How to Take Your Medication

Place the small glass bottle on top of your desk. Unwrap a sterile syringe. Do not bother with the alcohol wipes. Roll the bottle between your hands a few times mixing the medicine. Draw some air into the syringe. Plunge the needle into the bottle and draw out the insulin. Talk the entire time. There's a girl you know. Yesterday she told you a story about a fight she had with her parents over a boy she loves and they disapprove of. Repeat her story with so much passion and pathos it becomes your story. Do not bother washing your hands or wiping the injection site. Pinch 3 inches of your sparse abdomen. Change the subject. You rotate your shoes every day so that they don't get old and smell funky. Your brother may give you a job in his auto body shop and find you an apartment. Plunge the needle into your flesh. You changed the spark plugs and wires in your car last week, it took you less than a half hour. You may not want an apartment, you're comfortable here in the basement of your mom and her new husband; you like being near your little sister. Push the plunger of the syringe releasing the medication. Leave the needle in your flesh for a few seconds so that no insulin escapes. Remove the needle. Pull your shirt down over the injection site. Stand up. Root around for change in the pocket of your jeans. Open a bureau drawer that is already heavy with quarters, pennies, nickels and dimes. Say that when you reach $500 you'll fix up an old motorcycle and ride it across the country.

- Teresa Giordano writes non-fiction television programs on topics ranging from earwigs to forensic anthropology, to the southwest border, to bad-ass presidents. She’s also crafted dialogue for some of those reality TV stars you think are being spontaneous. She’s published fiction in Devilfish Review, Pyschopomp, and in an echapbook titled Strange Encounters. She’s published non-fiction in The Weeklings. 

This is the second of three of Giordano's entries on Dead Housekeeping this week. The first was "How to Put Your Mind at Rest Each Night," here.

How to Show the Fight at Your House

Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear while my cousin Tony, the host of that night’s pay-per-view event in his apartment overflowing with friends and family, placed coasters beneath stray tumblers and handed napkins to those eating pizza on his carpet. I don’t know if he witnessed the bite firsthand, he was so busy keeping his place perfectly in place with 20 people taking advantage of his free premium cable. He wiped his kitchen table. Guests would drop, he would pick up. He checked and rechecked his spotless bathroom. I’d been in there moments before just looking around as I tinkled, in complete awe of how it could be so...so clean. Were those baby wipes in place of toilet paper? Is that a cherrywood wipes holder? The wipes were to me the single reminder of Tony’s severe diabetic condition that would eventually kill him at 29: tall, thin, graceful, his mother’s best friend. To anyone else that night, they were simply a sign of a man who took great care in his toilet time.

I missed the ear bite myself. It took about 20 seconds and it stopped the fight. I was in Tony’s bedroom checking on my baby sleeping in his bed, and I lingered at his bookshelf filled with framed photos of family, my daughter included. You notice dust when things are dusty, but with Tony, you noticed how nothing was ever dusty, nothing was ever without care. By the time I could pull myself in complete admiration from this curiosity, the fight was over.

illustration by  Maia Butler

illustration by Maia Butler

- Erica Hoskins Mullenix is a freelance writer and editor, and a contributing editor here at Dead Housekeeping. Besides personal essays detailing her life as an introverted middle kid, bewildered but kickass mother and special needs parent, she also writes short fiction. Proudly an alum of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Erica created the online writer’s community known as yeah write in April 2011. She has had essays published in Salon, The Houston Chronicle, PANK, and other print and online publications. Her fiction and other writing can be found on her personal blog at freefringes.yeahwrite.me. Follow Erica on Twitter @freefringes