So there I am, sat quietly on my sofa, eating my dinner and watching the latest episode of QI, when my phone ‘pings’.
Now, when my phone ‘pings’, that means it’s a WhatsApp message, and is therefore from one of three people. Or rather, one of three message threads. Thread one is my work wife, who is getting real-married in a few weeks’ time, and who is relying on me to keep her sane in the run-up (apparently, she enjoys insanity, since I’m doing a piss-poor job of helping in this regard). Thread two is my job-hunting scientist friend, who has been interviewing for the last week, and is currently at a conference that she is not overwhelmingly loving. Thread three is my family.
At this point, I should say that if you don’t know my family, they are, in fact, the best people in the whole world. They are hilarious.
Anyway, my phone ‘pings’ and I pick it up to see that YoungerBro has sent the family this picture:
To explain the joyful jealousy I felt upon seeing this picture, one has to first understand a couple of things. The first is that, of all the over-the-counter cough medicines that you can buy, Meltus* is the only one that actually works**. The second is that Meltus is no longer available in any of the pharmacies near where most of my family live. And I suppose you also need to know that we mourn this fact almost constantly when someone has a chesty cough.
So when this picture comes through, along with YoungerBro’s caption (“I FOUND MELTUS! SO EXCITED A BIT OF POO CAME OUT!”), the family dropped everything.
I immediately messaged back: WHERE DID YOU FIND IT? CAN YOU BUY ME A BOTTLE?
Ma was on the message thread, like a drug-seeking maniac: I WANT A BOTTLE TOO, BUY ME A BOTTLE. IN FACT BUY ME FIVE.
YoungerBro’s response? *sad face* Hey, I was happy! Unless you’re not taking the piss, in which case, there’s an entire display stand in my local chemist.
At this point, BabyBro, who tolerates the family WhatsApp chat as best he can, whilst being agonisingly embarrassed by the lot of us, pipes up. GENUINELY BUY IT ALL.
Ma: Not joking at all!!! Which chemist/pharmacy/drug den???
Me: We bloody love that shit! Buy as many as you can carry! I’m getting a cough in anticipation!
YoungerBro: Can I walk into a chemist and buy ten bottles of cough medicine, or will they think I’m some sort of drug dealer? *puts on horrendously offensive fake Mexican accent* Ese, hey, ese. You want the Meltus? It’s the good stuff!
Several messages later, we’ve put together a foolproof plan to acquire all the Meltus, which involves the subtle and undermining manipulation of foolish and trusting coursemates into being unsuspecting drug mules, a long black wool coat, and a nighttime exchange in a dodgy parking lot.
The best thing about this story?
YoungerBro hasn’t even got a cough.
*Anyone not familiar with Meltus should know that it’s basically made from the tar that was scraped from the lungs of a forty-a-day smoker, the sweepings from a Columbian cocaine factory floor and the tears of an innocent child. But bugger me, it works. I once heard someone describe its effectiveness by saying that “Meltus just scares the cough out of you”. Someone else I know used to put the recommended dose into a mug and add hot water, to make a drink. That person also happened to eat nails for breakfast and had fought Chuck Norris…and won.
**Obviously, this is just my opinion, and not actual fact. Other types of cough medicine are available and are effective.
Disclaimer: this is a fictionalised version of an event that actually happened because my family are complete saddos.