...Five, Six, Pick Up Ticks

One, Two
Buckle My Shoe

This tale begins with my sister and me volunteering for a community watch program, which enlists people to clean up the roadside trash along our rural road. The first order of business was to convene with the organizers at the local Second Elam Baptist Church. There we donned orange vests and procured large orange trash bags and thus outfitted we were on our way.

The vests drew my particular attention. I was always under the impression (wrongfully, as it turns out) that the wearers of these sartorially challenged items were, in fact, inmates of some local lock-up out on some sort of work-release program that accrued to the benefit of the community. Numerous times, when I observed these supposed work-gangs, I unfairly judged their status. It turns out these folks were merely doing their civic duty.

I donned appropriate work clothes for this venture: old jeans, sweat shirt, socks and my hiking shoes, the better to ward off any pesky vermin that might alight during my sojourn. With this final flourish, we were ready.

Three, Four
Out The Door

We were off! This country road draws its share of refuse hurlers, I must say. These roadside defilers had strewn all manner of detritus: paper goods, beer bottles, cans, as well as various and sundry waste items. Before we began, our handlers warned us not to stray too far afield in our pursuit of trash and for the most part, we adhered to this dictum. I fear it was the least part that got me into trouble.

Five, Six
Pick Up Ticks

Somewhere among the bottles and cans, I managed to pick up a tick. In my desire to perform my task most diligently, I wandered into some deep piles of leaves. I think it was here that I picked up my blood-sucking hitchhiker. I am not entirely sure of this for we rested alongside the road outside the gateway to someone’s property. It may have been there that my unwanted passenger alighted.

Seven, Eight
Rest By The Gate

I say this because the gateway was also the location of a sizable drainage ditch, which in retrospect, I realized could easily harbor any number of vermin. Wherever and whenever, the tick was picked and I was its not so gracious host. I discovered my unwanted voyager when I next showered. He was comfortably ensconced in my scrotum, of all places. Dark and warm was the usual requirement for unassuming hosts and this spot certainly filled the bill.

Nine, Ten

Dark, warm and with ready access to a surface blood source was the ticket. I had picked up ticks before when hiking and my usual modus operandi was to apply a recently extinguished match-head to the back of the varmint in hopes that the heat would deter the little bugger, forcing him to leave go and depart the scene. I tried this tactic in the past with varying degrees of success but this location gave me pause. I had no Vaseline, another popular remedy, so I slathered on some cooking oil. This seemed to discourage him as he wiggled free in apparent suffocation.

Once loosened, I carefully picked him off, paying special attention to the business end of the critter. Leaving the head and risking subsequent infection was not in my plans. Thus wholly plucked, I quickly disposed of him. Of all the places to be afflicted, this was perhaps the most fearful as well as the most awkward. In stories of torture, the genital area usually figures prominently. Rightly so, as this area is acutely sensitive to even the mildest of form of discomfiture. Let’s just say, I was glad to be rid of my not so amiable friend and leave it at that.

That’s The End

© Stephen Alexander 2008

...Five, Six, Pick Up Ticks

stephen hewitt

Lanexa, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

The perils inherent in walking in the woods

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