CVS by Sean Thor Conroe

April 2018—

It’s been two months since I’ve purchased anything besides tobacco and rolling papers since I’m two months behind on rent and it’s been two months since I got my SNAP card approved and my check from my construction gig has yet to arrive and every bike delivery payout I get goes straight to keeping my almost maxed out credit card almost maxed out, but tonight I’m making a concession since my next credit card payment isn’t till the end of the week and I can’t, haven’t for the life of me been able, to find any of my goddamn uni-ball pens—need me my uni-ball pens—despite all the room cleaning and organizing and item-culling I’ve been doing for when, once my check arrives, I will leave this godforsaken city I don’t even know why I returned to, well I do actually, I came back to mend things with X, then still O, so I could be near her, fake woke-ly “be there for her,” since her recurring gripe was always “her being there for me” while I ran all over the country in my van or on foot, only now I’m near her, much too near, and need to get out, away, long gone, especially so since the book about running all over the country in my van or on foot I wrote for her is complete, has been submitted, is out of my hands until further notice, if ever, after much self-destructive, responsibility-shirking, job-dodging, mostly nocturnal and consistently manic dedication, meaning it’s now time to write again, only I can’t find any of my goddamn uni-balls, all I have is this U-Haul ballpoint that keeps dying on me every third word, so I’ve decided, have been left with no choice but, to break my abstention from purchasing anything besides the entirely essential, to bite the bullet and trek out to CVS late-night to cop a uni-ball two-pack, only if I’m to do that, figure I might also grant myself the concession of purchasing one sucrose item, something chewy or chocolate-y or nutty, since during these past two months with zero or negative money, of doing without all amenities beyond the entirely essential, I’ve also been deprived of cannabis and stimulants and psychedelics, one of which, at separate points since I’d stopped running all over the country in my van or on foot, I’d self-prescribed in micro- or perhaps-not-so-micro-doses so that I’d be optimally equipped to write the very best book about running all over the country in my van or on foot, which was, of course, at root, an apology to X for running all over the country all those years when I could have been There, with Her, working on Us—all of which strategic self-medication of course had nothing to do with her deeming me unfit to remain her O—all to say, I’ve been such a good boy of late, the least I could to was grant myself one dose of sucrose, yes, that’s what I’ll do, only by the time I gear up, decide on which podcast I’ll walk to, walk, and get to the CVS candy aisle, the kind I’m eyeing, turns out, are 3 for $3, 2 for $3, or 1 for $1.50, so I mean, sure I could just get one like I said I would, only Reese’s Pieces or Milk Duds, whose to say which is better, neither is since both are best is what I’d say, except both is $3 and both plus another is also $3—damn right I’m looking at you, Charleston Chew—so fuck it might as well cop all three, and stat, the way this graveyard security guard keeps eyeing me, pacing up and down this aisle like I am at this hour, making jerky, juke-like movements each time I change my mind, forcing him to look up from the YouTube video he was pleasantly enjoying before I had to pull up and kill his vibe, so now I’m at self checkout, clutching my movie-sized candy boxes like I’m prudently preparing to save a few bucks at the concession stand at, say, the Black Panther premiere I’ve bought tickets in advance for, like I’m a regular ole twenty-something doing regular ole twenty-something things, off to a movie with a couple pals, coworkers or classmates, all set to surprise them by providing them with their choice or Pieces, Duds or Chews so they can save a couple bucks of their hard-earned paycheck or stipend or grant money on this weekend outing they’ve been looking forward to all week, only it’s not the weekend, it’s Tuesday night, technically Wednesday morning, and there are no pals, is no paycheck, nor a movie, there’s only this 3 for $3 deal and my sadness I will try to sugar coma my way out of once I get home, if I even get home before finishing all three, I’m not even at Walnut and my Pieces are dust, and come Market I’m combo-ing my Dud dregs with my all-but-chewed Chews, chomping like a cow or mouth-breather how moist my mouth is, jeez I’m damn near home already, pump the breaks a sec would ya, the whole point was to deliberately ingest the sucrose in conjunction with caffeine in order to optimally spearhead the new writing Jesus fuck the goddamn uni-balls—

Sean Thor Conroe was born Kamura Sho (香村 翔宇) in Tokyo in 1991. He hosts the podcast “1storypod,” tweets @stconroe, and archives other art at He lives in Philadelphia.

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