support group


can someone start. please.

can one person start a whole fucking war, joey. what. c’mon. don’t look at me like that, joey. i’m kidding, joey. okay. someone start, alright. i’m dying, alright. stop looking at me, joey.

shut up, harry.

what you say.

gosh darn lunatic, harry.

sit down, harry.

called me a fucking lunatic, joey. what you gonna do ‘bout the perv.

don’t call him a perv, joey. it’s not nice. you know.

​​gosh darn lunatic, harry.

​​​i’ll start the meeting. you know. i can start today. look at all my problems.

are you calling us a problem, lezzie. jesus christ. just look at you. tits and all. look at you for good god’s sake. wish you didn’t swing that way. i’m telling you.

​you shouldn’t talk to her, you know, harry. she’ll make you a sinner, harry.

one night, baby. that’s all you need.

you can’t even talk, pervy merv. can’t keep your hands out of your own pants. and shut up, harry. you’re a nut.

​​i told you not to talk to her, harry. i told you.

harry, stop rubbing your chest. leslie, don’t talk about marvin. c’mon guys. let’s get to it. what’d you want to talk about today, leslie.

​​​how about that new girl. next to adhd. sup with you, girl.

is this what you wanted to talk about, leslie.

​were you calling me adhd, lez. ‘cause you know for damn sure that ain’t it.

​​​you’d be lucky if that’s all there was to you.

we ain’t as crazy as you, lez. hey. hey, now. can’t put those fingers up in this place. this is a sacred place, you know.

alright. well. good transition. i guess. goodness. leslie, put your hands down. alright, well. this is grace. she’s going to be with us for a little while.

​or we are going to be with her, you mean. don’t you mean that, joey.

shut up, harry. you spoil everything. hello, grace. these guys are nuts, you know. are you nuts too, grace? because it’s cool and all. really.

​stop shaking your head, ya asshole perv. hello, grace. are you straight.

​​​really, harry. really.

harry, that’s inappropriate. you know this. grace, why don’t you introduce yourself.

​​​​My name is Grace Collins. I

​no shit, kid.

​​harry, you’re a sinner, you know.

​shut the

​​​let the lady goddamn finish, ya nuts.

thanks. well, My name is Grace Collins. I live at 247 Green Ridge Road. I am married. I go to college. I have a house. A dog named Phillips. and i’m not sure why i’m here. genetics, i guess.

ain’t that the thing, though. that’s the thing right there. it’s the dna, guys. that’s why we’re up in this joint. ​

​​​​i could use a joint.

oh my god, the addict talks. of course. of course you want a joint, sweetie. don’t we all.

​yeah a joint sounds nice. joey, wudya say. we can do this, joey. just think.

​​you all are damned you know. that stuff is toxic you know.

no one’s having a joint. grace, why don’t you continue.

alright. well. My name is Grace Collins. I live at 247 Green Ridge Road. I am married. I go to college. I have a house. A dog named Phillips. and i’ve got these fears that won’t go away. it’s really bad at night. i can’t sleep. so i read. and read. i don’t have many books at home but my professor gives me some good ones and they are really pretty great and

​you’re rambling, sister.

​​​shut up, harry.

harry, let her continue. go on, grace.

well. okay. well, sometimes i hear people whispering to me. they just say my name. like they are calling me to do something. but i don’t know.

does this frighten you, grace.

​what kind of question is that. that sounds fucking scary, no. come on, joey. you know.

​​it’s god, grace. god is speaking to you. he speaks to me too.

​​​he tell you to touch women’s asses, pervy merv.

well. sometimes i am scared. but it’s kind of normal now. i just kind of continue. ignore them. but i’m afraid they are going to come after me if i don’t answer them.

​shit’s fucking nuts, gracie baby. i can protect you from those crazy things, you know.

harry, take your hand off her shoulder please.

​​​so smooth, harry. really. i’ll clap for you on that one.

​shut up, lez. you know you want to touch more than her shoulder.

harry. leslie. let grace continue. go on, grace.

well. sometimes when i’m talking, the words will just come out incorrectly. i don’t know how to describe it, really. sometimes i catch it and sometimes i don’t. maybe you’ll hear it one of these days. i don’t know.

​​it’s god. he is trying to speak through your words. i understand, grace. we should talk.

oh my. perv is making a move. don’t turn your back, grace. he might come at your fine little ass. i’ll protect you, you know.

​really, harry. you’re too much today.

cool it, guys. let’s talk about these problems you are having, grace. i know a lot of these fellows with you have experienced similar things. does anyone have a similar experience they can share with grace.

i know what you are saying, grace. Listen to me, Grace. Gracie. Listen.

​​​the addict again. this is truly a once in a lifetime session. i’m telling you.

why don’t you expand, richard.

​​​​​i dropped a lot of acid back in the day.

​back in the day. like yesterday, you mean. tell him, joey. he means yesterday.

​​sinners. you all are sinners. god tells me, you know. he is telling me you are sinners.

continue, richard. go ahead. ​

well i dropped a lot of acid and of course at that time in my life i was doing other shit too obviously. that’s just how it went down. but anyway, i felt similar things when i was using sometimes and now, i guess sometimes i get these flashbacks. and sometimes the walls start to move like a kaleidoscope and the colors are swirling and you know i know this isn’t really happening. but sometimes i see faces in everything.

wow. great. really great.

great. really, joey. i mean the guy is telling you something fucking nuts and you tell him it’s great. i mean what’s with that, joey. i mean, c’mon, joey.

​maybe you are seeing god. i bet that’s what it is.

well anyway. what i wanted to ask was grace, are you feeling these kinds of things. like are you tripping out like this. like, Grace. Can you hear me. Grace.

yes. Yeah. i know exactly what you are saying. but i’ve never done anything. you know. like drugs and stuff.

my friends, they always said that drugs opened your mind to a higher level of consciousness or something. maybe you’ve reached that naturally. that happens you know.

maybe. i don’t know. the doctors think i have something pretty serious. it’s scary. i’m scared all the time.

don’t be scared. it’s just god. he wants to speak his word through you. embrace it, grace. embrace the lord and all his glory. these sinners don’t understand us, grace. the lord has chosen us and they only see the false truth through their drugs and homosexuality and

fuck off, pervy merv. grace, don’t listen to this guy.

you know what, perv. maybe there is a god and all but you can’t be putting grace into your cult and all because that’s just not cool. i mean, dick. what do you think of all this. i mean you’re all enlightened and shit. i mean, c’mon, dick. tell us about god.

​​don’t scare off the addict, harry.

i ain’t scaring him off, lez.

It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s okay. i don’t really know about god. but i do feel energy.

you feel the energy, baby. that’s nice. you know, i think i know what you’re talking about.

​yeah. when you see some titties, right.

​​​shut up, ya nut.

alright. let’s reel it in. get back to the basics. what we know right here and right now. we all feel strange sometimes right. so how are we going to deal with the strangeness. how will we cope and move on.

well I usually go for a run, joey. i just got so much energy you know, joey. so i go run for a couple hours. sometimes all night, joey.

i go to church. i pray to our heavenly father for forgiveness and i feel then that i am healed.

that’s very good, marvin. dedication to a higher power is just what some people need.

i wasn’t done, you know, joey. i wasn’t finished and perv just up and interrupted. i mean, c’mon, joey. i thought that wasn’t allowed. you know. tell him, joey. tell the perv he can’t interrupt me.

harry, it’s alright. we are all sharing now. what else do you do, harry, when you are feeling strange.

well I run, right. that’s what I was saying. and sometimes i get a nice piece of fine ass at the bar or downtown, you know. and we just

​​gosh darn lunatic, harry.

you wish, harry. bet you’re still a virgin. right, harry. right. don’t look at me like that. you know it.

harry sit down please. leslie, why don’t you tell us what you do to combat these strange feelings.

​what kind of strange feelings do you get, leslie.

grace, i know you’re new. but we try not to interrupt someone from answering a question.

​​​​oh. i mean, jesus, joey. you yell at poor little grace. but what about perv, joey. you didn’t even yell at him and it was my time and all and he just interrupted, joey. i mean, come on, joey. get it together, joey.

well, i’m sorry anyway. i wasn’t thinking. I can’t think straight. I can’t think. I can’t think.

it’s okay, grace. leslie, go on and tell us what you do.

grace. kid. i’m not a lunatic like these folks. i’m just a normal woman in a world full of crazies. like you, kid. don’t let them bring you down, grace. maybe you should listen to the voices in your head, grace. you know.

​what voices. i just hear whispers is all.

​shut up, lez.

​​she’s going to find out, harry. if god will it, thy will be done.

​​​​what are you guys talking about.


​we aren’t talking about god, ya perv.

alright guys. that’s enough. grace, i think what everyone is saying is that you need to look within. find your inner strength.

​sure. sure, joey.

leslie, why don’t you continue and tell us what you do.

well, geez, joey. i don’t know what you want me to say. i just don’t have strange feelings. i mean i punched a guy, alright. i punched him ‘cause i was angry and now i’m here, alright. that’s just how it is.

​​homosexuality is a strange feeling.

i know how she deals with that.

stop imagining it, harry. you’re turning into pervy merv. just stop smiling. it’s weird.

​totally weird. i like it.

​​​gross. it’s not weird. it’s natural.

​​no it isn’t.

alright. stop. we all have our own beliefs.

​​​it’s not a belief. it’s biology.

​​it’s not biology. it’s purposely against god’s will.

can we talk about grace’s issues again. every damn session we argue and nothing gets done. but grace here. Grace. Listen to me. It’s okay. grace is young. do we want her fucked up like the rest of us. i mean the things we fight about don’t even make sense. we are never going to know these answers.

​i’m not fucked up, dick. tell him, joey. i’m not fucked up.

the addict is speaking some serious truth today. you got a little crush on gracie, addict. that’s okay, you know. because it’s natural. you see, these chemicals in your brain

​​you’re just making excuses for your homosexuality.

alright. alright. richard, perhaps you can use a different term next time. but good point. grace, how do you feel about this.

well. okay. well last night i was driving my coat rack and i look in the rearview mirror and all the cars behind mine have these cowboy hats on them. and i’m not afraid of cowboys or anything. but i just don’t know why this happens.

​say, grace. how do you drive a coat rack.

​​the coat rack must be from heaven. what does this mean.

​​​​oh. see. there i go.

​​​hey. don’t cry, kid. we’re here, alright.

​yeah we’re here, grace. don’t worry.

i’ll pray for answers about the coat rack.

it’s okay, grace. just let it all out.

​​​​I can’t. I’m just

​​​​​Grace, look at me. Look me in the eye.

​​​oh addict. so sweet.

​​​​​be quiet for just one second. Please. Grace.

​​​you men get me so mad sometimes, addict. better watch it. you know.

leslie, relax. relax your fists. sit down.

​​​​​Grace, pay attention. Please. Focus on my eyes.

​​​​Okay. Okay. I’m focusing.

​​​​​Drown the other guys out. Just you and me, Grace.

grace. guys. let’s focus on something else now. maybe meditation.

​oh yes. meditation.

​​​​​Don’t listen to them, Grace.

​​​​They are so loud, Rich.

​​​​​Hey. Hey it’s just you and me, Grace.

meditation is kind of like prayer. we could just pray. grace you should pray with me. here we go. our father, who art in heaven

​​​you know, one time i got so angry i tried to kill myself.

everyone, just close your eyes. relax.

​of course the lez tried to kill herself. so against the grain. right, joey. i mean, come on, lez. so stereotypical.

​​​​​Hey. Hey, Grace. Don’t lose me, now. Look at me.

​​​​What do you want. It’s just so loud.

​​hallowed be thy name. thy kingdom come, thy will be done. on earth as it is in heaven.

​mmmm. mmm. come on, gracie, we are meditating.

​​​when i tried to kill myself, i felt all my troubles going away.

​​​​​She says all my troubles will go away, Rich.

Grace. Gracie. Don’t listen, baby. It’s just you and me. Look at me. Get out of your head, baby.

relax. just relax, everyone.

​​give us this day, our daily bread. and forgive us our trespasses

you know, if you drink a glass of bleach, they can’t do anything about it. you just sit there. waiting to die, grace.

​​​​​​Do we have any bleach, Rich.

​i could go for some bleach too. right, joey. let’s get some bleach.

Don’t listen to them Grace. Here. Let’s sing the song.​

We have a song. I don’t even know you, Rich. We just met. You’re the addict, Rich. They call you the addict.

Hey. We are alone, alright. It’s just you and me. I was an addict years ago. Remember. But I changed. For you and me. Remember. I stopped. Sing our wedding song. Grace.

​​​​​​Our wedding song.

​​as we forgive those who trespass against us.

It’s okay. I’ll hum it, okay. Just listen to me humming. Focus, alright. Focus. This is reality, Grace.

focus, everyone. focus on your meditations.

you know, i feel lighter, joey. i feel lighter. my god, my voice. it’s just. it’s just so light, joey. this meditation shit. it’s really working, joey.

​and lead us not, into temptation, but deliver us from evil

​​i’m not even angry at you anymore, pervy merv.

​​​​​I think they are leaving, Rich.

Focus on me, baby. Listen to my voice. We’re in our house, Grace. Look around you. Remember. My dad built this for us. It’s just you and me.

​​​​​​Yes. Yes. I remember.

Focus, baby. Look. Look at this watch you gave me for our first anniversary. Do you remember that. Do you see it, Grace.

​​​​​​Yes. Yes. I see it.

​don’t leave us, gracie baby. i need some loving, gracie.


​​​let go. it’s okay, grace. we’ll be here.

relax, everyone.

Relax, Grace. You’re so tense. Come on. Just look into my eyes now. Just you and me. Deep breaths, Grace. Tell me some truths, Grace. Come on. Like we practiced.

​​​​​​I am Grace Collins. I live at 247 Green Ridge Road.

​grace, come on now. don’t leave us. we need you. you need us.

I am Grace Collins. I live at 247 Green Ridge Road. I am married. I go to college. I have a house. A dog named Phillips.

i think support group is over for today.

I am Grace Collins. I live at 247 Green Ridge Road. I am married. I go to college. I have a house. A dog named Phillips.

​It’s just you and me, Grace.

I am Grace Collins. I live at 247 Green Ridge Road. I am married. I go to college. I have a house. A dog named Phillips.


Mary Span earned her BA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech where she was a Fiction Editor for an issue of The Minnesota Review and placed second in the Steger Prize for Poetry. She now resides in California with her family and dog, Boo Radley.

Mary Span
Mary Span earned her BA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech where she was a Fiction Editor for an issue of The Minnesota Review and placed second in the Steger Prize for Poetry. She now resides in California with her family and dog, Boo Radley.