Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write for the HUMOR Genre (10/09/14)
TITLE: Bums, Boils and Bites – Oh My!
By Melanie Kerr
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Before the first visit Iâ€™d spent the best part of the week gingerly perched on the edge of the sofa, one sore buttock slightly raised off the cushion. I could have asked my husband to have a look but I wasnâ€™t sure such scrutiny was covered in our wedding vows. Iâ€™d never had a taut bottom.
I holed myself up in the bedroom, the door firmly shut, a chair wedged under the handle, twisting and turning a make-up mirror, high magnification side up, trying to locate the cause of the trouble. Iâ€™d never been a bendy woman but with just the right alignment of mirror, head and bottom, I thought I could see an inky black smudge tucked away in an awkward fold. I considered trying to take a selfie of the smudge with the mobile phone but in this day of phone hacking decided it wasnâ€™t worth the risk.
It turned out to be a boil. I was assured it was nothing to do with poor hygiene, just one of those things that women of my age were prone to get. A hair follicle had become infected and a course of antibiotics was all that was needed.
The second incident was a little bit more complicated.
I has stopped going on long walks months ago, but I didnâ€™t plan for a long walk. A pair of new walking boots sat in the bottom of the wardrobe pleading to squelch through mud, clamber over rocks and wade through puddles. A leaflet I had picked up from the local tourist information board promised an interesting walk with a quiz, answers gleaned from information boards along the route.
It was a warm autumn afternoon. Clouds hovered near the horizon, a grey smudge in an otherwise blue sky.
There were two other cars parked in the places marked out by carefully placed logs. A white kissing gate marked the start of the route. Sadly, there was no one to kiss. The football season was a few weeks in to its flow and my husband was probably munching through his half time pie.
The first thing to notice was the absence of the information boards. Either they were spaced very far apart on the map, which didnâ€™t have a scale, or I was in the wrong forest. The track was wide with the occasional tuft of grass in the middle. Still confident I would soon be filling in the answers to the quiz questions, I marched off.
I kept thinking there would be something around the next bend â€“ except there were no bends. Had the Romans travelled this far north it would have been a path they would have been proud to have built. Deep ditches and green lichen covered trees bordered the path on one side. Gorse bushes and clumps of purple heather bordered the other side.
Too many bends had been anticipated. The short walk had stretched out into a long walk. The new boots were chaffing my heel. I suddenly remembered why I had stopped taking long walks. I needed the bathroom and when I needed to go I needed to go.
I was surrounded by bushes and waded through a ditch and disappeared into the greenery. I was equipped with a packet of tissues. A hasty look around and the business was completed. Iâ€™d left a very pungent leaving card, as it were, covered by a pile of wet leaves.
Ouch! I thought the gorse bushes were the other side of the track!
An information sign would have been really helpful at this point. The information was in the leaflet. â€śThe Slave Maker ant gives a nasty nip.â€ť I had been so sure I was safely concealed from the big visible things at eye level like people or dogs that I hadnâ€™t thought about the small things at ground level.
It was hard to work out whether the shortness of breath, the sweating or the rapid heart rate had anything to do with an allergic reaction to the bite or whether that would have happened anyway having walked so far.
Of course, I should have hunted about for the culprit, taken a specimen with me to the surgery, the doctor told me as he washed the infected area with warm water and soap.
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