He helped his father do field investigations for mortgage companies for Lone Star Field Services ($163.50); painted road stripes for Tex-Stripe ($126); and worked for Watkins Brothers Construction Company in Duncanville ($620). He began an 18-month course at Careers in Cosmetology in Grand Prairie and discovered to his surprise that he had real talent for culling and styling hair. But he couldn’t stick with it; he quit and re-enrolled several times before walking out for good five weeks before graduation.
Why? He was tired of not having two pennies to rub together, and he knew where he could fill those baggy pants pockets overnight. There was a whole new club scene of Billy Idolizing, four-wheel pavement-punk skateboarding alumni forming their own status sphere at the hot Club Sparx on Lemmon Avenue. Oddballs all...Town East Mall misfits...attuned...Ecstasy!
I was so into Dino that I didn't exist ... so much deception that I didn't even know Rodney anymore ... so much deception that I didn't know what the truth was. I was a product of The Underground Society.- Rodney Kitchens
Soon Dino knew Teresa and Robin, Chad and Lynn and Ed the disc jockey who threw the cool after-parties: music booming; TV on without sound; somebody spraying and sniffing the inhalant Medusa off a shirtsleeve, then giggling like a hyena; strangers crashed on the beds; eyeballs suspended in nets of red wire; straggling out during the Today show.
Sparx and the after-parties, that’s where Dino became good friends with Steven Borg. They moved in together and decided to pool their resources to deal Ecstasy and speed—and this time, no nickel and diming. Time to go for the Big Score. No matter the busts, no matter that five of six reported U.S. deaths associated with Ecstasy and Eve between July 1985 and March 1986 occurred in Dallas, no matter the latest cranky medical rants about XTC blowing away brain cells.
Dino and Steven began buying 300 X labs at a time for $6 and selling them for $15. The money rolled in, and they set a price list for bigger deals: 50 hits, $9.50; 25 hits, $10; 20 hits, $11; 15 hits, $11.50, and so on. Dino also was clipping coupons from the back pages of High Times magazine and ordering 100 tablets of ephedrine, a legal stimulant found in about a third of over-the-counter cold remedies and a hundred tablets of caffeine: combining the two (total price $13.50) and selling them as "Black Mollies" for $2 each, three for $5. The effect was about the same as No Doz.
One day the deal they had been waiting for showed up. A guy from Florida named Bruce wanted to buy 30,000 hits. Whoa, Bruce! That large an amount usually is the come-on of a narc anxious for his own Big Score. But Bruce seemed cool, and they worked him down to 15,000, then 10,000, and finally agreed to sell him 3,000 hits.
Arrest Report: Rodney Glenn Kitchens, born December 8, 1965. 6’3", 145 lbs., blue eyes, blond hair.
Date of offense: April 21, 1988.
At noon on April 21, 1988, investigating officer Bruce McDonald contacted suspect Kitchens concerning a purchase of 3,000 XTC tabs for $20,250 (at $6.75 each). McDonald had previously, on April 18, 1988, met with suspect Kitchens and accomplice Steven Borg, at which time suspect Kitchens gave McDonald two samples of XTC.
McDonald met with Kitchens and Steven Borg at Denny’s (6061 LBJ). McDonald, Kitchens, and Borg went to the car Kitchens was driving, and Kitchens got in driver’s seat; Borg got in front passenger’s seat, McDonald into back seat. Kitchens said the ’product’ was in a black bag in which McDonald found 1,000 white tablets in clear plastic bag. McDonald handed Kitchens $3,000 and said he had to get the remaining $3,750 out of his car, which was parked next to Kitchens’ car. Kitchens had said he only had 1,000 XTC then, but an additional 2,000 was coming in the afternoon. When McDonald got out, officers moved in and arrested both. Narcotics analyzed at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences and found to be n-Hydroxy-3 4 Methylene-Dioxyamphetamine, which falls under Texas VCSA (Analogue law). Penalty Group 1, Felony 3rd degree. Bail set at $20,000.
Rodney Kitchens’ trial, scheduled to begin five hours after the closing of the Starck Club on July 12, was postponed for a week. On July 19, while potential jurors waited, the organized crime division of the district attorney’s office offered a deal to Kitchens’ attorney, Robert Lively. An assistant DA had hinted about working something out a few weeks before, but Lively was still surprised because Rodney Kitchens had visited the Big House before.
Lively knew the state’s case wasn’t what you would call airtight. The chemists at the institute had made a mistake in their initial analysis of the tablets seized by Officer McDonald. They were not n-Hydroxy-3, 4 Methylene-Dioxyamphetamine. After a second analysis. Rodney Kitchens was reindicted on June 24, 1988, for possession with intent to deliver N. Isopropenyloxy-3, 4 Methylenedioxyamphetamine, a tablet chemically similar to Ecstasy and Eve but also similar to the legal ephedrine. Analyzing designer drugs wasn’t easy. Wasn’t there a good chance that the second analysis also might be flawed?
Both sides realized the difficulties involved in winning the case: laboratory mistakes made; dueling chemists testifying in their whole-truth, nothing-but-the-truth jargon that the substance was the drug of the devil; no, it’s a molecule away from Sudafed; an ex-con as a defendant but a clean-cut, cooperative, repentant young man who had had some useful chats with the DEA—no names, no places, just ideas. A small fry in the criminal world in any case.
Both sides shook hands, and just before noon a weeping Rodney Kitchens stood before the judge and got the break of his life. Instead of a possible conviction and a minimum 15-year prison term because of his priors, he pleaded guilty and received a 10-year probated sentence and a $5,000 fine.
Only Rodney Kitchens knows if Dino is indeed dead. Rodney has been back to a few of the clubs, but it’s been more like a transitory act of self-indulgence, like staying home sick from school when you really aren’t. So far he hasn’t missed his semimonthly probation meetings on the first and third Wednesdays. So far he has passed legal urine. And he has enrolled at Aladdin Beauty College in Duncanville to once again work toward obtaining his cosmetology license.
"Oh, I’m going to finish all right," Rodney Kitchens said not long after his court appearance. "It was the happiest day in my mother’s life when I started at Careers in Cosmetology. I really let her down by quitting. She and dad have stuck by me through all this, and I’m going to pay them back by getting my license.
"I hope my story shows how I or anyone can let the scene consume their life and how easily you can become a product of your environment. I hope that my life will be an example of this and possibly help someone not to fall into the traps that I did."
The last entry in "The Underground Society," the diary of Rodney Kitchens:
How many times can one man be a fool? He that stands before me is not whom I sought. Through thine eyes this is a beast created by fear. Not of this heart deep inside.