‘Can’t I have one of those?’, asked Arnold as he struggled with his straight jacket. The nurse looked at him sternly and muttered something under her breath as she took a purple pill out of the container. Arnold held his mouth tightly closed as she tried to pop the pill in his mouth. ‘I want a green one!’, exclaimed Arnold.
‘You are prescribed the purple ones, you have to have a purple one.’, replied the nurse.
‘But I want a green one!’, Arnold yelled then spat the purple pill across the room that had been forced into his mouth while he was yelling.
‘I can not give you a green one. No one knows what it would do to yoy. You have had a lot of purple pills over the years.’, explained the nurse as calmly as she could. She reached into the container and removed another purple pill. ‘Now please take your medication.’
Arnold blew a raspberry and then turned his back on the nurse. ‘I’m sulking now. And I am going to sulk until I get a green pill.’
‘You will not get any dinner.’, warned the nurse.
‘Don’t care!’, Arnold replied in his best spoilt child voice. The nurse sighed and left the room.
A week later…
‘He looks very ill and that shaking gives me the creeps.’, said the nurse to the doctor that had come to see Arnold.
‘He hasn’t eaten since last week?’, the doctor asked.
‘No doctor, or taken any of his medication.’
‘Ah! And he is on the purple pills?’
‘Yes doctor, two a day. But lately he has refused to take them and wants a green one.’
‘Hmmmm! Well we shall give him a green one then.’
The nurse looked worried, ‘But we don’t know what it will do.’
‘We will soon find out!’, the doctor reached over to the pill container and removed a green pill. Arnold as weak as he was and convulsing because of his withdrawal from the purple pills looked on eagerly. The nurse took a step back, ‘I want nothing to do with this doctor. I do not wish to be involved if anything goes wrong.’
The doctor frowned, ‘You may leave then nurse’. The doctor held Arnold still and put the green pill into his mouth. Arnold held the pill in his mouth for as long as he could before swallowing it as slowly as he could. He wanted to feel the pill as much as possible. He wanted this pill because it was different. He wanted the pill because for a long time now green looked a better colour than purple. The pill had hit his stomach. It would be a while now before the pill would take effect but the convulsing had already stopped. Arnold lay still on the bed and waited. The doctor let go of Arnold and sat and waited for something to happen. He did not know what would happen, no one had ever given a patient a green pill after many years of purple ones. No one could even think what effect this may have. The nurse peered through the door, not wanting to be any part of what was going on, but really wanting to know what would happen. Arnold lay still and calm and waited for the pill to take effect.
Supper time came. Arnold was still laying calmly on his bed. The doctor had left now to go and do other things. The nurse carried on with her duties but looked in on Arnold every now and then. His supper lay beside the bed untouched waiting to be eaten. Arnold waited for something to happen. Nothing did. He waited some more. Nothing happened some more. And then Arnold noticed nothing was happening. Nothing at all. The food was not waiting to be eaten. The doctor was not doing other things. The nurse was not carrying on with her other duties or looking in on him every now and then. Nothing was happening. The birds were not chirping outside his window. The heart monitor they had connected to him was not beeping or blipping. The light above the bed was not flickering. It was one of those lights that always flickered. But nothing. Arnold scratched his head, this was not what he had expected. He had wanted something to happen. He did not expect nothing to happen. But nothing had happened big time. Nothing was happening in such a big way that Arnold was probably the only one to notice. ‘Maybe I should have asked for a yellow pill’, he said to himself. ‘Maybe something would have happened with a yellow pill.’. Arnold sighed and got up from his bed, he removed the straight jacket he had been wearing most of the time for the last sixteen years. He looked for something, there was nothing, so he walked out of his room, down the corridor and on out of the hospital. All the time nothing happened. Arnold walked on and on looking for something, anything. But there was nothing. Nothing there and nothing happening. The green pill had had a strange effect, Arnold was not sure if he liked it. He sat down by a stream and waited. The stream was still, nothing moved.