Detox Blues, Part Four

(At this point in the story, my wife has just gotten out of detox and we’re both high, driving down the highway. I just cut someone off on the road, accidently, but he’s after us now.)

The guy was on us again, like maggots on garbage. Coming real close and looking real grim, when I peeped at him in the rearview mirror. We were just getting into town and the lights on the highway were green. The light by the Mobil gas station changed to yellow and I had to stop. When I stopped, I left some space between myself and the car in front of me.

I looked in the rearview mirror. He was leaping out of his car with a crowbar in his hand. He looked like a giant Paul Bunyan woodsman, over six feet tall, and I knew that I was screwed.

I figured I’d have as much chance as a pigeon in a wolf pack if I got physical with him. My bowels felt like they’d turned to oil. I hit the gas, yanked the steering wheel to the right, and flew through that Mobil gas station like it was an interstate. My wife was yelling as we pulled out into the adjacent roadway and an oncoming car swung wildly around us, blaring on the horn. “Just shut up!” I shouted, and she did. The guy chasing us jumped back into his car, and was after us again.

He had anger fueling his jets, but I was running for my life, so I had a little edge on the guy. The light ahead turned red, and I flew through it like it was bumper-car city, pulling a sharp right with my wheels screaming for mercy. I looked back, with my heart pounding and Sascha yelling at me. The guy was still coming but he’d lost a little ground. The thought of my gun, back at the house, flashed through my head and I knew why I never carried it with me anymore.

There was red light at the intersection, and a line of cars stopped in my lane. Sascha screamed as I crossed the line into the oncoming lane and took a left through the traffic. Horns were blowing and brakes were screeching all around, but I didn’t look back. I hit the gas, and stores and people were flying past the windows of the truck, in what were once the quiet streets of Rutland. I looked to see if the guy was still coming.

He was nowhere in sight. I kept going, not wanting to take any chances, and made rights and lefts as we flew through the streets. Finally, we were in the residential section of town.

I slowed the car down and my head and heart were still racing. I knew it was time to head home. I felt like my buzz from the drugs was almost gone, but I figured if I ate some more pills that it would creep back. So I did.

The next thing I remember, we were back at the house and the rabbit was roasting in the wood stove. I had a glass of wine in front of me and Sascha was rolling a joint and talking about calling the detox center the next day, to see if she could get back in. We fell asleep. The rabbit burned all on the outside. The next morning, we picked away the charred flesh and cut up the meat that wasn’t burnt and ate it for breakfast. It was a good rabbit.

Sascha called the detox center and they said the only way she could come back was if I never called her or came there to visit. She decided to go, and I dropped her back at Canterbury Farm.

The next day, sick and shaking, I checked into Serenity House. That put about 40 miles between Sascha and me. They had to medicate me heavily for about five days so I wouldn’t have a seizure.

I was still withdrawing slowly from the Klonopin. I had been there for 17 days when they called me into the office. My counselor told me that he had something important to tell me, and he sat me down. Right away, I was frightened. I knew it was about my wife.

I was right. My counselor told me that my wife had left treatment that morning, with someone else. Another guy. I felt my whole world spinning into black holes, and I got dizzy and didn’t know what to do. I wanted to run. I wanted to get high. The counselors talked to me for a while, and I don’t remember much of what was said, but my throat hurt all the time they were talking. Then they gave me an extra dose of medication and said that I could stay an extra 21 days, because they thought I needed it. I said I would stay.

That night I had a dream. I was walking into a church and a man with blond hair and a black robe was standing there. He asked me if I had come to pray and I said that I wasn’t sure why I was there. I looked around and it appeared to be a Catholic church, but something was different and I couldn’t tell what it was. I walked up the aisle between the benches and he walked with me. I looked up at the crucifix and Sascha was up there, all white, with her head tipped to the side. The nails were driven through her palms and feet, and she hung there with marble tears on her cheeks. (To Be Concluded)

—Marc D. Goldfinger

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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