Carolyn A. Drake’s short story “Pill Pusher” begins with the tired narrator working her usual work shift as a pharmacist and reminiscing about her job satisfaction which only gets worse when she instructs a very impatient woman to wait in line.
The narrator gets irritated and creates negative assumptions about the woman based on her behavior and clothes categorizing her as a typical “soccer mom”. During the narrator’s work shift she reflects on her disappointment about working as a pharmacist and possibly regretting obtaining a degree in pharmacy.
She is unhappy with her job and feels guilty for selling addictive medication to people. However, when she is exposed to a glimpse of the heartbreaking hardships that some of the customers face, she gets a change of heart and realizes that her work puts her in a position to help those who are struggling.
The short story is structured chronologically and begins in medias-res with the narrator realizing that she has made a “70.000$ mistake”. (l.1) This thought foreshadows her disappointment with having to work in retail pharmacy after six years of studying and a 70.000$ student debt.
The course of actions takes place during a single day, and only lasts a few minutes. This can be concluded as the exchange between the narrator and the angry woman starts at 12:43 p.m. and ends before 1.p.m as the narrator is able to call the doctors office to before the office closes at 1 p.m.
The short story is narrated in the present tense by a first-person narrator, who works as a pharmacist. The narrator is most likely a female as she mentions that several of her male customers have tried flirting with her: “I hold up the hypodermic needle and flu shot vaccine bottle for the flirtatious silver-haired gentleman”,” I’ll bet ten to one he offers to get me a cup of coffee while he waits” - (l. 21 and l. 26).
The choice of the story being told in the present tense by a first-person narrator creates a direct connection to the reader, with the reader being able to really sense her feeling of regret and dissatisfaction with her current job.
An example of this would be the anxiety she expresses when thinking about paying back the 70.000$ student debt or her irritation with the customers which leads to her thinking about Bug Eyes as a “Self-entitled bitch” – (l. 25)