I'll be printing the next installment of my novella, Something To Do In Bed, for the next few days. Thanks so much for reading!The Rate of Your Recovery Is Up To You
It’s the last day of 2000, and I’m buying a bottle of Stoli, some decent champagne, oil for my car because the light came on again, and a package of urinary tract infection pain relief tablets to hold me over until I go back to work and get a prescription for antibiotics on my lunch break. I confess that this is not the first time I’ve had these particular items on my shopping list. This state of affairs, unfortunately, does not bode well for the coming year -- the old idea about how what you spend New Year’s eve doing will determine how you will use your time next year. The guy behind me in line reeks of cheap beer and has fashioned a hanky emblazoned with a faded Confederate flag around his head. There are two people working the counter, the line inching forward at a slow rate while people fumble for their coupons and CVS cards, and Confederate Hanky Man mumbles behind me, talking the air or to me, I can’t tell.
I feel as if I’m going to scream since all I want to do is rip open the pack of tablets, take a few so the burning will cease. I continue to stand, calm and bland, while I think how nice it would feel to take a knife to something or someone. The only thing that makes my misery bearable is what makes all misery bearable, the fact that it will end, that the pain will be dealt with, that soon the infection itself will go away. I would take a deep breath to calm myself, if not for the rancid odor in the air.
Confederate Hanky Man gets the male Indian clerk who refuses to sell him beer because he’s drunk, a stupid rule if there ever was one because who else would buy beer that nasty? There is a big security cup over the lid of Jaegermeister so no one can walk away with it, press the licorice-tasting poison into their pants and cruise.
"Sir, I am smelling beer all around you. You have been in this state in here before, and we cannot break the law."
Confederate Hanky starts to yell. "What about my fucking American rights? Do you know what that means?"
The black woman’s counter opens, and I put my stuff down, looking at my choices as if I weren’t me and thinking how pathetic it all must seem -- the oil, the champagne, the pills. Hanky Man continues to carry on and the clerk asks for my id for the champagne. I need to get outside, take the pills, put the oil in my car, and get home before the predicted blizzard blows in. Already, a small hard snow has started to fall.
I get outside, pop the pills out of their blister packs, feeling better just knowing relief is on its way, and put gloves on to deal with my car, a Polynesian metallic green Geo Storm, the one thing I got from my divorce. It’s paid off, but I know that it won’t run forever, and I’ll be in a car lot soon enough, the thought of which makes me squirm.
As I’m putting the oil into my car, Confederate Hanky Man leaves CVS, beer and Jaeger in hand. Apparently, his rights got him what he wanted. I see him lurching toward my car and will the oil to go in faster.
"You let things get that bad, huh?" CHM says.
I smile with my teeth. "Yeah, nearly let it die." Years of social work has prepared me for these discussions.
"That’s pretty fucking irresponsible," he says, popping open a beer.
Opening the second bottle of oil, I give Hanky Man a look meant to convey deep hatred which he seems to mistake for lust.
"You know, you’re a real pretty girl. Too bad you’re infected," Hanky says, obviously not drunk enough not to notice my purchases. I let the oil run into the car until only about a fourth of the bottle is left, and I take it off the car and throw it on him.
"What the fuck?" he yells. I close the hood and get into my car. As I drive away, I can hear him yelling cunt, the storm obscuring my view of him and his oil-doused head. My mother would be appalled; she is unfailingly polite to everyone, no matter what. She didn’t believe that being sick made acting poorly acceptable.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. " Johnny Cash
Drinking novel suggestion: The Passion of Alice Stephanie Grant
Benedictions and Maledictions