It was definitely NOT Edward Munch’s ‘Scream’
by Tom McMasters-Stone
In my way-too-many visits to Detox, I often pace. That’s just what I do, as I often have trouble sleeping. It is also always a time of reflection, of wondering which side is going to win this war, and a time of serenity.
This last time, there was a small patio, and a sidewalk. I made my rounds down the sidewalk, around the small lawn, and back again. Sometimes it was with cigars, sometimes Marlboro 100s, others times with Camel 99s.
As I paced, I noticed that the adjacent wooden fence was brand new, but that there were also some boards newer than others. It was very odd, and I could not for the life of me figure it out. I used to build wooden fences, so I know something about them, and it was just plain weird.
Night One: I am pacing, it’s around 11:00, a balmy evening, and a loud moan emanates from the widow of the house next door. I am stuck in Detox, and the lady next door is getting laid.
I start chuckling to myself, figuring there goes my ambience. It got louder for the next half hour, and then finally stopped. I was generally cheerful about it, all things considered.
These demons I have been fighting since July have been very hard on Carol and me. My wife has been a trooper the whole time, but I have been gone a lot, and our love life has not been even close to what either of us would prefer. At this point, my goddamn thing reacts to the wind blowing, so there’s no way I could even consider visiting Chicago. I haven’t seen a Bush since the last guy was in the White House.
Thankfully, all was quiet the next morning, and my placid pacing returned. My wife is not a morning person, either — Sam Elliot could ring the doorbell at 8 a.m., and it would make no difference. She’d ask him to come back later. (Uh, right, Dear?)
Night Two: Same time, same place, only this time the gal next door sounds like an opera singer, and I am decidedly less cheerful about it. Thankfully, it was not a marathon, and my serenity returned before too long. I think I did go through an entire pack of cigarettes that night — and two cigars as well.
The horse in the adjoining pasture started looking pretty damn good, but in the waning light, I was not even sure it was a mare!
Night Three: I decided I would start pacing early, hoping for relief, but it was not to be. Not only did they start early, it sounded like a combination of Sarah Brightman and Maria Callas, and went on for hours. Finally, I’d had enough. I felt like the guy from “Network” who threw open the widow and screamed, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
I desperately grabbed a patio chair, threw it up against the fence, jumped up, and screamed “Dude! Either open the curtains or close the goddamn window!”
A few seconds later, the sliding glass door opened and something is heading my way. Shit! It’s a brick!
I jumped off the chair in the nick of time, but the score was now Brick 1, Fence Board 0.
I waited a minute or two, looked through the new hole in the fence, and yelled, “Have you considered doing a goddamn Viagra commercial?”
I narrowly escaped injury again, and now the score was Bricks 2, Fence Boards 0.
This next time I figured I would fool him, so I went back up on the chair to look over the fence. “Hey! Have you at least considered a letter to Playboy about being the luckiest man alive?” Whack! Direct head shot.
I regained consciousness in about 20 minutes. I was flat on my back on the sidewalk, and there were cigarettes strewn everywhere, I couldn’t move, and had numerous contusions. Slowly, feeling returned to my hands and feet. The wind was blowing, so I could tell that the periscope was working all right. Slowly, I regained my senses, and my feet, and noticed that all the lights were off next door. I staggered back to the patio. The first thing I remember thinking was hoping Keanu Reeves was right in “The Replacements,” when he said “Chicks dig scars.”
I had one last cigarette, and went to bed.
Nights Four and Five: Bullshit. I stayed inside, and watched television, even stooping so low as to watch “Godfather III.”
I don’t know who fixed the fence, and I don‘t care. I do know that I am unlikely to forget my “encounters” with the woman I refer to as “Moana”…
I also now suggest that everybody detox in a fucking desert.