“My first time was with a cat,” Craig said into the circle of cheap folding chairs, cigarette smoke hissing out to the last word. “I had to work my way up to people. It’s easier, to start with animals. Simpler.
“Cats, though. Cats are hard. I had trouble finding the right moment, at first.” He took another drag, looking up to steady the florescent lights on the ceiling above their heads. “I didn’t even start with a pet of my own, just some cat almost as good as roadkill. But it still worked, still happened. After that, there was no turning back.”
“Well said, “Bob said. “Everyone, give Craig a hand.”
A few half-hearted golf claps filled the stagnant air.
“We have a a new member here today,” Bob added, as if the filling of the last chair hadn’t been obvious. “Everyone, this is Cheryl.”
“HI Cheryl,” everyone said.
“Before we begin on today’s progress reports, perhaps you can tell us the first time you raised the dead?” Bob said.
Cheryl was a too-thin quiet girl, all goth without makeup, her face pale with dark hair hanging down to her waist. “I just find it hard to believe,” she said in a voice made rough by years of drinking.”
Craig laughed sharply. “Sorry, not at you. I get it, most of us do. It’s not often you find anonymous AA style things for raising the dead. It’s a horrible habit, though: where do you stop, once you start?”
“Who dies that doesn’t deserve to live?” Bob said smoothly into the silence. “That is the question that haunts our waking hours, and most of our sleeping ones. But first, who brought the cookies?”