Sean Arthur, Ghostwriter
This is an excerpt from Biology, the final novel in my Elements Erotic Trilogy
Chapter 8 Rehab
You can meet the most unexpected people in rehab.
The best Centers are the ones that actually get the job done, not the
famous ones or the celeb ones that just dry you out, and not the bargain
ones that live off state funding and insurance scams. The religious ones are
almost useless and forget the ones testing experimental programs.
But the reason is not what you might think. It’s not the programs, it’s the
people. The most interesting people are the ones who truly, sometimes
desperately, work to change their lives, so they go to the places where
they’ve got at least half a chance. And you get there not expecting to find
those people in rehab. Well, except yourself.
You doubt? Do celebrities really want to alter their lives forever, with the risk
that in changing they will no longer be a magnet for fame and wealth? Hell
no. Does the employee with the big health benefits package really care if
she’s clean? No. She just wants to do the program so she can keep her
cushy job. Does the Born Again who realizes he’s gay really think Straight
Camp will work? Sadly he might, but he’s self-deluded and what religion
truly wants you to break free from your old paradigms? You’d never come
back. And does the Guest of the State really give a crap about the
experimental program, or is she just happy to get out of that Hell Hole and
not to have swallow any more cock?
So it was in rehab that everyone met ‘Barney’. A man so extroverted, so
gregarious that one quickly wondered if there was any brain left for thinking
If ‘Barney’ were telling you this about himself, he would stop at this moment
and say, while smacking you on the back with his gianormous mitt, thus
preventing you from answering, “Get it, Poindexter, left brained thinking
processes! Ha hah ha HA!”
And maybe there was not. But Barney didn’t care too much because he
had, in his own words, “a pile of money bigger than my house, and I’ve got a
huge fuckin’ house”. He wasn’t stupid, but on the other hand, not caring
had slipped into excess that even his enormous physical stature could no
longer endure. What were once merely vices have now become habits. In
losing his grip on reality his family was making a life without him.
When Laura first saw him walking down the corridor in rehab her mouth
actually fell open. Everything around him appeared to be made to the wrong
scale, he was so large and yet he moved so effortlessly. How could
someone so big be so quick? Laura, at barely five feet tall, felt like a bug.
They passed in the corridor, making eye contact, smiling and both said
‘Hello’ at the same moment.
After dinner that night ‘Barney’ introduced himself, by his rehab name, and
asked, “How are things going for you?”
Laura looked at him for a second and said, “Ok. But some days you have to
wonder if you should give a fuck.”
Negative talk. That was frowned upon, but ‘Barney’ was impressed by her
candor. And her striking features intimidated him, and thus spared her the
clownish extroversion that hid is emotional fragility.
“I never worry about that. When you have too much money, you never get to
know anybody properly anymore. Gets in the way. If you find anyone who
forgets about the money…”
“No. Money changes everyone.”
“That’s too bad. Maybe other rich people?”
“I’m just a Po-boy, you know? Not from the right side of the tracks.”
“Hard for the Leopard to change its spots?” Laura asked.
“You’re here too, you know.”
Now, at this point, Barney would already have said something sarcastic or
humorous and the conversation would have been derailed. But not this time.
Life must be difficult for him, she thought, while watching him carefully
choose where to sit.
“Shouldn’t you be playing football, or something.”
He seemed surprised for a moment.
“That’s a sort of reverse thing.”
“What women say men do all the time.”
Laura said nothing.
“It’s actually true. Fine. I did. You not watch football? You would have seen
me a few years ago. You happy?”
“I just asked a question.”
“Why is it that if a guy looks at a woman for, like, a second and a half he
knows if she likes to fuck. No matter. You know? Our radar goes off, but if
we say anything, we’re sexist. We’re stereo typing. But you women can look
at every big guy and see dollar signs. Maybe he’s a millionaire athlete. Oh,
but that’s OK.”
“I’ve never seen one game beginning to end. Not even the Superbowl. I tried
twice but the games sucked.”
He shrugged his big shoulders.
“What did you do? As a player I mean.”
“How did you grow up in small town America and miss football?”
“How did you go to college and miss particle physics? And how do you know
I grew up in a small town?”
This made him laugh. “It’s like stamped on you. My job was to protect the
quarterback. I lined up at center, of the line, so, I was The Centre. My job
was to snap the ball and then stop the other team’s middle linebacker, or
sometimes tight end, from getting to my QB. Simple.”
“And now you’re in the asshole of the world.”
“Yeah. Those pesky painkillers. When I played the quarterbacks spent
freekin’ days in the pocket.”
Laura looked slightly confused.
“More work for me. Wear and tear on the knees until one day they stopped
“So you had to quit?”
He leans in a little and looks at her, thinking. Then looks her right in the
“That was just official reason. I’d had my bell rung one time too many. I had
to quit. No fakin’, the pain was real. That last game, it was so bad, at the
half the guys were saying what an amazing job I was doin’, we were ahead
by three TDs, but I couldn’t remember anything after the first block. If we
won that game we’d clinch.”
“Did you? Clench?”
“Clinch. Yeah. I played, we won. I remember only fragments, and then
nothing from the next three days. Nothing at all. I came out of this fog,
hobbled into the Doc’s office and just said, ‘I’m quitting’.”
“Doc says, ‘If its your knees, we can probably stabilize you, unless there’s
more damage. Why didn’t you say anything at post game? Let’s do another
And I said, No, Doc, I can’t remember shit anymore. I can barely remember
anything from the last game, just a few bits. I’ve lost the last three days. And
I’ve got a killer headache and it’s freekin’ me out.
The Doc pulls this thing out, that they carry, and looks into my eyes, and
says, ‘Let’s do an MRI.’ So I get all wired up and they do this thing, and after
he says, ‘Your season’s over, Big Guy’. And that was it. Never played
“So that’s how you made all your money?”
“Oh Hell no. I saved every dime I could, then tripled it. There was a few
things I was sure would turn out, and they did. I took a lot of that money and
spread it around, and it just keeps growing and growing. I owe chunks of a
bunch of shopping plazas.”
“Do you miss it?" Laura asked.
“I thought I would, you know? But I don’t. There was a big, nasty fight over
my contract. They didn’t want to pay, wanted me reassessed by some
quacks. We threatened to go public and tell everyone how they were risking
player’s lives. So I got my money. I was blackballed, but I couldn’t do
anything for a long long time anyways. Made me sick of it all.”
Then he stopped for a second.
“And I never said any of this to you.”
Laura nodded, then smiled at him and said, abruptly, “I have to go. Group,”
although she didn’t, and she got up and left. On the way Laura thought,
Well, maybe that’s the story.
People can rarely tell the whole tale; most often they don’t even know it.
Next day, between sessions on positive self image and the power of positive
thinking, Laura decided positively to sit in the shade of a small maple tree,
which itself was positive it should be there, as it had for the last fifty years.
So she did. Just after she sat down, glad to be in the shade because the
temperature was topping ninety degrees, she turned and saw ‘Barney’
heading her way.
“Giant!” Laura called to him when she was certain he would cross the
parched lawn near where she was sitting. He looked over and wanted to sit
She said, “Well, are you going to sit and tell me your real name, or are you
going to force me to call you Giant for the rest of your life?” They shared
none of the same session groups.
He looked surprised, in that having confessed to being a professional ball
player she would then know his name. Apparently not, or she was playing
some sort of head game. He sat anyway, lowering his enormous frame
carefully to the parched grass, where he promptly told Laura his real name.
She still had no idea who he was, laughed and said she was sorry.
“I was thinking of calling you Shrek,” Laura told him, “but you don’t feel
green to me.”
“I used to say that Shrek guy was inspired by me, you know, that I was the
“Is that true?”
“Paul Bunyan? You’re more blue than green.”
“Possibly. But it was the ox who was Blue.”
“Oh, that’s right! The Friendly Giant?”
“Me. For sure. Hey, maybe you were Rusty?”
“Oh, seriously! The Friendly Giant was Canadian, you know, eh?”
“Not relevant. I loved the Friendly Giant.”
“You? Or your kids? Ok, how about the BFG?”
“Oh, that was me too.”
“The Hooded Fang?”
“He was Canadian too, know that? What about The Man Who Came Out of
“Yeah! The Man from the Future.”
“Those were the best reads in a long time. I’ve read a lot of books, believe it
or not. I bought a second set and left them in their wrappers. Highly
collectible. Yeah, that was definitely me. I might even be that guy. Except
with memory loss. Get it?”
“Moose Malloy? Help me here, Mouse.”
“Farewell My Lovely, Velma’s ex.”
“That’s a pretty old book.”
“I’d have to say, psychically, I inspired it from the future.”
“Clever. James and the Giant Peach?”
“That was a peach! No.”
“Andrea the Giant?”
“No. That was a real person.”
“Ha what, Mouse?”
Laura smiled. Mouse? She smiled even bigger inside. She liked the way he
“Someone you couldn’t be,” she said.
“How do you know I wasn’t Andre the Giant?”
“I know for a fact that he died.”
“Or so you were led to believe.” He winked clumsily.
“The Swamp Thing?” she continued.
“That was one fucked up dude, but I don’t think a real giant.”
“What about The Thing?”
“Not a giant.”
“Also not a giant.”
“The Iron Giant?”
“Definitely a giant. But I’m fleshy.”
“Obviously. But only the Hulky part, not the wimpy Bruce Banner part.”
“Dubious. I’m rarely seen around a Church, but you never know. Possibly
when I got sunburned in Mexico.”
“The giant in Jack and the Beanstalk?”
“Disney. Where Donald, Mickey and Goofy climb the beanstalk.”
“Oh, definitely me.”
“Oh that’s silly. I have two eyes.”
“Fine, you get a pass on that one. Frankenstein’s Monster?”
“Doctor Frankenstein’s Monster. The Monster doesn’t ever have a name.”
“No. Are you sure? The monster is Frankenstein.”
“Yes I’m sure.”
“Fine, but I’m not sure he was giant sized.”
“He was. Well?”
“Naw. Too ugly.”
“If we were somebody else in an earlier life, that was me.”
“The Elephant Man.”
“Now you’re just being silly. He wasn’t elephant sized. Even I know that.”
“I knew that. That guy in Thailand who can sit on his gigantic balls?”
“He tried to copy my formidable equipment and it went badly.” He grins.
“John Holmes?” asked Laura, cheekily.
And with that, Barney heaved himself up off the turf, and left.
It was later that Laura learned the full story from other people.
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This excerpt is Copyright 2015 by the author
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