He twinkled at me from across the room. He was young. He looked trustworthy. He was ginger, for God’s sake. I found myself pouring my heart out to him.

“Sometimes,” I told him, sprawled out on the seat, dabbing at my eyes, “I’m lying there on the couch, not able to think, not able to talk, not even able to breathe. I just want to die. And it goes on, and on, and I’m afraid it will never stop.”

He nodded. Stupid as it may sound, I really felt like at last I’d found someone who understood, someone who wasn’t just going to look sympathetic whilst thinking of the football or what kind of bra I was wearing or going to the pub. He was really listening. I remembered the last time I’d chanced talking about the incredible pain I was in – the listenee had wondered if I wanted a yogurt. I was at my wits’ end, lads, I really was.


“I’ve got some stuff here that might help,” he said, softly.


“All the pain will just… go away. All you have to do is ask.”

I was aghast. “Drugs? Are you talking about drugs?”

“No need to sound so negative! Whatever helps, helps. You have nothing to lose by giving it a try…”

“I really don’t think so,” I said, and I jumped up out of my seat, almost falling over myself. “I don’t want to get started on that shite. I see what it does to otherwise grand people all over this country. I read, you know.”

“You shouldn’t believe everything you read, kid.” He laughed. “Don’t be so naive. You’re in pain. This will cure it. This will make it all better.”

“You… really think so?”

“Besides, everyone else is doing it. Everyone. You don’t want to be the odd one out, do you? They don’t want you to know, the media and all that, but everyone needs a bump to get them through the day. It puts you…” he shrugged, and twinkled again, ” at a major disadvantage. Now, you don’t want that, do you? I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you this one for free. You can’t say no to that.”

I hestitated. He smiled. I could see it in his baby blues; he thought he had me. Another customer, another regular to peddle his filth to.

But then again, maybe he was right. Maybe I was outdated in my prejudices. If everyone else was doing it…

“Tell me how bad it is again,” he whispered. “How could anything that gets rid of that be so terrible? You can’t breathe, you want to die? Sounds like panic attacks to me!” He took up his biro and started scribbling. “I’ll write you a script. Seriously, anti-depressants are GREAT.”

“But doctor, they seem like… you know, a last resort. And there might be hundreds of other things wrong with me.”

“Nah, you’re depressed. Everyone’s depressed!” he waved the prescription at me. “Take it,” he said. “Taaaaaaaake it.”

I took it. I put it in my pocket. I couldn’t bring myself to fill it. Just as well, coz later on I was diagnosed with gallstones.

Fucking drug pushers, kids. They’re everywhere.

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