“The Struggle” – Part Seven

by Mark Essem

AT LIBRARY – DAY

(Jack goes into the library and becomes a member, then goes and looks at some books. He picks up a book about alcohol addiction, 12 steps and drug addiction. He then goes and sits down in the corner, away from everyone, and starts reading.)

ON THE STREET – LATER

(Jack is walking down the street, sweating and starting to shake, in withdrawal from the alcohol. He sees a shop.)

ON THE STREET

(Jack walks out of the shop with a small bottle of vodka. He tries to pour some into the lid but it’s going all over because he’s shaking, so he drinks it from the bottle and it helps calm him down.)

JACK’S ROOM – NIGHT

(Jack is lying on his bed, reading the book about alcohol addiction.  He starts to sweat, so he pours some vodka into the lid and drinks it, then puts away the book and vodka. He curls up in a ball, sweating and shaking, depressed and feeling lost and alone.

AT THE HOSTEL – MORNING

Jack goes to the kitchen and starts making a cup of coffee. A man walks in, a skinny man, a heroin addict.)

Jack: Morning. You want a drink?

Addict: No mate; can’t eat or drink. I need a fix. You got anything?

Jack: No, mate, I’m clean and sober.

Addict: You got a cig you can lend me or a pound?

Jack: No, mate, I don’t smoke and I’m broke.

(Jack then leaves and goes to his room.)

JACK’S ROOM – MORNING

(Jack sits down on his bed, looking at the bottle of vodka and the books. He puts his head into his hands, struggling not to drink. Knowing he’s surrounded by addicts, he picks up the books and leaves the room.)

AT THE LIBRARY – DAY

(Jack goes in the library and puts the books back. Knowing that reading and thinking about drugs and alcohol isn’t going to help, he starts looking for other books. He sees one about setting goals and positive thinking. He picks it up and goes to the same chair as before. As Jack is leaving, he sees books on math and English. He picks them up and goes back to the hostel.)

AT THE HOSTEL – NIGHT

(Jack goes to the reception desk.)

Jack: Here’s the money for this week. Are there any courses for math and English?

Worker: Yes, once a week, on Tuesday at 10 a.m., down the hall.

Jack: Thanks.

END OF PART SEVEN