The Rash

“When did this begin happening?” The doctor seemed understanding but dumbfounded. Eyebrows raised, Jonah sat before him. His naked skin contracted into pinpricks of gooseflesh as he began to shiver with an amalgamation of cold and fear.

“It’s been happening for a while.” Jonah began. His bare feet tapped the side of the examination table.

Beneath him the paper crinkled. He shifted his weight, uncomfortable at sharing his private observations with this stranger. He barely knew this doctor. “I’ve done everything I can think to stop it.”

Jonah indeed tried quite a few remedies to ease the condition. Over the counter medications. Pills prescribed to others he’d purchased illegally. Topical creams. Nothing seemed to be curing the problem. It was a waste of time and money. He’d spent thousands.

“Okay, Mr. Sharpe,” the doctor began again, “but that didn’t answer my question. When did you first notice the problem?”

“Well,” Jonah began, “My dad died when I was young, but my mom said it happened to him. I never believed her. She said it started with the rash. That was like, the precursor. You know? She said the rash is like the first indicator that the curse is taking hold. Then I noticed this rash.” Jonah indicated a place on his left thigh. “It never used to be there … then one day it was. It starts small, see. The rash, I mean. It’s a lot bigger than it was to start.”

The doctor pondered Jonah’s leg curiously, “Looks like a birthmark to me.” He said.

“That’s what I thought too,” Jonah said quietly, “but it wasn’t always there. It was like, the more I became aware of it — well — the more I became aware of…”

“Mr. Sharpe,” the doctor began, “have you spoken to a psychiatrist about this?” He adjusted the collar of his lab coat he gazed at Jonah in hesitance. “A lot of this seems fueled paranoia. This is not an uncommon phobia.” He bit his lower lip, “I have a friend I can recommend,” the doctor offered.

“I don’t need a shrink! It’s not a fucking phobia!” Jonah shouted, “I’m telling you, it’s shrinking! I noticed the rash on my leg first and then when that started to grow, I paid attention. Real attention. It’s happening faster now.” He began to weep. “You have to help me! It was half an inch longer yesterday.”

The doctor seemed skeptical until Jonah’s penis shrunk further before his eyes. It retracted into his torso, like a small animal burrowing into a hole. The rash moved to cover the hole. It began to stitch itself over the opening until he was as anatomically incorrect as a Ken™ doll.

Forgetting decorum, the doctor yelped and they both fell into hysterics.

Surgery conducted to recover Jonah’s penis was unsuccessful. It was as though Jonah never had one. All they found was a deposit of fat. There was nothing beneath. Nothing at all.

Nothing but the cursed “rash.”

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