Sex, Drugs, and Public Health

March 9, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbmosher @ 5:44 am

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So, I’m standing in line at the local 24 hour Stop-and-Rob, waiting behind some gum-snapping teenager to pay for my food-like products. Stuff not recommended by any Public Health officials. But I figure, if anyone asks, I can say they’re not for me and go to confession later.

Then I feel someone behind me. Not that he touches me or breathes on me, but he’s giving off a very strong – – – presence.

“Hey, Bobbie,” yells the check-out clerk over the teen-ager’s head and mine. “How you been?”

“Still alive,” the guy responds with a voice like an animal’s growl.

I’m about to turn around and be friendly, trapped as I am between the trajectories of their words. Until he finishes his thought: “no thanks to the damn DOCTORS.” He spits the last word.

He starts moving toward the counter, coming alongside me, talking directly to the counter clerk. “Doctors don’t know SHIT.”

I see him with my peripheral vision. Scruffy three-days’ beard, saliva still glistening on his lips from the words he’s spitting, his eyes narrow and predatory.

Like a snake’s.

A fog of alcohol fumes moves with him.

“DOCTORS gave my mother pills,” he seethes thru clenched teeth.

Ah. That’s what I felt when he was behind me: violence, barely contained.

“Take them pills, they said. You’ll be fine, they said.” His lips stretched out the “f” in “fine” until it sounded like a burning fuse.

It’s clear that his words and his hatred are aimed at me, but his eyes, like mine, remain fixed on the check-out clerk.

Who is his mother? Is she my patient? Or, was she?

The teenager in front is taking forever to fish out and count her nickels and pennies.

“Doctors HURT people,” the alcohol cloud blasts me again. I don’t even allow him into my peripheral vision anymore.

Maybe I should just go.

“Doctors should be KILLED.”

The teenager finally turns to leave.

“Just this,” I hold up the candy bar and can of Cheese-Whiz. I don’t want to put them on the counter, prolonging the process.

Wonder if Cheese-Whiz could function like Mace?

I give the clerk three bills and leave without my change. All the way to the door, I feel a laser boring a smoldering hole into the back of my cranium.

The door swings closed behind me, and I’m back in the community again. The community where almost everyone knows me. The community I serve. Trying to do well for everyone who comes for help. And I succeed most of the time.

But, in this business, most of the time isn’t good enuf.

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