Just how far has Maxwell fallen? We are about to find out. Welcome to Lipstick Lies!
“Scotch and wheeties please. Oh…and a cake for later with a large file in it so I can break out of this nut house.” was Maxwell’s response to the offer of breakfast. Ernie and Yasmine both stared at him. In their eyes, he was the crazy one.
“Oh no, darlin. You won’t even find a bottle of malt liquor in this place. We run a clean establishment, ya hear?” Yasmine stated, waving around a spatula like it was a weapon. Her tone of voice was as if she were speaking to small child. “Now…I think I’ll start you off with one of my special ham, cheese and onion omelets, a biscuit, hash browns and some orange juice.
She quickly served up the delicious smelling fare and settled the items on a tray. Most of the residents knew that all the food provided for them was homemade by all the women in the kitchen. Omelets were Yasmine’s specialty as she used to be the head cook in a little country diner before the facility hired her on.
“Now go on and eat all of it or I’m gonna be disappointed. Ernie, you make sure he eats. Man could use some meat on his bones.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Ernie nodded, snatching an apple from the fresh fruits basket and leading Max to an empty table by the window. From there, they had a nice view of the grounds at the back of the facility, where some of the residents were out walking peacefully or sitting on benches, reading and enjoying the nice weather they were having.
Ernie pointed a finger at Max’s plate. “Better eat that before she comes over here and whacks us both with her spatula.” he joked. “Seriously though, this isn’t a bad place to be. I was a resident here myself. I was like you, didn’t think there was anything wrong with me. Took me some time to figure out that I had some serious problems. I see myself in you, Scotch. You’re in the best hands here. I can guarantee that.” Who knew Ernie was speaking from experience.
But it was the truth.
Whether Max was listening or not, Ernie went on to explain to him that he was an ex-professional football player, who became hooked on Vicodin after a career-ending spinal injury. Life was rough for him after that, being forced to retire at the height of his career. He became an angry, abusive and bitter man, causing his wife to leave with their son and divorcing him. It was then that some of his former teammates forced him into rehab to get the help he needed. Ernie told Max that Doctor Monroe was one of the best in the country and that he had nothing to be afraid of or worried about.
He really hoped that Max was listening to his words, and taking some hope from them.
Maxwell’s face was an array of various emotions. His request for Scotch and wheeties was an actual serious request – unlike the cake which was more his way of misbehaving to the kind hearted Yasmine. Now, when he was in a drunken stupor, a woman like Yasmine giving him grief would simply be like water off a duck’s back. Washed away like tears in the rain. But to hear a woman threaten in such a manner whilst sober brought him round quick smart. She was waving that spatula like a General ready to lead his troops of kitchen ladies to war, and Maxwell was the enemy. His shoulders immediately fell forward as he knew better than to mess with the likes of Yasmine. The daunting realization that there was no hope in hell of him getting a drink with breakfast took the last winds of resistance right out of his sails.
Max took the offered tray, which did smell really good and followed along behind Ernie to one of the vacant tables on offer. He set the tray down awkwardly, the plates and cutlery clinking as he did so. He couldn’t help but feel the eyes of many a resident slowly undressing him, and he pouted as he pulled out his chair and slunk into his seat.
“Better eat that before she comes over here and whacks us both with her spatula.”
Ernie was doing him a favour to tell him to eat up or earn Yasmine’s wrath. Maxwell picked up a fork and stabbed about the omelette like he was trying to see if it was alive. He honestly could not remember the last time he had a good meal, but his brain was so messed up, he could only think about getting that next drink. His clothes hung on him in such a way that if one was to see him naked, they would be encountered with a terrible sight. Not an ounce of fat on him. All eaten away. There was so much more to this disease that he had, than met the eye. Not only was his brain sending the wrong messages, his body was in rapid decline.
With a trembling hand he brought up a fork full of omelette, and sniffed it before finally putting it in his mouth and chewing.
It was a start.
He mumbled something about it tasting good. His elbows resting on the table top, one hand propping up his head. Maxwell could hear Ernie’s tale of how he came to be in this place, and even compared himself to Maxwell. This Doctor Monroe sounded daunting. Would he be the kind of Doctor who recommended two aspirin and a good night’s sleep, or one of those types that want’s to know if their Father smacked them as a child to find out their reasons for addiction and abuse.
Maxwell was always the extrovert. A party man or the life of one. But booze fueled that monster. The man seen at the table taking small mouthfuls of Yasmine’s omelette was but a shell of a man. He started to see there was no easy way out. No amount of bribery. There was one thought though.
“Do I get a phone call?” Maxwell asked, wiping the egg from his chin. Would they consider such, and if so…who would he call?
Max looked the picture of abject misery and Ernie felt sorry for the man. His face was so long and sad, Max wanted to just hug him and tell him everything was going to be all right. But he couldn’t. The life of an addict was based on lies and Ernie had learned that lying didn’t get you anything or anywhere. He could see that Max was lying to himself…he just didn’t realize it.
Hopefully under the care of Ansel Monroe, Max would finally see it.
Max asked if he would be allowed a phone call. Ernie didn’t want to lie to him.
“That depends on the Doc to be honest with you. You’ll have to ask him when you go to meet him later.” Ernie stated. “Eat your breakfast, Scotch. Worry about the small stuff later.” Ernie smiled warmly at his charge, taking a bite of his apple as he did so.
Yasmine glanced over at Ernie and he gave her a small nod to indicate that Max was eating, slowly but surely. He might not have been able to eat all of it because of his stomach, but he was eating and that’s all Yasmine needed to know.
After Max managed to eat some food, Ernie lead him to his room.
Ernie stepped into Max’s new accommodations and waited for Max to step into the room to inspect it. It was tastefully decorated and seemed very comfortable. There was the TV and radio Ernie had mentioned earlier and Max had a nice window view of the grounds. The grounds were massive, and surrounded by a privacy fence. As they watched, an ambitious paparazzi tried to scramble over the fence and onto the property. Security was on high alert and had the man subdued in less then a minute, escorting him off the property in handcuffs into the waiting arms of Washington State Police.
“As you can see, we like to keep our residents lives as private as possible. We don’t tolerate gloryhounds like that.” Ernie stated, his tone serious for the first time since Max had met him. Ernie turned away from the window and the smile was back on his face. “I’m going to leave you for a few hours to get yourself settled. The doc has a meet and greet scheduled with you just after lunch. You can hang out up here, take a nap, watch some tv or whatever, or wander around and get your bearings if you want. I’ll come find you when it’s time for your appointment.”
“Max…you’re in good hands here.” Ernie stated, speaking Max’s name for the first time. It was important for Ernie to get Max’s trust or Max was going to be in for a long recovery. It was Ernie’s job to help him as much as he could.
Feeling slightly nauseous from his meal, due to the fact his stomach had shrunk so much, Maxwell slowly followed Ernie to what would be his room for the duration of his stay. It was similar to a high end hospital room, though had a lot of modern comforts such as TV and radio. The interior design was tasteful and the room immaculately kept. Still, it had that clinical quality about it, which was a constant reminder to Maxwell that he was a patient.
A large window graced him with a view of the expansive gardens and grounds that again were beautifully kept and lush. A massive security fence kept the media hounds and the like at bay but also kept the patients in. If Ernie was trying to allay Maxwell’s fears of being discovered in such an institution it seemed to be falling on deaf ears. It was still only the second day, and with Maxwell sobering up, and his body and mind telling him he needed a drink, his behavior would best be described as erratic.
The request of a phone call to the outside world fell flat. Well, really it was Maxwell’s Doctor that would be the only one who could authorize such a request. But who would have Maxwell called? Certainly not Felicity, not after how he felt about her locking him up like this. Muriel? No, he had given up on her pretty much after the disastrous dinner party. In a way he was relieved that their relationship had come to an end. She was his reason for drinking in the first place. But once you start down a path of self destruction it was often hard to apply the brakes.
Ernie was genuinely trying to help Maxwell settle in. Perhaps it was true, that Ernie saw a bit of himself in Maxwell.
“I’m going to leave you for a few hours to get yourself settled. The doc has a meet and greet scheduled with you just after lunch. You can hang out up here, take a nap, watch some tv or whatever, or wander around and get your bearings if you want. I’ll come find you when it’s time for your appointment.”
Mawell looked uneasy about being left alone. He patted the edge of the bed as he stood there. He didn’t feel like watching TV as he never had made a habit of it at home. Going for a walk, he knew he would get lost and perhaps bump into some other crazies (since that is how he viewed the other patients).
“I think I might just…wait here for my appointment.” It was probably the first time he spoke normally, and without the sarcasm. Was he to be believed?
Hearing Ernie call him by his name, rather than the moniker “Scotch”, Maxwell brightened somewhat.
“I’ll hold you to that….but thank you.”
Watching Ernie leave, Maxwell sat on the edge of his bed and sighed. He started to wonder what this Doctor would be like. Just what would he have to do to be released, that was the question that plagued him most.