Galveston, Texas, United States
Home page: www.jimplagakis.com
In April, 2006, I spent a long, intense week at The Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center in Rayville, Louisiana. I was being evaluated for a Valium issue that had ended in 1999. This is a place where the clients are housed in close quarters, eight to a cabin. The rules were oppressive. A food allowance of $35 a week for a grown man did not last 7 full days. Men and women were segregated. Fraternization could get you kicked out. Talking was forbidden. I have a unique view. I am a pharmacist. This is not my story. That will come later. This book is fiction, but it is based on what I saw and that was very real.
This work deals with the narrator character's observations of the drug addicts, alcoholics, sex addicts and gambling addicts that were in for 90 days at Bayou Divine Recovery Center deep in the hot, humid and smelly Louisiana bayou country. The primary focus is on Cabin 7 and the 8 men living there. Among them is a young, bright, clear-headed new age kid from Oregon who belonged on a college campus. An absinthe addict who is partially paralyzed after a second stroke really belongs at a different kind of rehab center. A suicide takes place in Cabin 7. Playing a Trivial Pursuit gambling game for toothpicks is forbidden, addictive behavior.
Teddy "Ratzo" Pangiotis always knows the sports scores in this place where TV, radio & newspapers are forbidden. He quit telling the Iraq news when he noticed the glazed eyes and forlorn looks on the faces of his audience. The men in Cabin 7 eat like kings. The rumor is that Ratzo (a very wealthy man) uses his own money to supplement the $35 a week per man budget that is allowed. This is forbidden. The resident staff was toughnecks named Delbert and Ira. They were very dull recovering addicts who hated Ratzo because they knew he must be getting away with something, but they could never prove anything. They were too dumb to know that the Cuban cigars that Ratzo passed out would have broken their banks.
Ratzo must like to break the rules because he does it so much. He is sweet on Chandelier Brind'Amour, the voluptuous women's doctor. Delbert and Ira thought that something must be wrong with this, but are frozen because Chandelier is a doctor and doctors can do anything they want at Bayou Divine. They watched Ratzo smile at Chandelier and they watched the doctor smile back. It made them crazy. There was no room for ill-defined grey area at this place.
Lofa Palauita is a Chicago Bears linebacker who got his 90days from the NFL Substance Abuse czar’s opinion that three DUIs and Kava Kava go together. In the professionals group Lofa (a graduate engineer) sees himself as the protector, the Sir Lancelot, of Marilyn Marshall, the Mormon sex addict ophthalmologist who is confronted in the daily group by the staff physician, the osteopath, Giovanni Pisani ( nick named Lips Macchio by the clients). Lips is not a shining star of intelligence. He doesn’t even notice that Lofa leans forward when Lips uses words like “slut” and “whore” in his hazing of Marilyn. Lips can’t distinguish between a female sex addict on the hunt and a woman who just naturally drips with pheromes. She just can’t help it. Poor Lips. Lofa is just liable to …
Can you imagine what delicious daydreams are provoked when a used condom is found in the mud of the bayou?
Avery Douglas is the founder of Bayou Divine Recovery Center. He is a recovering alcoholic/addict who thanks his Lord Hay-Soos Krist-Ohs for his ability to come back from a relapse weekend in Shreveport. Vicodin, Ballantine and a couple New Orleans hookers made for quite a fall. He still drops to his knees twice a day to thank his for saving him. Still, Douglas aches for some dignity. The one thing he dedicates himself to stripping from the clients. Here is a man who could kill just to be right. He needs, so much, to be important. He is a gynecologist who runs a treatment center in an insect buzzing, smelly forest because that is all the state will let him do.
We have suicide. We have danger. Sex. Romance. Cruelty. Guilt and redemption. Deliverance! But is love possible here?
Anyway, there is much more, of course. Once the 8 men in Cabin 7 go free, some after their 90 days, some before, the book will end. Either good riddance or good reading.
We'll see, won't we.
Interests: See Drug Topics main page. Click on JP at Large. I make good money with these essays. Google Jim Plagakis for essays that are not that politically correct. One novel published in 1983. I did not make good money.
Published writer: Yes