"It's a misconception that I lost my law practice because of drugs," CD Mitchell said. "I didn't get involved with drugs until after I surrendered my practice. I went through a real bad divorce, probably dealing with alcoholism … just went through a major depression.
"I wasn't taking care of business, lost focus, and pretty much lost everything. And then I did get involved with drugs, and, yeah, wound up arrested and inside 201 Poplar … spent eight months in federal prison.
"When my parents took me to begin serving the sentence, I said to them:
"'This day is not a sad day for me, don't be sad, because I'll go in, I'll take care of this, and when I come back out, I'm putting my life back in order, I'm going back to college, I'm going to write. Judge me on what I do from this day forward.'"
Kevin Dean was sounding a little out of breath on Wednesday afternoon, and he had good reason to be. Dean, executive director of Literacy Mid-South, was in the middle of unboxing books — more than 90 boxes containing somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 books for the "Art of Reading" party and book sale taking place this weekend at the Germantown Community Theatre to benefit Literacy Mid-South.
Those books — including children's books — by name-brand authors were ordered by and donated by The Commercial Appeal, which is co-sponsoring Friday night's event along with the law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell, and Berkowitz. The books are certainly priced to sell: Hardbacks are $5; paperbacks, $3; and oversized books, $10. Those sales directly benefit the programs run by Literacy Mid-South.
"He'd spent months preparing for tonight, and his load out reflected this."
"He" is Court Gentry, aka the Gray Man, and "tonight" he is hanging by a rope ladder from a microlight hang glider that he's also piloting. Then he's breaking and entering the heavily guarded dacha of his target, Russian mob boss Gregor Ivanovic Sidorenko.
Gentry's "load out" consists of: a Glock 19 nine-millimeter pistol in a thigh rig with an attached silencer; two cables — one a climbing rope; the other a bungee cord — spooled around electric spring retractors attached to Gentry's climbing harness; two black-bladed combat knives on his utility belt; in Gentry's backpack: extra clothing and a medical kit; on his chest rig: ammunition magazines and a single-shot flare gun loaded with a smoke grenade; on Gentry's right ankle: a Glock 26 subcompact pistol; and in a freezer bag also inside his backpack: raw bear meat. Tonight, Sidorenko's quiet evening spent going over documents does not end well — for Sidorenko.