Countdown Story #11: Texarkana, TX

I can’t figure out how the hell I got poison ivy on my butt crack. And I’m pretty damn sure it is, in fact, poison ivy. But I’m no doctor, so it very well may be something else. Either way, the screaming and mysterious eruption is causing major distress I’m at my goddamned wit’s end. 

After a shower in my hotel room’s off-kilter tub, I spend way too much time bent over in front of the hotel mirror looking upside-down between my legs at the red and itchy rash. No matter how I contort my body for a better view, I can’t tell if there are any definitive pustules or not.  

To explore the possibility of a home remedy, I Google a few key words describing my condition and unintentionally call up as many porn sites as medical sites. I make a few clicks and find what I’m looking for. I learn that a common countermeasure for poison ivy is an over-the-counter oatmeal-based cream. No kidding, I say out loud. I wonder if I can make my own cure with some Quaker Oats instant? I rummage through my food stash and find two packs of peaches and cream. An oatmeal rub sounds iffy, but desperation makes bad ideas seem promising. I consider stirring up a salve and applying it generously. But I refrain. For now I’ll bite the bullet— I’m in the thick of suburbia strip malls and I’ll come across a pharmacy before long.  

Within a half hour I park Little Buddy at a Walgreens where I spend a small fortune on a tube of oatmeal-based medicated balm. Then, in the privacy of a dirty stall in a McDonald’s restroom where someone has scrawled Hey, McPiss! onto the wall, I use my left index to guide a dab of soothing ointment onto my scaly and inflamed assflesh. The cooling reprieve is immediate.

I spend my first few roadside hours in Arkansas itch-free as I ponder the miraculous properties of my favorite morning food. My rear end, for now, feels pretty damn good. The world is a funny, funny place.

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