Cathy Eats Her Words

November 19, 2007

Day Eleven

Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Novel — jeanne @ 6:23 pm

The days passed peacefully. With Star in rehab, there was no reason for Greane and Saphyr to show up at the house with upsetting tales, no angry communications from Richard about the latest insult to his fatherhood. Cathy and Gray sat in bed drinking coffee in the morning without interruptions, and went back to having sex every chance they could get, unhampered by suddenly-remembered worries and suppositions. Visions of a daughter in jail didn’t occur to Cathy just as she was reaching climax, and things she wished she’d said to Richard didn’t occur to her just as Gray was getting close himself.

It was getting near Halloween, one of their most-enjoyed holidays. Cathy got to dress up as a witch and cast spells on everyone who came up the steps, and Gray got to try out his homemade candy on all the little kids in the neighborhood. This year they were using a zombie theme, with stuffed dead bodies sitting on the porch glider and hung from the ceiling inside the front door, body parts among the leaves along the front walk, and nasty rotting flesh smells that Gray cooked up in his basement lab with chemicals and set out in pots in the yard on the night.

He’d been working for months on the details. Cathy had noticed noxious smells for a very long time, and sometimes wondered whether he wasn’t doing experiments on various neighborhood cat-killing dogs or homeless people. But he protested his innocence, and showed her the vials of stinky liquids he’d ordered from chemical houses, and let her try out the candy razor blades (peppermint), and fleshy bones (liquorice), and all-natural prosthetic eyeballs (lychee), and jellied blood (cinnamon), and candied brains (vanilla) that he’d perfected. The basement smelled like an odd mixture of slaughterhouse and chocolate factory. She burned incense upstairs to counter it, and baked pumpkin pies with extra spices.

They walked the dogs in the falling leaves. Scootie was turning out to be a hunting dog, and ran frantically after every leaf that blew by, reaching the end of her lead and turning flips as she continued running past its end. Tabasco ignored her as too small to concern himself with, and took to finding large sticks he could taunt her with. I’m the alpha male, he would say to her, and she would reply, The hell you are, just come over here and let me bite your ankles, I’m the big dog.

Cathy and Gray walked along, hand in hand, enjoying the cool weather. This time of year, they loved to talk about how hot it had been just a few months ago, and how they loved snuggling up in bed to get warm. Anyone overhearing their conversations would have rolled their eyes, but they loved getting lewd with one another.

“I should let my feet get really cold one night and stick them under your legs,” Cathy said.

“No, I’d have to tie them down with those silk scarves you gave me, and keep you from getting me all cold.”

“And then you could warm me up with your tongue,” she said, and moved closer to him, letting her hand run down over the seat of his jeans, and squeezing his soft, flabby butt. “But I might try to fight you off.”

“Maybe.” He reached around her back and caught hold of a pendulous breast. “Maybe I could manage to pin your hands down, too.”

“But then I could wriggle away.” She slipped her hand into the front of his jeans and tickled his sparse gray pubic hair, reaching for his shrunken penis.

He deftly moved out of the way. “Not if I lay on top of you and kept you from moving.” He smiled slyly. “I might be able to stop your mouth up with something so you couldn’t yell for help.”

“Yeah, but I might try to bite anything you put into my mouth.”

“I’m not worried. All I have to do is take your teeth out and put them in the glass by the bed.”

“Let’s go have sex,” she said, and stopped in the middle of the road to kiss him. The dogs sat and wagged their tails impatiently. A neighbor in her living room watched them pass and thought how brazen they were, making out in public like that. She had her hand on the phone to call the cops, but the couple walked on, their hands all over each other in the most provocative way.

After lunch, they never minded with the silk scarves and the dentures, but got out their favorite sex toys instead.

“It’s been so long since we’ve felt like making love,” Cathy wondered, oiling up a state-of-the-art prostate stimulator for Gray.

“I’m not surprised,” he replied, getting to his knees and straddling her right leg, ready to fit it into place. “You’ve been so distracted with your daughter and her father, and it’s been very difficult on you, having to go all these places and do all these things for other people.” He winced as the probe went in, then relaxed and smiled at her. “You haven’t even had time for all the things you normally like to do, never mind taking time to play with me.” He reached over to the bedside table and grabbed a thumb-sized carved piece of jade and put it under her leg to warm it up.

“I haven’t written my food blog for ages. I’ve spent all my time dong rehab things for Star, or calming down that asshole Richard.” Cathy lay on her back, looking up at her husband’s sagging chest and belly, and rubbed his soft penis gently with an oil-covered hand. “I’m so glad it’s stopped.”

“It’s stopped for the moment.” His face wrinkled up with every stroke. He pursed his lips and rolled his eyes, tilting his head back and pushing his hips forward.

Scootie lay at the foot of the bed, watching with interest as they fondled one another. There were great smells coming from their bodies, and they were making aggressive noises at each other. She felt sharply jealous, but at least she was up on the bed. Tabasco had to lie under the bed and listen, and couldn’t even see what they were doing. All he had was the smells and the noises. I’m the big dog, she thought.

Gray’s cock slowly stiffened. It never got as hard now as when he was younger, but that didn’t matter, because it still felt just as good, and Cathy had a way with a penis. It came from forty years of practice and a good sense of touch. It was one of the things that kept them acting like newlyweds. Gray rubbed her leg and let his hand creep toward her pubic mound, which she had pressed against his thigh and was rubbing up and down on him. He scrabbled in her thinning hair and wished she would open her legs and let him play around between them. But she was concentrated on rubbing him, and it felt overwhelming, especially with the pressure on his prostate from the probe.

Cathy started to twist the handle of the device as she pulled on his cock and squeezed his balls. She wished that she had three hands, to do it properly. But she prided herself on her dexterity. A pity she was getting a touch of arthritis these days. It made it so much more difficult to play with him the way she liked, especially first thing in the morning. But after lunch was just great.

The sun came in the window and made interesting patterns on the bed. Scootie slept in the warm sunshine and ignored the increasing pace of her humans’ actions.

Gray swayed above Cathy, holding onto the head of the bed. He was none too steady when he started getting into it, and soon he started to shake and shudder, and blow air out of his rounded lips as he experienced a particularly intense plateau. Cathy looked at his heaving body, his red face, his distorted lips, and wondered for the thousandth time if he were having a heart attack.

She slowed her rhythm and stopped, and he caught his breath, and turned his attention to her, lying on his side and spreading her legs apart. Scootie was attracted by the aroma, and stuck her head over his shoulder to investigate. But he was in the way, and she couldn’t really see what was going on. So she licked the top of his bald skull.

Cathy got into the rhythm of Gray’s tongue moving over and around her sensitive parts. She really enjoyed it when he went down on her. And she anticipated the moment when he would remember the little jade stone and start working it inside of her.

She kept an oiled hand on his cock and balls, and twisted her other hand across her body to grasp the handle of the probe and adjust it for maximum pressure on his prostate gland. For some reason he never got as hard when they used the plug, but he reacted so much stronger when it gently milked his prostate.

Now they were in a race to make the other lose track. Cathy felt close to coming, but not there yet, and she diverted as much of her concentration to Gray as she could. But he outmaneuvered her, sliding the stone into her vagina and moving it in and out. Her groans got loud and her movements insistent, and her hand faltered on his anal plug.

Scootie became very concerned, and darted around Gray’s back and jumped over his hip to be in the center of things. Cathy had her eyes closed, and was only spasmodically rubbing Gray. She could feel the energy of his penis pulsing in her hand, but her mind was on the sweet sensations he was giving her with his tongue and the stone. She could feel another feeling, another source of movement across her flesh that helped to take her mind far away from thought, but she couldn’t identify it. She wished he could kiss her, because then she would explode in orgasm. But the moment passed, he lifted his head and looked at her with love in his eyes. Scootie also looked up, from where she was licking Cathy’s left nipple.

He laughed at the dog, and picked her up to put her back at the foot of the bed. Then he went back to what he was doing to Cathy, which was a sort of modified tango step between his hand and his tongue, with a little break to scratch her thigh lightly every few movements. She seemed to love it.

Gray resumed his rhythm, and Cathy forgot the momentary embarrassment of the dog participating in their lovemaking. Every time they stopped and started again, it felt better. They’d learned this years ago, and now sex took hours. This time, however, she was on her guard for the dog’s attention, and found the sensation just enough abated that she could work on getting Gray’s energy to a peak. It was his turn. He slackened off of his rhythm and began moaning with every breath as she stroked his penis, twisted his scrotum, moved his balls inside his groin, and alternately put pressure on his perineum and his prostate, building up an agonizing pressure inside him.

Suddenly his moans grew louder and his body began to stiffen. It’s either a stroke or he’s about to come, she thought. Scootie’s head poked up over his shoulder again, an intense look in her eyes. Is she worried about him? Cathy wondered. Scootie was thinking that they really needed her help, and joined in, scratching Gray’s neck with her paws and licking his armpit excitedly. Neither of them noticed.

As Gray licked at Cathy’s vulva with less organization and more enthusiasm, she felt a warmth spreading from him to her, and dove into the energy, moaning along with him, feeling him poised at the brink of climax. She watched his flabby legs shudder, and saw the wrinkled skin of his arm shaking with tension. He gave a loud grunt, then another, and came, the thin, yellow, watery semen flowing out of the tip of his penis with only a mild pressure, unlike the squirt that would have hit the headboard when he’d been younger.

Then they curled up together under the covers and took a long, sticky nap, Scootie snoozing satisfied between their legs, Tabasco happy that they had finally finished their exercise and were quiet. Nobody called, nobody rang the front doorbell. They spent a blissful afternoon lumped together, and then they took a walk with the dogs.

When they got back, there was a message on the answering machine. Star had called from rehab to say that there was a problem with the insurance. Cathy screamed bloody murder. Gray distracted her with scarves, and the dogs spent the night in the spare room.

The next day, Cathy called out to the rehab center and was told by the finance person that Star’s insurance company had just contacted them to say they thought a two week stay was good enough, and weren’t going to continue paying for it.

“However,” the woman said on the phone, “Star’s doctor here at the center has said that she has not made enough progress to leave.”

“Okay,” Cathy said, “What does that mean?”

“Well,” the woman said, as if the answer was obvious, “families in this situation find that they come up with the money to continue treatment.”

Cathy sputtered. Altho the numbers seemed to be a secret between the center and the insurance company, she knew the fee was something like $30,000 for the six-week program. “We can’t afford to pay out of pocket,” she said.

The woman was smooth. She handled this kind of protest every day. “It’s only about $300 a day. Some families take out a loan,” she said. “Do you have savings, or stocks you can sell?”

“Absolutely not,” Cathy said. “We’re poor as church mice. Do you want me to ask her father to write you a check?” She was joking.

“That would be fine,” the woman said, not hearing it. “Self-pay is $2,700 a week, and we take checks and credit cards.”

“Well, I was just kidding, actually. He’ll go thru the roof when I ask him for money for this.”

“Doesn’t he care about the welfare of his child?” the woman asked indignantly.

“Not if it means he has to spend more money on her,” Cathy said. “Can’t you appeal this to the insurance agency?”

“We’re already appealing it,” she said. “It might go thru, but we thought you should be preparing other sources of financial assistance if they decline it.”

“I see,” Cathy said. “I guess we’ll probably have to take her out of rehab. What provisions do I have to make to come get her?”

“Oh, you can’t take her out. We don’t advise removing her from the program. It would definitely be AMA, against medical advice, and we’d have to put that in her record.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Her doctor doesn’t think she’s made enough progress to leave,” she repeated.

“But there’s no private money to keep her there, and you won’t let her stay for free, will you?”

“No, I’m sorry to say we can’t do that.” She wasn’t sorry at all.

“Then we’ll have to come get her.”

“That’s against medical advice, and we would have to take appropriate action.”

Catch-22, then.”

“What?” What age was this woman that she didn’t catch the reference? Cathy wondered, feeling old.

“Well, just keep in touch about how the appeal turns out. I’m going to need as much advance notice as possible.”

“That’s why we contacted you.”

“I appreciate your kindness.” The note of irony in her voice apparently went undetected by the finance woman. Else that or she was used to getting abuse from families who didn’t want to cough up the money.

But there was no money. Gray and Cathy had his Social Security and no savings past what they absolutely needed. They couldn’t possibly suck their bank account dry to keep Star in rehab. Their truck was worthless, and there was no way they were going to take out an equity loan on the house. That left Richard. And that was a real laugh riot.

“That would be funny if I hadn’t suspected something just like that from them. They get all they can from the insurance, then they hold the kid hostage and strong-arm the family until they cough up every penny they have. It’s just a big racket.”

He had a point. “I don’t know what to do about it,” she said.

“I do. Go get her and fuck them and their AMA bullshit.”

“But the judge said that she had to do whatever they told her to do in rehab, and that includes finishing the program. He’ll put her back in jail if he finds out she hasn’t completed treatment.”

“I don’t care at this point,” he said, sounding weary. “I’ve spent well over $10,000 on her out of my own pocket in the last several months. I’m looking at having to cancel my cable TV – and other things – as a cost cutting measure because of all she’s taken out of my mouth already. I can’t afford to keep feeding her thru a hole in my vein. She’ll take all I have and never look back. That child has taken years of my life, shovelsful of money for daycare, private school, soccer, and now lawyers and fines. What more does she want from me?” He was yelling.

“I hardly think it’s all about you,” Cathy tried to reason with him.

He blew up. “Why do I get the impression that you look on my refusal to pour more money down the drain so my daughter can continue doing things I don’t approve of as a sign that that I’m the devil incarnate? How come my feelings are automatically invalid and nobody cares how much damage this unfeeling creature has done to me? Am I supposed to spend myself broke to protect her from her own bad decisions?”

“No, but if you don’t help now she’s going to go back to jail and have the baby there.”

“Not if she has an abortion, like I keep telling her is the only way out of her current slow suicide.”

Cathy was running out of sympathy. “She’s not going to have an abortion. She wants to keep the baby, and be a mom.” She kept hoping he’d think back on when they were new parents, and how miraculous and wonderful it was to have a new life to be responsible for. She didn’t realize that he had always looked on those days with horror, and had really wished she’d had an abortion as soon as she realized she was pregnant. It was something she didn’t want to realize.

“I get sick when I think of the sheer irresponsibility of those two children thinking they can bring another child into the world without the means to fend for themselves. Not without resorting to either living off their own parents, or doing crime to get the money. I don’t mean to be insulting, but it boggles my mind to think that you can wrap yourself around this and think that she could possibly be doing something good.”

“She’s growing up. This is how she’s choosing to grow up.”

“She’s committing suicide. Her chances of going to college are now zero. Her chances of ever earning more than minimum wage are now zero. Her chances of making anything of herself are now zero. She’s hooked up with a hillbilly fuckwad and now her life will be spent being a criminal or worse.”

“Wow. You know, when you’re like this, I can’t talk to you.”

“And if you continue to back her criminally negligent decisions, I can’t talk to you either.”

Well, that didn’t work out very well, Cathy thought. She’s going to go back to jail because her dad can’t bring himself to help her. She sat down and cried. But within a couple of days, after talking to Star’s lawyer and being told the consequences, he worked himself around to being willing to pay for it. Cathy contacted the rehab center to tell them, but it was too late. She was being discharged that day, and Cathy was expected to pick her up in less than an hour. Thanks for telling me in advance, she thought, unimpressed with their efficiency now that she was on the other side of the admitting office.

She drove up there in a hurry and walked in wanting answers. “Isn’t there a partial day program that she can go into, didn’t you say something about that in the beginning, where she can stay at home with me and just come in for treatment every day?” She was furious.

The woman didn’t meet her eyes. “Yes, we have a day program. But they won’t be interested in taking her because she’s checking out AMA.”

Cathy smiled ruefully. “I’d like to talk to the doctor in charge of her case.”

“I’m sorry, he’s not available.”

“Right.”

So she took her baby and all her things back to the house, where Star disappeared into her old room, turned on the TV, and got on the phone.

Cathy found another rehab. Every one she called said the same thing. Yes, we take your insurance. No, we can’t tell in advance whether they’re going to take it once they’ve exhausted the benefits at another rehab; usually they offer a limited yearly benefit. We can check once you begin the intake process.

One place insisted that since Star was pregnant, she be enrolled in their mothers-at-risk program, and remain with them for the whole term of her pregnancy regardless of her or her family’s wishes. They insisted they were acting for the safety of the baby, but after the bloodthirsty way the first rehab had demanded that her family come up with money when the insurance lapsed, Cathy suspected that they had other motives uppermost in their minds. And of course Richard agreed.

“I’m not subjecting myself to an open-ended program,” he insisted. “I don’t care what the excuse. I can see it coming. They’d bleed me dry and I’d end up bankrupt while they screamed for more exorbitant weekly payments. Did they even say how much it would cost per week or per month or however they want their blood money?”

“No, they won’t tell me that until we’ve gone thru intake and she’s ready to be admitted.”

“See? I’m not going to do it. Find some place where they’ll take my money but they won’t keep her involuntarily until they decide I’m broke.”

So Cathy kept calling, and finally found a place close to where Richard lived, where they had a private ward for self-paying patients. She and Star made an appointment and they went down there to fill out the papers and interview with the intake counselor.

A woman who wouldn’t listen saw them. Cathy had to repeat everything twice or three times in different words, and had to talk slowly, because the woman sized up Star and delivered memorized words that Cathy had heard over and over at other rehabs.

Star repeated the same history she had told the intake guy at the first rehab, and the woman didn’t listen to her, either. She fiddled with her paperwork and read a magazine article she had with her. She commented, “Well, the insurance will cover your program at 100%,” and Cathy explained to her yet again that the insurance hadn’t covered it at the other place, and that’s why they were there, to explore the possibility of paying for treatment themselves. “A preliminary check of your insurance shows that they’ll cover it 100%,” she insisted with a tight smile. Cathy started to argue with her, but realized that the woman would just consider her aggressive. The woman left the room with the insurance card.

“Mom, can’t you be nice?” Star said resentfully. She was lounging in the armchair, one leg over the arm, dangling and kicking. Cathy repressed the desire to tell her to sit straight.

“I don’t know why she’s being so rude,” Cathy said.

“You’re acting like Dad,” Star said. “Saying everything slowly and repeating yourself. She’s not an idiot, you know.”

Cathy shut up. She was too an idiot. It was obvious that she’d gotten into counseling so she could feel superior to everyone around her. Cathy found herself wishing the woman would find herself with a meth habit.

The woman came back in. “You could have mentioned that your insurance benefits ran out at another hospital,” she said accusingly.

Cathy nearly lost her temper at the woman. I did mention it, she thought. You had your head so far up your ass that you missed it, that’s all. “Perhaps we could go over the details once more,” she said with icy calm.

This time the woman focused on the self-pay aspect, and things went a little smoother. “You’ll need to fill out these papers, and come back in tomorrow for a blood test. We’ll admit her then. And you’ll need to bring a check for the first week of treatment.” She waited to be asked how much it would cost per week. “Forty-nine hundred dollars,” she said with satisfaction.

Cathy blanched.

As they were leaving, paperwork in hand, Cathy and Star passed a patient talking to a counselor in the hall. “Why did they only tell you this morning that my insurance was running out?” he complained pitifully. “What am I supposed to do now that you’re booting me out onto the street? How am I going to get treatment? I’m not ready to leave.” The counselor looked sympathetic but powerless. This happens all the time, Cathy decided. Fucking insurance companies.

go to tomorrow’s writing

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1 Comment »

  1. […] go to tomorrow’s writing Comments (2) […]

    Pingback by Day Ten « Cathy Eats Her Words — October 12, 2009 @ 3:03 pm | Reply


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