Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
September 2022
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Jagged Little Pill

A man is diagnosed with a rare disease. The doctor prescribed two different kinds of pills and said: “They have to be taken simultaneously at bedtime, every night. Take one from one bottle, and one from the other. It’s the interaction of the two pills that is the key to keeping you alive.”

The man had ten pills in each bottle, but, if he makes the mistake of taking two of the same pill, he’s done for.

He decides to convalesce at his remote mountain cabin, and he begins the six-hour drive to get there. But his car breaks down, and he has to walk the last 20 miles clutching these two bottles of pills — the only thing between him and the Grim Reaper.

He arrives after dark. He’s so weak that delirium has begun to set in.

As he makes his way to the kitchen sink, he stumbles and falls and, you guessed it, he spills all the pills. When he wakes up, he finds that one of the containers has two pills in it, the other container is empty, and there are 18 pills scattered all over the floor.

He begins to gather up the pills. As he’s looking at them he discovers to his horror that they all look alike. They’re the same color, shape and size. There’s no way to tell them apart.

He’s getting weaker by the minute. But, he remembers that he has his very own, very accurate analytic scale, the kind that a pharmacist would use.

But, by the time he weighs the 11th pill, his worst fear is confirmed. Not only do they all look and feel and smell alike but they all weigh the same.
There’s absolutely no way to distinguish one pill from another. Is there a way for him to take the recommended dosage and save his life?

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4 guesses to Jagged Little Pill


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  • Paul

    Gather the 20 pills together, grind them into a powder and using the scale divide the powder into 10 equal piles and mix one pile per day in a glass of Kool-Aid.

  • You are correct, Paul.

    You are today’s winner.

  • Nanao Ise

    Perhaps I’m just being silly and overlooking something obvious…

    But how can one be sure that a pile of ground up pills isn’t one that has, say, more of one pill than another? As in, more of one pill ground up than the other.

    How can you be sure that there’s the same amount of pill in each pile?

    Or do the nuances not matter past the single unit?

  • After grinding up all twenty pills, you would of course, mix them together well. If you don’t, I presume you’d know by the next day because you’d be dead!