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The Justice League of Prozac by William Hrdina
SUMMARY: A self-help group for superheroes.
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“Where the Fnords Linger- A Short Story Collection”collects 27 of my most popular stories. To order:www.williamhrdina.com.
The Justice League of Prozac
A Short Story by William Hrdina
Tuesday. 3 O'clock.
Dr. Franklin Xorn sat in his sleek black BMW in the parking lot of the Metropolitan Community Center. Sighing, he leaned his head against the steering wheel. He noticed his left shoe was untied. He tied it. Then he looked out the window at the drab old building. He didn't want to do it. He just wanted to re-start the car and drive away.
It boggled his mind, every week he was forced to work up the courage and intestinal fortitude to get through the next hour. Every week, he wanted to quit. He wanted to tell the group he could no longer help them. Then, he would politely suggest the names of several other psychologists, all of whom he disliked intensely. But he never quit. Xorn reached into the glove compartment, took out a small bottle of whiskey he kept behind his registration for these occasions, and took a long, throat scarring pull.
"Whooo!" He yelled to the empty car, fighting back the burn of the cheap whiskey.
Feeling much more centered, Dr. Xorn got out of his car and went inside the Community Center. He tried to ignore the olfactory wave of stale cigarettes that accosted him every time he walked into the building. It was so prevalent you could rub your finger across the wall and leave a streak in the accumulated tar.
He walked up the stairs to Room 302. It was the fourth door on the right- just after the top of the stairs. Room 307 across the hall was a class on floral arrangement. He could always smell the flowers as he came out of the stairwell. It was nice; it offered a pleasant relief before entering the purgatory of Room 302. He always wanted to go in with the old ladies and arrange the petunias and roses and chrysanthemums... he let his mind wander for a few long seconds before taking a final deep breath and opening the door to room 302.
When Dr. Xorn stepped into the therapy room, the first thing that assaulted his senses was the smell of neoprene, nicotine, and old coffee. But the most predominant smell- so strong it almost overwhelmed all the other odors- was sweat.
When you wear a skintight neoprene suit underneath your clothes all of the time- and then you exert your self to superhuman levels- well- it tends to create a bit of an aroma. As he did every week, Xorn struggled to keep down his gag reflex until his nose got used to the smell.
"Hello everyone." He said to the room.
"Hello Dr. Xorn." Everyone replied.
The superheroes were all sitting on cheap, plastic chairs and sipping coffee so strong and hot even Johnny Storm- the Human Torch- could be seen softly blowing on the liquid before sheepishly taking a sip. The Hulk sat in the far corner, trying, with only minimal success, to use his massive fingers to tear open a small packet of non-dairy creamer for his coffee.
All the superheroes were mad at Hulk for destroying Manhattan, so no one offered to help him. Xorn went over to the Hulk and took the creamer and coffee from him. He opened the creamer, dumped it in the cup and stirred it with a swizzle stick.
"Thanks." Hulk mumbled, taking the little cup of coffee in his giant hand and blowing daintily on it before taking a sip.