By Hal Collier, Retired LAPD
This is a story I wish I could present to teen age school kids. It might just discourage a few from drug use. The dictionary defines a “Strawberry” as a woman who trades or sells sex for crack cocaine! I don’t know what a male who does the same thing is called. I was working graveyard shift in Hollywood when we received a domestic dispute radio call. It was about 2:30 in the morning and we figured some man came home drunk after spending the rent money at the bar.
We couldn’t have been more wrong.
The apartment was an upper-scale building and I’d never had radio calls there before. We were met at the door by a male who stated, “Come in officers, I called you!” The man stated he and his wife had been married for over five years but the marriage was over. He pointed to an attractive well-dressed woman sitting on the couch. He said his wife was a school teacher and a very smart woman. He then said, “That is, until she tried crack cocaine at a party a while back. She now spends her entire pay check to support her habit. Now she’s removing household items and selling or trading them for more cocaine. She’s about to lose her job and I just can’t take it anymore.”
She had become a strawberry! I asked the wife if this was true, she nodded her head, yes. I could tell she was high on drugs. I gave the man the best advice that I could under the circumstances and wished him luck. A few months later I ran into the woman at Hollywood and Western. Yea, she was high and not even close to the attractive woman I had seen months earlier.
She told me her husband had thrown her out of the apartment and changed the locks. She was now living on the streets. A year later I got a radio call of a woman down in a doorway of the taco stand at Hollywood and Western. I stirred the woman awake and when she rolled over I was shocked to see it was the same school teacher. She was dirty and had open oozing sores on her arms. She had really gone downhill fast. She was barely coherent and had that vacant stare. I might have taken pity on her but I had seen too many follow the path to self-destruction by drugs. I wish I had a camera and took a picture of her that first day and a picture a year later. Showing it to kids, it might just save a few lives. I saw a lot of strawberries in my career but I never saw one fall this far this soon!