Published in the 2009 summer edition of the Ink-Filled Page. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
To the outside world, Jenner is nothing more than a junkie wasting his life on scoring his next hit. What no one knows is that Jenner is also an angel sent to save others. Sadly, Jenner doesn't know it either.
Excerpt: He’d woken up in this hospital before, and each time he battled feelings of indignant righteousness—this was America, for fucks sake, and he had the right to put in his body whatever he wanted to—and feelings of complete worthlessness—why did they even bother to try to save him? The doctor fiddled with something on Jenner’s leg before noticing that Jenner’s eyes were open.
“Welcome to the world of the living, Mr. Jenner,” the doctor said. He covered Jenner’s leg with the hospital blanket. “We had to put your IV in your leg. Had some trouble finding a good vein.”
“Tell me about it,” Jenner said only half-joking.
“I bet you’d like to know why you’re here.”
“I’ve got some guesses.”
“Your heart’s taken a beating, you know.”
“A medical degree and a knack for delivering puns?” Jenner said. “Boy, doc, is there anything you can’t do?”
“I can’t save a dying man who doesn’t want to help me do it.”
Jenner’s head was aching. He closed his eyes, preparing himself for the worn-out lecture about his life choices. This is where the realsuffering takes place, he thought, here in their temples of medicine and miracles.
The doctor scribbled something in Jenner’s chart. “I’ve called in a drug counselor,” he said. “To be honest, I doubt it will do any good, but it’s hospital policy, so…”
“I know the drill.”
The doctor put his hand on Jenner’s shoulder. “Hang in there, buddy. Rock bottom’s got to be near.”