Since starting my blog, Shallow Reflections, I have written at least one Halloween post each year and published two spooky guest essays courtesy the terrific writer, John Cobb. This year, however, I focused so much on the release of my book, Boomer on the Ledge™, I even neglected to retrieve my Halloween decorations. I told myself, There’s always next year.
The Halloween spirits were unnerved, however, and created a scenario that made me heed their demands. They further humiliated me by sending hurricane force winds and a power outage, preventing me from publishing this until the day after Halloween, which makes me look like a slacker, unlike the organized bloggers who have their Halloween posts ready before you can say pumpkin spice.
But this is a true story, and I must share it for fear of evil consequences from these revengeful demons.
I noticed a floppy piece of skin on my chest but didn’t think much of it because as your skin ages it sprouts skin tags and moles helter-skelter. When the surrounding skin turned an angry red, I assumed I had scratched it.
The lesion was in an awkward position to assess, and when it felt sore, I had a fleeting thought about applying a band-aid. But I was busy and didn’t bother.
The night before the Boomer on the Ledge launch party, I awoke and acknowledged a painful throbbing. Irrational worries haunted me as they often do at three o’clock in the morning.
What if it’s cancer and the tumor broke through the surface of the skin? I thought. I palpated around the tender spot and didn’t feel any lumps.
It could be a cancerous mole, I speculated. I promised I’d google ‘bleeding moles’ after the party to see if I could find one resembling my gory atrocity.
I’ll snip it off. I imagined sterilizing a carving knife and biting on a wooden stake to suppress my screams. I reasoned I’d wait until after the party because dripping blood on my books as I was signing them might turn people off. Even the weekend before Halloween.
In the light of day, I cast my anxiety aside but swore I’d call the doctor Monday morning.
Preparing for the launch party, I jumped into the shower. I looked down, and suddenly the growth emerging from my chest appeared crystal clear. I saw a hair about the length of an eyelash beside the skin tag. I thought It must be an infected ingrown hair.
Really? On my chest? If it was my chin I could see how this could happen, but my chest?
When I noticed a matching ‘hair’ on the other side of the ‘skin tag,’ awareness of my situation washed over me, and despite the warm shower, my blood ran cold.
I howled, “Patrick! I have an alien eating my chest, and I think it’s a tick!”
He googled ‘how to remove a tick while your wife is freaking out’ and approached me with tweezers and a steady hand, removing the wriggling parasite from my body.
I stopped hyperventilating by the time I spoke to the doctor and agreed to take a dose of doxycycline to prevent Lyme disease. He had no treatment suggestions for my emotional state.
Being an opportunist like my enemy, the tick, I decided I could use my horrific experience to make the scariest Halloween costume of all time. A giant tick attached to my chest could even terrify Stephen King, don’t you think?
Tick or Treat!