The Plague


allergic reaction is for the upper middle class and above, what you have is a SHF-TA

there's a big ass rash rationalizing on my neck and collar. it's a long stretch of red, with little goosebumb looking things growing at different paces and places on the red. no one knows about it yet. i feel like one of those bastards that hide their zombie bites until it's too late and end up infecting the whole colony. and the feeling is intensified by the fact that the rash is restraining the movement of my neck. im being cinematic about it too; i let it restrain me until someone notices and says 'whats up with you, you got ማንጅራት ገትር or something' and ill laugh it off. and then when i change shirts or get out from the shower half naked (top half) someone would see and say "what have ye gathered you once-a-week showering modern day equivalent of a 16th century French peasant" and i would squeeze out a relaxed "nothing, just a rash."

and then things would begin to unfold. first, mom would hear about it, she would say "እስኪ ፤ ምንድን ነው አንገትህ ላይ" (he who found out first would voice over and say "he's been keeping that for ages by now, look koslual eko" - "ere alkoselem" i would ማስተባበል) and i would try to calm them down by saying "ኸረ ይጠፋል ፤ ኖርምዬ ነው" and escape the inspection. but then i would overhear my mother telling my mother "ልጅህ አንገቱ ላይ ምናምን ወጥቶለታል" and with this statement, the inspection led by the father would start. and this time, it would be in the living room and every one would be invited to see the curse i have brought into the house.

he would first attempt the inspection without glasses, struggle a bit and then send me off to get his glasses. then it would begin again. when i return with the glasses, the inspection party would have moved to out on the Veranda where there's plenty of natural light (and live-drama loving neighbours).

he would grab my chin with one hand and my shoulder with the other and begin the inspection. my mother would be in the background, inspecting the inspection and telling a story where one of the neighbours kid once had something of a rash and he too, like me, hid it from the family until it was too late; the rash had turned into an infection. and they had to ... (no one is listening, except the other neighbour who also knows someone who hid a rash and turned out to be something else). all this is happening while my father silently inspects with the occasional grunt and my head arched down to his height. it would be like the way you setup a sliced orange for a mouthful bite.

after finalizing his inspections, his eyes still fixated on my neck and collar area, he would start his interrogation in a doctor-like voice where every answer is a wrong answer and should have done something else instead. at this point my mother and the neighbour would stop their tangent chat about what ወይንሸት said to ዓለምእሸት and focus to hear the final verdict: "ፍሬ-ዐብ (a local trusted pharmacy) እንሄዳለን ማታ ፤ አስከዛ ታጠበው እና ንፋስ ይንካው, አንገትህ እስኪቆረጥ ነበር የምትጠብቀው ፤ ትልቅ ልጅ አይደለህ እንዴ - ለምን..." i would stare into the floor, recovering from the strain the inspection caused.

and then, ማታ, the same thing would happen but the roles reassigned; the pharmacist becomes father and inspects the rash from the safety of the counter, father becomes mother and inspects the inspection, the next person inline becomes the nosy neighbour and he would tell tales of the same theme. and in all this, i would wonder if it was the infectious pillows in my dorm or the juice with no expiration date that stained my skin in the spot where there should have been a hickey.

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