“Controlled Delivery” was first published at R.KV.R.Y. Journal on 3 April 2017, with thanks to Editor Mary Akers.
The opioid addiction is well known, and this story is one of addictions. It features a survivor of cocaine addiction mourning the death of a heroin addict while sharing a cigarette with a former-oxycotin junkie. One takes comfort in actions, the other provides anecdotal sympathy.
This story is the product of my regular workshop. One of my stories was paired up with a story written by Paul Beckman, and each was asked to retell a partner’s story according to one’s own idiom. Well, I don’t know if you know Paul Beckman or not, but I can guarantee this fact: his stories pack a punch, often with a laugh.
The story Paul wrote concerned a dentist who had no eyebrows, and his patients chip in and buy him a surgery whereby hairs from his “bottom” are transplanted to his face. Then the patients can’t stand knowing where the hairs came from.
So, not having Paul’s comic timing, his remainder in this story is the mention of a guy named Eyebrows, and the main character being named Ben. LOL I don’t mess with a master like Paul!
As I continued working on this story, and had Randall Brown take a look at it too, it became kind of sneaky. Big issues were lurking behind the chit-chat. Mourning became as big as that warehouse full of funerary drums.
Real talk: I often notice that when an Rx for painkillers gets writ, it’s for way too much. Maybe a person needs three or five pills to ease out of wisdom tooth surgery, so why does the doctor prescribe 30 and a refill? Whose bases are they covering there?
Oxycotin makes a lot of people a lot of money. Money proves itself again the root of all evil. Ugh.
The illustration for this blog post delights me, because it is a painting by my son, Ed. It reminds me of Ben’s fake putty nose, his suspension between choices and the surreal nature of an unexpected death. Is that form falling? rising? or manipulative.
Thanks again to Mary Akers and the good readers and editors at R.KV.R.Y. Journal for publishing this story. I think it has something truthful to say about addiction, and I like to think I’m doing it Dickinson-gangsta-style, by telling it slant.
Here is a link to “Controlled Delivery,” and thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you like the story.
Art credit: The Diver by Ed Weisgerber, 2015. Private Collection. Oil on Board, 30″ x 48″.
BONUS: Paul Beckman’s story “Dean’s Dilemma,” which had a working title of “Ben’s Dilemma” (that one about a dentist) was published in Issue 51 of the No Extra Words Podcast titled “Curmudgeons and Incorribibles,” and you can find that one here.