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Dr. Ira...

Sterile white room, hum of air conditioners, dried up cunt stink of sour faced junky-baiting receptionists, shhhhht! of automatic doors and bad modern art on the walls...

Uh-uh, here I am again... Treatment.

Taking the cure with Dr. Ira Silverstein at the St Vitus Hospital of Addiction and Disease. Dr Ira is a repulsive old specimen ... smell of pipe tobacco and professional arrogance all over his stinking bones... That red drinker's nose all of these old bastards seem to have - why are they always alcoholics? I suppose they would wither and die without the sweet nectar of hypocrisy and condescension...

Hooked worse than I have ever been hooked on dear old dead Macho's synthetic dope... no amount of smack will fix me now. Pleasure centers all burned out like a terminal coke fiend...

"I have - ahem - been looking at the... reports... you have been writing... Just skimmed the surface really - pages and pages of the stuff... time constraints, you understand..."

Dr Ira's eyes grow moist with a puritan righteousness.

"I must say that I and my team have come to the conclusion that you are an - ahem - undiagnosed schizophrenic, psychopathic type. You understand that I will have to make these findings the heart of your treatment plan..."

I know where the good doctor is going with this particular line in bullshit. An excuse to try and keep me dumb with lithium or antidepressants... an old trick of croakers like Dr Ira.

"You know that I'm no more of a schitzo that you are, Dr Ira - maybe less. When do I get my dose? All of this talking about my problems is just wonderful and all" I tell him my voice dripping with sarcasm, "But I'm sick here... got the chills... guts knotting and unknotting..."

"Ah yesss... of course... your methadone. Are you sick Joe? Does it" he leans in with a dreamy faraway look in his eyes and purrs real nasty, "Does it hurrrrt, Joe?"

And goddamn if old Dr Ira doesn't stand up and start loosening his belt and unzipping his polyester slacks.

"We'll dose you right now if you don't have any objections" he dead-pans handling his tired old meat right in front of my disbelieving face.

He pulls out his nasty looking old man prick and waves the stinking swollen thing in front of me as if he is trying to hypnotize me with it.

I sprint up from my seat knocking over his coffee and a stack of leaflets bearing the legend Relapse Prevention - Practical Tips.

"Jeez Dr Ira!" I yell, "Whatcha doing?"

"Oh this old thing?" he laughs, wagging the prick in my direction, "Oh! You think...? Oh my dear boy, no! This isn't some kind of Turkish bath house! This is a place of recovery! Of safety! Really I have never been so insulted in all my days in medicine..."

"Gee Doc - then what the fuck are ya doing?"

"Oh" the doctor starts coming over all coy, like a twelve year old boy caught whacking off by his mother, "This is simply a new treatment practice... This is a methadone dispensation device, new to St Vitus.

We consider ourselves at the cutting edge of addiction research... This is simply a prosthetic - ahem - device attached to a bladder, if you will, which contains your... um... medication."

Dr Ira stands in front of me and nods towards the mute thing like I am supposed to know what to do with it. I look around the room - the chair, the electric blue carpeting, the white walls, the calendar with careless doctor-scrawls all over it but my eyes eventually return to the doctor with his brown pants around his ankles and an erect penis in his hands.

"And what the fuck" I ask, "Am I supposed to do with it?"

"My dear boy" he harrumphs, "Don't be coy! We're all adults here... Just put your mouth to the... hole... and suck out your dose. It's quite simple, no?"

I look at the doctor's prick, pointing towards me like a loaded gun.
"It doesn't look prosthetic" I comment, quietly.

"Enough shilly shallying!" the doctor bellows with renewed vigor, advancing on me, "I have other patients to see today. Do you want your medication or not?"

"Can't I just get it in a plastic cup like always?"

Dr Ira shoves his prick towards and laughs a guttural laugh... "No, dear boy... he, he, he... this is all in your treatment plan..." his face flushes and his eyes glaze over with a soulless, black lust.

He takes the time to snap on a pair of latex gloves with a puff of baby powder.

"Come and get it" he sing-songs, filling my frame of vision...

Outside of the institutional windows crows whirl and fall to the ground, the sky is a Sunday gray and all is silence in the world.

Nothing but the worms and the air conditioning and the smell of Dr Ira's pipe tobacco... Maybe there has never been anything but this. Time drifts by and the sequence of events becomes jumbled when you have a habit. Did the life before you got strung out ever really exist? Was there anything real and tangible outside of this moment? Life boils down to a series of moments that must be endured before... relief.

Methadone floods my system and a million hungry junk cells scream in rapture, a symphony of reward and relief. I am partially disconnected and everything has the slight sense of being disassociated like in a half dream. The sense of struggling to surface and Dr Ira is stroking my face with a nasty smile of his thin lips.

"Good little doggy" he is saying, "You are all my children... good little doggy..."

I stagger away and pull open the door but outside there is nothing but void which stretches, enveloping me, encroaching into my lungs, my chest, my heart and the dark chill of total anesthesia is all I can hold onto as I tumble out into inner space.

Tony O'Neill © 2006.

In a previous life Tony O’Neill played keyboards for bands and artists as diverse as Kenickie, Marc Almond and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. After moving to Los Angeles his promising career was derailed by heroin addiction, quickie marriages and crack abuse. While kicking methadone he started writing about his experiences on the periphery of the Hollywood Dream and he has been writing ever since. His autobiographical novel DIGGING THE VEIN is published by Contemporary Press, in the US and Canada. Wrecking Ball Press plan to release a UK edition Summer 2006. He lives in New York where he works a variety of odd jobs and writes.

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