Damned Fortune Cookies


I have had a rough week, medcoma blah-blah-blah. I bore the crap out of myself. So I went to the doctor yesterday, and my meds are now straight. Hooray, correct meds!

While the lovely young Lauren, MD intern, was finishing trying to find something bad in my bloodwork, I mentioned that my left ear was a little wonky. She put the plastic viewing cone on the flashlight thing and jabbed it into my ear. Then she checked my right ear. Then the left again. Then she yarked in the garbage can.

“What the hell is in there?? That, that CRUD!”
“I clean my ears regularly! They should be free of crud and–“

She doused me with Holy Water. It didn’t burn, except for the drop that splattered into my left ear. Holy CRAP! OUCH!! This tendril of acrid green smoke curled from my ear.

Lauren pulled out her prescription pad. She scribbled out two notes and handed them to me, careful to avoid my left ear.

“The top one’s Amoxicillin. You can get that filled anywhere–Walgreen’s, CVS, Target. The second one…you’ll have to drive to Tampa.”
“Oh, the compounding pharmacy? I know where that is. My friend Jill–“
“Shut it,” she roared.ย  I shut it.
“In Disston Plaza, that totally dead shopping mall on Dale Mabry Highway, there’s a small shop called Alternative Catholic Emporium. Go there. Set this prescription and a $20 bill on the counter.ย  An old black man will appear behind the counter. Do not say a word. He will stare at you. You will stare back. It will freak you out, because he has no eyes, only empty sockets. Again, do not speak, and do not look away from his face. All at once, he will yell something to toward the back of the shop. At this point, take three steps back. Turn around once to the left, then bow your head and close your eyes. Some shit will happen for a bit. Then you will hear a gong sound, and you will find yourself alone in the shop. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD YOU OPEN YOUR EYES BEFORE YOU HEAR THE GONG! There will be a brown paper bag on the counter. Take the bag, then walk silently from the store. When you get home, take an Amoxicillin, and put three of these drops in your left ear.”

I was shocked. “Are you kidding me? What the–“

Lauren waved her hand idly, as if brushing away a gnat. My voice was gone.

“Go now, and do this,” she said. “Go NOW!”

The shop smelled like patchouli, bongwater, jasmine, and poultry seasoning. Candles emblazoned with different saints & Santeria gods crowded shelves with bins of herbs, books, and rosaries of every description.

Oh my God, was it hard to stare into that old black man’s “eyes,” meaning “the sewn shut lids over where his eyes once had been.” In a deep lyrical voice, he half-sang/half-shouted something that sounded half-Cajun, half-Spanish. I took my three steps back, turned around counterclockwise, bowed my head, and closed my eyes.

I heard disembodied voices swirling around me, male & female & something not even human. They eddied about, then there was a bright burst of light and heat, and a gong sounded from every direction at once.

Then total silence. I picked up the bag, and walked quietly out to the truck. I came home, took a shower, and crawled into bed. I popped an Amoxicillin, then took out the small brown bottle.

I rolled onto my right side, and put three drops in my left ear.

Holy crap. My soul was ripped out of my body, and soared with the ospreys outside. I spotted a fish in the lake below, and swooped down after it. I felt my talons catch hold, and the tilapia was lifted out of the water. BLISS!!

I flew to the top of a streetlight, and dug into my prize. The fish was amazing! The pure, raw life-affirming flesh torn by my beak. I felt free, unencumbered by bills and worries and work…

…and I felt a hand gently slapping me on the face, that same deep melodic voice telling me to wake up. “Wake up, Tom. You need to wake up now.” The voice was smiling and reassuring, the hand touching my face was soft and warm, and holy Bast, it was…Wind?

“Holy SHH–“
“You’ll want ta watch your language until da medicine stops smoking. Da Lady doesn’t like the cussin’.”
“‘Da Lady’?”
“Da goddess-spirit in da potion prefers you keep it clean.”

I nodded.

“She’s always been like dat,” Wind/old black man added with a conspiratorial wink. “Also, de lady say you need to drink two big things of hot & sour soup, get me some scallops, and she would appreciate a pint of Hunan beef, extra spicy.”

I nodded again. The greenish tendrils of smoke thinned, and then stopped altogether. The were coiled up in a corner of my ceiling. I made the call, and just lay here, trying to make sense of what was going on, and I dozed off I guess.

The doorbell rang. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my wallet, and paid for our food. I brought it back into my bedroom.

“De Lady say to put on ‘Inception.'”
“She wants to watch a movie?”
“De Lady say Leo DiCaprio is hot.”

Um. Okay. I popped “Inception” into the DVD player. I opened the container of scallops for Wind.

“Loosen the cap on da medicine, and set it next to the Hunan beef.”

We watched the movie. I slurped and chewed my soup. Wind attacked his scallops with graceful fury. I didn’t look at the bottle next to the small takeout box. I really didn’t want to see how goddess-spirit eardrops ate.

The movie ended, and Wind told me it was time for more medicine. I popped my amoxicillin, and put the three drops in my ear. Crackling, then nothingness.

It was dark when I awoke. My ear felt much better. The ringing stopped. The pain and pressure were gone. I got out of bed and went in the bathroom. When I came out, Wind was lookin at me expectantly.

“Mraah?” His old voice. His food dish was empty. I poured him some Meow Mix and topped off his water.

The medicine bottle was empty. As was the Hunan beef carton. Not a drop left in either. I popped an amoxicillin and crawled back into bed. There was a crackling sound, the cellophane wrapped fortune cookie.

I broke open the cookie. “Cobb is living his moment, not looking to see whether or not it’s a dream. Live your life. And clean out your ears. Thanks for dinner.” The signature was illegible.

Damned fortune cookies.


12 Responses to “Damned Fortune Cookies”

  1. christinaheart Says:

    I’m glad your ear is better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But, woah, spirit goddesses? That’s intense. I only got drugs to dope me up. No spirit creatures. Bummer.

    • That store freaked me out a bit, and i’d never had tilapia that wasn’t fried. My ear seems to have replenished its ouch & crud supplies. No more haints, though.

    • And never underestimate the joys of being jacked-up on meds. You kids today, with your “following of label instructions.” ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. That’s right, blame the fortune cookie….though I prefer going to this one take out place where the fortunes are always good: “You will come into a large sum of money soon,” or “You will meet the soulmate of your dreams.” None of them have come true, of course, but it’s the thought that counts.

    But hell, if I ever get an ear infection, I want whatever it was you took. I wonder if the Goddess will take braised tofu with veggies instead of Hunan beef, however. Or is the beef a sacrifice that you have to offer in ritual? I guess I should be grateful she doesn’t demand a whole bull, pure white, slaughtered on a marble altar. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Professor Gozen, when my cat speaks to me in the voice of an old black, blind Santeria shaman & tells me the spirit-goddess in the bottle wants Hunan beef? I don’t argue. I’m just glad she only wanted a pint instead of, say, a 5 gallon vat.

      I hope you never get this ear infection, thus meaning you shan’t have to worry. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Weekend, HG.

  3. Blah! Blargh! And a big LOL.
    I am sorry you were suffering, but you sure do make it funnee. ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. Jeez. All I ever get to do is go to Walgreens. No one ever gives me good drugs. Or scallops.


    • The pharmacist at CVS was maybe 4’10” tall. That was as surreal as the Santeria store. Pรธรผt not. Maybe somebody will give you scallops one day. And good drugs. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I have the strong suspicion that “De Lady” may have taken the terrestrial form of Her Most Serene Highness, A-M V.

    glad you are feeling better, Tom

    • I wonder…then again, I can’t see ASV worrying too much after a biped’s aural health, just as long as food-pouring and scritching capabilities were unimpeded. Have a great weekend, M. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. oh my….
    I hope Her Most Serene Highness finds it in her stern yet fuzzy heart to forgive me…
    it is, of course, Her Most Serene Highness, A-S V.

    [backs out of room, curtsying]

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