Tick-tock Pill Pop

by Ruth Elwood


My world is not idyllic or beautiful. It only features appointments and disappointments. They say I should not desire death, to remain living my “good” life. Merely existence, passing through greeting figures I no longer recognise.

I do not check the clocks in the morning when I rise; I know Mrs. What-do-you-call-her is my alarm. Her outbursts occur for as long as it takes me to go to the bathroom and wash my face. Then it is time. The oval one. She strides in, with that temporary smile and the all-important oval one. She says it’s for my heart, and like every other day she laughs when Mrs. What do-you-call-her tells her I have no heart at all. I swallow.

The next time I see her smile had faded slightly. The chunky blue one. My favourite. Never accompanied by enough water so I reckon one day will I choke on it. Mrs. What-do-you-call-her shouts at Mr. The-bastards-took-me-fags-out-of-my-room. I know I’ll sort it out, after “The Chase” is over. But for now I swallow.

The smile is nearly vanished when it’s time for the little red one. She comes to find me in the chapel saying what I can remember of the Angels. I’m missing the slop but I couldn’t care less. She waits for me to finish and says her own prayer. Mrs. What-do-you-call-her pretends she isn’t fond of her anymore since someone stole her rosary beads. I swallow.

After the mush, I’m in front of the box, and my stories come on. Mrs. What-do-you-call-her complains about how much bed hopping there is. The smile is gone. A pair of white spheres appears in my hand. Like a pair of diamond earrings. These mean it’s almost time for bed. I swallow.

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