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Medicine for the brain

“I can't remember the last time I felt…normal.” The sound of my voice seemed to stay hovering above my head in the little dark room. Pen to paper. More of a stabbing noise, as if he was writing furiously. Running out of time to help me. He ripped off a piece of his paper from his yellow, coffee stained notepad, and placed it gently in my outstretched Palm. His fingers touched mine. They felt cold.
I tried to ignore his eyes when they darted around the room, as if looking to make sure no one else witnessed this transaction. But why would this be necessary? It was only a piece of paper with a long pharmaceutical drug name scribbled out, hugging a sloppy signature. My supposed freedom. “This should help ease your hallucinations and paranoia, Mr. Cannon.” “Thank you…” Quiet. I'm too quiet. Why do I even speak?
“Try to get some rest,” a faint smile spreading across his lips. “Stay hydrated, and maybe look into some yoga, like I said,” he said with a chuckle. I reciprocated the action, but in a more awkward manner, chuckling softly as I stood in the doorway. “You can go straight to the pharmacy with that, Edward. Remember, it's not permanent, we just need to start looking in other places for solutions.” I stared, my head nearly grazing the top of the door frame. “Right…” That's all I could manage. “Bye, now.” He put his attention in his book, an oversized Stephen King novel.
I turned, and hastily pushed the wooden door open. I couldn't have driven faster that day; something I'd never done before, but felt necessary in the moment. I sat in my car for half an hour at the pharmacy, trying to convince myself the sliding doors wouldn't crush me as soon as I walked through them, or that the employees weren't cannibals who used the leftovers for medicine. Would I be considered a cannibal if I take the meds? The thoughts continued. Until I realized it was getting darker out, and my car was still running. People were looking at me, I'm sure my face was expressionless. I was deep in my thoughts for almost an entire hour.
I gripped the door handle tightly, and pushed myself out. Go in, give them the paper, take the meds, walk out. Go in, give them the paper, take the meds, walk out. I had to remember every step exactly. I put one leg through the door way, waiting for the glass panel to come closing on my leg, cutting it cleanly off, leaving me will a bleeding stump. I'd pick up my leg and ask someone to help me, but no one would, because my fucking leg is bleeding all over the store floor, and that's all they care about. No one wants the extra work or hours. So I'd hopped back to my car and probably wait in there until I bled out. Business as usual.
But I put my other leg through, and waited for it to happen. I clenched my eyelids shut, and waited. But nothing. People were staring, but I kept walking. Go in, give them the paper take the meds, walk out. Go in, give them the paper, take the meds, walk out. Four simple steps, you can't possibly fuck it up. I walked down the first aisle, putting my face closely to labels as if they were the most intriguing products I'd ever seen. Maybe people would assume I'm a business man, looking for good products and walking strangely because my pockets are stuffed with crisps bills. Maybe I wouldn't seem so strange then.
But I knew it never looked that way to everyone else. I could imagine the suit on my body, the piece of paper becoming heavier and turning into a briefcase with money protruding out the sides. But people still stared. I avoided the counter and walked past, seeing an older woman organizing the pharmaceuticals in large gray bins. I couldn't go just yet. We locked eyes and I hurried behind a display case of men's cologne. I grabbed one and sprayed the air, pretending to be normal. She wasn't looking anymore, and I decided to just go because the store closed in roughly fifteen minutes.
My heart accelerated as she put the medication in her hands down, and approached me. “Can I help you, sir?” What were the steps? I couldn't remember. She looked at my hand and noticed me gripping the yellow paper tightly, almost crumbling it in my grasp. “Doctor’s note?” Her voice pulled me from my thoughts. “Oh, something like that.” She took it, read it quickly, and turned to her collection of drugs. I wonder if she ever dips into those pills sometimes. I know I would. She grabbed a rather large pill bottle, and handed it to me. My hand wrapped around it, and so did hers.
“Have you ever thought about making an old woman feel young again?” I looked up, alarmed, to see her wink a frail eye at me. Those eyes so ancient, almost doll like. “Excuse me?” It was quiet, maybe too quite for her ears. “Yes?” I looked down, and her hand wasn't there anymore. In fact, she was organizing the boxes when I looked up again. “Never mind.” I hurried away, rushing out of the glass doors.
My car was sitting there still. Good. As I approached, I noticed a figure in the backseat. Black. Please, no. I cupped my hand to the Windows, looking into the dimly lit car. The figure sat, unmoving. It's chest rose and fell with careless motion as if I wasn't staring at it. I backed away quickly. It moved. Turned its head so it was looking directly at me. I turned and began walking home.
The medication sat on my kitchen counter, staring at me from across the room. I didn't want to risk it though. Counselor after counselor said my solution could be found in a tiny powdered pill, but how? How do I know my counselor isn't part of the government, trying to use me as test subject for his new concoction. Poison. “I can't,” I spoke to my empty apartment. But the words seemed to fall in front of me and go nowhere. You have to take it. But it's your fault if you die. I examined the bottle more closely, reading the ingredients and pressing my finger against the long word that I was about to digest.
Next to the long name, in bold letters, read POISON. I dropped the bottle, spilling the contents onto my floor. See what you did? “Shut up,” I muttered. I bent down to pick up the contents, but the pills were now small bugs moving across the cold tile floor. “Fuck!” I fell back. But a second glance only showed small red pills pooled in front of my feet. Don’t touch that. I was tired of this. I grabbed two pills and threw them into my mouth. Metallic taste stung my tongue, and I gagged at the thought of two tiny bugs crawling inside my stomach.
Swallow. I did. I could feel their tiny legs crawling down my dry throat into my belly. What if they lay eggs? It’s your own fault, remember? I lied down, pressing my back to the cold. They can’t be alive. Look at the bottle, moron. “Shut the fuck up…” His voice is always so angry. Why is he so fucking angry? I imagine an old war vet sitting in a rocking chair in my brain, with a smug expression. Always distaste and rude comments, much like a real life one.
I just wanted to sleep. But the voices keep me awake most of the time. He kept talking, speaking about some nonsensical bullshit. Something about the KKK; racist.


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  1. Date: 9/1/2017 5:40:00 PM
    You are a great story teller Tricia. Both of your short stories are amazing. Dark and real and gripping.