All Stories, General Fiction

The Cure by Corey Olds

“Four horsemen on a broke-dick mule!” exclaimed Dr. A.P. Cary, as he pressed off the Orget.

He couldn’t believe what he had seen. His sister Beverly—had she been there—would have said, “Y’all going out the world ass backward.” And they were. The denizens of Sand City had lost their natural-born minds. The shit was ridiculous. Teenagers, twelve-year-olds, lucky-to-be-twenties blicking each other as if homicide were going out of style. What they failed to understand was that they were blicking at the wrong MFs. When the bluecoats routinely blazed holes in sons, fathers, daughters, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts, the self-proclaimed savages didn’t do anything. Rarely did they risk their life to take a devil to hell. All those Sand City villains misunderstood who the opps really were.

Dr. A.P. Cary was a gentleman, a scholar, and a pharmacist. He also invested his own money at a risk for loss. He had scored big with his investment in a bonding company that provided financial guarantees to each state, that police departments within its jurisdiction would enforce the law without excessive force or extrajudicial killings. Since these departments regularly failed to perform their civic duties according to the terms of the bond, they legally had to reimburse the surety company. Despite the vicious backlash from the bluecoats, the national legislation that required such bonds had recently brought about a decline in constable-provoked shootings of unarmed targets.


Dr. Cary, a tall, slender man in his early fifties, with an erudite brow, brushed the smooth lapels of his smoking jacket and crossed the spacious living room to one of the glass walls of his deluxe apartment in the sky.

He looked south toward Sand City, which was surrounded by defunct tech companies, slaughterhouses, churches, bands of highway, and corner stores. The wintry sun warmed his face and dazzled his eyes. For a quarter-hour, he stood transfixed, lost in romantic, if sinister, thoughts.

Then, the Orget interrupted him. It had turned itself on and announced an incoming call from Leonidas Higginbotham,  Cary’s longtime friend and former comrade in arms. In their twenties, they had fought together in the Sialorrhea War.

“Leon, how’s business?”

“Steady as the westerlies.”

“Steady wins the race, my friend. What can I do for you?” asked Cary.

“Did you see that WIRD report about the heck and havoc engulfing Sand City?”

“Indeed . . . It’s a pox on all that’s decent!”

“Good doctor, I wouldn’t give a farthing if that curse had not visited my family’s door.”

“How do you mean, Leon?”

“A few months ago, a pack of those Sand City boys triggered up Miracle Boulevard, trying to assassinate one of their opponents. Unfortunately, my cousin’s son and his girlfriend were struck down in the blitz.”

“Leo, I’m sorry to hear it. My condolences to you and your cousin. Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Well . . . yes.”

When Dr. Cary heard the gravity in Leo’s voice, he promptly sat down on the Belle Époque sofa. “Tell me more,” he said.


Leonidas “Leon” Higginbotham owned a beverage supply and distribution company. He knew that Dr. Cary had invested in preserving the lives of Sand City residents and those like them nationwide. He also knew that the doctor’s work and legacy would be compromised if the targets continued to decimate themselves, even as the bluecoats slightly eased their triggers. So, Leon proposed a solution.

“As you know, my company supplies every corner store in Sand City with alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.”

“Yes, of course.”

“What’s more, we bottle and can both kinds of beverages under our proprietary brand.”

“I see.”

“I’d like for you to concoct a mass quantity of long-lasting sedatives that will calm the choleric and truculent humors of the Sand City population. You’d be handsomely compensated for your effort.”

“Aside from the ethical and legal concerns, are you willing to put your company at risk?”

“I am.”


“Because so many in Sand City seem impervious to education and nonviolence.”

“Point acknowledged.”

“Well, mull it over, and call me in a few days.”


On Monday, Dr. Cary called Leonidas and told him, “I have a cure in mind.” Six months later, unbeknownst to everyone except the two of them, PiBo Beverage Company began distributing soda, juices, water, energy drinks, beer, and even liquor laced with Abrapaxolam. Cary and his team of pharmacologists had designed it as a long-lasting sedative to relieve anxiety and aggression, without the onset of unconsciousness.

Given the Partitionist Party’s gutting of the Food, Drink, and Drug Agency, Leonidas and Dr. Cary remained undeterred by the possibility of being exposed for their conspiracy, especially one perpetrated against the star-crossed denizens of Sand City.


The effects of Abrapaxolam on the self-proclaimed drillers of Sand City could not have been predicted by Cary or his experts. In fact, Leonidas and Cary were dumbfounded. The gang-banging ebbed. Male opps were falling in love with female opps. King Sneg of the Obelisks, for example, started sending amorous EtherGrams to Short Ribs, a sixteen-year-old, androgynous assassin who drilled for the Monoliths. For the record, Sneg was twenty-four. Furthermore, Opps with decades-old vendettas were collaborating on petting zoos, wherein children and senior citizens could pet the unloaded Sturm & Drangs, the Westsmiths, the Mannlichers, the Gastons, and the Hecklers used to rip apart their families.

The Abrapaxolam seemed even to have inspired a new type of lyric poetry. It was called the “opps sonnet.” Here is the first quatrain from the most famous one to date:

Shall I praise thee as a wintry night?

The ice in your veins disarms fear:

The winds of Arcturus ne’er fails to drop the opps’ shoulders,

And the cordial smell of spring rings like hollow points in my ear.

Corey Olds

Image by Republica from Pixabay 

6 thoughts on “The Cure by Corey Olds”

  1. A whole world in a short story! I like, what seems to me, the blend of Wild West with dystopian future, and with great, compelling writing and a sense of humour. Lots of inventive use of language too that I really enjoyed.


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