Three excerpts from 2017 short story: “New Prescription”

Here’s a few excerpts from a new story entitled “New Prescription.” The story is told from a ranty, unreliable narrator and is full of black humor, paranoia and confusion, a familiar psychic gumbo for me. For Gene, the story’s main character, life is unknowable, reality is fluid, the fix is in, and you never get what you bargained for. Here are the first few paragraphs, and then two other slices. Please to injoy.

Gene shook awake gasping, gulping air. After a few breaths and some quavering head shakes, he noticed his arms stuck straight out in front of him, fingers splayed. He lowered his arms, surprised to find himself on the couch next to Jeane, his wife, Magnum P.I. on the TV. She stared unfazed at the screen. She was used to his sleep apnea, felt it best to pretend these episodes didn’t happen, didn’t want to embarrass him. He looked at his phone: after midnight, but he needed something from the drug store.
“Need to go to Gud Drugs real quick, honey,” he said.
“I’ll come,” Jeane offered, looking over at him. “On the hunt for the new Dark Chocolate flavored DROP lip gloss, supposed to be out now.” DROP was her favorite, the exotic flavors hard to find, but she’d had good luck at Gud Drugs.
Gene shrugged and without standing grabbed the keys from the end table, thinking it would signal her to begin her getting ready ritual. Instead she stood up without running to the bathroom, and smiled her wan, sad smile, her dirty brown hair up in messy pig tail. Gene sort of tisked and chuckled at once, pushed off the couch with a groan and moved toward the door. Jeane followed in her adult Onesie, raising the rabbit ear hoodie onto her head, and sliding her feet into Teddy Bear Slippers waiting near the door. From the coat rack she grabbed a pink feather boa and wrapped it around her neck. He was still wearing his uniform. “Girl’s gotta represent,” she said. Gene half turned and nodded, sleepy, foggy.

As Gene parked the old chicken noodle soup colored Corolla, oversized tires of a tank like Rent-a-Cop SUV crunched on the lot’s perimeter. Outside the parking lot a light rail car ground to a gliding metallic stop and booming bass thumped from a black sports car streaking past. The Police helicopter’s blades chopped in the distance.
The drugstore glowed a sickly fluorescent, a jumbo-sized human aquarium. Cars dotted the parking lot. Fellow residents of limbo sat shadowy behind car windows, some lit with the artificial glow of devices, others staring into space, dreaming of static or bed. Best not to look too hard, Gene thought. He couldn’t see that well, anyway.

When they arrived at the pharmacy there were five registers, one attendant and seven people in line. The buzzer for the drive thru window buzzed continually, another broken horn. We live inside the husk of a once better place, thought Gene.
At the counter stood a rail thin vagabond in a greasy, holey hoodie. ““Naloxone nasal spray.” the pharmacy tech said, “$64.39.”
All Gene could see from behind was the back of the raised hood, holes in the ass pockets of the person’s jeans and their filthy, shaking right hand balled into a fist. Is that a boy or a girl? Gene wondered, defaulting to the male. The person’s hand, patches of translucent skin showing through grime, opened and a few balled bills rolled onto the counter. The pharmacy technician started un-crumpling the money. The scuzzy hand furtively darted into the mouth of a cookie monster stuffed animal he carried, into the matted plush toy’s guts. The hand came up with a few coins, most of them stuck together, as if the cookie monster were some friendly, money yielding piñata. By this method, it took forever to build a big enough pile of sticky coins to have enough.



~ by 15wattLasVegas on June 17, 2017.

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