Self-Medicating in the Apocalypse


The empty world funnels into an empty parking lot, funnels into an empty Walmart, funnels into an empty Walmart Pharmacy, funnels into an empty staff bathroom, funnels into an empty syringe.

I can fucking do this.

I searched nine pharmacies before I found a vial. Liquid gold, little lad juice, the Hormonal Grail. Testosterone, baby.

There’s no internet now, but the night Before, my repressed ass skidded right down a YouTube spiral of vloggers cataloguing their transitions. I avoid looking in the unpolished mirror, in front of a sink not conducive to medical procedures.

“This is my voice one day on T,” I say, going low like I’m trying to sing Hozier. Then I go up for Bowie, “This is my voice four weeks post-apocalypse!

I feel like I can’t complain. Being still alive and all. All told, it was a pretty fortunate apocalypse. I’d have preferred if pop culture was wrong about the undead altogether, but at least it was wrong about the never-ending hoard aspect. They starved pretty quickly, after decimating their own food source. No mind for sustainability.

So, the dead are dead, and the undead are also dead. Everyone’s dead. But me. Maybe. And I’m headed… I don’t know. I was focused on pharmacies. From the deep south to the less deep south, for starters. Maybe the east coast, maybe the west.

If I’m honest, do I really miss society that much? It was mid.

“Yeah, quit stalling, man,” I mutter.

With no doctor to consult, I’m picking .30 milliliters. I uncap the needle on the syringe, and I feel the can of peaches I savaged my way into reintroduce itself to my esophagus.

It’s fine. I can fucking do this.

I impale the gray membrane on top of the vial and realize I forgot to warm it up in my hands, then decide that’s probably not that important.

I tip the vial upside-down to draw and—wow, it’s a lot more stubborn than I thought. I tug at the plunger, and it doesn’t want to be tugged. But there’s some yellowy bubbles, which form some yellowy liquid. There’s .05 milliliters. Ish.

It takes a few minutes. I hope I get better at this, in case I have to run from a bear at some point.

Oh shit, are animals gone too? I haven’t been paying attention.

“Quit. Stalling.” I take a deep breath and make eye contact with this stubby little needle.

It makes eye contact back. We don’t like each other.

Doesn’t matter. I can fucking do this. This thing is going in my ass. I’ve seen it on YouTube.

I shuffle down my undies. Boxers. I roll out my shoulders so I can reach back, squeeze a bit of fat to puncture, aim the syringe like a dart, and—

Holy, holy fuck; I can’t fucking do this. What was I thinking? I can’t stab myself, in my ass or elsewhere. Society has ended! This doesn’t even matter!

I exhale like an indignant horse and put the needle down. Shake out my hands.

I spend a minute breathing. Two. I don’t look at my reflection. I haven’t, not directly, in months.

It matters.

Clenching my teeth squares my jaw. I pick up the needle again.

I can fucking do this. No: just fucking do this.

To distract myself, I start humming, bobbing my head, missing Spotify. “Don’t make it bad.” Inhale, exhale. Turn, squeeze. “Take a sad song—and make it better.”

Rememb— AH.” I yell at myself when the needle prods me but doesn’t go in. “Remember! To stab yourself in the ass!”

Needle, positioned. Pressure. Pressure… Why is it taking this much pressure…

It slips in, and I lurch.

“Ow. Okay. Then you’ll begin…” It’s hard to depress the plunger at this angle, and my micro-wiggling is not helping the ouch. “…to make it better.”

Suddenly, the plunger won’t go any further. I bend to look. It’s down. It’s in. I’m officially one minute on T.

I laugh. A little manically. I look upward to thwart the tears. I fucking did it.

I meet my eye in my reflection.

“Hey, Jude.”


Simon Kerr (he/they) is a speculative fiction writer in Colorado. His interests include tea, feline antics, and that one book you just can’t describe but you want everyone to read.

Sean Tyler is a muralist and fiber and mixed-media artist from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tyler earned her BFA in studio art from Rogers State University in 2019, her MA in painting at the University of Iowa in 2022, and is currently completing an MFA at the University of Iowa. She has shown work across the United States and has murals installed in Iowa and Oklahoma.