Feb 7, 2012
4th Week in Rehab - Alex M. Pruteanu
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Every place is the same. Fucking fuck.
God. He’s everywhere. Here. Before. Before that. And sixteen times before that.
It’s like nothing can be done without God.
They have no faith in anyone in these facilities. Why am I here. Why am I here.
(a large black woman with a hair net)
I don’t know.
God bless you, she says and leaves.
And all I want is a drink. Anything. Vodka. Gin. Bourbon. Grain.
Grain. 180 proof.
They come in and out of my life in here, slide in and out, like transients. And they all spew the same old jive. God this. God that. Carrying little printed Bibles.
God left a long time ago, you pitiful, spineless fucks. There’s no one here. We’re all alone. God hasn’t been here in millenia.
She comes and touches my cheek. She looks down in between my legs.
She says she’s devoted her life to God and to the Twelve Steps and that each day is better than the last.
Good luck lady.
But I still want to fuck her.
What did you say? She says.
I don’t know.
What did you say? Just now.
I don’t know. Nothing.
Are you all right?
Are they giving you meds?
in florida one morning high on meth i spotted a krispy kreme truck instead of going to work i followed the van all the way up military trail from ft lauderdale to west palm beach hoping it would lead me to the krispy kreme factory when instead it went to a storage facility it was a private moving truck bought from the franchise but not changed over to reflect its new status i lost my job as a doorman in boca raton and afterwards i went to a bar which served romanian visinata and got drunk on nearly one gallon of it
They’re giving you diazepam?
That’s good. Have you found Jesus yet?
Jesus. Have you found Him.
I don’t know. Which annex is he staying in?
I laugh. My face hurts. My head feels as if it’s in a vise.
She looks in between my legs again.
I want to fuck her. This Jesus freak. This Bible thumper. Is it wrong? Is it sinful?
I don’t know, I say. Why?
She laughs. Why are you here?
I signed myself in.
Without Jesus you’re nothing.
All right, He co-signed.
I still want to fuck her. More so now. I hate her. Alexandra. I hate these people who find meaning in all the wrong corners.
What’s that on your cheek, she says.
A burn mark. I burned myself with a hot knife sharpener.
I don’t know. I need the pain. To keep me from going insane.
She puts up her hand and makes a “stop” motion. And she shakes her head.
You don’t want to help yourself; I can tell that, she says.
Mark is the ex counselor who landed in here after a bad relapse in his garage. He was caught by his wife drinking vodka out of a milk jug painted black, which supposedly held a spare gallon of gasoline for his boat. Mark is a good guy. But he’s also a God guy. He smokes incessantly. I like his voice. He’s calm and settled. I guess that’s what happens when you let Him into your heart. I don’t know. I don’t know about that. Mark snapped one afternoon during a counseling session with a sixteen-year-old goth girl in Tallahassee, Florida. She told him about being sodomized by her father with a toilet paper roll dispenser. She confided in him that she liked it. And that’s when he closed down his practice. Mark is a good guy. He reads from his Bible every morning. He takes long breaths. He doesn’t push anything on me. He has a nine-year-old daughter. He’s divorced. His wife and kid live somewhere in Utah.
We’re in Erie, Pennsylvania, I think.
I play cards with Mark. And backgammon. He lets me win at backgammon. I can tell. He makes one wrong move. I tell him about my grandfather.
He tells me about the house they renovated before his relapse in the garage.
He was a professional chef, before he had his practice. He met his wife at Florida State. They were both MSW candidates.
Double sixes, he says. Lucky man.
I move my pieces on points.
Mark is a nice man. He doesn’t push God on me. But I can tell he doesn’t understand how I live like this. Without anything. I can tell he doesn’t understand how I can ever get better, without God. And it’s all right; because I don’t understand how he lives like he does either.
Wanna take a smoke break?
I say yes.
We go out. He lights his Salem. Then mine. We stand there. And don’t say anything the entire time.