Wise Up

“If this pharmacist doesn’t fill my ‘script soon, I might have to make this a murder-suicide.”

The woman in front of me looks up from her Us Weekly. “Excuse me?”

I say, “They’re moving a little slow today, aren’t they?”

She rolls her eyes and returns to her magazine.

I can hardly stand still. My birthday’s tomorrow, so I’m on a tight deadline. If I can’t make the 30 Under 30 list, I can at least join the 29 Club with an OD.

27 Club, my ex says. He dumped me months ago, but hasn’t left my mind.

I check online. Sure enough, Kurt and the others died at 27, not 29. Whatever, I think. At least I’ll die young.

29 isn’t that young, he says. I imagine a rock hitting him in the head.

*

“Next,” the pharmacist finally calls.

“Hi there,” I say, in my best customer service voice, smiling my sales smile. (I work at a bookstore.)

Worked, my ex says. You got fired last night.

I place two empty pill bottles on the counter. “I need to refill these, please.”

The pharmacist studies them, frowning. “I’m sorry, but you don’t have a refill available on the Vicodin, and the Xanax is expired.”

“Oh no,” I say, feigning surprise, but inwardly fuming. “Could you possibly call the doctor for a refill? I’m in a lot of pain. And, uh, feeling very anxious about that pain.”

I wince and rub my leg, like my knee’s the problem, instead of my life.

“You’ll have to make an appointment with your doctor,” the pharmacist says. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“You’ve called in refills for me before,” I say. “I’m sure of it.” I actually can’t remember. Maybe for my Zoloft, but that might have been CVS.

“For opiates and benzodiazepines, the doctor has to approve each refill in person.”

“But it’s a Saturday. How am I going to get a doctor’s appointment?”

“There’s an AM/PM clinic up the street, you might try there.”

I’m going to have to go full Magnolia on his ass. “How can you live with yourself?” I ask. “What if I die from pain, or have a heart attack from anxiety?”

“Sir, like I said, if you’re in pain there’s an AM/PM, or—” (he shoots daggers of skepticism) “—the ER. And as for the anxiety, I don’t think it can cause heart attacks.”

This motherfucker. I whip out my best Julianne Moore: “I come in here.. You don’t know me, know what my life is… and you have the balls, the indecency, to question me?!”

He sighs. “Julianna Marguiles, right? The pharmacy scene from that frog movie?”

“Julianne Moore,” I say. I’m kind of surprised that he knows Magnolia. Maybe they show that scene in pharmacy school.

I pick up my bottles and start to leave, then think, fuck it and get down on my knees. “I really, really, REALLY need those refills.”

“Ahem,” says a security guard, suddenly standing behind me. I rise slowly, trying not to look the audience of shoppers in their stupid Walmart eyes.

“This fucking sucks,” I say, flipping everyone off.

That was pathetic, my ex adds, helpfully.

I think, How many rocks is it going to take?

I imagine a whole avalanche crashing down onto him, with a few Magnolia frogs thrown in for good measure.

*

I’m sitting in the parking lot, looking at the shoppers. Everyone is happy except me.

No boyfriend, no job, no 30 Best Writers Under 30… not to mention the lifetime of depression.

But when’s the last time you wrote? my ex asks from beneath the rocks.

I think, Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to.

My phone dings with a text message from Chili’s: “TOMORROW’S YOUR BIRTHDAY! COME BY FOR A FREE APPETIZER.”

“Aww,” I say. “Someone remembered my birthday.”

It’s a computer, my ex says, wiping frog guts off his shirt. Besides, what happened to killing yourself?

I throw him in a rocket ship and launch him into the sun.

I can kill myself tomorrow, I think. After my fried pickles.

In outer space, my ex’s ashes smirk.