Twelve Steps


bella_icon.gif jet_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif lola2_icon.gif wendy_icon.gif

Scene Title Twelve Steps
Synopsis Dr. Sheridan secretly funds a 12 step meeting at the Suresh center, led by unwitting stooge and AA graduate Ricky L. Even two years of hard earned sobriety haven't quite prepared Ricky for the personalities of the attendants, including Jet, Joseph, Lola and Wendy. Oh, and Wendy is spying for Bella, while Jet is spying for Adam.
Date November 18, 2009

Suresh Center

The Center is fairly quiet, its usual hours of operation having already come and gone. It's by special arrangement that this conference room was set aside for the meeting led by Ricky L., a graduate of the Brooklyn 'Better Days' AA program. He got the check in the mail, along with a proposal that he lead this group (as yet unnamed, still in its infancy), but every penny has gone to renting the room and getting the huge samovars of extremely overdark coffee that sit mutely shiny in the corner. The room is drab in that institutional way, but weirdly welcoming for it; it's a room everyone's seen a thousand times before. The circle of molded plastic chairs promises to bring a familiar level of lumbar discomfort, though of course nothing that would even really register as pain to most serious addicts who are familiar with the feathery specter of The Bird, the vulture Withdrawal that is eager to pick your bones clean. But yeah, no surprises here.

Well, okay maybe one surprise. Lurking in the light fixture above, exposure adjusted to compensate for the light that pours around it, is a wide angle lens that is viewing and recording every move in Ricky L.'s rented room. With it is a high fidelity microphone more than able to pick up and amplify the voices of the people below. In short, they're being watched, and the one watching, Dr. Isabella Sheridan by name, is in a vacated security room, watching the feed on a large monitor with something between scientific interest and sheer viewer pleasure. She even has a bag of microwave popcorn, sitting in her lap, next to a clipboard.

Ricky L. ignorant of his small but avid viewership, has the unassuming half nervousness of a 12 step graduate. He's short and stocky, with the dirty, weathered look of someone who's spent a few months on the streets and has grit buried in places that even a lifetime of clean living won't entirely expunge. He wears a stained plaid jacket and cargo pants, but the pockets of the pants are flaccid and limp. His eyes, though, are bright and fairly intelligent, and contain the spark of a True Believer. Not a fanatic, but a dedicated apostle. He's here to spread the message, to pay forward his endless debt to sobriety. And you can tell his heart leaps a little as people begin to file into the room, each clearly bearing their own story on their shoulders, a weight he is more than familiar with.

Lola got here early. Why would she do that? Well, of course, so she can claim two chairs. Because while the chairs are uncomfortable - but not so uncomfortable as withdrawal - that doesn't mean that Lola feels she ought to be uncomfortable. So she's taken two chairs, one for her tush and one for her feet. She's holding a cup of steaming black coffee in her hands, but has yet to take a drink from it. In fact, her cheek is resting against her shoulder, and she almost seems to be…dozing?

And then a blonde headed female, who seems to be in her later teens comes walking in. Jet is chewing gum, and with it she blows a large pink bubble before giving it a loud -pop-. She doesn't really look like an addict, but what does an addict look like? Giving a light glance around she silently moves to the coffee pot, taking a styrofoam cup with one hand, and the pot with her other hand. The dark contents are swirled around, then poured, filling it damn near to the rim. After all of that is done, Jet moves to take a seat, the one farthest away from other people. Her legs cross gently at the knees, both her hands holding her coffee cup on her knees for now.

The ants go marching one by one, and Joseph among them. He drifts in around the same time most people are, mixed feelings about being here written in his his expression, demeanor, and limping stance. As noted, it appears as though addicts (as much as he would have a hard time ascribing this name to himself) come in all shapes and sizes. A linen jacket is pulled over a pale blue shirt, slacks to complement both items, and sensible shoes of modest brown. Nicely if not particularly expensively dressed, he only glances to the other people around him when they don't notice him.

Though the long silver extension of a crutch is a noticeable addition. The plastic loops around his forearm, palm planted now with some expert ease against the grip, and it moves to support his left leg. Pain is unnoticed or dulled for this outing, and he foregoes coffee to sit down instead, going for a spot with some distance as well without particular conscious effort.

Just enough people in the room. Enough to make the artist uncomfortable, but still remain. Black hair falls in sheets around her face, obscuring the sides of her face from view as the woman scurry's in late. She's had to dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge to get in and not sprawl face first from the amount of evolved's. It was her, that hunter woman who'd been plucked up by HF a second time, and been saved by who knows who. But saved.

She was off Refrain, thanks to a certain chemical manipulating pimp but the cravings, the psychological cravings were still there. Not as bad, but the pull could be tempting. But Bella needed her to be off the Blue Fairy and she needed someone in the group, participating and this was what she had agreed to do. So there's an apologetic look to Ricky as she scoots into a seat near the back, the better to make for a quick exit if need be. Her purse is slung into her lap on top of the leather pants, teetering slouchy boots, chunky sweater that screams money. Her bag is used to cover her left hand and she switches her focus to up front afte rlooking around the room.

Bella's legs are propped up on the console, something she always imagined surveillance guys doing but only now is getting to do herself. She momentarily wishes she had a donut, but then figures that the popcorn conceit is quite enough. No need to mix viewer metaphors. It takes her half a moment to recognize Lola as she comes in, and the recognition makes her grimace. She takes up her clipboard, makes a note: 'Client Attendance'. Heroin addiction indeed… She has half a mind to 'recruit' Lola just to teach her a lesson about openness and honesty. Jet she doesn't know, and Bella does notice that she looks awful healthy for an addict. Still, what the heck does she know? A viable subject by any other appearance will test as well. Her note: 'Capable of high strain tests?' with the question mark added as an afterthought. Books and covers and all that. Joseph's disability she notes with a certain sympathy. Her own cane hangs nearby, the wolf's eyes gleaming in the light of the monitor. His modest dress, his sensible carriage, his injury. His note: 'Voluntary subject?', this question mark going down without hesitation.

Wendy's arrival Bella does not make note of on her pad. She watches with a certain apprehension. It's a lot to ask of her, to brave a room full of Evolved, but the more eyes the better.

Ricky L. waits for people to get comfortable, get coffee, wringing his hands a bit, a nervous gesture that betrays his anxiety. He's sponsored before, but never headed up a meeting. Of course, the whole point of AA is that there is no head, but he still feels a sense of responsibility that is audible as he clears his throat.

"Uh… hi!" he says, getting to his feet, "I'm Ricky L. and, as you probably figured out, I'm powerless over substances. Alcohol's the big one, 'course, and I gotta admit, I was clean and sober before Refrain hit the streets, but, y'know, whether or not it's a Ford or a Cadillac don't make a lot of difference to you when you've been run over. All that matters is that something bigger and faster and meaner than you has just knocked you down, and you gotta get up before it switches to reverse and backs up over you again." He offers a big, defenseless smile, "We're in the shit together, and I'm real glad you all showed up, and I think we'll have some real interesting stories here, some stuff we can all Identify with. Dunno if any of you have tried the 12 steps before, but the first step is admitting you're powerless over your substance, so…" he taps his chest, "Like I said, I'm Ricky L. and I'm powerless over pretty much anything you can be powerless over. How's about we go 'round, introduce ourselves?"

Rickey's voice is what wakes Lola with a start. Where is she? Oh yeah. Here. Honestly she couldn't say why she's here. She has a shrink now but…there's just something about this refrain that she isn't willing to talk about with Bella, not yet. And, grumbling at her sudden wakeness, she raeches into her pocket and pulls out a flask, slipping a few shots worth into her black coffee. The flask is put away and she sips her coffee, looking up at Rickey. Then to her left. Then her right. "Oh, me?" She drawls, looking around. "Ah'm Mary…Maryanne an…well Ah ain' powerless when it comes ta Refrain, sugar. Ah been clean off tha shit fer…couple a months now but…Ah'm here anyway. So…spoze that ain' what Ah'm supposed ta say, but s'kinda what ya get fer makin' me go first."

Jet pulls out a pack of trident gum which she thumbs for a moment before laying it in her lap as well, turning it over a few times before it stills facing the group. Her other hand lifts her coffee cup to her mouth, blowing at the hot contents before sipping at it. When Lola speaks Jet actually winces to the female's words, perhaps finding them offensive or maybe something else. Then it's her time, and with a soft south drawl she speaks, "Good evening, I am Isabella. A pleasure to meet you Ricky. And like you, I have a problem." A flash of a grin to him at this, "I am new to this, but an delighted to be admist all these wonderful people." Nothing more from her, another sip of coffee.

Leaning the crutch down onto the ground beside his chair, Joseph sits back and listens, murmuring greetings along with the rest of the small, shy pack of Evolved men and women. When it's his turn to speak, he manages to remove reluctance to do so as he attends to his introduction. Another outterstate transplant, his Tennessee twang is mild; "My name is Joseph, and I've been here before. Not in this building, or with you all, but a long time ago. I'm here again because I used when I shouldn't have. Been clean for a while, though, and lookin' to stay that way." His tone ends in a note as if he might say more, but chooses not to, glance to the next person in permission to continue on.

WEndy's up next after a few other people cycle through, her turn to talk. "My name is Wendy, and i'm an addict. I've been down the road once before and Refrain kinda came along and it lead me off the wagon. I've been clean over two weeks and counting. We count every day don't we. Anyways, you can't do it along, you need folks to help you, trusty folks to lean on and so here I am" The black haired woman offers that tight smile that many in New York have perfected before she sits

There are a couple others in the room, one guy who looks like he was a banker, but is probably more like bank-rupt at this point. He's powerless over Refrain by way of cocaine. Another is a emaciated young woman with the extra years under her eyes that points to problems with all sorts of intravenous drugs, but her long sleeves refuse conclusions. She's only here because her mom will kick her out if she doesn't go, apparently. She's none too pleased, and keeps scratching her inner arms. She guesses she does too much Refrain, but who the fuck wouldn't considering how shitty the world is.

Ricky is no actor; he is unaware that the he is, in a way, here under false pretenses. He wants to help people clean up, graduate from the Program. Lola's flask and skipping of the first of twelve steps pretty much breaks his heart a little, but then again, it's way more that go into the program than come out. He's seen reluctance, and truculence before. Sometimes it's just too early, folks haven't hit rock bottom. It's still pretty obvious, though, that Lola's answer makes him cringe. His smile, ever earnest, tightens a bit. It eases as the other's speak, and by the time they get to the last unwilling participant, he's pretty much acclimated.

Bella, on the other hand, just snickers. She finds the whole semi-Jesuitical methods of AA creepy and cultish, and Lola's flouting of them, while certainly not a very good prognosis for recovery, warms a rather cruel corner of her heart. The endless, humble serenity of AA old timers kind of drives her up a personal tree. As she hears Jet and Joseph, more drawls and twangs, she mutters. "Lots of fuckups from south of Mason-Dixon, I guess…" Real nice.

Ricky gets back to his feet. "Arright, so I'm just gonna start by saying that, however you feel about this right now, whatever you're thinking, hundreds, thousands of other people have thought exactly the same thing, and I was probably one of them at some stage. I woulda been all piss and vinegar if I wasn't pissing in my cardboard box and drinking what sure as fuck tasting like vinegar," this is a joke, but he doesn't wait for a laugh, just keeps at it, "Thought the whole thing was bullshit, some scheme maybe, maybe just some passing fad. But I'm standing here today, two years sober, telling you that you gotta Keep Coming In, because It Works. And that ain't a fucking lie. And that it's fine to think I'm a sorry asshole, that I'm wrong and that this is all just another self help group for sorry assholes, but, if you don't mind me saying… would you be here if you weren't a bit of a sorry asshole yourself?" Another joke, and a smile to indicate it as such, "You just gotta keep talking, so anyone who's pissed, who thinks this is horseshit, please, let's hear about it, cuz that feeling's something everyone can Identify with, me in particular, I know. Open your mouth and get it out there. You'll see you're not alone."

"Yeah, Ah'm like him," Lola drawls, pointly pointing to Joseph. "Just sayin', darlin." She continues, looking back to Ricky. "Ain' all of us here ta get clean. Some a us done passed that bar afore. Some of us just…don' wanna go back, s'all. An Ah ain' gone back, but Ah just wanna find a way ta make it easier not ta go back. Got shot three times while Ah was comin' down through withdrawal. Ain' the sorta party ya make a second apperance to, ya know?" She continues to drink her spiked coffee, waiting to hear what others have to say.

Jet er's softly at Lola when she speaks, Jet turning her coffee around on her legs for a moment before taking another sip of the cooling contents. She has nothing really to add this time around, seeming content enough just to let Rick do the talking. Another bubble of her pink gum is blown, then popped loudly as the gum package is shifting briefly, a homing device as people speak, kinda, as it follows them.

There's familiarity in all of this - swearing included, so the only affront Joseph shows to such is in the dart of his gaze politely downwards, before steering back up to the speaker. His back stiffens some when he's pointed to, preferring to be woodwork, but he listens attentively. The preacher in him would rather be where Ricky stands, to be perfectly honest, and so he can't resist adding, "I dunno about easier. I don't think it's a question of it gettin' easier. Especially if you don't think it's got power over you. Not that we ain't all superheroes, but…" That last comment trails off with a hint of a quick, weary smile that deepens the lines at his eyes.

Hello, hello what are you? Wendy's distracted by movement on the other side of the wall of the place, but with the following of some invisible evo, her gaze lands on Jet and … Bullshit, that's not bubblegum, too big to be a pack of gum. Black brows furrow as she looks up to Jet and tears her gaze away to up front and lola and Ricky. Her good hand though, rests on her knee and she flashes her fingers out twice, the first indicating row, and then the second time, seat. All for bella to see and pin point something strange.

Ricky nods as Lola speaks. At kindest, his look of intense, close listening could be seen as totally dedicated and non-judgmental. At worst it could be seen as creepily intense. He laughs out loud at Joseph's last remark, a totally unguarded expression of mirth complete with knee slap (which gesture causes Bella to point her index finger at her temple and bring her thumb down 'bang'). The banker guy gets sort of pale at the mention of superheroics, and mumbles something indistinct. The young woman with the itchy arms says that her mom won't let her use her ability in the house because it 'scares the cat', which cat one gets the sense the young woman isn't much fond of. Ricky nods vigorously, "When I told my sponsor that I was Evolved, y'know what he said? 'Too bad you're powerless, cuz otherwise a power might mean somethin'.'" He affects a older man's voice, and while it's impossible to say if the impression is accurate, it's definitely fond. "We've all got something special about us, sure. And that's part of why we're all here. But it's not our power that's our friend right now. I ain't saying we should be ashamed or anything. But I'm saying that lots of people can do lots of stuff, paint, uh… repair cars. Me, I was a mechanic. Was. Might never get to be again, but who knows? One Day At A Time, like they say. We're all here because we know what it's like to want something so bad everything else that's important to us don't seem so important any more, at least not until we notice we've lost it. What I mean is… we've got stories. Losses. And numbering those losses is part of the inventory each of us has got to take of ourselves as part of the program. So I'm gonna start:"

"Here we fucking go…" Bella snarks from her invisible viewing room. She spots Wendy's sign, though, and is distracted from further looking-down-her-nose. She leans in close, setting the popcorn to one side so she can get a really good look at Jet. She can't tell, from her vantage, what the problem is. But Wendy wouldn't make a point of it if it were nothing. She takes out her cellphone.

Meanwhile, Ricky starts, "Me, I was a mechanic, like I said. Used to just have a beer after work, watching the tube. Then I got married, had a kid. Okay, more like I had a kid, then got married 'soon as I found out. And started to be that one beer just didn't take the edge off. I mean, I loved my son, but the little shit machine was /loud/, know what I'm saying? So it started to be two beers, then three, then I started to figure out that I was running through a sixer and not really noticing 'til I saw it was gone, and then I got /pissed/. And, shit that I was, I took it out on my old lady. 'course she was not one for that kind of crap, so she kicked me out. No restraining order or anything. That came later," a grim smile at this, a memory that Refrain would be unlikely to call back up, "Long story short, I lost my home, my family, then lost my job, which actually I don't think I got fired so much as I just stop going. I guess I was real busy trying to find the cheapest fucking malt liquor available, seemed pretty important at the time. When the Bomb hit, shit… I barely noticed at first. Thought I was just having another fucking awful hallucination. 'course it wasn't, turns out the world really was crumbled, which didn't do much for what my dad, he was a marine you see, what my dad would call 'the old company morale'. Course, with the world in pieces, it wasn't much incentive for me to put myself back together. But one day, I was hittin' up this church, can't even remember which one, looking for some food mostly to trade with some other bum for liquor, and I took a wrong turn or something, and ended up well," he gestures around, "A place a bit like this. Only much worse smelling, though that was mostly because of my condition," he grins, "Maybe you can Identify. Maybe not. But let's hear your stories, huh?"

Stories. Great. Lola does not appear to like this part one bit. "Ah ain' sure how much Ah kin say without..ya know. Incriminatin' mahself. Then again, Ah don' look like Ah got near through the shitter as you did, sugar." She nods toward Joseph, and perhaps there's a touch of sympathy there. Perhaps it's the light. She'll seek this one out later. "S'just say Ah got hooked courtesy of a friend, almost got mah self kilt through some clusterfuck or another. Spent a couple a weeks on Staten detoxin' in some little patch joint…" It's at this point that Lola glances at Wendy and remembers. She gives the girl a grin. "Hi. Anyway, got back from there, yadda yadda yadda, lotta enemies….Ah'm sure yer all real bored by now." Lola, it seems, is one of those that is uncomfortable with openly sharing with strangers. So she sips her alocholic coffee instead.

An eyeroll from Jet, then the female is lifting her hand with her coffee cup so she can check her watch. The gum pack is tapped on her leg for a moment or two before it stills. She's ancy, and probably doesn't like sitting still for very long. "Do we really have to cuss so much?" She interupts the show, "Is this truly part of the language addicts use, or are we letting ourselves fall into the roles that are expected of us? Honestly people." And then nothing more from her, sipping at her tepid coffee.

"I think it's the language a lot of people use," Joseph states, if reluctantly, a glance towards Jet. "Down to earth, kind of thing. Some people need to hear it from people who're people, I guess. It don't do nothin' for me, but." His smile is a little crooked, lapsing into a pause before remembering— oh right. Story time. He'd already given this some thought, so he doesn't skirt around for too long, deciding what and what not to say.

A hand settled on his left thigh, itching the bandages beneath his slacks and just above his knee, he shrugs and states, "I drank, when I was young." He glances to Ricky in a shared sort of sympathy over their similar springboards. "With friends, for a while, then on my own. My pastor dragged me to one o' these groups when it got bad, and I spent the next coupla years changin' things around. I found myself through God, and for— a long time, things were good. I became a pastor myself, I got married. Then when I moved up here, a lot of things took a turn. My church was burned by Humanis First, and I took up Refrain when I didn't feel like I had much to go back to other'n— well. Memory of simpler times. Happier. To forget everythin' else."

His hand goes up in a gesture of 'there you go'. As practiced and thoughtful as his words were, they ease out somewhat slowly and reluctantly, as if it were a surgical procedure - necessary but unpleasant.

"I think it's just how she talks" In answer to jet's question, wendy speaks up. "Some people don't take this seriously, i've seen it." there's a shrug from the older woman in the room. "I lost my family's respect. I lost my favourite brother's respect when I got lost in the pills, and the recreational drugs, alcohol. They found out and while I didn't loose my job, I lost that and sometimes, that's a lot harder than a job to get back. I haven't told them that I fell off the wagon. They thought after two years I was fine, they didn't need to worry" Wendy shakes her head. "Three years and a couple months and along came the pretty blue fairy who just.. who gave you the high and the cost was just a little prick and a little bit of time. Not as bad as say doing heroin, or so evident. Easy to hide, and I mean, who doesn't want to relive that good times?" Jet's still eye'd now and then curiously by Wendy.

The banker agrees with Jet's comment on oaths and cursing. He hasn't sworn even once all this time, but he hasn't been precisely chatty. But, given this chance, he does speak up. Agrees that he thinks the best way to stop being an addict is to avoid acting like one, and that foul language is part and parcel to that. This earns him dark looks from the itchy armed young woman, who sides much more with Wendy. Fuck, she says, starting with the f-bomb straight off, but it's just like breathing to her, swearing, and she'd like to be allowed to breath, thanksverymuch.

"Naw, naw, Isabella's got a point, y'know?" Ricky interjects, "That's something I never really thought about when taking my inventory, but I'm gonna be real up front with my Higher Power tonight when I pray, ask Him what he thinks I should do about my foul language. Because I wanna be respectful to people now, it's something that's important to me, part of the eighth step, part of making amends."

Bella's on the phone, too busy to pay attention to the minor debate over profanity. She's detailing Jet's physical description to someone on the other line, and she's talking about a 'pick up'. Also something about 'tapping Wendy' for 'further intel'. She's all business, though some of the secret-operation-type words she uses sound sort of recycled and Mission Impossible-esque. This is new to her, the black ops deal.

"That's something I wanted," Ricky begins, "To discuss, though, what Wendy and Joseph said about memories. Cuz I never did Refrain, but I think I understand about it. Because that's a lot of what this is, addiction. It's not being you and here and now. It's what my sponsor said was 'being anything and anywhere else', because being you just doesn't feel possible. And it feeds itself, right, because the more you use, the more your life goes to shit. So, if we feel comfortable, maybe we can talk about a memory that we each go back to, and maybe try and think about what's in that memory that helps us get away from our here and now. I'll go first, and bear with me, because my experience just isn't the same as all yours,

"I used to always like to get drunk while watching 'The Love Boat'. I know, right? Shit show, but it was funny as hell when I drank. But after I got kicked to the curb - sorry, I mean, after I landed myself on the street… gotta remember who's really responsible - after that, I steered clear of boats and the ocean all together. Wasn't 'til I was a whole year sober I remembered my old man, a marine, like I said, used to take me sailing when I was, what… twelve? And he'd share a beer with me. Great memory, I felt so big and proud… 'course it was also how I first got used to alcohol too. Part of why it was such a good memory. Getting to know a friend, bad influence though it might've been, that I loved pretty fuck- er… sorry- pretty darn dearly."

"Darlin, Ah sucked mah mama's tit with the same mouth Ah'm usin' now an none of us seemed worse fer it." Lola murmurs. And that's a crack about nursing. Not…anything else. Adjusting herself a bit on the seat, she downs her coffee. She'll get up and get another in a minute. "Anyway, it weren' bout no memories fer me, least not at first. Was all in mah body, ya know? Ah started with it at first…fer a fellah." Oh, how long this story would be if she were ever to tell it in full. "Got off it when he let me go, but lemme tell ya, gettin' shot while goin' through withdrawal? Healin' from them shots only ta get shot again? Was the pain's always made me wanna go back." She gievs another respectful nod to Joseph. "Least till recent, anyway." Now it's…something else.

Jet lifts the fingers holding the gum to her temples as she massages it briefly, but then it's her turn and she lifts her eyes to look around the room, taking in everyone for a moment before she clears her throat and shifts in her seat. "What am I supposed to be confessing again?" A perk of her brow at this then, "Ah. I suppose it started when I used to come home after taking my studies. I would turn on Kolchak and watch that while I did my homework. Mother was…" a beat, "Well mother was mother, and father was father…" another sip of her coffee. "I had the biggest crush on Gene Roddenberry."

There's a wince for Lola's plight from Joseph, although he says nothing as to his own injury, just switches his attention politely to Jet when she begins her story— and the pastor winds up narrowing his eyes in quizzical confusion. On the verge of saying something, he only glances to Ricky and clears his throat. "Well, uh."

Moving on, if awkwardly. "When Refrain pulls you back, it ain't like thinkin' about a nice memory. It's relivin' it, without any thought given to how things— how things turned out and would become afterwards. I'm sure you all know that much - it's like nothin' bad ever happened after. So when I used, I remembered my wife. Not every time, but a lot of the time. And I remembered her without rememberin' the arguments, and how we went separate ways." A polished band of gold is still wrapped about the appropriate finger, though he's certainly not going to explain its presence.

"Listen, Maryanne is it? I think we're here for the refrain addiction, not the one for being foolish enough to get shot a handful of times. And the blame isn't on someone else for your addiction to the drug, the blame is yourself. Sure, there's circumstance that weaken you, but it's squarely on your shoulders. For starting it, for keeping up with it, and it's your responsibility for getting off of it"

Unless your name is joseph, and then in which case, someone else IS responsible for hooking you on it, but not the rest. "IT was fun. That's how I got hooked. I'm a rich little entitled kid that did it all for fun till I got caught. And this time around, not so little kid, and still rich, but" Wendy shrugs. "It's much like Joseph there. JUst the good. Well no, I had a bad trip, those do happen. I was back in rehab, fresh in rehab and the pain and, everything. Didn't help that it was a friend who'd dosed me up out of some petty act of revenge. But, the good times, god" She shakes her head. "It's just laying there without a care in the world and the good time that you just wanna sink into forever and stay there and when you come out, you're just… floating, cause it was good times"

Ricky lifts both his hands, palms exposed, in a placating double gesture towards Lola and Wendy. "Hey now, hey now…" he says, "We gotta respect each other's own personal experience, you know? There's no one path to recovery, but it's sure easier if we can look over and see the other people who are taking the same journey. So let's support each other, okay? Be angry, sure. You gotta be angry. But give support."

Bella gives a small snort. She has to admit there is something perhaps just the least bit compelling about the patience of these AA folks, but Bella has a feeling it's only those dull enough to have such deep patience that really benefit. She didn't fund this little get together to help anyone get better. If she has her way, Joseph's sobriety won't last much longer. She's finished her phone call, and preparations are being made to arrange for a much more intimate interview with Jet. Bella looks forward to it.

After the intercession by Ricky, the banker and itchy girl both describe their own memories, though it's obvious the banker is lying, and it's even more obvious that the girl's good memory, one of having sex with the lead singer of a moderately well known band, is, if not a lie, than chosen just to show off. Still, Ricky doesn't do anything but thank them for putting themselves out there and sharing their thoughts. "Those times are gone, now, though. Those good times. And you all already know it or else you wouldn't be here. Be hopeful, y'know? But realize you can't do this alone." Ricky says, "We're almost outta time here, but I wanna take a moment to have us all recite the Lord's Prayer, because it's important for everyone to realize that they can't do it alone, like I said. That even each other isn't enough. Every night, you've gotta get down on your knees and turn over your will and your life to your own Higher Power, God As You Understand Him. So please, whoever you think you're praying to, or even no one… pray with me." Ricky closes his eyes, folds his hands, and begins to speak.

"Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespassed, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen."

Bella pretends to throw up in her popcorn.

"Ah ain' prayin' ta no 'god folks.' Ah'm a follower a them Orishas." Yes, Lola follows Santeria. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Turning in her chair, Lola gives Wendy a little wink. "An besdies," she says, still talking to Ricky. "Some of us is on the road to recovery. Some of us keep thinkin' we're so damn special cause we keep fallin' off, fuckin' up, can't do nothin' on our own…" She waves a hand dismissively to the prayer, getting out her flask again. This time she doesn't even bother to pour it into her coffee. She just sips.

Jet doesn't partake in the Lord's Prayer and just rolls her eyes once more. She does that a lot it seems if she can't verbally express her frustration. Her coffee finished, peering into the now empty cup for a moment as the prayer is spoken and the others talk. Jet remains pretty silent, waiting for the meeting to end.

On the flipside, Joseph, naturally, gives due respect to the prayer being spoken. He'd taken up his crutch where he'd set it down, his hands placing upon it in a sort of shortcut of palms pressing together and shuts his eyes throughout the duration. A muttered 'amen' from the pastor, before he's opening his eyes to look across at Lola with— mostly an unreadable expression. Not one of approval, not for the flask she flaunts nor for her words, but he holds his tongue.

He's had enough, lately, of debates steeped in morals. He only casts a sympathetic glance to Ricky and his attempts at herding this particular group of cats, and says nothing, which likely he'll regret a little later.

"Listen lady, he said, pray to whomever" Wendy's rising from her seat, a flip of her hair over shoulder that gives an eyeful of ruined ear that's healing and her bag goes onto her seat. Stunted fingers are visible, flesh still red and the shiney line of stitches. She at least waits till the prayer is over before she starts over towards lola, stopping beside Jet. She can walk fine in her boots, but she teeter and puts her hand on Jet's shoulder for support, leaning a bit.

Purpose for that is known to the power detector alone, as only a touch is needed to know what the woman is. "ANd you brought alcohol into an addiction meeting. Maybe you need to think hard about whether this is really the place for you maryanne, or whether we can find you a new meeting to attend, because there's many of them that can help you with your problem instead of being snarky and insulting to the others who are here for the help. Whether it's the first time or the second or the hundredth time off the wagon" There's a glance down to Jet.

"sorry, Sorry, didn't mean to touch you, do you think I could have a piece of gum? You'd been flipping that thing aroudn and i'm really craving a smoke and I forgot my gum and I just need something other than a cigarette to you now, chew on"

Ricky looks bottomlessly uncomfortable as Wendy directly confronts Lola on the God-and-Flask issue, something he himself should be handle but, out of sheer desire to draw people in, didn't. He is, at least, fearless in taking his own personal moral inventory. He stands up, stepping forward towards the women. "Hey now," he says, again, "Let's all try and see this from each other's points of view… This is worth discussing, to be sure, and Maryanne, I gotta say that you shoudn't bring substances to future meetings, alright? Sort of in the rules. We're about sobriety here, down the line. I don't wanna turn you away, not that I've even got that power, y'know? But that's one like you can't cross. Gotta be firm about that." Note that he's only firm after Wendy's been firm for him. He'll apologize to his HP later for that, maybe call his sponsor and confess his failing.

"We've got the room for about five more minutes, so if you wanna get one last cup of mud before I clean it up, please do. Thanks for coming, everyone. Please, keep Coming In. I promise you, It Works!" Ricky says this with a fervor that's just the slightest bit pathetic. He wants you to believe, wants you to believe so bad. It's from a good place, though. It worked for him. He wants you to have the same chance.

A chance Bella doesn't intend to let most of the attendants have. She makes more quick notes. Time for some background checks on Joseph and Lola, and on the tatty banker and the needle using kid. That last one… who'd miss her? Her mother would just assume she used and was too ashamed to show her face again. Her disappearance would never be noted by anyone who mattered. Bella tosses the half empty popcorn back into the waste basket. Two points. Whether or not Ricky L. would agree, Bella considers this a /very/ productive evening.

Jet stiffens under the touch from Wendy, the female moving a hand to her wrist in an attempt to remove her touch from herself. "Do not touch me. I have a thing about being touched." A chill in Jet's voice that was not there before as she makes to slide from her seat now, "And no, I have one piece left. Sorry." A flexing of her thumb on the pack and then it's slipped into her jeans pocket before her now empty paper cup is wadded up. "Are we done Sir?" Words directed to Rick, but then she looks to Wendy. "Don't be so hard on that Chica," she motions to Lola with her chin, "We're all here for the same thing right? Ain't cool to jump on people." That's all Jet speaks before she's heading towards the door, obviously getting ready to take her leave.

Lola, in the meantime, just shrugs a little bit. "Dunno how well it works, sugar, seein' as yer still chuggin' up that hill. Good thing is Ah didn' come here for you." She has more important things to do now, namely Joseph. Pushing to her feet - the chair makes a loud, obnoxious squealing noise as it moves, she walks over to him, setting a hand on her hip and jerking with her chin to the door. "Got a second, Pe?" she asks, using the Creole-Hatian word for Father. At least this ma, she's willing to give some bit of respect.

Joseph levers himself up, as well, relying heavily on his crutch for that particular movement. Once weight is settled squarely on his feet, however, he seems more at ease, tucking his arm into place with the device and taking a step from his chair, possibly towards Ricky to commend him— until Lola is cutting on over. Flasks aside, Joseph only turns to her, glancing to the door she gestures to, then back to her. "Oh— yeah, sure. I got a few," Joseph agrees, before shifting to walk with her. Whatever words he had for the anon organiser can wait until the next meeting. "What can I do for you?"

Damn" only one piece her ass. She doesn't stop Jet though, just shakes her head, ignoring Lola and her sassing back. Wendy sets about to gathering her stuff, pausing only once to waver a bit as someone skims a liiiittle too close for her comfort and she heads over towards the coffee in hopes that the few feet might make the difference.

Lola makes sure that the others are left behind before she starts speaking to Joseph, walking alongside him easily, at a light, sauntery pace. "Look, sugar, Ah ain' one much fer these things. Ah gotta lotta bad blood behind me - lotta people thinkin' mah dead body's a sight better'n mah live one, if ya take my meanin. An Ah kin say Ah don' think Ah got whooped up fer it near bad as you seem ta." She looks over him, making note of his injuries. "Just sayin, Ah been in pain fer physical shit, an Ah been in pain fer the drugs an all. Ah just…Ah think Ah kin help ya. With the physical shit, at least." She checks over her shoulder again, and she'll stop talking if she spies anyone in earshot.

Jet blows a last bubble of gum, giving it a sharp -pop- before she's pushing open the doors to the room, taking her leave after tossing her paper cup into the trash. No one else is given even a glance as she moseys on, hands shoved in her pockets.

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