Attractive Young Psychiatrist Nancy began her questioning in earnest:
“How long have you been drinking?”
“All my life,” I said.
“No, I mean recently.”
“Oh, ‘bout forty days and forty nights.”
(No chuckle; guess she was gonna be all business from this point.)
“Do you feel like hurting yourself? She asked.
“Pretty certain that is what I am doing right now. You ever been on a ‘forty day/night drunk?”
“Have you ever attempted suicide?”
“Of course,” I replied. “Hasn’t everyone?”
“How many times?” She went on.
“Only twice, but they obviously didn’t take.”
“When was this? At what age?”
“First time, I was thirteen. Second time nineteen.”
“And what prompted these two attempts?”
“First time because my football shoes were too tight, excruciatingly so, and this was affecting my performance and my passionate desire to become a High School Football Star.”
“Describe your attempt.”
“I pointed a locked and loaded , hammer back, .45 Caliber pistol at the roof of my mouth for about 5 seconds, finger on the trigger.”
“And the second?’ she asked.
“Oh, that was just over a woman. I would not call that unprecedented in the ‘History of Man.’”
“Describe this attempt please.”
“Well, as I said, it was over being dumped by a woman, a thirty-year old woman and it was also over the fact that I could no longer afford the car payments on my Chevy Monza 2 Plus 2. So I drank a pint of vodka and at a high rate of speed on a deserted Texas FM Road, turned a hard right and flipped the car. Thrice. I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.”
“Were you abused as a child?”
“Do you mean do I hate my mother?” I asked.
“No. Were you ever abused?”
“My Grandfather shot at me with a deer rifle once, but he had cause because I had just a few moments earlier knocked him off the porch with a pretty good right hook to the jaw.”
“Why did you hit him?”
“He was trying to beat my Grandmother and she asked for help. Granddaddy was a mean drunk.”
“How old were you?” She asked.
“’Bout fourteen and change.”
“Does alcoholism run in your family?”
“Naw, it just kinda strolls. I mean, far as I know, it was just me and Granddaddy.”
“Do you want to stop drinking, Lance?”
“Yes. I don’t fancy dying just yet. I’m not ready.”
“Not ready to die, or not ready to quit drinking?”
“The dying part.”
“So, you’d like help?”
I watched her on the screen as she appeared to be writing a short essay on her note pad. After about two minutes, she looked up and said,
“OK Lance. I am going to make arrangements to send you to a hospital in Garland. They have better resources to help you than here in Commerce.”
“How long will I be there? I am a busy man, ya know? OK, just kidding, but can you give me an idea?”
“Probably three days or so to get you past the delirium tremens and not sure how many after that. Are you willing to go to this hospital and allow them to help you?”
“I never much cared for Garland, but sure. One problem though, I cannot drive it just now.”
“The Hospital will make arrangements to have you transported, so don’t worry about that. You just try to focus on the treatment they will give you.” She said.
“TRANSPORTED??? “What am I? A truck farm product?”
“Thank you Doc, I will. And, by the way, I am sorry for being a smartass, but I suppose you get that a lot, dealing with drunks and mental cases. I do appreciate your time and your help. Thank you.”
“It’s Okay Lance. I am going to talk to the staff now at your Hospital and begin making the necessary arrangements. Take good care.” She said and then severed the connection.
I got out of bed and returned the IPAD to the Staff Desk and thanked them.
“How’d it go?” One of the staff asked.
“You know, you can’t get Netflix on this thing?”
Unnamed Staff laughed.
Finally! (Love it when I can make someone laugh)
“It went just Jim Dandy, I suppose. Looks like I will be leaving Y’all soon.” I said, and then returned to my little Hospital Cave.
Ed. Note to All You Nattering Nabobs of Nay-Sayers down there in the ‘Commentary Section’: I say this: ‘This is “My Side” of the Story!’ Read Between the Lines if You Must.
(Or feel compelled.)
Lance, No Longer Down an’ Out In
Street Vid Cred: kndfbl
Credit: Marc Cohn
And SCREW YOU WORDPRESS For Not Allowing Me to Delete this below BROKEN Up-Load!!!
Stuck on STUPID.
She just sat there on the front porch, smoking Camel Blues, sipping diet Dr. Pepper, and watching as I scurried back and forth, worker ant-like, schlepping boxes and boxes and boxes and sundry other shit to my Ford.
Never said a word. Never shed a tear. I was leaving her! What the fuck? No tears? No desperation? No tears? No tears? No tears? No nada? English! English! English!
(You live with Meskins, expect beans on the menu, ever’ once in a while.) English! Stiff upper lip and all that jazz…
After I had packed the Ford to the point of tightness unimagined (you could have poured a bottle of Jim Beam into it and not one drop would escape), I walked to the front porch and announced,
“Well, I guess that’s it then.” “You’re leaving now?” “Yeah, that’s the plan,” I said.
She stood up, looked me in the eye. I threw my arms around her and hugged her deep. Now we were both crying. I managed to blurt out something profound… “I’m so sorry Helen.” “Take good care of you,” she said, blinking back the tears. I slow-walked to the Ford, looking back through MY tears only once. Got in, cranked her up and drove away. The part where the cowboy rides away… Took me a block an’ a half to stop crying. Then I was so over it.
And her. Four blocks later I realized I could not see out of my side-view rear-view mirror. My dismantled computer chair in the passenger seat was blocking my vision. This would never do. I pulled into a vacant parking lot and jettisoned said computer chair.
Just left it there in the dust. With my life. Merry Early Fucking Christmas to someone. Some homeless one in Memphis. And drove on, westward. Nine minutes later at sixty-five miles per hour, I was crossing the Big Muddy and entering Arkansas.
I had achieved escape velocity. I turned on the radio. Loud and proud. CDB was screaming something about Trudy and telephones. And calling her. And jail.
I cranked it up and sang along. Very happy and oh so fucking proud of me. My new life had just begun. Just another tequila sunrise. As I drove west with the sun over my shoulder. So many thoughts were flying around in my head, gnat like… buzzing. I was almost giddy. I was staring down six hours of road trip. No big deal, but it had been almost ten years since I had taken to the road or air or sea, and I was just a mite apprehensive.
“You can do this Lance,” I whispered to me over the radio, now playing Van Morrison. “Hear That Robin Sing.’
Hours and hours and hours into Arkansas (when did Arkansas get so fucking BIG?) I found a trucker’s rest stop and so I stopped. And rested. And pee’d. Had to.
Walked about Had to. Stretched my legs. Had to.
“Where is Texas?” Halfway through Arkansas…. And halfway from what I had called ‘home’ for ten years.
“What am I doing?” “Going West, Young Man, Goin’ West.” “Oh yeah, I almost had forgotten.” By and by I hit the “border” (On the border)
Wanted to stop and take a selfie in front of the sign what read, “Welcome To Texas, Drive Friendly.” But it was Interstate and not safe to do so, so I just kept on driving. And singing at me! “Texas! Oh Texas!” “You are finally home, Cowboy!” Now what? Keep driving, I suppose.
I had pre-arranged a ‘garage’ to store my shit. A ‘rent-a-space’ shed in Commerce. Got a phone call from the proprietor….
“Lance, you still coming?”
“Yeah, fast as I can, but I will not arrive in time for your departure. Can you HBO? Help a brother out? I will arrive Commerce about 1800 hours…. Leave the key in the lock box or something; I want to off-load my shit before I go to the hotel.”
“Sure, got a CC number for me?” “Yeah, no worries.” That sorted, I drove on. Presently I arrived Sulphur Springs.
And promptly got lost. Could not find the road to Commerce.
Well, shit! It had been some years and beers and tears since I had had to make this trek.
Finally found the proper road and guess what? It was ‘under construction’ as they do.
Took me some few little minutes to navigate through that, but…. Finally… on the road again.
Commerce in my sights now. Sped into town, saw Whitley Hall, High Rise and shouted out loud: HOME!
“Thank fucking God!’ (And this was a push for me, for as you know, I am an atheist)
Found the ‘rent-a-shed’ and off-loaded my shit. Went to the Adult Beverage Store.
Then found the Magnuson, formally known as “The Holiday Inn Express,” checked in, and got very, very, very drunk.
Chapter Two Coming…
Chapter One is Done! Writing is hard!
As is my wont, I drop in music.
Music defines me, and yes, my life has a soundtrack.
I suppose this don’t make me nothing special.
Just yet one more schmuck. Trying to get by. And Waiting for Godot (Vain reference from my college / university daze.)
Beautiful Loser Read it on the wall. Blue moon with heartache. Nick of time “Scared you’ll run outta time.” Love has no pride This old cowboy—MTB
Sunday Morning, one A.M. and I had just run out of booze.
Can’t buy booze until noon on a Sunday.
So at one o’clock a.m. the count-down began.
I was resolved to weather the approaching storm.
Tried to keep my mind occupied by watchingYouTube vids. Listening to ‘Happy’ Songs. Drinking coffee. Reminiscing of all the beautiful women I had known.
None of these activities were working.
Dread and Impending Doom loomed larger and larger in my head.
“And how slow and still the time did drag along.”
I was counting down the hours until noon.
Surely I couldmake it.
Hell! I’m a ‘Tough Guy’
I had ‘almost’ become a Navy SEAL!
(I was wrong)
Heard heavy footsteps approaching around 0900 hrs.
No point in locking the door; he had his own key.
I heard the key in the doorknob and in he strolled.
“Good Morning Cowboy. How’s Trix?”
“Go fuck yourself,” I said. “You only have three hours before I kick your sorry ass to the curb.”
“An awful lot can happen in three hours. And I do mean ‘AWFUL’” He said.
“Well you just hide and watch, but you are wasting your time here today.”
“I got nothing better to do at this moment, nor any other place to be, so I accept your invitation.”
“Suit yourself,” I said.
Approximately ten o’clock the shakes had begun mildly at first, about a two on the Richter Scale.
By eleven, up to a six.
I looked over at DT Man. He was reading my copy of ‘Huckleberry Finn.’
“Hey Asshole! Who gave you permission to read my books?”
“You did, when you were foolish enough to let yourself run out of booze.”
Eleven-thirty, up to a nine on the scale. Shaking very visibly now.
DT Man said, “Hey, I found a great passage. I will share it with you.”
Then he began to read aloud:
“I don’t know how long I was asleep, but all of a sudden there was an awful scream and I was up. There was pap looking wild, and skipping around every which way and yelling about snakes. He said they was crawling up his legs; and then he would give a jump and scream, and say one had bit him on the cheek–but I couldn’t see no snakes.
He started and run round and round the cabin, hollering “Take him off! take him off! he’s biting me on the neck!” I never see a man look so wild in the eyes. Pretty soon he was all fagged out, and fell down panting; then he rolled over and over wonderful fast, kicking things every which way, and striking and grabbing at the air with his hands, and screaming and saying there was devils a-hold of him.
He wore out by and by, and laid still a while, moaning. Then he laid stiller, and didn’t make a sound. I could hear the owls and the wolves away off in the woods, and it seemed terrible still. He was laying over by the corner. By and by he raised up part way and listened, with his head to one side. He says, very low:
“Tramp–tramp–tramp; that’s the dead; tramp–tramp–tramp; they’re coming after me; but I won’t go. Oh, they’re here! don’t touch me –don’t! hands off–they’re cold; let go. Oh, let a poor devil alone!”
Then he went down on all fours and crawled off, begging them to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blanket and wallowed in under the old pine table, still a-begging; and then he went to crying. I could hear him through the blanket.
By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet looking wild, and he see me and went for me. He chased me round and round the place with a clasp-knife, calling me the Angel of Death, and saying he would kill me, and then I couldn’t come for him no more. I begged, and told him I was only Huck; but he laughed SUCH a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and kept on chasing me up.
Once when I turned short and dodged under his arm he made a grab and got me by the jacket between my shoulders, and I thought I was gone; but I slid out of the jacket quick as lightning, and saved myself.
Pretty soon he was all tired out, and dropped down with his back against the door, and said he would rest a minute and then kill me. He put his knife under him, and said he would sleep and get strong, and then he would see who was who.
So he dozed off pretty soon. By and by I got the old split-bottom chair and clumb up as easy as I could, not to make any noise, and got down the gun. I slipped the ramrod down it to make sure it was loaded, then I laid it across the turnip barrel, pointing towards pap, and set down behind it to wait for him to stir. And how slow and still the time did drag along.”
“Ring any bells?” He said.
Twelve o’clock. FINALLY! And a solid ten on the Richter Scale.
It took me five minutes to get to my feet and grab my car keys. They jingled against my house key and my rent-a-shed key, making a terrible music. My legs were shaking so badly I thought I was going to collapse right there.
DT Man said “Well, my work is done here.” As he was walking through the door, he turned and said,
“Have a nice day.” And left.
Astute enough to realize there was no booze run in my future, if I even had a future, I managed to find my phone and dial 911. Then I tremble-walked over to my door and opened it, leaving it so.
Staggered over to my bed, collapsed, and waited.
About ten minutes passed and the Paramedics entered my room.
“Can you stand up and walk Sir? “One of them asked.
“That would be a ‘No’” I answered.
“Okay, just sit tight while we bring in the gurney. It’ll just take a minute”
“I got no pressing engagements at the moment, so sure, I’ll ‘sit tight’”
They wheeled in my little ‘Four-Wheeled Chariot’ close my bed. Stupidly, I tried to stand up. Immediately collapsed back down on the bed.
The two of them, one on each side, helped me to my feet and steadied me alongside the gurney.
“Think you can lower yourself onto it?” One of them asked.
“I can try, but most likely I’ll miss then you will have to pick me up off the floor.”
Using some brute strength, they succeeded in planting me on the thing, then strapped me in.
And off we rolled.
Once outside, I noticed they had fetched along a fire truck along with their ambulance.
“You Boys thinking I had set my place on-fire? For Fuck sake, I couldn’t strike a match even if my life depended on it.”
“No, just standard operating procedure.” One answered.
Just before they loaded their ‘precious’ cargo (That would be ‘me’), Deb appeared and asked if there were any I wanted her to call for me.
“Yeah,” I said. “Call my bookie–he’s in the book–his name is ‘Guido‘, and tell him to cancel all my bets. Oh and tell Cynthia I won’t be needing any toilet paper for a while. Other than that, no, there is no one. Catch ya later.”
They wheeled me into the ambulance.
And off we went, (The driver finding every pot-hole along the way,) headed to the Hospital I presumed / hoped—as opposed to that ‘Other’ Place.
As one of the paramedics stayed in the back with me, taking my “Un-Vital Signs,” this song kept playing in my head. I sure did hope it were true.