She stood on my porch, the tattoos on her arms and legs visible on a hot summer day. “Hey, can you do me a favour?” she asked. “I can’t do it because I’m squeamish.”
Woman with Tattoos asks for favors pretty often, but usually they’re simple: she needs some cash or a ride to the store. But this favor was the strangest thing she’s asked me to do. Her cat had a bot fly larvae that needed to be removed.
I walked down to the brown trailer, figuring I’d give it a shot. Little Biker Boy, Ponytail, and Toddler were gathered around the cat when I arrived. “Here are the tweezers,” Woman with Tattoos said, handing them to me. “And here’s some peroxide.” Then she lit a cigarette and averted her eyes.
Little Biker Boy grabbed the cat and held her down. Underneath her jaw, I saw a bulge in her neck – it looked like an open wound, with two holes in it. I poured on the peroxide and poked at the cat’s throat hesitantly with the tweezers.
“Just yank it out,” Woman with Tattoos said from the other side of the room.
I couldn’t tell which part was the larvae, and which part was the cat’s throat. I didn’t want to yank the cat’s throat out. Just then, Little Biker Boy pointed. “Look, you can see it moving!”
He was right. Suffocating under the peroxide, something was moving, beneath the cat’s skin. Some kind of little creature living UNDER THE SKIN. Ugh. I stuck the tweezers into the little hole, clamped on, and pulled.
What came out looked like a slug – about an inch long, light in colour, and still moving. I dropped in on the table, and it kept wriggling. We all stared.
“You did it!” Woman with Tattoos said. “THANK YOU SO MUCH.”
"THAT IS SO GROSS!" screamed Ponytail.
When I left the trailer, the three little kids followed me out, all of them jumping up and down, screaming, “Hurray for jo(e)! She did it!”