The Thing

The thing climbed out of my ear while I was watching an episode of The Office. There I was, eating some chicken nuggets, when I suddenly felt something wriggling deep within my skull. Over the course of about 7 minutes, I could feel the thing work its way from the center of my head cavity to my left ear. After about another 3 minutes it fell with a slick thud onto my desk.

It looked at first like a worm; elongated and pale in a translucent yellowing pink. As I stared at it though, it become clear that the immediately visible portion of this creature was merely a sac: Some kind of soft embryo or egg. As I leaned in to peer closer I could see an undulating movement and the dancing shadows of hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny legs all in a row, moving within this thing. It pulsated and churned with a sort of unnatural charm.

I felt a kinship with it. I was not at all shocked to see it sitting in a sticky puddle on my desk. I did, however, feel an intense shame. Somehow I had created this thing out of my head. I knew that if someone else were to have witnessed it, they would not have seen the fascinating, miraculous creature for what it was, but some purulent parasite. I would be forced to either defend it as my creation, or condemn it as some freakish fluke.

I do not know what it is to become, but it is beautiful in a deeply unsettling way. I have decided to nurture it. It is unlike anything I have ever presented to the world, but I now think that’s because I have never been brave enough. Maybe it is not ready to see the light of day yet, but when it is I am sure someone else will find it beautiful as well.




I took him home and he slept. I laid him in a corner of the yard, sheltered beneath a mighty pine. I covered him with a heavy blanket then came back inside and shut the door. I could hear him snoring from my living room. For nearly a month he slept. Or, at least I thought he did. After a few weeks of restful slumber, there were times that I could hear him stirring, but I chose to ignore him. He had been so calm that I hoped he would simply return to that state if left unbothered. There was still a large part of me that was fearful.

By the time that I did check on him, it was clear he had needed my attention much sooner. I thought he had tamed, but he was still feral. He had been plucked out from his domain and exposed. Without follow-up care he grew resentful. He had been living off the plentiful apple trees in our back yard, but clearly hungered for something more substantial. I could tell that he blamed me for his discomfort. I gladly took ownership. He was righteously angry.

I fed him. I made sure it was clear to both him and myself that I was remorseful. Even though we could not communicate directly, I could feel him calm.

He was fiercely independent, but I had uprooted him. I now have an active responsibility in his development. With him here in my backyard I can no longer be in denial. I can no longer turn a deaf ear to that howling in the distant woods.