It started with my tubercular toe. But let’s not start at the very beginning; often a bad place to start. This week it started with the fat lady who fell on top of me; somewhere between sexual assault and attempted murder. It could have happened to anyone; but it happened to me. The fat lady landed on the cracked toenail that had already been run over by a PR who went all passive-aggressive with the wheels of my suitcase after offering to push it for me.
No sooner had foot queen at Margaret Dabbs glued my big toe back together than the fat lady danced on it. I put out my hand to stop her having a second jig and sprained my wrist. Sane Shabir sent me Bromelain for soft tissue injury which solved that problem. Then I woke up with a spot. More like a planet than a spot. Next time you use a Spacemask, instead of going to Mars you could just pay a visit to the gigantic plook on my face. I could build homes on it and solve the international refugee crisis.
The Guru instructed me to zap the zit with toothpaste. Not Regenerate, the one I use on my teeth, which saves me having them whitened; the type of toothpaste someone with no taste would use. Then one side of my head swelled up like I was an extra in a Twin Peaks nightmare. It wasn’t like the time I put LIP on my eye contour instead of FECC. After a few minutes stinging panic my eyes looked like I’d had one of my 14 hour sleeps.
Or the time I put Sculpt all over my face and turned into a tomato. If you ever try that (which I don’t recommend) the anti-dote is Sheald which cures almost everything. Some people pretend they are not “into” beauty, but everyone is into health. No one wants to feel, or look, like they have been mugged by a fat lady and turned into a speciality act.
Dangerous insisted on sending me and my head to hospital, where they were happier to see me than I was them. After a semester at medical school in my mis-spent youth where students simulated sex with skeletons, the last person I want to see when I’m sick is a doctor. The second last person I want near my hospital bed is my mother. From the minute I was born Maddie has been planning my funeral. While other brats were walking in the park, Mummy loved to show me the graveyard.
“This is where you’ll end up if that cough of yours gets any worse,” she warned, before adding, “Always wash your hands after touching a man.”
The emergency room nurse extracted enough blood to feed Dracula and his harem while enthusing about my tubercular toe, asking, “Can I touch it?!” My fame in this hospital is from being the only patient in England ever to have had osteo-tuberculosis confined to the small bone in my toe with no shadow on my lung. Dangerous calls it my Immaculate Consumption. My immune system built a wall round the bacteria, confining it to the toe. And this was before I even started miracle medicine Fulphyl. A spoonful of Phylia a day keeps the germs away.
Nobody fantasises about having a big head, but I’d always wanted to have consumption like Emily Bronte and Cathy in Wuthering Heights. Bronte’s early death from the same disease as her character authenticates the fiction. In Illness as Metaphor Susan Sontag makes a good case against the myth of romantic bacteria; but there’s no denying that coughing up blood the colour of Lanolips Red Apple is just sexier than cancer. And now that there’s a cure for TB, you don’t have to die for your glamour. You get to lose a few kilos being pale, frail and dangerous to kiss.
Once the excitement over my tubercular toe had died down, Dr Death introduced himself as a “specialist in infectious diseases” and asked to “press my big head”. “You are presenting strangely again,” Dr Death said, cheerful in a way that didn’t reassure me. Ideally both sides of my head should be swollen. And I’d have a throbbing blinding pain in my temple like a time-bomb about to explode. “That would be textbook…but you are not a classic case.”
No pain; only panic when I looked in the mirror of my Mini Pop. The big spot was still there, impersonating a spaceship that had landed on the red planet that was formerly my head. And I hadn’t confessed about abusing toothpaste. Dr Death already thinks I’m pure strange. It might be a long wait for the blood tests since my “weird case” was occupying the entire lab. “Would you like a Snack Box?” I’m too up myself to eat hospital food so the manservant brought bone soup and seed bread, practically wetting himself when he found out my normally perfect blood pressure was higher than his!
“I had to fight a banana breath in Ho foods for the last loaf,” he boasted, spooning the soup into my mouth. “At least you still have your gorgeous pout. And your hair’s thick enough to almost cover the deformity.” After another year on Stemm Density Stimuli I may have full camouflage. My blood results were perfect it’s just a shame my heart was beating too fast and you could take my head to the park and play fitba with it.
The Guru saved me in the end. I remembered those hardcore anti-histamines in her handbag. The manservant ran as fast as his wee legs could carry him and came back in a puff of malice with a handful of anti-histamines and a green tea chaser. My head went back to normal quicker than you could cover your face in Sanskrit Saponins and sleep on it.
Carole Morin is the author of Spying on Strange Men