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THE ONE LEFT BEHIND

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CHAPTER 1

The day you died started out like any typical day. We were investigating a series of jewelry store robberies that had been occurring over the past several weeks in our district. Robbery had been handling the investigation and had made some headway. We were brought in after the last one because the owner had been murdered while trying to defend himself. We had spent the morning reviewing our notes and completing some paperwork. 

Shortly after eleven o'clock, we decided to hit the streets. We left the squadroom and spent the next hour checking in with our snitches and basically cruising the streets. We were trying to decide where to go for lunch when we heard over the radio, "Zebra-3, Zebra-3 meet the man called Huggy at The Pits." I radioed back, "Zebra-3, 10-4." 

We drove to The Pits and parked in the alley behind the bar. We entered through the backdoor and waved to Huggy as we walked across the floor towards a booth in the back. Anita came over and asked, "What can I get you?" We ordered a couple of burgers and fries and a couple of sodas. Huggy brought our orders to us and slid in next to me. While we ate, he told us that word on the street was that the crew responsible for the jewelry store robberies were a three man team, two brothers and their cousin. The two brothers were Dominic and Daniel Wade; the cousin, Taylor Estes. He said that they could usually be found in a warehouse that was owned by their uncle, Howard Estes. He then gave us the address of the warehouse. While he was talking, you had pulled out your notebook and jotted down the information. 

When we were finished eating, we left some money on the table to cover the bill, and headed for the backdoor. We drove back to the station and headed straight for Dobey's office. We knocked on the door. Dobey hollered for us to enter. We walked in and sat down. You said, "We just came from The Pits. Huggy got us the names of the guys behind those jewelry store jobs as well as the address where we should be able to find them."

Dobey asked you to hold it for a few minutes. He picked up the phone and called the Robbery Department. A few minutes later, the head of the Robbery Department, Captain Joseph King, and two detectives, Sgt. James Hook and Sgt. Guy Walker, entered. Between the two of us, we passed on the information Huggy had given us to the four gentleman. Captain King suggested that we go to one of the empty interrogation rooms where we could spread so we could plan the takedown. Dobey called Minnie Kaplan and asked her to find a map of the area where the warehouse was located as well as any information she could find on our three suspects and to bring it to Interrogation Room 4. Then the six of us headed for the interrogation room. 

While we have waiting for Minnie, Guy asked if the person we got the information from was reliable. Without mentioning Huggy's name, we assured Guy, James, and Captain King that the information had come from a very reliable source that we had used on numerous occasions. Just then, there was a knock on the door. It was Minnie with some files in her arms. She said, "I found that map you wanted as well as the arrest records for all three of your suspects. I even managed to find a blueprint of the warehouse itself." Dobey thanked her for the information. Minnie smiled and left the room.

We spread the map out on the table. We saw that there were three doors as well as an entrance that could be accessed by water. Dobey said, "Looks like we're going to have to bring in some other officers as well as the Harbor Master on this takedown." He then picked up the phone and called for Simmons and Babcock as well as several other detectives from our department to come to Interrogation Room 4. Captain King then called his department requested a Sgt. Steve Wilson and his partner Sgt. Frank Miller as well as a few other detectives from his department. Dobey then called the Harbor Master, Captain Ryan Phillips, and asked him to join us. 

While we were waiting for the other officers to arrive, we studied the files on our suspects. We learned that Dominic had done time for robbery and Daniel had served time for carjacking and burglary. Taylor was the worst of the three. He had served time for both robbery and burglary as well as kidnapping. Captain King said, "Something tells me this takedown is not going to go down easy."

By this time, the rest of the officers had arrived. They all crowded around the table and studied the map and the blueprint. It didn't take long to decide that you and I would enter through the front door, James and Guy would enter through the door on the west wall, while Simmons and Babcock would enter through the door on the east wall. Steve and Frank would be with Captain Phillips to cut off any attempt to escape by water. The rest of the officers would be stationed in various positions outside the warehouse to stop anyone from trying to make a break for it. Once the plans were finalized, the rest of the officers involved took time to read the files on our suspects. When everyone of them had had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the information, we broke up into pairs, each set of partners heading out with plans to meet at the warehouse. 

CHAPTER 2

We all met up near the warehouse and approached on foot. When we received word that the Harbor Master was in place, the six of of us who were entering the warehouse opened our designated doors, silently slipped inside, and began to make our way across the floor. Suddenly, shots began to ring out from somewhere overhead. The six of us took cover behind stacks of crates that were scattered across the warehouse floor and began to return fire. Shortly after the gunfight began, we hear a scream followed by a thud. Then James shot Daniel in the shoulder as he was coming down the stairs. Daniel dropped his weapon as he tumbled down the rest of the stairs to land in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. We continued to return fire as there were still shots coming from above. Eventually, we heard another scream followed by another thud. Then there was silence.

When we were certain there were no more shots, we all came out of hiding, holstering our guns as we did. Simmons went to check one body; Babcock, the other. Meanwhile, James went over to where Daniel was laying. He handcuffed Daniel and hauled him to his feet. Then he and Guy took Daniel outside. Simmons and Babcock came over to where you and I were standing. Simmons said, "Dominic is dead. He took one in the chest." Babcock said that Taylor was also dead. He had taken one in the head. He said, "I'm going to go call the coroner."

He turned and started for the door as more shots began to ring out from overhead. You gave me a shove as the four of us once again took cover, drawing our guns and again returning fire. The gunfight continued until we heard we heard two screams followed by a thud. Simmons and Babcock went to investigate the sounds we had heard, while I looked around for you. I saw you laying on the floor a few feet away.

I ran over to where you were and saw that you had taken two shots in the chest. I gathered you in my arms. You slowly opened your eyes, looked up at me, and whispered, "Goodbye, my love." before closing your eyes again and going limp in my arms. I pulled your body to my chest and rocked back and forth whispering, "Please, come back to me, darling!!!"

Simmons and Babcock came back to where we were. When they found us, they knew exactly what had happened. Simmons whispered to Babcock that he would go call the coroner and Dobey. Babcock nodded and waited until Simmons had left the warehouse before approaching us. He placed his hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him with tears in my eyes and then back down at you. I pulled you closer, not wanting to let go.

Sometime later, I felt another hand on my shoulder. I looked up again. This time I saw Dobey standing there. He didn't say anything for a few minutes. When the coroner, Robert Hogan, came over Dobey said, "It's time to let go, son." I loosened my grip on your body so I could see your face. I placed a quick kiss on your lips and whispered, "Goodbye, love." I slowly lowered your body to the floor. 

Dobey helped me to my feet and led me away from the scene. We didn't stop until we were outside. Dobey told me to go home. I said, "No, I want to get the paperwork done while it's still fresh in my mind. Then I'll think about taking some time off." I walked over to my car and drove back to the precinct. When I got back to the station, I parked in the garage and entered the squadroom. Everyone looked up at me, but no one said a word. I walked over to my desk and sat down. I pulled out the first form, inserted it in the typewriter and began typing. For the next several hours, with only an occasional break to get a cup of coffee, I typed all of my reports. When the last report was finished, I put them in a file folder. I opened the door to Dobey's office and placed the folder in the box on his desk. I then wrote a note telling him that I was taking tomorrow off and I would let him know if I wanted any more time off after that. I returned to my desk, grabbed my jacket and walked out the door.

CHAPTER 3

As I left the building, I realized I didn't want to go home just yet. I also knew that Huggy deserved to hear what had happened from me and not from anyone else. I got in my car and drove to The Pits. As usual, I parked in the alley behind the bar and entered through the backdoor. Without saying a word to anyone, I walked to a booth in a dark corner of the bar and slid in. I just sat there quietly without trying to attract any attention to myself. I didn't even notice when Huggy came over and slid in across from me. He tried unsuccessfully to get my attention. When he realized I was too deep in thought to respond, he motioned for Anita to bring us a couple of beers. When she did, he took them off the tray and set one in front of me.

When I saw the beer, I looked up at him. He took one look at me and asked, "What happened, my man?" Trying to keep from crying, I told him what had happened at the warehouse. When I had finished, he closed his eyes and let his head drop to his chest. When he'd had a chance to compose himself, he picked up his glass and raised it in a toast. He said, "To the best friend and partner two guys ever knew." I raised my glass and clinked it against his before taking a long drink. We both placed our glasses on the table at the same time. We sat in silence drinking until our glasses were empty. 

When both our glasses were empty, Huggy stood up. As he started to pick up the empty glasses, I put my hand on his arm and said, "Bring me another beer. I'm not ready to go home. I'm just going to sit here for awhile and drink. I promise not to cause any problems. Before you ask, I've already told Dobey that I won't be in to work tomorrow." Huggy nodded and agreed to bring me another beer.

When he returned he not only had the beer, he also had a burger and some fries. I pointed out that I hadn't ordered anything to eat. Huggy reminded me that it's not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach and I did have to agree with him on that. I did remind him to keep the beers coming. Even though I wasn't really hungry I did eat the burger and fries, but I lost count of the number of beers I had. Eventually, Huggy came over to me and said that he was cutting me off because it was closing time. He said, "I know you are in no condition to drive, so why do you go upstairs and use the spare room tonight. Then you can see what you feel like doing in the morning."

I agreed that sounded like a good idea and told him I would see him in the morning then. I stood up and gave myself a chance to regain my balance before I started moving towards the staircase.  Before I headed upstairs, I told Anita goodnight. I walked up the stairs and opened the door to the room at the top of the stairs. I didn't even bother getting undressed; I just fell face first on the bed. I didn't really even sleep that first night as much as I passed out.

When I opened my eyes, I had no idea what time it was. I got up and staggered into the bathroom where I took care of business. After splashing some water on my face, I felt a little more human. I walked out of the bathroom, straightened my clothes, then straightened the bed. I went downstairs. Huggy and Anita were both there, setting up for the day. I walked over and sat down at the bar. Huggy poured a cup of coffee a set it in front of me. I thanked him for it and slowly drank it. When it was gone, I left the empty cup on the bar. I waved to Huggy and Anita as I walked out the door. 

CHAPTER 4

I slowly drove home. You and I had been living together since Gunther's shooting. It was after that had happened, that we'd finally admitted to each other how we really felt. We had bought a 2-story house house near the beach. I parked my car in my half of the 2-car garage that was to the left of the house. I got out of my car and left the garage, after making sure the garage alarm was set. As I approached the house, I used the remote on my keychain to disconnect the house alarm and walked up on to the front porch that ran the length of the house with the front door in the middle. The porch had a swing attached at one end. To the right of the door was a large picture window that provided natural light for the living room. To the left of the door were three single windows side-by-side that provided light to the dining room. I let myself in, relocked the door, and reset the alarm, which surrounded the whole house - including the patio in the back. 

The front door opened onto an entry way where there was a closet directly across from the door. To the left of the door was a bench with room to store shoes underneath and a shelf for additional storage above it. A slight turn to the right was the entry to the living room. The back of a tan sofa faced the entry to the living room. In front of the sofa was a coffee table. The wall opposite the sofa held an entertainment center that held our TV, stereo, and record collections. The picture window, which was to the right of the sofa, was covered by drapes that we closed when we wanted to shut out the world. In front of the picture window was another sofa with a table at each end with a lamp on it. In front of the sofa was another coffee table. The wall to the left of the sofa held a floor to ceiling bookcase separated by a door. The door was to a half bath. In front of the bookcase, there were also two leather recliners. Between the two recliners was a table with a built-in lamp. 

From the living room, a sharp turn to the left led to the dining room. This room held a large oak table with eight chairs. Above the table was a light with an attached ceiling fan. Along the wall to the right was a china cabinet. There was also a door that opened onto a screened-in back porch that ran the length of the house. The porch had some furniture where we spent many evenings relaxing. It had several hanging plants as well as several small tables, some of which had plants on them that we both tended with care. The porch had a door with a set of stairs that led down to a patio that started at the bottom of the stairs and ran to the left for three quarters of the length of the house. To the right of the patio was a large outdoor shower with two entrances - one from the beach, the other from the patio - so that no sand was tracked into the house. At the far end of the patio were a couple of picnic tables, at the end near the shower was a large BBQ grill.

Beyond the dining room was the kitchen. Immediately to the right of the entrance to the kitchen was a nook with a table and two chairs. There was a small ceiling lamp above the table. On the other side of the table was a small window. On the other side of the window was a large walk-in pantry. On the other side of the pantry were two doors. One opened onto a storage room that held the furnace/air conditioner, the hot water heater, and a large chest freezer. The other, was a laundry room with a full-size washer and dryer, a table for sorting and folding clothes, a sink for rinsing things out or if something needed to soak before washing, and a set of shelves for storage. Along the wall opposite the entrance was where the 6-burner stove and a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer were located. Along the wall to the left of the entrance was a row of cabinets, both upper and lower, extending halfway down the wall. The counter separating the cabinets was a white quartz with gray inlays. Then there was a double sink.  On the other side of the sink was very a built-in dishwasher with more counter space as well as additional cabinets - both upper and lower. In the center of the kitchen was an island with a butcher block top and an overhead light. 

Back in the living room, in the corner next to the bookcase was a staircase that led to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, on the right, was a door that opened into a bedroom that we used as a guest room with a connecting bathroom. There was also a half bath located half way down the hall on the right side. A walk-in linen closet was located on the left side of the hallway. Also along the left wall was a another walk-in closet that we used for storage. At the end of the hallway was a door that led to the master bedroom. The wall to the right of the door was a huge walk-in closet that we shared. Along the wall to the left was the connecting bathroom, which had a double vanity and a large walk-in shower. The bathroom also had a stand alone tub that was big enough for both of us. Next to the bathroom door were two dressers. Along the wall opposite the door was a king size bed. On either side of the bed was a table with a lamp on it. Natural light was brought into the room through a skylight in the middle of the room. 

After locking the door and setting the alarm, I headed straight for the kitchen. I opened the refrigerator door and grabbed a beer. I opened it and started drinking as I headed back towards the living room. I dropped down on the sofa and finished the beer. I put the bottle on the table and leaned back so I was staring at the ceiling. I closed my eyes but I could still see and feel your presence all around me. I opened my eyes and saw the beer bottle. Letting out a sigh, I went back out to the kitchen. This time I got the rest of the 6-pack out of the refrigerator and took it to the living room. There were three beers left and I drank them one after the other. 

When the last beer was gone, I went looking for what else there might be in the house to drink, because I wanted to get to a point where I couldn't feel anything. In one of the kitchen cupboards I found a two bottles of whiskey. You and I usually didn't drink the hard stuff, but we kept it on hand because, once and awhile, it was needed. I took both bottles and returned to the living room. I sat down on the couch and took a drink straight from the first bottle. I kept drinking until both bottles were empty. By then, I didn't feel anything. I closed my eyes. The next thing I knew I woke up to the sound of the phone ringing. It was Huggy, who was concerned because he hadn't heard from me and wanted to be sure I'd gotten home all right and find out how I was feeling. I told him I was doing okay. He  said, "Don't lie to me, my friend." I let out a sigh. He was right, I couldn't lie to him. I said, "You're right, Huggy, I'm not doing so good. It still hurts so much." Huggy said, "I know, but it will get better in time, I promise."

 CHAPTER 5

The next two months were among the worst in my life. Captain Dobey assigned me a new partner, Detective Sgt. Joseph Trivette. He was 35 years old and stood 6'1" with black hair and black eyes. He'd played football in high school and was still in good shape. He had grown up in San Francisco and had attended the academy there. He had risen to the rank of detective after seven years on the force. He had married his childhood sweetheart, Carolyne, and they had two sons, Austin and Jeremy. When his partner was killed by a shooter trying to take out Joseph, the family felt the need for a fresh start, so he had transferred to Bay City. He drove a 4-door black Ford Thunderbird. Unlike with you and I, though, I saw him only at work. 

I was still drinking myself into a stupor every night either at home or at The Pits. I wasn't eating regularly or taking good care of myself either. Huggy, Anita, Minnie, Captain Dobey, even Simmons and Babcock tried to get through to me, but I kept telling them to mind their own business. I knew I was driving a wedge between them and myself, but I couldn't seem to help myself. I hadn't even  worked up the nerve to touch any of your belongings - so your clothes still hung in the closet, your dresser was still full, and your side of the vanity still held all your personal items.

Things finally came to a head one Friday. Joseph and I had just wrapped up a case we'd been working on for four weeks. It had involved a series of armored car robberies, each one netting more than the one before. Trivette and I had been assigned the case because a guard had been murdered at the first robbery. Our first clue had come when we discovered that each robbery had occurred just as an extremely large drop off was being made at a local bank. With some help from Minnie Kaplan and the rest of the R&I DEPARTMENT, we had tracked down the one person, Andrea Brady, who worked for the armored car company and whose boyfriend, Ted Jones, had a record for armed robbery. Turned out she had told him about each of the large drop offs. He and his crew would then be waiting for the armored car to arrive. We'd arrested Andrea yesterday afternoon at the armored car company. It had taken awhile, but eventually she had told us where to find Ted and his friends. We'd arrested them this morning and had recovered the cash from the robberies. 

After my shift ended, I left the station and drove straight to The Pits. I parked in the alley behind the bar, entered through the backdoor and made a beeline for the corner booth that had been my domain since your death. I slid in and waited. Huggy came over, placed a beer in front of me, turned and walked away without a word. He came back a short time with a burger and fries and set them down in front me. This time I grabbed his arm before he walked away. He turned his head and almost glared at me. I let go of his arm. He again left without saying a word. This time I  watched him walk away. I spent the next couple of hours sitting there drinking beer after beer, barely touching the food.

When closing time arrived, I could barely stand. Huggy tried to stop me from leaving, but I just pushed past him and headed for the door. I staggered to my car and slid behind the wheel. I don't know how I did it, but I made it home in one piece. I parked the car in the garage, set the alarm there, and made it towards the porch. As I approached the porch, I shut off the house alarm and stumbled up the stairs. This time though, instead of heading for the door, I stumbled over to the chairs that sat on the porch where we'd had coffee many weekends mornings. I dropped into one and closed my eyes.

The next thing I knew I was waking up the sounds of seagulls crying. As my eyes began to focus, I saw a white dove sitting on the porch railing staring at me. As I sat there, I noticed the dove had blue eyes. I don't know how long the dove and I sat there and just stared at each other, but eventually the dove turned and flew away. I sat there for a few more moments not understanding what I  had just seen. Then I realized something - the pain, the loneliness, the rage I had felt towards you for leaving me - seemed to have disappeared. I stood and stretched. I realized something else as well. For the first time in a long time, I had actually woken up feeling refreshed. Fortunately, I had the next two days off. 

I walked into the house, hung up my jacket, and reset the alarm. I entered the living room and took a long look around. There were empty bottles - beer, whiskey, and gin - along with a lot of dirty dishes, sitting all over the place. There were also the remains of a lot of take out on both coffee tables as well as the end tables and the table between the lamps. There were a lot of clothes just thrown on the furniture. I knew, without a doubt, that the rest of the house probably looked just as bad. I went upstairs and went into the bedroom. The bed was unmade, and there were several towels as well as more dirty clothes laying all over the floor. 

The first thing I did was take a shower and shave. After drying off, I put on a pair of underwear, a pair of sweatpants, and a t-shirt. Feeling hungry for the first time in quite awhile, I went downstairs and went into the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, I found the fixings for a ham and cheese omelet, some wheat toast, butter, and orange juice. After fixing breakfast, I sat down and took my time eating, enjoying every bite. After I finished eating, I went into the living room. It took three trips, but I got all the dirty dishes out of the living room and into the kitchen. I loaded them into the dishwasher and started it. After making a slight detour into the storage room, I headed towards the living room with a box of garbage bags in my hand. I cleaned up all the garbage in the living room and put the bags on the porch. I then took the dirty clothes to the laundry room. This took another three trips. I then started cleaning the rest of the kitchen. I wiped all of the counters as well as the butcher block top on the island. I washed the kitchen windows. I took down the curtains that hung at the kitchen windows and put them in the laundry room. I cleaned the cobwebs out of both ceiling lamps, then swept the floor. 

I moved into the dining room and kept right on cleaning. I dusted all the furniture, cleaned the windows, took down the curtains from the windows there and put them in the laundry room with the rest of the curtains. I swept the dining room floor. Then, starting in the kitchen, I mopped both the kitchen and dining room floors. I left the bucket with the dirty mop water in it sitting in the doorway between the dining and living rooms. 

I moved into the living room. I cleaned the living room from one end to the other. I dusted all the tables and the bookcases. I didn't take the drapes down, but I did wash the picture window from one end to the other. I dusted the entertainment center and cleaned everything on it. I finished by vacuuming the living room rug. After I was done vacuuming, I tackled the half bath. Being a small room, it didn't take long to clean long. I left the curtains hanging in the window, but I planned to take them down before I started laundry. 

After it was clean, I looked at my watch and saw it was almost 11:00a.m. I couldn't believe how quickly the morning had flown by. I was a little tired, but I didn't mind. I felt I should keep moving, so I did. I dusted the railing as I headed upstairs. Once upstairs, I started with the guest bedroom. I cleaned it from top to top to bottom, including stripping the bed and taking down the curtains. I moved into the connecting bathroom and cleaned it. I left the laundry in a pile at the top of the stairs, and moved on to the half bathroom. After cleaning it, I added the curtains from the half bathroom to the pile at the top of the stairs.

Then I entered our bedroom. For a moment, I stood just inside the door and looked around. I knew I wasn't ready to get rid of your stuff yet, but the room did need cleaning. I dusted everything and stripped the bed. I picked up all the dirty towels and clothes, putting them in the hamper. I went into our bathroom and cleaned it as well, including taking down the curtains to be washed. Afterwards, I picked up the hamper and started down the hallway. I paused at the top of the stairs and gathered the laundry there before heading downstairs. 

After stopping to get the curtains from the downstairs bathroom, I went straight to the laundry room. I sorted the laundry into five loads - curtains, sheets and pillowcases, towels, light colored clothes, and dark colored clothes. I went and got the bucket from the entry between the dining room and the living room and emptied it into the sink in the laundry room. I rinsed out the bucket and the mop then left them in the sink to drain.

CHAPTER 6

I went back into the kitchen and looked at the clock, I saw it was now 12:30p.m. Feeling hungry, I decided to go to The Pits for lunch. Knowing how hard I had worked cleaning the house, I went upstairs and took a quick shower. I then left the house, making sure to set both alarms before driving to the bar, making a stop at the dumpster to get rid of the trash bags from the front porch. As usual, I parked in the back alley and entered through the rear door. This time, though, I sat down at the bar. Anita saw me, walked over, and placed a beer in front of me. I shook my head and pushed the beer back towards her. I asked, "Anita, would you bring me a soda, a burger, and an order of fries, please?".

She seemed pleasantly surprised at my order, but she took the beer back and brought me a soda. Huggy brought the food over a few minutes later. I asked him to stay and asked Anita to join us. I said, "I want to apologize for the way I've been behaving the past couple of months. I hope I haven't completely screwed things up between the three of us, but if I have, I'll understand." Huggy and Anita both assured me that my friendship with both of them was still intact. 

Huggy asked, "What happened to cause this change?" Taking a deep breath, I told them everything that had happened since I had left The Pits the night before. When I told them about the dove and how it had taken away the pain, the loneliness, and the rage I'd been feeling Anita wanted to know where the rage came from. I explained, "I was mad at him for dying. I know he didn't want to die, so whenever I started feeling mad, I would also start to feel guilty for being mad at him when it wasn't his fault. The guilt made me even more angry because I wanted to get to the point where I couldn't feel anything, which only made me more angry. My emotions were just going around and around in a vicious circle, and I ended up taking them out on the people who mean the most to me."

After pausing for a little more of my lunch, I continued my story. I said, "After the dove flew away, I felt something I haven't felt in a long time. I felt refreshed and full of energy. I went into the house, went up to the bedroom, took a shower, got dressed, went downstairs, then had breakfast. After breakfast, I started in the kitchen, and cleaned every room on the first floor. Then I went upstairs and cleaned every room on the second floor. I went into the laundry room and sorted laundry, then saw it was lunchtime. I was feeling hungry, so I decided to take a short break. After cleaning myself up a little, I came here to eat and to begin cleaning up my friendships."

By this time, I had finished eating. I paid my bill and walked out the door. I got into my car and started towards the house. As I was driving along, I started thinking and realized that I couldn't remember the last time I had done any real grocery shopping. I decided to stop at the grocery store on my way home. By the time I got home, the backseat and the trunk were full of bags. It took several trips to get everything inside and onto the island. I put the frozen items into the chest freezer and the freezer side of the refrigerator/freezer. I also put the food away that belonged in the refrigerator. 

Afterwards, I went in the laundry room and put the curtains into the washing machine. Then I went back into the kitchen and put the rest of the groceries away. After the groceries were all put away and the kitchen was tidied up, I went out onto the back porch. I swept the back porch, cleaned the cobwebs from the corners, and dusted the furniture. I then carefully tended the plants. By this time, the washer was finished, so I went into the house. I went into the laundry room, took the curtains out of the washer and put them in the dryer. I put the sheets and pillowcases  into the washer and started both machines. 

I went outside and swept the patio as well as the outdoor shower. After that, I went back inside and went into the living room. I picked up the mail off the coffee table and went out to the breakfast nook. I sat down and sorted the mail. I threw the junk mail in the kitchen garbage can and left the bills on the table. I went into the laundry room and took the curtains out of the dryer. I put the sheets and pillowcases into the dryer, the towels in the washer, and started both machines.  

Starting in the kitchen, I went from room to room hanging curtains where they were belonged. When I came back downstairs, I had three checkbooks in my hand - yours, mine, and ours. I sat down at the breakfast nook and balanced the three checkbooks. I then paid all the bills that needed to be paid. Fortunately, I had kept up-to-date on the bills so it didn't take long. When I was finished, I put the bills on the end table closest to the door so that I wouldn't be able to forget them the next time I headed out the door, then put the checkbooks back upstairs in the bedroom. Since I had a little time until the washer and dryer were finished, I took some fresh sheets and pillowcases out of the linen closet and made both beds.

By this time, the washer and dryer were finished so I took the sheets out of the dryer and put the towels in. I then put the light colored clothes in the washer and started both machines. I folded the sheets and pillowcases, then put them in the linen closet. I took the broom and swept the half bathroom floor downstairs and all three bathroom floors upstairs. Then starting with the bathroom in our room, I mopped all three of the upstairs bathroom floors. I then mopped the half bathroom floor downstairs. 

Once again, I emptied the bucket into the laundry room sink and rinsed it and the mop out before leaving the mop in the sink to dry. By this time, the washer and dryer were finished. I took the towels out of the dryer and put the light colored clothes in. I put the dark colored clothes into the washer and started both machines. I put clean towels in the kitchen as well as all the bathrooms. I put the rest of the clean towels into the linen closet. 

I went outside and washed the outside of all the windows on the first floor. The windows on the second floor all tilted in, so I had already washed the outside of those windows. When I was finished, I emptied the bucket into the laundry room sink and rinsed it out for the last time and left it in the sink to drain. I took the broom and went back outside. I swept the front porch and the sidewalk. I went back inside and put the broom away. 

I took the light colored clothes out of the dryer and put the dark colored clothes in and started it. I put the light colored clothes away. Then, for the first time since I had finished breakfast, I realized I didn't have anything to do except wait for the dryer to get done. As I was about to sit down on the sofa, I thought of one thing I could do. I went into the kitchen and found all the hard liquor. I poured it all down the sink. I then opened the refrigerator and removed the last six-pack of beer. These I also poured down the drain. I figured that once I had my life under control a little better, I'd start buying beer again. But for now, keeping it around the house might be too much of a temptation. 

Standing at the sink, I made a decision. I knew that, even without having any alcohol in the house, there might be times I'd be tempted to start drinking again. I needed to set up a support system - people I could call day or night to talk to when I felt the urge. I figured I'd ask Huggy, Dobey, maybe Simmons and Babcock.