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  • Ellen King Rice

Hairy Tongue - Horror or Avant Garde Fashion?

Jane Martin is a veteran and wife of a veteran. Being stationed for a total of seven and a half years in Europe, along with many vacations in the US and Canada, have barely dampened her enthusiasm for wandering off the beaten path and exploring the nooks and crannies of our amazing planet. She dabbles in writing fantasy and science fiction in between her travels. Contact her here:

Jacob was not the type of guy who would look like a model in a magazine ad, but he wasn’t the ugliest guy around either. At one time he had taken care of himself, wearing clean clothes and taking regular showers. But the economy had tanked, and his job had been sent overseas to be done by workers who didn’t mind getting paid a fraction of what he had been making.

Now he was reduced to telling anyone who would listen just how much he had been wronged and that he didn’t have any hope left. That was usually done while drinking a six pack of beer at the local tavern. When the other customers had had enough of his whining, he stumbled home, cursing his bad luck all the way.

One morning, Jacob woke up to a strange feeling in his mouth. Usually he woke up feeling like he had sticky dust balls in his mouth, but this was different. A few experimental dry slurps did nothing to get rid of the feeling.

Heading to the bathroom, he splashed cold water on his face and looked blearily into the mirror. When he was able to focus, he stuck his tongue out. It was covered in black fuzz! That woke him up. Grabbing his toothbrush, he scrubbed away, but the fuzz was not going away.

Not bothering to make his usual morning cup of coffee, Jacob pulled on some clothes and dashed out. There was a neighborhood clinic halfway between the apartment complex and the tavern. When he got there, the doors were locked.

Peering through the window, he saw a clock on the wall, which said that it was barely half past eight. The clinic didn’t open until nine. The adrenaline that had brought Jacob that far fled away and he slumped to the sidewalk. Every so often, the fuzz in his mouth would tickle and make him gag.

Finally, the receptionist came to unlock to the door, and Jacob ran inside.

“Help!” he cried.

“Take it easy, sir,” the receptionist said. “The doctor will be here shortly. In the meantime, I need to fill out some paperwork. Name?”

“Jacob Trent!” he yelled impatiently. “There’s something growing on my tongue!”

Unfortunately, what he meant to say and what it actually sounded like were two different things.

“Excuse me? I didn’t quite understand that.”

The more Jacob tried to talk, the more garbled it sounded. At that point, the receptionist called for the doctor. Jacob grabbed hold of the doctor’s coat and tried to plead for help, but the more he talked, the worse it got.

The doctor held Jacob by a shoulder to try and calm him down. “Open your mouth, and stick out your tongue,” the doctor said.

When Jacob did as the doctor asked, a huge mass of black hair came out. The hair hung from Jacob’s tongue to half way down his chest. The receptionist screamed and the doctor backed away.

“There is a fungus that grows on the tongue,” the doctor said, “but I’ve never seen anything like this. We need to get you to the hospital right away. I’ll take you there myself.”

Twenty minutes and a car ride later, Jacob sat in the emergency room, surrounded by doctors. In that time, the hair had grown down to his knees.

The doctors were dumbfounded. At one point they talked about removing Jacob’s tongue, which sent Jacob running for home.

That night Jacob went to the bar as usual. After much trial and error, he had figured out how to eat and drink despite the hair. Feeling rather dashing, he had braided the hair and tied it at the end with a red rubber band.

Jacob never said much after that, but he decided that he would rather live with the hair than without his tongue.

If this story gives you some chills, consider snuggling up with a rescued kitty from Feline Friends. Support our local cathouse!

Photo of the Candlesnuff fungus and some other black growth on a log are from Ellen King Rice.

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