Crisis ahead; walk quickly to the pharmacy counter door; dodge the elderly woman in the scooter with a basket full of KY; try not to giggle; greet the coworkers, especially the boss; all female; swimming in pool of estrogen; head to the back; smooth out white pharmacy school smock; forgot to iron; put on smock, clip on corporate-issued nametag; backwards; look like a jackass; reattach nametag ‘Michael;’ jackass appearance decreasing; pin pink breast cancer ribbon to lapel; jackass level zero; adjust red and blue spotted bow tie; fix blue plaid shirt sleeves; outfit pops against white walls; not the standard issue uniform; adapt to bright fluorescent bulbs illuminating industrial-grade air; observe tech and pharmacist at each computer; thrust self into workflow; pick cash register; Hi there, how can I help you?; Peter Johnson, double phallic name; locate bag 1423; hand patient his prescription; he pays with a check; really?; help next person in line; patient doesn’t want want five Viagra for two-hundred bucks, understandable; put prescription back on shelf; rush over to answer ringing phone; doctor rapidly calls in a new prescription; write down directions as rapidly; appears as hieroglyphics; give to tech to translate and input; hope she knows Sanskrit; possibly owns Rosetta Stone; grab counting tray and head to filling station; listen to tech curse at terrible penmanship; I’m colorblind, what do you expect?; tech not ready for that curveball; all laugh; back to filling; count by fives relentlessly; white pills; rotten egg smell; amber vial; go counsel patient; Have you ever taken Adderall before; think patient isn’t listening; decide to test theory; Take this because purple aliens don’t wear hats; theory confirmed; wish patient well; back to filling; allergy syrup for a toddler; accurately measure prescribed amount; take a big sniff before putting elixir back; banana-grape, sounds horrid, smells delicious; head back to the register; Viagra guy has returned; perfectly willing to
pay previously unreasonable total; can now place monetary value on sex life; silently judging; high five; May I help who’s next?; middle-aged woman unreasonably angry about wait time; pregnant pharmacist quoted thirty minutes, we took twenty; confusion; fetch her prescription; bag 666, makes sense; rush back to answer phone; person wants her “subscription” renewed; definitely not a doctor calling; Vanity Fair or Cosmo?; guess incorrectly; a Vogue woman perhaps?; jackass level gaining experience points; new customer at window wants constipation advice; suggest salad and a brisk jog; patient leaves with Ex-Lax and Doritos; jackass levels up; back to register; never-ending line does not end; get people out of line; more people take their place; understand why mailmen go postal; pharmacidal, a close second; register line wraps around the aisle; I’ll help the next in line; gaunt toothless woman needs syringes for diabetic grandma, right; give her small ten pack; better meth than AIDS; help next person in line; walking welfare; half-dozen kids cling to cart; wants free birth control, not almost free; we’ve done this dance before; head to back for water break; pharmacist points out methy has returned; diabetic grandma must have all the diabetes; demands entire box o’ syringes; refuse; threatened with getting teeth knocked in; counter; I could offer you the same if the meth hadn’t beaten me to it; return to filling; plug in white overhead fan to cool off; adrenaline pumping?; no; thermostat broken; perpetual summer; help next customer; What’s your name; Tuesdae; like the Addam’s family?; that’s Wednesday; What about your last name?; Gomez; like the Addam’s family!; more filling; yellow oblong pills; smells like butterscotch popcorn, my favorite; glance out sprawling main window; corn-fed patrons stare back; queue feelings of zoo exhibitionism; tap on glass and point; role reversal; gaggle of teenage boys arrive; camouflaged NASCAR fans; I have my answer before they even ask the question; We don’t have enough extra small condoms for all of you; laughter from behind me; all coworkers, even boss; fired if otherwise; head back to
computer; type quick code medication directions; 1qDAM, funny shit; patient at window wants prescription transferred here; call other pharmacy; get put on hold; jazzy hold music; dance obnoxiously in corner; no shame; jackass level expert; or zero, unsure; point next customer to ear drops; By the ‘Eye Drops’ sign; lawsuit waiting to happen; prescription transferred, back to register; realize old lady in line has same jew-fro hairstyle; share style tips; L’Oreal works wonders for me; bald cop in line wants Sudafed; May I see your ID, please?; point out obvious irony; in the home stretch; back to filling; inhaler for a smoker; real red-blooded American solution; pharmacist barks orders; wants clock changed; climb on counter to retrieve Big Ben; Spider-Man dismount; boss called me Superman upon hiring; insulted; register again; cellphone woman unloads cartful of processed bullshit onto counter; what the fuck?; look around for conveyor belt; point out lack of conveyor belt; not in job description; question career choice; Next?; diabetic land whale needs insulin; syrup for car of frozen waffles?; I’m no Aunt Jemima; back to counseling window; embarrassed customer motions me closer; whispers problem until shouting ‘Hemorrhoids!;’ assume hearing aid died; counsel time over, fill time now; suppositories for old man yeller; shouted at me first day; suits him, asshole; baggy-eyed couple arrives at window with new prescription; probably druggies; what, no oxycodone?; seizure meds for one-year-old daughter; fill for kids, always fill for kids; especially ones with my disease; career choice validated; lunch.