As a high school senior, Carl Lewis was introduced at a banquet as New Jersey's long jumper of the year. Unusually shy for his age, Lewis looked at the sea of faces and froze, unable to speak.

If Lewis had trouble expressing himself as a youngster, he has overcome it -- with interest. Seldom at a loss for words in recent years, Lewis now has spun out a few thousand in book form, entitled "Inside Track, My Professional Life in Amateur Track and Field," written with Washington journalist Jeffrey Marx.

The hero who was harpooned for passing his last four long jumps in the 1984 Olympics misses no opportunity to make a mark this time. He addresses multiple issues and spars with his detractors. Ben Johnson, Florence Griffith Joyner, Larry Myricks, the U.S. Olympic Committee, The Athletics Congress and countless members of the media will not like this book. But any young athlete who is tempted to use steroids to improve performance could find it uplifting.

Lewis denied he wrote the book to get even with anybody, but it would appear the man who found endorsements elusive because of "Carl bashing" has done a large amount of bashing himself.

Most significant is Lewis's talk about drugs. He says he never has used them, can't abide anyone who does and can't believe Griffith Joyner didn't. Lewis has filed a $184 million lawsuit against the German magazine Stern, which accused both him and Griffith Joyner of steroid use. He figures if Griffith Joyner hasn't sued Stern, she won't take him to court.

"I think what it really comes down to is that if they can't sue Stern, then I think that leaves a cloud," Lewis said. "Anyone who's successful owes it to the public to talk about it, to give the little girls who want to run a chance to believe, to know what she did and how. Florence just took, took, took and got out. She has not given the public a reason to believe her."

Lewis talks about himself in compelling detail, with little held back. He tells how he first learned to manipulate money as a teenager in Willingboro, N.J., opening a checking account so that he could pay for his newspaper route before he struggled through the collections.

"I was learning to wheel and deal at an early age," Lewis said. "I even bounced a check. That's human, and that's what we try to show in the book."

During an early European tour, Lewis found himself being worn down by the brutal schedule he had arranged. So he faked a hamstring injury after the finish of a race in Oslo so that he could return home.

"That year I was running very well and the money had gone up 400 percent, to a minimum of $2,000 a meet, and I said, 'Yes, yes, yes,' " Lewis recalled. "I agreed everywhere. Then I found myself getting tired and the promoters wouldn't let me out of the commitments.

"It wasn't something I wanted to do, but I thought it was better than taking the money and running 10.3 or 10.4 {in the 100 meters}. Actually, I did get hurt later that summer, so maybe God was paying me back. There were a lot of things I could have hidden, but I think it makes me more human to tell the truth in the book. I think people can relate. Who hasn't called the boss, said, 'I'm awfully sick,' and then hung up and said, 'Let's go.' "

Lewis tells about the illegal recruiting offers he received from various colleges and how, as a student at the University of Houston, he signed a contract with Nike, in violation of NCAA rules. He tells how Nike gave him the boot on a technicality and how he switched to Mizuno to get an even bigger share of the shoefly financial pie. When he put "professional amateur" in the subtitle, he wasn't kidding.

Lewis will be 29 Sunday and another birthday has prompted him to hone his goals for a receding future.

"Last year in Oslo, they gave me a birthday cake and when I blew out the candles I got sunburnt," Lewis said. "From now on, only one candle. I figure I have three more years and the main thing I want to do is the double nines -- go under 9.90 {in the 100 meters} and over 29 {feet in the long jump}."

Lewis has not lost a long jump competition since 1981, and Myricks, the man he has beaten so often, is repeatedly termed a "choker" in the book. Myricks currently is under suspension for drug use.

Johnson said Thursday that not a day went by that he did not think of running against Lewis. Asked if he had any days when he didn't think of Johnson, Lewis replied, "Quite a few; like almost every day."

A race against Johnson after the Canadian's suspension runs out in September is considered likely and Lewis expects to compete without compromising his position on drugs.

"I've heard talk as high as $6 million and some a lot lower," Lewis said. "People call me and tell me I shouldn't do it; it's terrible for the sport. But track and field has never had this exposure before and may never have it again. If it's a circus act, running down 15th Street, I'm not interested, not for $100 million.

"But it can be put together in the context of a track meet, with monetary benefits for a lot of athletes. The TV package will have spots about drugs and we'll have a strong drug-testing program for the meet. That should make it a positive thing."

Lewis next will compete in the Goodwill Games, but his role is uncertain, with much depending on the assignments given his teammates with the Santa Monica Track Club. That "one for all" theme and resultant pressure on meet promoters is dealt with extensively in the book.

Finally, Lewis talks of his parents and their influence on his life.

"I was raised by two people -- my parents -- that got up at 5 o'clock in the morning in the '50s to drive people to work because they were in Alabama when the bus strike was on," Lewis said. "They were shot at by hoses when they had the marches and my mother knew Martin Luther King. I was raised by parents who said, 'Do it. Do what's right. Make a difference in the world.' And I feel that God has given me the talent to make a difference."