He was nervous.
He came up to the counter and handed me two pieces of paper. Prescriptions. He said they were for his wife. She'd just had dental surgery he said. He wasn't wearing a ring. He looked awfully uncomfortable.
I looked at the papers. Cipro, an antibiotic, and Percocet, a very strong pain killer. A controlled substance pain killer. The pair together were not that uncommon. But he wasn't looking at me. He kept hunching his shoulders and looking around. He was acting suspicious.
I asked if she had ever filled here before. He said no. I asked for her address, phone and allergies as well as his photo I.D. He told me what information I needed and reluctantly handed over his I.D. I asked if she had any insurance while I wrote down his I.D. number. He said she didn't but that he was going to pay for it cash. This was all looking suspicious.
I tell him it will be about 10 minutes and he could wait at the other end if he liked. He relaxes his shoulders as he walks away. I turn to my pharmacist and tell him my observations. He is suspicious of the man as well.
The pharmacist tells me he will call the doctor, to verify the scripts are real. I type the Cipro.
The pharmacist hangs up the phone. The doctor admits to seeing the girl earlier that day and he wrote both prescriptions. I type the Percocet. I'm still not convinced this guy is legit.
We fill the medications, slap on the labels, and walk to the pick-up window. The man is waiting in a seat. I call him up to the window. I ring him up. He's nervous again. I have the pharmacist come over to give him counsel. The man pays serious attention to the directions and warnings. He acknowledges everything the pharmacist says. Both the man and the pharmacist sign off on the prescription and the man turns to leave.
The pharmacist frowns at the man's back. He tells me to follow the man just to observe, just in case he is going to sell the drugs. I let the man walk away a bit before following him. His shoulders are still hunched. He's watching around himself again.
The man walks out of the store. He turns left. I walk out of the store and follow. The man turns around the side of the building out of my sight. There's nothing on that side of the building. Just shrubs and dried grass and an empty lot with a gully on one side. I stop at the corner of the building and look around the edge.
The man is crouched next to a boulder at the edge of the gully. There is a thin woman sitting on the ground in front of him. Her clothes are worn from being outdoors often, sun-bleached and old. She coughs and holds out her hand. I hear the man say these will make her feel better. He says she really should go to the local shelter. She nods and thanks him, she will when she doesn't feel quite so sick. He hugs her.
I turn around. I walk back to the store, to the pharmacy. The pharmacist sees me, he asks what I saw. I tell him the man gave the medicine to his wife, just as he had said. I smile as I say it.
**Again, this is a work of fiction. I have never "tailed" a customer, nor am I advising it nor have I ever been asked to do it. Once a customer leaves our sight he is no longer our concern.**