“Ask Brett what time court is tomorrow,” I suggest to Marnell one night.
I want to be sure that Brett himself knows what it will take to get there on time. If he misses this court date about the child support bills he isn’t paying, he will probably go to jail. His life is on a collision course that likely will end in prison. But Brett says he wants to go to Adult and Teen Challenge, a Christian rehab here in town. Marnell and I feel that possibly if he were living in a controlled environment, his life could make a turn for the better. If he gets off drugs and stops smoking, maybe he can hold and job, and work on the child support debt.
After talking to Brett, Marnell reports that Brett knows court is at 9:30, and he is planning to go there himself.
“But maybe you should just take him,” Marnell says.
Why does Marnell suggest that I take him? Well…
Brett’s track record at making recent appointments is bleak. When I picked him up the other day for an interview at the rehab while Marnell was gone at work, no one answered the door when I knocked. Since Brett took all the door handles off the doors of the house, I finally pushed the door open myself and walked into the wreckage.
Side note, ladies: Don’t try this at home! We have a long relationship with Brett, but even then it was probably dangerous.
“Brett!” I hollered.
He mumbled something from the bedroom. I looked in and saw him sprawled across a mattress in boxer shorts, surrounded by a sea of junk.
“Get up!” I told him. “It’s time to go for the interview.”
He mumbled and grumbled and made excuses about when he thought I was going to come.
“I don’t have pants,” he said.
I looked at the floor, so littered with debris that I figured there had to be pants there some where. My I Spy mission succeeded. I fished up a pair of jeans, and threw them across the room.
“Those aren’t mine,” he said, but he put them on anyway.
Why Can’t He Make it to Appointments on Time?
Marnell excels at probing for people’s motivations. He asked Brett once why he’s doing so badly at making his appointments.
“I’m depressed,” he said. “Because I don’t get to see my son.”
Well, I would likely be depressed too in his situation. Both Marnell and I felt confident, though, that his problems would not go away until he gets clean from the drugs. We were willing to put a great deal of energy into helping him get into the rehab.
One night at supper when our friend Chris came over, Marnell and I talked about how we are trying to help Brett get into rehab. Chris, a former addict, voiced his skepticism.
“You’re helping him too much,” he said.
“But if we can just get him into Teen Challenge, then they can help him get off the drugs,” I reasoned. This Christian rehab is highly successful with its graduates. It’s a long-term program where people live at the facility for months. “It seems like sometimes people just need someone to pull them through to a better place.”
My own experiences with depression seemed to support this reasoning. After all, I have experienced crippling lethargy from which I found it very difficult to emerge on my own.
But Chris was not convinced.
At any rate, we made it to the interview at the rehab that day after I threw him a pair of jeans. Brett wept as he talked to the intake coordinator about his life, and thanked the man for offering to take him in.
But now you understand why Marnell suggested I take him to court.
So at 9 am on the day of the court appointment, I knock on the door and call Brett’s name, holding toast and eggs in one hand because they don’t have much food in the house right now either. No answer.
Whew, I think. Good!He’s more responsible than I gave him credit for. He’s already down at court.
He did not tell me whether or not he had the letter from the rehab center stating that he was just waiting for a bed, so I decide to take a copy of it down to the court just in case he didn’t have his. Besides, I’ll be able to listen in on the proceedings and offer moral support. I take the hot breakfast several houses down to Harvey and Jen, and set out briskly on foot to the courthouse.
It is 9:07. Twenty-Three Minutes to court time.
I arrive at the court, go through security, and take the stairs to the second floor.
No sign of Brett in the Child Support Court. I wait for a few minutes, and finally ask the clerk to verify that Brett is being seen today. Yes, he is on the list, the clerk in the short blond hair tells me.
“Is he first in line?” I ask. I’ve gone to court enough to know that when they say “9:30,” that means you are part of a pool of people who are supposed to be there at that time. You don’t know what order those people will be called.
“No,” she says.
So I tell her that I will go try to find him.
It is 9:20 by now, ten minutes to court time.
The big question is, why on earth did I come on foot? Even though it is almost as fast to walk as to drive and park, a car would come in handy about now. I text Marnell and he agrees that I should go check Brett’s house again.
Down the stairs, past the security guards, and out through the parking lot. I hurry toward the street, scanning my surroundings for any sign of the missing man. Nope, no where in sight.
I race down the sidewalk, jaywalk across Third Street, and dart through an abandoned lot and the alleyway beside the chain link fence. That alley usually makes me a little nervous. No nerves today! I am on a mission. As I break into a jog, I regret the extra 25 pounds I’m carting around with me since last fall. I half walk and half run, arriving at Brett’s house in about 7 minutes, red-faced and panting. My fist thunders against the door.
“Brett!” I shout. “Are you here?”
“Yes…” a groggy voice croaks from the bedroom.
And the door knob has been re-instated, so I can’t barge in. I run to the bedroom window on the side of the porch.
“Brett!” I shriek. “It’s time for court! Get up!”
“I don’t have a ride,” he says.
“I’m taking you!” I holler back. I don’t care if all the neighbors hear. “Get up!”
“I don’t have any pants on,” he says.
Literally. I am NOT making this up.
“Then get some on!” I holler. “I’m going to get the car.. I’ll be back in two minutes!”
Okay, clearly, this story is getting too long for one post, so I’ll have to finish it up next time. Trust me, this isn’t the end!
P.S. If you can relate to the photo below, stop back on Monday to find out where it comes from. I plan to post some cool ideas for bored adults, an announcement about the new podcast that isn’t quite ready, and a giveaway that involves food. That’s on Monday! By the way, subscribe to this blog by email if you haven’t. It will come in handy in the near future, and you won’t miss the cool upcoming giveaway. See “Subscribe” on the website menu.