You’ve tried everything, but you can’t shake this goddam stuffy nose. On a tip from one of your less-than-respectable friends, you’ve journeyed to the less-than-reputable part of town to perform a less-than-legal transaction.
When you arrive at your destination, you check the address scrawled on the tiny yellow sticky note in your pocket three times, hoping each time that the numbers will cease to match up. You don’t want to go inside: you’ve little doubt this building would be condemned if it weren’t too dilapidated to inspect properly.
You push through the swinging door with the busted out glass pane into a dimly-lit foyer filled floor to ceiling with exotic animals in cages, a variety of antiques, and a smattering of unidentifiable knick-knacks. As you pass one of the cages, a small furry creature hisses at you and shoots a claw through the bars, leaving a tiny, bleeding scratch on your left hand.
“Ah-ah!” you scream.
Seemingly in response to your excited utterance, a low laugh comes from the back of the room.
“Hello?” you call.
“I’m here,” says the chuckler, stepping through a doorway in the rear of the room. He’s every bit what you expected – a short, fat Asian man in a tattered cotton duster with a silver goatee and long, stringy hair. You wonder if that makes you racist. He eyes your open wound. “You’ll want to come and see me after the first full moon.”
“Nothing,” the shopkeeper says, waving his hand as if to disperse a fart, “what is it you’re looking for?”
“I’ve had this stuffy nose for months now. The doctors have all been useless. I’m desperate. My friend Carl said-“
“Whoa, whoa,” the shopkeeper interrupts. “Carl Frey?”
“Umm…yeah?” You didn’t know Carl was this much of a regular. You’re a little scared now.
“Cash up front, now,” demands the old man.
“Oh, sure.” You reach into your pocket and fork over a neatly folded wad of twenties.
“All right,” the shopkeeper says after making a quick count. He opens a drawer behind the counter and pulls out what appears to be an over-the-counter nasal decongestant. “Don’t be fooled by the packaging,” the old man says, sensing your skepticism. “This is the good stuff, kid.”
You snatch the box from the counter and tear into the packaging.
“Not in here!” shouts the old man. “And make sure you read the directions!”
You stare the shopkeeper down for only a few seconds before leaving silently. As soon as you’re outside, you resume your frenzied clawing at the small blue pills inside the box. You pop two capsules out of their foil prisons and slam them into the back of your throat. Amazingly, you feel better already.
What’s in this stuff? you think.
You flip the box over in your hands and read the directions. They read: Adults: TAKE ONLY ONE PILL. Children: NO.
“Hmm,” you murmur. “Probably nothing.”
You are marveling at just how quickly the pressure in your nose seems to be clearing when you feel a warm, wet sensation across your lips. You wipe your mouth and look at your fingers – snot. Gross. As if on cue, you hear a snap in between your eyes and a powerful stream of thick, green mucus shoots from your nose to a patch of pavement just ahead of your feet.
“Oh go-“ Your fearful ejaculation is cut short by gobs of brown goo pouring over your tongue and down your chin. “Nogooggggggg!” you gurgle, horrified.
Green slime shoots out of your ears. In your terror you sweat snot and cry boogers. It is as if you have incurred the wrath of an angry third-grader. You are being overcome by your on mucus membranes.
As suddenly as it began, the pouring of snot from every orifice comes to a stop. You feel completely drained, but utterly clean. Except for the yellow sludge that covers you head to toe. That part’s dirty.
You compose yourself and set off on your walk home. You have an almost unnatural desire to watch Gremlins.