BY: STACY BUTLER
Motivational speaker Stacy Butler didn’t start out changing people’s lives. Far from it. Stacy was a high school head cheerleader, homecoming queen, star athlete, and trendsetter. Her friends and family adored her, and she believed she had it all. Then, out of curiosity, she began flirting with alcohol and drugs. The rush of power that came with coke led her into the world of drug dealing and prostitution as a full-fledged, hardcore pimp. But Stacy got caught and sent to prison, where she learned the hard way that you can’t give up if you want to survive.
Her only option was to move forward. That is the ultimate message of THEY CALLED ME QUEEN B. The only way out is through, and broken dreams are no excuse for giving up. Sometimes humorous, sometimes brash, always inspirational, Stacy Butler is a courageous voice for survival.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: They Called Me Queen B by Stacy Butler is the true story of a young woman from a good family who made a number of bad choice and screwed up her life in a big way. She wasn’t a bad person but she got involved with the wrong people, started using and selling drugs, and eventually ended up pimping.
Then her lifestyle finally caught up with her. Butler was a drug addict along with everything else, Still when it came time to face the music, she did. She got herself into a rehab program, eventually stood trial, and went to prison. Through it all, she showed a rare courage in taking responsibility for her own actions without trying to lay the blame on others. The story was moving, inspiring, and very well written.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: They Called Me Queen B by Stacy Butler is a hard-hitting, no holds-barred expose of her life as a drug-dealer and addict. She is caught in a sting/raid by one of her customers who was, in reality, a state trooper. The trooper wants Butler to turn snitch and help build cases against her friends and customers. Butler is no fool, however, and knows very well that her credibility on the street is toast since the raid on her home would now be common knowledge. But she doesn’t want to lose her son or end up in jail. So she does the only thing she can, she disappears.
However, eventually she realizes she can no longer evade the law and turns herself in. But by now Butler is pregnant and decides it is time to face the consequences of her actions. She is clean and sober by this time and determined to remain so. She also knows life is not going to be easy for some time to come. They Called Me Queen B is a touching, inspiring, and thought provoking tale of a courageous young woman who was able to turn her life completely around through faith, guts, and determination. Anyone who has ever used drugs, or who has ever thought about it, should read this book.
It was a random Sunday in Reading, Pennsylvania. I just wanted to get high and not move. I didn’t care about much else back then.
I just wanted to get high.
Five people were chilling at my house that day, all with the same goal. That’s how it was at my place. My two-story row house had three bedrooms and one bathroom. It was my mother’s first FHA home, and I’d turned it into a crack house.
There were no doors inside. One room just led to another. No privacy, either, but no one cared. It was a place to go where you could stay, do drugs, and be left alone—a place where some would come and squat. People just liked it there.
Every drug addict was different and I dealt with ones on every level. Scared and from the city, some bought fifty dollars’ worth of coke from me, then rolled out, never staying. Others shelled out five hundred bucks or more. The ones from the suburbs had to be handled with kid gloves. My job was to make them feel safe. It was a job I did well. I was a rarity in my hometown, a bi-racial overachiever, even as an addict.
Sherry, one of my best customers, had come through on Friday, bringing a thousand in cash. She and I had been up for two days smoking crack. It was the best. The girl had nowhere to go, no one else she trusted. Imagine that. She’d come in and we’d get high together.
When a customer bought from me, that person usually would “break off” the house, meaning they would give me some and we’d get high together. After all, anybody who came through knew the risks involved for both of us. Most couldn’t go home to families, so they’d chill with me, knowing they were safe. No one would come looking for them, because I had thugs there, whose job it was to make sure no one who wasn’t welcome got in. No one minded breaking off to me. It was just what they did.
So I had been high for two days straight and didn’t have to spend a dime. Besides, I liked Sherry, kind of the way I liked Tonya. Tonya was a single-mom, home-health aide, who came around from time to time.
Sherry never actually smoked. She sniffed. I smoked. I got a whole bunch of powdered cocaine and cooked it up myself, with water and baking soda, which made it even better. When you bought crack on the street, it was mixed with a whole bunch of shit you didn’t want. But if I cooked it, I trusted it, and I knew it was good.
So I’d smoke and Sherry would sniff, and everyone else would buy from me, even though she’d bought the whole thing we were sharing. I’d always make money from every angle, as many ways as I could.
To take a hit, I’d light up the crack pipe, which was a straight glass pipe with no bowl at the end. It had a screen that I’d put the crack rock on. I’d fill it as much as I could. Most people just put in something like twenty dollars’ worth, but I had so much crack there that day that I put in something like a hundred bucks’ worth.
When I smoked that much crack, I wasn’t interested in sitting around. Most people wanted to just veg out. Not me. I liked to move, to go shopping and shit like that. Man, sometimes I’d clean the house. That day, I wanted to do laundry. It was something with action.
I knew Sherry had a truck, so I rounded up all my dirty clothes and stuffed them in her little midget pickup. Right before I left, I took a big blast from the crack pipe, a hundred-dollar hit, and was so high it was unreal. We’d call that a mega blast when it was that huge. Man, I was so high, my ears actually rang.
Once I took that hit, I was all set for the laundromat. But I realized I’d be at the laundromat for a while and wanted to keep the high going, so I grabbed some beer, stuffed another C-note of crack in my wallet, and headed out.
I’d just gotten into the truck when I heard a loud thumping on my window. It scared the shit out of me. When I turned, I saw a badge plastered to the window.
I think my heart stopped beating for a minute.
I finally focused on the person holding the badge. She was a heavyset cop wearing a black T-shirt and jeans, her brown hair pulled back in a ponytail.
“Stacy, open the door.” Her voice penetrated my fog.
That voice! I know that voice.
Suddenly, it hit me. I recognized her face and voice at the same time.
No way! It couldn’t be. Not Tonya.
I looked up into the eyes of the trooper. “Fuck!” I opened the door. “I knew it. I knew it.”
“Should have gone with your gut, Stacy.” Her voice was calm. “Get into my car, right now.”
I couldn’t move. “Fuck.”
“Don’t make a scene,” she said. “Just get in and be quiet. Everything’s going to be okay if you listen to me. Got it?”
Keeping my mouth shut, I let her guide me into the back seat of the white Chevy, the trademark unmarked cop car for Reading. She climbed in beside me, sitting back there while her partner drove around the block. She stared at me while I looked out the window, trying to make sense of what was happening.
This state trooper, Tonya, was someone I’d done three drug sales with. My head was spinning.
What the fuck is going on?
Tonya was a single mom living in Birdsboro, who needed extra money. She was fighting an ugly custody battle for her two kids. She was trying to keep her kids and needed the money. It was a cause I could get behind.
This soccer-mom drug dealer from the suburbs seemed classy to me, a business woman. I didn’t know too many people like her. I’d give her a good price for the coke, and she’d resell to her rich friends and make a bundle. It was what she needed to do to get her kids back from her ex.
She’d come to the house, bringing Yuengling beer, the good stuff, which we’d drink together. She never smoked, but that was fine. I’m not the type to push. It’s not good business. If someone didn’t want to smoke, it wasn’t a problem. She was buying from me, and that’s all I cared about, because that meant I’d make money and get high that night.
Our first transaction was small. I got it from some kid on the street. The next time was a bit bigger. Again, I found another kid to sell to me. Then she came one day with a shitload of cash. We did a real big deal together, fourteen grams of cocaine.
I was “cash only” on the street for the same reason most addict dealers were. I’d lost my connections because if anyone gave me crack, I’d use rather than sell. No one trusted me anymore, with good reason. When I was starting out, I’d had big connections who would give me coke on consignment. I wouldn’t have to pay for it until the customer paid me. But I no longer had that kind of clout.
A friend of mine, who didn’t use himself, had the connections I lacked and he could get his hands on big amounts. He told me to meet him at a bar in West Reading, so I took Tonya there, did the deal, and left.
That big deal had gone down a week ago. A couple days later, I had gotten the call that my friend, who’d set up the deal, was in jail.
“He got busted by the cops the night you were with him. Stacy, you should stop what you’re doing.”
“Yeah, well, I’ll think about it.”
Sure, I felt bad that my friend had been used as a pawn. I felt even worse that I had played a part in his arrest. But I couldn’t stop what I was doing. Besides, the bust might have gone down anyway. The cops could have been watching him or his big connection.
All I could think about was getting high.
I had missed all the warning signals about Tonya.
No, that’s not what happened, not if I’m being honest. I didn’t miss the signs, I ignored them. Maybe it was because, as surrounded as I was by people, I was lonely, and she was good company. Maybe part of the reason was that my son, Cain, meant the world to me, even back then, and she seemed to understand what I was going through when we talked about our kids. After all, she was a home health aide at Manor Care, so I took comfort in talking to someone about dealing with my eleven year old son with Asperger’s Syndrome.
The truth was, although I related to her as a single mom and I liked the idea of helping her get her kids back from her ex, my biggest motivation was that I wanted to get high. Tonya’s visits meant that I could, so I ignored the obvious signals that she wasn’t who she said she was.
When this soccer mom came in with her pockets full of money for that last deal, my eyes lit up.
“Well, obviously you can see that I’m not exactly who I told you I was,” Tonya said, her words penetrating the deep fog that was surrounding me, snapping me back to the moment.
I stared at her. Shock and drugs don’t mix well, and that day, Tonya showing up in her trooper gear was one of those times. I stared at the badge on a chain around her neck. It was beyond weird. Each time I had seen her before, she’d been in scrubs. The picture didn’t match.
“So you’re not a nurse then?” I asked slowly.
She coughed to cover her laugh. “No, I’m not a nurse.” Then she paused and her eyes softened a bit. She looked like the old Tonya again. “Stacy, I’m a state trooper.”
“Yeah, I can see that.”
“Look, I’m not going to arrest you,” she said. “That’s why I put you in the car and I’m driving around with you. I don’t normally do that when I bust someone.”
Thank God! All the tension went out of my body. I sank back into the seat. I wasn’t going to jail. The relief was incredible. Then it hit me.
I sprang back up. “Why? Why aren’t you going to arrest me?”
She gave me a soft smile. “We have something to offer you.”
“We want you to work for us, give us information. We’re confident that you can help us big time.”
I knew enough to say what she wanted to hear, regardless of anything. Without hesitation, I replied, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do.”
She laughed. “I thought you might feel that way.”
“Tonya, right now, I just need to get out of this car and go home,” I said. I couldn’t keep the whine out of my voice.
I need to get high now! My mind screamed out at me painfully. The wonderful mega blast I’d taken moments before had worn off pretty much the instant I saw the shine of her badge.
She looked at me and sighed. “Sam,” she said to her partner, “head back to Stacy’s house.”
The driver nodded and made a left turn. We were two minutes from my house. Tonya understood me, knew what I needed without my saying the words. Maybe she was still my friend.
“Thank you,” I whispered.
“Here’s my card.” Her voice was soft and soothing. “Call me in the morning, when you wake up, okay?”
I nodded. “Sure thing.”
When we pulled up to my house, I reached for the door handle. She grabbed my shoulder. “Go on in and act as if I never picked you up,” she said, her voice stern. “Don’t you dare tell anyone who I am, got it? You just keep going on doing what you’re doing.”
I looked at her and knew she meant every word she said. I gulped and got out of the car, heading for the back door.
Great. Now I’ve got to pretend like I’m just like everyone else when I’m not.
How the fuck was I supposed to pull that off? It wasn’t like everyone hadn’t just seen me get picked up in a cop car or anything. What the hell was I supposed to do now?
My feet felt like lead as I stumbled to the back door. I walked in and was immediately greeted by my crack-head house guests, with a frenzied, “What happened?”
“Where did you go?”
“What’s going on?”
“Shit, a friend of mine just played a prank on me.” My laugh sounded forced and high-pitched, even to my ears. “She’s a real clown. Picked me up in a cop car and drove me around, totally killed my high!”
Looking around, I could tell I’d pulled it off, for a while at least. No one seemed to care. Everyone went back to what they were doing.
Me? Well, at that moment I just needed to try not to think about what tomorrow would bring. I just needed to lose myself in a good hundred-dollar high.
© 2014 by Stacy Butler