Title: MEMORY LAPSE 001
Featuring: Arthur Pleasant
Date: 91/12/2023
Location: Various

Arthur Pleasant tilts his head back and feels every centimeter of the large, uncoated, oblong-shaped pill slide down his unusually dry throat. Swallowing without water, juice, or a drink of any kind makes him gag like he just read an armchair wrestler’s No Fun Dean-sized effort at pseudo-journalism like one of Tim Tillinghast’s editorial pieces. Despite this, he pushes through it as best as he can. With a fist to the mouth, a cough escapes him. Pleasant silently retches behind the thumb-side of his coiled fist while tears form and fall involuntarily from the corners of his eyes, leaving behind the sensation of what can only be described as a wooden button from a sports jacket being shoved down his esophagus with a splintery chopstick.

A moment or two later and his stomach settles. Close call, that one. Shaking his head profusely, he says out loud to no one in particular;

 “One down. Seventeen to go.”

“What’s that, Boss?” shouts the Uber driver–“Niko” as it appeared on Arthur’s phone–while he looks at his fare from the rear-view mirror.

“Nothing. Just…” a brief pause as Arthur pats a drawstring backpack that he’s been using as a mobile medicine cabinet.

“...taking my meds is all.”

Taking… my meds?
Why does that feel so wrong to say?

He pops open the second pill container and realizes this pill is even bigger than the last one.

“You sick, Boss?”

“Oh great.” he whispers, gandering down into the orange-ish depths of the pill bottle at the next “boulder” he needs to swallow.

“In a manner of speaking? Yes. Very.” Arthur finally answers the nosey Uber driver.

Down the hatch. Popping it in, he goes through the same routine as he did mere moments ago, complete with the gagging and sputtering while trying to get the horse pill down. 

“You want some water, Boss?” shouts Niko in that Eastern European, possibly Serbian, accent.

Arthur thinks about it for a moment and before he can even blurt out a ‘yes’ or other such affirmation, a small 8oz bottle of Louisiana’s finest ‘King Springs’ water is being waved in front of him from an outstretched hand by Niko.

“Sure. Thanks.”

Wait a second.
Thanks?
THANKS?!

The man once known as “The Provocateur” and “The Plaguebeast” graciously accepts the bottle of water, nodding in appreciation for it. Twisting the cap off, Arthur quickly pops a third pill down from a white bottle. This pill is tiny, of course, but he’s still thankful to have liquid to wash it down. Those smaller ones can be really tricky to get down, after all.

Finally, after ingesting what felt like an entire med room at Mercy General’s worth of pills, Arthur rests his head back and takes a moment to relax in the comfy interior of the Kia EV6 he had been picked up in by Niko.

This is the last thing Arthur remembers for the next two hours. 

 

MEMORY LAPSE 001

 

— “Um, Mr. Pleasant? Are you with me?” asks a middle-aged psychiatrist he’s come to know as Dr. Edwards. Arthur’s focus returns to him as he looks the woman up and down.

“Yes, Doc. I’m… I’m with you. But…”

Arthur trails off. Looking around, he takes in the expensive decor of his psychiatrist’s office. About a full minute goes by before Dr. Edwards pries into Arthur’s current frame of mind.

“But what, Arthur? Are you okay?”

So sleepy.
So very, very… sleepy.
How did I get here?

“I-I’m fine, Doc. Just… just having a hard time remembering how I got here today, is all.”

“I see.” she says, jotting down something in a notepad that’s positioned on her left knee while she sits with her legs crossed in a professional manner.

“Is this the first time you’ve had a memory lapse since you’ve been taking your meds?”

Arthur thinks on it.

“Actually? Yeah… it is.”

Arthur’s entire countenance seems very reserved. Perhaps more reserved and all-around "calm" than we’ve ever seen within his presence before.



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