Bitter Pills – by D. Z. Watt

© D.Z.  Watt

The supposed serenity that comes with age? It was really just a dullness of living long.

When Albert rolled out of bed his first impulse was to take a painkiller, his body ached from the long night without moving. But he talked himself away from it, it’d be wiser to work into the day, loosen up, let nature take its course. Not pop narcotics for every little ache and pain.

He was proud of himself for coming to this. When he was younger, pills were de rigueur. One to make you bigger, one to make you small. Wasn’t that the song?

He lumbered through his tea and porridge, then his morning read in the daily inspirations book his sister gave him last year and he’d never opened, all his life he’d scoffed at such things. Until a month ago, when he was desperate for any words that might help him out of a crisis he was in.

When he was done, Albert pushed up from his chair and walked over to the window.

All the trees had leaves now, some still just very light greens, half-bundled up. Like origami in reverse. But leaves, nonetheless. And tiny white flowers and dandelions sprinkled the lawns, and people going by had shed their winter coats, so he decided to go for a walk by the river, that would loosen up his joints.

Along the footpath everything shimmered in the sun. And the dogs and their walkers left shit in all the usual places, while other old men and drunks took all the benches.

Across the river two bare-chested boys tossed a frisbee, their sonorous laughter caressing out Albert’s memories of long-ago boyfriends, and he squinted to see their half-nakedness more clearly. But he didn’t have his glasses. And anyway, in every way they were beyond his reach. Which hurt more than the arthritis.

At home again he still remembered those boys. He opened the windows to let the winter out, then wandered into the bathroom and took out four painkillers.

His body was ok now. But they’d make him feel better.


D. Z. Watt is from the US but moved to Scotland long ago. He had many publications in the US zine scene, and more recently has had fiction in Flash: The International Short-Short Fiction Magazine, The Ranfurly Review, Kerouac’s Dog, and BareBack Magazine.



Author: gayflashfic

Manager of Gay Flash Fiction

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