Thomas Wictor

Medication made me do this. I apologize

Medication made me do this. I apologize

I’m on a new medication, which scrambles my brains and makes me tired. And pee. So here’s a passage from my book Ghosts and Ballyhoo. I used to be a music journalist. That forced me to spend a lot of time in Hollywood.

Also, my 2007 iMac can’t handle OS 10.11.4 El Capitan. Thus I bought a new computer, which meant that I had to buy a new printer and scanner. I’m too confused to set them all up, even though it takes ten minutes for each Web page to load. Maybe I’ll get these guys to help.

I heard that they’re purveyors of improvement and harmony.


I have to keep using the word “medication” in order make the Google search spiders happy.


Here’s the passage from my book.


Shark-toothed man and the Hollywood Jamboree.


In the parking lot of a Hollywood drug store, I came across a 400-pound black woman about seven feet tall in the midst of a slow-motion square dance with a tiny, hideously ugly, monkey-like man who chanted, “You stupid! You big stupid! You damn stupid!”

They circled each other, round and round and round. Thinking it might be some kind of domestic thing that had reached critical mass, I waited to see if I should duck under my car to dodge the bullets. A young white woman appeared and joined the giantess, who produced a cell phone and made a call. Monkeyman slowly walked away, the giantess following.

At that moment, a deputy sheriff pulled up in his cruiser, and the white woman ran to his window and began excitedly explaining something with a lot of pointing and waving. The cop drove over to the walking pair and rolled alongside them, not getting out and not talking to them. Monkeyman inched toward a van and climbed in. The white woman joined him, the giantess got into another car, and everyone drove away in different directions.

As I stood pondering what I’d just seen, a bearded man approached and said, “Hey, don’t worry about all that. Stone’ll take care of it. I know Stone. He’s a good guy. My name’s Jesse, by the way.”

He held out his hand, so I shook it. It was colossal and so rough that it felt barnacled.

“So you married or a single guy?” he asked.

Of course!

“Single,” I answered.

“What, you don’t like kids?”

I didn’t say anything.

“How about sex?” he wondered. “You like sex? Me, I like sex a lot.” He laughed, opening his mouth as wide as it would go, like an attacking Great White shark. In fact, all of his teeth appeared to have been filed to points.


“Eeeeeeeyow, do I like sex!” he snarled, winking one coal-black eye in a blithering spasm.

“Okay,” I said. “Gotta go now.”

“So, where do you live?” he asked, taking a step toward me. “You live around here?”

“I live around,” I said. “Goodbye.”

“Hey, maybe I’ll see you later?” he yelled after me.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all,” I said.

Place to buy medication

In the drugstore, I took my purchase to the only checkout stand open. A mumbling old man in front of me flipped through a newspaper looking for a coupon. There were two cashiers at the register.

“Is this my pen, or is it your pen?” one screamed.

“It must be your pen ‘cause I got my pen,” the other one howled.

“No, here’s my pen, so whose pen is this pen?” the first one roared.

“That ain’t my pen, and it ain’t your pen, so that’s got to be someone else’s pen,” the other one bellowed.

The old man mumbled on and on, shuffling his newspaper, while a stinking guy in a filthy T-shirt stood in line so close behind me that his breath tickled the hairs on the back of my neck.

Finally, the old man found his coupon and clawed through his pants forever before he acquired his money clip. When the cashiers discovered that the register didn’t have any paper for the receipt, one went over to a closet for another roll, which took her ten minutes to install.

Once she’d rung up the old man, only then did he explain that he also wanted to leave a roll of film for processing, which he tweezed out of his chest-high pants.

The cashier dropped it in an envelope, and the old man said, “Do you want me to put my name on the envelope? Should I do that?”

“No, put my name on it!” the cashier screeched, and she and her partner exploded into thunderclaps of laughter. The old man crouched over the counter on his elbows, settling down for the night, crossing his ankles, getting comfortable as he tried to figure out how to write his name on the envelope.

A third cashier walked up to me, snapped her fingers right in my face, and said, “I can help the next person in line.” I followed her to her register.

A cure without medication

Outside, there was no sign of my would-be lover, the bearded shark-toothed man; I headed for my car. Two big, black pickup trucks pulled in next to it and two men got out simultaneously. One was old, the other young, both wearing jeans, blue work shirts, red baseball caps, and heavy black mustaches.

They walked toward each other, their hands out; they had identical limps. The left leg of each was as stiff as a baseball bat. They shook hands and went into the drugstore, limping along asynchronously like a complicated, geared machine.

In September of 2011, exactly fifteen years later, I stopped at a gas station about ten blocks from my house. My career in music journalism was long over, and I was ready to scrap my niggling career in military history. As I filled my tank, the shark-toothed man suddenly popped out from behind one of the pumps and said, “Hi! That’s a nice beard! How long did it take you to grow it?”


He hadn’t changed in the slightest. He may even have been wearing the same clothes.

I started laughing and said, “I’ve had it since I was born. I’m a werewolf.”

He laughed too, and walked toward me. I got in my car and drove away, still laughing. He’d spent the past fifteen years methodically working his way through thirty miles of communities to find me.

Any second now he’ll knock on my front door.

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