I walk into the drug store feeling a little congested. I need Claritin, the D kind, the one that decongests. There are laminated Claritin D Cards on the shelves with the other allergy stuff, the stuff that doesn’t work that’s in its boxes on the shelves that you can just pick up without any fuss and bring to a cashier, pay the kid, and be on your way.
But with this D stuff, you got to take the card and go to the pharmacy counter and say, “I need this,” and they say “how many?” And you say, “how many can I get?” I’m congested, you know, and it’s just the seasonal allergies so I want as many as I can have so I can prolong the amount of time until I have to repeat this process.
Well the most they have is a box of twenty and I say, that’s odd, you used to have them in the thirties, and they say, well, I can give you a ten and a twenty and that’s plenty fine with me. That’ll take me thru a month, and maybe I can skip a day or two and so maybe it’ll last a little longer. Like I say, I got seasonal allergies and when the pollen or mold or whatever it is that’s stuffing me up goes its natural course, I’ll be fine.
“ID please,” the lady says and I notice for the first time that she’s really just a high school kid doing a summer job and she’s following rules and I can appreciate that. Rules are what separates us from animals and happy people. Only I left the house in a hurry on account a the allergies and besides what’s the difference? I don’t carry ID because I know who I am and it’s nobody’s business what my name is and where I live. I just want to decongest.
So I tell her, “I ain’t got an ID.”
“Then I can’t give you the Claritin D,” which she slides away with her hand. “Sorry, it’s the law.”
So I grab her real gentle by the collar of her blue shirt and I say to her real low, “Make an exception, my hay fever’s killing me.” The pharmacy has lots of security cameras pointed at us but I know no one is watching, that they only have them for after the fact. She’s just a sprightly kid so I figure I can take her in fight, fair or otherwise and I guess she reaches the same conclusion and so she slides the Ds into a plastic bag.
“You gone to ring me up?” I say but she just kind a looks at me funny. I give her thirty bucks, which should cover the cost – these suckers have a lot of profit margin built in – take the bag, and exit.
I get maybe two blocks when a police car with lights flashing pulls up next to me and one of them starts getting out. He’s sporting quite the donut paunch so I figure I can outrun him so I cut between stores where there’s a stairs to a parking lot. He doesn’t chase but I see the car coming from the around the corner now. I run straight through the parking lot full tilt and if I can just cross the street, jump a small fence into that wooded park, I’ll be free of these guys. So I put it into that extra gear I got and tear across the street. The cop car accelerates and the son of a bitch hits me on the leg, just kind of wings me really, enough to roll me over the hood. But I land like I’m some kind of a stuntman and I keep running, only now I’m limping just a little. I get into the woods, and slide down a hill and over a wall and wait. I don’t hear a thing so I figure I’m in the clear.
My eyes are itching real bad and I’m stuffed up as hell, so I open the box of tens and pop a D out of the blister pack. I swallow it even though I ain’t got a thing with which to wash it down. Mission accomplished. Except it don’t look too good because I feel this warm spot on my hip and I feel it and it’s warm and wet, kind of sticky even. Taking a deep breath, I look and, yep, there’s this big gash running from my hip down the side of my leg – cut right through my 505s. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before.
I’m lightheaded and I’m figuring I’ve lost a lot of blood, otherwise I’d a been able to stand up without passing out like this. My throat’s dry too, but sitting here in this muddy puddle of my own hard earned blood, I’m grateful that my sinuses have cleared up real nice. I’m reminded of them commercials as everything starts blurring; the pretty lady playing fetch with her golden retriever in a field of tall grass and dandelions. She takes a deep breath and smiles. Thanks Claritin.