This week’s writing challenge with the Daily Post is called 2AM photo. I am not all over the creative writing challenges even though I used to write fiction all the time when I was a kid. When I saw the prompt, though, I couldn’t resist. There is a flare of reality to this to me. This is something that could actually happen to me, in fact, I have written a rant about something very similar. However, this post is entirely fiction, at least the situation is and the reaction is, well, pretty much what I would do.
It’s 2AM and your phone has just buzzed you awake, filling the room in white-blue LED light. You have a message. It’s a photo. No words, no explanation. Just a photo. Tell us all about it. And what happens next.
I wake up from my usual comatose sleep to my phone glowing and only 3.5 hours left to sleep… Not cool.
First assumption… Someone died.
Once I confirm it is a photo message, not death, I contemplate the death of the sender. I imagine impailing them with my phone. Sticking the cat (who, for good measure is now pawing at the door because he heard movement and wants to come in) on them. Oh, this best be important… Life or death important or I will be mighty ticked. Well, I already am ticked. But, they will know about it.
I lay there considering just going back to sleep. There are so few precious hours before morning. And people don’t get that sleep is more precious when you get so very little of it.
Finally, I muster the strength to roll the rest of the way over and pick up the phone.
It blinds me.
Great, that probably reset my brain. Now it thinks it is morning.
I pick it up and I look at it.
I stifle a laugh.
The picture is from a friend.
It appears to be of a large, infected looking flesh wound. The body part wounded is a mystery. It is hairy. I hope it is an arm or something…
Ugh… Why would they send me a picture of a hairy wound.
I think for a second. Look at the picture again.
Now I see it. That is an arm pit.
The wound is a ruptured seborrheic cyst. I think.
Someone had a lot of fun with the zoon function on their iPhone.
That is so gross.
But, not as gross as it would be in person.
Wow, am I suddenly grateful to live in a different city.
Have you ever smelled seborrheic cyst? Like, when it ruptures? Ugh, they could clear a room. They are probably my favourite things to incise/remove, though. I am sick like that.
I look at the message again. Geeze, the least they could do is send an explaination.
I mean, I am assuming they meant to send it to me. They do stuff like that. Ask me questions about their health. Send me pictures of weird rashes and stuff. That is what friends do to their friends in the medical profession. And, I mean, it isn’t like I work more often than not. Heck, why would I be sleeping at 2am? I know, probably because I am on call at least once a week that requires me to be awake at 2am. But still, gosh, then I am working. That doesn’t justify them texting me.
I start getting agitated again. I consider sending a nasty “why do you do this to me?” message. But I opt out. Mainly because if that is a picture of either their ruptured cyst or their husband’s, they have had enough grief tonight. That is disgusting.
So, I opt to reply.
My reply is simple.
I put the phone down. I try to settle back to sleep.
I see a bright light again. An explaination?
Sorry I had to puke.
Super helpful. Thanks, friend.
That gets followed up rapidly by what I was expecting.
Am I dying?
Yes, of course, my dear, we are all dying.
But, wasn’t about to say that (I almost did, though). I asked what happened.
Then the phone starts to vibrate.
Seriously? Does anybody realize it is now 2:15 IN THE MORNING?
I answer. I figured this would be more efficient than trying to decipher the texts.
The friend starts to explain herself. She had a weird lump under her arm for weeks getting bigger. At first it seemed pimple sized. She cut it shaving the other day (ah, that explains the slight flesh wound appearance) and since then has avoided shaving it (that explains the hairy). It was big and sore tonight and she poked at it. It didn’t go away. Then, she laid down in bed and it felt like it popped. And it oozed a ton of nasty stuff. And hurts slightly less. But, is all red and seepy. And it reeks. And does she need to go to emerg.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if they should go to emerg, I would be rich.
I tell her to put some polysporin on it. Cover it tonight with some gauze or a tissue to seep up the rest of the grossness. Stop poking at it. Warned her it will probably come back because cysts like that recur all the time. She could see someone to get the thing taken out but that they probably won’t do it after it is freshly irritated. Told her to go to bed.
I also asked why the heck she waited until 2 in the morning to call. Well, because it happened at 1:30 and who else would she call?
But she didn’t call. It was a picture.
She thought that would have better impact.
We hung up. I shook my head. Laughed a bit and went back to sleep… Or tried.
The next morning. Much later in the day, I get another picture. It is just as bizarre. Turns out the whole thing looked much better after the irritation/inflammation settled. I also loved she opted to not give an explanation again.
If we want to be honest, I told some of my work friends the story and showed them the picture. We all get a kick out of that kind of stuff. Everyone gets a health question call, but this takes the cake. I mean, really… I think that would be a silly thing to go to the ED for, but a photo message at 2am? At least it is laughter-inducing nasty. The options are to laugh, gag or get annoyed. I opted for the laugh.