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My hand looks like a giant flea


When, after four whole weeks, my illness still drags on, I reach a point of decision. I determine, reasonably, I believe, to confine – or rather, perhaps, to consign – myself to the bed, in order that I might either sleep myself to health or else be done with it once and for all to give up the ghost.

In bed with me, I’ve got some water, Mucinex, a bottle of wine, the TV remote, toilet paper in lieu of Kleenex, The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, and an enormous pair of wireless headphones. That’s all.

I don’t know how long I’ve been here.

Maybe always.

Deep inside my head, in the part of me where I’ve always assumed my brains to be, something crackles and whines. It goes o-o-on and o-o-on, surprisingly loud, really, until finally, I open my eyes up and catch a glimpse of my hand.

It does not appear real. My hand, I mean. I can see too much of it maybe, and too clearly. All the sides at once and the colors are all wrong.

My hand looks like a giant flea.

The legs twitch against the backdrop of my yellow bedspread and off it goes. Leaping. Across yellow hills of sand. Away…

I hear fleas can leap amazing heights and once I read a story about a man who trained a flea to pull a little circus wagon but I don’t want my hand to pull a little circus wagon so I have to put a stop to this, I know. Surely it cannot have gotten far.

What I do is I send out signals, like ripples in all directions around me to locate the flea which is really my hand. Up through the hills which are really my bedspread and down through the mattress, too. The ripples vibrate – I can feel them – sending me sinking down into the mattress, deeper and deeper, and all the while my hand is skipping further and further away from me.

It has left me this time hollow and for good and I am not paying enough attention to where it is I am going I am sinking distracted as everyone else in these days now I jerk this way and that way now aware now that I am about to be struck now by the Hermann Park kiddie trai-ai-ai-ai-ai-ain-

-“Dude! Harry! Are you alright?” Something slaps me and I see the something is my friend, Wren, and not at the scene of a train accident but back in my room. I cannot recall giving Wren my house key.

“The flea…” I say, by way of explanation, rolling myself across the pile of assorted junk on my bed.

Wren backs away. She says, “Dude, you’ve got fleas?”

I say, “Just one. I’m fine. I just quit smoking is all.”

Scrawny Wren races around my room. “This ain’t what nicotine withdrawal looks like, Harry. Shit, you aren’t even what heroin withdrawal looks like.” She straightens my hair which needs straightening, probably, and sits me in my big comfy chair. A thermometer which is not mine is thrust into my mouth. She gives me a beverage I interpret to be ginger ale, though I do not recall ever having tasted ginger ale before. One just knows, I suppose.

Then she leaves.

My phone texts say that, while I’ve been away, things at work have fallen apart and things in my political group have fallen apart. On the TV, I watch as they close the government down.

It’s all coming to an end now. It all ends with me, sitting here sniffling while the world burns.

I’m afraid to look down at my hands. 

Comments

  1. You better get quick before the world goes to hell in a handbasket. And start wearing a flea collar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure that I am actually the thing that was holding it all together. It might be more a matter of "I'm dying, so the whole world must be dying with me."

      Delete
  2. Perhaps you could take up the bass guitar?

    -Doug in Oakland

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    Replies
    1. My hand looks just like the period when he had a pink mohawk. Exactly like that.

      Delete
    2. I used to work for a distributor of "natural foods" that carried Reed's ginger brew, and there was a fridge full of it so you could drink one for a quarter. They were strong, but I drank a lot of them. The raspberry ones were my favorite.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=83&v=9MMggm423es

      -Doug in Oakland

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    3. I didn't even know that such things existed.

      How are there so many things I don't know anything about?

      Delete
    4. I didn't either, until I got that job and got really thirsty. Now I see them in various stores where I go to get my food... I probably would have liked the Crystal Geyser Juice Squeezes better, but they were more securely packaged and hardly ever broke, so they rarely found there way into the employee 'fridge.

      Delete
  3. One day Harry Hamid woke to find himself transformed into a loathsome flea.

    So he jumped out of his room and began drinking everyone's blood and spreading bubonic plague, and pretty soon all the world's problems were over.

    The End.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kafka, if Kafka had tried to spread cosmic pessimism on the Hollywood-sized scale.

      Delete
  4. Sadly enough, the government will be back. Maybe at the same time as your cold clears.

    Ginger is supposed to stop nausea. Unluckly I gave it to my dd so many times in her childhood to stop car sickness etc that she made a mental link. And now ginger snaps, ginger ale ,etc make her nautilus.

    Feeling Kafkaesk?

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    1. Yeah, news is starting to leak out that maybe they've got a deal, at least a 3-week deal. The world didn't end after all.

      Delete
  5. Are you really just hiding from the burning world, hoping that the flames don't end up at the feet of your flea? I'm no doctor, but I think washing down Mucinex (which is one of the few products that makes you sound sick as you say it out loud) with a bottle of wine, might be contributing to the endurance of this illness. Try Robutussin. Like, a whole bottle. It does the trick of getting you high and attending to your symptoms. Again, not a doctor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem with cough suppressants is that all of the current stock include either a pain killer or else a hallucinogen. The store shelves these days tend to be erring in favor for the hallucinogen (anything that says "DM").

      Not that I'm blaming dextromethorphan for how this post turned out...

      Delete
  6. I can think of worse things than the government shutting down. Haha

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    1. Wait, if it shuts down permanently, do all of those senators get to keep arguing among themselves? Do they keep arguing but we just stop paying them to do so?

      Delete
  7. Die for us Harry, so that we may see a beautiful new world rise from the ashes. Die for us, and take our worst with you.

    (Or, you know, don't. Who says it won't all turn out the same eventually anyway? We could use a good lawyer/writer figure in The Same New World.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every time I die and the world burns, they end up cutting my body into pieces and burying the pieces in different places, which starts a whole new 10,000 year cycle again. I think that's how it works.

      Delete
  8. Wine and cold medication--no wonder you're hallucinating about tiny insects crawling on you. The government shutdown, however--no amount of wine and Mucinex can make that go away.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sounds like the shutdown is over... for three weeks. Three weeks.

      Hopefully, I'll be back up to 100% by that time and I can go jogging or something until it's over.

      Delete
  9. The 'bug' is going around, I've got it too, makes sense to me that your hand would look like a flea.

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    1. I saw that on your blog! I'm so sorry. We have an office of probably 35 people here where I work, and I believe every one of us has been sick this season, which is a first.

      Delete
  10. Nothing like a severe illness to stir the imagination. Writing it all down is a brilliant strategy that may aid the healing process. Keep resting and keep the fluids flowing. Be well soon.

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    1. Thank you. When I realized that the fever (and medication) had made me a little loopy, I started thinking about how Neil Young wrote a handful of his best songs in one sitting when he had the flu once, back in the seventies.

      My results were probably not as good as Neil's, but I got a few little things written.

      Delete
  11. I would have a pizza in bed too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pizza thing was definitely an oversight on my part. You're not really set up for the long haul without a pizza.

      Seriously. Pizza makes everything better.

      Delete
  12. I hope you feel better soon. This has been a hard year for illness. I was sick for three weeks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Whatever everybody is getting, it goes on and on. I'm finally past most of the coughing. I believe my cough started the day before Christmas Eve and stopped yesterday. That's a long time to subject co-workers to the sounds of my dying in my office.

      Delete
  13. I've always known it. The apocalypse would with a flea and end with an intrusion of roaches. Well, I was not clear about the flea, but the intrusion was a sure thing.

    Now, I want ginger ale.

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    1. I'm just thankful that it didn't occur to me as I was writing this that once my hand turns into a flea in this post... it flees. My flea hand flees.

      Fortunately, I'm feeling better now, so I will never have to actually type those words, will I?

      Delete
  14. I love Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Nothing is better! LOL!
    Harry, I do hope you get better! Feeling the way you do, sucks!!! I hope you're not itchy from the flea! LOL!

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    1. Thanks. I'm almost better now. I went for a long walk this evening and seriously regretted not bringing any kleenex with me, but other than that... almost back to 100%.

      Delete
  15. You wouldn't believe how stacked up the Emergency Department is at my work has been for the last couple of weeks. All flu-related cases with many being admitted. Had to walk through ED last night and came out hoping my flu shot is effective.

    Take care, I hear there is another flu virus making the rounds getting people sick for a second time.

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    1. I hope you make it through unscathed!

      I've improved to the point where it is just an annoying case of the sniffles now. But I've never seen a season where this crap hits absolutely everybody. Well, everybody except my 93-year old grandmother, but she never gets sick.

      Delete
  16. See that's Man Flu for you. I recommend more wine. And a tin of Raid.

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    Replies
    1. I drank some wine and I survived the illness. I assume that the two things are connected, so I'm going to keep drinking, just in case.

      Delete
  17. Maybe the world is an artificially construct created by you in your bed. Of maybe I've watched too many episodes of Black Mirror!

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    1. Maybe not. I mean, I got better and the world survived.

      You knew that, though, didn't yuou? It's probably because all of you people are just projections of my psyche without any independent reality.

      Delete
  18. I do believe vitamin C helps. Helps with cold symptoms not fleas. Do you have any reason for it becoming a flea. Human hands are about the size of some crabs or birds. Just keep that hand friendly.

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    1. I think the way I had my hand cupped gave the impression of that hump thing on the flea's back. I'm feeling a lot better this week, which is great, because I'd been feeling bad since Christmas. It's nice to have my hands back.

      Delete
  19. I'd just like to be riding on that train. I hate being sick, but it does give one an excuse to sleep all day.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I'd like to ride the train, too, but I'm a middle aged single guy with no kids, and I am afraid it would look suspicious if I rode around on the train through the zoo and park.

      Delete
  20. Oh, fevers can really mess with your mind! Good thinking on the wine in bed. You know how hospitals sterilize everything by wiping it down with alcohol? My choice of alcohol, of course, is a nice merlot.

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    1. I really like the way you think. "I'm sterilizing my insides. Thoroughly."

      Delete

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