Eddie Fullbright sat in the doctor's office waiting room, restless. He had on three-day-old unwashed chino pants and a white wifebeater. His face was masked in three-day-old beard stubble; it looked sweaty and nervous.

"Mr Fullbright?" the large nurse had called his name.

She guided him into a small white room and strapped the bloodpressure cuff against his arm and then she said, "Oh my gawd; yours is astronomically high... I will go get Dr. Winslow."

Dr. Winslow looked younger than Eddie even. Eddie was only twenty-seven but the three-day-old beard growth had made him look older and more masculine.

"Eddie," Dr. Winslow said warily. "What can I do for you?"

"Oh I'm in pain."

"Is that so?"

"Yeah. My right arm. Carpal tunnel, I believe."

Dr. Winslow had tapped on Eddie's right arm with his splayed fingertips. "Can you feel this?"

Shit, Eddie thought. Wily bastard. Should I tell him it hurts or that I can't feel anything? Shit. I'll go with hurting.

"Oh yes. The pain is excruiciating."

Dr. Winslow nodded and then he scribbled onto a little white note.

"The best treatment for carpal tunnel, Mr. Fullbright, is Ibuprophen. An anti-inflamitory. I am also going to recommend you wear an arm brace."

"Ibuprophen? Don't you think I should get something a little stronger. Like Vicodin, or, ahem," Eddie coughed into his hand and then looked at Dr. Winslow innocently enough, "Percocet?"

"No, Mr. Fullbright. I don't believe that would be necessary. Both those drugs you described come from a pharmacutical family called opiates, which are highly addicting. Further, they are prescribed to numb extreme pain and, unlike the Ibuprophen, they do not reduce swelling."

"How high do you rate Ibuoprophen as a pain killer/reliever? I ask because I write for the East Mountain Courier and my fingers have to be nice and numb to work the keyboard."

Dr. Winslow smiled to himself knowingly and then he said, "Oh, Mr. Fullbright. It's as good for numbing pain, if not better, than opiates. It just doesn't get you high."

Eddie took a good look at Dr. Winslow for the first time. He was much shorter and thinner than Eddie. Eddie had started to consider whether or not it would be wise to seize Dr. Winslow by the neck and threaten him for the prescription at knifepoint. Look at those ropey arms. There is no way they could break free of my grip. I bet that slim little Dookie Houser-looking sonofabitch doesn't bench press a hundred pounds every two days like I do. But what if he knows Karate? It's always the shortest people that know karate....

Eddie decided against it. The pros had not outweighed the cons. He shook the doctor's hand and then he cradled his own right arm when walking out for dramatic effect. Maybe next time the little prick will come to his senses and prescribe Eddie with what he needs.

It was partly true what Eddie told the doctor--he did need the opiates for work. But not on account of any actual pain. After having surgery on his knee the year before Eddie was prescribed the highest dosage prescribable of Percocet. He found it had somehow made his writing smoother than it had ever been before. But just last week his primary doctor had stopped prescribing it for him--"Your knee is fine, son," he told him.

Doctors. They knew everything, he thought wryly. Well, there was only one thing he could do to stop the withdrawals. The merciless diaherra. The pounding headaches. The constant nausea. As well as the total lack of energy. He knew the plan was not foolproof but it was so far the only plan left.

He had put off doing it all week.

He drove to Maddison's Male Strip Club.  Inside there were a bevy of women in chairs and in standing room; onstage a guy in mutiliated leather and nippe-rings was dry-humping the air.

Shit. I hope nobody recognizes me here. Gossip spreads fast in this town...

The crowd was reaching for the man as he made love to the air. Eddie scanned the tables. No, too young. No, old, but not old enough. Bingo.

There was a woman of about seventy-five sitting alone in the corner, clapping her hands lustfully to the music and the debaucherous spectacle onstage in front of her.

As Eddie approached her table he saw her sipping a bottle of Miller High Life.

"Is this seat taken?" He shot her an incredibly flirtatious smile. She looked at him, smiling.

"Not at all, hun." She spoke in a Southern drawl which might have been attractive when Kennedy was president.

Well, he thought, better get this over with.

"I think you're pretty. What say you and I go someplace private. You got a pad?"

"A what?"

"A pad, like, an apartment. A house. Etc."

*   *   *

Together they walked holding hands in the rest home. Before they hit the musty-smelling corridors that lead to her room the large security guard had stopped them.

"It's okay, Orville. This here is my grandson."

When they got inside her room she shoved her tongue down deep inside his throat. The thought occurred to him to bolt but he had decided to be a man and tough it out. Her sparse white whiskers had tickled his face. He laughed. "Shush, you," the old woman had said, tickling his chest. "What about her?" Eddie pointed at the lady lying wide awake in the bed beside the one they were now wrestling on. "Oh that's Reba. She's crazy. Don't mind her. Nobody believes what she sees anyway."

It wasn't as bad as Eddie imagined.

He just clamped his eyes shut and though pretty thoughts for two minutes or so and then they were finished. When he heard her snoring about a half hour later he tiptoed into the bathroom and searched the medicine cabinet.

BINGO, Percocet and Hydrocodone. It really was Christmas after all.

He stashed both pill bottles into his left and right pants pockets. He was not sure who they belonged to: The hefer he'd just had sex with or the bat-shit-crazy roomate; nor did he care. The important thing was he had them.

He daubed the toothpaste from the sinktop on his index finger and then he scrubbed his teeth furiously.

Then he walked out of the room then past the musty-smelling corridors.

"Did you have a good visit with your granny?" the guard had smiled wholesomely.

"Oh, yeah," Eddie responded.


Copyright: © 2011 Jack Bristow


Jack Bristow, an all-out weirdo from New Mexico, has written for several online magazines and even one print one. Follow him: @Jackbristo

1 comment:

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