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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: July 7, 2019      Views: 62

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biographical blurb
"Where's Ol' LIJ Red?" by LIJ Red

Red was born in Appalachian poverty, a war baby.

As the farm and timber region gained a few mill jobs, his parents, intelligent and industrious, put him through high school. He was mistakenly voted Most Intelligent by his senior class.

His Navy GCT (general classification test) score was 71, among the top ten percent. This got him the service A school for Electronic Technician, and C school in wideband radio reception. (huge antenna arrays out near the fringes of life).

He used the knowledge gained in Navy schools as an electrician, electronics technician, and instrumentation technician for forty years in carpet mills, twenty of them as crew leader or floorwalker.

Abandon ship drill towers, Susie the gas house, and George, the smoke house, made him uneasy but his brain clamped down on his fear, and he flinched and charged.

Later, even burning warehouses and propane leaks, the dark close spaces and shaky heights, usually ended up his babies as bigger, stronger, smarter men went "Weh!"

He thought he was tough.

Now he learns better. He thought the fact that all his near kin were dead, and he lived alone, overweight, of indifferent health, 75 years old with less life span remaining than a man sentenced to death row, was just that, a fact. Nothing was going to get much better, and nobody gets out alive. It always ends badly, they shovel dirt and forget. His hardened, prying mind left his faith in seeing the streets of gold on squishy ground. To wake up each morning you have to pass the doubts, and the realization that no one is coming back.

He thought he accepted it, until he would find his heartbeat shaking his whole body. If the blockers and diuretics were in full sway, his pulse went as fast as his aging heart could manage, with insane EKG marks and irregular beats. If not blocked or dehydrated, his pulse slowed to the fifties and the blood pressure spiked to the crisis zone.

"No sweat. Pop one of these when you feel it coming." said his sawbones.

Magic pill, but. Six hours to slow the pulse, then a day of feeling goofy, and a day of blessed normality, then after X amount of time, the same old excrement. Addictive if overdone, that clonazepam.

Red had to have Wadd the cat put down. The last person on his will, the wife's neice who was a bit daughterish, died of cancer at 60. Had to have Howblue the cat put down. That 75th birthday slipped by almost unnoticed. Almost. His heart beat "one-less, one-less" instead of ka-thud, ka-thud.

The "anxiety attacks" came more often. Red asked his doctor for other options.

Enter Escitalopram, AKA Lexapro. Takes a month to eight weeks to kick in, but helps both anxiety and depression, by making the body stop snacking on serotonin so the brain can use it.

What they say as a soft aside  is that getting on the train is Hell. All the anxiety symptoms are back, badder than ever, and the stuff attacks the guts like super-aspirin and castor oil. Makes you shake like a dog passing a log chain dreading the hook. All is supposed to smooth out as you get saturated with the stuff.

Red took the 25th 10 mg pill this morning.

He bought a back-up blood pressure monitor, and the scary spikes are more subdued. Hopefully this "reliable, milder SSRI" will work.

But what will be the effect on LIJ Red, the old millhand, biker and swabby who decided out of the blue to write, with no background whatever?

What if the escitalopram works? Red's writing was a battle against boredom, screams against an unfair universe. A happy Red may feel no call to write.

If the dope blunts his none-too-pointed wits, he may write (even more gross) rubbish. Right now that is the case. Couldn't write fudge with a mouth full.

So at this point, he says, 'til later, Fanstorians. Not goodbye.

Oh, the blessed certainity of the future. Red hopes,best case,  the drugs will smoothe his choppy mind and give him patience to think out and edit his work and become a true writer.
And I'll bet others of the gang have had the same problem. Share notes.
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