Prescription for Happiness—Pandora Andre-Beatty
Prescription for Happiness
“Doctor, I don’t want to be ‘happy.’ Why does everyone say that’s what I’m supposed to want?”
“Well, Stanislav, I think they are probably worried that you are unhappy and therefore depressed. In the years I’ve been seeing you it seems that you are looking for some kind of change in your life.”
Stan shifted uncomfortably in his chair. It was true he’d been coming to see Dr. Markowitz for many years. And he wondered if his general gloom might be depression. But he hated the idea that what he was seeking was the smarmy and smug “happiness” that his sisters seemed to wish for him. The thought of their bright sunny lives filled with children and spouses and book clubs and gardening honestly made him want to gag.
“Doc, can you just write me the script for the happy pills so we can get on with our day?”
The doctor looked over the coffee table at the slump shouldered man who looked beaten by life for a long moment before reaching for his prescription pad. It almost felt like a defeat giving in to Stanislav’s request but he knew it was an easy way to get the hulking man out of his office. Handing him the slip the doctor noticed how Stanislav looked away as he tucked the paper in the inside pocket of his ratty windbreaker. Lifting his sizable bulk from the chair Stanislav lumbered to the door.
“Thanks, doc,” he said as he made his way out of the office.
Once on the street Stan considered his options. Looking up the wet street he could see the red taillights of the bus he’d jut missed. If there was no line he could get his prescription filled before the next bus came. He began walking in the direction of the pharmacy on the corner. In his mind Stan imagined the evening ahead, the bitter taste of the pill that he chewed for faster absorption, the swig of beer to wash it down, then the gentle pull of medication into a softer, thicker sense of being. He thought of his couch and yearned for the deep sense of peace he felt while lying on it in a stupor, staring at the lights from the street reflecting on the ceiling of his apartment.
Stan paused when he came to the front door of the pharmacy. He patted his coat to ensure the doctor’s paper was still safely stashed in the inside pocket. A bright flash of light followed by a loud boom jarred Stan from his reverie. Stan peered in the glass door of the pharmacy as the second flash followed by another boom came from inside. He saw a figure backing down the main aisle of the store coming towards the door Stan stood in front of. As if his mind went suddenly from slow motion to fast forward Stan realized the pharmacy was being robbed and he was directly in the path of the retreating robber who had already fired his gun twice.
Stan placed both his hands on the metal bar that spanned the glass door. He could see the robber still faced the back of the store as he neared the exit. Bracing himself, Stan felt his mind focus and a surge of energy entered his body. As the robber came to the door he finally turned his head before pushing against the glass. Stan saw the large gloved hand at eye level, glass the only thing separating him. The robbers face was hidden under a ski hat with eye and mouth holes. He could see the eyes widen in surprise and the mouth form a perfect “oh” as with all his might Stan pushed in on the door. The force of the shove crumpled the robber’s arm against the glass. The arm bones snapped just as the safety glass of the door exploded. Following through on his mighty push against the door handle Stan felt the metal frame of the door strike the head of the now collapsing robber. The body lay in a tangled heap with shiny bright cubes of glass sprinkled over it. Stan chuckled as he thought how they looked like giant grains of salt. Stepping over the inert body Stan entered the strangely silent store. Walking to the back of the store Stan carefully took out his prescription and laid it on counter. A deep sense of satisfaction filled him; he was finally happy.