Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What happens if you choose the blue pill?
A short story by Kate Toon

“What happens if you choose the blue pill?” said John.

“Stop calling it that.” Anne replied angrily.

“Well, what do you want me to call it?’ John replied.

“Viagra. V I A G R A. You can say it, it’s not a dirty word.” Anne readjusted a bra strap angrily and turned to look at herself in the mirror, which John noticed had moved from the corner, where it usually stood. It was now placed awkwardly at the end of the bed.

“I know, I know, but I’m just not sure. I’ve read bad things about this stuff.” John fingered the little pill in his hand, a small diamond-shaped thing with Pfizer stamped on the side. How did you say Pfizer? Did you pronounce the ‘P’ or was it just a ‘f’ sound? He wasn’t sure.

“Are you listening to me?” Anne brought him back to reality, with a sharp poke in the stomach. His pale, podgy, belly that had once been brown, firm and, twenty years ago, had the murmurings of a six-pack.

“No, I mean, yes. But before I do just tell me, what happens if you take it?” he asked.

“I’ve no idea, but it’s not me who needs it, is it? It’s not me who can’t deliver. I’m ready and raring to go. Just look at me.” She challenged him.

John did. Really looked at her for the first time in what seemed like, years. She sat on the bed in her underwear and a pair of high-heeled shoes. But, he realised, it wasn’t actually her underwear, which was somewhat grey and baggy, but the underwear of, hmm… how could he put it? A tart?

Not that he’d ever been to see a tart, or a prostitute, as they probably preferred to be called. Never even been to a strip club. Perhaps that was the problem.

Anne wore a black bra with red trimming, tiny knickers that bit angrily into what she called her ‘muffin top’. Stockings and suspenders, her fleshy grey thighs bulging at their restraints. Where on earth had she got this stuff? And how much had it cost? he wondered. Her face was heavily made up, a thick cover of orange that ended abruptly on her neck, garish red lipstick that had now moved ungraciously onto her teeth. Her hair carefully coifed into an elaborate pile atop her head.

She looked dreadful. Tired, used up and old. When had they become so old? He felt it, too. The age seeping into his joints. His fingers painfully stiff. His eyes blurry. Few of his teeth left to call his own. Age had overtaken them and they’d been too busy to even notice it. Anne put her finger to her mouth and bit her nails nervously, an age-old habit she couldn’t shake.

It was at that moment John realised with a sudden jolt that he loved Anne. He loved her very much. He would take the blue pill.

“Well, if you think it’ll do the trick, I’ll take the risk.” He smiled her.

“Thank goodness for that” Anne pouted, pretending to still be annoyed, but shifting now into her old playful self. The flirtatious girl he’d fallen in love with all those years ago.

He reached for a glass of water from the bedside table, popped the pill in his mouth and took a sip.

“Come here, you sexy beast.” She patted the bed beside her.

He sat down on the bed, feeling it sag a little as it strained to take his weight. They really must get a new one. One of those Posturepedic things he’d seen on the telly. Anne put her hand on his thigh.

“Everything’s going to be okay, isn’t it?” she asked nervously.

“Yes,” John replied and kissed her.

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