“Pinocchio Goes On Klonopin,” by Jorja Hudson

Dec 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“This is Clonazepam, the generic for Klonopin. We’ll start you off on 5mg and you can just take it any time you feel that wave of anxiety coming on.”

Pinocchio had never heard of Klonopin before.

“It’s just your standard benzodiazepine, like Xanax,” his GP explained.

Pinocchio took the prescription and thanked Dr. Rose. He’d never taken anti-anxiety medication before, but he had heard of Xanax. He’d had a roommate before who would take Xanax and sip miso soup on the futon.

Pinocchio’s anxiety was getting worse every day. He was 27 years old now, and working as a temp at a printing office in downtown Chicago. In particular, he felt anxiety about dating. He wanted to look for a serious relationship, but dreaded the point when he’d have to reveal uncomfortable things about himself, such as his nose job or the fact he’d been born a toy.

What’s worse, he’d have to first acknowledge it himself and he wasn’t ready to confront that just yet. He wanted to live a normal life, despite never having been technically born, but instead crafted from wood then ‘wished’ to life via fairy.

His identity crisis gnawed at him daily. He did all the normal things: he paid rent, ate vegetables, and frequented happy hours with his coworkers. He had the same dreams as most people, including having a family someday, that is if he actually had regular human DNA in his sperm. That was just one of the issues contributing to his overwhelming anxiety about life.

Pinocchio couldn’t remember the first ten years of his life, because he hadn’t, well, had them. He had no memories from his time as a toy, (politically correct terms include: toy-man, toysperson and not-human.) Sometimes at night, when his thoughts turned really dark, he wondered if he had been the victim of some family-based abuse and maybe that was the reason he couldn’t remember his childhood. But then he’d come to his senses and acknowledge that no, he hadn’t suppressed a bad childhood. He just hadn’t had a childhood. Because he’d been a toy.

Pinocchio took his first dose of Klonopin that night, after coming home from work, making himself some tofu, and collapsing on his bed to binge Russian Doll (he wasn’t sensitive to all-doll related material, and luckily, he didn’t think the show actually featured toys or dolls specifically).

When he took the small pill, he didn’t feel anything. Maybe a little bit sleepy, but it had been a long day, so he could have just been sleepy because of that. Forty minutes later, Pinocchio got up off the bed and felt a giant weight in his body, as if he was trapped underwater, but an amazing kind of underwater, like an ocean of peace and serenity weighed down by an anchor of cotton candy and dreams. He liked it. He really liked it.

Pinocchio didn’t want to become dependent on anything chemical, and was painfully aware of the pill-pushing nature of the country’s healthcare system. He told himself he’d only take the pill when his anxiety got too much to bear, when his identity crisis sent his thoughts spiraling late into the night and his existential burden became too heavy to contemplate all on his own.

He thought about going back to his hometown and doing research on his father slash God-like toy-craftsman. The townsfolk spoke highly of him and it was now five years since his passing. He also thought about changing his name to something normal, like Matt, but he didn’t even have a birth certificate to present to the court, which was so messed up, right?!

More Klonopin.

Two weeks went by and Pinocchio was taking the Klonopin almost nightly: on Sunday nights to feel rested for the week. After a stressful day when his coworkers talked about their hometowns. On Thursday because, well, he didn’t need a reason every time. After all, this was a medicine that was prescribed to him by a doctor. If he chose to take it recreationally, that was up to him.

Every time, it felt like a big hug for his brain. As if some soft heavenly creature was gently wiping all of his anxious thoughts from his mind, and covering him with a weighted blanket of safety. Pinocchio got used to this feeling and carried himself through his days in a newfound calm, placated and almost numb manner.

On a Friday in May, Pinocchio had a Bumble date. She was cute: mousy haired, big-eyed and feminine. They got drinks at Milk Cap, a Logan Square bar. Pinocchio wasn’t nervous at all – he’d taken half a Klonopin with breakfast that morning.

“So, do you like your job?” she asked. Pinocchio shrugged. “It’s alright, I guess.”

“Hey, what’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you? Mine was when I got my period in eighth grade right in front of everyone.” Pinocchio could tell she was trying to get personal, and while he appreciated her charming efforts, he shrugged again.

“Oh, I dunno, I threw up at a college party once.”

At the end of the night, Pinocchio and Jane parted ways.

“So, do you want to do this again sometime?” he asked her.

“To be honest, no. I’m sorry! You’re cute and all, but you sort of have no personality.”

Pinocchio nodded, taking in this constructive criticism.

“It’s like you don’t have any real thoughts in your head that you’re comfortable sharing. Truthfully, you have no edge. Like, you haven’t experienced anything difficult in your entire life.”

Pinocchio nodded. Ironic, but fair.

“You’re sort of hollow, or maybe you just have a rough exterior. If I’m being brutally honest, it’s kind of like you’re not even human at all.”

Jane got into an Uber and faded into the night. Pinocchio took his bottle of Klonopin and swiftly threw it into a trashcan. He called his doctor the next day to ask for a therapist recommendation. “Have you heard of Wellbutrin?” she asked.


Jorja Hudson is an Award-Winning comedy writer and filmmaker. Her web series Myrtle & Willoughby was the winner of Just For Laughs 2018 Pitch Competition and an official selection in over a dozen festivals. Her work has been featured on Reductress, Points in Case, Funny or Die, College Humor, Seriously.tv, Elite Daily and more. She is one half of Jomey Productions and is currently in production on her first short film Withdrawals, a dark comedy about quitting antidepressants cold turkey. She is based in Brooklyn. See more at: http://www.jorjahudsonportfolio.com/

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