Situation Normal. Atmosphere Breathable. Brainstem Injected. Dialogue Engaged.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Better Than Cancer


I miss the days when my skin was whole and my blood stayed inside, warm, circulating, living. Now I have holes all over, steady leaks moistening my garments, sucking cloth to little wet circles that itch like bug bites.

Which they are. I'll get to that.

People have begun to notice. The crimson gaps reached my face last Sunday. One little one under my left sideburn, about the side of a tackhead, and a large ugly one, big as a quarter, folded over my right jawline. They dried, roughly scabbed over, but they're not healing. No fresh pink babyskin for me. None of them heal anymore, my entire body over. Wearing a belt is especially uncomfortable.

It was two months ago that I woke up naked and discovered skin missing from my right hip, two inches wide, vaguely shaped like Tennessee. I touched it, massaging it gently, concerned and annoyed. It was slick and spongy, like spoiled meat, and my untrimmed fingernail sunk right in with no resistance. Nerve endings woke up in a great goddamn hurry and sent my brain an urgent message: STOP THAT NOW.

Days would pass without fresh night bites. (That's what I called them, mentally, for they only appeared while I slept.) I didn't know yet that I'd accidentally identified them correctly, for bites they were. Not little love nips, though. No. They were great gory gouges from gluttonous cockroaches that would mow away entire patches of me. I had become a grazing pasture.

When, after days without incident, I woke with fresh scraps sheared away, I would spend all day prodding my wounds, pondering, searching my bed and blankets for clues.

Nothing revealed itself. No cause, no answers. At least they were healing, sealing, leaving. Sure, purple discolorations marked me for memory, but skin was skin, and I was happy to have it back. Every time. When the healing process eventually quit, I became harried, frantic, and terrified of slumber. Exhaustion always won, but I never could sleep peacefully, or for long.

The gaps in my skin kept blossoming, relentlessly. Black circles framed my eyes to match the red circles proliferating across my flesh. I grew raw.

I finally identified the pattern yesterday while plucking at my fresh face holes. I finally figured out the difference between the safe clean nights and those I awoke from molested and bleeding.

Masturbation won't grow hair on your palms. Grandma was dead wrong. However, if you live in a poorly maintained apartment infested with roaches and frequently work your jockage with olive oil, pausing only to snort cocaine and slug Pabst Blue Ribbon, eventually you'll crash out, naked and slicked with oil and semen.

And those little bastards love that stuff.

And they'll love you. Deeply.
3:07 PM - Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm
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