Dr. Webb woke at 2 am chilled. His wife had taken all the blankets again. He had dreamed of skulls seen through the flesh — a row of faces, their mouths open in silent screams. Even after 20 years in practice, he couldn’t stop bringing his work home. He sighed, thinking about Bobby. Schizophrenia in someone so young was rare. He turned to the bundle beside him. “Cally, stop hogging.” He yanked on the comforter, and when she didn’t respond, shook her. That’s when he saw — in the glow of the streetlight outside the window — his skeleton hand on her shoulder.
The FDA has approved a drug said to enhance female sex drive by activating sexual impulses in the brain.
Addyi (generic: flibanserin), which is similar to a class of drugs that includes Prozac and other antidepressants, was previously rejected for its lack of effectiveness and adverse side effects (nausea, dizziness, and fainting).
The drug will be available mid-October.
Coincidentally, my novel A Person of Letters (generic: APOL) will also debut in October. APOL also affects chemical levels in the brain, notably endorphins, leading to feelings of pleasure and euphoria, without any of the unpleasant complications of its more expensive competitor.
Addyi image: Sprout Pharmaceuticals, reproduced by Reuters. APOL image: the author.
“The FBI? Like a Special Agent!” The doctor smiled at Bobby. ”So, you see words? Words that tell you things?”
Bobby stared out at College Street, slick and grey, the traffic light at Bathurst spattering red across the wet window. “No, just skeletons, and then things die.”
Eleanor worried her pursestraps, then played at taking notes.
People outside avoided puddles, ran for the streetcar. Bobby watched. No dead people.
“So, how do you feel when you see these . . . ” Dr. Webb hesitated slightly, “these skeletons?”
The boy moved his gaze from the window to the man.
“I feel cold.”
Ideology over analysis. Dinosaur of the day. Newspeak about “democratic reform.” A useless census. Voter suppression. Contempt of parliament. In and out. Impugning the Supreme Court. Killing the Kelowna Accord. Mother Canada. The sanctimonious international soap box. Unprincipled cynicism. Liberty curtailed. Monument to the Victims of Communism. The integrity deficit. Israel right or wrong. The muzzling of scientists. Mike Duffy. Hush money. Cold Camembert with broken crackers. Permanent campaigning. Patrick Brazeau. Tax pandering. Throw away the key. Dirty tricks and smear campaigns. Secrecy. Attack dogs. Scripted answers. Waving the flag, extolling the fight, and screwing the warrior. Robocalls. Pierre Poilievre.
“Please don’t think I’m crazy,” Bobby’s mother said to the doctor. She knew she had a crazy story to tell and now she looked crazy too. Her hair was stuck to her face in rain-soaked tangles and, when she tried to give Bobby a tissue, all she had in her pocket was a sodden wad.
The doctor reached for his tissue box. He’s kind, Bobby’s mother thought, and he has polka dot socks.
“Tell me what’s happening,” he said.
Bobby stirred. “I see you phoning someone,” he said to the doctor. “Someone called Cyril. From the FIB. I mean, FBI.”
It started with his hamster. Bobby barely spoke, “Mummy, why can I see Hammy’s bones?”
Robert Martin’s mother approached the cage to find the animal playing happily on his wheel.
“His head…I just see his skull, no fur, no eyes, nothing.”
Eleanor forgot about the exchange until Hammy turned up stiff and cold under a blanket of shavings a day later.
Bobby’s visions extended to strangers on the street, actors on television, and lately the neighbour’s Labrador. They were lucky to get that doctor’s appointment and barely ascended the streetcar before the sky turned black and it poured.
A graveyard in Murcott, England. Photo by L. Leclair.