Epipen Noir

I couldn’t see the inanimate object, but I could hear it speak. The Epipen had a voice like an Italian mobster if you can believe that. The thing probably wore a sharkskin suit, something full of money and pizzazz. It told me who it was while parked outside the pharmacy.

My fingers hadn’t turned the key in the ignition yet. I was still in shock about the six hundred dollar Epipen cost and that I had to leave the pharmacy empty-handed. The bruises and tape marks from my hospital stay made it hurt to bend my elbows, but I gripped the steering wheel in shock nonetheless, thinking I was about to be robbed until the inanimate object clued me in to its identity. First the severe allergic reaction to some unknown crap, now this.

“I know you’ll find this hard to believe,” it said, regardless of who could hear it besides me. “But us Epipens, we’re lonely. We get around, we do, but not to everyone. You, my friend. You need me. It’s a matter of life and death with you. You don’t take my help; bad things might happen. You know what I’m saying?”

I whispered, ashamed and slightly terrified. “But I don’t have the money.”

“You hear me say anything about money? What I’m talking about is whether or not you see that beautiful son of yours again.”

I watched a line of cars waiting for a green light on Fremont. “It costs money. More money than I have. It’s hopeless.”

“Ain’t nothing in life free, my friend. You want to see your son graduate from college someday? You get protection. My protection.”

“How?”

“What do I look like, a fortune teller? That’s for you to figure out.”

There were so many nice cars out there on Fremont. Sunshine gleamed from them: jaguars, BMWs, a black Mercedes; so nice. “A side job? Beg someone for money? Start a Go Fund Me or something? The hospital said I need one right away. There’s just no way to do it. What if the same thing happens before I can afford one?”

“Boo hoo hoo. Stop acting like a baby and man up. You’re an American for God’s sake.”

I wanted to tell him I hated being an American. I hated rocks and hard places. And being American, more than anything else, often meant getting used to just that. Here’s a rock. Here’s a hard place. Here’s you. But he was right. I had no choice.

“I hate you, Epipen,” was all I could manage to say.

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