Friday, January 21, 2011

The Polecat

It started off being the usual 'friends getting together' type of thing - ten or so people sitting in a casual circle chatting in groups of two and three. Most slouched in old metal folding chairs similar to what you'd find at a garage sale for half a buck, while a few claimed the two upholstered pieces shoved into the far corners. Under normal circumstances I would have never sat in the sagging, foul-smelling chair due to my raging phobia of picking up lice, but as bad luck would have it the chair was mine.

As there was no one seated to my direct left or right (possibly due to the wisps of reek emanating from the cushions) I had the advantage of avoiding the chitchat and just observed. Everyone else seemed connected and comfortable, keeping their voices low and their heads bowed together as they conversed, appearing unaware of the filthy carpet, nicotine stained walls and crud encrusted 60 watt bulb encased in a dead insect tomb of a light fixture. Only I, sitting there perched on the very edge of my seat in an attempt to come in contact with as little fabric as possible, seemed to have pestilence on the brain.

Movement in the vicinity of my right foot caused me to startle and shift all the way back in the chair, instantly provoking a mad rush to wildly fluff my hair to dislodge the parasites. Fingers tangled and caught above my head, I felt it scurry up my leg, claw its way up the front of my shirt and nestle beneath my chin. Surprisingly I didn't scream. Even when the biting started I was silent, my only thought being "Why is no one watching?" "This has to be more interesting than what they're all talking about."

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