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Back to the second batch of cops

I went back three weeks and was tempted to go back a year and then eight years and all the way back then to the beginnings of the marriage when it was just an East Village romance conducted almost entirely between the blocks of Second Avenue and Avenue A, and eighth street up to 14th. I was considering going into detail about a myriad of small moments viewed through a small lens over a great deal of time, but I think it's best to come back to where I started which was the moment when the person who I will call 'she' because it's easier for me that way.


She took the Ambien. Because that was the only thing that seemed possible at that moment. She couldn't imagine getting on the phone and calling apartment owners particularly since she realized at first glance that no one was going to let her have a dog and definitely not two dogs. So her mother might be right. It was still about a month until the house would close and she would have to leave. And the lawyer she'd been taken to straight from the hospital was talking about getting her some money to live on. And the people had the hospital were talking about disability. She had got a check from the job she hadn't gone to and though she was afraid they would ask for it back, she didn't have any other money so she deposited it. It wasn't enough for rent and a security deposit even if there were a dog embracing apartment to be had.


So she did what anyone would do. She took an ambien.


When the cops came she didn't fight back. Last time, she'd been lively and combative with the cops. And then more so even at the hospital. She'd demanded they return her notebook to her (not a computer, a pad of paper). And when theyignored her and she could see it right there on the nursing station shelf as she waited to be processed she became too impatient to wait. She needed to write all this down. In those days she wrote everything down. She had a stack of notebooks taller than she was and while she was not a tall woman, it was still an impressive stack. She'd been writing in those various notebooks since she was sixteen. She needed them to tether her to life she felt. When she was overwhelmed or nervous or hearbroken or excited she wrote it down. The time at Disneyland with the kids when all of the noise and the colors and the cartoonish nature of everything, the fakery and commercialism suffused into every portion of the world so she felt trapped inside of it, invaded by it, he had retreated to the smoking section. The smoking section wasn't bright colored, it was a couple of sad benches discretely cloaked in vegetation where people went to be the pariahs of Disneyland. SHe had lost her pen so she had to pay nearly twenty dollars for a Minimouse pen but she did it, because she desperately needed to write her way out of the trap. It was sitting there on that mundane bench in Disney land writing with a fat lurid mouse pen that she saw a real mouse scuttle out from a garbage can. The real mouse with the beady shining eyes like currents inset in its fat shiny fur, reminded her that the wold was not Disneyland and made a bit happy for moment that mice didn't wear bows in their hair and have fat shiny shoes on their feet.


At the hosptial the first time she saw her red notebook. Sitting right there doing nothing while nurses were busy with impossible to imagine tasks and she refused to wait a second longer to retrieve it. Before she had even traversed the eight feet from uncombortable chair to nurse's station they had her. The orderlies grabbed her and it was like a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. They grabbed her and told her to stop and calm down. And she shrieked that she needed her goddamn notebook and she needed it now and they had no right to take it from her. And then they said. The two men in the loose light blue clothing that she needed to take a sedative. And she struggled and refused and writhed and shrieked more. And they said that she had to take it this one or the hard way. And she said I am not taking it anyway.




Perhaps before I describe what befell me after the cops came that second time. The calmer and more jovially cruel cops. But then again, I was done discussing weaponry or things of that nature. My previous cool, mania overlaid with petulance and what I considered to be biting and incisive wit, had given way. I was drugged now. I was beaten. So maybe I should talk about the first time.


The first time was weeks before. It was the beginning of September and one of those golden days that have become ominous since 9/11. It was earlier in September though this particular golden day. And I’d asked for a divorce a month before so the house was prettied up for the selling and this was Thursday the Brokers Open house day.


That first time I got sent to the bin, I’d been up for six weeks taking Adderall, drinking energy drinks and fake absinthe. I’d been revising my books because some hotshot agent had read the first bit and asked to see the rest. So all summer long, I’d been writing other people’s books for money and my own book at night. And I’d be chatting some with online lothario who in my weakened state seemed just the ticket to liven my the deadening that my marriage had been freighted with for years and years. And then in the final months after I finished the book and the book got rejected I had asked for a divorce.


Actually, I hadn’t asked for a divorce really. I’d said if you ever smoke pot again, I will divorce you. It wasn’t because I thought badly of pot smoking. I like smoking pot. I think most people are at least slightly more palatable when one is high than they normally are. And I suspect that I too am. But I could be dead wrong about that.


I’d told the husband though that he should stop smoking pot. It was because I was beginning to realize that he might be smoking pot all day long every day and this was leading to some decisions that were not sound. He was always doing things like buying a cappuccino without checking the bank balance first. And then the bank would fine him, no us because I thought married people should share bank accounts and probably because we’d started out with me making more money than him, he had fully endorsed that proposition. It had been later after the kids when I made less, and he made more.


I can say that this was irksome because I considered myself at least as clever as him (that’s me stopping myself from saying that I consider myself cleverer than him) and undoubtedly a harder worker. But academia embraced him from the start and scorned me. I figured I was a better teacher as well so it embittered me that I’d missed the tenure boat and had mostly been adjuncting and struggling to get enough freelance work as a ghostwriter to keep the wolves from the door.

Unfortunately, those wolves had been huffing and puffing outside of the various doors of my life for a good long time. And I had been feeling that after all of the trying and the trying it was never going to be a time when there were no wolves. I’d been through two graduate schools and worked every single job I could manage to get. From secretary to copywriter to graduate assistant and dean’s office minion. I’d scrabble and scrapped my way from one job to the next working and wriggling to make it all work and still I was poor. The husband had not had to have so many jobs because of having parents who appeared like wealthy people.


Years of that kind of thing can wear upon you particularly when children start appearing. The daughter appeared while I was writing my dissertation. The other one who was considered at that time when we were too uncivilized to recognize the vast number of available genders unfortunately impinged upon by a dearth of pronouns. The girl and the other one contributed to the poverty quite significantly. And they were work too. A lot of work.


By the time we find me being hauled off to the bin for the first time, I’m as thin as I have ever been. As a result of the six months of Adderall, energy drinks, absinthe, writing and teaching and scraping the house and repainting the house and scrubbing the floors and taking care of kids and conducting an imaginary affair over the internet. All of these things burn off calories. So, I was thin and tense on the day of the broker’s open house.


We had no money. We needed every single penny we could get out of the house and it was in the kind of disarray that houses owned by people who have no money are always in disarray. So, people who have no money to hire workers have to try to do things themselves. I myself, skinny enervated and possessed of quite shaky hands went myself on a ladder to scrape and paint the front of the house. I asked the husband to pick up that task so that I could go pull up carpets inside. One day I walked out to the front to see if he needed a class of water or something because of all that laboring in the hot sun. The ladder was propped against the house. The paint can was unopened, and the husband was nowhere to be seen.


3

I went back three weeks from the October of 2008, to September of 2008 and was tempted to go back a year and then eight years and all the way back then to the beginnings of the marriage when it was just an East Village romance conducted almost entirely between the blocks of Second Avenue and Avenue A, and eighth street up to 14th. I was considering going into detail about a myriad of small moments viewed through a small lens over a great deal of time, but I think it's best to come back to where I started which was the moment when the person who I will call 'she' because it's easier for me that way.


She took the Ambien. Because that was the only thing that seemed possible at that moment. She couldn't imagine getting on the phone and calling apartment owners particularly since she realized at first glance that no one was going to let her have even one dog and definitely not two dogs.


Her mother might be right. It was still about a month until the house would close and she would have to leave. And the lawyer she'd been taken to straight from the hospital was talking about getting her some money to live on. And the people had the hospital were talking about disability. She had got a check from the job she hadn't gone to and though she was afraid they would ask for it back, she didn't have any other money so she deposited it. It wasn't enough for rent and a security deposit even if there were a dog embracing apartment to be had.


She did then what anyone would do. The present moment being intolerable and there being no other way to avoid the present moment. She took an Ambien.


When the cops came this time she didn't fight back. The fight was all gone out of her because of what had happened last time.


Last time, she'd been lively and combative with the cops. And then more so even at the hospital. She'd demanded they return her notebook to her (not a computer, a pad of paper). And when they ignored her and she could see it right there on the nursing station shelf as she waited to be processed she became too impatient to wait. She needed to write all this down. In those days she wrote everything down. She had a stack of notebooks taller than she was and while she was not a tall woman, it was still an impressive stack. She'd been writing in those various notebooks since she was sixteen. She needed them to tether her to life she felt. When she was overwhelmed or nervous or heartbroken or excited she wrote it down. The time at Disneyland with the kids when all of the noise and the colors and the cartoonish nature of everything, the fakery and commercialism suffused into every portion of the world, so she felt trapped inside of it, invaded by it, he had retreated to the smoking section. The smoking section wasn't bright colored, it was a couple of sad benches discretely cloaked in vegetation where people went to be the pariahs of Disneyland. She had lost her pen so she had to pay nearly twenty dollars for a Minnie mouse pen but she did it, because she desperately needed to write her way out of the trap. It was sitting there on that mundane bench in Disney land writing with a fat lurid mouse pen that she saw a real mouse scuttle out from a garbage can. The real mouse with the beady shining eyes like currents inset in its fat shiny fur, reminded her that the world was not Disneyland and made a bit happy for moment that mice didn't wear bows in their hair and have fat shiny shoes on their feet.


At the hospital the first time she saw her red notebook. Sitting right there doing nothing while nurses were busy with impossible to imagine tasks and she refused to wait a second longer to retrieve it. Before she had even traversed the eight feet from uncomfortable chair to nurse's station, they had her. The orderlies grabbed her, and it was like a scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. They grabbed her and told her to stop and calm down. And she shrieked that she needed her goddamn notebook and she needed it now and they had no right to take it from her. And then they said. The two men in the loose light blue clothing that she needed to take a sedative. And she struggled and refused and writhed and shrieked more. And they said that she had to take it this one or the hard way. And she said I am not taking it anyway. The took her to the room with the padded walls and the tiny window webbed with wire. And the single bed and nothing else. And they gave her another chance to take a pill, but she dashed it on the floor and they took out a needle.


I woke up thirty-six hours later.

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