It was on a Friday that my internist gave her approval for me to start with my preferred medication (see Meds [2 of 2]). To me this seemed the best day to start, so I had the prescription sent to a pharmacy right away.
The only pharmacy that was sure to have my pills in stock happened to be one of the few that was open until late, and it was around the corner from Erdem's place. I had bothered Erdem with my pros and cons of starting a treatment, so now I thought it would be nice to take him to dinner to celebrate my decision after I picked up my meds. During and after dinner we'd drink wine and booze and then I would take my first pill. It was my way to imprint in my brain that my daily pill should not limit me in any way.
And so I walked into the pharmacy where an Indian-looking pharmacist of around thirty helped me. After first denying that any prescription had been sent, he went to the back and looked through the faxes. Suddenly he grabbed one, read it twice, walked back with a big smile on his face, and then checked my date of birth, address and my doctor's name with me.
Pharmacist: I couldn't find you in the computer.
Jackdaw: It's my first time here.
Pharmacist: Where do you normally get this then?
Jackdaw: Well, nowhere. It's the first time I will use it.
He walked to the back again and while opening drawers he smiled at me several times. He returned with the box, but just before he was back at the desk he looked shocked and turned around. Then he took a brown paper bag from a cabinet into which he put the pill box with very obvious discreteness before he returned. From this moment on he spoke in some sort of loud conspiracy whisper while leaning over the counter.
Pharmacist: This is the only pharmacy in town that always has this... medicine... in stock.
Jackdaw: That's nice to know.
Pharmacist: Yeah, just so you know. We are the number one specialised pharmacy for... this.
Jackdaw: Oh, okay.
Pharmacist: Do you suffer any side-effects from... this medication?
Jackdaw: No. Well, I don't know. I've never take it before.
Pharmacist: So what did you take instead?
Jackdaw: Nothing, I'm gonna start with this one.
Pharmacist: You know, I think it's interesting. I'm very much interested in... this. I'm specialising in it.
Pharmacist: Are you also going to the party on... December first?
Pharmacist: There's this party in the city that's for... this.
Jackdaw: I'm not sure I understand what you are trying to tell me.
Pharmacist: On... December first... there's a party for people who need... this.
His whisper got very loud and he pointed frantically at the brown paper bag.
Jackdaw: Oh, right.
Pharmacist: Are you going? I am!
Jackdaw: I don't think I will.
Pharmacist: But there'll be lot of people with... you know… this.
Jackdaw: I think I'll be abroad that weekend.
This was a lie, but I wanted to move on and there was a room full of people waiting and following the secretive conversation.
Pharmacist: That's a pity. Say, why are you only getting one box? Most people who take... this... take supply for three months each time they come.
Jackdaw: Well, since it's the first time I will use this medication, my doctor first wants to see how I respond to it before I order it in bulk.
Pharmacist: Oh, you never used it before?
Pharmacist: So what did you use then?
Jackdaw: Nothing... it's all new to me.
Pharmacist: Oh... yeah... right. Just remember -- very important -- take it at exactly the same time every day and only on an empty stomach. That's very important! Hope to see you again! Maybe on the first of December?
Jackdaw: Who knows. Bye.
My doctor had told me I could take the pills with or without food, and that there was an eight-hour window one day after the previous pill that I could take the next one. I somehow trusted her better than the pharmacist.
After dinner Erdem and I went for a nice dinner and had a few drinks. At his place I took my first pill, afraid that I might get nauseous or sick. But that didn't happen: I felt nothing, I felt great (see Meds [2 of 2]).
"Rocky", the guy who had drugged me in order to have unprotected sex with me, the guy with whom my whole HIV drama had started about twenty months earlier (see Rocky horror [1 of 3], [2 of 3] and [3 of 3]) didn't feel quite so well though. Several hours after and only a hundred meters from where I took my first pill, he died from a drug overdose in a gay sauna. While his naked body was cooling down in a puddle of vomit, horny men crossed the police lines and stepped over the white blanket that covered him, cruising for the next guy to fuck with. Was this a coincidence?