I’ll be back. I got nowhere else to go.
I’ll be back. I got nowhere else to go.
And the shitty stuff, too. Final poisoning, Enthusiasts.
…she’s makin’ it worse.
Aw, man. You were doing so well.
No, I wasn’t.
Yeah, okay. Leg again?
Fucker’s not a team player.
Did you at least try an alternative?
You think I should’ve asked for vicodin instead of percs?
No. Like hot baths or meditation or exercise or OTC analgesics.
Ahhh. That worked yesterday. Today, it feels like someone is peeling my femur like a banana. Advil won’t do it.
Well, at least follow the dosing instructions.
I am. “Take 1 handful every six hours.”
That’s not what it says.
Beg to differ.
Goddamned dope fiend.
Nah. I’m a warrior on a journey of healing. Gonna keep on keeping on, muchacho. Ain’t nothin’–
–gonna break-a my stride. Ain’t nothin’ gonna slow me down.
Oh, no! I gotta keep on etc., etc.
At least post the original Bo Diddley version of the tune. Provide some value to the Enthusiasts.
Dear The World:
First off: Fuck you. For the shit you did, the shit you’re doing, and the shit you’re gonna continue to do. Fuck you with friction.
Second: You are not respecting the candana*.
As loyal readers–or everyone in earshot because I won’t shut the fuck up about it–know, I am diseased. The treatment for my particular disease is a thorough poisoning. Now, the treatment for most diseases is poison–antibiotics are just cyanide pills for bacteria–but at a smaller scale; the shit they’re giving me would drop a herd of reindeer. It’s according-to-Hoyle toxic. Literally the only reason you would allow this biocidal swill access to your innards is “cuz otherwise you’ll be dead in three months.” It takes six hours to administer because they have to dilute the solution to the point where it won’t melt your veins.
You know: poison.
Those of you who have not had the good fortune to embark upon your Cancer Journey® may be asking, “Isn’t poisoning a sick person counter-productive?”
And I brush your cheek lovingly, with the grace of a drunken father, and then try to pick your nose.
“Stop it,” you say.
I don’t. I won’t! I’m digging for gold, muchacho!
Okay, okay, okay. This time you distracted yourself. You didn’t even have the courtesy to blame it on bold-faced guy or put your crazy thoughts in the mouth of a character. You just explicitly broke down.
I took my dick out at Foot Locker, didn’t I?
You’re having a rough year, pal, but its no reason to take it out on everyone else.
Counterpoint: Fuck them. How’d you get in here, anyway? I cast a Moat Spell around Open Letters.
STOP CAPITALIZING SHIT LIKE THAT.
If you have a point, you may get back to it. Otherwise, I’m locking the doors on this one.
My point is this: My candana is not inspiring the proper deference. You know what that schmata means, The World! I’m not wearing it for my health, I’m wearing it because of my health. Do you think I enjoy sporting this rag, The World? I look like the seventh-place finisher in a David Foster Wallace lookalike contest**. Of all the indignities that cancer has imposed, being forced from my aesthetic is the most painful.
I have gone chemocore.
And all I’m asking for is a bit of acknowledgement. Come up to me–without penetrating my now greatly-expanded Personal Health Radius, of course–and tell me how brave I am. You might also refer to me as a “warrior,” and throw the verb “battle” about willy-nilly. Maybe you could carry something for me, or bathe me in semi-sacred oils.
For example, the other day I was in Publix, flying the flag of flagging energy, and not one shopper offered to carry me through the aisles like a baby. I only needed a couple of things!
That’s it. Calling this one.
I’M FACING MAJOR REVERSALS OF FORTUNE HERE, MAN.
True. But you don’t have to take it out on everyone.
For the third time: Fuck them.
This post had a theme.
Well, I am America’s Greatest Semi-Discovered Writer.
What did I tell you about the capitalizing?
*Candana = Cancer Bandana. I’ve explained the portmanteau already, and even if I hadn’t, it’s easily decipherable via context clues and a general cultural awareness. Keep up.
**Footnote jokes, muchacho.
CELL PHONE NOISE
“Hello, Mr. on the Dead? This is Medicine calling!”
“Are you dead yet?”
“Huzzah for us! We did that. Your body is trying to kill you so darn hard, Mr. on the Dead!”
Yes. I have cancer. Thank you for reminding me.
“You are Shelley Duvall, and your body is Jack Nicholson, stomping up the stairs with an axe and enraptured by the evil spirits of Colorado or winter or whatever the hell Stanley Kubrick was on about. I do not understand that man’s films!”
He sometimes chose the emotional truth over narrative cohesion.
“He did! How is your bump-nugget?”
Still not following.
“Your Satan’s playground. Your cave of wonders. Your knick-knack-paddywhack.”
Are you talking about my asshole?
Fine, I guess. Why?
“The doctor may or not be fiddling with it!”
I’m just coming in for a meeting. No treatment today.
“Who is the doctor: You or the doctor?”
The doctor is the doctor.
“Then I suppose it will be up to him whether or not to go knuckle-deep! Do not interfere with a man of science, Mr. on the Dead! He has the right to jimmy around in your inground pool at any moment! It is sort of like prima nocte.”
“Yes! You may also call it Droit du seigneur if you prefer the vulgate.”
That didn’t exist. It was a medieval myth
“The doctor will not myth your butthole! He gets a bullseye every time!”
It’s clean. I’m freshly showered.
“Some do not wash as well as they might! When you rub your thumb against your egress, does it make a squeaky sound? That is how you know it’s clean!”
“We will move on. What form of dessert will you be bringing the staff?”
I didn’t know it was required.
“The next time you are scheduled to be poisoned: Do you want poison in the IV bags or water?”
“Then I suggest you stop and purchase some snickerdoodles.”
“Do you have questions for the doctor?”
“He will not be answering them! The doctor will be signing copies of his book and posing for pictures. Do not be asking for wacky poses!”
That sounds like a meet-and-greet.
“He will not be greeting you!”
God, I need better insurance.
“Oh, thank you for reminding me! Your insurance will not cover this visit. Please bring $478 in singles.”
“The doctor likes it when his patients make it rain.”
“Dollar dollar bill, y’all!”
Is there anything else?
“Yes! Here comes the hot-stepper.”
“Ahem. Here comes the hot-stepper.”
“Poison or saline, Mr. on the Dead?”
“Here comes the hot-stepper.”
Wooooord ’em up.
“I’m the lyrical gangster.”
Wooooord ’em up.
“Still love ’em like that! Oh, wasn’t that fun?”
“I enjoyed it!”
“Just a few more things and I will let you go. When you come in the office, please pep yourself up a bit. Sometimes people come in here and they are just depressing-looking.”
“You want to avert your eyes! All pale and either bloated or deflated. Do some jumping jacks! Get some color in your cheeks!”
Again: I’ll try.
“Do not be coming up in here dressed in a white coat and try to trick the doctor into thinking that you are the doctor. He is very susceptible to that trick!”
Won’t do that.
“He falls for it often! Sometimes, he even begins courses of antibiotics that have been prescribed to him illicitly!”
Not gonna do that, I promise.
“Are your gums bleeding?”
“They will be! Moving on. Will you–”
Wait, what about my gums?
“–be poaching…I said we were moving on, Mr. on the Dead.”
“Will you be poaching eggs this morning?”
“What about elephants?”
I will poach nothing.
“Neither is acceptable for our patients!”
“All right. We will see you at 2. Would you like do another chorus of Hot-stepper?”
I would not.
“2 it is!”
DIAL TONE NOISE EVEN THOUGH PHONES NO LONGER DO THAT
You can’t poison me, Doc. Not like I can poison me.
CELL PHONE NOISE
“Hello, is this Mr. on the Dead or his official caregiver or maybe the neighbor across the hall who answers the phone sometimes?”
This is Mr. on the Dead.
“Greetings! This is Medicine speaking! I have intricately terrible news and directions to give you. We are going to have a conversation you have been dreading since your teen years!”
Didn’t you used to work for my gastroenterologist?
“I go where the action is!”
“Mr. on the Dead, your chemical therapeutics are about to begin! It is like a marathon, but instead of running, you sit in a mostly-comfortable recliner while we shoot drain cleaner into your veins.”
That’s nothing like a marathon.
“My similes are not to be dissected, sir!”
“Your first session will be the longest. We want to show the cancer what we’re capable of. Leave no question in the enemy’s mind that in order to save the nation, we will destroy the village.”
Am I the nation or the village in that metaphor?
“My metaphors are also not to be dissected!”
“My word, we will be befouling your river! Some of these chemicals you will be ingesting cannot be handled by hand. You need to rig yourself up some sort of Doctor Octopus apparatus to move it from place to place.”
The treatment is aggressive, yes.
“This is beyond aggressive, Mr on the Dead. Translated to a human scale, what we are about to do to you equals a war crime. Do you know that you will be receiving half-a-liter of Siracha sauce?”
“Cruelty, and cruelty alone. Cancer hates spicy foods! It has the palate of a common Frenchman.”
If you say so. Do I need to prepare for the session at all?
“Perhaps some ab training. A strong core cures most ails.”
Anything else? Diet?
“You should, slobbo. And you’re gonna! Our cocktails will knock 30 pounds off of you in no time! If those anorexulimics ever heard about it, they’d be breaking down the door.”
“I do not mean that literally. They would not have the energy or body mass to break down a door.”
“They are small and tired. Stamina has abandoned them.”
“You should also bring a hoodie!”
Ah. Good advice. Finally.
“There will also be significant prep for your chemical adventures! You are going over Poison Falls in a barrel. You want the barrel to be well-prepared, don’t you?”
I never think it’s possible for your analogies to get worse, but yet you surprise me.
“I am a diagonal-type thinker. Thank you for noticing! I will now return to instructing you on your prep.”
“We ask that you take a bajillion pills. We called them into your pharmacy. Go pick them up, but make sure your trunk is empty. You will need the space!”
“I am estimating, but the number is thereabouts. Also, you must take the pills on both a full and empty stomach.”
I’ll figure it out. Anything else?
“You must avoid banana bread.”
“So reads the Prophecy. Do not question the Prophecy, Mr. on the Dead. Your insurance is nowhere near good enough to allow that.”
“Shun the risen loaf of the banana, and that shall be the whole of the law.”
“Remember to bring cash to tip your nurse.”
We’re tipping nurses now?
“You are receiving your treatment at the intersection of ‘Florida’ and ‘Plague.’ Laws have become half-forgotten dreams, and all social mores have been molested. We have molested the mores, Mr. on the Dead! So, please, tip your nurse.”
“Maybe some fairy dust gets sprinkled into your IV line if you tip heavy enough? Who knows?
“You might even buy yourself a magic carpet ride. You can let the sound take you away!”
Something to consider.
“Are you a test subject for the new Trump China Virus Vaccine?”
“Forget I asked.”
“Failure to forget I asked will result in unarmed men yoinking you into an unmarked van, and whomping you all up and down with sticks.”
I’ll forget. I promise.
“We cannot rule out some stick-play, Mr. On the Dead. It is rapidly becoming a new world!”
Can we concentrate on my treatment, please?
“Indubitably! You may order food while reclining with us, or bring a pre-prepared meal. You may not cook in the Chemo Room!”
“I see another panini press, I’m handing out a slapping! I don’t know what it is with you people and those panini doohickeys. Do you see your own terminal slimness in the skinniness of the panini?”
I like that you can get the cheese melty all the way through.
“Irregardless and unrelevant! The devices are forbidden! Similarly, you must leave your George Foreman Grill at home.”
“And though I have not seen it in person, I would wager heavily that it needs a good cleaning. Do not bring your nasty-ass kitchen appliances into my clean Chemo Room, sir.”
I hadn’t even considered it until you brought it up.
“I would not mention were it not a distinct possibility! You sickies are clever, and allowed to wear the baggiest of clothes! It is easy for you to smuggle contraband into areas.”
“But you cannot hide the sound of the sizzle, nor its scent! You cannot deploy the power of the George Foreman Grill secretly! The surrounding gentry will be aware, Mr. on the Dead!”
No cooking. Got it. What should I expect after the treatment?
“Everyone responds to being poisoned in such an individual manner! For example, some people go ACK! and fall over. Others just lie there and cry. Some self-pooping is performed. Humanity is elastic!”
Nothing in general?
“Think of the time you were most efficiently and lovingly orally manipulated.”
“The opposite of that! For a week! There is a reason I have been calling the substances we will be shoving into you ‘poison.’ It does not know the difference between you and the cancer! It will kill indiscriminately! But there are more of you than it, so we will prevail. It is a war of attrition, but fought in your bloodstream!”
Those are the worst kind of wars, and that’s the worst place to have one.
“And yet we will see you tomorrow morning. Bring your hoodie!”
First poison day, Enthusiasts. Got me a recliner and a nurse to monitor my vitals. Just gonna sit here and not die.
You’re all dying, too. You just don’t have a plan.
Things my oncologist said quietly while reviewing my chart:
I chose to take his utterances as compliments, and continue to hold that belief.
I’m no Hercules
And this is Herculean
Tomorrow I will just be feeling the pain
Get stupidly addictive opiates from your doctor without any pushback by using this one simple trick!
A cancer haiku?
You fucking kidding me here?
Fuck off with that shit.
Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Y’know those cancers that stay in one place, and the doctor looks at it every six months? This isn’t one of those. This is one of those lebensraum deals.
SOMETHING MY ONCOLOGIST ACTUALLY SAID TO ME:
Should I take vitamins?
“Nah, you’re way past vitamins.”
Monday was the PET scan, which involved no puppies or kittens whatsoever; fucking liars. Lit that fucker up like a Buddhist monk at a protest. The rot is in my bones, apparently. Up and down my femurs, all across the pelvis.
Tuesday was the echocardiogram, to see if my heart is healthy enough for them to poison it. It is.
Today was the bone marrow biopsy. The doc plunged a titanium needle into my posterior iliac crest and sucked out some of the juice. Give that back, I wanted to say. It’s mine. I need it. I did not say that.
It only hurts when I exist.
My countrymen are stooges, vicious and thick, and so there are few outpatient centers available to put in what is called a port. The poison must be squoze in smooth, and over the course of four days; a regular IV line is not up to the extended abuse. The wear and tear of normal life would lead to yeeting. Hospitalization may be required, the doc said.
I asked why I could not come into the office every day, and receive the poison there.
“We could, but I’d…uh…like to start strong. You wanna be aggressive here.”
And then I asked him how long I’d have if, after leaving his office, I just stayed home and did nothing.
“Couple months? Maybe a couple months. Maybe.”
I shuffle now, bowlegged and tenderfooted. The standing is passable, and I can still sit with the best of ’em, but if you saw me get out of a chair, you’d know.
Gonna get me a cancer bandana, and call it my candana. Gonna lose 40 pounds and wear all black and tie my candana ’round my boney skull, and then I’ll just hang around in public pointing at randos and hooting. I have transcended beyond taking my dick out at the food court, Enthusiasts. Gonna haunt that motherfucker.
It happened so goddamned fast. I’m setting the point on Fentanyl lollipops for September 1st, and I’d take the Under if I were you.
Some of you have sent along your thoughts, prayers, vibes, best-wishes; I thank each of you. One of you sent, like, 20 pounds of ice cream; this was an exceptionally kind gesture.
I will not be starting a GoFundMe, or turning the site into a tiered-access Patreon nightmare, or begin streaming on Twitch. There shall be no begging, this I promise you. If you wanna send me some dope, I would like that very much. The Donation Button has not moved. But if you don’t wanna, you don’t haveta.
And now a reading from The Book of Fin, Iteration #18:
Everything changes; nothing lasts.
Nothing changes; everything lasts.
That book hasn’t steered me wrong so far.