by Sandy Tritt
in my car and waited until five past the hour.
Convinced the last
stragglers had arrived, I sneaked through the
heavy oak doors and
slithered against the back wall, willing
myself invisible. Normal
people would have been satisfied to interview
others or finish their
research from the library, but not me. I
wanted to experience an AA
meeting personally, so my fiction could sing
with authenticity. So,
here I was, feigning to be a coat rack, hoping
no one would notice me.
glanced around the room. It would be almost
impossible in my small town
not to recognize anyone, and sure enough, they
were there. Not that I
minded that they were there, mind you, but
that they would know I was
there. The sophisticated blue-haired lady was
my daughter's playmate's
grandmother. And the lady in red looked
familiar as well—my
for where I'd seen her —my
perhaps? And Mr. Bogreens, the custodian at my
should have left before anyone saw me, stepped
back through the door as
silently as I'd entered. I slid my right foot
toward the exit, then
moved my left to catch up. I concentrated on
getting out, on escaping
from this poorly planned escapade.
prize?" A man with soft walnut eyes pressed an
index card into my hand.
thanks," I whispered.
first one's free," he said.
I'm not . . ."
enters the door prize," he said, his voice
a commotion, I scribbled my name and mumbled
my thanks. The rest of the
group had formed a circle, so I relaxed in my
obscure spot by the door.
I was safe. I concentrated on capturing all
the details I needed to
make my fiction real. The PA system must have
been a donation from the
old high school stadium, as it blasted through
the ceiling panels,
giving each speaker's voice the resonance of
God's very own. I also
noted the bare light bulb dangling from a
dusty wire, and figured I
could make an analogy from it. I listened to
the tone of the speaker's
voice, and watched his mannerisms as he spoke
of his disease and
recovery. I waited for the words I expected,
"Hi, my name is Bob, and
I'm an alcoholic..." And soon, sooner than I'd
meeting adjourned with the recitation of the
survived. I buttoned my jacket and slid toward
the door. Hopefully, no
one had spotted me.
tapped the mike twice, then spoke so loudly
her words hung on the
ceiling, and I had to wait for them to trickle
down before I could make
them out. "Sandy Tritt! Sandy Tritt!" The neon
words fell from above,
over and over, beating me down.
Sandy?" an elderly man said, pointing his
arthritic finger at me.
wanted to deny it, but by this time the
buzzing crowd swarmed around
me, and I understood how Jesus Christ felt
when the crowd screamed,
"Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Sandy?" a young woman demanded.
nodded, swearing to myself and to God above
that I'd never, ever again
infiltrate sacred meetings in the name of
kind-looking man I remembered from earlier
came to me.
"Congratulations," he said. "You won the door
don't want it," I whispered, eying my escape.
woman with evil eyebrows thrust a microphone
in my face. "Speech!"
caught. I was cornered. I took a deep breath,
leaned into the mike, and
made my confession. "Hi. My name is Sandy, and
I'm..." I looked at
the now silent crowd hanging onto my every
word and realized that the
man in back looked way too much like one of my
daughter's teachers, and
undoubtedly the press was there and my picture
would be splattered
across the front page of Sunday's paper. My
charade was over. There was
nothing left for me to do, so I hung my head
and admitted my addiction.
"And I'm a writer."
Tritt. All rights reserved.
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