Mein New Home
Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, left foot, left foot—
I had almost fallen down onto the cold asphalt of the lonely street I was walking on that night. I was hammered and it was almost four in the morning. On top of that, I had no ride and no idea where I was. Plus, I had work in three hours.
Hours earlier, I had Maize drop me off at a party that Alfie—a semi-friend from Arcadia whom was the “ringleader” until Mickey and I took over—had thrown.
Maisie couldn’t join in on the fun due to her sober house curfew. She had to be back and inside of her house at 9 o’clock sharp every night. I had had a similar curfew at the sober house that I was at, for a short time.
After I had been kicked out of Arcadia for breaking so many rules, I had left with my dad to live at the sober house they had secured for me. I was relieved but not entirely—I didn’t get to say goodbye to the life-saving Miss Davis. She had been there for me and saved my life by convincing the board of directors to let me stay. But even if she had been there that bittersweet day, I expect it would have been out of her hands had she tried to save me again. But it was alright, for there were other problems on my plate to be dealt with.
They had me bound for a sober living house, which it had appeared to be from the outside. It was a beautiful, white-brick, two-story home in a friendly neighborhood in North Austin. The inside, being even more welcoming. However, I did notice one strange thing along the wall of the entryway. I should have taken it into better consideration than I had. There were pictures of all seven housemates, with their ages looking from 18 to about 25 years old, and they all sport shaved heads. I had thought it weird. But I brushed it off as maybe they had endured a crazy day where they shaved their heads for laughs. I thought about my mohawk, which I would forbid them to touch.
Yes, I was still rocking the hawk, but once again, things did not work out in my favor.
The head of the household, Raymond Adolf Loseur—Ray, for short—started by asking me some questions while my dad and I had sat on the cozy, leather couch. I swear that thing would just about eat you up when you sat down. However, the questions he had asked weren’t the kind of questions you wanted to answer with your father present.
I know my dad didn’t want to hear me speak of how much heroin had found its way inside my imperceptible veins. Nor how much money I ripped off my family. Still, on he went until, he asked if I believed in a higher being.
“I… Yes, I do believe in a power greater than me—”
“Uh huh,” he interrupted.
“I believe in karma, the universe, Mother Nature—”
“OK, let me stop you right there,” he interrupted again. “I’m thrilled that you have accepted that there is a power greater than yourself,” he paused, then continued, “But, what you just said… Those are rehab higher powers. And here in this house, we don’t believe in the ‘universe,’ or ‘doorknobs, bedknobs and broomsticks.’ Here, we believe in God.”
Oh shit. I thought, I just entered the Holy Land.
I had known right then and there, I was not going to last long in this “House of God.” I glanced towards the other end of the couch. My dad had already been looking at me, with eyes asking, “Is this guy serious?”
After Ray had finished his sermon, my dad had taken off, but not without leaving me with a wish of luck and a crisp bill. I watched his tail lights grow fainter in the distance then peered at the hundred dollar bill he had given me. I smiled. Though he knew I wouldn’t last long in that house, he still believed in and trusted me. But that smile didn’t last long once Ray had my hair in his hands.
It was a house ritual that everyone would shave their head as an initiation or rite into their house. I, nonetheless, was not at all receptive to this rite, as you can imagine.
As he yanked at my waxy hair, I could sense a smug dominance wafting off of him. I’m sure he thought of me as nothing more than street-junky trash. Like he was doing the whole world a favor by cleaning me up as he wanted. Well, trying to, at least. My hair had endured weeks of wax and product. It did hurt a bit as he hacked at it with his dull, paper scissors.
While attempting to cleanse me of my junkiness, he revealed the rules to me of being in the house by 8PM and to be showered, dressed, and out of the house either working or looking for a job by 8AM daily. With the exception of Saturday and Sunday where we could sleep-in to a whomping 10AM. But making our beds to military precision had to be done every day, as well.
He even enforced a dress code: collared shirts were to be worn everywhere, including inside the house. My new home had begun to appear somewhat similar to a nazi concentration camp than a humble abode.