"Gimmie your belly." He rolls over, and there it is, a crusty dark scab in his pit. It’s not a scab at all, is it? Jesus, it’s an adult male tick. What? Oh yeah, see I’ve done some disturbingly good research, the way one does upon the first sign of unusual medical symptoms on WebMD. It’s a torture we put ourselves through, self-diagnosing, predicting, worrying ourselves sick. We make ourselves insane with worry; every line item relates to us. On a good day, you’re a sociopath with slight scoliosis and a profound case of IBS. Every medical student on one rotation is certain they have neck cancer because of the unusual bump they have found. It’s called a lymph node. Stop it.
But this isn’t a scab in his armpit. The tick is flat and red-brown, and upon feeding, it’s doesn’t enlarge like the female. When I pinch my tweezers on the flat dark body, the legs fan out, stretching like small turtleheads. Oh God. This reminds me of crabs. I’ve never seen genital crabs (I just knocked on my wooden bookcase), but I’ve read about them after reading Jonathan Ames’ "A W On My P." If you haven’t read it, you must. It’s disturbingly good. At the first mention of laying eggs and uniform white sacks, you’ll be scratching.
Where are these ticks coming from? This is the second one I’ve found, and it’s not like Linus is hanging out in bushes or rolling in the grass. It has been raining; he’s been chillin’ on the sofa with the tivo. "Baby, are you okay? Mommy worries about you. What if the tick crawled in your little rosebud ears? Then what baby dog?" We’re both disturbingly good.