Fredericton — Bliss Carman once said of autumn, “there is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir.” Most tenured literature professors at UNB now agree that Carman was alluding to the horrible flu strains that are far too common in our province.
One of many flu deterrents is the controversial vaccination, commonly administered by local pharmacies. Veteran pharmacist Sue Cogswell, 59, eagerly awaits the business rush.
“This year’s formula really packs a punch,” said Cogswell, sticking an oversized needle into a tiny vial. “They pumped way too much H1N1 into the chickens they developed the vaccines in.”
Having manned the Pharmasave counter for decades, Cogswell has developed relationships — good and bad — with her regular customers.
“Usually my weekday evenings at the shop are slow. Sometimes my radio bingo friends show up and we discuss current events.
“Except for the start of the each damn week,” she said, staring at a neatly organized Tylenol shelf.
“I’ve met and served just about every cretin on the south side, but none as bad as eight-year-old Clark Savoie,” said Cogswell. “Monday evenings he moseys on in with his grandmother and puts on the most obnoxious scene, screaming and yelling constantly!
“Every fall though, for a few moments, that little shit is stuck in my chair — in my iron grip. I pinch his thin arm till it’s red and carve my initials into his bone.”
We asked whether little Clark is really deserving of such treatment.
“Last week, while his grandmother was going through the same Catholic confirmation cards over and over again, he got into the diphenhydramine hydrochloride, or what you would call sleeping pills. Fell right into the pain-relief shelf,” continued Cogswell. “Even last August he was getting into the Halloween candy we had put out. It’s almost like the child has no self-awareness or control.
“There’s nothing he can do to try to get out of the shot — grandma’s on my side,” continued Cogswell. “I’m even getting paid to do this to him, which is great. And every year we mysteriously run out of Toy Story band-aids and lollipops on the day he gets a shot.”
Despite her harsh opinion of little Clark, Cogswell still cares for her customers.
“I pray every night for Clark’s grandma’s health, though — both of his parents are anti-vaxxers. If the old gal croaks, so does all my fun.”
Clark’s flu shot is scheduled for Thursday evening at 6:30. His last meal is expected to be Ritz sandwich crackers and apple juice.