At the grocer’s, Neil tries to remember which sort of fruit is meant to elevate his endorphin receptors. He’s uncertain of what that means, but the language of the doctor’s office has taken root in his brain. He’s drawn to the familiar tart green apples, but knows it’ll take something more exotic to trick him into feeling better. He palpates a large pink fruit, fat and shiny.
It twitches and emits a cloud of spicy spores. He drops it back into the basket, where it wheezes out another peppery puff of spores and deflates somewhat. Neil sneezes into his elbow. Decides to let it go.
He takes his groceries (coffee, apples, spinach, milk) to the counter. As the girl packs them into his bag, the Condition reaches out from under his raincoat, reaches towards the rows of cigarette boxes. Her eyes go big. Neil grabs the tentacle with both hands, bends it around his elbow, twists until he hears it hiss. He lets it go. Like the slapped hand of a child it retreats under his coat. In the ensuing silence, Neil clears his throat and points towards a pack of his brand.
“Those too, please.”
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