Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Buggy Story of Pigs and Veterans Programs

by James Jarvis
from Westside (life in a seaside veterans shelter)

      Bobby’s back. Impeccably dressed Bobby, my old VIP roommate when I lived down in room 209C. Bobby the accountant, the fraud investigator, the crackhead, is back.

     I saw him coming out of the computer room one day a few weeks ago. I was surprised, but nothing beyond the surprise of recognition. No gladness to see him. No joy of reunion. Bobby had the chance to be my friend many months ago when we were bunking together in the same veterans’ shelter room, in the same foxhole as it was. But Bobby cracked out. He betrayed me . He betrayed the foxhole trust. He betrayed me by cracking out of the Veterans In Progress program.

     Now he's back from the Haven's 90-day RTC program and he's got a lot of amends to make. That's part of the recovering drug addict's program---I am gathering from snippets of hallway conversations here---to make amends to the people you screwed over when you were "in your sickness."

     I didn't talk to Bobby much the last few weeks until Bobby found a way to make amends with me this weekend. He brought me a message from Mikey in RTC.

     When Bobby cracked out of this veterans' shelter, out of the top bunk of my room in 209C, back in June or July, he was quickly replaced by Mikey. Mikey had come from a veterans' shelter in Albuquerque which had been shut down for egregious administrator theft and corruption. Mikey's the one who blew out his liver with intrevenous-administered drugs.

     Mikey and I got along fine and Mikey was doing well in the program, bicycling to his construction job every day and suffering through an annoying procession of third bed roommates like "Bonk You On The Head" Baz, our Slingblade roommate, until Mikey bugged out one day in October to go back to his ex-wife in Albuquerque.

     I moved up to General Population, being the model inmate that I am, Bobby had come in off the crack streets to enter RTC up at the Westwood V.A. hospital and Mikey up in Albuquerque learned that you can't always go home again. Bobby graduated his drug recovery program and moved back here to U.S. Vets to start the Veterans In Progress program all over again from scratch and about a week ago Mikey shows up at U.S. Vets' door so HE can start the V.I.P. program, the one I graduated back in October, all over again from scratch.

     Trouble was, Mikey tested dirty on the intake drug test. They booted him out so fast he had to spend his first night back in Los Angeles sleeping in the back seat of The Pig, my Buick that I had just bought back from my bugging out G.P. roommate Anthony.

     The next day, Mikey got into the same RTC drug recovery program in Westwood that Bobby has recently graduated. Part of Bobby's commitment to RTC is that he will continue to go to recovery meetings while he is down here in the V.I.P. program.

     So Bobby was able to make amends to me by bringing me a note from Mikey, because while Mikey is in the first 90-day phase of RTC, he is essentially in lockdown, unable to leave the compound. The only contact Mikey is allowed for a while is other RTC guys and maybe Mikey's AA sponsor Steve, who is alive and well and hasn't bugged out of the V.I.P. program yet.

     Mikey's note asked for the loan of a couple of packs of cigarettes and I was happy to send him a loaner carton through Bobby. I wouldn't be surprised if Mikey is the next veteran I sell the Buick to after Gordon, who I just sold The Pig to, gets a wild hair up HIS ass and bugs out to China again.
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