A Close Shave

I signed the prescription on the “I pay for this” part and punched in my pin number.
“It’ll be a couple of minutes. Do you want to wait?” asked the strangely attractive girl. I say strangely attractive but that’s not fair. She had a nice smile, kind eyes and boys hands.
I had nothing to rush for. I hadn’t been to work for 4 weeks, I had a sick line in my pocket for another 4 so I wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry. Just back home to wallow in my own thoughts and demons and probably watch Jeremy Kyle.
I busied myself by counting how many different types of Boots Product Recall messages there were hanging on the wall opposite. 11. 11 items that had to be recalled because they were faulty or just plain crap.
Next to the wall was a door. The sign said “Consultation Room”. I wondered about the many private and embarrassing illnesses that had been discussed behind that door. And the amount of methadone probably taken there too. Well, it was Cambuslang after all.
The pharmacy door opened and in walked a middle-aged man. He looked quite unkempt, with a stained shell-suit, ski jacket and a skip hat that looked either too small for his head or just not put on properly.
Despite his appearance, he carried himself with a certain dignity. He looked like someone who had fallen on hard times but was determined not let it beat him. Determined to maintain an air of respectability. I kind of liked him.
“Be a wee minute Tommy” said the girl. On a second look she was more attractive than strange. Shocking hairdo though.
“No bother Anne” replied the unkempt but dignified Tommy.
He looked at me. I looked at him. We exchanged that half-smile and slight head nod that you do at these times. The “I’ll just tilt my head backwards in acknowledgment” nod.
Not being the most socially confident person in the world, I decided I would turn away and feign interest in the multitude of painkillers on the shelf behind me in case Tommy indulged me in conversation. I caught a sight of myself in the mirror set up for folk to look at how the off the shelf glasses suit them. Bags under my eyes, 9 days of stubble rapidly turning into a beard and a dishevelled looking t-shirt. I didn’t really care how I looked to be honest, just getting up and out of the house was the challenge I had won that day. Personal appearance can wait.
“Right Tommy, come through” said the now very attractive girl. Am so shallow. She had, in her boys hands, a little glass of green stuff. Methadone. That was the hard times Tommy had fallen on. Fair play to him for making the effort to get off. Can’t be easy but you can see he was attempting to get sorted. I liked him more now.
“Sorry mate” said my new best friend turning to me “am skipping the queue here”. He gesticulated to the door.
“Erm no mate, am not here for that”
“Oh sorry pal, just thought you were”.
When I got home, I showered, shaved, changed and went for a kip. I didn’t feel any better but I looked it.

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