The Flu Shot

realenough   I went to get my flu shot at the pharmacy the other day, and as the pharmacist readied to give it to me he said, “No worries, it’s just like a walk on the beach.”


Now that snapped me to attention like twelve hours of death. “What kind of beach do you walk on,” I said, “one with syringes and medical waste?” I quickly examined his eyes, but they weren’t glassy. I half-figured he’d only been trying to put me at ease for the inoculation, but my other half was almost tempted to have him roll up his sleeves to check for track marks. Then … then, I thought: if he does the shot … and I don’t feel it … then I’ll know he’s a junkie.

“Ha … that’s it.”

Thinking myself clever now, as clever can be, I was suddenly enthusiastically welcoming the point. The needle went in … and oh mother of pearl … how I bloody well felt it go in. It wiggled and danced with dreams of minced pie and I screamed myself deaf, “Heaven help me!”

“Are … are you all right?” the startled pharmacist asked.

“Well I’m happy for you,” I answered through a tear … and limped out (Don’t ask).

Though half-crippled, I knew I’d done a good thing. If I hadn’t done it for my own good health … I had at least done it for the pharmacist’s good name.

Real: The comment the pharmacist had said and my first reply

Not Real: I may have taken some liberties with my reaction … and how it felt.

Roger McManus

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