“Our Local Pharmacist”

He records his conversations. He’s collected years and years of audio correspondence with us. Lately he doles out placebos because he’s become convinced that everything is just neurosis. Cancer doesn’t exist. The lump in his throat is the spare Adam’s apple, fibrous tissues and nerves tied together with a blue ribbon, rolling through his spine to meet his tail. That tail that never wags, even when a juicy skirt strolls by. There’s no such thing as the flu. Coughs are for reminding us that he exists, like the buzz of the fluorescent, the hum of the air handler, the crunching of the weathered laminate. We have no heart conditions. Purely Freudian. The throb in his left arm is just a memory from his childhood, the errant balloon and his father pulling him back into the house, the both of them crying. The red bauble floating awkwardly into the clouds, fighting with the breeze as if to ask, Why did you leave me? Why wasn’t I enough? At night in his study he listens to the recordings. He notes the hesitations, the cold in our voices, avoidant glances, the music playing overhead. He drinks a glass of mulled wine. He points his left forefinger to his left temple. He still has a pulse.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Why I Write Essays/Articles (all) Featured Fiction New Fiction Advice / Suggestions
Sort by

Why I Write: Jim Powell

Old School Mission [for “Why I Write”] I’m writing this essay in March 2018, eleven days out of an ele
2019-09-16 23:45:09
jepowell

8

“Pen — or Pencil — For Hire”

If the unfinished manuscript in your desk drawer is anything to go by, you have succumbed on occasion to the
2019-09-13 23:43:58
learmont

8

“The Colors of Pain”

“Gut pain’s always the worst,” says the medic. I could tell him he’s right, but I want to keep my pain p
2019-09-02 10:58:28
skip

8

“Nebraska”

In 2014 tornadoes swept across the northeast corner of Nebraska, destroying the small town of Pilger. Families stood
2019-07-25 12:37:33
rlittell

8

“Doc Oils”

  Bolinas Seventies – 48 clicks by ‘Nam talk but a time warp from civilization which refugees’re ra
2019-05-22 11:14:19
gsarnat

8

Why I Write: Jim Powell

I’m writing this essay eleven days out of an eleven-day hospital stay with a COPD exacerbation, the third stark r
2019-02-06 11:30:56
jepowell

8

“If You Can Make It Across”

If you can just make it across 35
2019-01-09 09:25:45
macnostic

8

“Death of the Short Story”

The other day I was at a coffee shop with a fellow writer and we were discussing the current state of American
2018-12-19 09:24:05
g-d-mcfetridge

8

“Chekhov’s Rule”

When I first met Walker, he had a job at the tackle shop on the river and a classic early-seventies Chevy Nova,
2018-12-03 11:27:44
chiappone

8

“Summer Writing in a Tourist Town”

All my life I’ve lived in tourist towns or cities. Perhaps that is a positive
2018-09-07 12:54:52
macnostic

8

About Nina Ficenec

Nina Ficenec currently resides in the Southeastern United States with her little boy.