Drama Fiction Inspirational

“Take your pill, shave your head, brush your teeth, take your pill, shave your head, brush your teeth” Jace found himself muttering under his breath just a few seconds after his alarm woke him up from the best sleep he’s had in weeks. Four hours and thirteen mins he sees as he looks down at his watch. Between the side effects of the drugs including hair loss, tooth decay, and headaches along with the nightmares that wouldn’t leave, sleep had been hard to come by. He missed the normalcy of life. In fact, they said life would get back to normal soon but he wasn’t even sure what normal was anymore.

One of the few normal things he knew of was television so after stumbling out of bed, he grabbed the remote and pressed the power button. “Good boys, good girls, take your pill, shave your head and brush your teeth” the TV blared. It was a jingle that was all too familiar, too annoying and catchy to Jace. He rolled his eyes wishing there was some way around it, some cure that wasn’t so invasive. But he also took the time to remind himself that it could be worse and they could still be in the middle of the worst Pandemic the world had ever known.

Two years ago to this day he lost his wife to the disease. It was a disease that mirrored the flu at the start. First she got chills, fatigue and a stomach ache. But the stomach ache was the worst part as the virus told the body to overproduce stomach acid at a rate that was before unseen. Most patients died of internal bleeding, the named cause of Lindsay’s death at the young age of 26. They had only been married a few years so the murmurs around town were that his life should be back to normal now. Normal? What did that word mean? There weren’t a lot of things that angered the cool as a cucumber Jace but that word struck a nerve. Was it normal that he wouldn’t leave his wife to her deathbed and instead comforted her all the way through the disease? Was it normal that he stayed home and took care of his kids even as money was running dry? He didn’t know anymore. But whatever normal was, he didn’t want to be it.

Last year on this day he had the same dedications and conversations in his head. Lindsay loved Jace because he thought differently, because he had a sense of humor and challenged everything she knew to be true. So he would dedicate this day every year to finding himself again and loving himself like she did. The one thing he never failed to love about himself was his sense of humor. Making people laugh was his favorite thing in the world and today he figured that’s what he’d work toward. He scanned the room trying to think of how it would be possible with money getting tight and noticed a life insurance check that arrived a couple of weeks ago. For some reason it didn’t feel right, she was more than money and money could never replace her but finally it clicked. He felt like she would approve of his motives to try and realize his dream of doing stand up comedy.

His dreams would have to wait, at least until he found reliable daycare though as the next thing he heard were sounds that brought him back to reality. “Oooooohh”, “Ahhhhhh” Jace heard coming from the bedroom of his two and a half year old son Zander. At once he rushed in to see what brought about the noises from his son and as soon as he opened the door he remembered. He peeked in and watched Zander staring up at the ceiling entranced upon the fireworks exploding, a projection which signaled he could get out of bed. “How’s it going buddy?” Jace said as he opened his door. “Farworks!” was the response he got, then he laid down next to his son and watched them play for another 5 mins, a tradition they just started a few days ago. A tradition Jace could get used to.

Just as he was relaxing, nearly falling asleep with his son a new noise startled him awake. “Cannonball!!!” was the next thing he heard. Jace sleepily looked to his left to find his 5 year old, Mason sporting his dinosaur pajamas launching off his left leg and landing right on his outstretched arm and chest. “OOOFF” a loud grunt went out of Jace’s mouth. He nearly scolds Mason but instead he decides to embrace this rare moment of being sandwiched in the middle of his two sons, the last and best reminders of the love he lost. Before he can even contemplate why his 5 year old who seems to sleep later that anyone is up at 8am the next sound he hears is Mason pleading with him. “Can we watch cartoons now, please?” Of course that was the reason, ever since he let his older son watch Saturday morning cartoons with him a few weeks ago he’d been hooked.

“I have a better idea,” Jace suggested. “If it’s chores, I’m going back to bed” the quick witted Mason retorted. “No, I decided today I want to make people laugh for a living. How about I try some jokes on you.” “Fine but if you don’t make me laugh in a couple of minutes I’m turning the cartoons on myself”. 

Jace cleared his throat, then something unexpected happened. He felt nervous, it wasn’t something that happened often and he didn’t think it was possible around his kids but this was a new start to a career he really wanted. “How about those pills we gotta take, if I wanted to shave my head I would have decided to be a monk for a living years ago”. Crickets. Did the kids not get his joke or was he not funny? Still he continued, “How about that airline food. Why do they serve us crackers? Do they think we’re birds? If we were birds we wouldn’t need them.” Dead silence consumed the room. Finally Jace realized he had to play to his audience as he stuck out his tongue, crossed his eyes and pushed his nose up toward his eyebrows to make the funniest face possible. Zander burst out laughing but Mason remained unimpressed.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So he raised his hands to the sky and declared “Tickle fight!” knowing Mason was one of the most ticklish humans he had ever encountered. “Nooo!” Mason yelled but soon he was smiling, giggling and shaking as Jace pressed his fingers around his ribs and armpits. Just then Jace realized, this was the happiest he had been in years. He knew he had a lot to work on if he truly wanted to be a comedian but God willing it would happen. If there was one thing he learned that day, it was that laughter truly is the best medicine. 

March 11, 2021 21:18

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

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