The itch started on a Monday. A slight irritation on my back, then my neck, and then overnight it exploded. My body was screaming for relief and I gave it what it wanted. What choice did I have? I scraped at it with my hard, blunt nails, dug deep and raked. My body was on fire. The itch was deeper than my skin, it seemed to extend all the way down, down into my muscles and ligaments, as deep as my bones and marrow and I couldn’t assuage it. In a last-ditch attempt I picked up a metal scourer and went to work. The relief was short-lived and the blood copious but it was the relief I latched onto and continued. At some point exhaustion must have overtaken me. I slept.
Tuesday – the itch has gone. I should rejoice, should celebrate that I have been freed. But there is a new development to worry over.
I awoke lying on my own skin. Not in my skin but on my skin. It was shredded, curled and dry; a feast for a dust mite army. On the plus side, I felt rejuvenated, wide awake and ravenous. I rushed to the bathroom and stared at my face in the mirror; a beautiful vibrant green. I touched my face, the skin was smooth and firm and on closer inspection I could see blood vessels running beneath it, a shade of darker green. My irises were also a deep green. I decided it was time to see a doctor.
One week later – I am sunbathing in the garden completely nude. I would normally never do this but the knowledge that I’m not the only one gives me confidence. I hear Tom next door mumble under his breath, and the squeak of his recliner as he shifts position.
“Seventy percent of the global population have been affected, Greg,” Dr Hobbs informed me. “Seventy percent!” He’d raised a green hand to his face and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Our whole systems reorganised.”
“So we’re what? Plants now?”
“They’re calling it evolution. Me? I call it payback.” He smiled wryly. “I guess we’ll be looking after the planet better from now on, all things considered.”
He shrugged. “Could be the pesticides in the food we eat, could be the chemicals in the water we drink, could be the genetically modified products we consume. It’s early days yet but I’m sure some bright spark will figure it out eventually.” He sighed. “In the meantime I have only one thing to prescribe.” He jotted something on a piece of paper and handed it to me.
I close my eyes and do as prescribed. The sun is glorious and I devour it.
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