RTA 15: On The Slicker

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Yes, I realize the ferry workers that look suspiciously familiar are stepping toward me. Still, I think I have time to pick up my fumbled funny bear. I’m going to need it.

I mean, I want it, I don’t need it.

However, I’m not thinking about being on the water. Leaning over while waves low and rumble through the hull ends up being on my knees. Shit. The deck is grey rough metal, painted and chipped and hurting me. My white pill of choice is already cloudy and vaporizing in a tiny depthless pool.

My fingers can’t seem to find the ampule and I see only a white smudge on my thumb as I feel myself jerked upward.

I object with some choice words but it appears I am being escorted from here.

Grandma continues to smoke and talk to the short foreman, who I realize, is Beef Curtain Burke, all two hundred and fifty pounds of cop body, grey cropped cop hair, and cop sunglasses.

My god, is this…?

“Gramma?” She doesn’t hear me, so I start yelling. “Grandma!? Is this an intervention?”

She looks at me briefly before resuming her conversation with Burke.

“Excuse me, do I know you” I look at the workers and I swear I have seen them at the Endboss Cardroom. “I just need to find my, uh, allergic medecine.”

I lean down but am forced right back up.

“I’ll just sit tight. Hey what kind of boat is this ferry? I never understood boat names.”

A salty spit from the bay.

One of the green hatted ferry regs turns an inch. “It’s called a ferry.”

“Ah.” My ploy works, and I see the worker’s face – I know him from the five ten game, my god!

I know what this is. Yet I’m not even addicted. And we have things to do!

You’re probably wondering why I’m able to take this so well. The truth is, I think I’ve always wanted an intervention. Maybe even needed it. All your friends and family get together and think about what is good for you, what you need.

So I’m not confused, not surprised. I love my acid caffeine bears but really, I know I can do without them. I’m ready, and this is quite the show. And my favorites are way more mellow than the general public thinks. I don’t start scratching myself and wilding out like in those viral drug vids.

Burke walks over to me.

“Hey, kind of trippy to see you here, Burke. What the fuck is going on?”

“Kind of surprised you never figured it out. But drugs will do that to you.”

I’ll exaggerate. “I know, I’ve got to stop. Thank you for doing this.”

I’ve done this before. You care about me, I’ve got to change for all of you.

Beef Curtain looked at me with a question, his eyebrows lifted. “You can have them later. We need you, I guess, coherent for a minute.”

Wait, what? “I’m always coherent.”

Burke looks at me with what, pity? For me? “Is this an intervention or not?”

“Kind of. Not for drugs, though. What are you on, anyway?”

“Very light stuff, very safe. I understand both Barron and Tiffany do it.”

“Jesus, Ian.” Now he’s whispering to me, turning his back to Grandma. “What the fuck has gotten into you lately. And the money? You could’ve talked to me. Well now you’re catching it.”

For drugs? For gambling? Or has he hooked up with Mwin, searching for the money I stole from the game?

My head starts pounding. “Burke, are… are you working with Soh Juh? Is Mwin here?”

“Oh hell no. It’s much worse that than that.”

Burke walks off, leaving me more confused than a whole bottle of funny bears ever will.

And why is Grandma suddenly twenty years younger?

As if reading my mind, she is walking – walking over to me. Beef Curtain is holding her arm, so I suppose it’s a not a miracle.

“What’s going on?”

She taps out her cigarette ash, which settles in the little pools of water. Salt and smoke and wind hit my face.

“It’s not an intervention, Ian.” It’s the first words she’s spoken to me in months. “I just need your attention, your complete attention, for a few hours.”

“Grandma –“

“Shut up, dear. I’ve been patient with you, you know. Now you need to hold your shit down.”

“Grandma –“

“Ian, my child, you stole from the wrong people and I’m bailing you out! Try to remember that, whatever… whatever happens next. Ok, Mr. Burke. Not too hard, just as we agreed. I’m sorry Ian.”

And with that, Beef Curtain Burke steps forward, grabbed my shoulders and shoves his knee between my legs.

I see myself open my mouth to howl in the mirrors of Burke’s cop glasses. Pain explodes up my body, as if my scrotum were attached to my lungs and ears on a single loop of screaming nerves. I see the blue sky, the green waves, the grey metal deck of The Slicker, and pass out.

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