Detox Blues, Part I

I kept drinking the wine so the withdrawal from the Klonopin wouldn’t hit me. I didn’t want to have a seizure out here in the country. My wife, Sascha, had already gone into detox at a place called Canterbury Farm. Serenity House said that they had an opening for me, but not until Monday. It was Saturday morning, and they might as well have said, not until eternity.

I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could reach a doctor. I pulled out the phone book and flipped to the yellow pages. There’s not a hell of a lot of doctors close by in the hills of Vermont. It felt chilly and I threw a couple of logs into the wood stove. Back to the phone book, I dropped my finger on a doctor that was in the town of Ludlow. A female doctor.

Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes not. Usually a female doctor can be conned the first time, but every now and then you can run into a real bitch. I crossed my fingers and then dialed the number.

Two rings. Click. The secretary said she had an opening at 1:30 p.m. I looked at the clock on the wall. Almost eleven o’clock — damn! Two and a half hours and not even a sure thing. But I had to stop drinking the wine, because she’d never come off with the script if I smelled like a boozer. I thought that I’d try for both cough syrup and pills, figuring that would hold me til Monday.

I smoked a joint of homegrown and walked outside. The rabbit cages were covered with snow again and I brushed them off and put fresh food inside the little bowls. I brought their water bowls into the cabin, popped the ice out, filled them with warm water, and brought the bowls back out. I looked in and realized that there was only one rabbit left in one cage. I decided to eat it. I pulled out the black-and-white bunny by the ears and put it down on the ground under my foot. I held it tight while I pulled out the .38 and pumped one bullet into its head. It jerked for a moment and then lay still. I slit it and cleaned it and pulled its skin off, like taking a foot out of a wet sock.

I brought the rabbit back inside and made some sauce for it to soak in. Usually, I would let it soak for a few days to improve the flavor, but I was out of food. I didn’t want to waste any money that I’d need later to cash the doctor’s scrips, if I managed to get them. I’d cook the rabbit tonight if I was loaded. If I couldn’t get any drugs, I wouldn’t be hungry anyway.

I looked at the clock. Almost half past twelve. I figured I’d pull out and go to the doc a little early. Maybe her first appointment wouldn’t show. Maybe I could just catch her going in and she would take me first. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Three miles of dirt road in the snow and seven miles of country highway. Good to get a start on things anyhow.

I grabbed my props: an old bottle of Tussionex from a previous prescription and a vial of pills with just the right use-by date on it. I always could come up with them because I had a satchel of them saved just for this purpose. A lot of doctors would come right off with the drugs if they saw that another doctor where I used to live had them to me also. I’d invented chronic medical conditions, bronchitis, and anxiety because of the respiratory ailments. I’d chain-smoked unfiltered cigarettes all day before the appointment, and my lungs would sound like I was really sick.

I loved it when I came down with a really bad chest cold, because then I would travel all over the countryside making doctor after doctor. I could even get people to bankroll me on the scrips, because they knew I was almost a sure thing. It always seemed funny to me; when I was high, the doctors would come right off for me, but if I was dope-sick, that’s when I would have the most trouble.

I was dope-sick and I was nervous. I tore apart the dresser drawers just hoping to come up with a pill or something. I went through the satchel with all the Tussionex and Hycodan bottles to see if maybe I had left anything in one of them. No luck. I guess I had gone through them and already done that. The thought crossed my mind that this scenario was all too familiar.

I put the rabbit in the pan up on top of the fridge, got my hat and coat and boots on, and grabbed the keys to the truck and crunched down the drive to the pickup. It cranked slowly because of the cold, but it kicked over and I rolled down the incline into the dirt road. I had snow tires on all four wheels and the back of the truck was loaded with sandbags so the going wasn’t so bad. I smoked the rest of the joint and then ate a Lifesaver to kill the smell. I don’t know why I smoked the joint, because all it did was make me more paranoid. By the time I got to the doctor’s office, I felt like my head was going to explode.

(To Be Continued.)

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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