• Sam Palmer

Sherman's Muse



The smell of stale cigarettes and body odor wafted into my nostrils before my eyes even opened. The crust of a long sleep made it difficult to open my eyes fully. Groaning I rolled over onto my side, rubbing the corners of my eyes open. My hands smelled terrible. Like a sweaty ash tray.


Good morning, Sherman. Well, afternoon actually.


Shit. I lifted my head off the flat pillow of the couch to search for my pills. The coffee table was littered with dirty dishes, crushed beer cans and make shift ashtrays. Part of the disarray was the orange prescription bottle laying on its side. I reached out and picked it up, rattling it. Empty. Double shit.


You forgot to pick up your refill, Sherman. Or maybe you just missed me?


Her laugh ricocheted off the walls of my skull, echoing through my mind until it slowly disappeared. I sat up and pinched the bridge of my nose. Focus, Sherman. Don’t lose it now. I began counting backwards from thirty. Twenty-nine, twenty-eight, twenty-seven ––


Twenty-six, fifteen, ninety-nine, sixty-two.


Bitch.


“What the hell do you want?” I knew I wasn’t supposed to talk to her. Every therapist had warned me against it. But between the hangover and total emotional exhaustion, I didn’t have the energy to try to avoid her until I could get my refill. How long had it been since I’d spoken to anyone, anyways? Christ. A week? Maybe more. Not since Christine had left….


Is that why you’re torturing yourself? Over that cunt?

“Don’t call her that.”


What would you prefer? Bitch? Slut? Soul-sucking cockholster with the personality of a rock and the face of a psychrolutes marcidus?


“Dammit what did I just– wait, what even is that?” I threw my hands up.


Look it up.


“No. You probably just made that up.”


Go on. Look it up. You won’t be disappointed.


I could hear the smirk in her voice. Equal parts annoyed and curious, I retrieved my phone from under a soiled paper plate on the coffee table. Trying to pretend I hadn’t noticed the lack of missed texts or calls, I opened my internet app and typed in ‘psychrolutes marcidus’.


“Oh come on,” I stared down at the images on my screen. “A blob fish? She does not look like a blob fish. Also, how the hell did you know– never mind. I don’t know and I don’t care.”


Her echoing laugh came barreling through and I cradled my head in my hands as if it might shatter from the vibrations of the pitch. Closing my eyes tightly, I gritted my teeth and curled my toes. Focus, Sherman. You can do this. She’s not real. There is no woman living in your mind. You’re just hung over, stressed out, and exhausted.


You know you can get her back right?


I loosened my grip on my head, but kept my eyes closed. “How?”


There’s always been a way, Sherman. My way.


“No. No. No.” I shook my head and stood abruptly. A little too fast, actually. I stumbled to the kitchen, reaching out to the doorframe to balance myself. The vertigo slowly disappeared and I put all of my energy in making it to the fridge where under a Betty Boop magnet hung the paper with the pharmacy’s phone number scribbled on it.


Okay okay! We’ll do it your way. You don’t have to–


But it was too late. I was already punching the number into my phone and putting the receiver up to my ear. “Hello? Yes, this is–“


SHERMAN DON’T DO THIS!


“Sorry, THIS IS SHERMAN HALE. YES. YES. 05/13/86. YES.”


SHERMAN YOU SPINELESS–


“GREAT! I’LL HEAD THERE NOW. THANK YOU!” I yelled into the phone then hung up, grabbed my keys off the table and exited the apartment.

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