Nora the Prisoner


Almost 18

I make fun of my first psych medications. Buspar is an anti-anxiety medicine and Pamelor is a tradename of Nortriptyline an anti-depressant.


Nora T. Lean was going on a long, long trip. It was going to be out of this world. Planet Pamelor, which had lovely orange and white rock formation, was Nora’s destination. Though discovered a few centuries before, Pamelor had only been inhabited for decades. “A real pill of a planet,” early explorers had commented, “lovely, but eerie,”

It was just the place for Nora. Very pale, with long reddish-golden hair, she, too, was lovely and eerie. Her many months of imprisonment did not alter her in either sense. Nor could any number of banana-eating psychiatrists cure her. Ms. Lean was a rarety, an Epinephron, one of the few remaining in the galaxy. Like others of that uncommon group, she had an unusual bloodtype, a taciturn disposition, and a talent for getting lost. The more exalted qualities of being an Epinephron were as yet unrevealed.

Due to the reason for her trip, Nora was permitted to take few personal items. Among those, she chose a bright red umbrella. It was not known to rain on Pamelor.

The grand voyage to the planet would take about two months. The route was by way of Planet Buspar, which was known primarily for the foul-tasting flavor of its soil. The spaceship in which Nora would ride was called The Allegory, in memoriam to Captain Flippo, whose gory leg flying off into space warned others of the dangers of interplanetory [sic] travel.

On the dawn of the day of the voyage, Nora stood before the mirror of the hotel room, muttering something softly. She was interrupted by a sharp rap on the door.

“Nora Lean, the taxi’s come to get you!”

“Everything’s out to get me,” murmured Nora as she walked out the door, holding her lumpy duffel bag. Her hair was in tangles, and her clothing was severely wrinkled. Nora took a deep breath and walked down the steps.

At the launching station, there was to be no one to see her off. All her friends were halfway around the globe; all her family members were dead, hospitalized, or under the age of three. Strangely enough, just as Nora was about to enter the ship, a tall handsome male wearing a green sweatsuit handed her a medallion bearing the letter epsilon. “Many happy returns,” he said.

Nora did not reply, but silently stuck it around her neck. At last she understood. A charge had been laid on her. But once in the life of an Epinephron was the consecrated epsilon leased. During the time of that lease, which could last anywhere from ten days to thirty years, the Epinephron was bound to remain ABC (abstemious, banished, celibate). This was done for absolutely no sane reason. Nora presumed that since she had unwittingly fulfilled B, her fellow Epinephrenida would give her credit where credit was not even especially due. The male’s words, “many happy returns,” referred not only to her happy return, but to the happy return of the consecrated epsilon.

A would be easy, as no alcohol was permitted on Pamelor. B was already complied with. As for C Nora would be placed in a female-only detention center. (Yes, it might as well be told: Pamelor was a prisonor’s  planet.) But until she reached there, she would be in the company of:

1) A Co-Captain

2) A Banana Smuggler

3) Two Counterfeiters

4) A Tax Evader

5) Three Prison Guards

6) Twin Traitors

     All male.