Robert B.

ronasbobDate: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 08:53:15 -0500: Subject: First Night Celebrations? To: Happy New Year to All, Tonight is the last night of 2004, however, in these parts, people refer to it as the First Night Celebrations. It reminds me of my last night/first night celebration two weeks before Easter in 1989.


I was diagnosed with HIV in the fall of 1985. I took part in a Red Cross program designed to test the general public for the new “gay cancer”.


A friend who knew how promiscuous I was in my glory (hole) days at 54 and The Lost and Found, felt it his duty to tell me about the article he’d recently read in the New York Times. My doctor was Doctor O’Maley, and I remember the day he asked me to come back into his office at Provincetown Health Associates.


He was an older doctor, who I believe retired the following year. Who knows, this was probable the proverbial nail in his coffin too.


I can only guess at his perceptions about this “new gay cancer” thing, but I’m sure he had at least an inkling of the coming devastation.


I remember he told me I contracted the disease with the somber tone of, “sorry there’s nothing I can do”. And there wasn’t. At this time many experts were hoping for a quarantine to contain the rate of infection, but that was all they advised.


It was terminal. Driving my mother’s AMC Pacer out the driveway and down Harry Kemp Way, tears weld up in my eyes as I talked out loud to her, a victim of cancer who died two years earlier. I would join her soon, but God Damn it, I didn’t think it would be this soon.


For the next four years I didn’t breath a word for fear I’d be locked up. I stood by quietly while friends moved away to die. Some to their parents homes, some to New York, or San Francisco, to fight the disease with a new drug called AZT.


But as you know, this only shortened lives in the end. Within a few years, the dosage was considered to high for the immune system to handle. It is with a profound sense of gratitude that I salute those who chose to fight early on, making themselves human guinea pigs. If it were not for them, we would still be testing on lab rats. So it’s a big, “Holla” out to Doug and Steven! I miss you both.


In the spring of 1989 I was exhausted. The Key West store had failed miserable. There was a reason after all, Tony Lambert sweaters didn’t sell in Key West. It was too damn hot! And the fashionable, understated, Khakis long pants I was sure would sell in my new store, were passed over by the Australian upper leg slit shorts in bright colors and prints that were bought in other stores.


Even my heavy gaged, low slung, solid color tee’s from Christoper Street which were such a hit in Provincetown the previous summer, lost out to Ginni tee’s with printed advertisements like, “Have another Margaretta in Margarettaville”.


I drowned my sorrow in Cape Cods at the Copa which was located across the street. I often opened up the store late at night to some prospective buyer I picked up, enticing him with a joint or line of coke.


When I returned to Provincetown that spring, I left the Keys (and the keys to the Pacer) with the orders to pack it up, ship it out, and leave undetected. Why didn’t I listen them and set the store up under a different corporation. This was the end of both stores.


My weight dropped so dramatically I cried when I asked the sales girl for a twenty eight waist even though I knew,“Giraud” cut big.I couldn’t eat and I remembered sitting down at the kitchen table with my best girlfriend, pushing pieces of fruit around in a bowl, too embarrassed to tell her I no longer had an appetite. I was dieing, and dieing fast.


I told her if she loved me, she would let me go.I didn’t want to suffer like the rest. I was very convincing, I was, after all, a great salesman. I sold some sweaters in Key West, just not enough.


I purchased a one way ticket to Amsterdam, where I heard they practiced euthanasia, and booked myself into the the Marriott, the most expensive hotel in Amsterdam, with my American Express Card.Once there,I contacted some doctor with an Aids organization and told him my story.


He scheduled an appointment for the following day. We met and I convinced him about the euthanasia thing, and he told me, although the Netherlands allows such practices, in my particular, undocumented, and really unprecedented case, he could only circumvent the authorities by prescribing a lethal dose of barbiturates.


He suggested I fill it in another country, for my sake, as well as his. I left the following day for Geneva.


I purchased the round trip ticket on my American Express Card. “DON“T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!”. Geneva had a surreal quality to it as I flew in over the snow capped mountains and down to the runway along the ice covered lake bed, or it could be the tranquilizers the doctor had prescribed for my nerves.


I was popping them like candy. Sure enough under the international red cross sign for a pharmacy, I filled my prescription for the barbiturates. Now just two more refills to go. The doctors orders were precisely followed.


After two days, I was back on the return flight to Amsterdam with my loot. Flying, now, took on a peaceful quality as if I were getting closer to heaven, and my dreams were all about ascending and descending. Once back at the Marriott, I called my best friend and his lover, also my lover, that’s why we were best friends, and I invited them to join me for a big celebration with a night on the town courtesy of, you guessed it, my American Express Card.


I bought a camera to take the last stills of my life. I thought it would make a good visual aid at my memorial service of my final days. And the pictures, (Which have some how gotten lost, and I still harbor suspicions the ex boyfriend has them or disposed them), were amazing. One of a women with tulips surrounded by small children, towering above their heads.


One of the flower market, totally framed with bright tulips of every color imaginable. One of an old man’s face, showing the age lines that cut so deeply that are only associated with growing very old, (something I would never experience). One of the joyous face of a girl, smiling with her hair held back with something colorful and girlish, yet she had wisps of hair that hung around her face that relayed a hopeful, yet possible, disheveled life ahead of her.


All the pictures had some profound meaning of what it was like to be human, to live life, and to grow old in doing so. My friends met me at the hotel right away, driving the over three hour drive, in two hours. We had dinner at a place of their choosing, and it was a place we normally couldn’t afford without the rich boyfriend. But this was not going to be a normal night. “Waiter.. another bottle of Dom Perrier.


We’ll order dinner in a in a little while”. And this was how the night went.The three of us talking, and me telling the story, and the bottles of Dom Perrier coming until they ran out and we had to switch. The boyfriend, older and perhaps, more wiser, and certainly more particle, wasn’t buying the story. He thought I was making a big mistake, but the night ended with the tearful goodbye between friends who know they’ll never see each other again.


The next morning I called the airlines to find out how much it cost to send a dead body back to the United States. And I was appalled that it cost almost four times as much for a dead body, who didn’t eat,didn’t drink,didn’t watch movies,didn’t even make any special requests or need a blanket, (Well, they might need a “special” sort of blanket or wrapping, and I’m sure, they require the temperature to be at, or below freezing).


But you get my point. I shouldn’t be concerned with the money, although by this point, I was beginning to think they might try to attach the debt to my family somehow. So it was back to the States with another one way ticket. (Two last minute, one way tickets came to over 2,000 dollars, but I could hardly look at the bill when it arrived a month later). Once I landed in Boston,( by this time I don’t really think I landed, without much food and all the pills, I was definitely floating on air) I found a hotel that was conveniently located near the airport and easy to get to so my family could identify the body, and once in the room, placed the lethal dose of pills on my pillow.


I wrote four letters. One to the poor hotel worker who found me, apologizing to her for putting her in this situation and directing her,(I always imagined it would be a maid from Haiti or somewhere, hysterical, screaming her prayers to God in broken English as she ran down the hall).


One to the police officer, directing him how to contact my immediately family. One to my brothers, telling them how much I loved them and didn’t want them to suffer over my prolong illness.


And one to my father, forgiving him. I turned up the TV, so if I made some unconscious moaning or choking sounds during my ascent, it wouldn’t draw any premature attention to me. I laid on the pillow, I looked at the vial of pills. “So this was it… not so bad… nice comfortable bed…. soft white sheets…. comfortable clothes….and …..” passed out.


I remember dreaming I was on a platform like a shrine, and some friends were saying things over me and laying hands on me. They were helping me elevate to the other side, lifting, no elevating me, and each time I rose a little higher, each time I became a little lighter, up.. up.. up.. soon I was ascending high above the city,(What city? Was I still in Amsterdam?) then down.. down.. down..then up… up.. up…and down.. ..down.. down, until I splashed into a canal and woke up in a terrible sweat.


It was morning and I had a sudden urge to make the final plans myself, relieving my family of any obligations. So I contacted a funeral parlor I found in the yellow pages. It was Irish, but my only other option appeared to be Italian and that didn’t feel right, so I made an appointment for “a friend of mine named Robert who was dieing of an incurable disease”.


“Robert” told me everything he wanted, and I was to convey it to the funeral director. I walked into his office, never having been in one before, I was strikened by how ordinary it looked, like a lawyer’s office. After hearing “Robert’s story”, the funernal director thought it best if,


“Robert” went to get retested inoder to prove to his family he was very sick, and dying, soon to be dead. I said I would tell him, and left a deposit of $1,000 cash,( he didn’t take credit cards) and left for the testing center. I reached the clinic, which to the best of my recollection was located near Harvard Square, really flying now.


I actually believed I was in an ultra state of telepathy and could perdict the future, but it was later diagnoised, as a psychotic episode. My high was rudely interrupted when the receptionist at the clinic told me she would be happy to make an appointment for a test, “Let me see…next Friday…no,no,…the Friday after that, at two thirty?”. “You don’t understand, I almost killed myself last night.


I need a test today”. The words just came out, like I had no control, (Go figure). “Oh, I understand”, ( And to this day I remember his name, and have often thought to thank him for saving my life) “Dr.McCain can see you now”. Well then, that’s better. I was shown to his olffice. Dr. McCain left the office for two brief periods during my “story”. Under the cloak of confindentalaliy, I decided to be completely candid and told him everything. He was such a nice man, easy to talk to.


I asked to take a smoke break and didn’t return until he came down and found me outside talking to a dog. He stood up from behind his desk when the knock at the door came and he stated his name was Dr. McCain, he was committing me to observation and he was afraid I might do harm to myself and he believed I had the means to do so on me, (What, had I told him that too?) to the police officers as they walked in.


I went quitely. The officers had me empty my pockets,(God, what was I thinking. Why didn’t I just leave the pills in the hotel room, the maid probable wouldn’t have stolen them). We proceeded, arm in arm, to the the back of the paddy wagon.


I remember giving them the letters through the slot claiming it wasn’t a good idea to have them on me, (I brought them too, “You can read them if you want”). I tired my best to sell my case to the intake doctor at the Mass.Dept Of Public Health, but he didn’t buy it. I would be committed for observation for 72 hours. I was allowed one call, I made two, one to my best girlfriend, and one to my deserving, yet, unexpecting father.


My father’s new wife answered the phone. She’s about my age, and I’m his youngest son, you can do the math, and although my father didn’t know what he could do, she went into action, and together, over the next few days, they planned my release. It was simple. The family had to appear loving and supportive, with friends who were also, loving and supportive. The latter was easier to pull off. But three days later, my father arrived via air and ticketed through American Express.(They still had no clue, and I’m afraid I’ve ruined it for the rest of you would be suiciders because these days they will question even a one way ticket to Amsterdam, and cut you off just like that.


So to all of you who are planning your own demise, be forwarned).


My father stayed in my hotel room since I was unexpectable detained from checking out.The hotel’s close proximity came in handy, although not for what I had intended, and he showed up early on the fourth day in his navy blue, double-breasted suit, looking like he was going to work for the State Department, which he did, followed in by my best girlfriend, looking sharp as always.


The first morning, if I may back track for just a minute, I was summoned to the Harvard ampitheater which was filled with young doctors and interns from Harvard School of Medicine. You would of thought it was scene from the Elephant Man, and I made sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.


I told them they had no right to prevent me from euthanasia, now I have to die a slow and painful death. I was an example of the psychotic, suicidle, state of mind, but as I saw it, I was there to explain managing death over prolong illness.(This was before anyone ever heard of Jack Koverken).


It took two full weeks to draw blood, run the tests and convince me I wasn’t dieing of Aids. But I was suffering a nervous break down. I returned to Provincetown in time to celebrate Easter with supportive friends since I aggreed to go to Boston once a week from psychoanalyisis. (The most fabulous, and only real thearpist I’ve ever known was named, get this, Dr.Storm Lynn).


Within the week, I found out the night I passed out with the pills on my pillow was the same night friends had attended a sayaunce in Provincetown.


They were trying to reach someone’s long lost dead sister, instead, they reached me.This would be far fetched, except that I was able to name the friends since they were also the ones in my dream.


Why am I telling this story? Well you see, I got another chance at life, in fact, I’ve had serveral, but this time I welcome the New Year with hope and new oppertunity. So, wheather you’re celebrating the first night, or the last night, with a little luck, we’ll all have a long and happy life. :)


From: Robert B.


Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2005 12:42:50 -0500


Subject: The big thaw or the big chill?


To: Eric K.


Hey, hey, Lulu, Back at the office/library. What a week. Nothing but snow and more snow. The town is, for lack of a better word, back to normal. It’s all about catching up now. As you know my infections continue with the last one requiring another dose of antibiotic, but this time intravenously. I felt like such a pathetic thing hooked up to an IV, and hope it’s not in my immediate future any time soon.


Poor Francine is also a bit confused by the Meds. I went to thebody.com and entitled my question, “My head or my liver?”. I asked weather they have any stats on Susteva’s mental side effects and to what degree I might experience them. As some say, I’m half crazy already so there’s only half as much at stake. My other alternative is Viramune which can cause irreversible liver damage, and or liver failure, and or death. So as my doctor points out,” it’s a crap shoot”.


One thing I’m clear on is that I will feel worse before I feel better. And that’s the rub. Whatever regiment I decide on will have to be adhered to for at least eight weeks to, as the doctor says, “work through”. One thing they both have in common, in this case not such a good thing, is a rash, nausea, and diarrhea, symptoms which I’m dynamically opposed to because it’s just such a mess in the end. (ha, ha, me make a little jokie). We’ll see what the experts say…


Otherwise the week was spent filling in time. Time to clean the kitchen cupboards at 5:30 am., time to shovel the snow off the front walk at 5:30 am., time to go for a walk along the beach at 5:30 am. The latter was out of desperation since the,” house” feels I’m competing for the Mary Poppins clean sweep stakes and resents my compulsive too clean behavior. I’ve already decided to plead the fifth in the house meeting on Wednesday when work assignments are reviewed, “ I clean therefore I am on the grounds that I may incriminate myself”.


You’ll also be glad to hear that among volunteering for stage manager for the up and coming Provincetown Theater’s production of Jacques Braille, I’ve also signed up for a memoir writing course at the adult education center.


So I look forward to improving remarkably with a little assistance from a visiting fellows from UT Grad school who also teaches at the Artist’s Fine Arts Workshop here. When I went to sign up and asked for an enrollment form, the very nice girl behind the desk asked what class I was signing up for.


I said the memoir writing class, and this fat bitch who was also signing up for the class, asked if it was a beginners class because she’s “published” already and I can only assume, doesn’t want to waste her time. Could the instructor call her at home? How dare she! Is it that obvious I’m a beginner?


I looked at her check book and she was writing a check for two hundred and something dollars, the courses only cost up to fifty dollars and unless she was singing up for advanced pilates or yoga, or better still, food and wine parring class, she’s signed up for every fucking writing class and obviously isn’t “publishing” at this bloody moment. I mean really. I’ll give you an up date on this one when I start classes next week.


So Lulu, Dr. Bob has said he will track down a computer for me next week as he slipped me another $200.00 dollars as I protested I hadn’t even spent the last installment yet. He only got me to except it finally since he is going out of town to Vermont next week looking for a liver for his friend who apparently is still in denial.


Speaking of denial, Dougie is up to his old tricks again calling me Sunday to rave and rant foaming at the mouth about how he heard through a hairdresser who worked with him last year, that one of my house mates, I have eight, went out on Saturday and was “a mess and had an orgy with two other guys from out of town and did I hear any of the ruckus downstairs last night and how he is such a mess, drinking and shitting himself, never eating, all over the place, yada yada yada…”


Oh please, look to the source, who’s by the way, a fat horse without anything or anybody to do in his spare time. These queens in this town are comic figures without a leg, or peg, to stand on. As my house mother said after I told her,“please, I’ve never seen anyone come out of the West End Salon looking any better than when they went in, and I know, I used to work across the street!” Love her, she’s very gay, my house mother.


Lulu, I haven’t told anyone about the Blog yet and I’m very excited about it. How do I do it? I’d like to write in it if I can, so you don’t have to copy all the time. You’ll let me know about that soon I hope. Obviously this is my way of telling everyone about MY BLOG that LULU MADE FOR ME. Go visit it at: robertbarrett.blogspot.com and let me know what you think.


Well dear Lulu, that’s it for now and I’ll keep you up to date now that the snow has melted and no one in town has a reason to stay in and do whatever it is they do. So write when you can. Love, Francine


From: Robert B.


Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2004 11:45:56 -0500


Subject: Feeling better after yelling and apoligizing for yelling. You don’t need to know, but do you remember?


To: Dear …,


The weather in Atlanta this morning reminds me when we arrived in Sydney. The mornings after it rained the low fog gave way to partly clouding sky. In the distance you could see the dark rain mass as it moved out to sea. There’s a light cool breeze which hints at the change of seasons.You remember? Oh and the flight over. We had stayed up most of the night before at Private Eyes, the new hottest club in New York with wall to wall videos. I knew the owner’s boyfriend and he got us into the VIP room and free drinks. We were quite fetching then. We were with that Irish boy I picked up in Boston that summer who still lives there. We didn’t want to spend any money before leaving for Sydney for six months so you stayed with some trick and I stayed with your stewardess friend at the YMCA.


Remember I got so drunk that in the middle of the night I had to pee so bad I got up and thought I was stepping out the window to a balcony outside her room and fell from the 27th floor to where the balcony actually was to the 25th floor?.How I woke up in the morning in nothing but my underwear in a strange empty room with a broken window thinking I’d been robbed by the little stewardess or pissed her off and figured she’d left me for broke?


How you all found me wrapped in a towel, no that’s right, by that time security had found me some clothes to put on from lost and found. I was going through the hotel registry trying to remember the girls name? How I had long cut marks of dried blood from where I crawled through the broken window all up and down my legs and arms? I had thrown a brick through the window to get off the balcony once I fell so I could get into the vacant room. How the security guard took me outside and for emphasis and showed me it wasn’t even a balcony it was more of a decorative eve that ran up each side of the block long building not to be accessible to guests?


And how even though I ended up staying in “my own” room the management only charged me five dollars for the broken window? Oh and the 19 hour flight, how I suffered stinging from the cuts and bruises? Those were the good ol’ days.


And how the Aussie boys from the guest house took us to Bondi Beach, or was it Tamarma,? How the next day, we were suffering from immense hang overs and jet lag, and how they just stood there idle and watched us as we jumped into the surf paying no attention to the yellow flags (we thought they were decoration) and swam out too far getting caught in the rip current for twenty minutes with the waves pounding us and the tide taking us further out to sea until I, I think it was me, remembered to swim sideways and into shore and how these two Queens not from Australia, wet and water logged, half drowned, actually kissed the sandy shore confessing to have “almost died” to one another through our tearful whimpering sobs? Those were the days.


Oh OH! And how that night when we went to the Exchange Hotel on Oxford Street with those Aussie boys that worked at the Albury Hotel, one of which I told you I had had a crush on since I was last in Australia two years before and how near the end of the night I couldn’t find either one of you and at breakfast the next morning you came sashaying in by yourself and I asked you about it that night and you told me you were just trying to prove to me he wasn’t worth it and when I confessed I loved him you told be he was “no big deal” presenting your little figure to me as an example of his size and how I flew across the bed and started to choke you to death?


Yeah those were the days alright. And how that boy came to P- town years later and you would’t let him stay with you so I took him in and that’s when he met David and we met David?


And how he died of AIDS two weeks before Willem and I went to Australia for six months the last time, before Willem was your boyfriend and the two of you got married.?Yes indeed. We’ve come along way since then haven’t we?


From: Robert B


Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2004 14:53:32 -0500


Subject: Saw a dead squirel today


To: Hi ,


I’m at my clinic/office location today and went to sign on and realized after putting in my password that the email address was wrong, it was left from the previous user and read, …,


that’s fucked up! Yes I passed a dead squirrel on my way here and although I don’t find any literal meaning in this, I am depressed today. Moments later I passed a crack addict who actually turned around to start with me. I waved him off without a word. He must of seen it in my face, the venerability .


One hour has passed……………..it’s amazing how crying


( “I can’t believe people actaul care that much about me”) and then screaming ( can’t you give me anything for the pain) at your therapist, can make a world of difference.


Surely I exaggerate, it probable won’t make a world of difference, but it’s a start. I told her, not letting her interrupt, what has happened in the last few days.


How on Thanksgiving a friend of mine gave me a Colonopen(?) which made me relaxed for the first time in weeks.


How after dinner I got cramps and lied on the floor of the bathroom in a fetal position, deep breathing and sweating. How he then gave me a pain killer and I felt just fine. Was it food poisoning or just nerves or a reaction to the drugs, who knows.


I went home and called Evelyn Simon after two years and was aesthetic about my sobriety. She didn’t believe me and asked what I was on. She didn’t return my call yesterday.


On Friday it was back to work with Paul, the slave driver who takes his “work very seriously” which is window washing. He’s been sober for 10 years and is what they call in the field,“a dry drunk”.


He was incredible abusive, needlessly criticizing my work and telling me why I’m just like his loser sister the drunk. We worked from 9am to 5pm with no food or water, no exaggeration( and he’s doing me a favor at ten dollars an hour).


I need the money. By the time he dropped me off at home, after trying to search for some levity on my part, it ending with yet another fight where he slammed the car door and sped off.


I went up to soak in a bath which lasted about five minutes until I got the courage up and called him, “Yes BOBBY?” “Paul, I just want you to know that I’ll work for you tomorrow, but you don’t control me and the abuse has got to stop! Think about it” He started to yell again, I hung up the phone quickly. He’s so miserable and sick.


He has no excuse for being an asshole, he dosen’t drink, but I feel sorry for his mental problems. So much for the twelve steps! I was supposed to go to my first meeting that night with my friend Thomas, but he called to tell me he couldn’t make it, how about tomorrow night? Too many pain killers for him I assume and agree to meet the next evening. I was relieved.


The next morning, if you can call 3am that, I’ve been getting about four, five hours of sleep a night for the last couple of weeks, I woke with a stye in my left eye and the fever blister from the week before and a back ache.


I waited till 7am and called my brother, waking him at 6am his time. I couldn’t even get out the words hello I’m sorry before sobbing uncontrollable.


I told him I needed a treatment center, that I had to go away, that I’ld miss Christmas and I did’nt even know if I could get Christmas presents to the kids, sob, sob. That I was broke and this is probable not the time to stop smoking (now up to two and half packs a day).


He suggested some place in Texas and I told him that the family may be where some of the problems are, that I can’t further his burdens( he takes care of my brother and his wife’s mother is very ill), and that I wouldn’t know what he could tell the kids about Uncle Bobby and I simple couldn’t save face.


Now there’s a joke! I mentioned that Doug in P town had mentioned a place up there in a passing conversation the week before( had he seen it coming?) and that if I wanted he could check into it for me. My brother suggested I call Doug, once I got a hold of myself and we hang up.


When I called Doug he didn’t let me indulge myself and said to wait for his call around noon.


At 12:30 Doug called, and in only the way Doug can say it, “ It’s all taken care of call Bob Dewars, you remember him.” Apart from having the last name Dewars, Bob, who I think I sleep with once, was a huge drunk who obsessed with me and would fall asleep (pass out) on my porch behind the store.


I think I was fairly rude to him then, but Doug has reported to me each and every time he’s asked about me over the years. ( In later conversations, now Dr. Bob Dewars, remembers my birthday, a fact that escapes my own father!) He’s on the board of this and that drug rehab, knows everybody, and has “connections”. Doug describes him as top in his field, considered the very best.


So I call, getting no answer, I left a message clearly emphasising and spelling my last name.( probable unnecessarily, the man knows my BIRTHDAY) He called back several hours later stating he was on the Outer Cape and didn’t want to risk a phone interruption.


Very responsible, so far so good. He described the “treatment options” available to me, I interrupted in order to bring him up to date with all my particulars so as to get things rolling. All in all, I was impressed.


I admitted my tremendous fear that people might not be taking me seriously and that I could not afford yet another mistake or misguided attempt to finally fix my life. He assured me, it, and he, and Doug, were on the up and up. I hung up with a twinge of hope and a over riding sense of uncertainty.


Yet I managed to call some friends, while answering calls from others. “‘We support you” and “whatever you need, just let me know” was the general theme from my friends from out of town. I was started to feel better.


Then I called Pat, my practicing alcoholic, (he’s actually very good at it and can drink anyone under the table), best friend who between beers,“hold on let me get a beer” and “wait a second, can someone PLEASE get me a beer? and “where’s my beer?” and finally,” I told you to get me a fucking beer”, to tell him about the developments.


He’s response, although predictable, considering, hit me like a ton of bricks. “ That’s what I hate about white people, (he’s white), they’re always bitching and moaning about how their parents did this, blaming their parents for that. You don’t see the black men blaming their parents, he gets a job, (or steals or sells crack) because he has to. You can’t blame your parents for all your failures. You fucked up!


You’re fucked up! Your life’s a mess because you chose to get drunk and loose every job you ever had,( he exaggerates, we’ll say many) and you tell everybody at the bar their wearing an ugly shirt, (just one queen, and it was, and I felt bad for it the next morning). And then, have properly read me for filth, he, or I, hung up on each other.


The next call was to Paul, I felt bad about all the negativity I was attributing to him from the abuse the day before and decided to give him one last chance. “It’s because you’re fucked up. Look at your life;( He met look at my life and how much better it is than your’s) you have three dui’s, you’re getting evicted, you don’t have a job, you don’t have a car, of course you feel bad, you’re a loser.


Go to ninety meetings in ninety days”,….and then,”.these doctor’s are paid by the drug companies, all the want to do is get everybody on drugs, ( and feeling better about themselves?) Admit you’re powerless over alcohol, then we’ll talk”.


It occurred to me how similar Pat and Paul are, how miserable they are, how they are so much alike, and how they’ve always despised each other equally. But maybe they have something. Maybe I’m a spoiled brat.


Maybe my goal to feel better about myself and live a fuller more meaningful life, now that I’m given this window of opportunity, is selfish and self centered. Maybe if I just go to the meetings my life will slowly turn around like Paul’s after ten years, because look at all he’s got.


When the phone rang again, it was Dr. Bob. I was on my way to a meeting, but I took the time to tell him about all the advice I’ve gotten from my support system in Atlanta, and that I was having second (third and fourth…..) doubts.


I even explained to him that I was in a crisis, and by it’s very definition that means I can’t be trusted to make sound judgements, ( I once convinced my friends it wasn’t suicide, it was euthanasia, so let me go and get on with it), “so if you could give me the hard line, it would be appreciated”. He took a breath and began, “ Although working the twelve steps is helpful in recovery, if one (meaning me) has a bio/chemical aspect it may need to be treated with drugs, and if one has serious emotional needs, ( I plead insanity), they’ll need to be addressed with intense therapy, and I am offering you both, not to mention getting you started on HIV meds”.. Sounds good to me, “but what if I get up there and find out that I’ve made a mistake.


I can’t afford another mistake”.” Well, Doug and I would love seeing you and it’s not like you’ld be missing out on anything in Atlanta for a week while you check out what’s best for you, your health, and you’re recovery,.


Robert, you need to relax, get away from the daily stresses in life”,( like eking out a below poverty existence, living pay check to pay check for forty plus hours a week, never getting anywhere, but too busy to be really concerned or connected?),” and give recovery a chance”.


OK, now I’m going, two points for Dr. Bob!, and off I go to my first meeting. The meeting was pretty much as I anticipated.


Half the group obviously suffered from some greater degree of manic depressive and bi polar illnesses, they were, however, sober, and miserable And the other half, were celebrating their sobriety; happy and well adjusted, normal.


So, weather I went with an agenda or not, I believe, if I’m going to truly beat this thing, this thing that’s probable been with me before I drank any alcohol or smoked any pot, I’ve got to give Dr, Bob’s recommendation a chance. So with the help of friends and family, with the support from so many I didn’t expect it from, I am on the road to recovery, and to P town, and finally, maybe, this elusive thing called “a happy life”.


I talked to Paul this morning. He thinks I’m making a mistake,” look at all I have, you’re such a looser”.


From: Robert B


Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2004 15:03:40 -0500


Subject: Welcome home, I feel better already. To:


Hey Sweetie,


I was beginning to think you were an enigma of my imagination, some invisible friend I dreamed up to keep me company through all this. But you’re back in the flesh, or should I say, black and white, with stories forthcoming to boot!


As you can see, I’ve been quite prolific since your departure and it appears each time I try to end a chapter (of my life) something more compelling, more dubious, more tragic, comes up.


My note book is stuffed with ideas and concepts waiting to be put down on paper, however this day to day bullshit must be extracted first, usually leaving me too exhausted to write another line.( so much for catharsis, but that would be the wrong word because this shit is REAL! )


That’s how I left last night after emailing, hopeful, full of trepidation and exhausted. Pat called in a rare sober moment and told me he supported what ever decision I made. Paul called to invite me to a meeting, however my back still ached, I was hoarse from yelling at the therapist, and besides the meeting he goes to is outside the perimeter ( OTP is the Manhattan equivalent of “bridge and tunnel”)


In other words, I was full of excuses. But he called and that was positive.


The next call was from Dr. Bob Dewars who apologized for calling late, he had had a bad day. He said that he was trying to arrange for a new liver for a friend, he had a donor,( I imagined the donor, no longer alive, lying stiff and cold and not missing his liver anyway) and that his friend had called to say he was having problems with his ulcer and cancelled his appointment.


Had Dr. Dewars had a sippy sip sip of his name sake?, and he would call me from the hotel.


Why is a successful doctor staying in a hotel? With these questions unsaid and unanswered, I replied that would be fine, paused a minute and said,“sorry about your liver “,” that’s OK.” and we hung up.


One day later. ..I’ll stop the stories for a moment to reflect on your latest email. All I can say is WOW, my dear friend Eric, you’ve blown me away once again with your spot on insights.


It is obvious you know me better than anyone, and your concern for my welfare made it hard to read the email through my tears. I now agree that P town holds the only real solution for my problems.


Although my recovery has begun, and will continue, for what I can only imagine, will take considerable time and effort on my part, P town holds the key to my ultimate success. I don’t mind this thing pestering me for the rest of my life, I just don’t want it to fester and smolder, ready to catch fire without a moments notice.


It dosn’t have to be easy, in fact it will be hard, I only hope that I will get better. I’ll listen to the experts and do what they say, giving myself over to humility and trust, not something which comes easily to me. The way it stands right now, the application process will take at least two weeks, which is a disappointing because I too was thinking Dec 6th was the day.


But as long as I stay busy and do the right things for recovery, two A A meetings so far, try to get my health in order and see the doctor regularly because my blood pressure is back up, and of course go to therapy, now two times a week, I will be OK. The screaming worked and they gave me a low level sleeping aid which did little last night, but over time I’m hopeful it will work.


Tomorrow I go to eviction court and hope I get two or three weeks more in the apartment for the cashier’s check I have for for five hundred.


Plus the eight hundred dollar deposit, plus a third party check for five hundred. That would pay the rent though December, if they count the deposit. Of course that’s only a moral decision and dosn’t involve any legal penalties like breaking the lease, but there too, I have excuses, or mitigating circumstances if you will.


Now it’s off to the “occult” indoctrination because it’s “recommended treatment”.


Maybe I’ll have the courage to “share” if I can get out the words,” hi my name is Robert and I’m a alcoholic and addict”. It’s so serious. And then after I “share“they’ll all say,“thanks for sharing Robert”. But I got myself into this mess and I’ll get myself out of this mess.


Once again, you are my rock, and I love you for the support and encouragement shown by your email. I’ll be funnier tomorrow. Love Robert.


From: Robert B


Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 11:42:24 -0500


Subject: Don’t think I’ll be talking to any squirels today.


To:


Dear,


I believe I’ve reached the end of this chapter which began when the doctor told me to go to the emergency room for my blood pressure. You see I’ve had what you might consider an epiphany.


I suddenly realized at 5:30 in the morning after reading,“Dry”, by Augusten Burroughs, that what I’ve been experiencing is detox, and cold turkey without the help of pills or morphine.


Although I haven’t been to an actual place of detox, I did however manage to detox on an out patient basis.


I imagine it’s more dignified, and certainly a lot cheaper.Through the guise of treating my high blood pressure, half the battle has been won.Scared straight I think they call it.


Think about the doctor from the school of hard knocks who wouldn’t prescribe a single pill, think about the shrink who said I must be in,” a lot of pain, so we’ll see you next week”, think about the placement of what I now call,” bath, breath and beyond” and exercise to fill the void left by years of “self medicating”, and finally think about the journal I kept consisting of all these emails to you, my dear friend.


I always seem to end up with an unintended, but certainly gratifying, result. Suddenly I’m in no rush. I don’t feel threatened anymore because the worst of it is over. For the first time in my life, I have the ultimate control. Please don’t think I’m brainwashed, be happy for me.


I don’t have to say I’ll never have another drink or a joint, but I know, you know, we know, the truth.


I have so many challenges facing me, better to face them with a clear mind and open heart. And you know what a drama queen I can be, I even have a new theme song, Elton John’s, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.


With everything now in place, set to music, I’m truly ready for the encore, and if I get booed off stage, that’s OK too, because it’s in the process, not the performance.


Talk with you soon after you catch your breath. love ya Robert


From: Robert B Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 16:41:06 -0500 Subject: tropical paridise ? To: hi ,


I’ve moved temporarily to a new office, or should I say branch because it’s located on the fourth floor of the central library.


I’ve also expanded my intake of the yellow pill, up to a whole one now and the blood pressure continues to fall. today, i did however talk to a squirrel while basting beside the pool.


the squirrel had drank the chlorinated water and i said, in squirrel, ( chrip, chrip, or is that bird talk) AND OFF IT SCAM MERED WITH ONLY A FLASH OF IT’S BUSHY TAIL. Which made me notice my own bush had grown in quite a bit since it’s last cropping.


I took care of it once I returned upstairs. Funny how the(my) mind works. I was actual waiting for the eviction notice( now there’s a reason to wait by the mail box) which is due any day now.. The bastards won’t take the check from the aids support group so I’ll have to tell it to the judge. And today I also had to write to the unemployment office for an appeal in thier discion. The world seems a pretty rough place right now.


I’ve also sent out my last resume, not that I don’t have anymore, but I think I’ve drop off, emailed, and faxed as much as I can for now. if I don’t get anything in the next week I’m throwing in the towel.(moving back to Texas).Note to patterson: can you get me out of Atlanta, do you need your house painted or fence fixed? I was thinking of some funny things to make you laugh, i think the tragedy speaks for it self and we have to laugh.


I might of mention that I was back in the red robe at the abbey, well, that transition wasn’t to smooth either and i was caught by a particular bar Nazi for steeling a bottle of wine. I was actual only going to open it and have a glass, it was the ninth hour of a ten hour wedding and i thought since no one feed us that a glass of wine would ease the pain of having to reset the entire dinning room. not!


Anyway there will have to be a cooling off period before Mr Gore, my manager that I protested to ( maybe pleaded to is a better word) to keep what little work he can offer, It’ll be Christmas by then. so i have precious moments left (no no not that) before the computer shuts down, it even sends a message if you sneak on more than once. so it’s for tomorrow and a better day.


I’ll leave you with this thought……..one reason for me to write is that people don’t want to hear it and find me somewhat exhausting! love ya robert bye


From: Robert B


Date: Thu, 11 Nov 2004 13:52:35 -0500


Subject: still can’t get to google


To:


hi ,


well marie, seems francine is having a problem with the most simple and benign of tasks, and you don’t need to be so nasty about my short comings, it’s not entirely my fault i was born in america!


anyway.the blood pressure medicine seems to be working-i didn’t see any squirells today, just the normal crack additics in the park. although, i must say they’re much more aggressive and louder than the squirells.as i briskly walked (check) by i couldn’t help notice they’ve dorned the new winter ware early this year, probable due to being immoblized (passed out) for prolonged periods of time in the cold.


as i pass one, she complimented me on my tan and pretty eyes befor asking for spare change.


eric, i haven’t been sun tanning or using visine in weeks! maybe it was just wind burn and watery eyes or a simple ploy on her account. i was just in a sweater mainly because i haven’t found the appropriate coat which has long sleeves, buttons or zips up, goes below the waist, oh yeah, costs no more than a dollar.


so i stopped by for cigs and a banana (check)- i’ve decided because of my unfamilarity with the food group of “fruit”, reasons that may aapear obvious and freudian to you, i’ve decided to eat them in aphbetical order, yesterday was apple, and unless you count advocado which actually has a seed and is therfor a fruit, today is banana.


i don’t see any problems until “d”, unless you count dried fruit like apricots…shit there goes the whole order, better just eat whats in season. so here i am, at the office (clinic), slightly out of breath with a slight cough and almost no soles left on my shoes.i’ve briskly walked up and down the streets so often that i’m sure people must think i’m getting paid for cannvassing.


so yesterday, after siging up for the wrong email account, i reported to the doctor knowing that having followed her instuctions to the tee, would have dramatically reduced my blood pressure. apparently they had tired to reach me on my disconnected phone to tell me that they were suddenly not as concerned as the night befor, and that i should come back next week when the medicine has time to work it’s magic.


i say, since i didin’t die over night and that i relieved them of they’re liablityby signing on the dotted line, thier honest concern has turned to professional relief.


the problem is that the warning signs of a stoke; dizziness, headache,sudden clapping noise and tingling of the extremities, is uncomforable simular to the side effects of the drugs,……..or so i’m assuming.


well i should probable get on with the rest of the day- healing mind, body and soul (note to self: call an exsorists) so until we write again, please try to get my letters in one account so that i can compile them for my new book-” letters from a former promising sexy handsome club kid, now with hiv, no place to live, no money to show, getting older by the minute, to his bitter nasty friend who hates americans”.


i think that covers it, don’t you? next time i will attempt to asnwer the age old question: how can the cab pick you up if you “live on a street with no name”.


From: Robert B


Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2004 14:18:53 -0500


Subject: that was easy


To: hi ,


well just when i thought things would be settling down…..so you know i was off to the doctor last time we spoke to get some anxiety pills? well the first appointment was with the shrink who, among other wise insightful things to say, repeated that i must be in “a lot of pain” ( note to self : tell her i don’t like that comment) .


the next appointment was with the case manager for rental assistance which was supposed to be a follow up to close the deal. not the case, she regrets that there’s nothing she can do until the jerks at the apartment complex who won’t take second party checks, evict me, and not to worry that can’t happen till the 19th. THAT’S IN TWO WEEKS!


needless to say by the time i got to the clinic and they checked me in, the doctor informs me my blood pressure is in the “stoke range and that he was writing an order for the emergency room. furthermore if i choose not to go, i would have to sign a form relinquishing his liability.(which i’m sure, just shot it up a few more points) “ can’t i just have a Valium?”, i say.


“ we don’t have that here on hand and it could take three weeks to fill that request even if i would recommend such a ‘band aid’ approach”.


he would, however, be able to start me on that diuretic that i stopped taking cause it made me tired, tasting salt, and made me pee a lot, and ( the catch 22)


i must drink water (ugh) all the time. so it’s a new fortified tougher me today. i walked briskly home making sure to get the heart rate up, stuffed a chicken while singing to myself and i limit what and how much TV i can watch.


this morning i only watched twenty minutes of my favorite hard news show (The Today Show) and turned it off to practice my Jacobson deep breathing and relaxation exercise, took another brisk walk, had a breakfast of low fat no salt… something or other, what does it matter if it doesn’t taste like anything,… and fruit,( i decided that if i was going to smoke at all, i would buy fruit every time i get cigs, smart huh?)… and wrote a, not too demanding, list of what i should get accomplished today, but by that time, i had to skip lunch. so here i am, (not late,…. i’m not to punish myself with negative thoughts, perhaps better to say,.. having to make up a little time), writing you on my new email account.


( check… check, see, i’m getting things done in an organized disciplined manner). i also got a library card (check) so that i could get a John Irving novel since falling asleep to the TV is bad “sleep hygiene” . ( new term to me too). oh yeah, i’m not to live in my bed anymore either, no eating in, no watching TV in,…..(the bed is for sex and sleep)


i hope i hid my facial expression which i’m sure had “at least one out of two ‘s not bad” written all over it. so i must go, time management don’t ya know, to continue my quest for a new,stronger, fortified me.


(that sounds like that could become an issue, but not to be overwhelmed today) PS. i still talk to squirrels but in a kindler, gentler tone and besides i’m told i don’t have to worry until they answer back.:)


From: Robert B


Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 15:26:23 -0500


Subject: Singing the laguage…


To: e


People in Boston seem to chirp the language. They’re like morning birds quipping hello. The speech is very fast, punctuation over kill and solicits a reply often when no reply is even necessary.”


Hey Suzie, did you her about Jamie? he left before the party was over can you believe he didn’t even say goodbye what do you think about that it sucks that he thinks I don’t exists don’t you know I won’t talk to him next time I see him I’m not giving him the time of day you know I’m serious this time”.


Atlantes on the other hand seem more like song birds, they languish in the warmth of the sunlight. They’re southern drawl leaves the language dangling on the tongue and gives in to long dissertations about the obscure and the obvious.


The southerner for example will tell you the subway is around the corner to the right, but if you go to the left you’ll be going the wrong way and when he went to the left he got lost the other day cause he wasn’t paying attention cause he didn’t get much sleep the night before cause he was out partying till 3:00 in the morning since the bars don’t close until two thirty now since they changed the liquor laws last summer due to the shooting in Buckhead so make sure you go to the right, ya know what I’m sayn?


Maybe not the best examples but hopefully you get the drift. So yo fro the south lives again, kno wha I’m sayn and the north goes gaily forward don’t you know. When I would say hello in the south people looked at me as if I was crazy talking to my self.


There’s no such mutual trust among strangers, they simple don’t talk to strangers.


The people in the north are crazy and will talk and say hello to anyone if so compelled. I love it up here! Don’t you know I fit in.


On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 06:58:12 -0500, Robert B


Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 06:56:40 -0500


Subject: Creamery butter or pale blue sky?


To:

It hasn’t gotten light outside but I can see the snow out the sliding glass window.


It has caked the trees and all else with a thick velvet of white. The wind howls and buckles this house which is truly my only sanctuary between the harsh elements outside and the womb like warmth inside.


My compulsive cleaning has paid off. I would feel absolutely trapped in a huge dust bunny surrounded by mountains of paper trash had I not pitched in and organized this mess. I sit by a portable heater cozy as can be while listening to the BBC, my window to the world.


They’re predicting eight to fourteen inches ending later today with high winds. I wonder if everything closes down. I have an appointment at Health Association at ten. I’ll call before I try to dig out.


My complexion has taken on the ashen look so predominate among New Englanders of these parts. I used to think how foolish it looked, void of sun and bloated by the lack of outdoor activity. Perhaps the latter is confused with the early signs of alcoholism and therefore at least, my check bones won’t be buried underneath a layer of vodka fat. Honestly the last thing I would want to do right now is drink.


I mean why when faced with this awesome weather would one choose to get drunk inside, trapped and unable to escape for a walk on the shore or for a fashionable dinner party at some friend’s house. Those are probable the only things to escape from today, besides maybe read a book, maybe write a little, maybe take a warm soothing bath. If your drunk all those things would be either impossible or at least not as enjoyable.


But yet that’s exactly the excuse people who live here give for their high rate of alcoholism. I guess anywhere there’s going to be the temptation but with this weather it is quite, “surviving the storm” and every day I get things accomplished requires a miracle of faith. I guess when I’m satisfied with cleaning I can get started on painting. My room, which I’ve not seen for more than a split second when I secretly stoled a peak, is rather small and will need a coat of paint to make it cheerful. It only has one small window and I imagine a brilliant shade of beige to set it off. Everything is about beiging for me lately.


To achieve balance one does not paint bright green or red, or even their popular darker shades, but must open up the space with a creamery butter or pale blue sky. And the room is void of furniture which I actually like. I’ve become quite Maoist minimal and choose to have a floor which one can walk or lay about.


I wonder if the hardware store will open today. I’m sure I’m not the only sober queen who finds it a perfect day to redecorate. That’s of course if Vadeim, that is his name, he’s corrected me several times.


It appears that Vladimir is his friend who moved out long ago and keeps this as his mailing address for permanent residency.


Anyway he chose to find new accommodations even though I told him he could stay another week It’s the least I could do after breaking his prized hand blown glass bong he was given for his birthday. I mean what the hell, it’s not like he could fly anywhere with it.


Maybe that’s the point, he won’t be flying anywhere with it because he has stayed beyond his visa and although he was caught while taking a Vermont vacation by a police New Year’s Eve road block, his court date for fleeing his country’s tyranny and seeking US asylum won’t be until March 2006.


(Note to illegal immigrates: don’t vacation during holidays when police are setting road blocks to catch drunk drivers). I think I scared him the other night with my visions of sobriety, and conversely, the ills of drug use.


It appears that Vadeim at the ripe age of twenty-five, is a consummate drug user who feels only competent while under the influence of cocaine.


I’m sure I ruin it for him by noting that if he fells so masterful on cocaine he must truly have a inferiority complex. He went to bed early and defeated.


The next day quite determined not to take advantage of my generosity, he announced he’d been looking for a temporary place to stay, where I can only imagine, his drug use can be throughly enjoyed without further comment from me! I used to do the same, that is run from people in sobriety, they simple ruined it for the rest of us.


Well, I’m through with my bitch session for now and I think I’ll leaf through some magazines I’ve correctly stored alphabetically on top the book case for the perfect shade of creamery butter or pale blue


From: Robert B


Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 07:24:06 -0500


Subject: General mail.


To:


Yesterday was a little overwhelming. It was a good day for R&D, and although all information is considered beneficial, there are some critical bits that leave me with trepidation.


First, my blood pressure is down, perhaps down too much. It read 100 over 70, a value never associated with my health, and although the doctor refilled my prescription for the medication, he doesn’t necessarily think that I need it.


Especially since I’m still complaining of “dizziness”. I wish there was a better term to use, something that would capture the,“augh oh, here it comes, I hope I don’t black out here in the middle of the supermarket, go back down, I feel nauseous, pretend your tying your shoe, people are, or are they, looking at me, that’s a little better, yes, definitely better, now go up slowly, pretend you’re reading the labels on the middle shelf, slowly, slowly, up, yes you’re OK”, feeling.


It’s disconcerting. So I’m taking myself off the little blue pill, not to be confused with Allegra, and will monitor it via public access.


Maybe the guys a the firehouse are cuter than the ones in Atlanta, or better yet, gayer. That would be nice. Secondly, the disaster in Indonesia, India, and it seems anywhere along the coast of the Indian Ocean, is just awful.


The death toll has climbed to 60,000 with more expected to lose their lives due to disease from rotting corpses and infected water. It reminds me of what I fear and dread the most: the destruction of mankind as we know it, as described by Nostradamus.


Every since I was a kid, his predictions left me in awl and I think of every one of his examples, as I believe they individually come true. The recent war between the Infidels and the Believers, which just ten years ago with the perceived threat of communism, seemed impossible. The occurrences of natural disasters around the world. The change in world climate. The out break of a world virus that appears either incurable, or at least runs unchecked till it is out of control.


The break down of Christian values which have led, rightly or wrongly, our society for the last two thousand years. I know this seems way out left field, but I can’t help it. It does scare me. What happened to Nostradamus away, notice there’s been no new interpretations lately.


Is it too sensitive an issue? It makes the two feet of snow outside, the losing of electricity for six hours yesterday, meeting with health and social personnel, working for Doug, opening a bank account, all of it, seem so inconsequential in the larger scheme of things.


So although all information, knowledge is power, is a good thing, I wonder if some knowledge, is best not fully explored.


From: Robert B


Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2004 14:36:46 -0500


Subject: Great weekend converstions..was it really four hours of


international rates? and The Lastest Just In….


To:


Hi


Just arrived here for my 9:00 am sharp therapy session and it’s not until 3 today so I have plenty of time to write and (wash my hands).


I found our conversations “stimulating” too! Unfortunately most of what we discussed would have to be labeled “ Executive Privilege Only“or “Personal Private Confidential”, but new Reality TV Concepts can be addressed here and here’s my idea.


Your familiar with the 1960’s TV show “The Munsters”? The charters obviously won’t work, but if you remember there was a reoccurring theme of their daughter, who was actually gorgeous compared to the hideous looking rest of the family, and yet the family considered her awkward and homely. Here’s my idea.


We take a family who is not soo attractive but who has a daughter, who with a little make up, (maybe a make over like The Swan) is made beautiful. Then you have the family interviewing prospective bo’s (The Bachelor or Meet My Parents) and the end result they’re sent on some kind of date and possible engagement. Is it cast able? Two word answer …West Virgina. If we need another segment the two families, the girls and the chosen bo’s, could compete for their mystery date(Survivor). So whach’a think?


Today I’m writing from the clinic/office and amongst the other charterers who will need a separate chapter of their own,( two sex changes, hot sexy playboy pig, and cast of homeless) is a man I’ve seen at both the clinic here and the library 4th floor. He’s the one with the fabulous home page and he’s read some of my writings.


Well it turns out we have more in common, friends in Holland! He’s an ex patriot, (he’s got that news letter on his home page too!) is from the south of Holland, HIV, and this is the switcher, just left to go and apply for food stamps.


I made him read the appropriate chapter of my book before he left and wished him good luck. We may be hearing from him because I asked him to take notes, More about him as things develop( I told him to look up Miss. Peacock).


You’ll be overjoyed to hear that after trying to induce labor in a warm bath and while doing my yoga stretches in the kimono Paul brought for me from Hong Kong, I gave birth at 6:37 this morning. As you know it was difficult to carry to term, I considered a c-section at the doctor’s office just two days ago.


Her only recommendation was a regime of antibiotics in order to lessen the chance of infection from afterbirth. Here are the details: Hight- 3 centimeters, Weight- 2 grams, Eye color-albino, Hair color- none, Sex- undetermined, Race-mixed or alien, Length of pregnancy- 3 days 17 hours. I’ve named it Spot, as in get out damn spot. Oh wait a moment, reality check. This describes the simultaneous combustion of the quite pregnant boil which formed above my right eye. Seriously I’m the new poster boy for opportunistic infections, “ready for my close up Mr. De mile,… not soooo close,… MAKE_UP!”.


(The boil was misdiagnosed, then re-diagnosed as a staff infection from, I’m sure, the filthy key board at the various offices where my colleagues are homeless perverts trying to get a date on the Internet).


And… I’ve saved the best for last.I told you about the call from the receptionist of The Foley House and how she informed me about the waiting list and rigorous application process, and how she strongly doubts whether I will be accepted by Christmas if at all, who by the way is leaving on vacation until the end of the year, and how I decided not to say anything about my“connections”. Well I received a message from Dr. Bob last night and it went something like this: He’s sorry he hasn’t been in touch, he’s been busy up in Maine with the “liver” or the person it’s recipient, it wasn’t clear, and that he spoke with Laura who he’s interviewing for a job at his new alcohol and drug recovery clinic up Cape, it’s down to just one other candidate, ( exactly who was down to one other candidate competing for the prized position, Laura or me?) was also left unclear.


But he continues and says that he had a haircut over the weekend,( whow, he’s making the rounds, Boston to Maine to Provincetown and back to Boston) and Doug is on cloud nine(his words) in anticipation of my arrival. And than he says he feels obligated to tell me that ever since the murder at Foley House, it will be exposed next week in deposition..shh, (what I knew about the Meth lab but .. not murder?…which room? ..not MINE!), they were going to be doing a criminal background check so he felt obligated to mention my recent DUI, ( so much for the rigorous application process, it’s not like a DUI is felony punished by death, or worse yet, life imprisonment) but he doesn’t think it will reflect negatively, (then why mention it?).


Otherwise… at least it will be good to see “you”( his ulterior motive becomes transparently apparent). Can you believe this shit? Maybe The Foley House for recovering persons with HIV is not the right place for THIS recovering person with HIV! I would of called Doug to discuss it but I couldn’t stop laughing. The saga which is sooo P-town will undoubtedly continue.


P.S. Thanks for forwarding the web sight, “The Body” and other pertinent news. P.S. EVERYBODY, the web sight of my friend Chris’ is:http://tunlaw.org/dreamtimedaily.htm (OK, he’s a bit complicated).


NEWS FLASH JUST IN: My new friend from here that I spoke of earlier just emailed me titled simply DFACS, (Department of Families And Children Services) and here it is: “I walked in the office on Walton Street and felt like a creme in an Oreo cookie… I couldn’t do it. Although, there was time when I was creme… Well for some reason, that seemed easier to digest.


When I get hungry, I’ll just think about the long session ating the Oreo cookie :)” He’s not as diplomatic as me, but he’s very funny and I like him. He’s soooo……Dutch. It’s been swell, it’s almost 3:00 and time for my therapy, gotta to go wash my hands and open doors with my elbow:)


From: Robert B


Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 06:39:33 -0500


Subject: Bringing in the “Cheer”.


To:


I’m sitting listening to BBC on public radio, ( I think it’s banned from the state of Georgia) and it’s De’lovely.Did you know that the past tense of popped is papped as in papped pop corn, who knew? I’ve been cleaning none stop for two days.


I couldn’t see the filth under the filth. Doug brought me over to my new home on Wednesday night. My new roommate is Michael La Bell, a HIV recovering…well I’m not sure what he is recovering from since he was drinking and smoking with a local Portuguese worker when we arrived.


Doug swears he never saw Michael drink before, perhaps it was just a fluke. The place has two small bedrooms side by side and tall cathedral ceilings. Michael is quit the proverbial artist and the walls are covered with art of all sorts. Unfortunately artist are notorious rat packs and his etchings, and what I can only imagine are many pieces of paper containing some inspiring art work yet to be produced, are abundant, although it is hard to determine this from all the junk.


I started in one corner yesterday and went around the apartment not really cleaning house because once uncovered the stuff secreted so much dust and dirt, I felt like an archaeologist on an ancient dig uncovering little hints into the past. I have yet to catalogue any of this suffice to say Micheal’s room can fill a small landfill.


Just locating the present apparatus to write involved sorting and dumping huge amounts of paper and debris, and moving just the mouse around a flat surface proved impossible. So here I find myself with bleached dry and constantly dirty hands. Luckily some things have recently been purchased so not to much dirt has had a chance to collect and ultimately disguise it’s intended purpose or intent.


Micheal stayed up all night and I found the place, all be it still filthy and cluttered, only slightly better the next morning. He spoke very fast and was a little bug eyed when the van came to take him to Boston for the holidays.


He has “worked the system” as Doug says, and he has activated every possible free service offered to HIV man! Of his many angles, not to mention the free van service to the car rental in Boston so he can visit family for the holidays and then fly to Romania where he has purchased a soon to be gay night club, is the little none fact that one of us can receive $600.00 a month for caring for the other one whom ever is the sickest at the time.


Of course we’ll split that, ( Doug warns me to watch my potential earnings cause Micheal is notorious for pinching the penny from any pocket of an unsuspecting person who sees, or in this case, doesn’t see him coming).


But he is a true consummate artist and there certainly won’t be any fastidious coaster use here. I think it is a good match as long as he doesn’t try to move in a third Slovakian to lessen his rental obligation.


I’m currently sharing the apartment with Vladimir who is staying in what will someday be my bedroom. He’s supposed to leave this week end for New York, actually with his own kind in Astoria, however he told me yesterday he’s off for the next three days which assumes he’ll be going back to work in four, so who knows.


I’m afraid we haven’t gotten off on the best foot since exhausted and numb from cleaning, I accidentally broke his bong after determining a unresolved stench. It was a gift and although I was grateful it wasn’t Michaels, I’m however saddened by his forlorn expressions ever since.


Today I’ll locate some glass adhesive and see if I can’t piece it back together. Doug thinks that he’s going to pout his way in for a replacement but that ain’t gonna happen, I just don’t have the money.


At least Micheal would have put it on my bill. Speaking of which the “don’t worry about your rent until I get back” speech has turned in to being further indebted to Doug who has received a deposit slip from Michael dated January first. So laying back and getting acclimated is hastily given way to the necessity of working my debt off with Doug, He has already said that I have this whole week, now over, to acclimate.


I feel he expects me at the shop bright and earlier Monday morning. But that’s OK as long as he treats me fairly.


He often confuses me with the hired help who he calls, “Slow vacks”! Well dears this cleaning lady has gotta go. It’s time for the fine tuning of this project.


I think I’ll try to find the curdling smells emulating from the refrigerator and then move on to the floors once I can find the detergent.


It’s probable in a desk drawer somewhere. Love Bambie, your “Slow vack” looking servant.

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