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Cocaine story

Frank* was divorced and a deputy in a Southern, rural county.  His marital status occasioned an interest in meeting women, and his occupation occasioned the occasion of meeting women.  Not all the women he met were good ones.  By and by he selected Delores from his informal harem of sleazy redneck women, and Frank and Delores plighted their troth to one another before a magistrate judge in the local farm town.

Frank and Delores were grifters — ineffective ones.  They’d spend more on gas driving to a free meal than the meal was worth.  Their greatest financial conquest was a used single-wide trailer house which, until it burned to the ground, was located beside a pond on a couple of acres of semi-swamp.  Bill collectors were always calling, including ones who held title to the trailer.  Their one little nasty boy played not far from the front door of the trailer and usually not far from nekkid.  Not long after DeFaCS came visiting to inquire about their son’s attire, the trailer caught fire and burned to the ground.  That’s typical for trailers; you can’t put out a trailer house fire.  Frank and Delores moved a couple of miles away which, to the relief of all, was in a different county.  My memory fails me as to what sort of house they moved into, but it could not have been anything remotely middle class.

By and by some family sought to do them good, a project which always reminds me of a quotation from Thoreau’s Walden, “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life.”  The plan was settled that Delores should go to the nearby college and become a nurse.

I am passing over several years of very entertaining grifting to cut to the substance of what happened next.  Suffice to say that Delores did indeed graduate from nursing school, and to the surprise and relief of all, she passed her state board exams and became a registered nurse.  Soon thereafter, she landed a job at a local hospital, and Frank and Delores soon had more money than they had ever dreamt could exist.  Frank happily cashed her checks for her and began to build the three of them a house.  Life was looking good.

Then Delores lost her job at the hospital.  It was never disclosed to the family exactly what went wrong, although it became clear later on what the most likely scenario had been.  Whatever the circumstances were, Delores became socially radioactive in the local medical community, so she applied for a job at one of the county’s largest employers, the state prison.  She became the prison nurse.

It was in the prison that Delores became first acquainted with the glories of cocaine.  I’ve read that there are addictive personalities, and that people whose brains are hard-wired like that will get hooked on whatever they happen to dabble in.  And then I’ve read that there are characteristics of brain chemistry that make some individuals incapable of refusing cocaine once they’ve tried it.  I couldn’t say which is true, maybe neither.  Whatever the case, Delores soon began cashing her own checks.  The house building project stopped, and Frank began to hear scuttlebut at the sheriff’s office that Delores was up to no good out at the prison.  I suspect he knew it was true.  If anyone on earth knew Delores’ character, it was Frank, and that gave him no reason to doubt the worst rumors.

The rumors wafted here and there until the warden ordered a for-cause drug test for Delores, and she was fired on the spot.  He told her he was doing her a favor by not having her car searched, which he could have, and told her to get the H out of there, like, forever.

Delores didn’t go home, at least not to Frank and her boy.  She vanished.  Frank was a deputy and thought finding her would be a normal piece of law enforcement work, but she hid effectively enough that she evaded detection for something like six months.  Frank really didn’t catch up to her until she landed in a mental institution in the same state.  Apparently there are lists of people committed, and she showed up on the list. Word came to Frank through his law enforcement connections, and he tried to call her there.  At first they refused to let him speak to her, but being a little familiar with the law, he challenged them as to whether she was being held against her will.  Minutes later she was on the phone.

I was never privy to everything that was said in their conversation.  One can imagine that she admitted she freaked out on drugs enough that local law enforcement had gotten involved.  In their state, somebody had to convince a judge that she was a danger to herself or others, so probably something was said about that.  But when the conversation turned to her coming back home, Frank told people who told me that she refused to return.  She had a new life, and it was about cocaine.

Delores dropped out of sight again for several months before Frank decided to go see her in person and plead with her to come back to their partly-done house, to his meager income as a deputy, and to their son.  It took quite a bit of detective work before he was able to locate her.  He knocked at the door of a slummy duplex apartment, and a man whom he did not know answered the door.  Frank showed his badge (which may have been illegal for him to do) and asked for Delores.  As the man swung the door open, Frank could see that there were several men in the apartment.  Delores appeared from the gloom, and Frank scarcely recognized her shabby, unwashed appearance.  She looked like hell, like the dumpster-diving women he’d been arresting for years as a deputy.

“What are you doing here with all these men?”

“I’m just trying to feel anything,” she said.

And with that, she shut the door and closed him out of her life.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

*Frank and Delores are not their real names.

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