After three nights of little sleep, I am exhausted. I am unable to fool Stormy today, as he instructs Keisha to walk me around the track and run a light objective.
“No smoking,” he instructs.
“Oh my gawd, I thought I was done ever having to run one of these stupid things again,” I say, annoyed.
“Girl, I am not making you run a freaking light objective. We will just talk and if any course supervisor or ethics officers are around, I’ll make you touch something,” she suggests.
“Awesome!” I exclaim.
“But, you have to come up with your cognition (realization),” she elaborates.
“Deal,” I confirm.
“So, you just aren’t sleeping well?” She asks.
“Not at all. I feel like I am withdrawing still and last night I had a heroin dream,” I admit.
“Oh, damn that sucks. Did you get high in it?” She asks.
Typically, in my experience, when you have a drug dream, it usually involves you chasing after the drug and then when you finally obtain it, you wake up before you can get high. Last night was no different.
“No. I cooked the dope down and got it into the syringe. I was sitting in the corner, behind a locked bathroom door and just when I was about to plug my vein, I woke up,” I express.
“Man. I’m sorry girl. Other than that, how is everything going?” She inquires.
“Okay. My room is so damn hot though, and I hate being on the top bunk. I also am always the last one to get a shower and that sucks sharing a shower with two others,” I admit. “The water is cold by the time it’s my turn.”
“Well, tomorrow, why don’t you call “first” before muster,” she snickers.
I love this girl. We get along so well. I am a little surprised by it, actually. She is a sorority girl, and I am more ghetto, I guess. She is the type of girl whose ass I have kicked in the past, but she’s not outwardly snobby. In fact, she carries herself as a charming, sweet and somewhat innocent girl. She saves her little snob remarks for just me. We giggle about it together.
We can see the classroom out for a cigarette, so we head back over.
“Oh, my cognition can be, I realize I am communicating with my environment,” I inform her.
Violet, (the girl who did my night withdraw at the ranch), is sitting on the bench, puffing away on her vapor. I sit down next to her.
“Hey Violet,” I whisper. “You were right about the staff being paired up. I still haven’t been able to figure out who you are paired up with though,” I admit.
“That’s because we hide it so well,” she jokes.
She asks how I am doing so far and informs me that she is always here if I need to talk, before excusing herself for her intern duties. Smoke break is over and we return to class.
“Are you ready to do your TR-0 eyes closed for 45 minutes,” Stormy asks.
Because there are not any new Book 1 students, the students in later books volunteer to do 15 minute intervals. Once one student’s 15 minutes is up, another taps them out. I am exhausted and Stormy knows this.
“Don’t fall asleep,” He warns. “TR-0 eyes closed for 45 minutes, start.”
This is the longest 45 minutes of my life. I can hear the classroom buzzing around me. It is important not to allow myself to listen to any conversations, because if someone says something funny, I will crack up and be flunked. I get through it, by playing, Bella’s Lullaby from Twilight, over and over again in my head.
“Good job Liz,” Stormy encourages. The classroom, collectively applauds.
Now, TR-0 eyes open, doesn’t go as smoothly. Like eyes closed, students tap each other out for 15 minute intervals. However, that means I am looking at three, separate faces. In addition, someone has gone into the bathroom directly behind me and completely blown it up (taken a nasty, smelling crap).
The smell is nauseating, as it wafts out into my area. I can’t gag, cover my mouth, or even cough, as that will get me flunked. Oh my gawd!
Suddenly the door opens and I hear a voice call out,
“Woooo, do not go in there. Wooo! Wooo!” The voice exclaims, mimicking Ace Ventura.
The entire classroom’s buzzing gets louder and many students are laughing. Oh no. I can feel myself starting to lose it. Desperately, I attempt to play Bella’s Lullaby in my head, to muffle the commotion around me.
“Who did that?” Stormy asks, angrily. “I have a Book 1 student here, doing a TR. You guys know if you need to take a dump, to excuse yourself to the lodge bathroom!”
The student responsible is named Cliff. He is a short man with dark brown hair, a beard and a guitar. Stormy is so angry that he demands Cliff leave the room.
“I didn’t know,” he confesses.
“Get out!” Stormy demands.
Time is dragging. All of the students are making shit jokes and quoting Ace Ventura lines and I am about to burst into laughter. Dustin O’Hare, is my twin and he can see I am about to lose it. My lips are curling up, forcing a smile. I begin to press my lips together, so that I can hold it in. His eyes are pleading with me to hold my confront.
“Five more minutes,” he mumbles under his breath. He can see the clock and if he is caught whispering, I won’t be flunked on this TR, because he is not a Book 1 student. I am the one being attested (passed).
I dig my fingernails into my thigh, in an attempt to cause pain to overcome my desire to laugh. Dustin has brown, curly hair, adorable freckles and a great smile. He is from the East Coast. I believe either, Philly or Jersey. His eyes are comforting. It’s crazy, but I feel as though I can read them and it feels as though he is coaching me to be strong and encouraging me that we are almost there, with his gaze.
“Great Job Liz,” Stormy says. The classroom applauds again.
“Good job Liz. I know that was hard. You’re kicking ass. If you need anything, I’m here,” Dustin informs me.
He is super sweet. He always has been with me. Unfortunately, he is almost done with his program, so I won’t spend a lot of time getting to know him. That part sucks. People all begin and finish their programs at different times. I imagine, you get close to someone, and it hurts when they leave.
I can’t believe I got through that! The rest of the day, I drill TR-1- TR-4. Finally, it is time for graduation dinner. The students race to the line. Apparently, they run out of steak knives every time. There is steak, shrimp, asparagus, potatoes and the staples, salad and fruit. This is, by far, the best dinner of the week.
Keisha and I sit together. Jude London, Rick and Taylor are at the table. Taylor, is a beautiful, vibrant, red head. I swear, she looks so much like Rachel McAdam’s, it’s uncanny.
She has porcelain skin, a perfect white smile, big green eyes and plump, kissable lips. I think I might have a girl crush on her, no homo (no homo= not in a gay way). I can’t stop staring at her and I hope I am not making her uncomfortable.
Her name is Taylor, but everyone calls her “Swift.” She got that nickname, because apparently she has run from the Ginger House, over to the Blue House, several times to meet up with Caleb (The houses the students move to after the sauna). This is forbidden behavior, but she sneaks out, nonetheless.
If you get caught, that’s an ethics cycle. An ethics cycle, removes you from class and replaces your studies with cleaning, raking, digging and more. The length of your ethics cycle, depends on the severity of your violation. Sex will earn you a week. Taylor, however, is so Swift, she has yet to be caught.
Caleb is a short, young, white dude, who is training for MMA fighting. It’s a small world after all, as he is from where I was living in my car as a heroin junkie. He and I, know a few of the same people; however, we never crossed paths back home.
“Swift is trouble,” Jude warns.
“Yeah, according to Wiggles, Swift is all kinds of trouble,” Rick chimes in.
“Who is Wiggles?” I ask.
“You know Wiggles. He drives the van. The larger ethics guy with dark jeans. He has chains hanging from them for his wallet and he wears a leather coat, even though it’s 900 degrees out. His name is Carl Rawlins, but we call him Wiggles,” Jude jokes.
“Yeah, apparently he warned Jude and Rick that I was trouble,” Swift says, as she covers her giggle with her hand. “Big trouble,” she winks.
Yup. I am definitely developing a girl crush on her. She is adorable.
“So, students really get it in (have sex) here then?” I ask.
The entire table breaks out into hysterics and I realize, as I am asking the question, how dumb of a question it was. Of course they do! They can’t really expect to throw a bunch of horny, withdrawing, irresponsible, drug addicts into a cesspool together and then expect that we won’t find a way!
There is about 15 minutes before graduation starts, so we head out to smoke. Martin is graduating tonight. He is very popular among the student body. Everyone calls him, Big Martin. He is husky and very tall.
I don’t know him at all, but today in class, he gave me a pamphlet called, “The Way to Happiness,” by L. Ron Hubbard. It’s a final step to passing Book 8 and graduating. He had to hand out like 8-10 of them, and he chose to give me one, as I am a new student.
I opened it and scanned the pages, briefly.
“Who the hell is L. Ron Hubbard and why has he hijacked the 10 Commandments in this book?” I asked out loud, before chuckling at myself. Other students in the class laughed with me.
I watched Stormy make a note in my folder. Each student has a folder that houses all of their paperwork. What was he making a note about? A couple of the students attempted to inform me of who L. Ron was, but they were cut off immediately and we were all told to get back to work. I still am uncertain as too who this infamous, L Ron is.
“Come in for graduation,” Aiden shouts out.
We all make our way back inside. They have folded up the ping pong table and set up chairs in the area. The couches are reserved for the graduates and their families. Some students gather at the table behind the couches and others sit up on the tables we eat at to observe the ceremony.
Stormy and Makayla are running graduation. Makayla is the Objectives Course Supervisor, so I haven’t spoken to her, but I know she is Jacob’s girlfriend. She has long, brown, curly hair and like many of these girls around me, is packing a big booty. She is a little thicker, but not fat at all, and again, I am left wondering how on earth do I achieve an ass like that?
Stormy and Makayla, take turns explaining each Book of the program, before handing out certificates to the students that have completed that portion. They know the language (patters), by heart and have to discuss the Book, even when there are no students that have completed that part.
After the explanation of each book, Stormy or Makayla, calls out each student who has completed that Book by name. I observe that the Book 1 students don’t say anything when they receive their certificates. The sauna students usually joke about surviving sauna when they receive theirs. Book 3 students are quieter, like Book 1. Book 4 and on students, are more open to speak a little about what they took away from the Book.
The graduates, make a speech. Big Martin, has several family members here to support him. He makes a speech about all the hard work paying off and what he is taking away from the program. After graduation is over, we race to the kitchen to get dessert. Dessert only occurs on Fridays. This week, we are having cheesecake.
Of course, after dessert, the students in houses are rushed onto the van and the center students gather around the smoking area.
“Yo, I need to get my Benadryl,” Juice shouts over to Curtis (EO). “My allergies are acting up.”
“Mine too,” Bolts says.
“Yeah, my eyes are itchy as fuck,” claims Brian.
Truth is, there is a ton of different plant life in California and I have allergies. I didn’t realize we could get Benadryl for them, as we have to get a doctor to okay taking Ibuprofen, for crying out loud. But, really, I know, Benadryl will knock my ass out and am looking to actually sleep tonight.
“I have bad allergies!” I exclaim. “Curtis, Yo Curtis,” I call after him. “Maxwell!”
“Damn, I got you Liz,” he says.
“Well, maybe you should acknowledge me,” I suggest, using air quotes to emphasize the word, “Acknowledge.”
He rolls his eyes, but the table laughs.
“Man, you need to stop smoking those Bennies (Benadryl),” Brian tells Juice.
“What? You can smoke Bennies?” I ask.
“This fool, man,” he laughs. “This fool, smokes them. The rest of us just pop them,” Brian elaborates.
“I take a handful of them and nod the fuck out,” Bolts says.
“If you fight the drowsiness, you can get a feeling similar to a heroin nod,” Hunter elaborates.
“Fuck that. It ain’t nothing like dope,” Bolts laughs. “Yeah, okay bro, sit down with that bullshit.”
“When you smoke it, then fight it, you can get a heroin nod going, bro,” Juice claims.
“You’re tripping Juice. Sure, okay,” Bolts says, while using his hand to make a “jerking off” motion and sticking his tongue out.
I’m curious now. All this talk about dope feelings, makes me want to get high.
“How do you smoke them Juice?” I ask.
“Liz, bro, no. Smoking them is retarded. Only idiots, like this fool do that shit,” Brian suggests, while pointing at Juice.
“Haven’t you ever smoked a pill?” Juice asks me.
“No. Honestly, when I was being prescribed my Percosets, I just popped them like candy. I never smoked or snorted them,” I admit.
“What the fuck? You never even snorted your pills?” Juice asks, in a condescending way, filled with cackling.
“Sssh, here comes the law,” Bolts warns.
It’s Curtis, the EO. He has returned with our Bennies. He walks into the lodge. Soon Aiden comes out.
“Aiden, bro. I need my Benadryl,” Juice explains.
“You know we called out Meds already. Are you new? Follow me,” he instructs Juice. They walk towards where we line up for medications, if you are allowed any. I mean I was on blood pressure pills and they told me that sauna would fix that, so I didn’t need them anymore.
“Oh shit! Aiden doesn’t know that Curtis gave us Bennies already,” Bolts laughs.
“Yeah, well it won’t be long before they figure that out. Juice needs to slow the fuck down,” Brian suggests.
The boys continue to discuss how ridiculous Juice behaves. Bolts is beyond sick of him.
“He’s not that bad. He’s just a little fucked in the head,” Brian says.
“Oh yeah. Well, try living with him. He didn’t try to stab you with a hanger!” Bolts exclaims.
“Wait? What?” I ask.
“Oh yeah. So Juice is in sauna, it’s my first fucking day. This kid has had a full blown meth turn on (sauna term for experiencing a high/emotion in the sauna- believed if stay in sauna it turns off),” Bolts begins to explain.
“I walk into my room, unsuspecting and this guy is up in the crawl space, with a wire hanger all sharpened like a weapon, tweaking the fuck out,” he continues.
“I’m like, whoa, bro, are you alright? And, he responds,
“There are cameras all around. That’s a camera (pointing to the smoke alarm), and they are all in on it. You’re one of them, aren’t you?”
The entire table is cracking up, myself included, but Bolts is dead serious. He is never serious, so this obviously, legit occurred.
“The door was closed, I thought he was going to stab me with a coat hanger,” Bolts elaborates.
“But what’s a turn on?” I mean, how was he tweaking?” I ask.
“What turns it on, turns it off,” the entire table says in unison, while slapping their knees and laughing their asses off.
“Once you’re in sauna, you’ll understand,” Brian explains. “Some people have acid flashbacks, meth tweaks, heroin nods and I have seen some people cry hysterically. It’s the niacin. It purges out all these drug residues and sometimes people trip, but it lasts a short time and you are supposed to stay in sauna, sweat it out and be done with it,” he elaborates.
“Juice decided to not tell anyone he was tweaked the fuck out. Obviously he wanted to stay high. After ethics came in and rescued Bolts, they threw Juice back into the sauna,” he continues.
I am so desperate to get high, I find myself hoping for a turn on in sauna. Damn. I am really struggling today. I don’t smoke my Benadryl, but my curiosity has been peaked, as I swallow it and head to bed. This is the first night, I get 8 full hours of sleep. Only problem is, I spend the entire night dreaming about Percosets….