The birthday shower

Excellent Expedition

Fiction by Lance Manion ∅ Art by Sensei 23

Excellent Expedition
Excellent Expedition


It was a bad morning to find a tick clinging in his armpit. Truth was most mornings were bad regardless if a tick was present but this was a particularly bad morning. He found it while soaping up the aforementioned area and decided to just rip off the little offender without even looking at it.

Ticks got him a bit squeamish, as did anything to do with blood. He had actually passed out cold at a picnic after swatting a mosquito and seeing a big red smear where the corpse stuck to his leg. Things had gotten a bit dodgy when he thought about the blood being his own but the lights flicked all the way out when it occurred to him that perhaps it was the blood of a fellow picnic-goer.

It was his birthday. That’s why it was a particularly bad morning. He hated birthdays and could never understand why people made such a fuss about them.

“One year older and closer to death. Now blow out your candles.”

Snow Mission Intermission
Snow Mission Intermission

He lived alone. Although not technically, as his building had plenty of other people residing there, but he lived alone in spirit. Not of his choosing but completely of his own doing. Although he didn’t consider himself living alone because he had a dog. A dog that was not going to take the news of this tick very well. One of the high points of the dog’s day was when he took him for a walk (you can have the he and him mean the dog or the man in either order, whatever floats your boat) along a new wooded path they’d discovered recently. A path that had resulted in the man getting a severe outbreak of poison ivy and now a tick.

It was back to the paved bike path for the both of them.

The man pinched the tick in between his fingers and gave it a good tug but it clung on fiercely. Clearly the tick was not done with its meal. This enraged the man and he gave it a more violent yank.


The trouble was that he’d failed to remove all the soap before starting the pulling endeavor and apparently there was a friction issue. His armpit hair wasn’t helping either. As he rinsed away all the suds he was tempted to take a quick peek at the offender in the mirror but he was afraid he’d lose his nerve. Gathering all his strength he gave it a final mighty pull and the tick relented.

Rotten Epidemic fuzz
Rotten Epidemic fuzz

Now the fun was about to begin. He hated ticks with a passion, they reminded him of other parasites like leeches and people who lived on welfare, so he made it a point upon discovering one to pull off all their arms and legs (he assumed half were arms and half were legs despite them all looking and acting very much like legs) before setting them on fire. He glanced down to his pinched fingers to see the soon-to-be-victim of his birthday wrath … but it wasn’t a tick at all.

It was a pinkish lumpy thing. A mole. He’d ripped off a mole. A mole that hadn’t been there yesterday. A birthday mole.

His eyes wandered to points further south and he saw blood swirling around his feet. On the white tile it looked like a demented candy cane being sucked down the drain.

Things began to swim in his head. He tried to drop the birthday mole but his fingers wouldn’t let go. He was shaking his hand vigorously but his fingers would not play ball.

He looked at his armpit. Blood oozed out of the birthday-mole-sized hole.

He also considered people in prison serving lifetime sentences without the possibility of parole to be parasites and he silently admonished himself for not including them in the first batch of bloodsuckers. What kind of society would find an act so bad that they would lock someone away for life and feed, clothe and entertain them but not pull off their arms and legs and set fire to them?

It made no sense.

He slumped against the shower wall and slowly slid to the floor, all the while the water cascaded down without a care in the world. His mole-sized hole gave no indication that it would be closing up any time soon but he wasn’t about to start calling out for assistance because he was sure nobody would come anyway. The only scenario worse would be if someone did come and see him in his present state.

If he would have just taken the time to look at the tick/mole before reacting so hastily this whole thing could have been avoided. One more lesson he should have learned a long time ago … but who in the world would have figured that a mole could have sprung up overnight? That made another lesson he could take away from it. When you’re old moles can just start popping up unannounced. Moles and age spots. They’re like super organisms that can’t be reasoned with.

Getting older sucks.

He realized he was going to pass out. The edges of his vision got blurry and he remembered that there is supposedly a room in New York City where all the teachers who have been convicted of pedophilia and other horrible things report to every day because the teacher’s union won’t let them be fired. They get paid for doing nothing.

“They’re definitely parasites” he thought to himself before things slipped into blackness.

Amefurikozo- The Rainfall Child
Amefurikozo- The Rainfall Child


Sensei 23 is a self-taught artist born and raised in Cape Cod Massachusetts. Cartoons, comics, graffiti, movies, music and sports were only some of his many inspirations growing-up. After receiving his Associates Degree in Fine Art, Sensei 23 continued his education at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
He now reside in Seattle, WA with his lovely wife and beautiful daughter; all while mastering his mutant artistic abilities in his art dojo.
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Global artists and writers dedicated to sharing creativity around the world.

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