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Cam Marston on Special Surprise

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I was standing in line at the pharmacy at CVS the other day. The line was pretty long. Some people in masks but most of us weren’t. We were staring at our phones and such. The pharmacist was busy answering the phone and trying to manage the drive up window, too. I felt for her and wished I could do something to help her out. She was giving it her all. She was frantic. We were bored.

The man in front of me was about my age, maybe a little older. Through a reflection in a mirror on an end cap display I could see his face. He looked tired. Like he hadn’t slept. I have no idea who he is, but I felt for him. Who knows why he was in line but, generally speaking, if you’re waiting at the pharmacy it’s because something is wrong.

A buddy walked up to him. Spotted him from across the room. I watched it happen. They hadn’t seen each other in a while and they stood talking about things. They knew each other but not well. I could tell by the way they interacted.

When it was the first guy’s turn to speak to the pharmacist – when he got to the front of the line - I have to admit that I eavesdropped a bit. “Do you have anything for hiccups,” he asked. “It’s a bad case and they won’t go away.” The pharmacist asked the normal questions: Have you tried drinking water, have you tried going for a long walk, have you tried holding your breath. The man nodded with each question. He’d tried them all. “Well,” the pharmacist said, “sometimes a surprise will do it.” He kindly nodded and thanked her for her help.

Well, his buddy was also listening and when the first guy turned away from the counter his buddy slapped the daylights out of him. Right on the side of the face. He took a big swing. All of us in line were in shock. It sounded like a gunshot it was so loud. Like a Will Smith / Chris Rock slap. The guy reacted by falling backwards and his eyes were huge, looking at his friend. He immediately put his hand to his cheek which was had quickly turned bright red.. He had this look on his face of “what the heck just happened?” Staring at his friend.

“So, how’s that for a surprise,” his friend said. “I heard what you said to the pharmacist about your hiccups and how you’ve tried everything except a surprise. So I thought I’d step up and surprise you with a little slap. I can see it caught you off guard and I see no hiccups. I think it worked. But, I hit you harder than I had intended. Heck, my hand is stinging.”

“My wife has the hiccups,’ the first guy said. “She’s out sitting in the car.”

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to enjoy this first day of April.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.