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The fluorescent lights hummed and the coffee maker percolated. Otherwise, the room was silent. You would never expect to see a group of alcoholics so quiet. The air smelled like the people's skin wouldn't wait for death to begin the process of decomposing. Above the rotten atmosphere cigarette smoke hung like rain clouds. Otherwise, the room was dead.

No one had anything to say after "Rebecca, alcoholic," spoke. What Rebecca said wasn't all that great. It was the usual, "I have nothing to say but no one else does either so I'm going to throw in a bunch of overused phrases like: 'I guess I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired, one day at a time,' and 'I'm connected to my higher power, whom I choose to call God.'

I always hated that last bit, how they would slide their religious beliefs in there on the sly, with such frightening pride. A. A. wasn't supposed to have any affiliation with religion, only spirituality. If you stored some of that grey matter inside your head, so that it wouldn't get pickled, then you would know better than that. I don't know how you accomplish saving what cannot be restored, but I escaped without wet brain.

So, I was left to wonder, what would these rednecks do to me if I said, "I'm connected to my higher power, which I choose to call Lucifer, a.k.a. the Dark Prince, the Black Dog, the Falling Star of Morning, the Prince of the Pit, the Father of Lies, and the Old Gentleman!" I would be lynched, hung and whipped with branches made of thorns till my skin unraveled. Alcoholics everywhere would be saying, "Oh, I can't believe it," "that's so terrible," "the boy had rights that our fellowship realized, but there are always a few bad eggs," and "may God have mercy on his poor soul." Underneath their breath, it would be, "Bastard deserved it, devil worshipping son of a bitch!"

"I'm Pat and I'm an alcoholic," the fat bastard began.

"Hey Pat," everyone greeted.

"I was just thinking while nobody was talking and God says to me, he says to me, 'Pat, these people need help. The meeting will be ending soon and they are wasting there time, this precious time, O' Lord,' is what God said to me."

I was confused. Did God just say "O' Lord?" Is the divine calling Pat by name, as if the ghostly voice in his head could be talking to someone else? Is the Holy Spirit rumored to channel into the wrong person sometimes? Christ might pop up in Pat's head one day. "Charlie? Hey, Charles? Mr. Manson?"

"Who?" Pat would reply.

"I was never here," then poof and Pat's mind is all cloudy and uneventful again.

Pat now held a pause for an extra dramatic effect. It wasn't working because after he threw God into the mix every body switched from listening to waiting to speak. Everybody wanted to give their testimony. It's like taking surveys; everybody wants to take them because they love talking about themselves.

"God is using me as a vessel this evening, folks," the 13th Apostle, Pat, continued. "This disease is trying to kill me. It wants us all dead! We must fight this disease using prayer, meetings, sponsors, and prayer. This fellowship is the weapon that God gave us to fight this disease that wants us all to suffer and die. That, my brothers and sisters, is what the Devil wants for us!" Pat was beginning another one of his unbearably long pauses to let the ridiculous nonsense sink into their destitute cerebrums. I took Pat's self-imposed dramatic affair to cut the fucker off.

"I'm Clay and I'm a drug-addicted alcoholic."

"Hey Clay," responded the robots.

"I don't see things the way Pat sees them," I started. Pat was just snapping out of his holy silence and giving me a handicapped expression. "They say that alcoholism is a disease, the only disease that you can get bitched at for having. Last I heard, diseases don't think about too much. I really doubt my disease is reading the philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche to combat the beliefs of God that were instilled in him back when it was just some hybrid bacteria in my parents D.N.A. Diseases do what is in their nature, like ants and everything else beneath the sky. Even we humans do what is in our nature and even though we are able to think and philosophize about all the things we do, we are still only doing what is in our nature. Our ability to change or control is only an illusion."






*

*

*






Jennifer Alexandria stumbled, drunk off of the drinks she suckered out of horny men. It was never difficult for Jennifer to get the things she wanted from men. She had a nice, firm body that was coated in olive skin. Her eyes were silver, like the patches of sky between big, black thunder clouds. She had a smile that could draw an embarrassing grin from the angriest of people. Jennifer could break the hearts of frozen men with eyes like black holes and run freely. It was nearly impossible to hold a grudge against the beautiful and charming, Jennifer Alexandria. Nobody could light up a room quite like her. In the coldest nights of winter she would warm up her parent's house like a radiator.


Jennifer was not exempt from problems. Stranger still, none of these problems were of her creation. After all, could she help it if people were jealous of her elegance and the miraculous grace that she embodied in the flesh? The sparkles and fairy dust that followed in her wake must have been a treat to all of the starving eyes that move about slowly in the sockets of ugly faces. She was not to be ashamed of herself. This blessed being that was her, the lovely Jennifer Alexandria. The angel who's shit was made of sugar and spice.


Jennifer Alexandria stumbled, drunk off the drinks she suckered out of horny men with high hopes. The street felt unsteady, tilting to one side, then the other. The last shot of bourbon felt like it formed a pocket in her throat. Jennifer's eyes began to water and her mouth filled with spit. She had to fight an uphill battle against the road's tilt to reach the sidewalk. She held tightly onto an aluminum fence for balance as the sidewalk was pitching and heaving. Stormy seas of stomach acids, toxins, alcohol, and partially digested hot dogs were raging in her belly. Saliva was pouring from her lips followed by an ocean of sickness. Nobody could make regurgitating the undesirable parts of animals look as good as Jennifer Alexandria could.



She swabbed her fingers around the insides of her mouth to remove what was left behind. After blowing her nose on her sleeve, Jennifer moved along. The street was level now, finally remaining still and horizontal as she walked. There was a sun-bloated cat lying near the curb, overflowing with maggots and buzzing with flies. Lucky for Jennifer, all she could smell was vomit, and nobodies vomit smelled as sweet as Jennifer Alexandria’s.



Jennifer's legs ached as muscles strained around her shin bone. It felt like she had been walking forever. She looked at her cell phone to see what time it was, but Jennifer couldn't steady her focus. She knew it was after 2 a.m.; Jennifer would never leave the bar before last call.



"You got the time?" Clay asked. The voice of a stranger startled her. The feeling of vulnerability brought her far away from her comfort zone. She did not remember giving this creep permission to talk to her. Jennifer's intoxicated frustration caused her to overlook the base ball bat in Clay's hand.



"Yeah," Jennifer slurred. "It slime for you to get your shelf a watch!"



Clay swung the bat around and flattened her face, shattering bone and smashing cartilage. Jennifer didn't hold onto enough consciousness to stumble, she dropped and became part of the ground. Even if you did not know Jennifer and you found her lying there, collapsed and still, you would know that nobody could hold a more seductive face while bleeding from a head wound as Jennifer Alexandria was pulling off that night.



He dragged her to the curb and waited for her to regain consciousness. When she came to, Jennifer's tongue was thick, thick like the blood tickling her throat. She hacked and coughed blood spittle, but she could not move. Clay stood on her elbows, pinning her arms open like insect wings. He swung the bat downward like a sledge hammer twice, crushing both of her wrists. Jennifer cried out loud as the wrist bones splintered into shards that exited the skin. The pain caused Jennifer to go out again. As she slept, her alcohol-thinned blood flowed heavily from her head.



When Jennifer awoke, she cried for death. Anything to have made that nightmare end, to let her know that pain had a definite ending. She sat herself up, grinding her broken wrists against the cold concrete.



Clay was in a classic batter's stance. When Jennifer's head rose to perfect striking level, he stepped back and then stepped forward into his swing. When the bat collided with her skull he followed through the swing, as if to knock it out the park. A sharp crack sounded, echoing off of buildings of long closed businesses. It was Jennifer's skull that cracked, not Clay's bat. The sound of cracking Jennifer Alexandria’s skull was even more magical than Zeus’s bolts cracking through the heavens.



Jennifer wasn't coming back this time. Of this, Clay was sure. He wanted to send a message to alcoholics and junkies everywhere. So, Clay lifted the bat once again and began to wail. He smashed both of her cheek bones and knocked her jaw loose. The immense pressure on her temples from the contact caused Jennifer's eyes to bulge. They bulged 'til one was forced out of socket and was left dangling from an octave nerve that looked like black licorice.
.


When Jennifer was no longer recognizable, Clay stopped to review his work. Blood shimmered in ponds and oceans, reflecting the buzzing streetlight. A large river, beginning at Jennifer's head, followed along the curb and into the gutter. Her teeth were scattered amongst the broken glass, cigarette butts, and used condoms.



Clay looked over Jennifer's mangled body with adoration. He would get lost in the scene as one would a Monet painting. But, Jennifer was more of a Picasso, being that she was ill proportioned and misshaped. She was a piece to be remembered. He pulled a ball of paper from out of his pocket and stuffed it in an unknown orifice that Jennifer's ruined face offered. Though her face was too decrepit to hold together for very long, no one's face could have doubled as a paper holder as well as Jennifer Alexandria’s that night.

On the paper was A. A.'s first promise: "1. we are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness."




*

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*






It was October 16th, which made eleven months of sobriety. One of the many peculiar rituals of Alcoholics Anonymous is the, "rock and chip system." We pick up chips for every month of our first sober year and annually after. Some meetings work with resentment rocks, as well. Since resentments were believed to be the #1 cause of relapse for alcoholics. The rock represents the weight of the burdensome hatred that needs to be dropped. You must learn how to release, understand, or put it back from whence it came. This is the tradition, when you snuff your angry flame that consumed you like oxygen, you return the rock during a meeting and everyone claps.



I had to stop picking the resentment rocks up. I had a fresh resentment for every time Pat spoke I'd walk around for days and days with pockets full of grinding rocks.



Some people in these meetings were funny about picking up chips, At least the guys could be. Some wouldn't pick up their chips if there were only dull to ugly women in the meeting, which was most of the time. So, they waited They would wait for a meeting where beautiful females would clap for them, randomly scattered about the toothless crack heads that clapped because they are so damn proud of you.



"Here, at the Acadiana's Freedom Group, we worked with the rock and chip system," the chairman started. "Anybody has a resentment and would like to pick up a resentment rock?" He held the rock in the air to show everybody what a rock from the gravel parking lot looks like. "Nobody wants a rock?" I was thinking that this question could really get to some of the crack heads present. "Well hell." The chairman shoved the rock into his pocket, "I'll take one!"



I think I heard a few people laugh at this, but they were probably just coughing.



"Now we get to the chips," he held up a silver chip. "This here is a desire chip. You can pick up one of these chips if you have the desire to stop drinking and would like to try our way of life." A few people picked up desire chips. "Or," the chairman continued. "We also call this chip, the slip chip. If you had been in A. A. and decided to go back out and experiment, you can pick up this chip." At this he laughed, as if he could think it was that goddamn hilarious every time he chaired this meeting. "We also offer another desire chip at the end of the meeting in case someone catches alcoholism during the meeting." Nobody laughed, everyone was tired of it.



"Moving right along then, the rest of the chips you have to earn by having an amount of time successfully battling this disease." Holding up the one-month chip, "anybody has one month of clean time?"



"I got that," a heavy set man stood in skintight overalls, almost knocking over chairs as he made his way to the front. He was breathing heavily and the perspiration on his forehead reflected the fluorescent lighting and everyone clapped.



"Congratulations," the chairman gave him a hug and handed him the chip. "Now tell us who you are."



The big farmer turned toward us with his prized chip aloft, "I'm Dannyboy." Dannyboy breathed huskily, "and I'm an alcoholic."



"Hi Dannyboy," the group responded before they returned to clapping.



I don't clap. I'm happy that he's been sober for a month, I really am proud of him. I don't like all of the clapping. For Dannyboy, I don't believe that it will be alcohol that's gonna kill this cat. I was thinking maybe he needed to invest time into another disease. Something along the lines of anorexia, or bulimia.



I have nothing against fat people. I swear, man, I love them. I just think that if they're trying to hold on to life, then some other changes are necessary. If they don't value life, then there is no reason to quit drinking. They should drink more and do every drug that they can get their chubby paws on, like I did. I'd escaped life a few moments, arguably days. I did my time in Death's grip. I was brought back to life from every lifeless encounter. God had a purpose for me to be here and now I was fulfilling that purpose.



The chairman was now up to the 10th chip. I hate that clapping with such a destructive passion that my vision was beginning to blur and the heat from my jugular veins was burning my ears. I was overwhelmed by a strange concoction of emotion. My belly was full of fluttering moths searching for light that they won't find and my palms started to sweat as my breath quickened.



"Eleven months?" The chairman held the chip over his head like the Eucharist, "anybody has 11 months of sobriety?"



I stood and a wall of sound coming from many people's hands almost knocked the wind out of me. I was never this nervous 11 months ago. I could not even recall the feeling of nervousness and here it was, shaking my body apart from the inside. I had to put myself together, starting with every tiny detail of this picture I was in. I thought of the bones vibrating and quaking in those hands that were clapping. My thoughts followed, moving my focus onto the muscles that flexed in the hands, tenderizing and spreading beneath every impact. Then there was the blood, filling the places where it was needed and rushing from others as the hands continued smacking one another. The veins that rolled and dodged as they tried to avoid suffering a direct hit and burst, bruising the skin.

With sanity sustained, I walked up to the chairperson and threw one arm around the hairy rolls that were the back of his neck and I grabbed my 11 month chip.



I felt ridiculous. I felt like Tinkerbelle. My disease was poison and now everybody had to clap, showing that they believed in me in order to keep me alive. It was such bullshit!



I looked over all of the ancient clappers. I can be quite handsome when I catch a diabolical thought and smile. I thought about shoving the first promise into that girl's mushy face and a perfect smile accumulated just below the surface. I looked over the group with my glowing eyes and said, "I'm Clay and I'm an alcoholic."



I released the smile that I had mustered up, letting it spread my lips to light up my face. I must have been so handsome.




*

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*






The Halloween party was breaking up; it was almost five in the morning. This was no ridiculous rave party with noonies squeezed between the clenched teeth of aching jaws and glow sticks for people that should have never been let out of diapers. This was a party for fighters, fuckers, and pukers. This crowd might burst into flames in the sun; they damn sure weren't going to finish the party dancing to techno in the park. No one wanted to see the sun coming up. Nobody wanted to think about the party having to end. Nobody that was intoxicated wanted to think about tomorrow and the responsibilities that it holds. The depression moved in slowly, like the dark blue creeping into the black; followed by the lighter blue that fades the dark blue and if you stop watching the sky the sun suddenly appears, in all of its obnoxious glory. The night can't live forever; it's a funeral every morning.



Maria was one of the last to leave the party. Everyone loved Maria's Halloween costume. She dressed as a used tampon. She had rolled herself in cotton with the top half dyed a deep red. Hanging from between her legs a long rope dragged the street as it followed behind her.



She walked home; her parent's house was on the next block. Maria craved more cocaine; she wanted to buy a gram before she left. She hated coming down off of coke. She felt like she hit bottom, but Maria was learning that even the bottom has a bottom of its own. As she walked on Maria sunk further still, reflecting on the night. All the shit she was talking; all of the rattling, ranting, and rambling on and on had Maria beating herself up and back down again. During those high moments everything that she thought seemed so desperately important to tell everyone that didn't give a shit. She hated herself for spilling her guts to strangers and pulling her heart out a few times. It seemed that only moments ago she was in a group of the greatest people in the world. Over and over Maria insisted that she loved each and every one of them, but now Maria was thought "Who the fuck were those guys? I don't love them. They were only being so great and nice to me because they were trying to get in my pants!"



Maria turned off the street to cut through a vacant lot for sell. The more that she took her time to remember, the regret grew heavier, settling just above her heart. Maria's house looked so far away. The regret flowed into a bottomless sorrow and Maria felt that gravity dragged her down like an anchor. Feeling unable to walk any further she found a place to sit beneath a group of oak trees.



Sitting down already felt better for her. Her feet felt like they were too large in her shoes and the swelling slowly went down. The crickets started chirping and Maria could hear a couple of frogs croaking along with them; it all came together like a symphony. They no longer had to be afraid of drawing the giant's attention now that she was off her feet and sitting still. She looked up at the sky that was attempting a dark twilight and she saw an enormous spider web sparkling with dew above her head. Maria knew that it was the web of a banana spider before she even saw the arachnid itself. She had a horrible case of arachnophobia. The misunderstood, eight-legged creature was calling it a night and abandoning the web, leaving some food in the web.



"That's a good idea," Maria said softly to the spider.



Before Maria could get to her feet, she was covered in goose bumps. She felt her heart pounding on her rib cage like a prisoner struggling to break free. She was overwhelmed with a dread that was striking, like perfect intuition. The frogs, the crickets, and the hum of the night's atmosphere were silenced.



Maria had her plan, made in the moments of an icy panic. On three she would jump to her feet and run all the way to her house as if the Devil was chasing her. She counted in her head, "1, 2...3!" As Maria leaped to her feet, Clay brought his arm up, wrapping around her from behind. His hand was pressed over her mouth, pulling her head back. Clay brought the blade into the side of Maria's neck and tore right through her voice box, cutting the pharynx in two. A gash was made that opened her throat up like a Pez dispenser. Maria's pounding heart that raced against her intuition was building pressure. It was enough pressure to spray her blood a good five feet. Maria was still trying to scream with an air pipe that was no longer connected to her lungs. She resembled a fish with her mouth opening and closing as her heart worked diligently, painting the trees.



"Shhhhhh," Clay whispered in her ear. "This will all be over soon."



Maria's fountain died down to a drool. Her body had a few twitches left in it, then a final rattle before her heart called it quits. Clay dropped her to the ground with her back against a tree. Her heavy head unnaturally hung forward. Maria's face lay between her breasts.



Clay looked Maria over and was satisfied. He pulled a laminated piece of paper out of his pocket with the second A. A. promise written on it. He pushed Maria's forehead back, opening her neck like a garbage can, and tossed the message inside of her.

The second promise was: "We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."




*

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*






I had brought a good buzz to this city. Everyone was talking, "Murder, murder!" It was everywhere. Intoxicated with my vengeance, Lafayette now had character. There was more to do than just drink, you could have fresh goose bumps spring up from out of your cool flesh every time you go outside, when you were alone, or when you walked into a dark room and expected a hand to grab you from out of the blackness. The marrows of your bones turned to slush as you felt about clumsily. There was a hungry blade out there and nobody knew who held its leash, dragging along with it, a hand grasped around the handle. Everyone wants to be afraid, fear is
exciting. I wish I could be afraid.

The papers were reminiscent of Jack the Ripper because of the way the throat was slashed, torn opposite of assailant so that my clothes wouldn't be covered in blood. We were a great distance from White Chapel and I'm not so talented. Though, I thought of leaving bodies in certain designated areas to form some sort of symbol as the Ripper had. I thought I might form a giant peace sign.

The pigs caught onto the promises. I was surprised. Most cops seem to be struggling to function, to the degree of handicapped mechanics. Like their cerebellums were frozen, coated with sugary donut glaze. But, they got that part. They knew it was somebody in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Pigs had been hanging around all the different meetings around town, making everyone nervous. People had been relapsing and the meetings were ruined.

None of this bothered me. If my time was limited, fuck it. Time has always been limited. Time is a lie that was invented to limit us, or maybe it was created so that people knew when to farm so everyone could eat, or when to call it quits and set up camp for the day so lions wouldn't eat everyone. It doesn't matter why time was invented, it's subjective, goddamnit!

No, what was bothering me was loneliness. It seemed that sobriety makes me very unattractive. When I was fucked up all the time, I had a girl in my bed every night. I would tire of their affections draining me. It was something about the way they wrapped their mouths around my neck like fucking leaches. Sexy parasites, skin lickers, and soul suckers, I missed them so.

I was distracted throughout the meeting, but not by the cops. I had my eyes on the tasty-looking girl with the raven hair and white, cloud-like skin. Her eyes were adorned with deep shadows and cushioned with puffy, soft purple bags. She was probably an insomniac. Her mouth was large and her lips were plump and ripe enough to bite into. I imagined that they trembled beautifully when she cried. She looked so sad. There is something about a sorrowful girl that arouses me. I love women that have been through the mill and are too broken to give a fuck anymore. The ones that lost a loved one; a brother or a sister, a loving lover, a protective father or a worrying mother, an all-American son or an apple pie daughter who is deceased or missing. Better when missing, they are crushed again and again, day by day. Broken hearts and passionless spirits have a way of making me horny.

She would do well for me. I could tell by the way she glanced about the room. She glanced at me to see if I was still staring at her, then she quickly looked away, pretending she was just scanning the room. She did not even have the guts to make eye contact with me. Her lack of confidence was sexy.

I love these sorts of women; I guess that it is a form of perversion. It's the same as seeing them naked. After pride and hope and all the bullshit is torn away, you will find the fact of the matter. This is the truth that binds us all together. That is, we are all nothing. We make it all up to protect something that we don't have. We are like onions and we peel away the layers to get to the bottom of them. We keep peeling layer after layer and we get more scared as we go along, shrinking into absence. We already know that there is nothing underneath. This is why we feel we might lose sanity thinking this way. That feeling is an honest feeling. Sanity is just one of the many layers of the onion. The concept of sanity is something that we can throw in our big, empty space and say, "Hey, I've really got something here!" This is why people doubt themselves and think of themselves as phony. They really know that they don't have a self. We are reminded of our nothingness when we begin to fall asleep. Sometimes we feel ourselves slipping away to dream land but panic, jumping back into reality. Our vision is flawed. It's an accidental find that happens when everything is stripped away from you. Through sadness comes madness and that madness is really just understanding.




*

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*




Monica woke up naked, blind folded, bound, and gagged in a cold, porcelain bathtub. Still woozy from the rohipynol that was slipped into her drink, even in darkness she spun. She began to panic, not being able to see past the blackness that hid everything. Monica was on her back with her knees pulled up over her breast and chained from handcuffed wrists to handcuffed ankles. Her tears saturated the blindfold 'til it was soaked and dripping. The big red ball in her mouth, along with the claustrophobic nightmare, was suffocating her. All Monica could do was whimper.

"What's that you say?" A man's voice asked comically and then, "You want me to cut you up? Carve you out like a pumpkin?"

He began slicing Monica up with wild, savage swings of his blade. He sliced about an inch deep into her flesh. Her skin would split open and on either side of where the flesh had part was white, so white it was almost blue. After a moment blood rushed in to fill the openings he made in her, pouring into a little river that ran to the drain. Monica jerked and tried to kick out as the lacerated muscles twitched with spasms. She threw her head back, pounding the back of her skull against the porcelain in an attempt to knock herself out. It wasn't working and she gave up. There was no more hope left. Her head bled heavily and her tongue swelled from being bitten.

She didn't know where the man had gone, but she was sure he wasn't far. She grew more and more lightheaded until she floated into a merciful unconsciousness. The blood Monica spilled grew cold. It was clotting around the drain and she slept in an inch of it. The blood had grown a skin from being exposed to the air, like a stew or gumbo that had been left out.

"Hey, wake up!" The man's voice boomed into her dream. It was a dream of some other time in some other place. She could've lived there forever. Monica didn't open her eyes; she thought she would play possum. "I know you're awake. Now I'm gonna remove this and this, because I want to hear you scream." Monica still pretended to be unconscious. "And I want you to watch me."

The man stood up and unzipped his pants. Monica already knew what he was coming and opened her eyes in time to see a stream of brownish-orange, dehydrated piss showering her face. The man laughed hysterically as his piss set fire to her open wounds.

"Fuck!" Monica screamed between gargling piss.

"Is that all you got? You scream so beautifully."

The sadistic man rolled Monica onto her side to face the wall of the tub opposite him. "All good things must end," he whispered into her ear and opened her throat with a sharp precision. The tub filled with another inch of blood, easily. After Monica was finished convulsing, she was gone.

After sewing Monica's throat closed and he cleaned her body up, the man laid her down on a bed of roses. He made love to the chilled corpse, warmly caressing the frigid skin, fucking her with love, as if she was alive. Alive, but not Monica, it was his daughter in this delusion. "Ohhh, Dorothy," he breathed into her ear. "You came back to me. You came back to Poppa!" He bit the lobe that had grown tough and cold. His jaw was sore from gnawing on her ears and face.

After he came in her dried, ripped up vagina, he rolled onto his side and rubbed her stomach. "I hope it will be a boy," he said proudly. "I will name him John Michael. John Michael Broussard. Do you know whose name that was?"

"Sure you do."

"Yes you do!"

"No, Dorothy," he grew impatient. "He wasn't on any sitcom. He was in our family."

"It was your grand pappy! My father's name, God rests his soul."

"No he was not a pillow biting butt pirate! Who taught you how to speak that filth?"

"A pedophile? You will not talk about my father that way! He only touched me because he loved me! But you don't know what love is, do you?" He mounted her and squeezed her icy throat. As he strangled Monica's corpse, the threads holding her throat together popped, "because he loved me!"

When the cadaver finally died in the man's eyes, they were filled with tears. He rubbed her ghost white cheek with the back of his hand, "May God have mercy on your lying soul." He pulled the sheets and wrapped Monica's body. This is the eighth time that the man killed his daughter, Dorothy. He killed his daughter over six years ago, when he first admitted that he was powerless over alcohol and that his life had become unmanageable.

He dragged Monica's body, wrapped in sheets and a comforter, to the front door. Swinging the door open, there stood officers Shaft and Boudreaux, who received complaints about strange noises coming from the home. Immediately they saw Monica's body and pulled their guns on, "Pat, alcoholic."




*

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*




After Pat's arrest things cooled down around the meetings as far as the heat was concerned. The old church rooms, basements, and attics where the meetings were held, were no longer crawling with pigs, neither undercover nor in uniform. The gossip was preposterous. It was another drug for these alcoholics. Lies and all of the, "I knew that something was funny about him," was like taking a drink. It was something to avoid taking one's own personal inventory. "How can I be bad?" They think, "I'm not fucking corpses that I fantasize to be my daughter. I'm not horny for sexy cadavers! I'm not the one fucking dead girls to feel the relief of killing my daughter over and over again!" And no, not many people are doing that. If this obscene behavior was what drew the line on good and bad, than everyone is splendid.

Everyone felt a little rattled, nerves frazzled, and a sense of guilt. It made them think and look at themselves as they were reflected by Pat. What kind of recovering alcoholic hasn't been envious of social drinkers, or the "normal" drinkers? Alcoholics have become suicidal watching people that can have a beer and quit there. Jealousy may flourish from just hearing about people that called it a night, without fighting their best friends or passing out in the middle of sex by the end of the night. Alcoholics could tearlessly rid the world of the gifted ones that can say, "Hey, I have a buzz. I'm happy and content enough to just stop." It is true. There are some that don't have demons in their past to scare them awake. Most of the "normal" people were only acquainted with tragedies that moved in slowly; slow enough to confront them as they came. If only I could've been so lucky. I was surrounded by demons and jumped as a child too young to defend myself. So, what kind of alcoholic can watch a "normal" put down an unfinished drink and not want to sever the ingrate's spinal cord?

"Everyone, gather around," the chairman waved everybody to the middle of the room, where "Phil, alcoholic" was on one knee with his head bowed. "We are doing Phil's seventh step prayer." The chairman had a hand on Phil's shoulder and everyone else gathered around like a football huddle and placed their hands on Phil or the chairman. The people that couldn't squeeze in rested their hands on the next within arm's reach. I don't participate in this shit and they don't expect me to. I already told them I was Pagan. Ignorance and confusion was a wrench in their interrogation. Most who knew a little did not appreciate it because it involves witchcraft. By watching the way these Christians had their hands on one another, as though they were in control of some spirit or energy like holy electric conductors; they looked like the witches to me.

"Repeat after me," the chairman began. "When ready, we say something like this: My creator."

"My creator," they repeated."

"I am now willing,"

"I am now willing,"

"That you should have all of me,"

"That you should have all of me,"

"Good and bad."

"Good and bad."

"I pray that you now remove from me,"

"I pray that you now remove from me,"

"Every single defect of character,"

"Every single defect of character,"

"Which stands in the way of my usefulness,"

"Which stands in the way of my usefulness,"

"To you and my fellows."

"To you and my fellows."

"Grant me strength,"

"Grant me strength,"

"As I go out from here,"

"As I go out from here,"

"To do your bidding."

"To do your bidding."

"Amen."

"Amen." The group finished like a dreary echo that bounced off the walls inside of a
catholic church.

It was absurd. The chairman should have a sword to knight Phil and welcome him to the round table. Maybe a light saber so that Sid would become Darth Drunk and we could welcome him to the Dark Side. They took a bad idea and went hog wild with it.

Recovery is a lonely road to travel. The practicing alcoholics don't want you around because the recovering alcoholic is guilt incarnate in their glossy, bloodshot eyes. The non-drinkers don't want you around because they can never understand you. The social drinkers don't want you around because they will never understand you. I don't want recovering alcoholics around because I can't stand them.

Your old friends don't want to hang out with you anymore. It's a bummer just to see you around. To them you're dead and stalling to get in your grave. They prefer you to rot elsewhere. If they could bury me themselves they would. Then drink and pop pills to forget that I was ever here at all. It just hurts so fucking bad! You go into recovery, partially for the friends that you had damaged, emotionally and physically, while acting as a kamikaze. Then you find that they liked you better when you were self-destructing. Before I'm finished, a few of the old "friends" will have promises in their mouths. What can I say? It's a selfish program.

"Does anyone want to read, 'How it Works?" The chairman asked. I hated the beginning of meetings, nothing but readings that everyone knew by heart. I don't really like the middle either, everyone shares their, "Experience, strength, and hope." But their experience, strength, and hope is worthy of making it on my suicide note. I like the end of the meeting. Well, except for the Lord's Prayer they close the meeting with. "I'm Avery and I'm an alcoholic," the elegantly depressed girl from the last meeting announced. I'd finally spoken to her, but I blew it. Since I've been sober, I've lost my confidence. Girls love that fucking confidence. I'm too clear-minded these days to have confidence. Everyone wants to act as if they really know what the fuck is going on here, but they are all only guessing. Confidence would be to pretend that I'm not. I knew from the start that sobriety would change me. But after one has done every drug, had the wildest sex, and had been with the craziest people in the most insane places, it's hard to find a new adventure. For me, sobriety was the only thing I had not tried.

"How it works," Avery read on. "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who can not or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault' they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.



"Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.



"At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.



"Remember that we deal with alcohol," Avery paused for the group to join in.



"Cunning, baffling, powerful!" Everyone chanted.



"Without help it is too much for us," Avery continued. "But there is One who has all power-that One is God. May you find him now!



"Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.



"Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:"



"One," the group announced.



"We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable," Avery answered their number.



"Two!"



"Came to believe that a Power grater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."



"Three!"



"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."



I began thinking of all the grieving mothers of the tortured daughters that Pat left twisted, chewed on, and molested, in his wake. The people in the meeting that thought Pat was a patron saint were shocked at the strangest and most trivial of details in his case. I overheard Rebecca, alcoholic exclaim, "Did you hear that Pat was a biter? He would bite these girls; I mean he would sink his teeth in them and chew!" It was like the bleeding them and fucking the stuff was all gravy compared to that biting shit. Only girls and babies bite!





The furious families were seeking the death penalty, but rumor had it that Pat was going to try and follow in Derrick Todd Lee's, the Baton Rouge serial killer, footsteps. Though Derrick Todd Lee murdered seven women, the grieving families and friends could not land a death sentence do to Derrick's mental retardation.



My hate for Pat grew. I hoped that slimy bastard wasn't going to be able to slip out of this one. Not because of what he had done, that was no concern of mine. I hated the fat, Jesus freak bastard and I knew that he was dumb enough for the plan to work. All he had to do was share his, 'Experience, strength, and hope,' with the court room, then Bam! The jurors would come back with the verdict, "Your Honor, this dude is retarded, man."





"Eight!"



"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all."


"Nine!"



"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."



"Ten!"



"Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."



"Eleven!"



"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."



"Twelve!"



"Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



"Many of us exclaimed," Avery paused for the group to chime in.



"What an order! I can't go through with it."



"Do not be discouraged," she spoke with a sympathetic tone. Avery's a good actress. You wouldn't think that this was being red of a sheet of paper and is reread every meeting. "No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints."


"What's the point?" That part wasn't even on the sheet, it was just an ad on the group like to say. Sort of like those ridiculous, extra lyrics to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."



"The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.



"Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:"



"A!"



"That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives."



"B!"

"That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism."

"C," and the group finished, "That God could and would if He were sought! Thanks, Avery."
"Who got the 12 promises?" The chairman asked.

"I got 'em," Rebecca held up the laminated sheet. "I'm Rebecca and I'm an alcoholic."

"Hey, Rebecca!"

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development," Rebecca read. "We will be amazed before we are half way through."

"One!" Everyone counted.

"We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness."

"Two!"

"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

"Three!"

"We will comprehend the word serenity."

"Four!"

"We will know peace."

"Five!"

"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others."

"Six!"

"That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear."

"Seven!"

"We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows."

"Eight!"

"Self-seeking will slip away."

"Nine!"

"Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change."

"Ten!"

"Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us."

"Eleven!"

"We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us."

"Twelve!"

"We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

"Are these extravagant promises?"

"We think not!"

"They are being fulfilled among us-sometimes quickly,"

"Sometimes slooooooowwwwwwwwllllyyyyyyy," the group draws out the word, "slowly," very slowly to be cute.

"They will always materialize if we work for them."

"Thanks, Rebecca!"

I reviewed the promises that were just read and I was thinking. I forgot what promise I left with my last victim. Where did I leave off? Oh well, I will just have to start over. This time I will kill men. I don't want people thinking the killer is a misogynist because they may mistake my point. I don't want them thinking I'm some sort of pussy, either."

These thoughts were casting shadows across my mind. This time I gave the smile to Avery who quickly turned and looked the other way. I must've looked so handsome.




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Comments

The following comments are for "Serial Killers Anonymous"
by BAAL

Anonymous
took me a few return visits to read all this but I got there in the end. and.... what an end that was. what a story... I got the feeling I shouldn't have been laughing out loud so long at something with such a high body-count. I also got the feeling I shouldn't have identified and sympathised as much with the serial-killer narrator... but just the portrait of the A.A meeting had me on his side. ;)... and there are some biting human truths hidden away there in the murder and mayhem, some philosophy, insight and introspection... I'll probably come back to this one again when I'm feeling less dazed by the experience. thanks for this slice of weirdness.

( Posted by: AuldMiseryGuts [Member] On: October 18, 2006 )

Nice :)
I have to say, this story was very, very creepy. It was like being inside the mind of a psychopath. I especially loved the detail when he was beating the girl to death with a baseball bat... it's just that sort of visceral writing that makes horror what it is. Nicely done.

( Posted by: PunishmentX [Member] On: October 19, 2006 )





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