The Abused is a psychological thriller about nine addicts who go to rehab only to have one of them start murdering the others. The novel is set to release in Fall 2016.
Reader discretion is advised. Some of this content may be profane and not appropriate for readers under the age if 18.
Frank had gone outside to get some air. He had just finished his first session with Craig. They spent the first time discussing how Frank did feel powerless, and while he wanted to let go and understand that he had to give it up to God, he was mad at God. God took Jonesy. His entire life had turned into a feeling of being lost and powerless. So, admitting that part seemed like it should be easy. Nothing felt easy or effortless anymore though.
Frank had been the type of easygoing guy people loved to be around. He was always laughing and going along with what it was he needed to do. His supervisor could ask him to mop shit off the floor, which on a few occasions he had to do after some asshole shit or pissed inappropriately in the holding tank, and he would without complaint. In fact, Frank had prized himself on being a real team player.
These days though he wasn’t playing on anybody’s team. He hated being sober. Sobriety forced him to remember Jonesy and to feel how awful it felt without him. A day didn’t pass where Frank didn’t think about him. Whether it was the memory of Jonesy throwing lighter fluid on the campfire and frying his eyebrows or how he used to egg Frank on to go talk to some chick who was hot.
“Ah, go on, talk to her.”
“No man, you talk to her.”
“You’re such a puss. Look she’s staring right at your sock drawer.”
Frank knocked Jonesy’s shoulder. “What did you just say?”
“You know … the sack pack.”
“Fuck off man. You’re crazy.”
“Hey, if you don’t go for it man, I’m on it.”
“Uh-huh. Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Jonesy never did go after the girl. He was actually pretty shy. And after Mitzi’s death Frank hadn’t had the energy to try again. He used to chuckle that Jonesy was his “missus” without the sex. But then again, a lot of old married folks didn’t have sex anyway. So Frank just choked the chicken on a regular basis and spent his free time with his best friend.
Right before his death, Jonesy did meet a girl named Elisa who crowded in on their weekend adventures, but she only lasted a few months and left after she met a Hell’s Angel up in Ukiah. Jonesy was pretty unaffected. The way he looked at it he didn’t have to keep Playtex tampons and Trojans in his tight storage space on the bike anymore. As for Frank he hadn’t minded Elisa – she was okay company for when Jonesy took all his jogs.
Frank thought about how Jonesy was such a health nut, and how he would be so disappointed in the addiction problem. But then again, if Jonesy were still around it wouldn’t have happened. Before he died he and Frank ate nothing but healthy shit – granola, whole oats, multi-grain breads, organic vegetables, and anything that said “glutton free”. Frank found the whole glutton craze stupid.
One day he had said to Jonesy while they were eating “glutton-free vanilla pudding,” “Yuppy scum all think this glutton-free shit is some diet thing. They quit eating glutton and lose weight.”
“Yeah, so…” replied Jonesy as he shoved vanilla pudding in his mouth with a plastic spoon at the campground bench.
“So … are you suffering Celiac’s Disease?”
“You know that digestive disorder?”
“Then that glutton-free pudding ain’t going to do you no good.”
Jonesy looked at his pudding for a second. “I feel better though.”
“Yeah, okay you and like 50% of the American freaks who say the same thing.”
“Ah, fuck you dude. Got eat your Jell-O and rot out your insides.”
Now as Frank reflected on it he realized none of that had mattered in the end. Jonesy ate good foods, exercised, and took impeccable care of the body “God” gave him. Then what? He fucking fell off a 10-story cliff and died. Frank thought life was suddenly pointless. Why not shove the drugs in his mouth. He could be hit by a rail car or smoked in some random gun play. The very unpredictable nature of life and death had him completely freaked out. And with his best friend, who was a rational guy, not here to stop him, he was unstoppable.
This whole drug rehab thing was a waste of time as far as Frank was concerned. Had the CHP human resources bitch not insisted on it, he would still be on the street shoving any kind of drug in his mouth. He didn’t want to feel the bitter pain of being left to fend through life without his buddy. When he remembered Jonesy it left an ache in his heart. And when he felt the enormous pain of it, he did drugs and felt nothing. In fact, he felt euphoric when he had the good stuff. He missed his friend. It was that simple.
Before walking out for air, Craig had confronted him about his attitude or lack of commitment to the program.
“So, you think admitting you’re powerless means you’re less of a man?” asked Craig.
“Powerless. Yeah, I’m powerless to stop taking the drugs, right?”
“Apparently. You’re here aren’t you?”
“God is a cock sucker.”
“What the hell is with you people? Language! Who cares. We could be swallowed up by the devil at any minute and all you care about is whether I speak in obscenities or not,” Frank said and sat up straight. “Okay fine. God is an insensitive deity.”
“You blame God for your addiction?”
“I blame God for this whole shitty, wait … crappy world we live in.”
“Then you should find it easy to give up your belief you have any power and you need our help to get better.”
“No, I need your help to slit my throat and go to hell.”
“Do you think Jonesy is in hell?”
Frank paused for a second. “No, Jonesy has a damn halo and he’s laughing at me, taunting me about the pearly gates being locked just for me.”
“So you think you don’t deserve to go to heaven?”
“Not after what I’ve done … and seen.”
“And what’s so bad about what you’ve done?”
Frank became silent. He didn’t want to admit his dark secret. Craig continued to look at him and wait. Frank shifted in his chair and got up.
“I need some air,” he declared and raced out of the room.
Now he stood outside. He noticed Kendra in the rose garden talking to Kevin. They looked deep in conversation. He watched Kevin pick a rose and hand it to her. She blushed.
“What a douche bag,” he thought to himself. “Fucking picking up on the woman in rehab.”
Craig touched his shoulder. “We weren’t done yet.”
“Doc, I’m tired. Do you mind if I go up and nap?”
Craig stared at him. “Since it’s your first one-on-one I’ll give you a pass, but realize it’s going to get even harder before it gets better.”
“Great,” Frank said with his head down as he headed back inside.