Mary Ann had a large crowd at her memorial service. I went for Sally, not Mary Ann. She was a stupid bitch, as far as I was concerned. She didn’t deserve to die, but she had to know that what she did was dangerous. Any half smart individual, knowing what she knew, would never have agreed to meet up with that jihadist asshole.
“I won’t speak ill of he dead, just know my sympathy is for baby Sparrow.” I whispered to Maze. Maze sat between me and Sally, since Sally was still really pissed at me. Maybe she had a right to be, I don’t know. Maybe I should have let her shoot Kahn when we had the chance. If I had, it would have put both of them out of their misery, I thought.
“Mine to, and for Sally of course,” Maze said. “How could Sally have let an Imam speak at this thing.”
“It wasn’t her call. The Imam convinced Mary Ann’s sister to allow it,” I said. “I have no idea how Sally feels about it. She has pretty much shut me out at the moment.”
The Imam for the Mosque in Queen City had the final say. Well before the Baptist preacher of the largest church in the area gave the final prayer. I was glad it was over, since I needed a drink. Then at that time I always needed a drink.
“Come to The Spoke and Wheel,” I said to every cop I met. “I’m buying.”
“You have to be kidding,” one of the vice officers said. “That’s the place where the TV star got herself or himself killed.”
“No it was something else then. Besides the Bikers need to see us every now and then, Just to remind them,” I said.
“Remind them of what Watson?” he asked.
“That we are the badest gang in any town.” Maze, who had never faced anyone down, said.
I couldn’t disagree with her. However it would have been better coming from someone who had at least worked the street. I opened the door for Sally and Maze. I felt like an idiot standing there after Sally shut the door and told the driver to “Just fucking go,” Thereby leaving me standing out in the cold.
“I’ve been waiting for the right time to discuss this with you. I’m just going to tell you. You need to think about it and then we can talk.” The lieutenant said. He was looking as the car holding Sally pulled out of sight. “The feds want you and Howe on loan.”
I turned planning to tell him to fuck off, but he had his back to me. He had already stated talking to the patrol captain.
No one above the rank of sergeant showed up at the Wheel and Spoke. I had a planned to stick the owner with the tab, so I told the waitress to bring me the check. It was the same owner who wasn’t allowed to be in the place. He was also awaiting trial in the murder case. He was an accessory after the fact, so fuck him.
I just had enough to drink to hold off the withdrawal systems for a few hours. It took all my strength not to drink myself into oblivion. Frankly I had no idea that I had it in me. Jolly Joyce came into the bar most likely hoping to stop drinking. Since she went directly to Maze, it was obvious how she knew we were in the place. I sure as hell hadn’t told her.
She left Maze after a few minute to walk to my table. It should be obvious even to her that I had chosen to drink alone. I had even sent Howe way since we were both being asses at the moment. I just didn’t need any aggravation that evening.
“Want company,” she said already seated.
“Not really,” I replied.
“You still going in tomorrow,” she asked.
“Yes 7AM for fourteen days,” I said.
“That isn’t long enough,” Joyce said.
“It will have to do. It’s all the vacation I have,” I said bitterly.
“You still plan to keep it a secret?” She asked.
“Sure, I’ll be elk hunting in Montana,” I replied.
“You want to come over tonight?” Joyce asked.
“No thanks, when I get home, I plan to get roaring drunk,” I admitted.
“Don’t drive anywhere,” she begged.
“Not a chance,” I said. I didn’t really plan to get drunk. I had only a pint of fru, fru liquor someone had given me at some past Christmas I couldn’t remember. That should just keep the DTs away until they gave me something for them at the clinic.
The they were the staff at the 5th Avenue rehab clinic. It was inside a rustic building ten miles from the nearest neighbor. It was also located in the North Carolina Mountains. I didn’t choose the dead of winter, the local ER doctor has made that choice for me. It was his verdict that I stop drinking or I would die. It wasn’t a sooner or later verdict it was a sooner one.
“Your liver is one step from having hepatitis,” Dr Death said with his usual expressionless face. “You already have cirrhosis. It isn’t too bad yet, but it’s on the way to killing you. Cirrhosis is irreversible, so stop now or you might not get another chance.”
“I believed Dr Death, so it was now or never, I decided. So I chose the 5th Avenue rehab to help me. They treated the medical issues and left the mental shit to someone else. They did hold AA meeting daily with patients coming and going. I was encouraged, but not forced to attend.
I expected it to be a bitch, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was allowed to set my own medical goals, so I went for the fast treatment. I wanted the withdrawal symptoms, so I wouldn’t forget how hard it was to get clean. It was hard fucking work, but I managed to hang in there for fourteen days. At least my hands no longer shook routinely. When I came under severe stress, they did still shake some.
I reversed the path to the clinic on my way home. First there was a ride in the 5th avenue van, then a bus ride back to my little patch of heaven. Finally a ride with Joyce to my small house.
If it had been a hundred sq feet smaller, it would be a tiny house. My eight hundred foot house was considered just too small for anyone else. It had two, ten by ten bedrooms, one five by seven foot bathroom. The bathroom come complete with a three by five foot washer and dryer space attached at the rear wall. It was behind folding doors creating the illusion of a separate room. There was also a living room, and kitchen in the remaining space.
On the way home that evening Joyce had pulled through the drive in window at a burger joint. I craved junk food for some reason. It seems greasy food is more addictive than alcohol. I just couldn’t help myself I was a burger junkie. After dinner at the kitchen table I straightened up the house before I sat down to watch TV.
“Damn is this the new you?” Joyce asked in amazement.
“Probably not, I have no idea what the new me is going to be,” I said honestly.
“Well lots of people are going to be surprised,” Joyce said.
“You haven’t told anyone have you?” I asked. I was prepared to be pissed if she had.
“That is not my decision to make. You need to decide to whom and when you tell it,” Joyce admitted. She seemed a little evasive, but I put it down to my mood.
“Good, that’s what I want,” I replied.
“Are you going to a meeting tomorrow?” she asked.
“Don’t start Joyce. I’m going to do what I do, not what other people want me to do. It’s how I have always lived,” I said.
“Maybe you need to let other people help you. Why not go to a meeting before work tomorrow. Your sobriety is a matter of life and death,” she said.
“Not now Joyce,” I snapped at her.
“Your temper hasn’t been suppressed any,” she replied.
“Why would it. If anything it’s even shorter. Sobriety doesn’t breed a laid back attitude,” I suggested.