2007-03-11: Cold Turkey



Guest Starring: Jim the Sponsor

Summary: Doctor Forrest, musician/lawyer, becomes intimately familiar with the inspiration to a John Lennon tune.

Date It Happened: March 11, 2007

Cold Turkey

From south of Atlantic City to Apartment 108 in a Greenwich Village high rise building

Making her way out of the halfway house where she woke, bewildered and frightened, not knowing where the pills all around came from, Doctor Jane Forrest heads for the nearest train station. A ticket is bought to New York City, and she goes part of the way there, but has to take a stop along the way. In a wooded area near the station, the young woman wanders out a distance into the woods and there, with no glass anywhere around, she exorcises some of the anxiety by loosing a full power ultrasonic scream. It's only just that she makes it back to the platform and reboards her train.

Some time later, she stumbles into the apartment at Greenwich Village and dials Jim's number.

Jim. Jim O'Neil. That was the name that called over and over again to Jane's cell phone, the man who left voice mail after voice mail. 'Where are you, Jane? I'm just worried about you, you should still be there, girl…' 'Jane, pick up the phone. If you're dead in a ditch somewhere, I'm…' 'Jane! Law girl, come in, you should still be in rehab. This is Jim. Call me. Bye.' Now, when his number is dialed, he picks up. "Yeah?"

"Jim?" she asks quietly. "Jane Forrest here." The woman sounds bewildered, just mostly lost. "I… I've got your name on my phone, but I don't remember you, or anything about you." She wanders to a chair and sits heavily, sounds indicating the movement might transmit through the phone. "I… there's so much fog."

Jim has the sort of voice that makes it hard to tell if he's a young twentysomething or a fifty year old man. He's obviously a New Yorker. "…Damn, Jane. I thought you went off the deep end. Well, sh—" There's a muffled sound of rustling about as he sighs harshly into the phone. "Well, you MUST have went off the deep end pretty hard, you and those pills… you don't remember me at all? I'd be hurt, doll, but I'm just glad you're safe. I'm your sponsor."

"Pills," she replies, puzzled. "They were everywhere when I woke up somewhere south of Atlantic City. But they're not mine. I don't do drugs, I'm a guitarist with three degrees from Yale, man." At least she doesn't think so, but the evidence and all the fog in her mind, well, they make her worry. Was she dosed with LSD or something? "I'm back home in New York now, Jim. All I've got is these messages and your name in the phone memory."

"South of… what the hell were you doing in Jersey?" Jim sounds puzzled too, but he's quick to brush it off, apparently. "Doll. I told ya before, I'll tell ya again. Everyone does drugs. It don't matter if you're a junkie working at the Back Alley shaking your ass to pay the utilities, a circus clown or a hotshot lawyer out of a swanky school, everyone's the same. Hell, I was an investor when I got hooked on 'scrips. A suit and tie don't mean you can't get hooked. You're only human, Jane, but you're a fighter, ain't ya? How you feelin'?"

"Scared. Alone. Foggy. And you're wrong, Jim. It just can't be true, I wouldn't take anything like that of my own free will." But even as she denies taking anything, the first of it starts to hit her. Her fingers tremble a bit, she has to focus to make them steady, and the anxiety of it all has her wanting, needing to scream again. It's a feeling she felt before, some weeks ago, on the second time hearing ultrasound, sparking the discovery, and… Her mind drifts, starting to doubt herself, wondering if maybe at some point the effort of holding it back led to medicating herself and caused the fog.

"Look, doll. If you wanna go do that screaming thing you do to make you feel better, I can hold. Whatever works, y'know?" Jim sighs again. He puts on a sympathetic, concerned voice, even though he's a little gruff - like he's been through a lot, too, and understands Jane's challenges. "I'm here for ya. Talk it out."

She pauses, there's a long, long silence when he speaks and mentions that. Her voice has an edge to it when she finally replies. "That screaming thing I do, Jim? What screaming thing is that?" Jane searches her memory for anything about telling anyone named Jim what she can do, there's just the bookstore woman and the sarcastic teen guitarist around that first dog whistle, some latina from a coffeehouse she might've confessed things to, and… nothing.

"Hell, I dunno, Jane. To each their own, that's what they say. You said, at one meeting, you just hafta scream it out sometimes. I said, 'Some people meditate, some people eat, some people play video games, I said, Jane's a screamer,' and I think that chick who was sitting next to you almost choked on her own windpipe, remember?" Pause. "The cravings hit you yet?"

That fits, in some way, Jane can definitely remember times making cryptic remarks here and there about being a real screamer. "I don't remember that one, but… it sounds a little like me," she replies, and her hands are shaking again. "I… I gotta go get some fresh air, Jim, I need, really need to take the guitar and keep my hands busy, give them something to do. Are you in New York? And, what was I allegedly taking?"

"Oh, sh…" Jim trails off. "What was it. God. Dilaudid? Demerol? One of the D's. It's all the same these days. Me, I was OxyContin. How cliche is that, right? Anyway. Yeah, I'm in the city. You gonna come to the meetin's?"

"Meetings? Where are the meetings, Jim?" Jane asks. And the craving starts, mild and minor, but noticeable. How, why? Was it something she did to combat the results of hearing those damned dog whistles? Crapcrapcrap, she thinks, this story is sounding more believable by the minute. "I… meet me somewhere, Jim, got to play some music and… put a face to the name. Please." Jane won't admit feeling anything like withdrawal, but anyone who's experienced it, knows what was done to her, or both can easily tell what she won't say. "Where in the city are you?"

"I'm near Brooklyn, doll, but let's meet at… Oldcastle's? Sounds like cheatin', but they have these sweet potato fries… besides, we ain't AA-goers. I got a full card today, will you be okay until tomorrow? Are- are you okay, Jane?"

"Oldcastle's, in Brooklyn," Jane repeats. "I… I'm not okay, Jim. But I can't go to rehab, if word gets out they might take my licenses away. Not to do the Winehouse cliche thing, but, I don't wanna go to rehab, no, no, no." There's a pause, she adds "Tomorrow, maybe, but… I've just got to get out of this apartment for a while, try to figure myself out. It doesn't make any sense. I'm headed for Oldcastle's." For the moment, at least, she's still on the line.

"Naw, it's downtown. It's an Irish pub, can't miss it. Look, if you get there, and you feel yourself slippin', you give me a call. Any hour, doesn't matter how late," says Jim.

"You're not coming, Jim?" she asks, almost starting to sound desperate, needing to see this person, put a face with the name, as the symptoms build. Jane's head is starting to ache, and she feels the need to take something, anything, one of the Ds. Can't think which. "Tomorrow might not be soon enough. Please."

There's a long pause. Jim must be thinking. "I… I know I'm your sponsor, Jane, and I really want to help you, you sound like you're havin' a real rock and hard place kind of time today, but I got my kid's play tonight, they're doing Grease or something…"

"To. hell. with. you. Jim." Jane replies slowly as the fingers become shakier and she struggles to hold the phone. They press it closed to end the call and it's dropped to the floor. Her plan to go out is abandoned moments later, she opts to collapse into bed and let this run its course on her own. So this, she thinks, is a taste of what John Lennon wrote Cold Turkey about.

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