Tribute to Whom Tribute is Due

Chapter 2

Later that evening, Tony pulled into a parking lot and stared worryingly at the building in front of him for several minutes before finally taking his keys out of the ignition. He checked himself out in the mirror under the visor, observing his own disheveled, worn down image, then after doing so he got out, slowly walked toward the building, and stepped inside, up to the counter.

He spoke up first to a young woman who appeared to work there saying softly, "Good evening, miss. I was hoping to speak with someone about getting checked in here."

She looked Tony over and then replied, "I can go ahead and get some paperwork for you to fill out, while I go and get my supervisor and part owner of The Good Hope Institute. What can I tell Dr. Woolsey your name is?"

"I'm Connor; Connor Bacic," the agent responded as he fidgeted in order to appear as a drug addict looking for help. "I'd appreciate that."

"I'll be right back then," she answered sweetly as she handed Tony some papers and a pen and then left the building's main lobby to find the doctor in charge.

Tony took the paperwork, but instead of getting started on them, he looked around as he observed a few of the other patients in the room as a couple of them were doing chores and others were just sitting down on the couch as they talked amongst themselves or watched television, then said softly to himself, "This is without doubt the stupidest thing I've ever done."

It wasn't long before the young woman and one of the clinic's doctors came back out as the man reached his right hand out to Tony, while he said, "Mr. Bacic, my name is Dr. Robert Woolsey. Jenna here informs me you're here tonight looking to check in?"

"That's right," he replied. "You can call me Connor."

"All right, Connor, while you fill these out, I'd like to learn a little about why you've come here," the man responded as he guided tony over to a few chairs and invited him to take a seat beside him. "How long have you been using and what kind of drugs are we talking about here?"

Tony continued to act nervously as he began to write while he answered, "It's been several years; twenty-something I suppose. I've used all kinds; antidepressants, ecstasy, heroine, amphetamines, though never shot the drugs into my system using needles… Just looking for the right mix to help solve my needs at the current times I've been at my worst. My whole life has been a mess, but to tell you the truth, it was only recently that I've hit rock bottom."

The doctor nodded, then cut Tony off as he stood up, then replied, "All right, that'll be enough for now. I'd like to get to know you better, but it would be better if we did so in a more private setting I think. I think we can definitely accommodate you and work together to help to get you healthy again and back on your feet. While Jenna helps to get you settled into your room, I'll go and have a chat with my partner, Doctor Emmett Gisborne. Then, tomorrow we'll get started. Does that sound goo to you?"

"That sounds fine, doc," Tony responded gloomily as he finished writing and handed his paperwork back to the man above him. "I'm not exactly sure what you can do for me, but seeing as I've never had anyone ever try to help me before, I figured coming here couldn't help."

"We can do a lot for you here, Connor," Woolsey answered as he quickly skimmed over the papers in his hands. "I can't help, but notice that you didn't put down an emergency contact."

Jenna came over and motioned for Tony to follow her as he looked back toward the doctor and replied, "I didn't because I don't have anyone to contact. I'm all alone."

The doctor looked at him sympathetically and then responded, "We'll get you the help you're looking for and you'll learn to feel much better about yourself."

Once Jenna walked him into his room, Tony looked around and suddenly felt very uncomfortable, not that he wasn't the moment he stepped into that place, but he felt as if the four walls of that very small room were about to close in on him. After a few minutes, Tony's cell phone inside his jacket pocket began to ring and when he looked at the caller id, he saw that it was his boss calling, then noticed a couple more missed calls, mostly from Gibbs, as well as a few from McGee. He was about to place the phone down on the nightstand beside his bed, when Jenna reached out and took it from his hands.

"I'm afraid that cell phones and other personal items, unless approved by the doctors, are permitted while you're here," she said sweetly. "I'll have to insist on taking your car keys as well as your wallet too. They'll be put in safe keeping for you, I promise. If you need to purchase anything at the grocer's next door, we'll hand it back to you, then put it away again."

"Sure thing," he answered as he handed these items over to her, then took a seat on his bed. "Thank you, Jenna. I'll see you later?"

She smiled at him and replied, "I'll actually be getting off soon, but I'll be back the day after tomorrow. I believe Amanda will be coming in tonight and then it's Monika in the morning."

Tony nodded, then responded, "I suppose I'll see you then. Goodnight."

"Goodnight," Jenna said and then walked out of the room, leaving Tony alone to collect his thoughts.

"Yes, definitely the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life," he said, again to himself. "Gibbs is going to kill me when he finds out about this, that is if whatever's going on here doesn't kill me first."

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