Downtown Dialysis Clinic, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Instead of a narcotic, I’ve faked Booker off with a local anesthetic before pushing two fifteen-gauge needles into his arm without, as he would say, so much as a kiss my ass. Booker’s a forty-five-year-old schizophrenic whose kidneys failed because he was too paranoid to take medicine for his high blood pressure. But at least today he hasn’t bolted like he’s done before. Today he has bigger problems than dial. His pains show up as squiggly staccato lines on an EKG. And he hears voices that won’t let him take his heart medicine or the little pills that unscramble fantasy from reality, like separating yolk from white in a cracked egg.

People on couch
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