Eryk is walking to the pharmacy to get his antidepressant prescription refilled. He's been without antidepressants for days and it's turned his world upside-down - literally - because his brain is too depressed to flip his eyes' upside-down images, making everything look inverted.
Eryk's eyes are pouched and he walks sluggishly. He didn't sleep last night because antidepressant withdrawals give him nightmares. In one he's the cartoon head from Zoloft commercials, running through a Pac-Man maze eating Zoloft while being chased by the ghosts of the people he could've been. In another he's dating a girl who's a cutter and asks her how long she's been cutting herself, to which she replies that she's a cutter not a cuttee and stabs him to death.
Eryk considers doing some cocaine to tide him over until he gets to the pharmacy, but he knows that street drugs destroy huge amounts of his brain, whereas pharmaceuticals destroy smaller amounts in a safer fashion, like controlled demolition. Also, coke gives him auditory hallucinations, like porn stars telling him he's gay because his antidepressants make him take forever to ejaculate.
In the pharmacy a girl named Julie rings up a prescription, snickering because it's such a low dosage - pharmacists look down on people with weak prescriptions, just like convenience store clerks look down on people who buy weak alcohol. Mocking customers is the only perk of this otherwise horrible job, which she never wanted. Like most pharmacists she started as a casual legal drug user, but eventually started selling to support her habit. She wishes she'd stayed in college and pursued her dream of becoming a model and marrying R&B singer Usher.
Suddenly the lights dim and the prescription bottles start glowing, bathing the room in orange light. "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" plays over the intercom and Usher appears by Julie's side. They embrace, surrounded by customers whose medication withdrawals give them seizures approximating dancing.
Upside down, the mortar and pestle of the pharmacy sign looks like the Taco Bell logo, reminding Eryk of his job at Taco Bell. There's a girl there he likes and once told she was his muse, or almost did. He got as far as "you're my" before she interrupted with "your muse?" in a disgusted voice. Like all men, Eryk seeks love out of a subconscious desire to return to the womb, ideally the womb of a woman who takes lots of antidepressants and feeds them to him umbilically.
Eryk isn't the only person who finds the Taco Bell and pharmacy logos similar. Old people sometimes confuse the two and go to Taco Bell for their heart medicine and get triple beef burritos and die instantly. The conglomerate that owns all fast-food and pharmacy chains has considered revising one of the logos, but reusing the same image reduces its trademark fees.
Eryk, of course, has no idea that his employer and pharmacy are the same entity. If he did, the conglomerate would have him killed, just like they kill everyone who overdoses on antidepressants to hide that fact that overdosing on antidepressants cures depression forever.
Eryk's withdrawals give him a depersonalized feeling of being outside his body, which combines with the depersonalization he already feels from his job, making him zoom out farther and farther until he's miles above the strip. From a distance, it reminds him of the girl at Taco Bell's feminist collage of a bunch of seashells arranged into a vagina. He can see how all the buildings combine into part of something else. Not its vagina, although maybe it has one, but its mouth, the rows of gas stations, restaurants and drug stores forming two enormous jaws, eating the people on the street. He wonders if this metaphor will impress the girl at Taco Bell, who he sees in the parking lot and stares at her cleavage as he floats back down to his body.
To distract himself from his psychic pain, Eryk reads a newspaper he finds on the sidewalk. The headline says "World Doomed" and underneath it is a picture of several asteroids about to hit earth. But to him it looks like a bunch of serotonin molecules headed toward a receptor, making his withdrawal pangs worse.
Elliot said my breakup must have been due to the sweater curse, an unexplained phenomenon where anyone who gives their significant other a hand-knit sweater gets dumped. The only way to break the curse, Elliot said, was to destroy the sweater.
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