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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Cash back

Last week I attended an alcoholics anonymous meeting where I witnessed a scene that I feel is worth repeating. A somewhat elderly man was speaking. He had the red nose of a hard drinker, dirty scuffed jeans and a red woollen top that looked like it hadn’t seen a wash this side of the Kennedy assignation. His accent was hard to place, at first I thought it to be an usual Scottish dialect but the more I listened the more it started to take on a south African twang. He informed the group that his name was John and surprise, surprise he was an alcoholic. He had been sober for fully 13 days. The group leader, his name was Reginald Cumber asked John “What is the worst thing you have ever done because of your alcoholism.”

Before he replied John took a long pause and looked down at his feet, perhaps to inspect his toes through the holes in his shoes. It seemed he might remain like that until the end of the meeting but after an interminable wait he looked up and began.
“I guess ill have to start right at the beginning,” he said “I was living abroad at the time, in Thailand, this was many years ago. I had a house with my wife and daughter, she was 4, and I loved them both very much. But I was drinking. I was drinking hard, I was out of control. Drinking everything I could get my hands on. And well, One night I was penniless and desperate for a drink. So I, I sold my wife and daughter to a local mafia boss.” Everyone stared, the group leader was about to say something when John signalled that he wished to continue.

“Well see then 10 years later they came back to me. My daughter was now grown and my wife horribly scared across the face. They had a look in there eyes of the most unspeakable horror, a blackness, impenetrable. They had lived through hell as slaves for 10 years all because of me. I cant even imagine the pain I must have caused them. The guilt its still terrible, the torment of it all. But still after all I had done to them, even after how unforgivably I had wronged them. Still they had returned to me. Still there was love between us… But then I got drunk and sold them again!” The group looked on horrified. John simply stared into nothing. Then a faint smile flickered across his lips and he said “Cash back” and then burst out laughing, or it might have been crying, it was hard to tell. He then sunk to his knees and put his head in his hands and Sobbed. This lasted for a for several minutes as the members of the group looked to each other unsure of what to do. But eventually Reginald, the group leader, gathered himself enough to speak “John I am so sorry, that is the worst thing I have ever heard of.”
“Oh no,” replied John, suddenly alert “No, that’s not the worst thing I ever did. The worst thing I ever did was when they got back again 12 years after that.”


Blogger Bazza said...

Cornealius, you should write a novel. Seriuosly.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Cornealius said...

Thanks :). I written quite a few short stories. At one point started writting a noval and it was goning quite well but at page 80 i suddenly got complete writters block and its now a year later and i still havent written page 81. Its really annoying.

6:22 AM  
Blogger slaghammer said...

Cornealius, if you see my dad again at your next AA meeting, tell him I’m starting to get the feeling that he’s taking me for granted.
Yeah, you should be living on a beach somewhere waiting for your next royalty check.

10:55 PM  
Blogger The Writing Muse said...

Very engaging story-telling. Loved it. By the way, thanks for visiting my blog!

8:31 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

Im sure I left a comment but how and ever I never thanked you for visiting my blog also. Both myself and my partner enjoyed your story tremendously last night, I can only strive to give people as much enjoyment as you do.

12:54 AM  

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