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Fiction

The only way Steve can get his brother Jimmy to come around anymore is with the promise of free drinks. Since Jimmy had his car repossessed recently, Steve picked him up outside the place where he is staying until he can get back on his feet, a place where he has been for a year now. They are heading over to Kelly’s pub. Lou Kelly is an old friend of their dad’s, who passed away last year, and has the placed reserved for a special event between six and eight unbeknownst to Jimmy. It has been their regular drinking hole since coming of drinking age, so Jimmy thinks nothing of location. The company, however, might come with some lectures on how he needs to get his life together, but free drinks and an opportunity to score a lady for the night is more than worth a few words in and out of the ear.

Kelly’s isn’t the biggest place, or the fanciest. In fact, it usually smells of stale beer and cheap cologne, but it’s always packed due to cheap drinks, good food, and loyal locals. The average passerby can’t help being drawn in by the ruckus of the crowd, the music on the jukebox, and the banging of pool balls. But tonight, the atmosphere is different, at least for those two hours. Food is being served, but not from the kitchen. Jimmy’s sister, Marie, and mother, Sandra, have whipped together some sub sandwiches and chips for people to eat and baked cookies for dessert since things are essentially taking place during dinner time. They have pushed tables together along the wall opposite the bar and set up the food buffet style. Lou provides non-alcoholic beverages at no cost. Chairs have been set up in a circle where the tables normally sit, and the jukebox has been temporarily unplugged. The only thing Jimmy’s friends and family might have to compete with for Jimmy’s attention are the pool tables in the back.

Jimmy has a gambling problem to go along with a drinking and drug problem and is a sex addict. At the age of fifteen, he was diagnosed as having bipolar 1 disorder and goes through severe highs and lows. He does not stick to his medications as prescribed and opts for self-medicating searching out those temporary highs one gets of booze, coke, sex, and winning big. Without those things, Jimmy experiences terrible lows where he doesn’t do anything, even shower or change his clothes. So, six of the people closest to him in life are gathering together with him to hold an intervention in hopes that he will allow them to help him.

Steve and Jimmy park in the parking lot around the back. Jimmy notices right away that the Pub is dead before even walking in, even for how early it is. This makes him feel a little uneasy, that there won’t be enough to distract him from his brother’s hounding, or worse, no interruptions. The two men walk in the door and to jimmy’s surprise the place is empty save for a few familiar faces.

“What is this,” Jimmy asks no one in particular, not liking the feeling he’s getting from the group.

“This is an intervention, sweetie,” Sandra says with a little empathy.

Jimmy turns for the door, but his brother stops him. “We’re not forcing you to do anything. Just give us an hour to talk.

Jimmy sighs and removes his jacket, hanging it on the back of one of the chairs, and has a seat.

“Would you like me to fix you a plate, sweetie? We have turkey and bacon subs with chips,” Sandra offers.

“No thanks. Just a beer,” Jimmy replies.

“Sorry, pup, non-alcoholic beverages only,” Lou tells him. “Do you want a soda?”

“No.”

“Suit yourself kid. We are all here to help you. We’re going to be here a little while so you might as well eat and drink.”

“Let’s just get this thing started. What does everyone want from me?”

Sandra speaks up first. “I’m concerned about you, Jimmy, and I’d like you to start working with Dr. Fornecelli again. Without being on your medication you are seeking ways out of your depressive lows that are destructive. Marie says she will go with you every appointment for emotional support and help you keep track of what the doctor is telling you.”

“Mom, those drugs make it hard for me to have a personal life. Most of my friends go out drinking and to meet any girls, you have to have fun and drink for girls to pay any attention to you. I can’t drink on those drugs, and they make me boring and complacent.”

“Jimmy, I have set you up with several of my girlfriends and your problem with them is that they are too uptight, they don’t drink and party. The girls are out there, it’s you and your chronic need to seek out these highs,” Marie tells him.

“Without something fun and exciting, I just don’t feel like doing anything. It feels like my skin is made of stone and it’s too heavy to carry. All I want to do is sleep. Life becomes too exhausting. But get a few drinks in me and put me at a blackjack table and I feel alive; put me in the presence of a beautiful, exciting woman and I could live forever. Otherwise, I just want to die.”

“Look, Jimmy, Matt and I get that you feel that way sometimes,” Amy says, the friend that he has been staying with, “and that is why we have let you stay with us for so long, but we have a baby on the way, and you’ve already been a financial burden us; we really need you to give this a shot and care for yourself.”

“That’s another thing sweetie, I’ve been giving you a lot of money out of my retirement to live off of and it sounds like you’re gambling it away, drinking it, or snorting it. I’m on a fixed income and will need that money back someday. You can’t go on this way. Not just for your sake, but for mine, and Amy and Matt’s,” Sandra tells him.

“If you get back on your meds, Jim, and stay on them, I can get you on with the construction company I work for. In four years, you’ll be making very good money with full benefits, and you’ll have a skill that is of value to everyone you meet. If you want to impress a lady, build her a house,” Steve tells him.

“Alright, pup, I’ve got a deal for you,” Lou says with his ‘I’ve smoked too many cigars’ voice, “you bring me in that first pay stub from working with Steve and I’ll consider your six-hundred-fifty-dollar tab square.”

Jimmy sits quietly looking around the room, everyone looking at him. “I guess I’ll do it. If that’s what you all need me to do and you are all willing to help, I’ll do it. I’ll call the doctor tomorrow.”

“No need,” Marie says. “Mom already made an appointment for Thursday at 10:00am. I’ll be picking you up at 9:30,” Marie says excitedly and leaves her chair to hug her brother.

Everyone takes their turn hugging Jimmy and reassuring him that everything is going to turn out fine; except Lou, who settles for a handshake. Everyone hangs out for awhile and talks about Jimmy when he was younger and had some good laughs while finishing up the food. Thursday, Jimmy made his appointment with Dr. fornecelli and stayed on his medication for three months before getting that job with Steve. Maire’s friend, Melinda, ended up giving Jimmy a second chance after he had been sober for nine months. After a year they were married. They are expecting their first.

July 07, 2023 01:50

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1 comment

Michał Przywara
20:46 Jul 10, 2023

An intervention's a good take on the prompt, and a good opportunity for conflict between characters. Holding it in a pub is a neat idea - sounds a little dangerous, in fact - but if it's the only way to get the person there, so be it. It certainly helps if the owner is on board. It sounded like they had already handled everything prior to the event, and the intervention itself was a formality. For example, they'd already scheduled an appointment on his behalf. When Jimmy says "I guess I’ll do it. If that’s what you all need me to do" it sp...

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