And Then

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And Then by Alex Berman - photo by Zoe Oppenheimer

Flash Fiction

Three minutes before I picked up my medicine from the pharmacy, I stopped by the cereal aisle. The rows of colorful boxes seemed endless under the bright CVS lighting. Who in the world needs this much cereal?

I picked up a box. Cheesy Pops! “A slow drift into disassociation,” the mascot promised. Serving size: one whole box. I put it in my cart.

I moseyed over to the pharmacy in the back. It was five o’clock on a Sunday. The only people there were a little old lady and I. She reminded me of my grandmother, but not quite.

I nodded at her, and she nodded at me. Polite, but no more than what was necessary. We both looked ahead toward the desk. A woman in a white doctor’s coat was puttering around in the back.

I don’t like doctors’ coats, or pharmacies really. They remind me of why I’m here.

Every time I refill my prescription at a new pharmacy, the pharmacists ask, “Dilaxoiantrone? What’s that?” and I have to tell them, “It’s new. It’s an experimental drug for retrograde amnesia.” And then they say “Dilaxoiantrone? What’s that?”

And then I finally get my stupid pill bottle, and then I walk home, and then I go to the medicine cabinet and put it next to all of the other bottles of Dilaxoiantrone, and I put my Cheesy Pops! next to all of the other boxes of Cheesy Pops!, and then I remember that I have to go refill my prescription at the pharmacy before it closes.

This piece was originally published in Blue Marble Review
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Alex Berman was born and raised in Manhattan and is a member of the class of 2023 at the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx. When not out running (preferably in the rain), Alex can usually be found drawing, writing, or reading, with a cup of tea and a cuddly kitten. Alex is also an aspiring novelist and a corduroy-pants enthusiast.
Accompanying photo: “Lift to the Dark” by Zoe Oppenheimer