I'm an alchy and I'm cool with it
He had to concentrate if he was going to pull it off. It was getting easier, though, much to his delight. Everything was a little easier every time he tried something, but really that only meant his migraine afterwards wasn't as blinding as the last. He had to hold the image in his mind and concentrate, but then he had to walk, talk, smoke, and try not to throw up at the same time, which gave new meaning to multitasking.
It was a process.
Kyle Evans leaned back in his churchy metal folding chair with his hands behind his head and unlit cigarette in his mouth. The room began to slowly trickle in with a few familiar faces and one or two new ones. There were always the regulars - the twitchy newbies and the hardened wagon masters, he liked to call them. Kyle was probably down the middle at this point; sober, but not enjoying it in the least.
A new but familiar face walked in quietly and took an empty seat across from Kyle. He tried to remember the guy's name and Thomas popped up. No, Tommy. Tommy still had the flushed, healthy look before the alcoholism wrangled the fuck out of your soul. Kyle lifted his chin and gave him a wink, making the other man nod once and lift his hand.
At the appointed hour, the meeting started. Kyle tucked his cigarette behind his ear and assumed the silent and slack jawed expression as the newcomers were introduced, first names only.
"Hi, I'm Bob. I didn't suck dick for cocaine, but I drank a fifth a day like a motherfucker."
"Hi, I'm Sally. I don't have a problem. I'm here because I'm a probie and too stupid to take the get-out-of-jail free card seriously."
Kyle listened to the obligatory misfits as well as a few truly inspired people who wanted to put their horrible lives behind them. Odds are they wouldn't, but there were worse things to be addicted to, Kyle thought to himself when the door behind him opened halfway through the meeting, interrupting a newbie.
Turning, he looked over his shoulder and saw a middle aged man with light brown hair and a rather put-out expression clear his throat.
"I'm sorry, is this...."
Kyle perked up. "Yes. This is.... Come on in!"
The women who appeared to be leading the group smiled gently and nodded. "Just your first name, if that's all you want."
Jake cleared his throat again and tried not to fidget. "I'm Jake-"
"Hello, Jake...." the group said in unison.
"Uh," he said with a started laugh, "10 years on for me this year. Used to sponsor in my old group."
"You local, Jake?" the man asked again.
"Yes and no. Back in town, but not from here."
"You have the look of a man who is questioning his stability."
Jake looked over at the man again. Dark hair, blue eyes...no...brown eyes. He felt a throb of pain as he looked at the man. Blinking, Jake shook his head and saw light brown hair, not dark hair. That was weird, he thought to himself.
"I uh...I've been thinking of drinking lately, yes."
The man leaned back in his chair and gave him a knowing smile. "She pretty?"
"It's either your job, your wife, or your girlfriend. The circumstances are all the same."
"It's...she's not my girlfriend."
"Lad, leave him be." Jake looked at the other voice and saw a tattooed man, slouched in his chair with his arms crossed. With a nod, the man introduced himself. "I'm Tommy. 1 week."
Jake nodded and flicked his eyes back at the man called Kyle. The moderator spoke up again and moved the meeting forward, touching base with everyone, offering sponsorships and help finding sponsors. Jake listened quietly till it finally wrapped up.
Standing slowly, he checked his watch and wondered if he'd make it back in time to pick up the red headed bartender back at Shades when the two men from earlier approached him. Jake raised his eyebrows and felt himself withdraw, not wanting to get dragged into any after parties.
Tommy interrupted when Kyle began to fuck with Tyler. After two meetings, Tommy already knew Kyle only came to meetings to make himself feel better by tearing other people down. He had seen it before and it was part of the reason he avoided meetings, but for all his bullshit, Kyle was a decent lad. So when the meeting broke up, Tommy caught Kyle's eye and nodded toward Tyler. Kyle seemed only too happy to approach the newcomer.
"Kyle wants to apologize for being an arse."
"You limeys are too polite."
"I'm not a limey, I'm Irish, you tosser."
"Oh, I know what that means!" Kyle exclaimed.
"Don't be minding the lad. He's harmless." Tommy reached a hand out to shake Tyler's, but the man just stood there for a moment, staring at Tommy's offer. "Don't need to shake, lad. Just being polite."
"Sorry," Tyler immediately said and shook hands with Tommy. "Haven't been to a meeting in over a year."
"Work alone? Travel a lot? What's your social security number?" Kyle said, taking his unlit cigarette and lighting it, even though they were still in the church.
Tommy rolled his eyes and pointed toward the door. "Good to meet you, Jake. I've only been to a couple meetings, but everyone seems pretty sound, except for this wanker, here."
Kyle shrugged and inhaled deeply on his cigarette, drawing the attention of the moderator who was headed their way.
"Perfect. Come on, let's go outside."
"You used to sponsor, you said?"
Jake looked at Tommy and shrugged. "I used to, but it's been a while. Not really...I'm trying to figure out," Jake started but let his thought drift. Kyle came up to him and held out his cigarette as if in deep thought.
"Is it that you want to drink to make things clearer or that things would be clearer if you just had a fucking drink?"
"Isn't that the same thing," Tommy asked thoughtfully.
"I have no idea, I just want a god damn drink," Kyle snorted.
"Why are you even doing this? Do you want help or are you just doing this for some sick, deep seeded need to see people suffering." Jake was genuinely curious.
"That's a lot of questions and I don't feel comfortable enough with you to dig deep and share."
Jake turned away from Kyle and decided to ignore him completely. Tommy snorted and rolled his eyes. "Is he here every week?"
"I hear he goes to all the meetings, not just the AA."
"Oh so like Fight Club."
"We don't talk about that," Kyle interrupted. "I do have a murderous alter ego, but I have no plans on blowing any buildings up," he offered.
"You said this was about a woman?" Tommy asked in a soft tone. "Moron here is right - it's usually about a woman."
"I don't know what it's about. I don't want her." Tommy and Kyle looked at each other and then back at Jake. "I don't," he said with a little more confidence.
"Is she pretty? Is she blond?" Kyle asked. "I LOVE blondes."
"Yes. No. It's not about her," Jake said indignantly. What was it about, he asked himself. "I...uh," he grumbled unhappily.
"Do you love her and she not love you...anymore?"
God, he was going to hell.
"She's not like that to me. It's...listen, I think it's fair to expect dinner first before spilling my guts, don't you?"
Tommy shrugged and nodded. "I'm dealing with my own shit." Tommy hooked a thumb over his shoulder toward Kyle, "And god knows he is, too. The distraction is welcomed."
Tyler's expression was hopeless and a little lost. "I'm just trying to get to the next meal."
Tommy laughed. He had not heard that term in years, not since his early Piper training. The fatigue, the pain, the endless work - the only thing you could focus on was getting to the next meal. That was the only consistent thing about training, they had to feed you, eventually. He decided he liked Tyler.
"Alright man, meetings are twice a week. See you next time?"
Tyler looked unsure, but eventually nodded. "Yeah, I'll see you guys."
Tommy held his hand out and Tyler shook it and then the human threw a nod to Kyle who lifted his chin in an obviously heart felt goodbye. He and Kyle watched Tommy walk down the street and fade into the evening crowd.
"He's a nice boy," Kyle said with a thick Brooklyn accent.
"Yeah," Tommy said thoughtfully and then looked at Kyle. "Later, man."
Kyle saluted and then spun on his heel, heading in the opposite direction, leaving Tommy on the sidewalk.
((OOC Everyone out))