The doctor scribbled some notes onto his clipboard while I sat and tried not to think about my arm. Everyone kept telling me what my mom told me when I got the chicken pox. “Don’t scratch! You’re gonna get infected…” But with the blisters popping up and the hard red spot growing by my elbow, pretty sure I already was infected… who would’ve really given a shit if I kept scratching? Apparently this doctor did.
“Don’t scratch! Something bit you, kid. And that’s an infection you have there. Ever feel anything crawling around in bed with you?”
I flinched. “No…”
“Because that was probably some kind of spider. You’re lucky you came to see me. You could die, you know that?”
Okay, Doctor Doom.
“Seriously, you don’t want that thing to spread. I’m gonna put you on an antibiotic. Three times a day, you need to get a warm compress, like a warm wet towel or something, and press it on that bite. No drinking while you’re on those pills, understood? You could die.”
Doc clicked his pen and drew a dark circle around the bite. “If the red goes outside that circle, come back and see me. Any questions?”
“Good. Best of luck healing up, Peter Parker.”
Peter Parker. Cool.
On my way back to work at Merlin’s Comic Emporium, I walked with my ear buds in and my head to the sky. I scratched my arm a few times, and sometimes I glanced down at my wrists. All I can say is those soft blue lines on my skin looked especially web-like that day.
# # #
“Didn’t think I’d see you back here so soon, kid. Let’s have a looksie at that bite.”
Doc had his looksie.
“Ah, yes, that healed quite nicely. And you’re not scratching?”
“Okay. Now about your leg and your other arm here, you’re gonna want to keep the casts on for a few weeks. And I’m going to recommend that once the casts come off, you don’t spend time on any more roofs. You could die.”
Stupid quack. Pretty sure he never called anyone “Peter Parker” again.