THE PERILS OF LOUELLA:|
Whod ever believe it? she gasped. Whod have thought Id ever be slowed down like this? Remember how I used to clean this place like that—you know, whatchacallit?—that White Tornado guy. Yeah. And now look! If it werent for your dad and Candy, this place would be a mess! Plus I can hardly cook any more. Hard to believe Im only sixty-two, aint it?
Louella winced at the aint. Guess it wouldnt be fair to try to correct her grammar any more, she thought, what with this myasthenia gravis shes got. I got that prescription filled, Mom, she said, pulling the crisp white bag from her black Coach purse.
Oh, thank you, darlin, said her mother, grasping the bag limply in her trembling hand and looking at the stapled-on receipt. My word! Five hundred thirty-two dollars! It cant have cost that much, can it?
Yes, Mom, it really did. I couldnt believe it either. And for only one months supply, too!
Well, I intended to pay you back for this, I really did, said her mother, near tears. But I dont see how I can, I really dont! You know, your Dad and I, all weve got is our Social and his little Esskay pension. We can manage okay with this house paid for and all, as long as we dont get sick—
—or need a dentist, or a hearing aid, or glasses! grumped Louellas father, heaving himself into the companion overstuffed recliner. He grunted as he reached for the remote. Im thinking about having all my teeth pulled and just getting dentures. Save a lot that way.
Oh, Dad, no! said Louella. Thats awful! Its always better to have your own teeth. I read that somewhere.
Yeah, yeah, you read that! Lots of things you can read about that you cant have! Get wise, Lou! he groused. Were on a downhill slide here in this house, and thats the truth! This golden age thing is a crock!
Honey, look here at this receipt for that medicine Dr. whats-his-name prescribed! I dont see how Ill be able to keep taking it!
He looked and turned to Louella. You paid that much?
Did I have a choice?
Well, yeah. I mean, this heres a lot of money. Its not like youre making that much on that temp job, right?
Well, no, said Louella cautiously. Im still not going to tell them about winning the Lottery! she resolved. This is not my problem. I can manage okay so long as nobody knows about it.
Come on girl! You got some kind of secret stash? her father pressed. We kinda think ya do, ya know? Buyin that condo and not workin full-time. So level with us, okay? Because, without this medicine, your Moms in a powerful heap of trouble, and thats the truth! He glared at her. So come on, out with it!
Theres no stash, Dad, honest. Technically, thats true, because I live from check to check, she rationalized. Tell you what, though—maybe we can solve the problem by getting the prescription filled in Mexico or Canada. I saw about that on 60 Minutes.
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This story was published on May 30, 2001.