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People Are Strange

In the winter of 2000 I had a great job and was making the most money I had ever made in my life. The company kept me on the road a lot, and I spent a lot of time up north. I had bought myself one of those long black trench coats to keep warm, and because I thought it looked pretty cool. It was slightly out of place down here in south Alabama. I wore it anyway.

On this particular day I was treating myself to some extensive dental work. Since my schedule was so rigid and I was away so much I had to get a lot done in a little time.

dentist sign

The dental work went well. It was a major amount of work. My mouth was packed full of gauze and my whole head was numb from the anesthesia and I was a little foggy brained or addled as we say down here.

I had two prescriptions for medicine, a pain killer and an antibiotic. I had noticed on my walk into the dental office that there was a tiny little drug store three doors down and although I usually used a different druggist I decided to go ahead and get the prescriptions filled as it was so convenient.

As I walked in it dawned on me that I had forgotten my snazzy trench coat so without a word I turned right around and went back to get it.

Just as I reentered the little drug store the pharmacist dropped something and made a big crash. The lady behind the counter whooped out "Oh MY Goodness!" and ran to see about him. The pharmacist was back behind the counter, in a raised section of the floor separated by a glass wall. The clerk had to run to her left and go through a curtain to get to him. He must have met her half-way because they both stayed behind the curtain talking for a little while. They seemed a little concerned about his accident. I heard a lot of mumbling and whispering. I was hoping he wasn't hurt.

Shortly they both came to the counter to wait on me. The man was sort of holding on to the her, maybe he wasn't fully recovered. He stood right beside her while I slid the prescription over to the lady. I noticed he kept looking at the phone on the counter, they must be expecting an important call.

As she picked up the note I tried to say "I want to get this prescription filled" but it just came out as a deep garbled croak. I tried to smile and they both sort of jumped and looked at me in a strange mysterious way. I was baffled, maybe they just felt sorry for me. They both backed their way out to go get the medicine.

The cozy little store looked like it was at one time a small bank. The counter was a beautiful wooden bar. The whole width of the bar was topped with a frosted glass partition with shiny ornate brass cylinders every 3 or 4 feet. It was really a nice. I was admiring all this while they kept conversing. They seemed to be getting agitated with each other. It sounded like maybe there was something wrong with one of the serial pill numbers or something.

Finally they both came out again with the drugs. The lady rang me up and sort of tossed me the receipt. I wrote them a check and tried to hand it to her but she just gave me this wide eyed nutty look, so I just laid it on the counter.

I was thinking on my way out what a strange couple they were. They must be new at this. They were so close I thought they were probably recently married and started their own business. They sure needed to work on customer relations though.

I got in my car and as I drove past the drug store I noticed them both peeping out the window at me. I gave em a little wave but they just backed away. Strange people!


The dentist had told me not to smoke for a few hours after the dental work so I did at least wait until I was out of the parking lot. I tried to light a cigarette and found that I didn't have enough feeling in my lips to hold it properly. So I pulled over into another parking lot so I could concentrate on this dilemma.

I noticed that the cigarette was soaked with slobber. I looked down and the whole front of my coat was a bloody mess. I glanced over in the rear-view mirror and saw that I had two trails of red slime running down the sides of my mouth.

As I slouched down a bit more my whole face came into the reflection. Now I get it! The mystery is solved.

If ever there were the face of a serial killer, a monstrous maniac on the loose, a menace to society, the incarnation of the very devil himself, it was that swelled up, distorted face staring back at me in that mirror.

It was at this point that I burst out laughing. Now it all made sense. And the face only got much, much worse with a smile.

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Living the good life in Southeast Alabama, father, grandfather, cancer survivor, part-time writer, and webmaster - Read More

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