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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Group Therapy Girl ~~~~!Also get a FREE book!


I got so many nice messages, I forced myself to make time to write a story.  Is that vain?  Anyways, I've been slammed with life so I thought I'd make Stories From the Moth People FREE.  Download it for free on August 5, August 6 and August 7.   


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Group Therapy Girl

Jeanette sits in a circle of empty chairs.  She stifles another yawn and rubs her eyes.  It's been a long day at work and now this crap.  Since it's only Wednesday, she tries not think about it too much.  Wednesdays.  The asshole of the work week.  Mondays and Tuesdays are tolerable.  Thursday has Friday to look forward to.  But Wednesday?  

Ugh, she sighs.

"Hi Jenny!  Here's roll call!  See you at the follow up!" chirps Cassie the unbearably joyful boss of this hellhole.  In Jeanette's professional opinion, Cassie is completely insane.  Never trust ridiculously happy people.      

She glumly accepts the clipboard and mutters, "It's Jeanette", but Cassie never hears her.  She's already fluttered off to the other grumpy counselors.  Jeanette looks at her list and sees six CMs, three MPs and one V.  The usual mealy lot of losers.  Most of the names are familiar but two are new.  The CMs are Court Mandated, hence roll call.  Jeanette has to take roll call twice.  At the start and after the coffee break.  It's not uncommon for CMs to go out for a cigarette and never come back.  When this happens, Cassie will cheerfully pass the news on to their parole officers.  The MPs usually make it through the whole session.  They have incentive, for MP stands for Methadone Program.  To keep their doses coming, MPs are forced to sit through group counseling just like the CMs.  

Cynically, Jeanette thinks counseling is why a lot of CMs and MPs sneak off.  Not only are they forced to be here, but group session is a hornet's nest of relapse triggers.  Tale upon tale of wistful euphoria.  No one pays attention to common sense or cautionary tales of depravation.  But when someone goes on about heroin in pornographic detail, everyone leans forward eagerly.  Must be a potent poison, thinks Jeanette.  So many of them are willing to go back to jail for just one more hit.

The V's are voluntary.  Mostly people who can't afford rehab clinics.  They hope to discover the cure in this Salvation Army storage room.  But Jeanette knows that help is minimal and probably not very helpful at all.  For example, Jeanette is a professionally trained marriage counselor.  Only the terms of her parole keep her here.  If it wasn't for the third DUI and community service requirements, she would be at home, sipping her wine.  The closest Jeanette can relate to heroin addicts is she once took two Vicodins after spraining her wrist.  The only addiction recovery training she received was a manual from Cassie.  It looked suspiciously similar to the manual in her court mandated traffic/alcohol education class except the word 'alcoholic' was replaced with 'addict'.  

Initially, Jeanette was assigned to alcoholics like herself.  But the library needed the room back for senior citizen bingo.  The drunks were moved to the rec center and Jeanette was transferred to the Salvation Army.  Now she works off her community service surrounded by dope fiends.  After the initial, shocking glimpse into their lives, Jeanette grew bored.  Heroin addicts are like lemmings stuck in a loop.  Somehow they always find their way back to the cliff.  Jeanette sat through story after story.  Always the same story.  Always the same cliff.  They are doomed because most of them don't actually want to quit.  They just got caught.

It's enough to make you want to drink, thinks Jeanette. 

It's 5pm.  The mopey drug addicts shuffle in.  Many seem to have an aversion to soap and water because the room fills with the reek of unwashed humanity.  Everyone looks depressed except Cassie who kicks things off with an inspirational speech.  Jeanette stands with the other glum counselors as Cassie leads the room in prayer.  None of the counselors bother to bow their heads.  Dr. Maven, a psychologist who was arrested for tax fraud, openly glares at Cassie.  Jeanette sighs.  Time for another round of lemmings that never learn.

Cassie herds the addicts into groups.  This should be easy, for the court assigns them a group letter.  Group A, Group B, etc.  But there is always confusion and ten minutes is wasted getting people settled.  Jeanette makes eye contact with everyone in her group before she begins.  Time to introduce herself and do roll call.

"Good evening" she nods.  "Most of you know me.  For the new faces, my name is Jeanette Peters.  Welcome to group therapy.  First order of business is roll call.  Then we will briefly share our recovery progress.  At 6pm there is a fifteen minute break.  Meeting ends at 7:30pm.  Any questions?  No?  Let us begin."

She places the clipboard on her lap, looks down and frowns.  An unfamiliar CM with a foreign name is at the top of the list.  Her first hassle of the night.  She clears her throat and gives it a try.


"Don't hurt yourself" interrupts an irritated voice, "just say Kym."

Jeanette looks up into the face of a girl wearing too much makeup.  Thick outlines of black eyeliner frame blue eyes.  The girl looks hostile and frowns through glossy, blood red lips.  Sheesh, thinks Jeanette, how long does it take to cake all that makeup on?  Beneath the girl's black leather jacket is a dress that reveals her bust is powdered to match her face.  A long brazen slit opens from her thigh ending in ridiculously high platform heels.  

A slut, thinks Jeanette who ignores the interruption and continues.

"Kaaa-hadja Ameeree?"

The girl grips the armrests on her chair, leans forward and swivels her head back and forth like a snake.  "K-y-m" she says slowly, "Amiri."

An unfamiliar man sitting next to her chuckles.  Without turning to face him, the girl suddenly lashes out and punches him.  As he doubles over, Jeanette realizes they are a couple.  And he is the V.  Jeanette studies him for a moment.  Filthy, greasy jeans, black combat boots and a tacky orange shirt that says 'I got lei'd in Hawaii!'.

"If you're gonna fuck around" growls the girl, "then fuck off!"

"Well, I'm sure I'm sorry" responds the guy insincerely while squeezing her knee.  She slaps his hand away but cracks a tiny smile.

"Ok, ok" says Jeanette who drops into her professional counselor voice, "let's stay focused.  We have simple rules.  No judging and definitely no hittin-"

"Can't we just start?" demands the girl.  "Why do we need names?  I mean isn't this supposed to be secretive?"

"Anonymous" corrects the guy in the orange t-shirt.

"Whatever!" says the girl.  "I'm here because I didn't want to go to rehab AGAIN!  So my fucking dad called the fucking cops!  I got pulled over and went to jail for two days!  Can you fucking believe that shit?!"

"Wow.  Two nights?  That's fucked up" says a CM shaking her head.  "I'd lose it if my dad did that to me."

"Actually it was only one night-" starts the guy in the orange shirt again.

"Shut UP!" commands the girl elbowing him.  "Like you ever had to shit and puke in a cell!  I took like ten shits in 24 hours!"

Jeanette grimaces.  The way drug addicts frankly discuss their bodily functions never fails to disgust her.  She clears her throat, "Okay now-"

One of the MPs leans forward and points at the guy in the tacky orange shirt, "Dude, kicking in jail is NOT easy.  It's freezing in there, the guards suck and it smells nasty.  It's pretty harsh."

"Yeah!" chimes in the purple haired girl.  "And they impounded my car!  Who knows when I'll get it back?!"

"Damn girl" says another CM shaking his head.  "Your dad's an asshole."

Jeanette frowns.  Group session is not going well.  The new CM hijacked the meeting.  Hmm.  Look at the way the foul-mouthed harlot dresses.  She obviously loves the attention.  Another narcissist defending an eggshell ego.  Let's give it a poke, thinks Jeanette.

"How do you feel about this the rocky relationship with your father?" asks Jeanette.  "Do you feel he is disappointed in you?  He was forced, after all, to call the police."

"Rocky?" snorts the girl.  "We're good.  He's just like, super old fashioned."

"So..." says Jeanette pausing for effect, "You feel betrayed by his disappointment?  How did you feel when you found out it was your own father that called the police?"

"The cops?  Shiiit!" laughs the girl.  "Where my aunt lives, if they catch you with drugs, they'll shoot you and charge your family for the bullet!  I'm just bitching because this is supposed to be group therapy right, Jenny?"

"Yes" agrees Jeanette with a thin smile.  "Through our group discussions we find common ground, including pain.  And it's Jeanette."

"Yeah ok whatever" continues the girl waving her hand in a dismissive manner.  "If anything, I think all drugs should be legal."

"I think that's a terrible idea" says the guy in the orange shirt.

"Why?" asks a CM twirling her hair.  "At least people would be better informed about what they're getting into.  I've seen some nasty, preventable wounds on the street."

"I think we're straying-" begins Jeanette but the girl with purple hair talks loudly over her.

"Like Fat Pete!" she blurts out.  "You ever see that guy in the park?  Skinny hippie guy dragging a swollen leg around?"

"You guys ever get an infection from skin popping?" asks a MP.  "Leaves pus holes."


"Ok" says Jeanette using a firm tone.  "Let's get back on-"

"Hold on Jenny" says the purple haired girl, "you're gonna love this one.  I once saw an abscess on this grimey train kid...and it was as big as a fucking lemon!  I shit you not!  The best part is he popped it on a dare!  I was like five feet away and it totally smelled like sweaty ass crack and cheese!  I puked strawberry Boone's all over the place!"

Jeanette leans back in her chair, throughly disgusted with her life.  She looks down at her watch.  Fifty more minutes to go.  Then maybe a twenty minute of follow up with Cassie.  Goddamn Wednesdays, she thinks looking at the dope addicts.  They're all smiling and laughing like the doomed little lemmings they are.  The guy in the orange shirt is the only one not participating in the girl's repulsive narratives.  He looks up at Jeanette and their eyes touch for an instant.  He shrugs and turns back to the girl.  


Available on Amazon

Stories From the Moth People is now available on Amazon!