"Oh, can you fill in the back of the prescription as well, please?"
I look down and see the blank boxes she's pointing to. I don't know that I've had to do this before. I'm not often ill and I think the last time I had a prescription from a doctor, my mum probably did this for me.
I fill in my name and address, then tick the box marked 'I am the patient' and the one next to it marked 'I am the walrus.' I'm not sure about the one marked 'Coo-coo-ka-choo' so I leave it blank and give it back to the lady. She looks at it and nods, so I guess I got it right, then she feeds it into the mouth of the large black bear that peers out through the window of the wall behind her. He growls and she nods again.
"It'll be about ten minutes," she says. "You can wait or, if you want to do some slopping, you can come back for it."
I tell her I'll slop and head out into the street. I check my car is still securely tethered, and give a tug on its lead which leaves it bobbing in the air as I head down the street.
Every few yards I grab one of the buckets and splash the contents over the road, keeping it wet, keeping it alive. They sometimes talk about paying people to do this, some kind of professional sloppers. But in the end they always decide that it would take too many of them; that it's better leaving it to civic duty to keep the tongues of roads moistened. It's worked for decades, I guess, so why change it.
The sky is a particularly heady shade of bronze today, making everything glow, and it feels good. If only I could shake this cough, but I guess that's what the anti-bionics are for. They'll soon stop me regurgitating the gearwheels and thick black oil. It's not been pretty, I can tell you.
A panhandler accosts me, he gives me a pan and I move on.
It's quiet on the street today, people staying in to avoid the metaphor storms. It's no fun when it rains cats and dogs. I kick some onto the road as they land by me, and it slurps them up. I grab another bucket and wash them down.
I soon grow tired of this, and figure that maybe ten minutes have gone by. It might have been a week, or a month, or a nanosecond, but all you can do is try.
Back in the chemist the nice lady gives me my pills, telling me to take four days every pill, instead of food. Seems fair enough to me.
Outside I find that one of the rain-dogs has chewed through my car's tether.
I guess I'm walking home again.