Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 92

Photo by Erik Karits on UNSPLASH.

“I told you we need to use the stopper. It skitters away too quickly otherwise.

I already regret sharing my affliction with Zach. The instant I approached his bathroom vanity sink, he pulled the plug from the basin and refused to let me have it; he’s a true germ-o-phobe and refused to let me plug the sink.

He looks thoughtful. I can tell he’s considering it. He thinks he saw something is my guess, but, as a nurse, he is remaining skeptical about my claim.

Slowly he pulls his hand out of his pocket and hands the rubber stopper to me.

I reinsert it in the sink then step forward to work my disgusting, distasteful magic one more time.

I snort until I feel one of them trapped in my upper throat; this is the grossest part for me. The first time it happened, I thought I was losing my mind. How was this possible?

I gag and cough, then spit loudly into Zach’s vanity basin. The bug in the sink isn’t the largest one I’ve spat out, but it’s in the top four.

I spit bugs out of me. Something is wrong with me.

The bugs are like none I’ve ever seen in nature. It is roughly the shape of a cockroach, but its shell is iridescent neon green. They are gross, and it hurts like hell when I force them through my esophagus.

“What the fuck is that?” Zach says. Then he begins retching as he jumps forward and punches the neon-green monstrosity.

It makes an audible splat as the neon green blood squirt halfway up the sides of the basin.

I should have warned him.

It takes a second, but he feels the same burning sensation I had felt on my palm when I slapped the first one to death. I think there’s some kind of acid in their blood. All I know for sure is that it burns like hell when I touch their blood.

Then he puts the finishing touches on the macabre little scene in the sink by puking on the bug guts.

During my first ‘extractions’ (a skill I intuited how to do), I thought I was going to choke to death, filled with fear and revulsion at the sensations of feeling a bug trying to crawl down my throat. It was enough to send me headlong hurtling into protracted coughing, choking, and spasms that left me winded and ready to call it a day.

Zach is a registered nurse. And he is about all the healthcare I can afford in seeking help for whatever illness this is. I can’t imagine it’s anything remedied with a simple tweak in my diet or a commitment to walking every day. That’s why I called Zach and asked if I could come over for a few minutes.

Zach reaches towards the cold water tap. I bat his hand away.

“Water makes it worse. Do you have any bread?”

He looks at me like I’m insane.

“Bread!” I shout, “do you have any bread, Zach?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Hold a slice of it against your knuckles; it’ll kill the pain pretty quick,” I say.

He enters his kitchen, and I clean up the mess in his sink. I could have prepped him a little better.

He’s calmed down, I think. He says the burning has stopped.

“So? Any ideas?” I say.

“Yeah, I have an idea,” he says to me but then picks him his beer and begins taking long slow draws from it.

I wait as I marvel over his throat muscles working to help push or pull the liquid downward. An act I’ve learned to do in reverse as I expel bugs.

“You are, to put it in medical terms, ‘sick.'”

“Haha, Zach. That is so helpful. How may I repay this gift of yours?”

“Sorry. I’m just a little shook up. I’ve not heard or seen anything like…, that!” Zach says as he jerks a thumb over his shoulder towards the bathroom. “Ever. That was crazy. Technically, I’d say it’s a parasite.”

Why had that never occurred to me? Having heard just the word, I feel both hope and anxiety.

Hope because now I know. Right?

Anxiety, because, parasite? What the fuck?

Having finished all the beer he had in his fridge, he now seems calm enough to converse again.

“So, when did this start?” he asks. His professional side returned to the degree of normal one might expect from an RN who had just quickly drunk five beers.

“Yesterday. At around 10 pm?”

Zach looks at his wall clock, a black and white plastic cat clock with a swinging pendulum tail that swings one way as his eyes go the other. I’ve always hated that thing.

“It’s 8:15 pm now,” Zach says.

“And?” I whine pitifully.

“Well, maybe, it’s just a twenty-four-hour bug,” he says. Then he falls forward onto the floor, laughing at his joke.

I rise from the couch, step over his laughing form.

“You’re an asshole,” I say and let myself out.


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