The pharmacist profession is way more dangerous than most people realize. After my latest adventure, I'm beginning to regret my career path altogether. Too bad it's not that easy for a fifty-something man to start over in life when he has a mortgage and two kids' college tuition to pay. Otherwise, I'd quit right now.
I'd especially like to quit since I keep being forced to relive my encounter with a couple of guys who I now realize are famous criminals (and not, incidentally, famous rock stars). The brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester. Who knew my little drug store would attract celebrities?
Not sure what the feds expect to change this time around, but who am I to ask such silly questions? Here we go again...
It was barely past lunchtime and I'd already dealt with one customer who claimed I shorted her on her Xanax scrip by twenty pills. Twenty pills that she already took - all at once - judging from how zoned out she was. Then there was another who questioned my heritage, sexual orientation, intelligence, and several other things just because his insurance refused to pay for the brand of acid reflux meds he prefers. As if I have any control over that whatsoever.
Then those two young men - the brothers – they came in and I decided my day had just gotten a whole lot worse. It'd been almost an entire year since I was robbed for painkillers. My bill was way past due. I was thinking fate was finally coming to collect, because those guys just didn't look like they were on the up-and-up.
For one thing, neither of them are small and they weren't exactly dressed like bankers. The really big one had his brows drawn down and a mean scowl on his face. He was downright intimidating. The other wore a scuffed up leather jacket and worn out biker boots. He's the type I imagine the girls really go for. Actually, both of them are. Even so, the shorter of the two looked like he'd recently been put through a meat grinder.
Both of them came to a stop behind the 'Please Wait To Be Called' sign, and that's when I noticed the banged-up one had a prescription in his hand. I decided that maybe I was just being paranoid, that these guys were just normal customers. But still, I didn't like the way their eyes were roaming around the store. It felt like they were casing the place. They were way too aware of their surroundings. Most people don't realize the world's going around, but these guys were hyper vigilant. I still can't believe I kept it together well enough to go over Mrs. Matthews' blood pressure meds with her.
"You should've stayed in the car, Dean." I heard the tall one say. He sounded exasperated.
"Yeah, well, you try sitting down on a broken ass bone," the other one grumbled. "Thanks for that, Sam, by the way. I really appreciate it."
The big guy tried to keep his voice down, but he was obviously ticked off and his voice carried. "I told you not to make a move until I gave the signal!"
The other wasn't having it. I was afraid they were going to start throwing punches.
"Who died and made you boss?" he snapped back. "If you'd cased the place like I told you, we'd have known there was two of 'em. I can't do every friggin' thing."
Needless to say, when I heard the word 'cased', I was completely convinced they really were here to rob me. And even worse than that, they didn't seem to be on the same page when it came to their criminal enterprise. That's how people like me get hurt.
"Can I help you gentleman?" I asked, trying to keep my voice calm. I really didn't want to set those two off. I'd tried to give Mrs. Matthews a decent head start before even calling on them. The poor thing is a crazy old bat, but she's sweet and she reminds me a little of my grandma. I didn't want to see her get hurt.
The banged-up guy shuffled forward with the big one close on his heels. He looked like he was waiting to catch him if he fell. The guy was in really bad shape, but he clearly didn't appreciate being shadowed. He even stopped suddenly and caused the other to bump right into him. I guarantee he did it on purpose, too.
He turned and raged at the taller guy – Sam, I guess it is. "Dude! Would you quit hovering like a mother hen?! I'm starting to think hell's gonna seem like a vacation." I could tell the jolt hurt him, because he sucked his breath in through his teeth.
Sam looked even angrier after that exchange, upset even, and he didn't back off – damn he was scary – but that Dean guy didn't appear to care, he just looked annoyed.
I'm not at all surprised to hear they're brothers. It was obvious those guys knew each other well, and only family can wear on your last nerve the way those two were doing.
So, the injured one rolled his eyes and then slapped a white piece of paper down on the counter and surprise, surprise – it was a prescription for Oxycodone. Good old 'hillbilly heroin' – the bane of my existence.
I picked up the scrip and immediately knew something wasn't right. It was from the local ER and it looked legit, if it weren't for the fact that the name at the top was one Dean Paul Stanley. As a former card-carrying member of the Kiss Army, my bullshit sensors immediately started going off.
Still, I have to say I was relieved. A fake prescription is a whole lot better than a gun to the head. I probably shouldn't say this, but I was going to gladly fill Mr. Stanley's BS scrip. I don't make enough money to argue with two dangerous looking young men, and at least the one appeared to be in some actual pain.
Out of habit, I start to open my mouth to ask about his non-existent insurance, but that's when the pillhead came in.
"DON'T MOVE!" he screamed. "Put your hands where I can see 'em!"
Jesus H. Christ, I really thought I was going to have a heart attack. I didn't even notice that someone else had come in. I was so focused on the two guys in front of me. I decided maybe that was the plan, that these men were all working together.
The new guy was probably in his mid to late twenties, way too skinny, and he had the sickly, dull complexion of your typical addict. He also had bright orange hair, was covered in freckles, and had a nose and ears that were way too big for his head. Not the most handsome man I've ever laid eyes on, to be sure.
Both of the brothers turned around and they seemed surprised by the new arrival too, but they didn't show the fear I'd expect in this type of situation and that made me suspicious. They were guarded, on edge even, but there was none of the piss-your-pants-terror I'd expect from a normal customer under those circumstances. I've been through this drill nearly half-a-dozen times myself, and still wouldn't be surprised if I messed my own pants. I decided they were definitely working together. It was the only thing that made sense at the time. Of course, that's when things got really weird.
"Oh you've got to be kidding me," Paul Stanley - I mean, Dean - groaned as he stared down the gunman. He sounded put out, pouty almost. And he said the strangest thing. "Six billion friggin people in this world and you choose to walk around in Alfred E. Newman? Seriously?! Couldn't you find a better meatsuit?"
Honestly - what the heck? I didn't know what this guy was talking about or where he was going with this. That's when I decide maybe they didn't know each other after all. And if not, it's not a good idea to insult the man who's currently holding a gun on you, no matter how goofy he may look. The pillhead mostly looked confused, though. Probably just too tweaked-out to catch the insult is my guess.
"Shut the fuck up!" he snapped, waving the gun around wildly. His eyes and the sights of the pistol finally settled on me. Of course it was on me. I had his favorite poison behind the counter. I'm Mr. Popularity among the junkie crowd.
"I want all the Oxy you got. All the Lortabs and the, the…" he kept rambling on. He was obviously struggling to find the right words. He was already high, I'm sure. "You know what I want," he finally said, gesturing like a crazy person with that damn pistol. "Just hurry the fuck up!"
"OH, HELL NO!" It was that guy, Dean, again. I couldn't believe he had the nerve to keep butting into this. The guy's very colorful too. He said, "I don't think so, Chuckles. Every-freaking-thing I've got hurts like a sonuvabitch right now and I need some painkillers. You ain't gettin' mine."
Oh boy, was his brother annoyed by that. He said, "Dean, that's not the most pressing issue at the moment."
What an understatement. It was almost funny. These guys really didn't seem to grasp the gravity of the situation. They just kept arguing like no one else was around.
"Says you!" the other one shot back. "I've got a broken ass bone, Sammy. My – Ass – Is - Broken. It's pretty god damn pressing."
"It's called your coccyx and the doctor said it was cracked, not broken."
"Well, thank you, Dr. House!"
I'm seriously wondering what in this world is wrong with these two. Even the junkie seemed thrown by it.
"Look," I said, keeping my hands up as I talked to the gunman. I was trying to keep my voice low and as calm as possible. "I'll get your stuff. Just don't hurt anybody, okay? It's not worth it."
That's when he pointed the gun right at my head. His hands were so unsteady I was really afraid the gun was going to go off, whether he meant for it to or not. He kept yelling for me to, "hurry the hell up!" I couldn't even think straight. He was extremely on edge and I was convinced something horrible was about to happen. Then the big guy stepped in.
"Just chill out, okay?" he said. "Nobody's going to do anything stupid. It's cool."
His voice was actually extremely reasonable and soothing for someone so intimidating looking. Even stranger was the fact that his brother actually stepped right into the line of fire. I'm convinced he was shielding me, and that's the last thing I expected. The guy was beat up enough already. A fresh bullet wound was the last thing he needed… besides, he didn't know me from Adam.
I started to turn around and walk toward the narcotics section to get the guy his drugs, then all hell broke loose.
At the pharmacy counter, I keep a stock of small, inexpensive items - candy bars, pens, lip balm… impulse buy type of things. Since it's fairly close to Christmas, I have a display of small snow globes up there right now as well.
Before I'm able to take a step, Dean launches one of those globes at the robber. It hits him right smack between the eyes, too. It was amazing!
Those things are made with cheap, thin glass, so it shattered and covered the guy in fake snow and whatever liquid is inside those things. There was also a little bit of blood from where the broken glass cut him, but not too much.
His hands automatically went to his face - I guess it was an automatic reflex – then the big guy, Sam, grabbed his gun hand, yanked it up over his head, and tackled him to the ground before I even knew what was going on.
I don't think the junkie knew what hit him either. It was so fast! Unreal, almost. It was perfectly coordinated and all over within maybe two seconds. I have no idea how they did it, especially since I don't think the bigger guy even expected it to happen.
He was lying there on the floor, pinning that guy down, and bitching at his brother at the same time. He kept saying stuff like,"You happy now, Dean? Are you trying to cut your time short?"
Dean completely ignored him. I think he was enjoying the whole thing on some level, to be quite honest. He also seemed like he was avoiding something too. I'll tell you one thing, there's an elephant in the room with those two boys. I'm just not sure what it is.
After that, Dean cursed about the pain in his "ass bone" some more – he really complained about that a lot. That guy likes to curse. Anyway, then he leaned over and snatched the pistol from the guy's hand and it was pretty much all over with.
I guess they really are used to handling guns, because he popped out the clip like he knew exactly what he was doing, then set both it and the pistol down on top of pharmacy counter. I could have reached out and took it too, no problem.
He said, "I'd say keep this for your trouble, but it's a serious piece of shit. It probably woulda blown up in dude's face." Then he asked where the hardware aisle was.
I told him "aisle five," and he headed that way. A minute or two later, he came back with a six pack of Miller Lite and a roll of duct tape.
His brother held the robber down the whole time. When Dean got back, he made some smart ass comment about him mysteriously finding beer in the hardware aisle and then started bitching at him about drinking while on painkillers.
Dean was really enjoying himself, I could tell by his grin. I think he likes to piss his brother off.
So anyway, he set the beer on the counter and pulled out a gun. I was convinced I was a dead man. Seriously, my life flashed before my eyes and I screamed like a twelve-year-old girl. Dean looked a little ashamed of himself, though. I honestly don't think he wanted to scare me.
"Man, relax. I'm not going to shoot you," he said. "This is to make sure douchebag over there stays in line." He nodded toward the guy on the floor and then tossed the roll of duct tape in that direction.
His brother snatched it right out of the air with one hand, then quickly hogtied the guy with it. You'd think it was something they did every day. Which… maybe it is. They did seem awfully professional.
I rub my tired eyes and utter an exaggerated yawn. It's past midnight and all I can think about is getting home to my family. It feels like I've relived this story thousands of times over the past few hours.
"Then what happened?" Henriksen, the FBI agent sitting in front of me asks. His voice is steady, but I can tell he's angry. I'm beginning to suspect he's always angry.
"I filled the guy's prescription, they left, and I dialed 911." How many more times am I going to have to go over this? I should have erased that damn surveillance tape, then I wouldn't be in this position.
A muscle starts to tick under Agent Henriksen left eye and I'm convinced the man is very close to a meltdown. I just hope it's not on me.
"Didn't you think that maybe – just maybe – the police would want to question those guys about the robbery attempt?"
"That Dean guy said they had a lot of unpaid parking tickets."
Henriksen leans forward menacingly and I swallow hard, but stand my ground. Honestly, I don't regret my decision.
"Those guys had just saved me from a robbery," I state a little angrily. I'm getting tired of repeating myself. "They may have even saved my life. I thought I owed them one."
"Yeah, they're real heroes," he remarks bitterly. "Anything else?"
"I… uh… gave Dean a box of 100 Grand candy bars." I shrug sheepishly. "He kept staring at them. I could tell he really wanted one."
"So, you gave him the entire box?"
"Your dumb ass is lucky to be alive!" Henriksen spits. "Hell yes, those boys are professionals – professional serial killers!"
I nod, deciding it's best not to argue with this man any further if I ever want to see my home again. Besides, I agree. I am lucky to be alive. I just don't think the infamous Winchester brothers were the ones that wanted to kill me. They're certainly professionals at something, but I sincerely doubt it's at serial killing. Which is why I just happened to completely leave out the part where they talked about heading to South Dakota.