Short Story – ‘Tripping’

I studied the little pills that I had balanced on the top of my guitar. The third combination in as many weeks. Doctors had told me they’d make me feel more comfortable, but…fat fucking chance. After eight years of the god damn searing pain you’d have thought they’d have come up with something to help, but apparently not. They’d probably stick me on another useless combination again tomorrow. That’s how stuff seemed to work.

I felt the coolness of my guitar as I held it to me. My gorgeous Gretsch Double Anniversary. It’d been eight long years since I played for any decent length of time. Eight. I used to play for hours, but now it just hurt too much. 
I sighed and shovelled down a handful of the latest pills that I knew would never work.

Dr Kyle Walker was one of those ‘people’ people. He enjoyed being with, talking to and being around people. He was a tallish man, kind and warm who had put a lot of hard work into getting to where he was today. He wanted to eventually become Dean of Medicine for some fancy hospital, and he was slowly climbing that ladder, making sure he had a secure foothold on every single rung. Indeed he had his dreams and aspirations…and Sean Turner as a patient.
He had been Sean’s doctor ever since the accident, and even though the man was abrasive, uncooperative and sometimes outright rude, Kyle knew that he was in pain. Sean used to be a normal, happy person. He’d had a girlfriend, nice house, even a band. He was living the life. But since the accident Sean had slowly watched everything drift away. His precious guitar was the only remnant of his lost life. And Kyle empathised. That was his thing. And he’d need to do his thing soon as Sean had an appointment later that day. Professionalism: that was the key.

“Oxymorhphone is one of the strongest narcotics that could be ideal for your pain” Kyle told Sean. “It’s not widely recommended, and there are strict guidelines and side eff…”
“Yeah yeah yeah, will it take away my pain?” Sean butted in.
“The drugs will make it much more manageable.” Kyle leaned closer. “Look, man to man, I’m not bullshitting you when I tell you these babies could give you your best shot at a pain free life, mate.”
Sean looked at him sceptically. Angrily. He’d heard this before, every time his medication was changed. Same old, same old.
“It’s my birthday tomorrow. My 40th!” Sean yelled “I want to be able to get on with my damn life without this fucking pain. I can’t even play my guitar for too long because of the fucking pain. I want it gone! So tell me, mate, will it take away my pain?”
Kyle ran his fingers through his greying hair and let out a long sigh before speaking. He was weighing up the pros and cons of his next answer.
“There’s only one way to find out.”
A pause.
Sean half smiled. “Good answer.”

The accident was more than nine years ago. Since it happened Sean just stayed at home, living off of his latest medication, microwave meals and booze. It dulled his pain.
That’s why Kyle found himself making his way down Sitka Close for the first time in over two years, with a birthday card, and six cans of Coca Cola. Sean wasn’t allowed booze on the new medication, so Kyle thought the gesture would be a funny but maybetouching one. It might show Sean life wasn’t so bad.
As he approached the ramshackle house he noticed all the lights were off. He also noticed the gruff but barely visible face staring at him from the almost pitch black window, before it moved back into the shadows. Kyle knew he wasn’t welcome here and he felt an unexpected sting of sadness and pity.
He sighed and looked at the card in his well manicured hand, then slipped it quietly through the dilapidated letter box.
“Happy birthday, Sean.” He quietly said, before turning and slowly walking away.

Happy Birthday to me.
Without opening it, I tore the card that had just landed on my doormat in two and threw it into the corner. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t sad; I just didn’t see the point. People are such fucking idiots.
I threw a couple of pills into my mouth. Then a few more as I picked up my guitar. And a few more after that.
I washed the pills down with a swig of Gin and Tonic. Hold the Tonic.
“Happy birthday to me.”

I held my guitar as I felt the drugs pump through me.
I felt a buzzing. A warmth. Or was I cold? I wasn’t sure. But I was fucking sure something was going on.
I watched as my hand formed a chord. Such an interesting shape. I liked that shape. It was truly extraordinary. The reflection bouncing from the guitar suddenly caught my attention. It was bright. Like a shiny coin. Maybe my guitar was made of money. Was it made of money? How would I know?
“Oi, are you made of money?” I screamed at the guitar. I laughed. Twat. I laughed hard.
Things were really happening now. The shape! My free hand strummed the multiplying strings as the first hand held the chord. G. It vibrated everywhere. Quiet and loud all at once. G. G is for green. Giant colours walked at me. Green. Yellow. Blue. Pushing me. Pulling me. Hugging me.
I laid back and continued to grip my chord as the body of the guitar slipped away. I wasn’t in pain. Such a nice chord. Orange. Red. Purple. Grey. Black.
I hazily realised that there’s always a way to cheat all of lifes problems. And I’d found my way.
My eyes closed. Black. My heart was pumping faster and faster and faster. I was alive! Or was I dead? Maybe I was. Who would care anyway? Guess it didn’t really matter to me. All that mattered was that one chord. G.

2 thoughts on “Short Story – ‘Tripping’

  1. raefonb says:

    The bit where he talks aloud, laughs, insults himself then laughs harder rang really true for me haha. Good write, experimental narration.

    Think I spotted a typo – “these’s always a way to cheat all of life’s problems” (there’s?)

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