Pharmacist

Based on a true story. What would you do if in Wendy’s position?

 

The doorbell rang, in what Wendy judged to be a curious tone. The pharmacy she practiced at was closed for the evening, and having offered to finish up a few miscellaneous tasks she sent every other employee home. Walking to the front of the building she opened the door to greet a man of average looks and dress. “Can I help you?” She asked.

“Light?

“Excuse me?”

“Light?” He held up a cigarette.

“I’m sorry, I don’t smoke.”

“Lighter?”

“I don’t have one,”

The man looked up and down Wendy’s short stature and what it was clothed in. “Is this a pharmacy?”

“We’re not open to the public.” Wendy droned.

“I need a lighter.” The man insisted.

“I can’t help you with that.” Wendy pressed.

“Can I come in?” Standing on his toes the visitor peered over Wendy’s shoulder, definitely curious.

“No, this is a private pharmacy. We don’t welcome walk-ins.” Wendy closed the door an inch.

“Yeah, but I just need a -” The door shut on the man’s words; Wendy couldn’t find it within herself to humor trivial matters this late in the day. The doorbell rang again. Sighing, she opened the door. “Do you have a Band-Aid?” The same man greeted her with a different question.

“Yes,” Wendy said.

The man perked up. “Can I have one?” Taking a step forward he tried to walk past her. Wendy widened her stance to block his way. “No, you cannot have one. Nor can you buy one. This is a private pharmacy. We do not accept walk-ins. We are in fact closed for the day. Have a good night.” She moved to shut the door in the man’s face once more.

The man grabbed the edge of the door. “I need some needles.”

“You probably do.” Wendy reasoned.

“It’s for my grandma,” the man quickly added. “She’s diabetic.”

“What size needle does she use?” The man looked away, unable to answer. Because he had no answer. Such a situation Wendy knew existed and had lived through before. “One minute.” Shutting the door she walked to the back of the pharmacy where boxes of insulin needles waited to be used. Taking down a box of the kind the man needed she walked back to the door. He was still there, antsy as ever. Wordlessly she handed him the needles.

“Thank you,” the man said just before she closed the door for good. Whichever was the lesser of two evils Wendy did not know, but she knew she did not sleep any easier at night because of all the good deeds she did and she did not sleep any less for all the questionable ones. Giving an addict free needles fell somewhere in-between. Returning to her desk Wendy went back to business as usual and hoped in the back of her mind that if grandma did exist, she would see at least one of the needles she needed.  

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Little Red Wolf

Once upon a time there was a little girl in a red cape. She visited her grandmother regularly, who lived in the woods and stubbornly refused to move to town, bringing her various food stuffs her mother had baked. One morning she found a trip was called for and the little girl set out through the woods carrying a heavy basket over her shoulder, stamping over the ground in the early morning light.

“Hey,” a voice came from a nearby cluster of leaves. The sudden noise startled the girl and she dropped the basket, spilling the food over the ground. “Hey, little girl,” the same voice came from over her shoulder. Spinning on her heels the girl came face to face with a man, great in stature and presence. Grinning, his sharp teeth filled her vision and caused a shiver to run up her spine.

“Who are you?” She asked, clutching her red cape around her shoulders against the sudden chill.

“Just a guy looking for some fun…” he trailed his eyes up and down her figure. “Where are you heading?”

“To my grandmother’s house,” setting her jaw the girl bent down to pick up the dropped food. The man knelt next to her.

“To grandma’s?” He said, following her every move. “That sounds promising.”

The girl huffed. “If you don’t mind I’d like it if you moved on.”

“Move on to where? I’m a bit of a loner you see,” he said in a sorrowful tone. “So I’d like to keep you as company.” Watching the girl pick up a block of cheese he reached out and took it from her, swallowing it whole.

Huffing again the girl stood, taking the basket with what food she’d gathered. Trudging on it wasn’t long before she heard the heavy footfalls of the man catching up to her. “Was it something I said?” He smile as he put his arm around her shoulder.

“Please don’t touch me.” Out of fear to have, the girl now simply found the man annoying. He chatted the rest of the walk until, standing before her grandmother’s front door, she turned to him. “Leave me alone,” she shouted. Stomping her foot she shoved him away.

“Aww, don’t say that. I’m sure your grandma will love me.”

“Where did you even come from?” Sighing, she rang the door bell.

“Over the river. I’m glad I found you.”

“Just please don’t eat my grandma; she’s quite old and doesn’t have much meat on her bones.”

“I won’t eat your grandma, but I can’t say the same for you. You’re so cute!” He reached out and pinched her cheeks as the front door opened, revealing an elderly woman dressed as a tablecloth.

“Grandma,” the girl sounded less than enthused.

“Who is this?” The elderly woman looked up at the tall man standing next to her granddaughter with wide eyes.

“I don’t know.”

“I found her in the woods.” He grinned. “She was lost.”

“I was not.”

The woman looked between the two and smiled. “You finally have a boyfriend!” She exclaimed. Inviting the two inside she set out milk and cookies, expecting to hear all about their first meeting and future plans together.  

Divine Justice

“I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go.”

“I’m sorry?” Pat leaned forward in her seat, not quite sure if she’d heard her boss correctly. The past month had been a stressful one, constant rumors concerning layoffs within the company she’d worked five years for running the circuit. Pat had held out hope history still meant something when it came to big companies and budgetary cuts, but…

“Yeah,” her boss said, scrunching his eyebrows together uncomfortably. “The economy being what it is, plus with the new healthcare and all, we really just can’t afford it.”

“Workers or healthcare?” Pat asked.

“Both. But look on the bright side,” he swung from side to side in his chair. “You have that other job at your church.”

“I’m a deacon.” Pat said slowly, hoping he would understand.

“That’s right,” he nodded. “At least you’ll still have income from that.” Her boss smiled brightly. Pat stared across the desk at him. She opened her mouth and then closed it. She didn’t have the fight left in her to correct him that no, the church did not pay her for anything. “You have until closing today to clean out your office. We wish you the best of luck.”

Pat sat the rest of the day staring blankly at her computer screen. The usual questions and scenarios fluttered through her mind. This was not the first time she had been let go, not the first time she’d suddenly found herself without a job or income. Straightening in her chair she dashed all dark thoughts from her mind. She was too old for such drama. Picking up her phone she dialed the unemployment office and waited. The quicker she began the process, the less time she would have to live in it.

Later that night found Pat at her church; it felt right finding solace in her fellow man during difficult times.

“And I said, retire at 65? Why do I have to wait so long? Other people are retiring at 60!”

Pat looked at Mr. Pink, a man part of her congregation for the better part of ten years, with barely controlled contempt. The man across from her continued his rant, twenty minutes deep, of having to wait for his celebratory trip to the Bahamas to “finally start living.” As a deacon, Pat was instructed in kindness and forgiveness in all ways. As a deacon, she thought she was prepared for any vile, foul thing a person could say to cross her path with little to no affect. But even God had a temper.

Raising her hand she brought it down across Mr. Pink’s face, leaving a red mark of bitter indignation in its wake. Looking at her, he fought to keep tears from moistening the corners of his eyes. Suited him right, Pat thought. No one was going to tell her about retiring to the beach until she could do it herself.

Grandpa

Another family story. My grandpa died when I was very young but from the way my mom talked I always imagined him to be a strong man who carried responsibilities well. So when my grandma told me this story I was floored because not only did it undo what I thought of him but also because I had to face the fact I was related to that sort of tomfoolery. We all like to think our parents and grandparents were always grownup and mature, but it’s quite obvious to me now that’s just not the case; which in the long run is alright because it gives me an endless resource of the quirky things people do. Enjoy!

 

Donald ate supper quietly with his grandparents, their home his home. “Going out tonight?” His grandmother asked out of habitual need for small-talk.

“No, I worked really hard today. I’ll probably hit the sack early.” Donald said, compliantly eating the fourth plate of meatloaf and vegetable soup served that week.

“Hmm, I agree. An early night sounds good.” She said, glancing for a moment to her husband to see him nose-deep in the newspaper of the day, read five times through since the morning. Dinner concluded easily and the three bade each other a good night.

An hour later Donald heard a tap on his bedroom window. Rising from his bed, still fully dressed, he crept over and pushed the glass pane up. Looking out into the backyard he saw two slim figures, ushering him to join them. No further provocation needed Donald slipped through the window, dropping to the ground with a soft thud. Jogging to the edge of the yard he smiled at his two best friends, already heading around towards the front of the house. Like a well-oiled machine the operation clicked along; approaching his grandfather’s truck, his much beloved truck, he opened the driver’s door and climbed in. Shifting the gear to neutral Donald motioned to the others. They pushing, he steering, they moved the truck down the driveway and up the road. A safe distance away from his grandfather’s ever primed ears Donald started the truck and motioned to the others to hop in.

Driving down one country road after another the boys rowdily chatted and listened to the radio. “Hey, let’s go tipping.” One friend suggested.

“Yeah,” Donald immediately agreed, turning down another road.

“Didn’t Leona learn about your bad habits?” The other friend piped up, snickering. “She wouldn’t like it.”

“Eh, don’t worry about her. She’s my girlfriend, not yours, remember?”

Living in the country there were only so many things to keep a teenage boy entertained. Stealing onto private property to tip over outhouses was Donald’s favorite. The boys would chose at random, taking opportunities when opportune, but above all else stood on man in particular. An older bachelor, Mr. Road lived at the end of one particularly long stretched of land, far away from any other houses. It might of been his unyielding orneriness towards everything moving or their inability to let sleeping dogs lie, but for whatever reason the boys always paid him a visit when looking for trouble.

Stopping at driveway of said man Donald parked the truck and turned it off, staring down the long dark pathway. Without a word the boys jumped from their seats and crept along the fence, keeping as quiet as possible. Reaching the backyard they found what they sought; knowing it was always more fun to tip an outhouse when it was occupied the boys hid behind a cluster of bushes and waited.

A few minutes later they heard the back screen door to the house swing open and closed. Watching the dark figure of Mr. Road sleepily stumble his way to the small structure the boys waited until he firmly shut himself in before they joyfully skipped their way across the yard. Silently mouthing a countdown three pairs of hands pushed with all their might. Jumping back to see their handy-work the boys were dismayed when the house sprung right back into place, failing to tip over. Donald looked closer and saw thin bungee cords anchoring the outhouse to a nearby tree. So the old fart was learning, he thought in an awed sort of way. A moment later the outhouse door swung open and out stepped Mr. Road, shotgun in hand.               

A sound like thunder echoed over the many surrounding fields as he shot a warning into the air. Donald and his gang ducked to the ground; the sound of Mr. Road’s anger all too familiar and close. “Schomberg!” Mr. Road’s voice rang out. “You little bastard, come on out!” Turning, he spotted the three boys on the ground and raised his gun.

Taking off in a scattered line the boys ran through the yard and jumped the fence, chased by another gunshot and loud curses. Kicking up dirt the boys pealed down the gravel driveway until reaching the truck, sitting patiently where they left it. Jumping into the cab Donald fumbled with the keys while the two others kindly encouraged him. The truck roared to life and the young men drove away, limbs and life intact.

The boys leaned against the cool glass windows to catch their breaths as they drove back to Donald’s grandparents’ house. Stopping the agreed distance away from the property they turned the engine off and once again pushed it down the driveway into the yard, careful to leave it right where the ground was worn from the wear of tires.

“Same time next week?” Donald looked at his cronies. They agreed, having already forgotten the fear of buckshot. Slipping back into the house through his window Donald collapsed into bed and fell straight asleep, content with life and all it held.