days contacting universities, trying to figure out which ones would accept me and which ones wouldn't. King's College was a massive 'no' then, I had already spoken to them. East London and Middlesex said they would accept me and my mother encouraged me to just take up the opportunity. I did not want to. I had worked so hard getting close to everyone and learning as much as I could. My grades deserved a better outcome. I decided to call Queen Mary and ask them if I could enrol. I had the 33 credits at Distinction which they needed, but the 6 credits they had brought down to a pass were effecting me. The Russell Group universities did not want to see a pass grade on any of my results. The woman on the phone did not know much, she asked me to call back in the evening. I spoke to another woman who then said they would let me know by email if they could accept me. Queen Mary was still an amazing university, one of the best in the country and top 100 in the world at the time. I waited a couple days and finally received an email. It was very good news, they had offered me a place but needed a reference from my probation officer stating I was a low risk. The last thing they wanted was me posing a threat to the other students or staff. My mother was really happy and she had told most of her contacts. I contacted my probation officer but it was very hard to get a hold of her. She would either tell me to call back later or was never in the office. It was very strange given she was always eager to speak to me before. It was almost as if she was ignoring me on purpose. I left several voice messages and asked different staffs to tell her to contact me. I had to chase the reference from her. There was only a few days left until the deadline, if the university did not collect a reference from me then they would have had to close my application. Why is she taking so long? what could she possibly be doing that was so important. From my understanding these places are suppose to push you towards a better life, a legitimate role. Here I was chasing a stupid reference and her constantly pulling a disappearance act on me. What a bitch I thought. After many many phone calls and messages, a man who was not my probation officer contacted me. It was literally a day left till deadline. "Hi Ali, I understand that you need some type of reference for university?" he said. "I can sort one out for you by next week, your probation officer is away at the moment" he continued. That was not good enough and I told him that I needed it urgently. It was my last day and I needed to send it off to the university as soon as possible. After spending some time on the phone persuading him, he managed to write a quick letter explaining I was a low risk and not a threat to society. My invisible probation officer had signed at the bottom of the letter too. I sent this to the university in the night and heard a reply back from them in the morning. I was in, what a fucking turn around. My entire family were ecstatic. I had made it to Queen Mary, that was a massive achievement. I received a lot of love and support from my friends online, they had heard the news. I just needed to enrol in a weeks time. Things were starting to take a turn for the better, and took a further positive direction when I received a call randomly. I got a call from one of my boys from my first sales job. He was still doing door to door charity work. "Bro I beg you speak to this girl. She is from your country and I'm trynna sign her up. She is acting prestige. Chat to her for me" he said. A girl picked up the phone and we spoke briefly. I apologised for them bothering her and for her not to trust them with her bank details. A joke of course, one she appreciated. She told me she was from Iran and was studying to become a Lawyer. We spoke Persian for a little bit on the phone, her accent was terrible. I teased her about it for a while. In the end she gave me her Instagram and I followed her. She never did end up signing up for charity, but we became friends in the end. She hit me up that same night and we got talking. It was a very unusual way to get a girls number. I felt as if it was a sign from god, given the timing in which we met. We spoke on the phone for a couple weeks and decided to meet up. She seemed to like me and I found her unusual. She was different to the other girls I had met. We went to the Zoo on our first date. That was unlike me, normally I would just invite them somewhere indoors, the rest would be predictable. This time I actually tried to adapt to the normal form of dating. I spent the entire day walking around the Zoo and getting to know her better. "Let me show you your extended family" I teased. She found me humorous, it was a good start. The 'date' went well and we kissed as we said our goodbyes. She knew I had gotten myself in Queen Mary and she seemed impressed, especially after I told her about my previous life. Besides, I had never found myself in a proper relationship with an Iranian girl before. I always found them like human chess pieces. From my understanding most of them came across extremely intellectual and organised. They would know what they wanted and were always 5 steps ahead. I never liked that, it seemed too planned and it made it hard to trust them. I would always think they had a scheme and so I would normally fall into relationships with more European minded individuals. They were more laid back and less argumentative. But she felt different, she came across more caring and motivated. Besides I needed a girlfriend if I was to avoid falling back into a bullshit life I thought. A few months passed and I was deep in the middle of my course. University life was not easy, the atmosphere wasn't designed for me. The students all seemed super book smart and forming friendships were not easy. I was joggling work, my girlfriend who needed constant attention and I had to also study and form friendships on campus. It was mentally draining. Not to mention frequent phone calls from my boys on the roads. "What you doing fam? what's all this uni stuff?" they would say. "You know your not that guy. Fam them places are a trap, they gonna put you in debt and you'll work like a slave forever" they would preach. I had to brush their comments aside. Constant phone calls, "Fam I got some high grade come we go halves and flip this" one of them would say nonstop. I had to stay indoors more as I needed to focus. This effected my friendship with my closest friend. He would come outside my house and tell me to go check him. I didn't want to drive around getting high anymore. I wanted to build something for the future. I was tired of that shit. He just wouldn't understand, I was not mentally prepared for that. He got really angry and labelled me as a snake. He thought I was trying to cut him off, what an idiot. I had love for all my guys, it was unconditional, but I just couldn't deal with everything. I needed to spend more time alone and live 'normal' for a bit. I needed to build and that shit only gave me anxiety. When I did chill out doing nothing productive, I would feel pain in my chest as if I wasn't heading anywhere. I had to cut ties with my best friend and the other guys. We almost got into a fight and our interaction died dramatically. I knew we would get back in touch in the future, but at that time it was best they all left me alone. Fuck that, I need to focus on me now I thought. I really needed a holiday and decided to book an all inclusive trip to Mallorca, Spain. I booked me and my girlfriend tickets, a much needed getaway. I had not left the country for years before that. It was time.

Queen Mary

My licence had just ended thankfully and it turned out I was to go on this holiday by myself. I got into a massive argument with my 'new' girlfriend a week before the flight. "We are just not compatible, its best you go" I told her affirmatively. We then went through a patch of breaking up and making up again. One minute she was the ideal partner for me, the next the worst person to have entered my life. So I decided to go alone. Our break up seemed pretty official at the time. I had just received my university loan instalment for that semester. So I got on the plane and made my way to Mallorca. The hotel was right near the beach, I had not seen clear blue water in ages. The shuttle service dropped me off and I collected my key from the reception. Everyone thought I had gone mad to go alone, but it was needed. Besides the solo trip really done me justice. I went down to a local bar called Tiffany and met a few other boys from the UK. We exchanged numbers and met up a few times throughout my stay. I even met a girl there who worked in one of the bars. She showed me around the area and I ended one of the nights at hers. We never had sex, just kissed and went to sleep. We were both really drunk and my head was spinning. Her room was dark too and the sounds of the ocean flowing through her open window meditated me into a deep sleep. I woke up the next day somewhat confused how I ended up there. I had to creep out of her house, leaving her paranoid housemate confused. "Ola...who is you huh?" she said as I walked out. "Sorry sorry por favour...I am going now. I am amigo of your amigo...ok adios" I replied as I hurriedly exited her house. What a fucking night. I barely remembered anything, must have been off the hook. I spent the following day in the city centre of Palma. I met another girl in one of the shoe stores. When I said I was from London she was adamant to exchange social media. I guess she had plans of coming over to London one day, and needed me as a 'tour guide'. The rest of my stay I spent walking around the beach speaking to the locals. Trying to sun bathe and seek travel advice from one of the receptionists. She was much older than me but I think she had a thing for younger men. She kept hinting she lived near the airport, maybe she wanted to give me a lift back at the end of my stay. I just acted like I didn't know where she was going with this. "Ok gracias, see you" I said uncomfortably. I spent one of the nights in a strip club in the middle of no mans land. That place had like 15 girls and only 3 guys, who seemed more interested in playing pool with each other than anything else. Besides when the cab driver asked "girls yeah? Si?" I thought he was taking me to a club or something. I hadn't expected him to take me there. I drank what I could and spoke to one of the girls who knew a little bit of English. The rest of the conversation was with the help of Google Translate. I would write what I wanted to say and she would read it in Spanish. A very awkward interaction, besides I got tired of passing my phone around. In the end I just invited her back to my hotel. She said she had another 3 hours left to work, so I paid for a dance and got out of there. Fuck that, another 3 hours of waiting? I was not in the mood. All in all it was a great experience. I went and bought a suit and made my way back to the UK. I shouldn't have put the suit on, everyone kept screwing me in the economy seats. Probably thinking this fancy prick couldn't find a seat in business, how wrong they were. After a couple weeks back in the UK I had made up with my girlfriend again. She would come to see me once or twice a week. We would be constantly on the phone or messaging each other, she offered me great moral support and pushed me to study. University was going fairly well and I had formed a few friends. My attendance was decent too, I would make it to the labs not so much the lectures. My contract ended for the Sales Manager role but was extended a further 3 months. They liked the work I was doing and the manager I had covered for till then decided to prolong his absence. Better for me I thought. The first year exams went fairly well and I managed to get a 2.1 for the entire work. I could have done better but in the end that was the result. The summer was coming up and I had to find another job. The contract extension was ending for my work place.

Much needed getaway

I spent most of the summer chilling with my boys in Central London and in the recording studios. I had not stopped writing and producing songs, I was still doing it as a hobby. We would get really drunk and walk around the city. Besides, I had finally gotten my life on track and needed to enjoy it a bit. I still could not find jobs easily and needed a source of income. At the time most of my friends were still selling drugs to make a living. I found myself unemployed again and had to find a way to make a few pounds. Just do not end up back inside I would tell myself. At first I was doing little side hustles. Under the city lights selling a few grams to drunk heads and party animals. Most times I would serve them Paracetamol, I realised that my sales experience would come in use in any environment. I would crush the pill down and make it appear like Cocaine. It was better than carrying the real stuff, worst case police stopped me I would just say I had a headache. Besides, the clients rarely noticed if it was coke or not. The sales pitch would do all the work. "Let me give you a tester...trust me this is top range" I would tell them. A little key up their nose and they would wait to feel it. "Trust me its a creeper...normally they buy 2-3 grams at a time...but I will give you only the 1 so you can try it and call me back" I would say. To be honest them buying a gram was more than enough, the sales pitch would make it seem like they were from a pool of small time buyers, when really I was getting the maximum amount out of them. They would pay us £60-£100 a gram for a pill worth 10p or so. The amount they paid surrounded the sales pitch. The better I spoke or sold the more you could take from them. We also carried the real stuff but would only supply customers who seemed like they would return. Most times it would be bumping them with paracetamol. Maybe it was for the best, I'm sure the real stuff would harm them more anyway, so I guess they paid us for health. There is no loyalty in that business. I wish I could find a job. Why does the law make it so difficult. 1 stupid error in my teens and I have to pay the price. I had the relevant work experience and even was in education in a good university. Why were they pushing me back into that bullshit life I would think. My girlfriend would ask why I was always out on the weekends. She thought I was partying or cheating, how wrong she was. Me and one of my friends even built a line which did not last long. In those areas police are scattered everywhere and I had been stopped several times already. I was even taken to a local police station and stripped down, all for them to let me go angrily. They really thought they had something on me or I had stuffed something in my boxers. I tried to avoid large crowds in order to reduce attention. The other boys would be too loud, police would notice them from miles away. I only kept the more mature and organised boys company. I was making between £100-£300 a night at times, most of which would be flushed down the casinos in central. I never carried anything, the boys knew I couldn't fuck up. One of my friends would always keep everything, I would just do most of the talking and get them to buy. We would then half anything we made. In reality it was really me doing most of the work, the sales, but then again he was taking the biggest risk in holding the stuff. On a good weekend I would take around £500 for the 2 nights. Other weeks I would only take £100-£200 for the 2 nights. Me and my girlfriends relationship was so unstable. She would really boil my blood pressure. She was working in Harrods at the time and would seek advice from her colleagues. Talk about me and outline all the flaws in our relationship to her friends. Most of which hated me and would try to guide her attention elsewhere. I had broken up with her many many times. Tears, cursing and shouting would be the outcome. A few days later we would be back together. She was studying Law and was very argumentative. It felt as if we were in a court room 24/7. Unfortunately I was the experimental Guinea Pig in line for her defensive personality. She really suited the job, arguing and proving a point was in her DNA. The summer was starting to pass and I had my second year of university coming up. I was in need of a job and did not want to do that bullshit on the weekends. Even though it paid me well, it was tiring and the amount of alcohol we would be drinking during those 2 nights were not healthy. Surely our livers were going through pain. The hangovers would be the worst. Anytime someone made some change they would buy a bottle, so most times there would be drinks being handed to me from all different directions. A walk around the area and you were sure to bump into someone with a drink to offer. On a night me and my closest friends would be consuming a litre or two of vodka or whiskey. Enough to get a group of 5 waved for the night. I applied for many part time jobs most of which didn't give me the position. The criminal record would always come up in the end. The jobs that did want to employ me were all full time, something I could not take up because of my studies. I started finding myself in the casinos more and more. The idea was to win enough to keep me going for the entire year. That way I could avoid the roads and gambling, and focus purely on my studies. Besides most of the boys my age were either in promising careers, had their own flats and all had great credit scores on their name. I had bad credit, out of work, no savings and still lived with my mum. Besides, living with my mother alone was difficult given her constant nagging and mental health. So when my university loan came in for the first semester, I decided to hit the casino. £3,500 in my account and around £1,000 in cash as I made my way to central London in a cab. I just needed to turn that into £15,000 and I could focus on my studies the entire year. Wish me luck.

Sales went a long way

fact or fiction
Ali Elyas Shahali
Ali Elyas Shahali
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Ali Elyas Shahali
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