I HAVE no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands.
There are two equal and opposite errors into which sufferers can fall. One is to disbelieve in its existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in it.
The sort of script which is used in this account can be very easily obtained by anyone who has once learned the knack; but disposed or excitable people who might make a bad use of it shall not learn it from me.
Johnny’s story, whether fictional or true I know not, though I do know bits of wisdom may gleaned from its retelling and could prove worthwhile to some. However, having myself read some of the later chapters (yet to be published) the reader is urged to withhold forming conclusions to early, there is much to be conveyed, and the account is full of surprises.
I will release the correspondence as I receive them.
The summer of 2006 was extremely hot and Johnny was heading out early for another days work. Johnny lived in a small Midwest farming town with a single four way stop. It was the kind of town that displayed the price of corn, beans, and hogs on the only digital bank sign in town. Off in the distance Johnny could see the James brothers dusting corn, “They’re at it early” he thought to himself. Johnny jumped into his car and headed into work for the day. On the way he stopped, filled up the gas tank, got some coffee, and took a moment to smell the corn (which could be done in the early crisp morning air).
Once Johnny made it to the shop he met with Roger, his boss, like he did every morning to get the days schedule. Johnny was a carpet layer. He quickly gathered the guys together and let them know that today was going be just like Friday’s run. “We’re pulling carpet but not installing again” he said, “This should be an easy job”. So they headed off. Upon arrival they quickly began ripping up the existing carpet. After about 10 minutes Jeff, his crew chief, mentioned to Johnny that he was surprised that they were pulling the carpet as the home was practically new and the carpet barely worn. Johnny just nodded toward Jeff but said nothing, he knew this was odd and it was the third such house in a month. Each time the home owner seemed to provide a vague reason as to why they were removing the carpet. The explanations didn’t quite ring of truth.
After the job was done they headed back to the shop, joked around a bit and headed home for the day. Johnny couldn’t wait to get home to his wife and two children. His family was his life. That evening Johnny was sitting at the kitchen table playing UNO with the kids when he suddenly shrieked “Ouch, damn that hurt”. He felt bad having said such a thing in front of the kids. He quickly pulled his shirt over his head and asked Julie, his wife, to look at his back. “Right there” he said pointing. Julie told him that she saw nothing at all, yet Johnny felt as though he had been stung by a wasp. Johnny was pretty upset because over the past few weeks this had happened to him more than several times.
A few more weeks had gone by and Johnny was not himself, he was reserved, quiet, withdrawn, and no longer joked around with the guys. The guys at work had noticed this change in Johnny but had said nothing. Johnny was masking fear, fear of what was happening to him and as well as the troubles he was causing at home. It was the first time he had really been afraid of anything. The occasional bites had built up into a tumultuous onslaught and then began to wane. However, in it’s place was a strange sensation of bugs crawling on him, or was it in him? The thought of which was more than he could bare.
The more he pressed the issue at home by speaking about it and searching for the things supposedly biting him, the more distant he grew from his wife and kids. Bed bugs? Scabies? He searched for them all but he could find nothing. He wasted much of the families meager funds on exterminators who told him the house was fine. Johnny’s family was beginning to worry about him. Julie knew this was all in his mind, neither she nor the kids felt anything at all. If only she could convince Johnny of it everything would be like it used to be, wonderful. But those conversations always ended in fierce arguments between them both.
Johnny was beginning to hate the job he once loved. Being around carpet only made things worse for him. Johnny suspected something was in it, yet nobody else was affected, not a single crew member noticed anything at all or felt any biting. “Maybe it was all in his head” he thought, yet he knew different. Johnny was trapped, laying carpet was all he knew, and he had to provide for his family.
Johnny hadn’t a clue as to what was happening to him, nor did he realize at the time that his thoughts were obsessed with this new “thing” in his life, this terrible trouble that was upon him. It was so consuming that all other thoughts and responsibilities were fading into the background, neglected. The one bit of wisdom he had gained was not to speak about it outside of his immediate family. It wouldn’t be until much later in his journey that Johnny would learn that he should have stopped talking about it at home as well. Losing his family in the middle of this disaster was a real possibility. Johnny couldn’t seem to reel in his emotions, something was wrong, bad wrong, and he had no one to talk to.
Little did Johnny know that this was just the beginning of woes. His life was about to totally fall apart, and he hadn’t even fallen ill yet. The disaster “he thought he was in” was merely the dim view of a headlight belonging to the freight train that was barreling down upon him. Things were about to go from bad to worse for Johnny. However, one thing Johnny had going for him was that he was tough, and though he didn’t have a college degree, he was smart. Johnny would not go quietly into the night.
more to follow …