Icktayed offtay

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Summer’s here. My calendar is trying to suggest to me that it is still spring, and will be for another few weeks, but in this case I am right and my calendar is wrong. Charlotte (my car, not my colleague) informed me the other day that the temperature was one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. This, in any worldview I am to accept, means summer.

If three-digit temperatures don’t convince you, I have another bit of evidence. This bit of evidence, we shall see, explains why I am up at 1:00 on a worknight. I can’t sleep. Let’s find out why!

A bit after midnight, I headed toward bed. Usually I lure myself toward sleep by composing stories in my head, but tonight I wanted to stay conscious for a bit, as I had just painted my toenails. Wouldn’t do to kick nail polish about in my sleep.

So I decided to sing for a bit. This is guaranteed to keep me awake, and also probably the neighbors, but anyway. I have a good reason for it. I need to practice if I am to be the next incredibly unlikely underdog darling of Britain’s Got Talent. I don’t suppose I can dazzle the judges with my tuba playing, because honestly no tuba anywhere has ever dazzled anyone, and I have a hunch that the judges would fail to be impressed by the way I can pick up objects with my toes, so clearly my only recourse is to sing my way to stardom.

I am not in fact British, but this is easily rememdied. Prior to the talent show I will find a nice British citizen to marry. Easy as pie.

So there I was, trying to remember song lyrics, and furthermore trying to remember song lyrics to pieces that fit within my range, and adjusting accordingly in a great many cases. (“Goodness, there’s no way I can hit that note, I wonder how this song sounds pitched a fifth lower?”). Being a solo artist frees me of sticking to any particular key. It’s one of the perks. Also I don’t have to share my celebrity with anyone.

But then the soy milk blended with green tea and cherries I’d enjoyed earlier caught up with me, so I hummed my way toward the bathroom. Upon returning, I did a stretchy little yawn thingy, and passed my hand over my back.

“Weird,” thought I. “I don’t recall that scab. How’d that get there?”

Ran my finger over the spot again. “Wait a second…”

Third pass. The scab wriggled.

“Ohmygodohshitohmygodohshit it’s a tick.” This was delivered at considerable volume. The judges of Britain’s Got Talent would have taken note.

My immediate priority was to remove the ick-tay. (I do not get along well with icktays. I dare not speak the name aloud, etc.). This somewhat conflicted with my immense need to not touch the icktay.

Several courses of action presented themselves. One of them I was already engaged in, namely, hopping about from foot to foot in a great frenzy. This seemed very sensible, though unfortunately it did nothing to dislodge the icktay.

I considered calling Mom and Dad. That’s what I always do, when presented with a challenge outside the scope of my experience. Diligently I tried to come up with justifications for calling them at 12:30 in the morning, but hopping from foot to foot was making it difficult to think, so I instead turned my thoughts to Plan B.

Plan B involved running to the family in the apartment next door. “Hi, um, I’m Jessica, from next door? I’m sorry, I don’t remember your names, and I realize it’s quite late, but as the walls are thin, my singing probably woke you, and if not the screaming certainly did. I, um—oh God, I’m naked, aren’t I, wow this is awkward, um anyway THERE’S A TICK ON MY BACK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET IT OUT GET IT OUT GET IT OUT!”

I considered this. I considered this seriously. Only with the greatest reluctance did I eventually abandon Plan B.

Finally I resolved to vanquish the icktay myself. Being a resourceful woman, I ran into the bathroom and grabbed about a gazillion sheets of toilet paper. I am the kind of person who consideres three sheets of toilet paper to be a decadent, irresponsible extravagance, at least in the normal course of the day, but the rules change for icktays.

I swiped at the icktay with all the powers of a woman possessed. I caught a glimpse of its squirming body before I cast it into the toilet. I flushed it to its watery grave. I had won.

Then I touched the spot on my back and felt something… bristley.

I screamed like a girl. To be exactingly grammatically precise, I suppose I should say I screamed as a girl. Regardless, I achieved those high notes that had been giving me trouble previously. I achieved them at great volume.

The fangs, pinchers, gaping maw, what have you— some hideous part of the icktay was still lodged in my tender flesh.

I reconsidered visiting the family next door, but I concluded that I couldn’t spare the time. Every second the icktay appendage stayed in me, the closer I was coming to Lyme disease, salmonella, rubella, gangrene, amputation of the torso, if such a thing’s possible, and slow gruesome death.

So I grabbed another tree’s worth of toilet paper and scraped at the wound. I felt it give. A savage growl of triumph sounded throughout the room, and most likely throughout the southern United States.

At this point the green tea soymilk cherry concoction caught up with me again, but I decided to hold it as long as possible, preferably till I got to work the next morning. Wouldn’t want to risk the icktay climbing out of its soggy hell to renew its attack. Those buggers are hard to kill. And really: if a tick on one’s lower back is bad…

I returned to bed and flipped on the lights, further disturbing three kitties who’d already been alarmed by all the screams and foot-hopping of the evening. I had no choice. I had to inspect the bed for the nests of icktays that were surely lying in wait.

The icktays were not to be found (probably they’re just very good at hiding), but strangely, I was unable to sleep. Instead I moseyed out to the living room, which brings us to the present.

And that, ladies and gentlement of the jury, is my concluding argument for the arrival of summer. The icktays are here. Also I really have to pee, though I guess that’s beside the point. And my toenails are dry. Good night.

9 responses »

  1. I can’t blame you for freaking upon finding a tick on you – I’d be doing the same! D:

  2. Ick!!! My own traumatic encounter with a tick occurred in the sixth grade. I discovered mine in the middle of math class and had to covertly get the tick off. Amazingly enough I managed to get the tick off in one piece (AND with no one noticing!), but didn’t manage to kill it. For all I know that measly tick is STILL wandering around the halls of St. Mary’s elementary school.

  3. Thank you for not calling me 90 minutes before my alarm sounds. You must have tuned in to what my advise would have been: remove it whilst doing the boogaloo and screeching the sound track from any Slasher flick.

  4. the lesbrarian

    Cara and Mitch: I was trying to elicit humor. Seems I got terror instead. Whoops.

  5. the lesbrarian

    Mom: I suppose I could have called you after the episode ended. You would have been up by then.

  6. I think a bit of hot sauce might have done the trick. The vinegar and the capsaicin may have well encouraged the blood feaster to disengage to get some milk to put hot sauce the hot spice flavor. Then, you could have captured it for your menagerie. Barring that, petroleum jelly would have sped things along but would have suffocated the defenseless thing. It would have relinquished its hold in an attempt to get air. Also, setting fire to yourself would work but some ticks actually prefer BBQ (or so I would imagine as I do) but is easily the most painful and least effective way of destroying the tick while leaving you unscathed.

  7. eleemosenary arcihvist

    Gotta grasp em by the head n’turn till dislodge leaves ya tickless’n the creature, dare one say,deader than the proverbial doornail.Great recounting of the battle though.See, Yoga got ya to a point at which reaching thine own spine was do-able.Have never figured out where the little blood suckers fit in the overall order of things, but left many a corpse behind in the wake of a long ride. Keep writin kid, yer better’n Vonnegut.out-4-now.tgb

  8. the lesbrarian

    William,Wow, of all the ideas I considered and dismissed, self-immolation was not among them. How could I have overlooked it? I will certainly remember to turn to you for advice on tick removal in the future (though forgive me if I attempt the petroleum jelly before I try the burning-myself-alive route; seems less painful. Also less fatal, for me anyway.)

  9. the lesbrarian

    E. Archivist:I may have been able to reach the icktay well enough (and I could have done it without yoga, so there) but I couldn’t see it very well. Had to do it all by feel. I think Mister Vonnegut is the better writer (thanks though!), but I will agree with you on a different point: I don’t know where icktays fit within the greater order of the universe. I can’t think of any creature so ugly, hideous, horrific, and useless in North America.


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