I ran for the bathroom. Nobody ever confronted me about what happened, I guess they were respectful enough to know how embarrassing that ordeal was for me and not make it any worse. Anyway, despite my actions that day, I continue to win EVERY single month which I feel is out of pity but at least now I’m not expected to speak.
I continue my walk to Receiving but realize I forgot to grab my walk walkie-talkie from my locker. Instead of traveling back through the store I decided to cut down the light bulb/ceiling fan aisle leading to the service desk where the spare radios are located. I go behind the counter and bend over to look underneath where the radios are hidden but see they are all missing. I stand back up and stumble a bit on the flapping sole of my left shoe. I would have fallen if it weren’t for backing into someone. I turn around quick to apologize but before I can muster a word. I am stunned to see it’s the Brown Leather Cowboy from my dreams. He grabs me by both my shoulders to steady me then says,
“Denver Redding, I’d say nice to meet you but I know everything about you. So instead I’ll say nice to SEE you.”
I continue staring at him, jaw dropped. Stuck terrified and basically motionless though my eyes are following his.
“Okay Denver, I’m not gonna waste any of your time. Besides, you look seconds away from soiling yourself. So to cut to the chase. You are scared. Scared of everything. I’m a part of you. I’m not scared but you can’t show the “me in you” because that wacko brain of yours traps me inside you like a genie. Genies can leave their lamps by simply rubbing them a few times. Well Denver, just like a genie I can leave my constraints within OUR mind. Not by rubbing but by taking a few pills. You see, these pills will turn off the haywire part of your brain. The part that’s been holding me back. Holding us back Denver. Now Denver, I’m gonna do two things now. First, I’m going to be telling you where to find these pills. Your co-worker keeps a month supply right there next to those empty walkie-talkie chargers. You’d be stealing for a good cause. Lastly, I wanna tell you not to be scared. If you want a life then you WILL take those pills and get what is yours. WHAT NATURE STOLE FROM YOU! The choice is yours. Free me, free yourself.”
I watch the Cowboy lean away from my face then vanish right before my eyes. Now that he is gone all sense of being rushed back to me along with an intense feeling that time had just started moving again. I gather myself, turn around and without much thought at all grab the pill bottle from under the counter. Quickly I slip it into my left jeans pocket then casually start toward the bathroom to make my decision.
In the bathroom, sitting on the toilet within the only stall in this restroom I pull the pill bottle from my pants pocket and read the label. The white label in black print is faded in some areas but what can be made out was “KLONODON 0.25MG”. I have heard of this! The Cowboy, is right! This is a medication that treats anxiety. It’s the one that if I had insurance I could have gotten without theft. I decide to take four at once to equal 1 MG of Klonodon. I do this without much thought or any water which wasn’t so nice on the tongue.
I head for the bathroom door still feeling no change.
Now back in the stock room in front of a loading door I consider taking another pill for good measure but suddenly something feels different. I feel myself floating off the ground slightly but when I checked my feet they were still planted to the floor. I enjoy this sensation for a few seconds. Letting go and feeling this soft vibration fill my body. It is brought to an abrupt stop. I hear a familiar snap sound, the same one that always ends my recurring dreams. My sight turns black. I feel nothing physically but still feel “myself” emotionally. I see light pour in through two giant round holes. It’s my stockroom at work but through someone else’s point of view.
I can’t tell you how much time has gone. I know I haven’t slept or felt the slightest bit tired since the day I started watching the screen of what was once my physical eyes. Even when he sleeps, I’m still present and aware. I can’t see his dreams and I still don’t know how he made himself appear in mine.
The Cowboy that took over has been busy and I’ve been along for the ride. I do sometimes wish for a flicker of a moment I’d never taken the pills. I wish I’d appreciate who I was. Yes, the man who claims my body is more confident but he isn’t ME. I once watched as he asked Mrs. Godfrey to mind her business when she asked “our” love life. He even asked Patricia out on a date once. They had a nice dinner and afterwards went back to her place and made love. Days that I can’t count passed by and she was head of heels for the Cowboy. On the next date he got drunk and kept flirting with the waitress. When Patricia asked him if he was attracted to her or not he looked deep in her questioning eyes and said “Pat, Fat Pat, nobody can be attracted to you. The only thing remotely attractive about you is how easy you are.” He knew I was watching. I believe that’s why he watched her eyes while he tore this poor girls heart to pieces.
I don’t think this will ever end until he dies. I’ll be dead then as well. The constant stream on Klonodon he secured with a prescription has assured that.
All in all he has continued my live. Same apartment. Same job. He talks to my coworkers with ease and even makes them laugh. Something I struggled with. He usually just humors people with gossip and hateful jokes about Christopher who no longer talks to him or “me”. Chris even ended the employee of the month program.
I used to think my anxiety was holding me back and in some ways it was. It was something I could have managed and grown from. I was kind. I had hurtful thoughts about people but had the decency to keep this to myself. I was funny even though others hadn’t known it yet. It was hard to be Denver (who never speaks his mind out of fear) but being the Cowboy (who says too much out of hate) is not what I wanted. Anyway, hindsight is 20/20 and my current sight is through the eyes of an a*****e.