Pain Medicine

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“Clay, give me another whiskey.”

“You’ve had enough Gary. Go home to your family.”

“Ahhh… fuck you,” I say, stumbling off the bar stool, and out the freely swinging front door. The city street smells of trash, not much different than the bar. Clay doesn’t know my family is dead. The picture in my wallet is two decades old. The stories I tell about them are made up. Well, the stories weren’t made up a long time ago, but now they’re a front I put on to make everything seem better. Less depressing. Less suicidal. Less cowardly.

My wife was an orthopedic surgeon with fire red hair and an attitude like a samurai sword—peaceful and beautiful from one angle, calculating and deadly on the other, nothing to mess with or she might cut you in half. Suzy cut many people down to size, but never anyone that didn’t deserve it. I learned after the first time to avoid that sword. The image of her body lying in an awkward position in our suburban home with a fireman axe next to her was etched into my memory by a sharp pointy blade. The murderer tried to cut her in half with that axe. Blood spatter decorated the walls and ceiling. Drops were sprinkled about her body adorning my last memory of her.

My son, the genius savant, was at the top of every class he ever took. His smarts came from his mother’s side. Captain of the football, basketball, and soccer team. President of his class. He was open with everyone, and always wore a zipped up sweatshirt. His favorite saying was “I am all heart.” He would unzip his sweatshirt and pound his chest and repeat, “I am all heart, right here.” I found him lying face up on the kitchen floor in a round pool of his own blood, his torso split open. His dead heart exposed like the murderer knew what my son was about and wanted to take a look.

The police say he was the first to go and Suzy was soon after, around 12:45 am. The murderer was caught, tried, and executed. The lucky bastard didn’t have to live with his crimes. He didn’t have to live with the guilt. I was out with friends drinking it up when he bashed my life in, cut my soul in half, and unzipped my sanity.

Down the street the last bus of the night approaches. The door opens in front of me, waits a few seconds and then closes. I hope the night eats me for good this time. Every night swallows me whole, but somehow spits me out into the morning—sometimes behind a dumpster, and other times in the gutter, usually in a pool of urine and vomit. Fragments of memories from the night before splinter in my head, but with the same crystal clear images of my dead fucking family. Fuck, I need a drink.