It began with a toothache. Sure enough, the tooth was wiggly, but my jaw swelled and it hurt more and more and I was thinking there was no way out of it but the dentist when it disappeared...

...Not in a good way. My groin - my private parts, member, erupted in a series of painful blisters, and the symptoms seemed obvious enough, but, well, I haven't been intimate in a long long while...still, I googled and found a great many pictures which underestimated the damage being done to my own loins, and I suspected that somewhere, somehow, I may have acquired a severe, an apocalyptic case of genital herpes...

...with this, the puss burning, oozing, building up beneath the penis and scrotal sac, the white-capped ruby blisters, the end of my tallywhacker swollen to double it's girth, quadrupling the pain, sensitive to every chafe and touch of my undershorts or burning urination through suppurating blisters, I could tour the high schools of America and ensure that no student lost their virginity until marriage. And no sooner am I confirmed in my diagnosis when...

...The skin still peeling on my groin, the lymph nodes swollen to the proportions of garden hoses, visibly extruded above my skin, when a fine, chicken skin rash appears upon the back of my hands...there's an electric tingling upon my palms, a pins and needles, then they begin to grow patches of yellow, the skin thickens, like crusty leather, and breaks into painful crevasses upon every distinguishing line ...the loveline, the heartline, crack to painful fissures a quarter inch deep, suppurating sores, upon the backs of my hands appear ruby blisters, the wrists, and leading up my arms, the sores break out upon my face, my thighs...my ears fill with fluid, draining upon my pillow nightly, burning scabs into my earlobes, and all of a sudden I'm deaf. 

90% deaf. I can hear, if I know your speaking to me, if you speak loudly, to my face, but easily 90% of my hearing is gone...

I email Mom. The symptoms have varied enough that I'm thinking it's not genital herpes...Maybe Shingles? But the symptoms of shingles are always asymmetrical, and I'm in perfectly symmetrical misery...."Did I ever have the Chicken Pox when I was young?". She doesn't remember, I can remember the measles, she thinks about it, probably not...

I still have to work, damn the quarantine, the health laws, I try to stay away from the tables, Despite becoming the Red Death the owner will grant you no reprieve. Ever. If you've worked in enough restaurants you know. Even in death I'd have to work there, they'd wheel my corpse about on a dolly to take orders and spray cologne on me to hide the smell, you'd never get a day off until the undertaker came for you and buried you in the ground...But in this deafness, this swimming deep beneath the sea it acquires a new tranquility. I can imagine the harried and henpecked husband becoming deaf, enjoying his deafness, a lifetime of scolding now escaped, I've known a few and I'm more than a little suspicious...the staff are forever testing my hearing, saying things behind my back, I catch them laughing, I can't hear a word. 

Still, this is not elective deafness, this is the sores in my ears blocking the canals, not painful, but the city now from my balcony gives the illusion of perpetual quiet. I grow in my beard to hide the scabs on my face, it's been a little over two weeks and the symptoms are abating, the sores disappear, I'm still deaf, but I have a feeling it will restore itself as suddenly as it came, in the meantime I enjoy it, watch "The Tribe" in my free time, irony, those badass-deaf kids, and make my plans for summer...