Deleting Martina – Chapter Sixteen

Martina was already at the coffee shop when Randall arrived.  He greeted her with an unexpectedly warm and friendly smile.

She knew that this was the one day of the week that Callie didn’t have a morning class.  She was unusually distracted, looking toward the door every time someone opened it.  When Randall asked who she was looking for, she said, “Callie.  She’s supposed to be working today.”  Randall said, “well, she may just be running late, but I’d rather talk about your problem.”

Martina rolled her eyes and said, “how many times do I have to tell you?  I don’t have a problem.  Why are you so suddenly concerned about me anyway?  Didn’t you say, and I quote, ‘may luck be with the unfortunate sap who next encounters such a wretched soul as yours’?”

Randall smiled and said, “you should forget what I say, and may I remind you…you’re the one who called and asked for advice.”

Martina looked at him with pleading eyes and said, “would you go with me to check on her?”

“Do you think that’s wise?” he asked.  Martina said, “I don’t know, but I don’t have a good feeling, and I’m worried.”

Randall agreed and he and Martina went to Callie’s dorm.  As they started upstairs, Martina told him that he must announce, “man in the hall,” as was customary in an all women’s dormitory.  He smirked and said, “you do understand that I know this, right?”

She knocked, but there was no answer.  She tried the doorknob, but it was locked.  She said, “I don’t like this.  I don’t like this at all.”

“Maybe she’s in class,” he said.  Martina said, “no.  I know when her classes are and she doesn’t have one today.”  After a few minutes, Martina knocked on the RA’s door.  There was no answer.

Randall said, “I can knock the door down, if you want, but one or both of us can get into serious trouble if I do, and what if she’s sleeping?  I’m not sure that’s how I would like to be awakened.”

Martina said, “you’re probably right.  She’s probably asleep.  We could go back to the coffee shop and ask if she’s off today.”  Randall said, “no.  We need to talk about you.”

Martina surprised him when she said, “okay.  Did I tell you that I am going to be in the play, “Les Misérables?  Randall’s eyes widened when he said, “you’re kidding.”  Martina smiled and said, “no.  I’m going to play Fantine, and if it weren’t for Callie, I’d be sitting in some boring class, listening to some boring professor talk about boring things that I have absolutely no interest in knowing.”  She looked at Randall and said, “I just don’t think you realize what she did for me.”

Randall softly said, “I think I’ve got a pretty good idea.”

Martina raised her voice and said, “think what you like.  Callie brought me out of myself.  She taught me that there was more to life than just sitting around like some artifact that should be seen and not heard.  She made me realize that there was more to life than just being the wife of some boring, rich man who still thinks a woman’s place is two steps behind him.”

Randall had a twinkle in his eye when he said, “some boring, rich man like me, you mean?”  Martina said, “you said it yourself.  Your wife was more or less only expected to serve you.”

He smiled and said, “I told you.  You should forget what I say.”

Martina surprised him when she asked if he would come see the play.  He said, “of course.  When are you performing?”

She said, “this weekend.  I invited Callie, and she said she would come, but the last time I spoke with her, she seemed agitated or something.”

Randall said, “I’ll make you a deal.  Forget about Callie for this week, and concentrate on your performance.  Then next week, we’ll put our heads together and see if we can figure out what’s going on with her.”

She smiled and agreed.  Randall took her hand and said, “and forget about the help.  You will do fine without it.”

She quickly jerked her hand away and said, “that’s not in the deal.  I will need something.  I can’t get in front of all of those people without it.  I’d go to pieces and make a fool out of myself.”

Randall said, “sometimes, making a fool out of one’s self is good.  It’s keeps you grounded.  I’m a perfect example.  Look at our first interaction. I acted as I was expected to act.”

Martina smiled and said, “yes.  You were a horse’s behind.”

Randall nodded.  Then, in a most sincere voice, he said, “you know, I, too, am a victim of my mother and father’s rules and demands.  I have an inner voice that is screaming for release and obstreperousness, but it’s okay.  I know that one day, I will be free to do as I want, not as someone else wants.”

“Let’s have dinner tonight.”


To be continued_______________



Thelma And “Munny”

I’ve been in my new location for almost a year.  In that time, I have met two women, who pulled into my driveway just as I was moving in.  They saw all the boxes and thought I was having a yard sale.

Nope.  Not having a yard sale.  Just unpacking.

I call them Thelma and Louise.  Needless to say, Thelma has become quite a fixture.  She pulls into my driveway and blows her horn until I come to the door.  I never invite her in.  She talks too much about all those “expensive little things” I have around, and how easy it would be for someone with shorts like hers, to just cram those little things in their pocket.  (Thanks for the tip.)

She talks a lot about “MUNNY.”  For weeks, she was trying to push her neighbor off on me, as a handyman.  She said he “could do anything, and he was a wonderful man.”  He even came to see me and we talked for about an hour.

That afternoon, Thelma called and said he wanted to know if I wanted to come down and have a cup of coffee with him and watch a movie.  I think it made her mad.

I declined and told her that I wasn’t interested.  She slightly sighed and said, “well, he ain’t got no munny and you need to be careful.  I asked why.  She said, “he’s looking for a woman who has munny.”  I said, “so you sent him up here?  What the hell?  I thought you said he was a wonderful man.”

I didn’t hear from her for a few weeks…until Friday.  She pulled in, blew her horn and when I went outside, said, “come on girl.  We’re going shopping.”  UGH.  I asked where and she said, “to the thrift stores.  You need to get out once in a while.”  I agreed but reminded her that I didn’t need anything.  It was okay.  She kind of flits around, oohing and aahing about everything she sees and thinks I need.

On the way home, this is a little of what she said to me.

“I really admire the way you handle your munny.”
(Me.) “Well, I pay my bills if that’s what you mean.”
“You live in that great big fine house, and everybody thinks you have munny!”
(Me.) “Well, everybody is wrong.”
“Let me ask you something.  Do you own your house outright?”
(Me.) “Um…yes.”
“Did you pay cash?”
(Me.) “Yes.  When I first came here, I got a room at the ‘No-Tell Motel’, and entertained different men with sexual acts, until I had enough to pay for it.  I’m still tired.”
“Let me ask you something else.  What kind of car do you drive?
(Me.) “An Infiniti.”
“Whoo boy!  That’s a nice car.  Let me ask you something.  Do you own your car outright?”
(Me.) “Yes.”
“If you don’t mind telling me, how much did your car cost?”
(Me.) “Well, I lucked out.  I signed a contract with the dealership in Florida to perform blow jobs on demand.  I don’t get down there too often, but they’ve been very patient.”

Funny…she seemed to think I was being serious.

A few days later, she came by with a car load of stuff she had bought at the Thrift Store.  She wanted to sell me a picture and a chair.  I told her that I really needed to get rid of things, not bring more things in.  She finally gave up and went home.

A few days after, she called.

“Listen.  Can you lend me about forty dollars?”
(Me.) “Um…I don’t have it.”
“Well, I could get by with about twenty.  I can pay you back on Friday when I get my check.”
(Me.) “I don’t have it.”
“It’s my heart medicine.  I’ll die without it.”
(Me.) “If you’ll go to the Pharmacy, they will let you have enough to last you until you get your check.”
“That’s alright.  I’ll just die, I guess.  Let me ask you something.”
(Me.) “Okay.”
“How do you pay for things when you go shopping?”
(Me.) “I use my credit card, and then pay the bill when it comes.”
“So, you don’t have any munny?”
(Me.) “No.  I never keep cash.  When you have an alcoholic living with you, you learn…eventually…that you can’t have cash or jewelry around.  It will be gone.”
“Well, I want you to know that this won’t keep us from being friends, okay?”
(Me.)  “Dammit!  Why not?”

Deleting Martina – Chapter Fifteen

As soon as Randall answered the phone, Martina said, “I need some advice. I have a friend who has a problem.”

Incorrectly assuming that she was talking about herself, Randall said, “what would you like for me to do?”

Martina said, “I’m not sure.  Maybe talk?”  Randall said, “okay.  Talking is good, but we need to start a plan of action before it gets too much further out of hand.  I will be your advocate, but you have to take the first step toward recovery.”

Martina, showing her annoyance in her tone, said, “oh, you misunderstand. I’m not talking about myself.  I don’t have a problem.”

Randall said, “spoken like a true addict.”

Martina impatiently said, “are you going to help me or are you going to start making accusations and judgments?”  Randall was silent as she continued.  “I have a friend named Callie, and…unlike me…she has a real problem.”

Randall said, “yes.  I heard about her from your mother and father, who by the way, said they still haven’t heard from you.  I know that they disapproved of your friendship, and said that you were rebellious, and righteously indignant about their opinion, but cutting them out of your life is not the way to ‘get back at them’.”

Martina said, “she was the only friend I had.  She had plans.  She wanted to be something special, and she told me that I could be something special.  I don’t know what happened, but I’m worried.”

Randall said, “I can tell you what happened.  The addiction animal sunk its teeth into her, and once it does, it’s almost impossible to get it to let go.” He risked Martina’s anger once more when he asked about her own addiction.  Martina said, “I don’t have an addiction!  I need a little help now and then.  What’s the big deal?  It’s not like I can’t stop anytime I want. Haven’t you ever had a drink to steady your nerves?”

Randall said, “I imagine Callie needed a little help now and then, too, and it’s ruining her life.  I’ll tell you something else…something you probably don’t want to hear…but that help will eventually ruin your life, if you don’t do something about it now.”

Martina said, “we’re not talking about me.  We’re talking about Callie.”

Randall said, “the first step in any addiction is admitting that you have a problem.  The second step is actually doing something about it.  You do know that you can’t make Callie stop using just because you want her to, right?”

Martina agreed.  Randall asked if she was enabling Callie.  “What do you mean?” she asked.  “Are you giving her money?  Are you participating in ‘activities’ with her?”

Martina said, “she has never asked me for a dime.  The first several times I used, yes, I used with Callie.  It helped us concentrate while we were studying.  Then…” her voice trailed off as she said, “then, it was more about just sitting around and laughing…and making fun of mother.  Now, when I try to talk to her, she gets almost hostile.”

Randall said, “that’s the animal.  My advice is this.  Be there for her as a friend.  Do not use with her.  If you suspect she is using around you, leave. As gently as you can, try to urge her to get into some sort of rehab or group therapy, but don’t threaten her with abandonment or retribution.  Do whatever you can for her, but remember…the most important person in this equation is you.  You cannot let yourself become one of her victims by default.”

Randall said, “why don’t we meet at the coffee shop tomorrow?”

Martina, sounding deflated, said, “okay.  Around 11?”


To be continued_____________


Deleting Martina – Chapter Fourteen

Randall whipped around and said, “that’s fine Martina.  If you don’t want to call me, don’t, but call your mother and father.  Remember, a child pouts and thinks they know everything.  An adult is responsible, and grateful, and respectful.  You…are none of those.”

As he walked away, Martina made a gesture and mumbled under her breath, “who the hell does he think he is?”

Martina had taken Callie’s advice and joined the drama class.  She found that a little help, dissolved her almost painful shyness, and although the help had increased from one or two times a day, to four or five, Callie was right.  She could be anyone when she was acting.

The class was going to perform “Les Misérables” at the end of the semester, and Martina wanted to play the grisette, tritagonist, Fantine. The part, she believed, was perfect for her.  She had never been a “working class” person, or student, or anything, but she had often felt as though she was of little or no importance to her family.  The name Fantine meant infant, and that was how Martina believed her family saw and treated her.

All of her focus was on getting the part, and she lobbied hard.  She boldly referenced her naturally golden blonde hair, which would run true to the description in the original novel, and promised to deliver a never before witnessed portrayal of the tragic Fantine.

After weeks of auditions, Martina was told that she had the part.  Her first inclination was to tell Callie, but they had begun to drift apart.  She hadn’t seen her in weeks.  It was partly due to Martina’s determination to be a success in her new interest, and partly due to Callie’s every increasing dependence on the help.  It never occurred to Martina that she herself, was on the same path.

She went to Callie’s room and knocked.  After hearing a laughing, “just a minute,” Callie opened the door.  In just a few short weeks, Callie had lost a tremendous amount of weight, and being tall made the loss even more obvious.  Her skin was sallow and her eyes were dull and lifeless.

Trying to disguise the look of disbelief on her face, Martina walked in and said, “I have some wonderful news.”  Callie sat down on the floor and ignored her.  After a few seconds, Callie said, “did you know that I own the R & L Railroad?” Martina, somewhat bewildered, answered, “no.”

Callie said, “yep.  The Right and Left Railroad.”  She held up her right arm and then held up her left.  She raised the sleeves on her shirt and said, “see?  This is my R & L Railroad, and these are the tracks.”  She nearly doubled over with an almost insane laughter.

Martina was horrified at what she saw.  Callie had started injecting the help, and her arms were bruised and full of holes.  Martina said, “Callie. You need to stop.  Do you see your arms?  Do you see what you are doing to yourself?”

Callie stood up, towering over Martina and snapped, “don’t tell me I need to stop.  Do you think I don’t know how much you’re using?  Do you think I don’t know that you can barely function without a little help?  And, I know what your wonderful news is.  You got the part in that play.  Big deal.  Try learning your lines without the help.  Try getting on the stage in front of hundreds of people without the help.  You think you’re going to preach to me about needing to stop?  I suggest you clean up your own back yard before you start complaining about the shit in mine.”

Martina got up and walked toward the door.  She turned and said, “I wanted to invite you to come see the play.”

Callie said with a smirk, “oh, sure.  You can count on it.  That has always been my fondest wish.  Watching a little rich girl play a poor little waif who sells her hair and her teeth.  Like you would have a clue what that’s like.”

Martina walked to her apartment, and called Randall.


To be continued___________

Deleting Martina – Chapter Thirteen

Martina rubbed a little “help” on her gums and it wasn’t long before she exhibited the familiar signs of euphoria.  “Wow,” she said.  “I think I see fireflies.”

Callie said, “see?  I told you.  It sharpens the mind.  Get out your book and I promise that you will start to understand things you read in an entirely different way.”

Martina reached for her book and looked at Callie.  “Did I tell you that mother wanted to be a ballerina?”

Callie had a blank look on her face and then they both started laughing hysterically.  It was the first time Callie had seen or heard Martina laugh out loud.  Callie said, “what happened?  Did the Devil’s ‘Corps de Ballet’ not have any room?”

Martina suddenly stopped laughing and said, “that was evil, wicked, mean and nasty…but then, so is mother.”

Callie jumped up and said, “look.  I’m a ballerina.”  She started turning around as if trying to perfect a pirouette.  When she lost her balance and fell to the floor, another round of uncontrollable laughter overtook them.

After a few hours, the effects began to wear off, and Martina was feeling sluggish and tired.  When she expressed concern about being able to stay awake during class, Callie said, “if you do, meet me at the coffee shop.  If JB is there, I’ll introduce you, but don’t be offended if he’s a little leery at first.  He has to be careful, you know.  You could be a potential customer or an undercover, but I’ll vouch for you.  And whatever you do, don’t tell him about your family.  He’ll start smelling real money, real fast.”

Martina managed to struggle through her classes.  Her better judgment told her to forgo the coffee shop, and just get some much needed sleep, but that feeling of blissful intoxication the “help” offered, was overpowering.  She had once heard the quote, “I can sleep when I’m dead,” and that seemed like a good idea to her.

Weeks went by, and then months.  Callie introduced her to JB and Martina became one of his best customers.  She had a new found happiness and energy.  She was able to focus and her mental alertness became more and more acute.

The Middle Of Nowhere had become her “center of everywhere.”  One night, while waiting for Callie to get off work, a man came in and sat down beside her.  He said, “hello, Ms. Hamilton.  Fancy seeing you here.”

In a polite but surprised manner, Martina said, “well, if it isn’t Randall Taylor.  What brings you to this neck of the woods?”

He said, “I stopped for a cup of coffee and saw you sitting here.  I must say, your venue has changed dramatically.”

Martina, speaking as if she was trying to win a contest for the most words spoken inside a minute, tried to explain the course her life had taken.  Her bubbly and interactive behavior was a loud signal to Randall that something was amiss.

Her pupils were dilated and the reddish hue of the sclera, led him to a suspicion that he, for the moment, kept to himself.  Treading water carefully, he innocently asked if something was wrong with her eyes.  Her immediate response was, “I’ve been studying and burning the midnight oil, as they say.”

“My parents and I had dinner with your folks the other night and I asked after you,” he said.  “They told me that you were going to college, of course, against their wishes.  He chuckled.

“So, showing up here wasn’t happenstance,” Martina said.  “Did they send you to spy on me?”  Randall shrugged, tilted his head slightly and said, “yes and no.  They said they hadn’t heard from you since you left, and they’re a little worried.”

Martina mockingly said, “oh, mommy and daddy.  They can’t stand the fact that they no longer have any control over me.”  Randall said, “I don’t think it’s about control.  I think it’s about what I said.  They’re worried.  You should call them.”

Like a switch had been flipped, Martina became hostile.  “I’m not going to call them.  They will try to talk me into coming back home.  They want me under their thumb.  They want power over me.  They want me to become some dull appendage of a rich man…some rich, boring man like you.”

Randall smiled and said, “you’re not fooling me, Martina, and you don’t have to be rude.  I don’t know what you’re using, but whatever it is, you need to stop before you ruin your life.  Here.  Take my number.  If you need help or need to talk, call me.  I don’t care what time it is.”

Martina said, “thank you, but that is a call you will never receive.”


To be continued___________

Deleting Martina – Chapter Twelve

Martina looked around Callie’s room and half-jokingly asked, “what kind of help?  Do you mean you have a tutor?”

Callie laughed and cavalierly said, “it’s called blow.”  Martina, clearly confused, said, “you mean as in blow pop?”

Callie impatiently answered, “no, silly.  Coke.”  Martina, once again showing her naivete, asked, “you mean Coca Cola?”

Callie said, “oh my God.  I forgot that you are about five years old when it comes to the real world.  She rolled her eyes and said, “cocaine.  You have heard of cocaine, right?”

When Martina repeated the word rather loudly, Callie scolded her and asked, “how do you think I manage to go to class, study, and work every night at the coffee shop?  I need a little pick-me-up, and a smidgen of blow does the trick.  There’s nothing to it.  Just rub a little on your gums and voila!  And, doing it that way doesn’t screw up your nose.”

“But aren’t you afraid you’ll get caught?” Martina asked.  Callie said, “are you kidding me?  I doubt there’s a student in this entire school who doesn’t use something to help them.  Uppers, downers, pot, heroin, shrooms, cocaine, crack cocaine…but I’d stay away from the crack cocaine. That’s some bad stuff.  There’s also LSD, but it’s not as common as it was in the seventies…or so I hear.”

“Where do you get it?” Martina asked.  Callie smiled impishly and said, “I have a source.”

Like a parrot, Martina echoed, “you have a source?  What does that mean?” Callie said, “child.  You would try the patience of Job.  It means that I have a way to get cocaine.  I get it from a guy everyone calls Joe Blow, or ‘JB’ for short.  I have no idea what his real name is, and I don’t care.  As long as old JB comes through, I’m golden.”

“Is it expensive?” Martina asked.  Callie said, “it is, but when times are lean, JB will sometimes trade for a BJ, if you know what I mean.”  The blank look on Martina’s face told Callie she didn’t have any idea what she was talking about.  Callie said, “never mind.  Besides, for you, money wouldn’t be a problem.”

Martina didn’t know what to think.  She looked at Callie and said, “I’m really tired.  Aren’t you?  Maybe we could get together tomorrow afternoon.”

Callie said, “no.  I’m not tired, and I have to work tomorrow afternoon. So…do you want to try a little ‘help’?  I guarantee you won’t be tired afterward.”  Martina said, “I probably shouldn’t.  I’ve never even had a sip of wine, and if mother found out…”

Callie raised her voice and said, “for Heaven’s sake!  You have got to let go of mother’s apron strings.  How in the world is mother going to find out? Are you going to tell her?  Do you think you still need her permission to do anything?  What is wrong with you?”

Martina shrugged and said, “okay.  I’ll try some.”


To be continued________________



Some Men Don’t Deserve To Be Walking The Earth

Most of you know that I have an alcoholic son.  I have literally been through the wringer with him, but like all good enablers, I was always the one who came to his rescue.

After years of being beaten, bruised and battered mentally and emotionally, I finally drew the line when he said, “I hate your fucking guts.  You are a fucking cunt”, and “I wish you’d fucking die.”  Later I found out that he was telling everyone that I was a “Dementor.”  Sigh.

I told him that he couldn’t contact me until he had been sober for a year.  He left my house and headed to South Carolina.  There, he was going to a pretty regimented rehab center, and I was relieved.

Naturally, it didn’t work out.  The center got him a job at a high-end fish place and one day, he showed up for work…drunk.  The center offered to take him back, on the condition that he would have to find another job.  He refused, so he landed on the street.

My son suffers from a few of his dad’s diseases; 1) thinking that he is always the smartest person in the room, 2) thinking that he is above the law, and 3) thinking that he has the right to treat me like my only purpose in life is to be his verbal whipping post.

When I found out that he had left the center, I started trying to figure out where he was.  I discovered that he was getting arrested almost every other day, and when he wasn’t arrested, he was in the hospital.  I called where he used to work and one of the women I knew said that she heard he was sleeping next to a dumpster at a Spinx station, near the hospital.  That was in March.

The last time he was arrested was the 2nd of May.  I checked arrests almost every hour, every day.  He wasn’t in jail.  I called the hospital every day.  He wasn’t there.  I called the morgue several times.  Thankfully, he wasn’t there.

On Friday, the 10th, against my better judgement, I texted his dad to please tell me if he knew anything about him.  Three hours later, he responded with one word.  “No.”

I heard that someone took him to another rehab place, and he filled out the application but never went back.  On Monday, the 13th, I texted his dad and asked if he had taken him to the center.  I never got a response.

For 11 gut-wrenching, heart-breaking days, I searched for my son.

Like a sign from above, I had an idea.  I called the restaurant and asked if anyone had seen him.  A woman came to the phone and told me that he had worked for her.  I asked if she knew where he was and she said “yes.”

“Saints be praised”, I thought.  She said that he had been on the street all this time and one day she saw him walking down the street with no shoes.  She bought him a pair of shoes and then took him to the hospital.  There, she said, he asked for help.  She said if I came to see him, I should be prepared.  When I asked what she meant, she said he had lost more than 30 pounds, and was all bruised and scraped up.

The hospital sent an advocate to talk to him and help get him into another rehab center.  This lovely woman gave me the advocate’s phone number and I called.  Bill (not his real name) was very gracious and happy that I was concerned.  He said as soon as he got my son into the car, he wanted to stop at a liquor store, and it was a back and forth battle all the way to the center.

He said my son called his dad.  He had a little trepidation when he relayed the conversation.  Apparently, my son called his dad, “daddy.”  He said, “the man on the other end raised his voice and said, “I’M NOT DADDY!”

He got him registered and in the place.  He told me that he had been texting his dad the whole time…en route and on delivery.  He questioned if it was really his dad, based on the “I’m not daddy” response, and the uncomfortable nature of his responses.  He gave me the number he had been texting and yes…it was his dad’s number.

So, I had been out of my mind with worry…texting that piece of garbage my children call dad, and he lied to me about talking to him, and knowing where he was.  How could he do that to me?

I know that POG is in constant fear of once again being kicked out if he doesn’t do what “IT” wants and tells him to do, but keeping that information from me is lower than I ever thought he could stoop.  Maybe IT told him to just let me worry.  If IT did, I’m sure POG obeyed.

Like the title…”some men don’t deserve to be walking the Earth.”  I’m not sure some women do either.