Thursday 26 August 2021

A Scratch for an Itch

 by Helen Kreeger

bitter lemon

 “It itches likes mad!”

“Probably just wax.”

“Something’s in there.”

“Yes, your finger.”

“No, something else.”

“Go to the nurse; she’ll syringe your ears.”

“Don’t like the sound of that.”

“I don’t like the look of you digging in your ear! And don’t use up all my cotton buds.”

“Is that all the sympathy I get?”

“Are you serious?”

“Forget it.”

“You arrive home last night smelling of some woman’s nasty perfume and you want me to be sympathetic?”

“It’s not what you think.”

“It never is, darling, and yet we find ourselves here again.”

“You women, you over-react about these things!”

These things?”

“Just office life. Hell! You must have something for this blasted ear?”

“Don’t swear.”

“Blast, blast, blast!”

“Very juvenile. You know, I worked in an office for years, and didn’t indulge in these things.”

“I should hope not! Come over here.”

“Why? So you can get round me? So I can forgive you, again?”

“I need you to look in my ear.”

“What! … OK, let me see.”

“There’s something in there isn’t there?”

“Stop digging and turn your head towards the window. Why do you do it?”

“Because it itches like hell.”

“You know what I’m talking about. Aren’t you a bit long-in-the-tooth to still be chasing girls?”

“It’s not planned. I’m not looking for it. See anything?”

“Maybe… pass me those cotton buds. So why do it?”

“Those girls ... they’ll do anything for promotion. Ouch! What was that?”

“Sorry. Doesn’t look like wax.”

“I knew it! What is it?”

“Don’t move! And keep your fingers out!”

“Hurry up!”                                             

“I could just let you go to the nurse.”

“For God’s sake, woman, just get it out!”

 “All right, hold still. So, tell me why you have to screw around.”


“Why not? You usually escape to some appointment or other when I bring it up. If you want your ear sorted you’d better start talking.”

“I do love you, you know.”

“I’ve heard all that before – doesn’t give me answers.”

“It’s … a man thing. When you’re offered free sweets you can’t say no.”

“That sounds more like a child thing. Ever tried to say no?”

“If you knew the number of women I’ve turned down …”

“It’s the ones you don’t turn down I’m interested in. I don’t know what’s in there, but it doesn’t want to come out without a fight.”

“Can you reach it?”

“Maybe you should go to the nurse.”

“I don’t have time to sit in a waiting room full of sickies waiting for Sharon to call my name.”

“Sharon? That’s her name is it?”


“Nurse Robinson, at the clinic. Nobody calls her Sharon.”

“Well, you know me, first name terms with everyone.”

“Yes, I do know you. So, when were you last at the doctors’ clinic?”

“Can’t you just get out whatever’s in there?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying … Jesus! What is that?”

“What! What is it?’

“It’s moving!”

“Oh, hell, get it out! I feel sick”

“I can’t. Oh …it’s too …”

“Please, do something!”

“It’s … coming out. Oh, dear God, it’s …”

“Help me, please. My chest … call the doctor, please.”

“… enormous! Here you are – wax. Bloody big lump of it. You’re looking a bit pale. Shall I call Sharon?”

About the author 

Helen Kreeger was born and raised in London, but has lived elsewhere for many years. She has been published in Blunt Moms (USA), ARC 25, 26 and 27 (Israel), Writing District, (UK), Café Aphra (USA), Scrittura Lit Mag (UK), Free Flash Fiction, and With Painted Words (UK).

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