The beast within

Friends and enemies,

There are “those times which try men’s souls.” (Kingston Trio).

And then there are just those times.

— The Beast Within —

The ‘beast’ crept up on Jack, like it always did. Slowly, over a couple of days. Jack began to hurt more. He could feel the weather changing.

The first sign he had that he was in trouble was when he jumped when someone slammed the door to their car. The next was when a neighbor kid screamed, and Jack wanted to kill the kid.

Then he couldn’t sleep. He tried to sleep, but the pain would keep him awake. Then he would almost sleep, and the nightmares would wake him.

He walked around his apartment.

Flashes of lights from passing cars sent him back to Baghdad. He could still smell the rotting flesh.

“How could burned flesh smell like it was rotting?

He knew then the beast was back. He found his old friends. The other Jack, Jack black and his buddy, Budweiser.

He took his meds. He had told his doctor they were not working.

Jack had said, “Doctor Giles, They make my dreams worse sometimes. And sometimes, I cannot tell when I am dreaming, and when I am not dreaming.”

True to Government medicine, the doctor had told him, “Jack, you just are not taking them correctly. I keep telling you, you have to take them twice a day. You cannot skip any days.”

When Jack left that day, his doctor had pulled up his file and noted “Patient seemed depressed. His depression was related to his PTSD and had no connection to his medications.”

Doctor Giles looked at the email he had printed out, “Costs must be controlled. Unless the Veteran can get his or her medications under the ‘Affordable Care Act,’ only generic medications will be prescribed. Under no circumstances are Veterans to be prescribed first line medications at cost to the VA.”

He muttered, “I hope I am not wrong.”

He crumpled up the paper and threw it into the grey trash can under his desk.

…. To be continued ….

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