My Relapse, Part V
I didn't know which was more surprising: that I was in the zoo stealing animal narcotics with Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, or that Pat O'Brien was being released from rehab. I asked him if he really felt he was ready to head back out into the world.
"Oh, you bet I am," he said. "The Insider
needs me big time. I have to work the party for the premiere of Rosie O'Donnell's retard movie next week."
"But it seems like you have a lot more work to do in group," I said.
"No, I'm all worked out, Ad-Rod. I didn't have that big of a problem in the first place. Just checked in for the publicity. Worked like a freaking charm!"
"What did Sheryl Anne say?"
"She wished me luck, etc.," he said. "Gave me the names of a dozen shrinks she recommends. Told me never to leave a message on her answering machine. You know, same old same old. But don't worry: I put in a good word for you."
"What do you mean?"
"I mentioned how you wanted to go crazy with her and that you're a bulldog in bed."
"She got all flustered. Girlfriend looked hot, though. You lucky dog. If I wasn't your homie I'd bag that chicken in heartbeat."
I was devastated. How could I ever face Sheryl Anne again? Our patient/counselor relationship would never be the same. I guess a part of me wanted her to know how I felt, but I wanted to do it on my own terms, like while playing checkers with her and listening to the soundtrack from Flashdance
. But now that dream is ruined. God damn Pat O'Brien.
He patted me on the shoulder and went over to help Whitney Houston open her bottle of Emu Valium. I watched them unsuccessfully attempt to remove the cap. Then Whitney threw-up some more pita chips.
I looked at the bottle of Otter OxyContin in my hand. Suddenly, popping a few of the pink pills didn't seem like such a bad idea. What's a few otter pills? Wasn't like I was going to hurt anyone by taking them. Might piss off a few otters, but who cares? Plus it would get my mind off Sheryl Anne for a while, or at the least make what Pat said to her seem not as embarrassing. I hoped so, anyway.
"That's some tight shit right there," Bobby Brown said, gesturing to the otter pills. He was shirtless and his nipples were covered in ointment.
"Rhino cream," he said. "It's better than sex."
"How many pills should I take?" I asked him.
"How much you weigh?"
"Around 180 lbs."
"Okay, then that would make you, like, 18 otters. So take 36."
"36? Seems like a lot."
"You're 18 otters, G. Don't worry. It's gonna be off the hook."
Off the hook. Yes. That's exactly what I wanted right then and there. To be completely off the hook and inaccessible to everyone and everything.
So I took them. All 36. They went down easily; it was satisfying to find that I still swallowed pills like a pro.
"When will I start to feel it?" I asked him.
"Real soon," he said.
"'Cause I don't feel anything yet."
I propped myself up on an examination table and watched Whitney Houston and Pat O'Brien continue to struggled to get the Emu Valium open. She held the bottle on a table while he tried to turn the cap.
"So that's how many crazy celebrities it takes to open a bottle of Emu Valium," I muttered.
"What's that?" Bobby Brown asked me, his face now covered in Rhino cream.
"You feeling it yet?"
I wasn't sure. Other than craving abalone and a water slide I felt completely normal.
"It's gonna happen any second," he said.
"I can't wait," I replied.
"Are you a homo?"
"No," I said.
And then we kissed. I'd never been kissed by a man before, let alone by one whose lips were covered in Rhino cream. Compared to recent girlfriends, he wasn't that bad a kisser. Can't say that I enjoyed it, but it was worth it enough to say I had the experience.
"You feeling it now?" he asked me, nibbling on my lower lip.
"I would expect so," I said.
Then I felt something hit the side of my head. It was Whitney Houston whacking me with a snake splint. "Stop kissing on my Bobby!" she screamed. "Stop kissing on my Bobby!"
"Baby, chill! Baby, chill!" Bobby Brown said holding her back.
"Now we're talking!" Pat O'Brien said, unbuttoning his shirt.
Suddenly, we heard a loud crash, followed by the sound of footsteps. Moments later, a man with a large video camera, followed by another man carrying a portable light stand and a woman wearing headphones holding a large microphone entered the room.
"Oh shit!" Bobby Brown yelled. "My reality TV show crew! They found me! Run!"
I don't remember much of anything after that, just lots of running and a hallucination about playing with a turtle by a creek. Nothing else.
I woke up the next morning in my room at the rehab center. I went to Pat O'Brien's door to see if he had made it back, but then remembered he was gone. The only sign of him ever being there was the framed photograph of Mary Hart next to his bed. He must have forgotten it. I picked up the photo and stared into Mary Hart's perky, yet sad eyes.
It was then that I realized that rehab wouldn't be the same without Pat O'Brien. Despite his self-centeredness and his sexism and his ignorance and his vulgarity and his Eskimophobia and his less than average volleyball skills and his penchant for removing his shirt, he made rehab kind of exciting. And he was an excellent mandolinist. Couldn't believe myself for thinking it, but I was going to miss being stuck in rehab with Pat O'Brien.
And then, either as a sub-conscious tribute or in a post-Otter OxyContin comedown, I did something I never thought I'd do, but which in retrospect felt completely right: I buried my face in my hands and cried.