Circadian Fall

I sit at the table, order a scotch and light a smoke. The barman knows me, “don’t be calling me son again, mister! Whiskey is it?” The room half full. Deadbeats and alkys line the walls. They search for anything to wake them from their shitkicking existence. A sudden surge of pleasure is all that’s needed to make them forget. As for me? I’m only here to see her. My need is for her to recognise me, to remember how it was, before it all went separate.

The light fades while the curtain goes back. A tree stands centre stage caught in the spotlight. Drums beat, and she makes her way out in front of the crowd; naked as the first time I laid eyes on her. This nest of losers stare silently spellbound. The dance enchants and seduces them. They drool as she rolls herself around the tree, the snake slides down; it stares into her eyes.

“Looking for anybody in particular?” A huge black guy leans on the chair to my left, “Bubba Pimp, I know everything there is to know about the whoring business.” He nods towards a dark corner of the room where some scantly clad twenty something fakes a smile and strokes her crotch. I turn my attention back to the stage, “how much for her?”

Im going to tell you a story; before I forget. You see, a Man can live a whole day in a story, a lifetime, many lives, to make one story, and then forget. Climb out of bed to a history he can’t remember. Thrown into a day he neither foretold nor requested. And that’s how my story goes. How it plays out, each and every day…

A room. It seems familiar…but the girl? I don’t recall. Naked. Skin soft and warm, her breath light. She rolls away, lost in some dream. Instinctively I grab the alarm clock with moments to spare.

Each morning the same struggle. I wonder how I ended up here, managing this hotel – ‘Paradise City’. its beautiful gardens buried deep in some stinking concrete jungle. I smile at the passing guests. My skull thick with whiskey; constantly they bark requests as the mind’s eye shows me things I was never meant to know. Eventually the darkness lands. With a flash I’m gone, out the door, pulse racing with an urge to see her.

I trudge uptown brandishing the stick at the swarm of oncoming human traffic. The city bursts skywards. Giant advertising screens flash baseball stars and sportswear.

“Fucks your problem?” screams some fat cunt in linen pants and a fedora.

“I come in peace, son.”

“Ain’t your son shitbag, watch where ya walking next time. Fucking cripple!”

Without breaking stride or looking back I wonder at how many times Ive heard this and smile. The night air warm and sticky; taxi cabs blare horns, the smell of hotdogs drift from the street vendors. I push on.

La temptation’ Gentleman’s club and Bubba Pimp is in full pitch, a girl on each arm. The crowd of losers holla at the show, throwing twenty bucks a pop. The snakes tongue flicks at her snatch as she writhes on the stage.

“You couldn’t afford that one,” he says.

“Oh, I’ve paid for it.” I laugh, “many times over.”

The snake rises to attention then dips back down flicking its tongue across her nipple. The audience goes wild. My heartbeat reaches critical as fingers tighten round the stick. Urge turns to rage. I’m up and out of the chair stick held high. The reptile turns it head. It taunts me. I see my reflection in its eyes. Teeth grind, my chest thuds and I swing heavy. The branch from an ancient tree shatters its skull. The bums go psycho.

“What the fuck is wrong with you,” pleads Eva “Why don’t you just leave us alone?”

“Axel, son of man, pleased to meet ya.”

“You’re not the son!”

“What ya talking about?”

“Don’t you remember? You didn’t want us.” She points at the snake, “you’re not the son… he is!”

The serpent disappears, a half-eaten apple takes its place.

A voice shouts across the room, “you’re not the fucking son!”

“Not the son, not the son, not the son…” Faces chant, charging towards me. Stale whiskey and body odour rise with the heat; a nightmare scenario.

“Bitch” I shout, raising the stick towards the oncoming human traffic.

“Not the son, not the son…”

Blows reign in. I’m on the floor. I feel the snake slide against my leg. It’s soft and warm. I hear my breath gently moving in and out. The taste of whiskey sour in my mouth. Instinctively I reach out, grabbing the alarm clock with moments to spare.

Guests at the hotel come and go, forever needing something. They are always asking for help. I tire of smiling at them and take a walk in the garden. My buckled legs ache and the damp shirt clings to my skin. It will be dark soon, almost dark enough to see her again. I sense an urge and it begins to rise…

“If I were to begin life again, I should want it as it was. I would only open my eyes a little more ” ~ Jules Renard.

“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude” ~ Henry J.M Nouwen.

“You don’t know my mind, you don’t know my kind. Dark necessities are part of my design” ~ Red hot chili peppers.

D&O in Fresno

Just for today – 24 little hours

Waiting at the bus stop on route to the office after attending the local psychiatric hospital this afternoon (Myself and a colleague had been to visit a client ), a car pulled over and I recognised the private number plate. Strange as I had only spoken to the driver on the phone three days earlier. A very good friend of mine was driving the car. We hadn’t seen each other in about five years. I ushered my colleague into the back seat and made a joke that I had just picked her up from the hospital and was escorting her on ‘Home Leave’. My friend quickly retorted “Its ok love, I know who the real patient is here!”

Everyday is different in my life today. Though I have a job, regularly attend meetings, stay sober, work the Steps and also have various commitments, no 24 are the same. Very different from where I was last time I saw this friend. Those days revolved around drinking and the madness it brought, I was very much the patient!

My life of late is very balanced, especially my inner life. During the five years since recovery found me I have been through some challenging periods of growth and Im now reaping the rewards. I’ve become very self aware and work on myself on a daily basis. Staying one ‘Step’ ahead of those pesky character defects that tempt me on a daily basis to ‘act out’ has become my spiritual practice. I can’t do that alone, so starting each day with Step 11 is how I ask for guidance from whatever it is that guides me. Step 11 – “Through prayer and meditation” asking only for knowledge of Its will for me and the power to carry that out. It didn’t start out that way today since I woke up in somebody else’s bed – Not very spiritual. But at least it was dry!

By 4:30pm I’m sat with a Social Worker discussing a case I’m involved with. Forgetting for a moment that she is neutral and neither for or against the individual I represent, I found myself slightly wound up. Those pesky defects! Stepping back from the situation slightly, taking a sip of water and recomposing myself, I become quickly aware of my ego rising to the fore. Its not about me and she isn’t against me. Stop feeling threatened and calm the fuck down D&O! All ends well and I feel the satisfaction gained by allowing the Program to work in my life. Progress not perfection!!

Earlier today around noon I was escorting another homeless person to the bus station. I was reconnecting her to the town of her former home, her area of connection. I had linked her up with homeless services through there and remain hopeful she will receive the support she needs. On the way another old friend and former drinking buddy was outside a bar smoking. He waved and I shouted over that I would call in and say hello on my way back. I did – he was surrounded by comrades who maybe more needing of the psychiatric care than those I was to visit later in the day. We spent a few short minutes with pleasantries and he updated me on the latest chaotic event of his recent life. I was pleased to make a sharp exit. He is somebody I care deeply about, we have been friends a lot of years, but his bar fly compadres are easy for me to walk away from nowadays. I know without this 12 Step Program of Recovery I would soon be drinking with them. I thank God thats not today and hopefully not in any 24 hours of a future that includes me… I don’t judge, Im just grateful its not me today – bless them!

Later at home Im going over the events and conversations of the day when a friend in the fellowship reaches out and asks for my help. Remembering I can’t stay sober alone, that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself, I say yes! Its partly how it works – ‘Step 12’, give freely of what you shall find! I phone my Sponsor and chat about his day as well as mine. He jokes that God puts crazy people in other crazy peoples path… I don’t argue with that, and remind him that He introduced us!

I bath, eat, meditate and pack a bag for tomorrow. I’m heading to Leeds after work, giving a presentation to my peers – my findings on homelessness in the United States! Thats on Saturday, Im going to get there the night before and make a meeting in the City centre.
I sit down to Write… No 24 the same, but for a few in a row I haven’t needed a drink, never hurt anybody (including myself) and have enjoyed this wonderful gift we call life!
“Die to the moment, every moment!” – Buddhist Philosophy.
“The secret of daily living is daily dying” – St Paul (formerly Saul, author of the New Testament).


Day Fourteen of the Word Press everyday inspiration challenge: Recreate a single day.
D&O in Fresno