Take the Q train from Manhattan toward Coney Island and get off in Brooklyn at Kings Highway and you’ll be in Russia. Find the little brick building with the yellow sign that says “Wellness.” A doctor there will write a prescription for anything.
The sun is out but it’s freeze-your-dick off weather. The train is full of shifty characters. You’re reading a novel about a restless Russian housewife who loves to fuck vagrants and all you can think about are those long frozen landscapes and the black trains going on forever into Siberia.
This is your third visit to the Russian Dr. Feelgood. The first time you bothered making an appointment. Got all your papers together and your old prescription bottles. Everything you might need incase they ask. But now you’re a pro. You’ve figured out their games. Now you just walk in and sweet talk the ladies at the desk.
They give you a bunch of tests so they can charge the shit out of your insurance. It’s fraud maybe but you don’t pay a dime. Sometimes they call you into a little room and you take a written exam with an old man with unruly nostril hair who asks you questions like, “Do you know what day it is? Can you draw a square?” Or they take you to a back room with brown ceiling tiles and standing water on the floor. There’s a woman in gold chains and a track suit waiting there, eating a banana. Seriously eating it. She tells you to take your shirt off. She puts gel, cold gel, on your chest and looks at the monitor. You can hear your heart beating over the speakers of the machine echoing through the room.
“You a have very strong heart,” she says. “Strong, strong heart.”
There’s a waiting room full of angry people that don’t understand. These people have things to do. They have anxiety and fear and nothing to soothe them but the hope of some pharmaceutical relief. I wish I could explain to them their okay. That if they simply stepped outside themselves they would break into blossom.
An autistic child eats a tuna sandwich. A flight attendant does a crossword. A baby with his mother screams for his father.
Finally the doctor will see you. There’s the smell of bourbon on her breath.
“This is your first time, no?”
“Third,” you say.
“What do you want,” she asks.
“Just need to refill some prescriptions. Xanax. Hydrocodone. Adderall.”
“Can I get refills for three months,” you ask.
“Why — you don’t like it here,” she jokes.
“This is the greatest place on earth,” you say and almost mean it.
“It’s better than where I came from,” she says.
She writes the scripts.
On the train back to Manhattan you kiss Russia goodbye for three more months. You reach the tunnel and suddenly you’re on the run from the secret police. They’ve discovered the body of the dutchess you killed.