Thursday, September 23, 2004

i am dean's plantar wart

I started small, so as not to arouse unwanted attention from Dean. I thought it was risky enough to select the underside of one of his big toes as my new home, but what is life without risk? If you are a virus on the rise, you know how it is.

I got in a small break in the skin. Dean, like almost everyone, is unaware that everyday there are many cuts and breaks all over the place, invisible to them, but like a welcoming embrace to me and mine.

As I started to grow, I took advantage of Dean's ignorance. Can you imagine that he actually thought I was a corn or a callus? I know, a world of a difference, right? But to the uniformed, if it looks like a callus, it's a probably a callus. He even felt bad that he was truly starting to get old, and bore the mistaken single growing callus under his big toe as a badge of misplaced pride (never stopping to consider how calluses develop and how his big toe did not support too much weight).

So all was well, and I began to plan to extend my family by creating a mosaic of warts, smaller stars to frame a constellation that with my eye as the unblinking center. If I was left alone, I could spread myself out over other parts of foot. First the foot, then the hand - then the world.

My ambition was to grow beyond our regularly observed size of an inch across. I wanted to be bigger than anything else, bigger than the moon, fiercer than stars.

Then one day, his barbershop pedicurist asked him why he was letting his wart grow. Dean could not believe his ears and was ready to dismiss the question as yet another example of barberfolk dubiousness, when his barber took a look and confirmed the observation. And as if that wasn't enough, two more barbers plus another customer offered their pedestrian agreement. They told him to burn me off with a flame.

At that point, I began to panic. If Dean did something, it could spell disaster for me and the mosaic I wanted to create. I hoped that his penchant for sitting on any personal health-related matters would prevent him from acting (once, he suffered for months until his tooth fell out naturally - because of his irrational fear of dentists). Pain, for Dean, is more than unpleasant. He simply does not like it. Which was great for me.

Instead, he acted, but foolishly. He tried to cut me out, which was not only useless but really stupid because he could have hurt his toe (which is also my toe, dammit). If he really wanted to cut me out, he would have to perform Curettage - wherein the wart (me) is removed with a small, spoon-shaped instrument called a curette. He would need a local anesthetic to prevent him from screaming like a girly girl. He used a nipper. Foolish, foolish man.

I know he thought about using his lighter to burn me off, but chickened out when things began to get hot. If he were any smarter, he'd opt for the professional laser treatment, wherein the wart (me) is vaporized, using focused light energy. But no, cheapskate that he is, he wanted to use a P15 disposable lighter. Silly man, how little you know.

I felt victorious! This miserable excuse for a playwright could not do a thing against me!

But then his wife acted. The bitch asked him if he wanted medicine for the wart (me) and the weak-willed man agreed.

At the moment she gave him salicylic acid to use against me, I knew my end was near. I thought of stars and of nameless empty constellations and felt a sickening sadness consume me.

He began with the topical solution, using a drop or two at a time, searing me dry, causing me to blister and peel, aborting the mosaic I so carefully planned for, depriving me of the real estate I fought to build, robbing me of my home.

Even now, I know I will diminish. But I will not vanish, no. I can recur and I will return when he least expects it.

One day, the stars will be mine.


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