The next part of the process was the check-in with the nurse who went through the detailed paperwork for admission. When Mort was asked for his address details he started to rattle off the house address, I interrupted and corrected ‘no fixed address’. He looked at me like a wounded dog, the nurse wrote in my response with ever the lightest knowing smirk, she’d seen it a million times.
She then went to great lengths to state, restate and reiterate the ‘zero tolerance’ policy with alcohol in the rehab facility. She asked in 10 different ways if he had any alcohol on him (besides remnants still sloshing through his system). I looked at his leg cast and thought luckily he couldn’t fit a bottle of vodka in there. I was asked to take his backpack of possessions away as they would set him up with everything he needed, clothing, toiletries etc. As everything was covered I was also told to take his wallet to avoid theft. This is when he started to flinch and became very, very antsy. He became fixated on having his wallet even as the nurse and Anne-Louise assured him there was no need for it. He kept harping on about it, so the session finished with me exiting the room with his soiled bag filled with god knows what, clutching his wallet and waving good-bye with my middle finger.
When I got home, I should have just thrown the backpack containing all his worldly belongings straight into the bin. Of course morbid curiosity got the better of me. The unmistakable smell of vomit wafted from the bag when I opened it. I got a ruler and poked through the unfamiliar clothes. There were pages of scrawled notes, barely legible; lots of numbers, and random words with no cohesion like hippy poetry or song lyrics.
After chucking the bag and all the contents into the bin, I went through his wallet. There wasn’t much in it except one little nugget, a receipt for a hip flask purchased the previous day.