Falling off the
by Matt Arnold
nothing like falling off the wagon, that insane
thrill of a free-fall without a parachute. In
spite of the oncoming splat, the euphoria is
limitless. I should know. I cannot count how many
times Ive had to utter, My name is
Matt Arnold and I have a problem. Ive
forgotten how many times Ive walked some of
the twelve steps; never have stood atop the last
Im sorry to report. I once made it to seven.
Something always throws me off of my game.
Theres always a sandcastle in my rear
window, as my grandmother used to say.
I made it
almost ten months this time. Not too bad; not too
good either. Today was a crappy day at work. It
is a long story but lets just say I
wont be using that set of keys anymore to
open any doors. On my way home, I knew the
all too familiar feeling. The anticipation of
throwing it all away, the realization that tomorrow
will be another day and I can deal with all the
around. I know where to get the stuff. One of my
students told me his sister has been dealing and
told me where I can find her. He could see I was
down and after all Im the Mr. Kotter at my
school; tight with the kids I mean, not that I
tell stories about strange relatives, or have
curly hair, or am Jewish, or work at the high
school I went to, or teach social studies for
that matter. Actually, I guess Im nothing
like Kotter. But back to topic.
students sister, she sells the stuff, to
anyone willing to pay. I drive around for awhile
after work, as though I havent made up my
mind. Finally I swing by her corner. It's a lost
cause. I wish she werent so damn cute. That
makes it even more of a crime. She doesnt
actually handle the money. The old hag with her
does the financials; the girl is just the mule.
They always make me ask for it. That is the only
way they know Im not a cop. It is
humiliating, but Im the one buying the junk
I look down at the ground and mumble, How
many boxes of thin mints can I get for $20?