I woke up this morning with the most dreadful headache and, as I reached over to my nightstand to open my medicine drawer, I overbalanced and tumbled out. To make matters worse, I realized that I had managed to revolve by 180 degrees during the course of my night’s sleep, so not only was I now lying with my legs on the air and my pyjama top pulled up over my face, but I had to crawl around the bed on my hands and knees in order to get to the medicine cabinet and withdraw a loose strip of paracetamol tablets. And all the while my head throbbing with sickening yelps of pain.
You know how they say that someone has got out on the wrong side of bed that morning? Try falling out of the wrong side of bed!
I turned over the strip of tablets and pushed at one from underneath. It wouldn’t move. Enraged with pain, I pushed harder. They were the sort of bacillus shaped tablets, not the round ones, and, as I pushed, I felt the pill snap in two. Luckily, the sharp end pierced the paper like a compound fracture. I peeled aside the exposed paper, and picked out the two pieces of the pill. One was a large fat boy, taking up most of the space in the little bunk, while the other was a little oafish mite, peculiarly round. I gulped them both down in my own spit.
The second pill was a simpler affair. Taking a pair of nail scissors, I carefully cut right around the rim of one of the other tablets, so that when I had finished the little casing would fall right off, delivering its bounteous payload, ready to be consumed by my dessicated throat. I did a good job of it, though in several places I cut too far away from the edges of the little bacillus-shaped basin that the pill sat in, meaning that it ended up still attached in a few places. These I was able to pick apart with my fingernails, until, all of a sudden the flap swung open and the pill, giddy with its new-found freedom, tumbled down and careened under my bed.
I weighed up the difficulties of extracting one of its brothers, but decided against leaving an odd number in the tray. If I squeezed myself under as far as I could go, then I was just able to reach it with my tongue…and it was in this pose that I greeted my flatmates, Charlie and Amschel as they opened my door.
“Looking good, Limp!” hooted Charlie, and Amschel joined him with screeches of nervous cackling. Charlie came and squatted behind me and began imitating gay sex for the benefit of Amschel, who clapped his hands to his thighs and bent double as he amplified his hysterical rasping. I noticed that Charlie was doing his very best to avoid actually touching me at all, and, indeed, when I wiggled my bottom backwards in order to extricate myself, he backed off.
I was quite pleased that I’d managed to swallow the second pill, though I could still feel it in my throat, and would need to gulp down some water soon.
“So Amschel and I,” said Charlie, putting on his respectable voice, “were hoping we could all go for lunch today. It’s been a while since we’ve done anything kind of as a flat. Do you feel like coming?
“It’s fine if you don’t want to,” he added.
“No, no, that sounds like fun,” I said.