As Is: (Idiom)
(i) In the state that something is in at the present time.
(ii) In the existing circumstances, without covenants or warranties.
Yes, that’s right.
That’s what it was called.
It was the only thing that worked whenever I had those…those…episodes.
I haven’t had one in a long time, and I thank my stars constantly that those horrible days are long gone, but if I don’t do something about my resurging anxiety and restlessness right now, I have a horrible gut feeling that I’m going to end up spiralling down that horrific road again.
And that’s something I absolutely refuse to do.
Especially since my father isn’t here anymore…
I feel the telling tightening in my chest as I think of him, and more so, his absence. Even when I do all I can to push his memory aside, it always feels like I’m waking up and losing him all over again, reliving the experience each and every day since it happened. That void will probably never go away, I realize. They say bereavement gets easier with time but it doesn’t. At least not for me.
God, I really don’t want to think about him anymore right now.
“I need Xenfromine,” I hear myself say after what could be a dragonfly’s life span despite the loud and distracting throbbing going on in my head.
A noticeable pause ensues. Regaining my focus, I look up to see Mr. Thomas staring me squarely in the eyes, his head slightly cocked to the side with what I can only assume is confusion. Two seconds later, he bursts out laughing loudly, clearly amused by what I just said. However, all his laughter quickly ceases when I don’t join him, maintaining a neutral expression.
He obviously thought I was joking.
“You must have the name confused,” he says. “I think you meant Zenophryl, the light-weight endorphin stimulator. The one in the purple packaging?” He looks at me expectantly, clearly waiting for me to agree with him. He obviously also thinks I have absolutely no clue of what I’m talking about.
He’s really starting to frustrate me, and the irritation shows itself in my tone. “No. I meant exactly what I said. Xenfromine.”
A somewhat startled expression runs across his face, quickly morphing into an apprehensive, almost angry one.
“Ma’am,” he begins, “I don’t know where you got your information from, but Xenfromine is a very potent, prescription-only drug with very serious side-effects. It’s not even used for stress-related illnesses.” He becomes pretty defensive, almost as if he feels like I’m challenging his pharmaceutical knowledge and expertise and is annoyed by it. “It’s prescribed for patients with severe schizophrenia,” he continues. “In fact, its risks for adverse side-effects are so great that it’s been banned in most of Europe. There’s no way you can get a drug like that without a doctor’s prescription, and even then…” He keeps going on and on and on and on, giving me a boat load of statistics and stating ingredients and potential dangers of the drug in question.
And…I lose my patience.
Oh, my fucking God! I really wish you would shut the hell up and just give me the damn thing already!
But he obviously isn’t going to do either.
I sigh, resigning myself to just going home and dealing with my issues on my own instead of wasting more time here listening to this professional rambler try to lecture me—all to stroke his bruised ego—while he bucks his chest arrogantly.
I’m about to turn and leave when he abruptly stops talking mid-sentence. He freezes, and for several seconds, he literally looks like a mannequin, unmoving, unblinking. Perfectly still. Then, abruptly, his pupils begin to dilate, expanding and spreading to almost fully cover his gray irises.
Oh, my God…
The very first thing that pops in my mind is he’s experiencing the onset of a sudden stroke or seizure.
My lips part impulsively, ready to cry out for help…but he just turns and walks away, going back into the storage room.
He emerges a moment later—with what I immediately recognize as Xenfromine in his hand.
He just stares at me, not blinking even once as he hands it to me.
Just like that.
Without saying anything.
There’s absolute silence. All I can do is look at him like he’s just lost his damned mind, staring back in disbelief and confusion; two emotions I never seem to get a break from recently.
Suddenly, his lips move again, and I realize he’s saying something.
My eyebrows draw closer as he mouths it again. “What?” I frown, leaning in closer to hear whatever it is he’s trying to tell me.
“As…is,” I hear him say, the words escaping his lips in an unsettling whisper. “As…is,” he repeats once more, his eerily dilated pupils still locked onto mine. An unnerving chill slithers down my spine as a horrible feeling settles in my gut.
Just a moment ago, he was adamantly lecturing me about the dangers of this drug, and now he’s just handing it to me while only managing to get out two words that don’t even make sense?
This…this is just not right.
And in the next several seconds, I witness just how “not right” it really is when he nonchalantly walks back behind the counter, stands next to another pharmacist who’s ringing up a customer, reaches into his mouth…
And rips his own tongue out with his bare hand.
I stay frozen in place, paralyzed.
I can’t even think.
I…I want to scream, but I can’t seem to do that, either. My lips refuse to work, my voice strangled, stuck in my throat, as if someone poured a barrel of glue down it.
All my reflexes are dead.
My lungs seize and my heart flops as I watch the scene unfold before me.
A grotesque amount of blood-splatter instantly follows, spraying everyone and everything around him. The other pharmacist lets out this gut-wrenching, ear-deafening scream as Mr. Thomas’ lifeless body flops sideways and onto her. Atrocious amounts of blood continue to gush out of his mouth, splattering all over both their lab coats and drenching the white fabric in what I can only describe as liquid death.
I’m in shock; utter and absolute shock, and I can do nothing other than watch the ghastly scene play out in its entirety.
My hands start to tremble in a way they never have before.
They also feel oddly…wet.
I bring them up to my face impulsively, my palms facing up…and my eyes bulge in horror.
They’re completely covered in blood.
How had any of it even gotten on me from this distance? I’m standing several feet away and—
This…this can’t be happening.
I realize, in sheer, absolute horror, that there’s a trail of his blood on the floor, moving on its own somehow and rising off the ground and meandering over to where I stand.
The stream of blood flows into my palms as if it’s being pulled by some sort of magnet, drenching and staining my hands completely. It’s so dark and runny, and it smells like metal…and death.
I almost vomit.
My head pounds and my eyes sting as clarity and realization set in.
‘Oh, my fucking God, I really wish you would shut the hell up and just give me the damn thing already!’
My own previous thought keeps resounding in my head.
‘…wish you would shut the hell up…shut the hell up…shut the hell up…’
He ripped his tongue out.
He can’t talk without his tongue.
He just shut himself up.
Like I wanted him to…
This is just like Kirk’s situation.
So much worse!
This man is…dead.
My legs shake uncontrollably, my knees close to buckling, and I feel my body lurch forward involuntarily, heaving with so much force as my stomach abruptly rids itself of everything that’s in it.
I can’t stop throwing up, and I can’t stop shaking.
I don’t know how, but this man just ripped his own fucking tongue out because I got pissed and wanted him to shut up.
And, now, his blood….his blood has somehow found its way onto my hands.
His blood is on my hands.
Oh, my God…
What have I done?