I live in one of those rare towns with a generous pharmacist whose arm you do not need to twist to sell you pain pills without a prescription. My pharmacist’s name is Michael Hallberg, but everyone calls him Dr. Mikey. If you are a loyal customer and you buy all your beauty and cheese products at his pharmacy, Mikey will usually chuck a handful of extra pills into your bag, free of charge.
“How are you doing today, Lily?” he asks me when I’m there today. “How’s Dexter?”
“We’re still hoping for the best,” I say.
My boyfriend Dexter got into a car accident last week and he’s in a coma. He’s come out of it twice so far. Both times I was having sex with Dexter’s brain surgeon, Dr. Steven Passerly. Dr. Steven thinks fucking in the same room as Dexter is therapeutic.
“Strong emotions like jealousy and anger will help him return to the conscious world,” Dr. Steven tells me. “You and I are the only chance he’s got.”
Most times when I have sex with Dr. Steven, Dexter doesn’t stir at all, even when we accidentally brush up against him or when Dr. Steven puts his thumb into Dexter’s mouth and says something healing like “Too bad you can’t join us, huh?”
Today when I am having sex with Dr. Steven, Dexter wakes up.
“You’re awake!” I yell, but Dexter doesn’t say anything to me, he rips all the tubes and wires from his body and begins to punch Dr. Steven over and over in the face.
“Wait, wait!” I tell him, “I cheated on you to cure you!”
Unfortunately Dexter isn’t listening. He keeps hitting Dr. Steven in the head and then Dr. Steven falls into a coma.
“Uh-oh,” Dexter says when he realizes what he’s done. “I don’t want to go to jail.”
“It’s okay,” I tell him, “I know how to fix it.”
I push Dexter down next to Dr. Steven on the floor and start fucking Dexter. Sure enough, Dr. Steven snaps out of his coma. Unfortunately when he does he grabs a food tray and nails Dexter in the face. Dexter grabs his leg and the two of them begin to wrestle on the hospital floor.
It looked like this fight might go on for a long time so I decided to run some errands. My first stop was Dr. Mikey’s pharmacy where I bought a loaf of bread and a lavender bath bomb.
“You okay?” he asks.
“Long day,” I say.
“I hear you,” he tells me and he throws a couple of fentanyl patches into my bag because he is a rare and generous friend and pharmacist who always knows what will make things better.
John Jodzio's work has been featured in a variety of places including This American Life, McSweeney's, and One Story. He's the author of the short story collections, Knockout, Get In If You Want To Live, and If You Lived Here You’d Already Be Home. He lives in Minneapolis.