Crack Kills

A man on the streets experiences the death of his life in a pipe, on a bike, in a lot

Santa says he and his fellow inmate spoke through a space at the bottom of their adjoining cells. The accused murderer asked Santa if he knew anyone who could burglarize the house of his other mistress, who was testifying for the prosecution. According to Santa, the man gave him a diagram of the woman's house, a list of valuable items she owned, and the code to disarm the burglar alarm. "I don't know what was going on inside this guy's head, but he was the embodiment of fucking evil," Santa says while munching on his burger. "He is scarier than any crack monster I've ever met. So I wrote a letter to the prosecutors and told my lawyer about the information I was obtaining."

Thomas Foley, Santa's defense attorney at the time, remembers he initially dismissed his client's claims. "I blew Nick off when he first told me," Foley says during a telephone conversation from his Wilmington office. "But when I went to visit another client the next day, I stopped by to see him and he had some convincing pieces of evidence. Next thing I know, he's the star witness. The jury absolutely loved him."

Foley says the prosecutors did not promise Santa any deals in exchange for his testimony. However, the lawyer notes, Santa's sentence was reduced to one year after he testified. Upon his release, Santa dropped out of sight. "I never heard from Nick again," Foley says with a tinge of sadness in his voice. "He's always been very likable, very capable, and very bright. If you run into him, send him my best."

Santa Claus helped Miami Beach police put away murderer Phillip Waterman, who had asked the homeless urchin to help dispose of his girlfriend’s body, says Sgt. Paul Marcus.
Jonathan Postal
Santa Claus helped Miami Beach police put away murderer Phillip Waterman, who had asked the homeless urchin to help dispose of his girlfriend’s body, says Sgt. Paul Marcus.
Phillip Waterman
Jonathan Postal
Phillip Waterman

On a Thursday during the winter holidays, Santa is engaged in one of his favorite hobbies: disassembling and reassembling one of his bicycles. In a couple of hours, using parts from his other bicycles, Santa has added reflectors to the frame and replaced the spokes, brakes, handlebars, and seat of a Cannondale racing bike. A boy's dirt bike and another racing bicycle are locked to the trunk of a tree. Two bike frames and three spokes, as well as inner tubes, tires, and empty beer cans, litter the ground around Santa's workspace. Earlier in the day, he brags, he made a $15 profit from the sale of a Fila bicycle that cost him $10. "I flipped that motherfucker to one of the look-out boys down at the dope hole," he says. "Those Who Dats love to buy name-brand shit."

He stops fiddling around with his bicycle and plops down on his beach chair. Santa is wearing mismatched sneakers: a Nike cross-trainer and a Phat Farm low-top. He's dressed in a "Vote or Die" T-shirt and cargo shorts that expose a kaleidoscope of scars and scabs on his legs. He has a tattoo of a heart over a cross on his right forearm and a tat depicting a prowling leopard on his left biceps. "Last week I invited this slut puppy over and she turned out to be a monster," Santa says about one of his encounters with a neighborhood prostitute. "Her boobies looked like wrinkled pancakes. It was some nasty- looking shit. At first it was cool. But then she got so fucked up she didn't wake up for two days and I didn't get any pussy."

After the hooker regained consciousness, Santa says, he regretted letting her come over. "Her hair was like the Bride of Frankenstein," he says, holding his arms above his head to simulate the movie monster's towering coif. "It was like she had just stuck her hand in a fucking electrical socket."

He pulls a cancer stick out of a pack of Lider Cigarettes, lights it, takes a drag. "When it comes to the whores, my dick does its own thinking," Santa continues. "I end up losing shit. I'll go hustle, make some money just to keep the bitch there. After a couple of days, though, they usually leave. That's when I lose shit. I can't tell you how many times these slut puppies have stolen my cell phones and other shit. I allow it to happen time and again."

Santa is suddenly distracted by Cindy, a gawky blond prostitute born in Brighton, England, but now in the game in Miami. Santa couldn't believe Cindy was English. "I thought she was a fucking hillbilly to be honest with you," he cracks. "For some reason, she doesn't turn me on. But brother, I'll fuck a black chica in a heartbeat."

Cindy is wearing coochie cutter shorts and a white tank top. Her legs and arms are covered with black-and-blue bruises. She has a fresh cut on her lower lip. "Do you got a fag?" she asks Santa in her Cockney accent. He hands her a cigarette. "Thanks, love," she replies. "I've got to get going now. See you later."

Once she is out of earshot, Santa starts ragging on Cindy. "You know that cunt gets beat up regularly by her man," he says. "She has a östay away' order on the motherfucker, but she keeps coming back to that asshole. She wants me to feel sorry for her. But what's the point of feeling sorry for her when she keeps going back to get her ass whupped?"

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