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מדורי במה

ניל ירדן
/ Lawyer's Disease

I stare at the mirror in amazement.
I stare and I reach with my hand and I touch the top of my
head right there and, yes, I can definitely feel it. It's
there, all right.
My amazement winds down as logic replaces instinct. It's a
new phase, that's all it is. I wasn't expecting this but,
come to think of it, it isn't all that unusual, all things
It's been going on for close on half a year now, I suddenly
recall; when red spots first started to appear on my torso
and on the back of my neck, I went to see a dermatologist.
He said it was probably some kind of fungal infection and
gave me a prescription.
It didn't help.
Afterwards, going to the doctor didn't seem much of an
option anymore.
I detach from my remembrance and take a good look in the
mirror again. It isn't very visible, I suppose, but now that
I know it's there it seems unrealistically apparent.
I touch it again, slowly, as though it might bite if I make
too many sudden moves.
This can't be right, I'm thinking now. Skin disease is one
thing, but this...
I kept applying the salve twice a day, just like the doctor
said. I did that for three months before I ran out of salve
and needed another prescription, which meant going to see
the doc again, which meant I wasn't going to do it. It
wasn't much help, anyway. For I time I thought it was making
it worse.
The few red spots I first noticed every time I undressed to
take a shower started multiplying. I wasn't bothered at
first, because it didn't sting or burn or itch or anything.
Only when my chest was full of red spots, several of them
bigger than my index finger, and people started commenting
on the strange rash I had on my neck, did I start paying any
mind to it. I sat down and examined myself closely.
Well, intended to examine myself closely. I hardly had the
means to conduct proper experimentation, and probably
wouldn't have wanted to if I had. So I probed the things.
Tried scrubbing them off. Felt them around.
The only definitive conclusions I made were that the rash,
if that's what it was, somehow had different texture than my
healthy skin, and that unless I was going to use sandpaper,
it can't be scrubbed off.
I put some salve on it.
And there was something else bothering me. I didn't think I
could easily get hemorrhoids at my age, and I wasn't
bleeding anywhere, but I started to have a strange feeling
every time I sat down. A very uncomfortable feeling.
Even painful.
One evening that month, when I showered, I felt something
strange as I scrubbed myself. It was too strange a feeling
to be believed, at first, so only when I got out and
examined myself in the big mirror, looking with effort over
my shoulder, did I accept the unacceptable. My behind was
covered in that wretched eczema, and a sort of tumor seemed
to be attached there. Something short, ugly and red.
If I hadn't known it was so ridiculous, I might have said it
was a stub of tail.
This was when it first occurred to me that, maybe, this was
too embarrassing to show to a doctor. "Er, excuse me doc,
but I seem to have, uh, I mean, recently, that is, you see,
um, funny thing there...". No. There was no way I was going
through this.
After a time I decided I was probably hallucinating the
whole thing.
And, of course, I started adopting a different sitting
position. One that didn't put too much squeeze on my
bothersome hallucination.
Remembering, I avert my eyes from my head reflected in the
mirror and turn my body around. Yep, it's still there, just
as red and four times as long, with a little triangular flap
of skin at the end. It's a much prettier tail than it used
to be, I'll grant you. I've become strangely proud of it.
I stand straight again and examine, once more, the problem
at hand. Now I'm even less surprised, least of all amazed.
Sure, why not? Compared to a tail-like tumor, this is
Almost nothing.
About a week before I ran out of medicine, I noticed the
next development in my state. Aside from having the damn
things spreading further, and also inexplicably starting to
appear on my arms and (this mostly) my legs, they were also
turning a darker red, over the merely dark pink they used to
be. Some of them veritably glistened red. I was starting to
have cancer in mind, back then. I was already resolved to go
see the dermatologist again about it, perhaps once the
medicine was over, when I realized some of the spots
looked... different.
At first I thought some of the bigger ones had slightly
swelled, but once I handled them I saw I was wrong. They
hadn't swelled - rather, they had gone flaky, but hard to
the touch. I tried rubbing some of it off, and it didn't
come off very easily. In the end I was left with a few
crimson flakes in my hand.
I had to see someone, I realized. But I didn't have the
time; work was murder right now, with us getting a couple
more big clients and the rest coming up with all kinds of
strange demands. I was making a shitload of money and there
was no way I was going to give that up now. This is nothing,
I told myself. It will probably go away.
A week later almost all the marks on my skin had changed.
And what seemed to be a crust of flakes toughened,
lengthened, and became little red scales, covering large
areas of my skin. Nowhere in plain sight, fortunately, but
having these things in my sight had a bad enough effect.
I was definitely not going to the doctor with this, I knew
now. What could I possibly say when he told me to strip?
"Listen doc, though I wouldn't want to interfere with your
diagnosis, my symptoms indicate that I seem to be in the
early stages of turning into a reptile. Nothing a little bit
of medicinal treatment can't cure, I'm certain". That's the
best line I could come up with. Unthinkable.
I tried thinking about my physical state in philosophical
terms. What could it say about me as a person? Well, that I
was very ill, for a start. I dropped the philosophical
attitude fairly quickly. It wasn't going anywhere.
My more immediate problem was what people were going to say.
They may have gotten used to the red marks on my neck,
though I had to tell them it was a late-manifesting genetic
trait, but if it kept spreading, I could be facing some
bothersome questions that I didn't want to answer or even
know the answers to. To make matters worse, the scaly spots
started oozing small quantities of yellow pus, which stank
like hell. It was unavoidable that people would notice. I
cleaned myself up as best I could, and used large amounts of
aftershave, but it wasn't enough. At work, I was starting to
get tired of being asked ten times a day whether I had just
And then they stopped.
That is, somehow people suddenly became blind to any and all
of my chronic symptoms. At first I thought that perhaps my
colleagues simply decided to be polite about it, but none of
my clients said anything, though you could probably smell my
office from a mile off.
And now this.
And at times I find myself thinking again if it could mean
anything. What could I have done to deserve this irritating,
not to mention alarming infliction? It's almost as though
I'm punished for some unfathomable crime. And I'm not such a
bad person, really. People in the firm rather like me. I'm
on my way to become a partner. So I don't give any money to
these assholes coming to beg for the ravaged people of
Bosnia or wherever. And I don't recycle; all that "we're
destroying the planet" is bullshit anyway. So I overcharge
my clients, but who doesn't? Being a tax lawyer is all about
charging a client for an hour's work because their case
crossed my mind in the shower. So what? The more I think
about it, the more I come to the conclusion that this has
nothing to do with my morality, or lack thereof.
I've survived so far. With a little luck I can carry on like
this for years.
Maybe it is just part of the same thing, I think as I give
it one last look in the mirror before I turn away to dress
for work. It's not exactly skin related, I noticed at once,
but who knows? With everything I've already been through,
this shouldn't have come as any shock at all.
Already it's hell dressing in the mornings. And once, at
work, a few scales burst out, ripping straight through my
shirt at the elbow and remained exposed to the world all
that day, though nobody said anything. And the acrid smell
in my house became so pungent that I once boiled a rotten
egg and was halfway through eating it before I noticed it
was inedible. Nobody says anything. I think I won't even
wear a hat to try and conceal this.
After all, in my condition, what can a little set of horns
mean, anyway?

July 26th, 2002
23:08 PM

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נפש וכיו''ב תוצאות, ישירות או עקיפות, שייגרמו
לך או לכל צד שלישי בשל מסרים שיפורסמו
ביצירות, שהנם באחריות היוצר בלבד.
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תרומה לבמה

בבמה מאז 10/10/03 5:33
האתר מכיל תכנים שיתכנו כבלתי הולמים או בלתי חינוכיים לאנשים מסויימים.
אין הנהלת האתר אחראית לכל נזק העלול להגרם כתוצאה מחשיפה לתכנים אלו.
אחריות זו מוטלת על יוצרי התכנים. הגיל המומלץ לגלישה באתר הינו מעל ל-18.
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