Josephine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

There is no one else but me. In this world . . . I AM ALONE!

Crow's feet. Jowls. Dewlap of an ox. Now these were the spoils of a war she'd won hands down. Cortisol had really done a botch job on a girl in her mid-twenties. She hated her fingers. Knobbly and pruned, Josephine hid them the best she could. The pockets of her Levi jeans made her shuffle along awkwardly wherever she went - head down, furrowed brow - Jimmy Dean. Dungarees were her favourite. The baggy pockets were, she felt, meant for ugly hands. She knew every crack in the pavement. There was always a blade of grass somewhere to be spotted.

She waited. Listening. Then her psychiatrist - an old-school terr-roe-dak-till - told her what she'd heard so many times before. The sodium bulb above her head flickered (with trapped flies inside its Perspex casing). Her foot tapped involuntarily. He kept talking. Christ, he must be reading a script - following his index finger across the page. One of her trainers kicked a dog-end around. The pips started to go. Josephine fed another coin - registering more credit. The telephone box had one missing pane. Pedestrians outside seemed to drift by in slow-motion. The air Josephine breathed sang to the high and low notes of stale urine. There were no straight answers, she thought. She pressed the receiver to the other ear. They discussed counselling and 'group therapy' - rebuked by him as the av-ong-gard practice of barefoot doctors. A firmer tone was needed. He cut her off. She sighed - an onomatopoeic release of pent up frustration: Yeah, you always say the same thing - peetee-essdee requires the modern approach! Look, doc, I'm not feeling any different. All these pills are doing are FUCKIN' WITH MY HEAD!!! She squeezed the chrome-coated flex, inserting another pound coin. The ephemeral whiff of urine made her nose run. Strangely it was less potent when it lingered. The busy street and passing traffic poured into the telephone box - heightened by its one missing window. - Keep on with the dose, then, wailed Josephine, just like it says on the label: two in the morning, two before bedtime. She was testing him - her foot tapping all the while: Me in a straitjacket would put a big smile on your face, wouldn't doc? Do you ever stop to consider- . He raised his voice - interrupting her. I HAVE none - no quality of life WHATSOEVER!!! She continued: I just sink pills and walk around in a haze. I burn toast. I fall asleep on the toilet. The days of the week roll into one. A snail has it better!!! Keep taking your meds, you say, we'll review your treatment when we have more data - you said that twooooo years ago! Yeah, okay, I know you're busy. So this is when you slam the phone down- . Yep - he did. All she got was dialling tone. Oh, Jimmy, I wish I was Julie Harris. Josephine always said this whenever pushing the iron door of the red telephone box. Stepping out, she bathed in the indigo of the sky. At the centre of the Milky Way, a deep violet-blue O-type star blazed. At this astronomical distance, planet Earth was safe from its cold gamma rays. The sun, in comparison, was just a yellow dot. The supermassive giant was a mystery. Its hue had a resolution you found hard to equate. Every object it touched, every surface, looked, how can I put it - digitally-enhanced. I am, she tells herself, an interloper in a city of clockwork people. Who . . . am I? I am forever searching inside. Homeward bound. Eventually climbing the steps to her bedsit - Josephine locks the door. Empty Pot Noodles decorate lots of second-hand furniture. Teevee set on. She points a remote control in the direction of a video cassette recorder. The screen comes alive. The picture quality is poor - the magnetic tape is worn. Doesn't matter. All the dialogue's inside her head. East of Eden, she's watched, at least, three-hundred times! You weren't trying to be Brando. You're brilliant bcos (pause) . . . I feel like I can reach out and touch you. Then Josephine remembered her medication - grabbing two benzodiazepines from her bedside table.


Submitted: May 18, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Jobe Rubens. All rights reserved.

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hullabaloo22

I think this has to be one of your best. You certainly did a good job of introducing Josephine.

Mon, May 18th, 2020 6:55pm

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