(a Poe parody)
††††††††††† Iíve been like this since seventeen; suffering an affliction I thought was the consequence of sin.
††††††††††† I grew up very religious, wearing all the icons of a good Christian, though the leave obvious and most burdensome was the cross of guilt I carried on my back.
††††††††††† I actually believed that some day I might become saint, and meet my creator as a devout soul.
††††††††††† Then this happened and my belief flew out the window as if on the wings of angels, leaving me alone and devoid of belief.
††††††††††† I didnít believe in Satan, unless to blame him for my problems. Some people blamed sex for my twitches and ticks.
††††††††††† I remember looking at a girl in my class whose legs were slightly open, and I pondered the possibilities.
††††††††††† The twitches struck. First with the eyes, then the whole side of my face.
††††††††††† I was convinced God was turning me into a serpent and even heard a certain hiss when I spoke.
††††††††††† Other boys my age didnít take my ticks too seriously, except to mock me for them, my presence always providing them with good humor.
††††††††††† My parents didnít take them seriously either, telling me I would grow out of them.
††††††††††† The me I saw inside my head didnít twitch, though the me I saw in the mirror did. So did the me the girls in class saw, making it impossible for any of them to take me seriously when I looked with desire in their direction.
††††††††††† I sought the solace of a priest in the confessional, but found that I hissed so much he could not understand me.
††††††††††† Of course, I did not hiss and twitch perpetually at first, but suffer them as if a fit.
††††††††††† An attack would hit me on a bus and I would have to get off stops earlier than my own just to avoid the stare of other passengers.
††††††††††† When the nasal sounds started, I was convinced a demon possessed me.
††††††††††† While hissing and the twitches presented me as a social outcast, the horn-like racket coming from my nose drew attention from great distances.
††††††††††† By this time, my mother noticed my absences from meals and when eventually I worked up courage to come to the table, my family reacted worse than any stranger, staring at me as if I had landed there from another planet.
††††††††††† They sent me to doctors, who did this test and that but came up with no better answer than those I had made up for myself.
††††††††††† When my torso turned and my back took on the resemblance of a beer pretzel, the doctors wanted to do so many pointless tests, I abandoned them.
††††††††††† But not before the mind doctors got a hold of me, mumbling things about repressed urges and how I needed to talk.
††††††††††† My parents constantly threatened to put me away, telling me that I should be in a place where the doctors would have even more access to me.
††††††††††† What they meant was: they wanted me out of the house.
††††††††††† When I refused to volunteer for commitment, they found me a room across town where they wouldnít have to visit me often and wouldnít have to suffer with me through meals and long nights of hacking the attic.
††††††††††† Except for occasional encounters with other residents on my way to and from the hallway bathroom, the rooming house seemed ideal until the screaming started.
††††††††††† This tendency was as unpredictable as any of the other ailments I suffered, erupting at full volume at unexpected moments.
††††††††††† Other tenants complained to the landlord about being jerked awake in the early hours of the morning by my shrill wail.
††††††††††† I searched for my own cure. When the drugs doctors supplied failed to deal with any of the symptoms I took to purchasing more powerful medications in back allies, and though these modified the attacks, I still suffered them, and after a while, even these drugs failed to do anything at all.
††††††††††† I thought more and more about the repressed urges, and hired prostitutes with the hope that sex might actually cure me.
††††††††††† Sex made them worse Ė to the point at which word got around about me and I could not hire anyone had I wished to continue the experiment.
††††††††††† After a time, I began to predict when my attacks would come and fled the rooming house to wander the streets, taking to the most remote places where I could twitch and scream without too much notice Ė though more than once, police pursued me after some resident claimed someone was being murdered.
††††††††††† My parents provided for me even when I grew older, setting me up with services that brought me food did my laundry, even paid my cable and magazine subscriptions. This was even a clause in their will when they tragically left this mortal coil within a short time of each other.
††††††††††† When my rooming house closed, another was found for me, better situated, and I went on living and screaming, and slowly going out of my mind.
††††††††††† People who knew of my existence believe me mad already, but Iím not quite mad yet, only on the fringe.
††††††††††† For years, kids have come to my door to knock and run away, a kind of game of daring Ė especially around Halloween. And while I should be offended, Iím not.
††††††††††† I find strange comfort in their thinking me a monster worth the trouble of revisiting, for I get no other visitors except those hired by the estate to supply my needs Ė and barbers and such who come to my room to service me, flee as fast as possible, so disgusted by what they see.
††††††††††† Now an old man, I suspect someone will eventually find me dead in my bed, at which point the twitching must stop.