Andy took his pill and washed it down with a gulp of water. He grimaced as the taste hit, sour and bitter and sweet, all at once. He took a swig of soft drink and swished it around his mouth, clearing the taste a little. He hated the damn things but he needed them. They looked so innocuous, little white oblongs, yet they were practically the only thing that kept him alive. Sure he needed food and water and sleep like everyone else, but if he missed one of those pills he was done for. No ifs, ands, or buts.
He had been on them for nine years and his body had adapted well to them, he had none of the reported side effects, no rashes, no sores, so far his liver was doing fine, at least according to his last blood test. The taste of the pills, and the occasional blood tests, were a small price to pay for the little pill. Of course there was the actual cost, but that wasn’t too bad either. Most of the time he was just able to forget about it entirely. After all, payment was only required once a year and it varied, so it was easy to forget about. He didn’t like to think too deeply about what he was doing or why, he just did it. It was never anything big or immediately off putting, they were simple things, deliver a package, drive to a location and pick up something, that sort of thing. He knew the people who supplied the pill were not the most trustworthy and they had been linked to many shady operations, but nothing was ever proven. Besides, nothing he ever did seemed directly bad. How dangerous could it be to deliver a package? After all, he wasn’t responsible for what ever was in the package, or what they did with it afterwards. He just did his job and then for another year he had his pills.
He knew the pills were worth it, they might not have had any fun side effects like getting him high, but they kept him alive and so far he had nine extra years from them, he had no plans of stopping, why would he? A pill a day and a bitter taste was a small price to pay for life. He had decided, after the first job, that there were things he would not do, he would not kill someone, he wouldn’t kidnap anyone, wouldn’t sell drugs to people. He had made it clear to his supplier, at that point he had a year that he wasn’t supposed to have. He had everything in order and he had already accepted his death. He enjoyed his extra time, but he wouldn’t do so at the expense of someone else. He knew that someday they would ask him to do something awful and he knew that he would refuse. When that day came they would stop giving him the pills. He wouldn’t plead or beg, he wouldn’t be angry. His family would think it had just come back, that the disease struck again, too fast and too aggressive to be caught this time. They would mourn him, but he knew they would also be happy, happy that they got the extra time with him, just as he was happy he had extra time with them.